Chrome (Azzaro)

One of my chief annoyances with The Guide is its Four-Star review of Nautica Voyage, because it's an awful fragrance. That Turin also addresses Azzaro's far-superior (and still terrible) Chrome with One Star adds to my ire, and fleshes out the theory that The Guide is troubled by a number of hypocritical biases that nullify its overall effectiveness as a road map to perfume. Chrome is the progenitor of Voyage in every manner, possessing the same "fresh," semi-aquatic '90s masculine scent profile. To anyone who isn't a fragrance fanatic, the only perceptible difference between these two is that Chrome is a conceptual metallic sport scent, while Voyage is a pretentiously abstract "floral-aquatic" with no concept beyond smelling chemical and harsh.

To say that Chrome is inferior to Voyage is like saying Peugeot is inferior to Ford. Some may see significant differences in quality, and have a distinct preference, but in the end you're still getting the second-largest fragrance type, from either of two major countries, that today's male reaches for before hitting the nightclub circuit. The premiere fragrance type is the dreaded aquatic, and I'm unfamiliar with many of those. I wish I was unfamiliar with Chrome, but I'm not that lucky.

Chrome smells like freshly-washed sheets of stainless-steel plating. The sort of thing you see on the sides of factories and on roofs of airplane hangars. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself sniffing a piece of steel that was just vigorously scrubbed with a fruity shampoo, like anything by Garnier Fructis. There's a shrill citrus top note, reminiscent of a cold sheen of metal, followed by a vague suggestion of watery sweetness, replete with fructose molecules and broken simple sugar proteins. It's immediately repulsive, and I recoil at the thought of it, let alone the smell.