Preferred Stock (Coty)

Ten years ago I smelled this cologne at a CVS and thought it was the worst thing on the market. I was like that about drugstore fragrances back then, not really considering that there's more than just "college cologne guy" juice out there. Here I am, a little older and a little wiser, and I've revisited Preferred Stock with a new nose. Like with Jovan Sex Appeal, Coty went ahead and put a little blurb on the box:

"For the man with a sense of style - Preferred Stock. A sophisticated blend of sandalwood and vetiver with a citrus twist. It's what preferred men prefer."

This fragrance is currently the most expensive masculine by Coty, priced at $25 - $27 for 2.5 ounces at discounters. You can get one ounce on Amazon for about $15. Distribution of Preferred Stock has been scaled back, with limited quantities at retailers, and for a while there I couldn't figure out why. Had it been discontinued? No, stores in my area continuously re-"stock" it. I bought a bottle to find out if there is more to this drab little thing than meets the eye.

The answer to my price question is in the fragrance itself. This is a mellow aromatic fougère with relatively high quality synthetics for a Coty scent. It's about on par with Sex Appeal, but I feel it's even a little better. So let's pose this basic question about Preferred Stock: Does it smell good? The answer is yes, it smells very good actually. You're really getting more than you paid for with it. The composition is tight and smells natural, the note separation is pristine, and the balance is perfect. It starts off with a soft citrus and lavender accord of fizzy grapefruit, mandarin, and lemon, with just enough dihydromyrcenol to lend it a Drakkar effect. It's fresh and clean, yet dry and accented by a leathery element that never fully takes form, yet always remains close to the lavender note.

Give it about ten minutes, and a dirty patchouli note emerges, flanked by juniper berry and sage. Eventually the sage/juniper accord overtakes the patchouli and melts into dry tonka and vetiver, with the vaguest hint of synthetic sandalwood and a discreetly earthy musk. The whole affair is so well composed and aromatic that I really don't know what to make of it. Nothing smells cheap, downmarket, "fuzzy," or generic. Longevity is impressive at five hours, and sillage is considerable enough to warrant judicious application. Preferred Stock is a cologne from 1990 that was named as a throwback to Coty's own 1955 Preferred Stock fragrance and toiletry line for men. I'm glad they brought it back, and glad I came around to it. This stuff is good.

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