Grassland (Banana Republic)

Grassland. A perfume. Imagine you are a seasoned fragrance writer with an affinity for "green" scents, and you happen across the rarest Banana Republic Icon fragrance, Grassland. There isn't much written about it on the internet, so you're really squinting to discern what you're in for if you blind buy. The box is seafoam green. This is all you see, but it's enough. It turns out to be a clue. 

I remember smelling a deep vintage of Jacques Fath's Green Water years ago. It was the frosted glass bottle version, probably the formula sold in the late eighties and early nineties. Its juice was the same color as Grassland's packaging. Green Water smelled like crushed mint leaves, a medley of grass clippings and floral stems, a bright but very bitter citrus accord of lemon and bergamot, moss, and quite a bit of geranium behind all the turf. It was essentially a rough green gemstone of all the crisp, fresh, masculine elements of twentieth century "green" colognes, its un-sanded edges foisting its rich earthy notes into my face. Its longevity was abysmal, but its scent was unforgettable. I wanted it, but in a different iteration. Its 1950s vibe needed a good lapidary treatment. 

Banana Republic's scent smells to me like what vintage Green Water would be after that sort of polishing. We're talking very heavy industrial polishing here, with many hours of smoothing out the raw elements of Fath's idea, until nothing but a polite sparkle of abstract greenness remains. Grassland's opening accord is a very brief but realistic burst of bitter grassiness, which rapidly segues into a translucent sheet of lavender, petitgrain, spearmint, and geranium. Each note is recognizable, but rendered as very sheer and pastel, with a soapy feel that erases the earthy connotations of its predecessor. There's a bit of citrus, a bit of Granny Smith apple juice tinging the grass blades, and ultimately the fragrance is 1950s men's cologne meets contemporary unisex shampoo.

The Icon Collection is entirely unisex, despite having some entries that are more overtly masculine and feminine. They seem to have been designed to appeal to everyone in some way. Grassland will probably hold more appeal for men, but I could see women liking its cool, gentle style as well. I find it pleasant, sort of an evolutionary end point to the European colognes of yesterday.