I Bought Mesmerize For Men Years Ago And Never Wore It. The Weirdest Thing Happened.

The new bottle design, with a curlicue under the name.

Here's something that never happens. I blind buy a cheap fragrance, and by a stroke of luck discover I like it. It smells like a friendlier, fruitier version of Zino, with a pert apple top note followed by a dusky woods accord, rather like a gentle rosewood, sandalwood, and cedar melange, and surprisingly well balanced for the price.

It's right up my alley, I really like it, and inexplicably never, ever wear it. I'm drawn to its charm and recognize its value, but I snob up. It's Avon. I have Green Irish Tweed and Balenciaga Pour Homme in my wardrobe. Why the fuck would I ever wear an Avon?

So it finds its place amongst the other bottles and remains there, gathering dust for so long that I've lost count of the years. Yes, I wear it a few times, and get around to reviewing it, blog about it, etc. But is it in the rotation? No. Just no.

The other day, after my ponderous reacquaintance with Sex Appeal, I realized it was time to give Mesmerize another whirl. Extracting the bottle from its near-final resting place is like a scene from Indiana Jones. Then I crack open the Ark and whuh huuuuh-huh huh??? What. The fuck. Happened?

The crisp little citrus apple ditty of top notes is now a weird, purple violet thing, no longer edible. It slowly and painfully unfurls itself amid a howl of raw alcohol, revealing a twisted, garbled mangling of wood-like husks, the shocking remnants of what used to be a staid, coherent, remarkably conservative hue. Incredibly, the fragrance now strongly resembles my also-spoiled vintage Cool Water, with the unbridled ionones that once served the apple notes becoming a stark and abstract "fresh" scent.

A weird, messy saltiness also pervades the drydown, which I believe is how the anchoring musk note met its end. Where once it smelled clean and a bit drab, the musk now attempts an ambergris effect on a ten dollar budget. How does that work out, you ask? I won't mince words - it smells awful.

Though it is somewhat interesting, I am appalled by how this fragrance smells now. It is completely unwearable. The base does not emerge unscathed from the wreckage of the top and heart accords. No stage of the wearing experience is salvageable. My barely-used bottle of Mesmerize for Men (a now discontinued scent) is spoiled.

If anyone, including our friend at Wordpress, doubts the veracity of my claim, I will gladly send my bottle to you so you can experience it for yourself. But since I doubt anyone will care that much, I'm happy to just share this unfortunate experience with you here, and leave it at that. Mesmerize deserved better from me. I should have wore it and enjoyed it while it was still good. Rather than throw it away, I'll hold on to the bottle as physical proof that a good fragrance, not abused or misplaced in any way, can absolutely spoil with nothing more than the passage of time.