Imagine my surprise, when despite all my prejudice and preconceived notions, I found myself quietly impressed with the opening of this 2004 flanker. The opening was full of sophisticated, lovely bitterness and the bite of pepper stung my nose pleasantly. I decided to let my guard down as my interest was getting piqued and found myself, if not seduced, then certainly interested by the freshness of a not-quite-ripe tangerine rind. Just as I was musing about how the bitter freshness and the pepper smelled like a recipe for success to me, I was rudely awakened to the fact that the fragrance had drastically changed in the blink of an eyelid. Underneath the freshness, a deep, masculine scent was rising to the top, not quite unpleasant, but not what I expected either. There was an undeniable roughness and fullness there that did not befit the elegantly crisp opening. Slightly panicky, I checked the sample for fear I’d made a mistake and was sampling 212 Sexy Men instead, but no, no mistake there. I settled down, following the progress with slight bewilderment. The masculine edge got fainter and fainter as time went by, but unfortunately, so did the bitterness. Twenty minutes later, it had completely given way to a peculiar caramelly sweetness, which in turn quickly evolved to a very realistic rendition of cotton candy.
So realistic in fact, I almost felt like I was standing in front of a street vendor, the scent of burnt sugar surrounding me. As if that was not horrifying enough, there was a certain undertone of slightly sick vanilla there, tinged with something not quite right, something cheap, smelling faintly of wet cardboard. A boozy gardenia that might have otherwise been quite pleasant (at least in the face of adversity posed by the evil cotton candy) made an appearance at some point there, or at least gave it its best shot, weighed down as it was by the monstrous goop of sweetness. Finally, thankfully, I reached the end of this Kafkasian metamorphosis: Sour vanilla, a dose of wood, musk and last but not least, wet cardboard. Perhaps even worse than the wet cardboard note though, is the unmistakable, unforgivable flatness of the end result. It’s just too bad for the interesting opening. It’s worth a spritz, just for the sake of experiencing that beautiful bitterness. Spray and sniff quickly, blink and you missed it. Be prepared to scrub it off too, afterwards. You deserve to smell better than this.
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