Boss Number One (Hugo Boss)

The eighties were about the two Pierres: Bourdon and Wargnye. Both men defined contemporary masculine perfumery by creating the greatest fresh fougères of all time. Bourdon's two colossal claims to fame were Kouros and Cool Water; Wargnye gave us Drakkar Noir and Boss Number One. All four fragrances can be classified as "fresh," although Kouros falls more in line with the "woody-ambery" category, nodding to the musky pre-war ferns of the early twentieth century, rather than the marine-aquatic trends of the nineties. Cool Water paved the way for virtually everything found in the men's section of department stores. Likewise, it is said that Drakkar Noir is the most imitated masculine, even more so than Cool Water. But what about Wargnye's lesser-known 1985 masterpiece for that little German brand, Hugo Boss?

Boss Number One is a sadly overlooked fresh fougère. The H&R Genealogy places it between Lauder for Men and Givenchy's Xeryus, which makes sense - it's fresh, but not groundbreaking. Nevertheless, it's a pleasantly refined masculine, full of smooth, closely-blended notes that work strikingly well together. The interesting thing about it is how it manages to make tobacco, honey, rose, jasmine, juniper, and moss smell shimmery and bright, like a summer afternoon through a champagne glass. I smell in its heart a considerable hit of dimethyl anthranilate, that fruity-floral molecule residing somewhere between mandarin orange and Concord grape, and I'm reminded of the original Giorgio. However, the presence of lavender, patchouli, and orris elevates the fruity sweetness into a classier realm. This fougère adopts an affecting soapiness, a pureness and simplicity that makes it one of the least pretentious colognes of the European New Wave. If you like classic freshies, this one really is Boss.

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