Sport Field (Adidas)

Every year I go through "green withdrawal." It's frustrating because during the summer months I yearn for autumn, but by November and December I get pangs for effervescent spring-like scents, things I won't smell in nature until after a dreary Connecticut winter. I usually find myself exploring green fragrances around Thanksgiving, and try to steer my craving towards seasonally appropriate pine and artemisia scents, things like Pino Silvestre and Yatagan. This year I had a little luck with this approach, although to be honest I caved and went for something that would work best in summer time - Adidas Sport Field. Still, with its piney elements and bitter chypre characteristics, it's a respectable year-round treat.

Surprisingly respectable, actually. I've always avoided Adidas fragrances like the plague. They bear the stigma of inhabiting discount racks at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. Of course they also share their namesake with sneakers, something frowned upon in serious fragrance circles. I tend to lump all mass-marketed and accessory-branded colognes into the "nonsense to try when you're bored" category, which keeps company with celebrity fragrances and mall-store "body mists" (whatever those are). Things like Jaguar, Michael Jordan, Zippo, and Moonlight Magic rightfully get short shrift, although I admit Jaguar isn't nearly as bad as it could be. Favorable reviews on various forums led me to believe there was something more going on with Sport Field, something that made it worth checking out if I could find it. It's been discontinued, but recently regained market visibility, and today I actually found two bottles in what look to be new packaging. This makes me wonder if it's been re-released, and I'll be happy if that's the case.

Sport Field reminds me of one fragrance: Green Valley by Creed. I have yet to review Green Valley here because I'm saving that one for the spring. I consider it a wonderfully bittersweet grassy chypre, with top notes to die for. Adidas developed a green scent several years before Creed's creation, one that similarly conveys the bitter aroma of cut grass in an open field. It's as though someone took a scalpel to Green Valley, removed its top notes and two minutes'-worth of its heart, shifted some ingredients around, and then repackaged it as the "new" Sport Field (I know nothing of the original green-boxed Sport Field). It's Green Valley on a budget.

I'll get this out of the way first - Sport Field's ingredients are clearly pedestrian in quality, and there's nothing in the scent profile that raises eyebrows. However, the composition is a departure from the expected sweet waterfruit/violet leaf/white musk "sport" formula. It's a sport fragrance in the '70s tradition of Aliage, not Polo. The elements may be budgeted, but they're well chosen and composed. It opens with a bright burst of lemon and ginger, which rapidly transitions into a delightful wedding of coumarin (hay), and a nondescript pastel-pink sweetness that weaves between the greens. Light touches of pine, anise, and tomato leaf lend it depth and lengthen its lifespan, and its base is a simple hay and pine affair. The pine note is used judiciously to approximate the bracing spiciness of grass, and never oversteps its bounds or takes center stage, as in Pino Silvestre. All things considered, one could do infinitely worse with $15, and if you want to smell like fresh grass, this fragrance captures that essence perfectly. Its consistent bitterness is particularly refreshing, as the scent never once devolves into a fruity nightmare. It's a little broad, but Sport Field achieves its green effect with enviable simplicity and directness.

Having found love for Sport Field, I'll be exploring other Adidas scents with more enthusiasm. I'm realistic though, and doubt that Fair Play, Ice Dive, or Pure Game will yield anything for me. Still, I'm happy to have Sport Field, and find no shame in wearing it. Chypres are hard to come by, and to find one that nobly embraces the bitter verdancy of meadow grass is something special indeed. Try it if you like grassy greens - it's highly recommended!

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