Light Blue (Dolce&Gabbana)

Question: Why do banal fragrances have attractive advertisements?

Answer: Because their makers spend lots of money to advertise them.

As opposed to an air of, "we prefer to let word of mouth between friends and those in-the-know advertise for us," which surrounds many niche brands. Which, in and of itself, is no bad thing at all.

You're probably thinking, "Oh great, another review of Light Blue by D&G. Just what we need." Well, do a little blogosphere search and see how many reviews of Light Blue you come up with. You'll find it's a victim of its own success, a well-regarded scent that has enjoyed the dubious honor of being immensely popular, completely unisex, and consistently in demand, which makes it a pariah among the "fragrance elite." No one feels the need to review it because no one wants to stoop that low. Allow me to kindly do the stooping.

In but a few words, Light Blue is the epitome of perfume banality. So much so, that having a masculine version of it is superfluous, redundant, pointless, etc. If this is your shtick, just man up and wear the lady's version. I assure you, it doesn't smell "girlish." But it lacks originality, its intent is dead obvious, and its effect on the nose and spirit is lackluster. Unless you love the smell of lemon. And cedar. And musky floral notes of no discernible heritage, and zero density. There's a touch of apple, which balances the tartness of the lemon and woods, and prevents Light Blue from becoming Transparent Blue. If you enjoy the smell of lemon and aromatic woods, then you may find a lot to love here.

I find the fragrance uplifting and rather simple, which makes it ideal for a dreary summer day of scorching heat and humidity. If you stick a bottle of this in your fridge and apply it intermittently throughout the day, it will surely refresh you. It smells in some ways like a modern eau de cologne, replete with citrus, woods, and a good synthetic musk. It smells delightful; it would be disingenuous of me to say it smells bad. The citrus does turn a bit "grey" in the far drydown, and may sour if the application is overly heavy. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Light Blue is ultra-light, and therefore requires a heavy hand in application. It's still a solid EDT, with surprising longevity, so don't overdo it, and that sour citrus effect will be held at bay.

As for artistic merit, well, I don't know what to tell you. If you're in this for an abstract experience, you should confine your expectations to the realm of Instant Gratification. Light Blue satisfies on an immediate level, smelling playful, but not deep. It surprises me a little that they haven't released a flanker named Deep Blue to appeal to intellectual aquatic lovers, but then again the venerable house of Jacomo beat them to it.

About the advertising - I love it. It's cheesy, it's unoriginal, it's technically awful, awful stuff. But I can relate to awfulness. I've been to Capri, and it was one of the most beautiful locations I've ever had the pleasure to visit. The Green Grotto, White Grotto, and Blue Grotto were gorgeous. Actually, I didn't have the opportunity to go into the famous Blue Grotto because I couldn't abandon my rented skiff, but I did wander close enough to peek in, and caught a glimpse of its trademark iridescent indiglow. Most of my time was spent floating in the emerald shade of the Green Grotto, wondering if being there would transform me into some hunky Mediterranean guy. No such luck. Next time I'm in Capri, I'll spritz myself with Light Blue, close my salt-spray encrusted eyes, and successfully envision what rock band Stereomud calls the "Perfect Self."


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  2. Kudos to you for reviewing a lot of these so-called mainstream fragrances. You are right - you actually don't see much about these in blogs. Bloggers seem to think only niche fragrances and expensive ones are what people want to read about, but it isn't true.

    I agree that one reason there's not a lot out in blogland is snobbery. However, I think another, perhaps bigger reason, is the mindset (which I have often) of: "Gee, you know Chrome is in every department and drug store in the world, so everyone knows what it smells like anyway. What's the point of reviewing it?" That's why I haven't written yet about Cool Water, which I think is an incredible fragrance! You've given me a change of heart!

    By the way, your reviews have also inspired me to revisit some of these trendy frags, like Chrome. I've never actually worn Light Blue, just sampled it, and I didn't like it. However, you wrote a great review, and you've at least sold me on the need to give it a second chance.

    Your blog is really great. It's the only one I read on a regular basis. Keep it up.

    1. There are some aspects of Cool Water that haven't been discussed at great length - Bigsly's Fragrance Blog talks a bit about its tobacco note, and I may have mentioned it in my review as well, but there's a lot more that could be noted I'm sure. Generally I assume that many people have already smelled/worn/accepted/rejected the more famous & popular fragrances, but that certainly doesn't mean they don't deserve blogger attention. There's bound to be a few dozen teenage guys and gals out there who are just stepping into this arena, and haven't experienced what you and I consider the "classics." Also there's a lot of cultural assumptions that get made here in the West (USA/Western Europe), which is that everyone has smelled stuff like Cool Water, Acqua di Gio, Chrome, etc. It's true, a good portion of the planet has, but there's still people in Africa, Asia, far eastern Russia, who have access to various Asian and European best-sellers (some of which you have mentioned, amazingly, in your blog), but not so much the Western megahits, simply because of distribution/supply issues. My Japanese lady friend had never heard of Eau Sauvage before, and I wouldn't be surprised if Cool Water was new-ish to her, too. Light Blue may/may not be universally known, although it definitely has a legion of fans in this hemisphere.

      Thanks for the kind words about my blog! I really enjoy yours, too, and I'd say it's definitely the only one I read every day. I will keep on keeping on. Please do the same!


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