Eau de Prep Tommy & Tommy Girl (Hilfiger)

Tommy Hilfiger's branding mechanism covers all the usual nooks and crannies: clothing, home and personal accessories, perfume. In a strange twist of fate, their success in clothing has largely eclipsed their efforts in fine fragrance, to the point where I wonder why they bother. I got far more satisfaction out of my one Hilfiger shirt than I was able to glean from an entire group of Hilfiger fragrances, some of which aren't even worth talking about. Their recent Eau de Prep duo is yet another exercise in futility from a house that has done better (see Tommy and Tommy Girl), but I can see why they exist, and don't find either to be offensive (the one for men comes close). They're just a bit dull, to put it kindly.

Eau de Prep Tommy smells a bit like the white shriek of fingernails on a blackboard sounds, at least in the first two minutes on skin. Imagine a bundle of faceless, astringent notes - black pepper, unripe grapefruit, sage, low-grade lavender oil - and filter it through a standard el-cheapo aroma chemical budget, where everything smells half like itself, and half like laundry detergent. That's EdPT, to a "T." It's sharp, cold, chemical, and harsh. Then the piercing qualities fade, leaving laundry detergent lavender, an ironic commentary on the honesty in capitalism. Package cheap shit and re-sell it as a "fragrance" at an eighty percent markup, because it's mish-mashed together quite randomly, and the odds of it being done exactly the same way before or since are next to nil. The result is a "fresh" citrus-woody whatever that masks b.o. and sets you back the price of an IMAX movie. You lose little and gain little, and that's exactly what they want you to want, so you do.

Eau de Prep Tommy Girl is a little more amiable to my nose, with a very simple formula, half of which is winning. They took the original Tommy Girl, shrank it down by three quarters, added a hefty slug of ethyl maltol for balance and to sweeten the hell out of it, and jettisoned any attempt at a coherent drydown by allowing the fatty aldehydes of the top to carry the sugary base into a Pop Rocks-flavored denouement. I appreciate the adherence to some aspects of the original, which is a brilliant fragrance. But Tommy Girl was sweet to begin with, and pairing its saccharine berry effect with an even more saccharine cotton candy note is overkill. That said, I have a soft spot for twenty-somethings in pink halter tops, and can imagine smelling EdPTG on one, which makes me grin. Cheap and trashy, but I guess it smells fine on your date when you take her to an IMAX show with the cash you saved by avoiding Eau de Prep Tommy. Silver linings.

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