New West For Him (Estée Lauder)

I must admit that I've only ever owned and worn the original formula of New West, an ounce of which I purchased for fifteen dollars at a shop in CT. This is one of those "fresh" masculines from the Cool Water era that some bloggers and reviewers consider a watershed cologne, marking a distinct move away from earth tones in masculine and feminine perfumery. The seventies and eighties offered one mossy, woody-herbal composition after another, but by 1988 the Calone molecule was fair game. New West was one of the first fragrances to showcase it, and despite feeling dated, it's a very nice scent.

Advertised as a "Skin Scent for Men," Yves Tanguy's composition features a bright aquatic blast in its top notes, which rapidly sweetens into a mellow, melon-like note. Particularly notable about its performance is how dry and herbal it smells, with a deep, dark, almost incensy artemisia and pine accord reminiscent of the dessicated and super oily pine accord in Yatagan. Tanguy is the nose behind Silences, Jacamo's infamous ultra-green perfume from Yatagan's era, and his handling of bitter herbal notes for Aramis is just as deft. Additional splashes of bay leaf, cedar, sage, and oakmoss tingle and fizz from skin for New West's seven hour duration, with the bay and sage smelling especially pronounced. There's a thin white musk upholding everything, but it merely supports the cast, and doesn't attempt a star turn. The far drydown is very brisk, woodsy, and clean, a perfume in pastels.

Guy Laroche put their own spin on this type of fragrance in 1993 with Horizon, a somewhat similar scent. Horizon's "gummier," lavender-like aromatics smell a bit different and are a little softer, arguably lacking the clarity of Tanguy's scent. The lavender in Horizon is more prominent, and I like the scent as a whole, but New West smells better to me. Laroche used a unique seaweed note in their scent, giving it a maritime feel that is in equal measure interesting and difficult to wear. I appreciate what Alain Astori was going for when he created it, but I'd sooner recommend New West to anyone seeking an early example of how Calone was used. Lauder's scent is more approachable, and exhibits the work of a superior nose.

Another scent New West is similar to is Krizia Uomo, although Krizia doesn't really have the same focus on artemisia and bay. Nevertheless, with New West it often feels like I'm wearing Krizia with dihydromyrcenol and Calone slopped all over it. I'd rather just enjoy notes of ambery pine, castoreum, labdanum, and cedar without all the synthetic harshness, but that's just me.

Truth be told, I don't reach for this one all that often. It is far stronger than a "skin scent," the heady bay note dates it, and Cool Water uses a smidgen dose of Calone to far greater effect, smelling fresher and more modern. I have no idea when the round blue bottle formula was discontinued (I'm guessing mine is about fifteen years old), and can't say if the new formula is much different, but if you're interested in herbal proto-aquatics, New West bears checking out.

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