5/6/17

Revisiting Red For Men



I've been meaning to return to this fragrance for a while now, and only recently found a large bottle of the latest formula at a discount store, so thought I'd give it another go. A few years back I reviewed an older formula in a smaller bottle that I now know had spoiled a bit, which accounted for the funky coriander-like "off" note in the first minute of wear that turned me off to subsequent usage (I gifted it to a friend).

The new stuff doesn't have that issue, and otherwise smells exactly as I remember it. Actually, it smells better. This "refreshed" and facelifted formula has no oakmoss, or even treemoss, yet somehow smells woodier than I remembered. The whole point of Red is to wear something both "fresh" and "earthy," with that familiar lavender deodorant effect of Drakkar Noir peering through a dense underbrush of late summer saplings poking out of seasoned evergreen logs. While technically a chypre, it's a bit disingenuous for anyone to deny that there are strong fougere elements in Red, with an obvious lavender note and coumarin in the printed ingredient list. And yes, it smells quite a bit like Preferred Stock, but softer, more textured.

It's hard to know exactly where Red fits into the world of 2017. Whenever I smell it I think of 1991. I was nine years old. My parents took me and my younger brother to Europe for the summer, and the highlight of the trip was peering out the car window while driving through Dublin and seeing a gorgeous redhead trot along the sidewalk wearing a skintight sweater and very clearly no bra. That and sitting by the beach in Strandhill eating ice cream. The world was simpler then; men were like my dad, strong and virile, and women embraced their femininity with brutal perfumes and short haircuts. Plus there were better movies and grunge rock.

I suppose I can see a potent but sedate patchouli chypre like Red for Men going well with the times. What I find discouraging is the lack of initiative in today's fragrance market. With interesting fragrances like Preferred Stock, Red, Stetson Sierra, and Polo Crest now relegated to discount bins, you'd think a more current brand would take a risk and try reviving the style. I'm not an oud fan, but I could actually see oud working in this type of composition. I guess we must work with what we have.

Donald Trump is the leader of the free world, North Korea wants us all dead, Theresa May is the new Iron Lady, and Le Pen will hopefully prevail in France. Time to kick the globalists out and bring the old world and its olfactory charms back. Red for Men is a good place to start.


13 comments:

  1. Ah this takes me back.. I remember this being my second frag ever owned after Jazz in the early 90s. I will have to revisit this at some point as it's dead cheap and would be interested to sniff it again. I remember it being woody, spicy and a little boozy. Do you prefer this to Jazz?

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    1. Hard question to answer because whenever I think of Jazz and Red I can't help but think of their comparatives. I guess I like them both about the same (which is very much). Red is excellent but I forgot how strong it is! This stuff has serious swagger! One thing I do like more about Red over Jazz is its mythology, the bit about its having 500 + ingredients and a new kind of sequoia note never previously encountered in perfumery. Lots of fun to ponder the marketing.

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  2. Thanks Brian.. yes both excellent and yes it does have some strong swagger(from memory). Just ordered some online can't wait to try it again. I remember it being quite a smooth, sexy, come hither type of frag too(in an early 90s way) as was Jazz. The ladies seemed to love them at the time.
    Ah ok interesting to know, wow 500+ ingredients.. not sure I know the exact note of sequoia but know that it's a type of wood.

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    1. Right I have no idea what sequoia is supposed to smell like either, but I guess the whole thing with Red is that it's a marketing hype legend. It's highly unlikely that there were anything more than the typical 150 - 200 ingredients in the formula, and I don't smell anything that would make me think of sequoia per say, although I do get a lot of woody notes. Another odd thing about Red is that it doesn't wear heavily - it smells fresh and airy and has a gentle balance to it, yet it is deceptively strong and has throw. What surprises the me the most about it is that it has survived this long - that it was actually resurrected from the discontinuation graveyard by EA, and is still being made! Also it is one of the few masculines from that era with a blatantly synthetic wormwood note, which actually smells nice. All around worth the $15 I paid for it!

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  3. Le Pen is goners.
    Globalism will prevail simply for economic reasons.
    Despite flowery rhetoric about tolerance and global prosperity, globalization’s end game is essentially the unhindered movement of capital & labour across the world thereby turning the planet into a big sweatshop.

    I don't think the Old World nor it's charms are coming back anytime soon. I'm waiting for the new Millennial fragrance: Eau de Eau or Eau de Nada?

    I don't recall what Giorgio's Red smelled like except for being a pungent woods & herby thing. Flying through Delhi next week so I'll probably sniff it there. Delhi Duty Free = where all unsaleable and nearly out of date fragrances go to die.

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    1. It's definitely pungent and herby lol! I can just see it forgotten on some shelf in a shop in Delhi. Fouchypres like Red somehow manage to beat the odds and survive decades intact. Red and Z14 share each other's company.

      Globalism will end much sooner than any of us wants to believe. It's unsustainable - it caters solely to the already rich and drives everyone else into poverty and misery. The fact that senators across America are literally facing angry mobs at town hall meetings, plus having as president someone as symptomatic of our woes as Donald Trump means the inevitable outcome of mass laziness and neglect will be WWIII. When humanity believes its path cannot be altered, hundreds of thousands of people start to die. In the case of globalism, we will quite simply destroy the 21st century world until it allows the economics of middle class prosperity to poke new buds from the scorched earth.

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    2. Hmmmm.....that's a very insular & American viewpoint you have there, Mr Ross.
      The Indian middle class is burgeoning over here. Trump's only out to line his & his rich pals' pockets. Without a middle class any democracy is doomed. America's middle class has already been decimated, the fact that Trump got elected is just a symptom of American democracy's collapse.

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    3. Exactly what I'm saying!

      The world economy is pegged to the US dollar. We die and the rest of the world will scramble to find a way to survive, but goodbye globalism.

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  4. Yeah, OK, but what fragrance will people be wearing?

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    1. The sweat and blood of years of struggling to catch up. And maybe a little Mitsouko ;-)

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  5. (A silly comment, but not that silly.) In my field -- visual arts -- there is plenty of praise to pass around for established careers some twenty or thirty years old, even in the name of revisionism, and lots of curators championing one niche within the artworld or another... but few who try to be broad or definitive. I think that that should still be the goal... If Clem Greenberg (love him or hate him, I know you've read him) could write something as prescient as 'The Avant Garde and Kitsch" in 1938, a time when I'm sure plenty of scorched earth seemed in the offing, and then go on to help 'discover' the New York School, then surely critics now can try to tell me what perfume that's new now that I should care about? Especially if it's not an art so it doesn't really matter? ;)

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    1. The world of yesterday was more complicated than that of today, not less, the main reason being they didn't have the Internet dependency that we have today. If one system crashed it was automatically a "stand-alone" system that people learned to live around (or without) until someone came along and fixed it. The Great Depression was the failure of the banking institutions and the investor class. People lived in poverty but few were completely paralyzed.

      These days it boils down to one thing spelling the end of the line for everything: the Internet. Destroy the Internet and goodbye banking, goodbye healthcare, goodbye basic utilities, hello global paralysis. We think it can't happen, but that's what everyone always thinks before whatever they think can't happen does happen.

      We are too comfortable and too complacent, lulled into a false sense of security by technology and the arcane protections afforded to affluence and its benefactors. Without the appropriate attitude toward our fellow man, we will self-destruct. We need to abandon the fantasy of a technological utopia where "those jobs aren't coming back" and take a little time to consider just how far back we'll have to go for jobs if the system collapses. I'd rather have a shitload of 1960s jobs back than a super shitload of 1760s jobs. The way our government is running lately, I fear that's what's at stake.

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  6. After reading this i stopped in to a local discounter and found Red marked down to $12 from the already low price of 14.99. It was a no-brainer. I have no real recollection of this smell, though I remember the name as a young teen when it came out. I have to say though, I think it smells great. Now Full disclosure: I love Preferred Stock & Sung Homme (heck, throw Lomani in there too), so it's only natural that I like this scent since there all pretty close in some ways. I also picked up a backup bottle of Sung for $8 during the same visit. It's ironic that Preferred Stock is actually the most expensive fragrance of the 4 I listed. I know you can scour the internet to find an open box cheaper somewhere, but 1.7 and 2.5 are around $20 & $25, respectively in Wal-Mart.

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