10/1/17

Horizon (Davidoff)


Sometimes a guy just wants to smell good, and on those occasions guys with good taste reach for something like Horizon by Davidoff. What surprises me about this fragrance is that despite being a very recent release, it smells organic. There aren't "fantasy accords" or super modern, overly-blended soapy notes. Horizon, though relatively innocuous and smooth, conveys clear tonalities of ginger, vetiver, cinnamon, nutmeg, cedar, and mandarin orange. It isn't particularly natural, and ingredient quality is pretty middle of the road, but I have to give it its due and praise it for at least smelling well balanced, mature, and thoroughly pleasant. Wearing it is a nice experience.

What does sadden me a little is seeing Horizon as evidence that a part of the Davidoff fragrance division wants to return to the glories of their eighties and nineties frags. Clearly the desire to bring back the herbal woody powerhouses of the Reagan era is there, but they aren't sure of how to go about it. If they were more confident, Horizon would have "extreme" intensity to begin with, nullifying the need for an "extreme" flanker. Ingredient quality would also be better, as would the pyramid. Instead of watery "fresh" violet leaf, which feels a little out of place in a spicy woody scent like this, they could have added more patchouli and moss.

The semisweet kitchen spices lend decent warmth to the proceedings, but why not get a little Wall Street and add a hit of skanky musk? A little pinch would do - no need to go full Kouros here. I can't help but think of Bogart's Witness as being a better option, along with Z-14, Aubusson, and Balenciaga Pour Homme.

If you're looking for a light, fresh, spicy, woody, gentlemanly EDT, and you're a professional father of two with a wife in real estate and a weekend time share on Cape Cod, Horizon is a very good, inoffensive choice, the sort of scent that emits patriarchal authority without going too far. If you're looking for an alpha male powerhouse reminiscent of popped collars and Members Only jackets, look elsewhere.




8 comments:

  1. Insightful review. And funny too! R

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  2. Your remark about the extreme version reminded me..... I don't really understand how the whole "intense," "extreme," parfum" etc trend is lasting this long (no pun intended). I understand when two fragrances are different enough to warrant separate releases, and there are a few years in between. But these flankers are coming out within a year or two of the original now (like Mr Burberry and Mr Burberry Parfum). It's as if the formula for the flanker was already prepared when the original was released. I'm surprised people aren't angry that they're being had. I'd at least respect it more if the companies released the stronger version first, then did the weaker one as a "cologne" flanker. But it feels like they intentionally release an unfinished product for sales, then release the better version for more sales

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    1. Well you could look at it two ways: they're being greedy and just unnecessarily milking products, or they're trying to cover two types of consumer markets - those who buy "lighter" frags, and those who prefer the "heavy stuff."

      It's tempting to consider that they're really just being jerks who want to pretend they've got 15 fragrances when they really just have one. But then again, history has shown that not catering to both the EDT wearer AND the EDP wearer (and those who buy both) has weird and unintended consequences.

      Look at Cool Water and GIT. Creed dropped the ball in the '80s and '90s by not mating their EDTs to similar Millesimes. The result is that Davidoff profited more from GIT than Creed did. Had Creed hired Bourdon to formulate Cool Water and Green Irish Tweed, Davidoff wouldn't have had the chance to spin off the idea, and Creed would have become a household name thirty years sooner.

      At this point I believe many companies have studied the Cool Water/GIT situation and decided that it's a reason to offer at least two concentrations of any product they want the public to take seriously.

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    2. I would add that in some cases, like Horizon, where the demographic is thirty and forty-something guys who want mature, conservative, classical fragrances, it might pay to just forego the EDP idea and simply release something in EDT form that has a little extra oomph to it. Look at YSL Jazz - it is the picture of staid quietude. Releasing an "extreme" version of it - which I think actually did happen at one point - is oxymoronic and utterly pointless.

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  3. Hi Brian - the Horizon "Extreme" version is almost a completely different fragrance - it smells like the original layered with Sauvage! I've only had one full wear from a store tester but it's not merely an amped-up version of the original (which I like much better incidentally...!)

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    1. That's interesting, I felt the extreme version was a denser, compressed version of the original EDT. There is definitely a significant hit of Ambroxan in both formulas, evidently more so in the extreme stuff. Can't say that I got much of a comparison to Sauvage in my test, but I'll revisit it. Thanks for sharing your impression!

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  4. Hi Bryan, terrific review. Your thoughts on "extreme" versions reminded me about something you mentioned in an earlier post -- if there was ever a fragrance that deserves an extreme version, it has to be Z-14! My guess is that it would fly off the shelves at Marshall's.

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    1. Doc, I'm really glad you mentioned Z14. I was just thinking about how that iconic fragrance is something that continues to stymie people and even impress people. There is a blog post forthcoming about it.

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