Ed Hardy fragrances are weird. I get the whole tattoo artist brand legacy, and thus the godawful packaging and "edgy" names, but the question remains as to who they're for. Love & Luck comes sheathed in a canister that looks like it was designed by a seventh grader, yet under the cheese is an unadorned column of glass containing a very good woody-floral musk, the sort of thing that appeals to adults with excellent taste.
Hearts & Daggers holds similar intrigue as something by the same perfumer, Oliver Gillotin, and of course the packaging is bilious. What I've read online has me believing that even the best fragrance writers are overthinking this scent. Many say it's a bizarre aquatic with cocktail accords of martini and olives alongside a pear-flavored umbrella drink, but I don't think it's quite that complicated. H&D was released in 2010, only a few years after 2007's Chrome Legend, in which Chrisophe Raynaud and Olivier Pescheux famously veiled a jasmine bouquet under a bevy of aldehydes and salinated musks. They used congeners of Muscenone and Habanolide to abstract its feminine core, and it smells like the same trick is used in H&D, except here the chemicals overlay a pear note. While pear isn't quite as compelling as jasmine, it's still interesting to smell an inexpensive salty musk accord that can elucidate on the various facets of something ostensibly familiar and simple. Sometimes I get whiffs of the juicy sweetness of the fruit, while in others I get drier and woodier nuances. Why Gillotin stopped at pear and didn't include a few other fruits is beyond me, but I imagine the budget was his main constraint.
I do think he misjudged the degree to which Raynaud and Pescheux imbued Legend with its sea-spray effect, because it feels like H&D is the 8-bit version of Azzaro's 64-bit display. But when the prickly saltiness recedes, the story of Hearts & Daggers rests on one clear little thing: pear. It's $12 for a large bottle of this, but for a similar frag done much better, you might as well pay a few bucks more and get Legend.