1/17/13

Salvador Dali Pour Homme (Cofinluxe)

Much is made of this weird perfume. Salvador Dali is an inexpensive conceptual brand, and it's unsurprising that their signature masculine is a cheap ambery fougère with a deep baritone voice. This is, after all, a surrealist concept we're after here. The Dali-lips bottle, the dark tinted glass, the brushstroke font, all precede a good, old-fashioned, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink macho-man composition. It's dark, it's lusty, it's bold, it's eighties baby. This is a goth clubber's elixir. I expected to hear The Cure play "Friday I'm In Love" when I popped the cap open.

People go on about Dali being a brute, an extreme powerhouse, a liquid nightmare, etc. "This smells like blood," "This smells like a psycho's perfume," "This is a frightening fragrance," are all distillations of basenotes sentiments. Don't get me wrong, people do like it, but it's challenging, and consensus says the appropriate situation for wearing Dali is . . . almost never. When do you wear something this heavy, and this dark? A funeral? I'm tempted to say it's a good fragrance for taking final exams, because finals are currently society's scariest thing, hands down. But in truth, Dali is just another classical woody-amber construction on an aromatic fougère chassis.

Dali has been reformulated over the years, and I concede that earlier versions may have contained animalics such as castoreum and civet, but I smell none from my bottle. Castoreum, real or synthetic, is an odd note to incorporate into any structure, as it is full of sweet, urinous, tarry, and floral off-notes, all orbiting an astringent core. I smell sweetness, tarriness, and flowery notes. But these elements are all attributable to specific and entirely separate elements. Interestingly, Dali conveys itself as a fragrance that begins in a super-duper heavy concentration of bundled notes which simply loosen and diminish with time. I'm not getting any big movement in the heart and base, and certainly the top's burn-off period is the most dynamic part of the show.

The note bundle is a brusque burst of lavender, geranium, artemisia, anise, patchouli, and oakmoss. The lavender and anise are sweet, the geranium and artemisia are a bit urinous and bitter, and the patchouli and oakmoss are earthy, straying into tarry. I don't think Dali smells like Balenciaga Pour Homme, but I'd compare it to Balenciaga sooner than Kouros by YSL because of its artemisia note (Balenciaga has it, Kouros doesn't), and the fact that Balenciaga has a pungent earthiness in its core structure, while Kouros is drier and cleaner. For some reason though Dali gets compared to Kouros an awful lot. I guess when something smells complex and confrontational, Kouros becomes the default measuring rod for greatness. But I like how artemisia is handled in Dali. It's a well blended fragrance.

After an hour the budget becomes evident, and while remnants of lavender and artemisia remain to lend woody-herbal spice, the other notes hollow out and become rather flat, forming a bitter envelope into which all of the above is sealed away and lost. The intensity of Dali's intro is what gives people the chills, but with such rough-hewn patchouli (could have used a smoother patchouli), bitter evernia prunastri, growly wormwood, and stark lavender/anise, that's understandable! I prefer Balenciaga, but Dali is a dark, intelligent, unmatched piece of modern perfumery, and despite a relatively lackluster second act, deserving of any compliment it receives. Just wear it with commensurate confidence.
















2 comments:

  1. If this perfume isn't a masterpiece, it'll do until the masterpiece arrives. I don't find it very similar to Kouros. It is stark and heavy with lashings of patchouli and tobacco (or is it leather?) and with a rosy, funereal floral chorus perfect for daybreak rituals at Stonehenge. It's more aligned with Aficionado, Iquitos, Ferre and that ilk of masculines, in my estimation, than it is with Kouros or Lapidus.

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    1. Good observations. I agree about its comparison to Kouros - and Lapidus. The nice thing about Dali is that it doesn't really smell like anything else in any overt way. It's definitely a unique fragrance, and if a guy or gal is desperate to wear something that absolutely no one else wears (and no other company emulates), this is a good place to look.

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