The Big Pony series has me wondering why Ralph Lauren hasn't caught on that redundancy is a cheap thrill. You capture the public's attention for all of two weeks, rake in some extra holiday-season profit, and eventually wind up discontinuing, discontinuing, and discontinuing some more. There's no big picture here. I thought the 1980s were supposed to teach us about the Big Business Big Picture. Apparently I was mistaken. Each of these fragrances tries to put a spin on something that's already been done a million times, and they fail miserably. I would never wear them, but I suppose if teenagers are faced with the choice of any of these, or Justin Bieber's new scent, they're better off picking a number. Here's my take:
Big Pony 1: The perfect example of what not to buy, for two reasons: 1) you'll wind up smelling like a cheaper version of Polo Blue, and 2) Everyone smells like Polo Blue. This is a thin watercolor sketch of that tried-and-tired "blueness" that has pervaded perfumery since Cool Water. Not to say that it comes anywhere close to the specific nature of Cool Water itself; BP 1 is a rather air-freshened and abstract blue sky concept, with a dryer ozonic texture. I'm fairly certain that Polo Blue has already failed at making this type of fragrance anything more than a teenage diversion.
Big Pony 2: I don't get the dark chocolate that supposedly distinguishes this scent, and I certainly don't get anything specific out of Big Pony 2. It reads to me like a spicy, cinnamon-type musk. It's rather nondescript. There's a heated amber lurking around in there. Oh, I get it - red bottle, hot scent. $65 for this? Really?
Big Pony 3: I probably shouldn't be doing it, but I'm giving Big Pony 3 a pass because it's the most likable of the BP lineup. Some ginger-mint and an incredibly synthetic greeny heart. The fresh notes are slathered over a faceless white musk. I'm a sucker for green, even when it's as soulless as this. I suppose if I were 17 and sexually frustrated, this would be my spring spritz. Anyone even a smidgen further along in life should just man up and wear the original Polo.
Big Pony 4: Amazingly, this is the most faceless scent in the series. It has an orangey, ambery, raspy wood & musk essence. The scent feels a bit like a Chanel in its muted affability, yet lacks refinement, distinction, or anything to set it apart from the mindless league of colored Polos. If scratchy wood is your thing, you're better off with Polo Blue, Black, or Double Black. Me? I'll steer clear of Ralph Lauren's 21st Century fragrances altogether, with more emphatic route diversions thanks to Big Pony 4.
And there you have it. They're better than any of the Calvin Klein scents of the last ten years, but that's not saying much. I'm thinking Lauren's fragrance department is downwind of the lavatories, and their Glade air fresheners aren't working so well.