Mainstream Round-Up #2

Lazy Sunday, three - more or less depressing - mainstream picks.

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Luna Rossa by Prada (2013)




Balsamic-minty opening with a hint of ozonic notes, aldehydes, aromatic woody notes (cedar, cashmeran), all drowned in a gallon of the new "contemporary elegance" X-factor – the Iso E Super. I also detect some violet/honeysuckle notes, with bergamot too. It then evolves on the woody path, notably with cedar and sandalwood notes, with an incense-ambery base, artificial but pleasant – always keeping it clean, breezy and minty. Despite being utterly cheap and unworthy whatever price tag "per se", it's still better than other mainstream scents. I would define this a clean, crisp, trendy office/club crowpleasing safe scent, classy and cozy but unobtrusive, for men who want to smell nice but don't want to make it become a statement. Plus it basically smells like the reformulated version of Geranium pour Monsieur by Malle, here's the "niche" factor too – and by the way Malle is worse, since it's more expensive and extremely more pretentious. Among the Christmas presents a bimbo girlfriend with a magazines-driven fragrance knowledge may stumble upon, this isn't among the worst ones.

5,5-6/10

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Chrome by Azzaro (1996)




Azzaro Chrome opens with a cloying blend of nutmeg, cardamom, tonka, flowers, oakmoss, sandalwood and white musks, and a prominent, sickening, melt-rubber like note which I guess should be a clumsy, surreal, ethyl-douchebag rendition of pineapple. Soapy and metallic accords complete the whatever this is. Once it loses that cloying and dense note, it turns into a breezy, still generic and cheap ozonic-metallic scent. Nauseating at first, then pointless.

4/10

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Armani Code Ice by Giorgio Armani (2014)




Armani Code Ice opens with a bomb of aldehydes, Iso E, cashmeran, calone, ginger, vanillin, a subtle ambrettolide-like note and a slight citrus accord. Super cheap and unworthy the price tag, whatever it is: but somehow - ironically - fascinating, as it has a metallic, translucent feel with the Iso E/cedar-like accord which gives a contemporary, ethereal, sophisticated "woody-incense" vibe, delivering the infamous "pencil sharpener" feel several fragrances with this composition often give – and I'm talking niche too, for example Let me play the lion by LesNez. All supported by a plushy, polyurethane-ish feel of cozy, completely artificial woods given by cashmeran. A bit anonymous, but that may turn into an "avant-garde" feel. Overall this is the olfactory depiction of the places the average Armani Code wearer probably goes to – modern gyms, trendy clubs, contemporary shops. Still with a hint of cheapness, so I'm not talking about the coolest, poshest gym in town, rather some Virgin Club ones – still nice, crisp and modern, just not the top class. As minutes pass it warms a bit, opening on the ambrette base and finally evolving on a woody-rubbery, almost sulfur-ish and burnt-tires-like base (safraleine, norlimbanol and the likes). Again: not that different from many overpriced niche scent which pretend to "revisit" dark woods accords using those materials. Overall I'd say, if you're into completely synthetic scents, you may consciously (and again, ironically) appreciate this.

5,5-6/10


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