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.



4/15/15

man.aubusson Intense (Aubusson)


Not a man.

I first heard about this scent while reading the now defunct Pour Monsieur blog, which has an interesting review of it. His opinion is similar to my own, in that we both experienced intense disappointment upon blind sampling man.aubusson Intense. Where we diverge is in the long view - he grew to like it, while I still hate it. To me, this scent is the epitome of crap. It is intensely derivative, intensely boring, intensely synthetic, intensely sweet, and all around intense in the most negative sense of the word. I'll save you the trouble of going through what I did here and just say that you ought to avoid wasting six dollars on a large bottle of this stuff. It ain't worth it.

How does it smell, exactly? Very similar to two Joop! fragrances I already own, namely Joop! Jump (at the start) and Joop! Homme Wild (at the finish), with an oddly screechy and nauseatingly sweet apple note hinging them together. It smells more like the latter scent than the former, but there's definitely a sweetened Cool Water thing going on in the first ten minutes, very much like Jump. I can almost abide the fragrance for those first few minutes, but Jump is just a better scent, and hell, Cool Water is better than both of them. Besides, when something is this blatantly derivative, it's tempting to revisit its predecessors, where all the real love is.

And I'll be honest, since purchasing it a year ago, I haven't worn Wild. I really enjoy it when I spritz it on my wrist, but have yet to find a day where I'm inclined to actually give it a full wearing. It's too sweet and boisterous for work, and I can't help but feel a bit too old for it, despite not believing in age limits for fragrance. But at least Wild smells competently made - man Intense smells shoddy, like a chemist mixed a few sweet and vaguely fruity materials in a vial and called it a perfume. No thanks. I'll stick with the beautiful original Aubusson for Men.

If Justin Bieber fits your idea of manliness, this one's for you.