4/2/12

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 oddly the lesser of the two. It's also less compelling than Drakkar and Cool Water, but that's 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. It isn't very attractive, isn't sexy, isn't even approachable. It's cold, remotely medicinal, somewhat boring. It needs a few good friends to bring out its desirable qualities, and even then acts only as a foil for the more amusing antics of things like honey, incense, violet leaf, bergamot, and lavender.

Speaking of lavender, Lomani is all about lavender at first, a very Cool Water-esque aromatic lavender that is 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 with a sub-par budget, and wisely embraced his limitations. The lemon/lavender would have formed a repulsive blob when combined; Lomani's entrance is very lucid, thanks to an ironically alchemical act of separation.

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.













2 comments:

  1. I love this fragrance! I'm one of the oakmoss lovers, yet I don't cry about the use of synthetic oakmoss or "tree moss". You are definitely correct about this being a fougere tacked onto a chypre. After an hour, I get almost all oakmoss, and that's my favorite part of it! And yes, if you don't like raw oakmoss, forget about Lomani. Very dry, very French, very old-school. I need to wear this more often.

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    1. Yeah it's like Z-14 in that it's one of a few classic masculine scents that was successfully hybridized. I think Lomani is excellent value for the money.

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