KL Homme (Karl Lagerfeld)

Although my bottle is older, and its musk notes seem a bit off, there is still great beauty to be found in KL Homme. It reminds me a good bit of the original Obsession for Men, also a clean, spicy oriental for button-up chaps who enjoy making bolder statements with their workday colognes. KL is just as crisp and balsamic, with nods to Cinnabar in its handling of precious woods and amber (I get an evergreen tree-resin vibe), and its rosewood/patchouli/benzoin accord is stunning. Let me back up a little though and say that KL's top notes are incredibly fresh and bright, with a sweeping geranium and citrus note that smells the way running through a sprinkler on a summer day felt as a young child: cold, fizzy, and fun.

Smooth notes of clean jasmine, rose, amber, precious woods, cinnamon (for lift), benzoin, patchouli, and musk dominate the drydown, forming a rich, soft, somewhat powdery ambiance that rises gently from under the collar, perfectly pleasant and safe. There are no stinky civet farts or castoreum shadows to be found. Despite the aging of the juice, I'm fairly certain there never were any civet-like elements in here - I'm acutely sensitive to civet because I love how it smells, even at its raunchiest, and there's simply no sign of it in this composition. I do sense though that its non-animalic musk notes were stronger, perhaps more focused, and are now a bit diffuse, making its powdery base more extensive than originally intended.

As the years pass, I find myself reaching for orientals less and less. I'm not sure why. Sometimes I wish I had created a fragrance blog devoted entirely to fougères, with room for the occasional chypre. Yet orientals continue to impress me, and when I smell classics like KL, Obsession, Cinnabar, I can't help but wonder as to why this genre isn't the focus of my rotation. If KL had a big tobacco note in it, like Lagerfeld Classic, I'd probably have a new addiction to contend with, because the combination of bright, fizzy balsams and tobacco leaf would be too much to bear. Sadly there's no tobacco here, and while its clean, clear amber is delectable, I'd rather wear The Third Man's musky-coumarinic amber instead.

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