Dolce & Gabbana PH (Dolce & Gabbana)

The only version of D&G PH that I've worn is pictured above, and it's very nice. Don't ask me which country manufactured it, because I couldn't tell you, but beware of the slight changes in the new version, which comes in a bottle without a label. The thing about this fragrance that vexes me is that it's awfully staid. As a fougère it performs nicely enough, with a pleasant and rather mellow lavender-mandarin accord that slowly segues into a spicy-woody base. Vague licks of tobacco and musk lurk in the shadows, but never develop into overwhelming or even somewhat-prominent notes. Everything is fitted together very keenly, with a masculine directness not often found in anything else from this brand. As a signature, it is a smart composition.

Still, for an Italian fragrance, there's something amiss. There's nothing particularly "Mediterranean" about the citrus notes, or the wood notes, or even the lavender notes (is that English lavender I detect?), which is fine, because the scent certainly doesn't have to be a swarthy seventies concoction in the Azzaro PH tradition to smell good. Its ingredients are of decent quality, with several good notes, not the least of which is the tobacco, which at its bravest smells a little like printer's paper for some reason. Mixed together, everything produces an olfactory "wall of sound," but set to a low hum instead of the rousing Spectorian chorus it could have been. There is a creamy, ever-so-polite sandalwood reconstruction behind all the herbs and clipped "manly" florals, and it dominates the far drydown.

Luca Turin called this fragrance a "drone clone done right," but I think it's more of a classical fresh-woody scent for low-key men. A man wearing D&G PH is very likely a nine to five guy in a brown suit, with two young girls and a pregnant wife who watches morning television and attends knitting circles between school runs. It's easy to wrinkle your nose and think, "that doesn't sound good," but actually it's not a bad picture. At least that guy has his shit together. This fragrance has its shit together, too. I understand the reformulations aren't as good (there are several), but I've seen the older version everywhere, so it shouldn't be a problem to find it, if that's what you prefer. In the end it's pleasant, but not enough to stir the blood.

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