Citrus Paradisi (Czech & Speake)

I never understood the enthusiasm among niche fans for Citrus Paradisi. It has its detractors as well, but generally the fragrance is well received. It's certainly made well, as all C&S products are, and it exhibits its concept deftly enough, but the concept is the problem for me. It's too much of a good thing.

When I applied this fragrance to skin, the first thing that hit me was grapefruit, and lots of it. Grapefruit is what it's all about. The bitter freshness of natural grapefruit juice makes for an interesting and attractive smell, yet it possesses a strange funkiness that clings to nostril hairs long after the liquid has dried. When rendered honestly, grapefruit in perfume achieves the same funk, usually in the drydown. Sometimes grapefruit is used to balance an eau de cologne, and prevent things from swaying too far into "clean" territory. When dosed properly, it's the perfect garnish for an olfactory fruit salad.

The intensity of Citrus Paradisi's grapefruit note is scary. I'm accustomed to sitting down, slicing my grapefruit open with a fruit knife, inhaling its lovely fumes, and digging in. But the grapefruit in this scent handcuffed me to the radiator and had me for breakfast. Just as I'm recovering from fructose shock, in crashes a wave of civet, and now I'm chaffing my wrist, trying to escape a Supernova Quasimodo Megafunk from Hell. The pungency of the citrus, which is already dialed up to eleven, now has urinous musk backing its gremlin advances. Try as I might, I can't get on board with anything this overtly funky. It's one-note funky, "just plain funky," no-fun funky. The far drydown smells like a forgotten ashtray in a Moravian pub.

Is Citrus Paradisi worth a try, even for citrus fans? I say funk it.


  1. I love this stuff. It is my favorite of the Czech and Speake line. And as an avid wetshaver, I've pretty much limited myself to the Czech & Speake and Penhaligon's line for simplicity sake. And choosing from those two lines are more than adequate for me. To me it smells of childhood, my youthful grandpa in the 30's. Maybe it has that Ben Gay / Brut bathroom smell to it. It does conjure emotion and for me that makes fragrance more than fragrance. I love the pepper in it too. I don't smell any ashtray that others claim. If anything I don't care for the top note. It smells like a coffin, rotted grapefruit. Gosh so much to love in this one that lasts for hours.

    1. Wish I could share the love, but I'm glad you enjoy it.


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