When I first started finding out who the perfumers were behind my favorite perfumes, I was surprised to find I had a type. Some of my earliest favorites were from Comme des Garcons. I would determine the perfumer behind most of those was Mark Buxton. For over twenty years he has remained as one of those I look to for something different. In Mark Buxton Why Not a Cologne he asks a question for which he has a surprising answer.
The last ten years or so have seen a golden age for the cologne type of fragrance. No longer the derided stepchild it has been given new verve through smart artists reimagining the form. With that said the recipe has remained the same from the original Johann Maria Farina triad of citrus-floral-herbal. Modern purveyors have altered some of the pieces using modern ingredients but have mostly kept to a streamlined architecture. The question Mr. Buxton is asking here is “why can’t a cologne do more?”
This is part of a new four fragrance collection by Mr. Buxton and David Chieze called The Freedom Collection. The other three are inspired by the Queen hit broken down into three fragrances I Want, To Break, and Free. Why Not a Cologne decides to call its own tune.
It is still a cologne of three distinct phases of fruit, floral, and woods. This is not a simple recipe it is complex accords which progress like a cologne. Mr. Buxton’s to make something as fulsome seem like it belongs to a more facile genre is what makes this so interesting.
The fruit top accord is made up of red apple, mandarin, and pineapple. Mr. Buxton asks why does it need to be only one fruit? Especially when three can do better. The apple adds a crispness to the accord while the mandarin adds citrus tart and the pineapple sugary sweetness. Any one would have been fine but balanced into a single accord it is better. The floral heart follows the same plan with rose, magnolia, jasmine, and neroli. The magnolia is the lead singer, but it is the harmonies of the other florals which make it more. This is a floral accord which forms a single accord which improves the whole. For the base, a leathery chypre-like accord awaits. Vetiver, ambergris, castoreum, cedar, and leather. This is more intense than a typical cologne finish, but it is just like what has come before in this perfume. It is a complete accord which shows a fuller scent profile than is usual in a cologne.
Why Not a Cologne has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mr. Buxton continues to ask intriguing questions of what fragrance can be. His answer to why not a cologne is “because it can do more”.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.