One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

All Man: Perry Ellis Reserve


I am slavishly addicted to warm, oriental, ambery scents, but I still have a place in my heart for the classic men's fragrance: something fresh and hesperidic at the top, herbal or otherwise aromatic in the middle, and subdued and woody in the base. This is probably why I was instantly smitten by Perry Ellis Reserve, which is pretty much a perfect scent in a gorgeous, minimalist bottle (so gorgeous that it was originally used for Perry Ellis' 360 for Men and then again for 360 Blue, 360 Red, 360 White....).

The opener is a shock of grapefruit--probably my favourite citrus note--alongside bergamot, lavender, and something called "champagne lifescent", which is a silly name but may well contribute to the sparkle of the top notes. This burns away quickly, as citrus notes tend to do, leaving a luminous halo of muted floral notes (fresh carnation and a little rose, plus the jasmine derivative hedione) butched up with herbal notes, predominantly my beloved tarragon. The middle of the scent proves that even highly floral scents can be masculine if they're treated with respect and restraint; just look at the jasmine-saturated Rochas Man, which uses coffee and cedar to darken and subdue the jasmine. The base notes are, as expected, wood and amber notes, with just a little oakmoss, not enough to turn it into a chypre but enough to give the base a dark-brown honeyed undertone. It's just about the perfect office scent: it's subtle enough to avoid offending anyone, but it's there.

Some of the Perry Ellis scents are good, some are so-so, and some are absolutely heinous (more on that tomorrow), but Reserve is the real deal: a classically constructed scent that still manages to be distinctive.

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