Dirty English (Juicy Couture)

Orange you glad I'm reviewing this scent?

My memory of the original fails me, suffice it to say I know it was "dirty." Given that the current EA version comports with most of the "dirty" and "fresh" characteristics of the original that have been discussed online, I think Jacques Polge could have thrown this together and called it "Bronzé de Chanel," or "Brun de Chanel," and swam into retirement on an unwavering stream of accolades similar to those garnered by his beloved Bleu. The current formula for Dirty English smells suspiciously similar to Bleu, but warmer and more diffuse, with far more mandarin orange and far less bergamot. And oh yeah, oud. DE contains more than a trace of synthetic, medicinal oud. But they really focused on the "fresh" aspect of the older formula, the part that resembled generic aftershave, and tuned it into an eerie likeness of Polge's citrus/vetiver/iso E theme.

However, there are several reports on Fragrantica that this still smells like good 'ol Dirty English, and what I read about it on basenotes also matches what I smell. And yet, despite its having a prominent and postmodern "fruits 'n woods" element, there isn't nearly as much love for this fragrance as there is for Bleu. Consider it an object lesson in the power of packaging and commercial image over public opinion. Again, if it were in blue glass with the double "C" logo on the cap, there'd be scores of positive feedback. But Juicy Couture opted for a swaggering, leather jacket-wearing "dude" vibe with DE, coloring the stuff the darkest reddish brown they could find, and giving the box and bottle that fuck-all look. If you toss the bottle three feet to your friend and miss, you could kill him. They went whole hog on this thing.

Except the fragrance itself reminds me of both new and old metrosexual masculines. Aside from its Bleu comparison, DE possesses semisweet agarwood, carefully mated to mandarin orange, an accord that is just deep and oily enough to resemble the sweetened citrus amber of vintage MEM Co. English Leather (which was the same color, btw). Like Bleu, EL was too groomed for its time. It was a smooth, super-dry woody citrus thing with a "buzzy" amber accord that was the precursor to today's over-used iso E-super, but much louder and more overtly feminine. It wasn't far removed from feminines of the forties and fifties. Wind Song is English Leather, only more honest.

Dirty English is good for anyone who wants a hybrid of Bleu de Chanel and a modernized English Leather, with the added element of synthetic oudy funk. I don't love it, but I like it. Its bergamot, mandarin, oud, vetiver, labdanum, and cedar are all very good, and work well together. It's very comfortable, skillfully balanced, and quite contemporary, a relevant designer scent through and through. There's nothing to complain about here. October is a good month for it. But if you want more of everything (except oud), wear Bleu de Chanel. If you want a better powdery, resinous amber with orange and musk, wear Lagerfeld Classic, or its balsamic brother, KL Homme. For more dimensional incensey cedar, try L'Occitane's Eau des Baux. And for a truly bad-ass leather scent, it's hard to top Parfums Retro's Grand Cuir. That stuff will put hair on your chest. As an aside, some comparisons have been made between DE and Gucci PH I, but I really don't smell it. Gucci has very strong pink pepper, herbal sage, and incense elements that DE completely lacks.