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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Grossmith Golden Chypre - conference room B, please.

This bottle was an accidental purchase for me due to a mixup with an ebay seller.  In general, I'm always on the fence about chypres.  Whereas Mitsuoko leaves me cold (Smells great on others but i get garage dust and sun baked newspapers) and only can appreciate but not wear Cuir de Russie and Rue Cambon,  I love the green and white feel of Cristalle and the the galbanum-dry bitterness of No. 19.  I figured I would give this one a go just for getting a great deal on it, so here we go.....

Sniffing from atomizer, to my wary nose, not a great start.....but many chypre fans would disagree.  This scent greets you with a citrus blast,  heavy on the bergamot.  HEAVY on the bergamot, with a dusted effervescent note.  I'm not sure what it is but it makes this a least a little interesting to me, encouraging me to sniff some more.  As it warm on my wrist, some herbs are starting to grow out of the dust.  Cardamom and nutmeg, check.  I’m actually warming up to this stage.  They are very nicely balanced……nutmeg sometimes gives me a headache but here it’s an afterthought and used as it sometimes is in savory dishes.  It makes you think ‘what did the put in here?  I can’t quite place it’.  The cardamom is piquant and thoroughly enjoyable.  I can’t believe how long this stage is lasting.  Fortunately, I like it better than Mitsuoko, but i can see a strong resemblance, so if Mitsuoko is your ultimate chypre you’ll probably like this one.

This scent is supposed to be autumnal but on me it’s late August 1970 and I’m about to go play tennis at a family resort in the Catskills.  I just walked out of the shower and used some fancy soap that I bought at Saks.  Jeepers,  am I fancy!  So yeah.  This smells like expensive, spicy, unisex soap at this point...... this is not a bad thing.  It’s balanced and never veers towards too sweet OR too dry.  The cardamom and bergamot hold true for a long time giving it the impression of champagne,  perhaps this 70s version of me grabbed a mimosa before walking to the tennis court. 

But in reality it’s 2016, so as I let it go through its chypre tap-dance, the spices start calming but it is still oh-so-dry.  Here we have geranium, like the actual cutting of the stem, so it has a vague bitter green quality.  Any florals to be had are of the dried petal variety, you can’t really smell them but they have just enough presence to remind you that they must be there somewhere.  At this point I’m reminded of a very tailored, well-fitting suit on a handsome, clean shaven man.  The kind of guy that if you’re sitting next to him at a meeting you might start having inappropriate thoughts because you’re thinking about him in the shower.  Not that this can’t be worn by women… definitely can, it has an authority about it that can be carried off by anyone with confidence.  But it’s a little unforgiving and cold, pushing and pulling you in at the same time, it means business and it’s in a MEETING so please don’t come in here with a ratty briefcase and sloppy pants. 

Now the woody note turns it up and it’s here to stay, growing over everything and being very intimidating.  “I’ll take over now.”  Apparently the wood isn’t happy with your work and from now on needs to sign off on every little thing you do.  It’s quite controlling.  The fragrance now definitely dives into dryyyyyyy.  It gets almost salty in character and gives me the impression of sandalwood with a mere hint of vetiver and patchouli. The tiniest lick of musk adds a sensual aura but this is a very restrained romantic overture with a business card.  The scent slowly fades out after hours, as you slowly fade out the face of the man you just met, but you remember him as handsome and know you’ll be thinking about him all day.  Perhaps you will be keeping that business card.

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