7/23/12

Derek Jeter Driven & Driven Black (Avon)




A few years ago, Avon released Derek Jeter's celebuscent, cleverly named "Driven," which I did not have an opportunity to try, because at that time I was preoccupied with finding a job. Now that I'm comfortably working, I can peruse the many subtle pleasantries this fragrance has to offer - thanks to its re-release! For reasons unknown, Avon discontinued Driven, and this must have been an unpopular move, because not only is it back, but it's back in black.

Just a quick note on Avon: Do not underestimate this company. Remember those silly plastic statuettes from the sixties and seventies, every conceivable shape and size, filled with some cheap aftershave or cologne? Those days are but fond memories. They now have serious fragrance campaigns, with several older brands represented, and some good new ones on the roster. Driven is one of them.


Jeter has publicly admitted to liking and wearing Cool Water. He has hinted that Driven is Cool Water with a few curve-balls thrown in. I agree - Driven is essentially Cool Water with two fruit notes, namely melon and grapefruit, traded in for tobacco, apple, and cedar. It opens with a bright punch of lavender and citrus, with a little melon sweetness, and gradually moves into a minty bitterness that I can't quite describe. I've read notes lists that cite rhubarb and bamboo, but it just smells very "blue" to me. It's like they created a new and overly-abstract interpretation of lavender.

Just as I begin to feel Driven is too smooth, ozonic, modern, something good happens. The fruity blues back off, and a darker sueded leather accord emerges. This is another adjustment to the Cool Water formula, as the Davidoff scent contains a wily tobacco and cedar element that flirts with darkness to balance its freshness. Driven merely says "leather" instead of "chew." Good play. Unambitious, but commendable. If you're a fan of Cool Water, but want to try something that's stylistically more contemporary (without sacrificing quality), give Driven a few innings and see what you think. You're getting tired of all my little baseball jokes, I know. This is almost over.


Driven Black is a bit of a mystery to me. I'm anosmic to it. I get hints of it - mandarin, sage, some cedar and sandalwood. Then, a big suede note, which seems to be the bulk of things. It flits in and out, but more out, unfortunately. I like what I smell, when I'm able to smell it. But this is the only fragrance I've encountered that genuinely seems much, much too weak. Either that, or my nose just doesn't want to play ball.













8 comments:

  1. I haven't tried an Avon fragrance in many years. I grew up during the days when they were producing cheap juices that all ended up smelling the same on your skin. I remember they made a Josie Natori fragrance some time ago (probably the 90s) which was very distinctive and seemed to be their first foray into something of better quality. However, even in the old days, they made nice soliflores: Hawaiian White Ginger was a favorite, and Roses Roses was very good as well.

    And I have to ask, where did that photo come from, and who are the players???

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    1. Avon has successfully ventured into the world of serious perfumery, even going back many years - they are responsible for Deneuve, the legendary chypre. Current classics include Mesmerize for Men and perhaps Driven, although I'm not sure I'd give that one as many stars as Mesmerize.

      The photo is some Israelite Gentleman's Organization team from 1903, apparently. But don't quote me on that.

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  2. Right, I forgot they were responsible for Deneuve! There are lamentations all over the blogosphere because it was discontinued. Reviews are universally glowing. Hope I find a dab of it someday.

    Very interesting about the photo - I'm really impressed by the hair.

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    1. I found the hair to be truly mesmerizing myself. I'm on the lookout for Deneuve as well.

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  3. Kudos on the Avon reviews. Avon may not be innovators, but their fragrances from at least the past five years have been excellent. I own like six or seven of them, and I enjoy every one of them. My favorites are Driven and Black Suede.

    I think Driven is an incredible fragrance, and is one of the best sport fragrances I've ever smelled (Michael Jordan is my favorite). I'm not sure it qualifies as an aquatic, but if it does, it's my favorite aquatic.

    I have Driven Black too, and I really like it. I think it smells like Agua Brava with a few synthetic notes added. I find it to have just the right amount of sillage for everyday use, and good all day longevity.

    Avon also had released three other Jeter scents, called something like "Warm Cedarwood" and "Warm Spices" or something like that. I never had a chance to try any of them because they discontinued them so quickly. I'd love to know what they smell like, since you can still find them for sale online, but I have never seen any reviews of them.

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    1. Interesting, I've never heard of the other Jeter scents. My only problem with Driven is that it's actually a little TOO close to Cool Water, which renders it superfluous: I may as well choose Cool Water for this kind of thing. Still, for the younger set, it's a viable option. Definitely a quality fragrance.

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  4. As an aside, I heard that Jeter actually wears Driven too, and if that's true, I think that's cool. This is a guy who could afford to buy the entire fragrance department at Neiman Marcus.

    I also heard that his teammates used to give him a ton of shit about having his own perfume line, but that when he walked around wearing his own fragrances, the other guys on the team secretly asked him, "Hey, um, do you think you could score me a bottle?" My wife read this in an interview of Jeter a few years ago. Jeter had the last laugh.

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