Narciso Rodriguez for Him by Narciso Rodriguez (2007)

Narciso Rodriguez for Him is a mainstream gem, and an unnecessary evidence of how Francis Kurkdjian works so better on commission (who’s the least fan of his own “cheap-luxury” brand? Me). Anyway: the opening is fantastic and unmistakable, a leafy, dark, astringent “greenish wet concrete” which smells of pungent humid darkness – a moldy, harsh, filthy kind of urban darkness, with a genius hint of dry lipstick. Despite it is a designer scent aimed (one may guess) at a broad audience, it delivers an incredibly gloomy and funereal mood, really fascinating and terribly well executed: a gothic, crunchy, really bitter violet leaves note on dark, dry patchouli and an aloof, musky “grey concrete” note. Pure poison for a quite simple composition which however is iconic and really unique, smelling like lipstick, dead leaves, vitriol, wet streets. A “post-modern” world which makes you think of those alienating metropolitan areas just at the very borders of the suburbs, where abandoned warehouses meet abandoned woods – you’re not yet into “pure nature”, but out of civilization already. Narciso smells of all of that. Which makes it surprisingly “niche” (I said that in a positive meaning for once), far more than all the dozens of depressing, uninspired overpriced bullshit which make their way to niche price tags. Not a crowpleaser for sure, but safe enough somehow; it is dark but terribly refined and sophisticated. It makes a “statement” so it’s definitely one to try before buying; but I wouldn’t really consider this daring or weird. It’s perfectly compelling, just a bit dark with a sprinkle of freakness. The only flaw I would mention would be maybe its objective quality, meaning that in my opinion the materials here aren’t exactly top notch – especially on the drydown, which is quite linear, a bit cheap, and maybe boring after some hours. But who cares for once – this is evocative, even its “cheapness” may have a creative role here, as in fact we’re talking about concrete and dead leaves – nothing fancy and nothing luxurious. A real gem, if it was discontinued it would be praised like a holy grail.


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