7/1/13

Revisiting A Classic




I'm sure many of you have had occasion to take advantage of good deals in fragrance sets, and I got lucky at Marshalls the other day by finding a 3.4 oz Drakkar EDT, aftershave balm, and deodorant set for $40. I usually see the 2.5 oz and deo stick together for about half as much, but I've never encountered the larger set with the balm. I'm struck by how much better the atomizer is on the larger EDT than on the one ounce bottle. That shouldn't be too surprising of course, but the quality of the spray is definitely way above average. Perusing threads on basenotes, I found a conversation about the many different reformulations of Drakkar, with the OP stating that he felt the latest formula returns to the original's strength and longevity. That's not really the case - the latest Drakkar is lighter and a little less complex than yesterday's version - but the 3.4 ounce bottle does something interesting: dispenses enough fragrance to make the formula seem different from the one contained in the smaller bottle.

I've owned smaller bottles of several fragrances before trading up to the larger sizes, with Azzaro Pour Homme a recent example, and never really noticed any difference in strength or sillage, but I agree with whoever says Drakkar's larger bottle size yields a stronger wear. It's a small thing, but it's significant enough if you're feeling let down by today's version and only have the smaller size. I recommend giving the larger bottle a try. It's the same formula, but two sprays feels like eight or nine from the small bottle, and I'd think twice (or three times) before applying half that many from the larger bottle. Drakkar is, by all measures, still a powerful old-school beast.

So far I haven't had a chance to try the deo stick or the balm, but I'm thinking of giving them a shot this week. I'll definitely be using them in the course of the next three months, and will get back to you with my opinions. I'd like to leave off by reiterating what I wrote in my original review of Drakkar - this is a fresh, green, bitter, and eminently dark aromatic fougère. But my opinion on it has changed a bit. I don't find it nearly as dull as I did last year (or the years before that), nor do I feel that it's something a magnum-wielding Charles Bronson would wear. In recent months I've had some success with Drakkar, as it has garnered compliments. It works well on cool, rainy days. It's complex enough to feel mature and sophisticated, but direct enough to avoid being stuffy and dated. The latest formula is full of spike lavender, mint, juniper, and fir, with a little hint of tangerine. It reads as naturally green and soapy, which rates well with me, a bonafide green lover. But there's something else about it.

Drakkar Noir, with its 10% dihydromyrcenol and cleverly integrated laundry musks, feels like it has aged nearly as well as Cool Water. I've always felt that Drakkar and Cool Water were related, and the more I read about it, the more I see that I'm not alone in that regard. When Drakkar came out in 1982, it must have felt like a completely new animal, with its fresh, woody structure piercing through people's patchouli-laden preconceptions of what popular fragrances should smell like. If you refer to the Leffingwell, you find that Drakkar stands in historical isolation, just far enough away from precursors like Agua Brava, Paco Rabanne, and Monsieur Rochas, as well as near-contemporaries like Azzaro PH and Lauder for Men. Few other masculines lay claim to that much free real estate. My guess is that the use of dihydromyrcenol (introduced in smaller quantities to the mass market as early as Paco Rabanne) must have lent Drakkar a unique edge in a market full of European herbal elixirs and powdery orientals. Drakkar wasn't about barbershop powder or Mediterranean zest. It was about modernity - a new sort of clean, bright, piercing soapiness that seemed to be of nature, but not from it. It continues to feel just as bracing and well-wrought thirty years down the road.

Good stuff.











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