Oscar (Oscar de la Renta)

There seems to be a divergence of opinion concerning Oscar. Many on Fragrantica find an abundance of tuberose and myrrh in its construct; I smell far more lavender, herbal notes, and opoponax. Tuberose is there, but I don't consider it the most prominent note. In any case, Oscar is a floral perfume - we can all agree on that - but it closely hugs the oriental category. Its spices and herbal complexities outweigh the green aromatics of a straight floral scent.

One of trickiest things for a guy to do is find a classic feminine perfume that passes muster on a man. Gender neutrality is the most common outcome, but occasionally I find a scent that successfully rivals masculine releases of the last fifteen years. Oscar is one of them. It's very dry, with a nice tension between its coldest and warmest accords, and never devolves into a pink cloud.

Oscar makes me wonder what happened to men in recent years that made them favor gourmand girls over chypre-wearing glamazons. But you know, I think that sentence right there has the answer built into it. Today's American guy gravitates toward skinny, stylistically immature girls, the kind who wear their pajamas to the supermarket. Those chicks consider sweatpants with the word SEXY on the butt a wardrobe upgrade, never know what to do with their hair, and resort to wearing stuff from Bath & Body Works (body mists are everywhere). Their boyfriends have been intimidated out of any aspirational lust for full-figured, high-heeled, power-lunch eating businesswomen, the types who consider weekend wear to be Versace jeans and a pair of Selam Yohans. It's sad.

But back to perfume. Oscar (original 1977 perfume) opens with a wallop of bitter lemon and lavender, lightly spiced by basil, and nuanced with a touch of tuberose. The lavender is frigid, herbal, probably Spanish. The drydown rapidly brings forth the warmth and creaminess of opoponax and sandalwood. The base is a masculine take on cloves and ambergris, all haloed in a rugged aroma of rosemary and myrrh. This smells very expensive, beautifully and thoughtfully constructed, and surprisingly unisex. In fact, the top-note accords remind me of a classic masculine, R de Capucci. I don't know how the EDT version of Oscar interprets those sunrise-slapper lemon and lavender top notes, but I can say that the perfume is stunning, thanks to those elements.

I would wear Oscar myself, but I'm spoiled for choice when it comes to '70s feminines, and right now I'm uncertain as to which one to commit to. While I make up my mind, I'll yearn for a busty, beige suited, Oscar-wearing stunner who works somewhere on 5th Avenue, and lives within walking distance.

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