Flanker Round-Up: Jimmy Choo Man Blue and Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush

When it comes to flankers the name is supposed to respect the traditions which have come before. This month’s Flanker Round-Up discusses a couple which seem to have not received the memo.

Jimmy Choo Man Blue

Jimmy Choo as a brand has confounded me ever since its debut perfumes in 2011. There has been consistent creative direction paired with some of the best perfumers which has not produced a clear fragrance aesthetic. Over twenty-plus releases I can’t begin to tell you what a Jimmy Choo fragrance should smell like. Which was why when I received my sample of Jimmy Choo Man Blue I expected an aquatic. That’s what “blue” usually means in the name. Of course, it wasn’t an aquatic it was a bone-dry woody perfume. The other difference was I liked it.

When it comes to the Jimmy Choo Man collection if there is one consistent ingredient it is black pepper. Perfumer Nathalie Lorson uses that in the top as support for an herbal clary sage. It leads to a subtle leather accord which is used as underpinning for sandalwood and vetiver in the base. This is a very desiccated version of sandalwood at the end. Jimmy Choo Man Blue isn’t an aquatic but it might be a piece of dried up driftwood; if it was a piece of sandalwood.

Jimmy Choo Man has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush

Ralph Lauren Polo Red debuted in 2013 and has had two previous flankers before the release of Polo Red Rush. All three of those preceding perfumes were variations on woody perfumes. I enjoyed last year’s Polo Red Extreme more than the initial two Polo Red releases. I liked it for taking a different tack. I was curious to see if that would continue in Polo Red Rush. Of course, it is an herbal citrus cologne. Despite that it hit the spot in the summer heat better than a woody version would have.

Polo Red Rush opens with a wave of citrus focused on red mandarin. This is a tarter version of orange which is sharpened by some lemon and apple in complementary roles. Mint comes along to provide a freshness. I have a hard time with mint and this one tiptoes right up to the edge of my distaste for that ingredient. It is a fresh minty citrus mélange that might remind you of utilitarian fragrance versus perfume. It does stay just on the right side of that line for me. The base is clean cedar which has a bit of lavender and musk to accompany it.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

This time I was happier not to find what I expected at the end of my lasso for this month’s Round-Up.

Disclosure: This review is based on sample provided by the manufacturers.

Mark Behnke

Discount Diamonds Moschino Cheap and Chic- But Not Easy

There is something about understated elegance. Or to put it another way, to be chic while also being cheap. This is a concept much easier to say than to accomplish. It is also an unspoken goal of a lot of mainstream perfumes. It is also easier attempted than produced. I am always reminded of it when I try Moschino Cheap and Chic. Not only do they put it on the label, but they also live up to it.

It is a story I’ve told many times especially in the 1990’s as fashion brands added fragrance to their offerings. Moschino was no different. They started with Moschino and Moschino pour Homme in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Moschino pour Homme was one of those underrated men’s colognes which got washed away by the tidal surge of the fresh and clean trend. Neither were particularly popular and Moschino retrenched as they decided what was next.

The choice was to make a perfume which dovetailed with their women’s fun line “Cheap and Chic”. This clothing collection was always about youthful exuberance. When this collection was on the runway you might see the models wearing crowns and miniskirts or vibrant prints and lei. It was decided a perfume to match that irreverence was going to be the third try at fragrance for the brand. Perfumer Nathalie Lorson made Cheap and Chic perfume all of that.

Nathalie Lorson

When you go to a Cheap and Chic fashion show you feel like you’re at a party. The perfume feels like the fragrance you should wear to that party. Mme Lorson goes for a traditional citrus floral. She changes it by using some different versions which makes it feel unique without feeling odd. When it is all put together it lives up to its name.

Cheap and Chic opens with the greener lemon of yuzu. Petitgrain is used to push the lemony part a bit more to the forefront. It all leads to a floral heart which I enjoy every time I wear this as violet and peony form the perfect sunny floral duet. Mme Lorson deftly titrates in some of the bigger florals of jasmine and rose but they are there to provide some longevity and depth not to be the focus. It ends on a sweet woody base accord of sandalwood, vanilla, and tonka bean.

Cheap and Chic has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Besides living up to its name Cheap and Chic was the first fragrance success for Moschino. It has become a legacy brand for many young perfume lovers who discover it in their teens and early 20’s. The brand has produced a consistent output over the past twenty-plus years but Cheap and Chic has survived because it does exactly what it promises. Just don’t think it comes easily.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Bois 1920 Agrumi Amari di Sicilia- Embracing the Bitterness

One of the fun things of owning too much perfume is discovering something I haven’t worn in a while. It’s like finding something new all over again except since I bought it I must have liked it. This summer I reacquainted myself with Bois 1920 Agrumi Amari di Scicilia.

Bois 1920 is an Italian heritage brand. While the idea of heritage brands has expanded greatly in the last couple of years; in 2005 it wasn’t common. The story from the brand says Guido Galardi opened his perfumery in Florence in 1920. It was not a roaring success and would close just five years later. It also didn’t inspire Guido’s son Renato to want to give it a second try. That would take eighty years and the grandson of Guido and son of Renato, Enzo to attempt. He still had the old family perfume recipes and wanted to give it a go in this new world of niche perfumery.

Enzo Galardi

Bois 1920 opened with a debut collection of eight releases. In writing this I realize I own five of those eight. I was attracted to this Italian style of perfume making that Sig. Galardi was producing. It may not have succeeded in 1920 but in 2005 it was another reason for the expansion of niche perfumery.

Agrumi amari translates to bitter citrus. That is one of the things I never understood about citrus perfumes having grown up among citrus trees. They mostly exude a bitter fragrance. For Agrumi Amari di Sicilia Sig. Galardi embraces that bitterness.

That bitterness coalesces around a core of grapefruit. When you use grapefruit in a high concentration there is a slightly sulfurous quality present. Petitgrain provides guardrails for this grapefruit to travel down. Then what I love about the top accord here is the figurative pinch of cumin that is used. That elongates that sulfurous thread from the grapefruit as orange, and lime chime in to finalize the bitter citrus accord. The transitional note to the floral heart is blackcurrant buds in their sticky green incarnation. It is a bitter green all on its own. Lavender and jasmine make up the heart with the former on top. The base is a typical earthy patchouli and musk.

Agrumi Amari di Sicilia has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

Sig. Galardi has already made it further than his grandfather as the brand enters its fourteenth year. I want to not only bring Agrumi Amari di Sicilia from Bois 1920 onto your radar but those other four from the debut collection I own are also worth seeking out. Those are Real Patchouly, Sandalo e The, Sushi Imperiale and Vetiver Ambrato. Give them a try.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

The State of Perfume Criticism 2018

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It has been a few weeks since the new edition of Perfumes: The Guide by Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin was published. Within the perfume community the book was received with the same amount of glee and teeth gnashing the original volume got ten years ago. Once the debate on the actual rating of specific perfumes died down another conversation appeared. One which focused on where perfume criticism exists today.

One of the often-repeated phrases I heard was that there is so little frank negative perfume writing that the sharpest barbs sunk even deeper. Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Turin can slice a perfume to shreds in, seemingly, less than 280 characters. When I agree, there is a sense of validation. When I disagree, there is a curiosity about why I perceive the same fragrance so differently. One of the things about The Guide which has happened on both publications is the perfumes at the extremes 1-star or 5-star were what I re-examined.

Which leads to the current landscape of perfume blogs and vlogs. In 2018 we now have a perfume way of communicating for every taste. I have spent some time randomly sampling some of the wider vlog reviewers beyond the handful I watch regularly. There was a wider ranging style than I suspected. There are nearly all perspectives being covered by a vlog or two. The one thing I didn’t find was anyone who had an actively negative component. I could see all the videos going back for over a year when I searched up a particular vlogger and I looked for a title which indicated content which was less than positive. Even those were not that hard on the specific perfume being discussed.

Blogs are almost no different; including me. There are a few more blogs where the writer has a more critical eye and expresses that opinion freely. They are some of the more popular blogs which means it connects with readers who want this kind of discussion about perfume.

I’m not interested in actively joining their ranks. I’ve mentioned this previously. I do not see myself as a perfume expert. I see myself as an experienced enthusiast. The more I learn the more questions I have. Writing about fragrance comes from a place of joy within. I’ve never enjoyed tearing something down. Which is why there are few pieces which carry a negative critical perspective. If you read between the lines you can find my opinion of some perfumes I don’t care for, but it isn’t given its own review for me to expound upon.

Where does that leave us as it applies to The Guide and those of us communicating about perfume on YouTube and WordPress? I would answer that all of us are inviting a reader/subscriber to come along with us as we take our trip through the perfumed world. That journey is informed with the intentionality of the author. I don’t think it has to be negative to have value. I don’t think it has to be positive to have value. I think it must come from a genuine desire to communicate about perfume. After a few weeks of actively looking I think that is exactly where we find perfume criticism in 2018

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Tar

When it comes to the scents of summer most of us think of beaches, fruits, and green growing things. I was reminded of another less referenced scent of summer with some road construction in front of my house; tar. Birch tar has been one of the key components of leather accords. Even though the overall effect is that of tanned cowhide when I wear these perfumes there is also a hint of country blacktop, too. Here are five of my favorite tar perfumes.

In 1927 Chanel perfumer Ernest Beaux would use birch tar as the key ingredient in his “Russian leather” accord. It would be the beginning of its widespread use for nearly the next 100 years. Cuir de Russie has been a part of the Les Exclusifs collection and it shows off a raw tanned leather as the name promises. M. Beaux tempers it with the use of aldehydes, jasmine, and sandalwood. Don’t kid yourself though this is all about the leather; gloriously so.

Two years before Cuir de Russie perfumers Francois Coty and Vincent Roubert produced an unabashedly straightforward leather fragrance, Knize Ten. The perfumers make one of the most full-bodied leather perfumes ever. Their accord reminds me of not only birch tar but the motor oil scent of a garage. It might sound unpleasant, but it is mesmerizing to me. A musky patchouli sandalwood base accord is the main complement to the uber-leather accord.

I leave it to Comme des Garcons to give me the exact scent of overheated asphalt. In 2004’s Series 6 Synthetic: Tar perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer accomplishes it. She uses birch tar as the nucleus but expertly weaves in styrax, castoreum, and opoponax. It is exactly what the road in front of my house smells like this month. It is this aesthetic which has elevated Comme des Garcons above so many of their contemporaries.

Just as Tar is emblematic of the creativity at Comme des Garcons the existence of Le Labo Patchouli 24 does the same for that brand. Perfumer Annick Menardo finds the intersection of birch tar and patchouli to create a fascinating pungency. That she adds in a bit of sweet vanilla as contrast to it only serves to delineate it all. Another great perfume from one of the true innovators of niche perfumery.

Even though it was the smell of summer road work which got me in to this column; Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods is how you use tar along with cade wood to create that winter haze of woodsmoke. Those two ingredients form one of the most intense woodsmoke accords I have. Independent perfumer Laurie Erickson spends the rest of the development taming the smoke with warm amber, clean cedar, green vetiver, and sweet sandalwood. It is among the best that this talented artisanal perfumer has produced.

As I look back over this list it might be the most imaginative list I’ve produced for this series. Every one of these perfumes are among the best of the brands and styles described. If you love perfume this is something to get on the road to try.

Disclosure: this review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Aramis Tobacco Reserve and Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence

There are times that flankers reminding you of the original perfume they share a name with do them no favors. This month’s choices for the Flanker Round-Up are a couple of them.

Aramis Tobacco Reserve

One of the first men’s perfumes I can remember is Aramis. It was one of the fragrances my very successful uncle wore. It was the scent of success to me at that age. Fifty years after its release it is now a bit of a dated relic. I still wear it, but I am sure those who encounter me think it’s the smell of advanced age over success. Which is why Aramis would want to try and appeal to a younger demographic. Last year they tried a modern version of the original Aramis called Aramis Modern Leather. It was better than I expected it to be. They’re back a year later with a flanker Aramis Tobacco Reserve.

Tobacco Reserve falls into the gap of not really seeming to know what it wants to be; Throwback or Trendsetter. It falls in the middle but because it is a simple construct that might not hurt.

It opens with a nice blast of clary sage which felt like it was a nod to the original. From here it follows the by-the-numbers formation of a sweet tobacco accord. Nutmeg, tonka bean, and iris provide all the support to make sure the inherent sweetness of tobacco is amplified. It is a nice tobacco when all is said and done.

Aramis Tobacco Reserve has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence

Much like Aramis, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist was a trendsetter in its time in 1994. A beautifully sheer white flower bouquet over leather, sandalwood and what would become the ubiquitous “cashmere accord”. It was a luxurious unique mass-market perfume. The brand did all they could to kill the name with one ham-handed flanker after another from 2005-2013. These were the kind of perfumes which make flanker a four-letter word. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new Cashmere Mist Essence. One caution was in the midst of the bad flankers there was one called Essence too. Thankfully the 2018 version is better than any previous flanker.

For Cashmere Mist Essence it comes close to be the original minus the leather. One big difference is a more elongated floral effect before getting to the base. That starts with ylang-ylang early on before the jasmine keynote takes over. There is a lighter floral presence than the original which was sheer for its time. The base is the “cashmere accord” and sandalwood again also at a lighter volume. It is like a watercolor of a pastel.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence has 6-8 hour longevity and average longevity.

Both of these flankers do what they are meant to do I just wish they didn’t remind me of their much better elders.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by the brands.

Mark Behnke

Dead Letter Office: Judith Muller Bat-Sheba- Dead Sea Scrolls

One of the things that so thrilled me when I received my box of perfume rarities from my anonymous benefactor was the opportunity to try things I have only read about. As I was categorizing the samples I found one I had heard of called Bat-Sheba. I was surprised to find the next vial labeled Bat-Sheba, too. At first, I thought my donor had double-packed but then I saw two letters after Bat-Sheba one had “WM” and the other has “EO”. I tried to figure it out on my own, “extrait original?” “woody masculine?” I got one of the words correct, but I had to get some clarification. Turns out the letters stood for “Woody Modern” and “Exotic Oriental”. This would begin a kind of perfume informational archaeology to try and learn all I could about Judith Muller Bat-Sheba.

Judith Muller in Paris

Judith Muller was born in Hungary in 1935. After surviving World War 2, her family settled in Israel. She would find herself in Paris learning about perfume in 1962. It brought her into the orbit of perfumer Ernest Shiftan and his young protegee Sophia Grojsman. Ms. Muller wondered if a perfume could be made from Biblical ingredients. They would put their heads together and come up with a prototype perfume called Bat-Sheba. This was seemingly produced in a very small batch and I can’t figure out if it was ever sold anywhere.

Sophia Grojsman

Ms. Muller would return to Israel, in 1965, with designs on being an Israeli luxury brand. A pillar of that desire was going to be Bat-Sheba perfume. In 1968 there would be two releases; Bat-Sheba Woody Modern and Bat-Sheba Exotic Oriental. As far as I can tell Woody Modern is close in formula to the original Bat-Sheba formulation. Exotic Oriental seems likely to have been a different mod on the way to the original. One reason I believe that is both perfumes converge on the same base accord. The trip there is quite different.

Judith Muller

Woody Modern opens incredibly green with galbanum and cardamom. The cardamom is used to take some of the edge off the galbanum. The heart is a gorgeous honeyed rose accord. It is kept on the soft side but there are some green facets also added to continue the top accord. The base is all chypre as sandalwood, vetiver, musk, oakmoss, and patchouli form a classic form of that accord. What is interesting about the way it wears on my skin it is like the vestiges of an ancient version of chypre with a kind of mineralic aspect I can’t identify. This felt like the perfume of the seductress this is named after.

Exotic Oriental goes in a spicy direction in the top accord. Cardamom, cinnamon, clove are all things I detect. Lavender is added to provide a fougere-like feel to the opening. Rose is still the keynote in the heart but this time the spices replace the honey. It accentuates the spicy core of the rose. This results in a less lush heart accord than in Woody Modern. The spices lead seamlessly into the exact same base accord as described for Woody Modern. In the case of Exotic Oriental because of the spices this felt more like a perfume of Biblical ingredients.

Ms. Muller would sell her perfumes from her Haifa, Israel store. Most others discovered it when it was presented as part of the duty-free offerings on El Al flights to and from Tel Aviv. Housed in pretty little ancient amphora-like bottles they became luxurious souvenirs of an Israeli trip in the 1960’s. Those bottles have made them highly sought after by those who collect perfume bottles. It is one reason there is not more of them in perfume lovers’ collections.

Ms. Muller would continue to produce perfume releases until her last collaboration with perfumer Pierre Bourdon. They created Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 in 2005; meant to be a national fragrance of Hungary. She would pass away in 2012.

The reason Bat-Sheba Woody Modern and Exotic Oriental are in the Dead Letter Office is because they are victim of limited distribution. They were ideal perfumes of their time and even experiencing them now I especially think the green honeyed rose of Woody Modern would live up to the second word in its name.

I really enjoyed digging through the scraps of information that existed. I must credit the Cleopatra’s Boudoir blog with having the most extensive information on Ms. Muller and Bat-Sheba, if you’re interested to know more click on the link. At the end I felt like the story of Judith Muller Bat-Sheba was my own version of interpreting perfumed Dead Sea Scrolls.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by a generous reader.

Mark Behnke

Discount Diamonds: L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme- Aquatic Trendsetter

I have mentioned this before, but I sometimes look at the fragrance bargain bin at my local discount store mournfully. This happens not because of the selection but that there are some of the original trendsetters of perfumery in there. I get over it because it means those are accessible to many more people because of the modest price. Which is also the point of this column. This past month the summer allotment of the fresh aquatics must have arrived because the bin was covered in a layer of bottles of L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme.

Chantal Roos

In 1992 as Issey Miyake began their fragrance brand, creative director Chantal Roos and perfumer Jacques Cavallier would define the brand. In these early days Mme Roos decided the new aquatic style was what would set Issey Miyake, as a brand, apart. It was a shrewd play and when 1992’s L’Eau D’Issey was released it made a splash, literally. Two years later the same creative team released the masculine counterpart L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme.

Jacques Cavallier

When I try a perfume like L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme I always place it in context of where it began. If I received a new release aquatic which smelled like this I would dismiss it. Yet back in 1994 the aquatic fragrance for men was just getting started and L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme is one of those that cemented the popularity of the style. It is also a great perfume to wear in the summer.

L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme opens on a Calone-centered top accord matched with yuzu. Back then Calone was something new. This is the typical aquatic top accord we now know very well. From here M. Cavallier makes some clever choices starting with geranium and cinnamon in the heart. The slightly spicy contrast to the fresh seaside accord works really well before heading to a sandalwood and vetiver base.

L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

There might be a hundred clones at the mall right now but if you go to the local discount bin you can find one of the originals for a fraction of the cost. That is what Discount Diamonds are all about.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Providence Perfume Co. Moss Gown- Bayou Fairy Tale

I have too much perfume. I know it and there are things I own which get lost in the back of the shelf. Things I absolutely adore. A few weeks ago, while trying to excavate a bottle of something else I discovered my bottle of Providence Perfume Co. Moss Gown. When I know something has truly connected deeply is as soon as I saw the bottle I remembered the scent immediately. I was thinking if this had fallen off my radar since it got pushed to the back of the shelf it was time to give it some attention.

Providence Perfume Co. is the brand of all-natural perfumer Charna Ethier. Ms. Ethier is one of my favorite independent perfumers because of her attention to detail plus her delight in using unusual ingredients. The attention to detail comes from sourcing and producing some of them. Moss Gown is an education on doing this.

Charna Ethier

The name of the perfume came from a story by the same name Ms. Ethier read to her daughter at bedtime. It is at its core a Bayou re-telling of Cinderella. As I imagine any perfumer does when interacting with another art form she began to wonder what it smelled like. Which then propelled her to her studio to figure out how to realize it. What comes out of the finished product is one of the only perfumes I know which captures the smell of watery vegetation and wood in the height of the summer.

If you’ve ever spent time in the Everglades in Florida or the bayous of Louisiana or the Okefenokee Swamp on the Georgia-Florida line on a summer trip you will recognize Moss Gown from its first moments. Ms. Ethier uses sunflower essence as one of her keynotes. This has a bamboo-like watery quality. She supports it with chamomile. This gives the vegetal green part of the bayou accord. There is also a part of this milieu which is the scent of natural decay. Ms. Ethier uses boronia to capture this. Boronia Is not used often because of this character in Moss Gown it completes the stage for the appearance of our Bayou Cinderella. A duet of mimosa and rose crowned with cedarmoss provides the floral accord which captures the fairy tale in the swamp. It all finishes on a lovely creamy sandalwood.

Moss Gown has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

One of the reasons I pulled Moss Gown off the shelf is it has been a while since we’ve seen a new release from Ms. Ethier. Doing my research to make sure Moss Gown was still available I found there was a new release I missed, Vientiane. Which goes to show even perfumers I admire can fall off my radar. Take the opportunity to put Providence Perfume Co. on your radar you will be delighted to find one of the best independent natural perfumers we have. If you need proof get a sample, or bottle, of Moss Gown.

Disclosure: this review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Arden, Lauder, Lauren: Red (Door), White (Linen) and (Polo) Blue

It’s July 4th in the US; the day we celebrate our declaration of independence from England in 1776. When it comes to perfume American perfumery didn’t have to declare independence; but it surely had to distinguish itself from the French, English, and Italian brands which founded modern perfumery. I thought I’d spend this Independence Day celebrating three of the foundational brands of American perfumery with one each for the colors of the US flag.

Elizabeth Arden Red Door

Born in Canada but emigrated to the US after dropping out of nursing school. When she got to New York City the young Florence Nightingale Graham created her brand name Elizabeth Arden. She would found her beauty salon called Red Door which had one you entered through. As she expanded her beauty empire through the first half of the 20th century that symbol became synonymous with a sophisticated style of beauty.

Ms. Arden made a moderate attempt at adding fragrance to the brand prior to her death in 1966 but they never caught on. It would be in 1989, under the Revlon acquisition of the name, that Elizabeth Arden would make its mark on perfume with Blue Grass and Red Door.

Perfumer Carlos Benaim created an opulent floral bouquet with a little bit of everything. What made it interesting was the use of honey to coat those florals before finishing on a chypre-ish base. This is a product of its time with a blowsy over-the-top style. In truth, it’s also American in its desire to stuff everything in.

Estee Lauder White Linen

When it comes to American Perfumery it is really all about Estee Lauder. Her introduction of Youth Dew in 1953 would begin the change of American men buying perfume for women to women buying for themselves. Ms. Lauder presided over one of the great fragrance brands. Estee Lauder has become one of the largest sellers of perfume in the world. It could arguably be said that it was the success of the Estee Lauder brand from 1969 until 1978 that set the standard for what was to come. White Linen was the perfume which finished that early run.

White Linen was brilliantly imagined as the smell of fresh-laundered sheets drying on a clothesline on a sun-filled day. Perfumer Sophia Grojsman would harness all of the fresh notes in the perfumer’s array at the time. It would begin the trend of fresh and clean perfumes popularity which still exists forty years later making it a perennial bestseller. All for the memory of a summer day on the grass watching the sheets be hung under the sun; perfectly American.

Ralph Lauren Polo Blue

Ralph Lauren has been one of the leading American fashion designers since he started selling his ties in 1967. One year later he would introduce his first menswear line with the iconic logo of a polo player at full gallop. In 1978 he would put that logo on a green bottle of men’s perfume called Polo. That has become one of the greatest selling men’s fragrances of all time. Which of course led to numerus flankers. The one released in 2002 was called Polo Blue.

Polo Blue was composed by original Polo perfumer Carlos Benaim working with perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. By the time Polo Blue was released the aquatic craze was in full swing and this was the Polo version of it.

What makes Polo Blue stand out is there is a lot of the herbal quality of the original added to the fresh aquatic accords. It made it less generic even though it seemed like a hybrid of two different men’s styles. It is a surprise to me how well it works. Then again Mr. Lauren has always been happy to give American men what they want.

Disclosure: These reviews are based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke