7/14/12

One Man Show (Jacques Bogart)



In 1996, Azzaro released Chrome, its landmark '90s masculine, and took the Cool Water concept one crucial step away from fougère-dom, and into the territory of conceptual perfumery. The concept was "metal." Chrome exhibited all the typical characteristics of a fresh fougère and citrus chypre, married them, amplified its perpendicular musks to blaring levels, and voilà! A shiny metallic perfume that made teenagers and twenty-somethings smell like R2D2. Mission accomplished.

The only precedent for such a horrendous concept (and fragrance) is an obscure niche release from 1980 named One Man Show. Jacques Bogart, on the heels of its successful Bogart Pour Homme, which is an ambery fougère in the Zino/Rabanne axis, attempted to modernize the flagging genre of masculine chypres, and envisioned a world where men smelled of rusty metal, tree resins, and raw incense. It was to be the ultimate meeting of declined Utopia and vengeful nature, all in one powerful scent. The calibration was inspired but simple, of equal parts pine and oakmoss, styrax and patchouli, incense and geranium, all tuned to a hi-pitched shrill. It smells weirdly majestic, with nosehair-singeing pine top notes concentrated into unrecognizable proportions, and redolent of tarnished aluminum sheeting and rusted steel plates. This lengthy opening stage is unremittingly caustic and synthetic, yet also irresistible and quite compelling.

The drydown consists of a simple incense and cedar accord, and possesses a distinctive austerity seldom seen in '80s masculines. It is here, around the ninety-minute mark, that One Man Show clearly reveals itself to be a polite EDT after all, and not a hairy-chested powerhouse. The growl in its beginnings rumbles down to the relaxing patter of vetiver leaves rustling in a twilight breeze. Only hints of the cold metallic note remain as nature reclaims its territory. This fragrance is odd, charming, and full of well-executed synthetic forms. You may or may not smell the resemblance to Chrome, but you'll definitely appreciate an unusual and well-made fragrance while wearing One Man Show. On another note - I have no idea why it was given such a tacky name, but I like how it provides garish contrast to the otherwise-sobering Eastern-European package of muted greys and blacks. Someone over at the Jacques Bogart company has an interesting sense of humor.










6 comments:

  1. My God, where did you find this??!!!

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    1. Villa Fleur, a little perfume shop in Hamden, CT. The man also sells vintage Moustache, Krizia fragrances, and original formulas of dozens of feminine scents.

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  2. The original version was better overall, and with no "root beer" top notes. If your bottle has "Vol" on the front label it's the new one. IMO, one must mention whether one is commenting on the original fragrance or a possible reformulation with these "golden oldies."

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    1. I frankly don't believe very much in reformulations degrading fragrances to the extent that they're worth commenting on. Several classic masculines have been reformulated multiple times over the years, and haven't suffered one whit. Reformulations are simply ways for chemists to keep abreast of regulations and company costs while preserving the essence of a fragrance structure. Sometimes they're more successful than others, but generally differences are negligible - and sometimes are actually improvements. The bottle used for this review however is an older vintage, judging by the look of the box.

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  3. For some reason I love reading reviews of One Man Show, and yours is a good one. You nailed it with your description of the way it smells. This is one of those bottles that collects dust in my room, yet I like it, and reviews like yours make me want to wear it more than I do. I think I'll wear it tomorrow.

    By the way, this is the first I've heard anyone mention an earlier formulation of One Man Show. OMS is one of the few frags that I never hear anyone complaining about being reformulated. Come to think of it, I rarely hear of reformulations at all with Bogart fragrances, with the exception of Furyo. That's probably because they're low priced to begin with, so why screw with the formula?

    I have the one pictured above.

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    1. Thanks, yeah it's widely under-appreciated here in the west, but I've heard rumors that it's still somewhat popular in parts of far-Eastern Europe. I never encountered it in Prague, but then again Prague isn't quite far enough into One Man Show's territory.

      I've never heard of these frags being reformulated, either. Bogart is not a well-known brand, and it has poor commercial visibility even today, in this unofficial fragrance Renaissance we're having. I sincerely doubt that they've been messed with. Especially this one. If there have been formula changes, then that's interesting, because most of the current comments about OMS match much older comments almost perfectly. It's a great scent.

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