L.12.12 White (Lacoste)

White is probably the best of Lacoste's ill-advised color series, and deserves at least a test spritz at a retail counter. The recent standard for masculine fragrance is any combo of grapefruit, ginger, cardamom, some pungent cooking herb, usually rosemary or sage, and several clean laundry musks, stacked a mile high so disinterested noses can detect at least one or two as they smother a wan woody-amber. How does L.12.12 White measure up? All notes are accounted for, and the fragrance smells very generic and fresh. 

Now, you might ask me, "Bryan, why bother reviewing these tedious designer fragrances that, by your own admission, are utterly boring?" I answer you: L.12.12 White is neither boring, nor tedious, and smells good. Its citrus accord, though saddled by the requisite synthetic grapefruit, actually strives for a smoother, sweeter development, not too far removed from that of Eternity for Men (a superior fougère, albeit just as cheap). So it doesn't exactly break down doors, but does sidestep the predictable bitter-fresh effect commonly found in masculines these days.

The herbal mid is green and snappy, and many have commented on the white floral notes, but I think it's disingenuous to speak of them without irony. Yes, there's a hint of tuberose, perhaps a tiny drop of sweet ylang, but nothing really steps out as being blatantly floral. The ingredients are of decent quality, but not blended with great care, so lines are pretty blurred. You can sift under the fizzy, fruity-herbal top accord to find a semi-sweet cleanness with just the vaguest hint of green earthiness, but only if your mind is really set on it. Otherwise you're just smelling soapy-clean freshness that is as pleasant as it is nondescript. Eventually the powdery laundry musks arrive, with a cool blue amber in their wake. White gives a sense of billowing airiness, like clean sheets flapping in a country breeze. Nice, and definitely more on the "Masculine" side than "Unisex," for reasons that are hard to determine. Could be that piercing rosemary note, set against White's prominent citrus, with the feminine elements competing against the underlying amber.

Would I buy this? No, but not because there's anything wrong with it. I prefer Eternity for this sort of smooth-woody theme, but perhaps I'll stumble across White some day at Marshalls and plunk my wallet down for it. I am a lover of fresh fragrances, and would not regret the purchase.