Lomani Pour Homme (Parfums Parour)

There was a time during the 1980s when, stylistically speaking, masculine fougères straddled Drakkar Noir and Cool Water. Of these, my favorites are Molto Smalto and Lomani Pour Homme. The former is a punchy herbal/lavender concoction with a fresh indigo flavor. The latter is a fougère grafted onto a chypre, yet is lesser. It's less compelling than Drakkar and Cool Water, perhaps a topic for another post altogether.

Today I'll stick to the basic rundown on Lomani - it's dirt cheap, of Parisian origin, and very utilitarian, extremely functional. I can see how it managed to survive for 25 years in an ever-changing market: it found in broad strokes a categorically desirable scent profile, entered the stage when this profile was nascent to the perfume world, and stayed within the budget buyer's reach at all times, hovering just under the unaffordable Cool Water and Drakkar. It became the plausible alternative to plausible alternatives.

My issue with Lomani PH is that it only smells like a plausible alternative to its pricier brethren for about ten minutes. After that it turns into an unlikable one-note wonder, and that note is oakmoss. Let me say a word about oakmoss - it strikes me as somewhat odd that this component is so revered in perfume circles. Every time someone on basenotes gripes about how oakmoss was stripped from a classic, or neglected in something new, I shake my head in wonder. Sure, oakmoss is an excellent component for a wide variety of scent types, but I can certainly live without it, and fail to see why it deserves automatic love. Unlike dozens of other notes, oakmoss isn't something that works very well on its own. Isolated and ungarnished, oakmoss is simply a flat and bitter moss smell. 

Speaking of lavender, Lomani is all about lavender at first, a very aromatic lavender as potent and sweet as it is fake. This blatantly synthetic note is paired with a refreshingly realistic lemon note, but rather than form an accord, the two notes remain disparate, creating a sort of duo-tone opening that's both astringent and classical. Nature has its own way of freshening the air, and nothing cleans up better than a cool wind through rows of lavender, or the mist of lemon juice expelled by a knife in fruit. The nose behind Lomani decided to reinterpret these effects on a budget, and wisely embraced his limitations. 

Then, presto! The amazing technicolor dreamcoat is dropped, and there stands oakmoss, stark naked and shivering. The air goes out of the room. The allure is all but gone. I'm left with something better left in the bowels of some forgotten 1950s chypre, a hard-pressed fleck white green that ruins everything it touches. Lomani's budget constraints boiled down to funding one lonely aromachemical. A shame. This really coulda been a contender.