Versace Pour Homme (Versace)

Someone somewhere is having a very difficult time getting citrus top notes to smell good. A sizable number of recently-tested masculine fragrances suffer an oddly sulfurous off-note that wrecks whatever impression of "fresh" the perfumer was going for. Versace Pour Homme's top continues this trend. It sticks out like a sore thumb, a bitter metallic sourness that clearly doesn't belong. The fact that Alberto Morillas, the Master of Fresh, is responsible surprises me.

What also surprises me is that most reviewers consider Versace PH an aquatic fragrance, and I get nothing of the sort. It has an aqueous-metallic opening, very reminiscent of Azzaro Chrome, but this gradually dries into a woody-spicy heart and base that feels more in line with CK One Shock for Him. In fact, I consider this a fresh oriental. Many compare it to Allure Homme Sport, and there are some similarities, but Versace is less refined, "spikier" in feeling, a scent-within-a-scent. Actually, it's more like a scent under a half-dozen blaring laundry musks, which is pretty sad given how much Sephora asks for a 3.4 oz bottle of the stuff.

Under the ill-judged citrus accord lurks a nice spicy melange of pink pepper, cardamom, rose, black pepper, cedar, carnation, and geranium. To my nose the cardamom, pink pepper, and cedar are most prominent in the heart stage. Ninety minutes after application, the scent unravels and disseminates its olfactory information via broad strokes of blurred freshness, rather than a legible composition. It isn't a five-star masterpiece, but it smells better than one would expect, particularly coming from a bottle of blue fluid. Fresh-blue fragrance fans should check this one out, but if you want a better alternative, try Allure Homme or the aforementioned CK One Shock.