One Thousand Scents

Monday, November 20, 2006

Down: L'Eau Bleue Pour Homme by Issey Miyake


I had been hoping beyond hope that the second men's scent from Issey Miyake would be a version of his strange and extraordinary women's scent Le Feu D'Issey, but no such luck. Instead, what we got was L'Eau Bleue d'Issey Pour Homme.

The first thing I smell is lemongrass and rosemary, which are both lovely and accurate, but already, right from the start, there's a strong, synthetic corrosiveness to the scent. The smell of ginger is what's to blame, I think: it has that same laundry-soap harshness that can put me off Bulgari Blu Pour Homme, but without even any of that scent's mitigating pleasures. Midway through the development of L'Eau Bleue, an edgy and appealing anise note shimmers to the surface, but it's keeping bad company, and it isn't enough to mask the harshness.

Slowly--too slowly--that corrosive quality retreats, but unfortunately, what lies underneath it isn't a lot more attractive to my nose. There's a barely floral trail that comes from rose and geranium (in the form of palmarosa), and then a rather dirty patchouli note that takes over the entire base of the scent. L'Eau Bleue isn't a muddle: it's carefully constructed, and it develops over time. But almost nothing about it save that bright, fleeting top note is beautiful, or--more to the point--wearable. (Not by me, anyway.)

The bottle's great: a clever reconception of the original, with a sharp pleat down the middle and shiny blue glass and chrome instead of the frosted glass and aluminum. It's what's inside that bothers me. I'm still dreaming of a knockout men's oriental from Miyake. I know he can do it, but if he keeps pumping out endless summer reformulations of his original Eau, punctuated by this thing, then I have a long wait ahead of me.

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