4/19/15

Kouros Silver: Should Anyone Bother?

So it looks like we're in for another "summer flanker" this year, surprisingly from YSL and the Kouros line. How might people react to this, given there hasn't been a significant flanker for decades? Joy? Elation? Excitement? The beloved Kouros "Fraicheur" has been extinct for the better part of twenty years now, yet it continues to garner accolades from enthusiasts the world over. Body Kouros was a major hit as well, and is still in production. But after those two came a slew of lesser flankers, things like Kouros Eau d'Ete, Summer Edition, Tatoo, Energizing, Tonique, and the list goes on. The result? People are getting a little tired of Kouros flankers. None of these fragrances won anything close to the praise of Fraicheur.

But the reactions to the upcoming Kouros Silver have me rubbing my chin quite a bit. Most are blind reactions by people who haven't yet smelled the scent, but a few are from samplers, and they all share a common trait: negativity. It's a peculiar kind of negativity too, the sort that uses a shared language to describe something unfavorable, one limited to the same three or four words, with "generic" the most prominent, followed by "cheap" and "synthetic." Nobody has anything nice to say. So, in the words of Del Shannon, I wonder - I why, why, why, why, wonder - why?

Much of the reaction to Silver seems similar to the responses to Bleu de Chanel, all the way back in 2010. I recall many of the same words being bandied about. Bleu was "generic." Bleu was "synthetic" (a ridiculous charge to make of any Chanel), Bleu smelled "cheap." Today Bleu stands as one of the few contemporary Chanels that young men - i.e., men under forty - want to buy. In fact, several threads on fragrance forums have roundly celebrated Bleu's existence in the intervening years, with the word "masterpiece" replacing "generic." And often I see guys challenge that accusation outright, saying, "What exactly does Bleu smell like, anyway?" I've yet to see a reasonable answer to that question, probably because the only thing Bleu smells like is Bleu.

Are we dealing with another BdC situation with Kouros Silver? Would there be anything close to the level of vitriol on the boards if its pyramid were comprised of civet, civet, and more civet? Instead, the structure looks to be fairly mundane, a simple stacking of green apple, sage, wood notes, and amber, without even a musk element present, according to Fragrantica. It certainly sounds like a variation on the tried-and-true Cool Water theme, which is surprising coming from the Kouros division. One would think they'd want to recapture the former glory of their namesake and celebrate the skunky musk bombs of the seventies and early eighties intead of the soapy-fresh ferns of the late eighties and nineties. But so far none of the supposed samplers have had anything nice to say about it. It's just a boring, generic, sweet, synthetic blah. Shame.

I think with Kouros Silver the negativity needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and people need to decide on their own terms (and their own time) whether it's worth owning and wearing. It may very well be a piece of crap. But I'm not so sure. So far none of the Kouros frags have negated their core element of musk, even if it is in microscopic doses relative to the original, so I'm wondering if there's a musk note in Silver that isn't being mentioned. I also wonder if that note is substantive enough to contrast nicely against a woody apple accord and create something skin to Aubusson for Men or Balenciaga Pour Homme, both of which possess very rich, semi-stinky apple notes. Would the samplers even know what to compare this accord to? Is there a point of reference for Silver outside of the overstated Cool Water framework? Or is it really a lost cause?

Let's wait and see. When the frag trickles into mass consumption and larger groups of people begin evaluating it, we'll likely get a better impression of its quality, but even then it may take a year or two for everyone to come around. Meanwhile, I shake my head and sigh. It seems that the fragrance community is a negative place. People bitch about reformulations. People bitch about discontinuations. People bitch about clones. People bitch and whine and moan about flankers. Enough already.



4 comments:

  1. You bring up an interesting point, and that is that nobody's opinion matters to a consumer but their own. All the critics in the world could call a new release trash, but if someone out there likes it they will do so regardless. I have not tried or heard of this fragrance before, but from my experience the masculine YSLs aren't bad, just a little... common. As for the concept of endless flankers, another house that comes to mind is Mugler, and of course JPG. I don't mind flankers, but I appreciate something truly new every once in a while.

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    1. Hi Gil, you're right, opinions mean very little. However our internet age lends the collective majority opinion, positive or negative, and however ill-wrought it may be, considerable power to influence manufacturers in ways it might not have twenty or thirty years ago. I believe Internet buzz revived old-school oddballs like Red for Men and Azzaro Acteur. I am also convinced that Creed Royal Water and Tabarome Millesime will be discontinued from poor sales due to unnecessasarily harsh and often inaccurate opinions about them on the net. But if a guy tries something and really wears it and continues to enjoy it, he'll buy it again. The key is whether he ever tries it at all. If all the yo-yos mocking Kouros Silver influence the majority of potential tryers, it won't even make it out of the gate, which might be a shame if it's actually good.

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  2. I tried a tester of this today, for the second time. The first time the "Green Apple" note was unpleasantly prominent, but short lived. The second time I didn't notice the "Green Apple" at all. Both times the dry down had a pleasantly airy quality with light sketch of the traditional Kouros "shape". --almost as though it should be called "Kouros Cologne".

    The only other thing I noticed was what seemed like a prominent touch of silvery oud in the dry down. While this is not unpleasant, I'm not sure how it relates to the Kouros linage, and whether this currently trendy smell would be a deal-breaker for some.

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    1. Any time green apple, citrus, and relatively light woody/musky notes are involved, fragheads will wrinkle their noses. "Generic" is the term. Oud in any scenario would certainly counteract the "generic" label somewhat. That is one note that is unlikely to become innocuous, at least by western standards. Thanks for sharing your impression.

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