Hello everyone, it is with immense pleasure that I introduce my new guest at Nero Profumo. Today we have a pillar of perfume criticism, Mr. Christos. Known to the majority for his wonderful blog Memory Of Scent and as a member of both Basenotes and Fragrantica, Christos is professionally a scientist and an avid perfumista obsessed with the subjective side of perfume. Christos lives in Athens Greece.
..."I am a total amateur in this game. My point of view is this of the wearer, the owner of a perfume who has spent time with the fragrance and who's experiences are tinted by its fumes."
Christos' gift to Nero Profumo is...
Aramis 900 Herbal Cologne: The gender of the rose
There is a fashionable talk about cross-dressing when it comes to perfume and by some it is considered the highlight of olfactive sophistication. The truth is there is nothing sophisticated about wearing fragrances marketed for the opposite sex simply because the barrier between masculine and feminine scents is nothing but a thin line drawn by advertisers to attract the originally less interested masculine audience. No other fragrance can ridicule more the idea of perfume genders than Aramis 900 Herbal Cologne. The ultra masculine label has chosen a number and a rustic adjective to market a formula based on one of the ultimate feminine fragrances of the 70's, Aromatics Elixir.
Aramis 900 opens with a green, bitter, metallic muted accord. There are no topnotes in the classical sense. There are no notes that scintillate and sparkle as in most fragrances. With the first whiff you go straight to the heart of the composition. An almost aggressive floral accord is the first impression. Jasmine, rose and hints of spicy carnation. Although galbanum is not listed officially in the notes it is very prominent to my nose with its detached, metallic coolness.Geranium also contributes to the metallic shine. It gives an almost gothic presence to Aramis 900. The perfect accomplice to play along these lines is rose and although the other florals steadily disperse, rose gets a firm grip on the composition. This is a rose seen through a metal screen. It is slightly dusty but its main characteristic is that it remains caged in the stern, dark green, armor. The dusty melancholy of this rose is supported by a wonderfully earthy patchouli and vetiver combination. I cannot pick the civet but I can certainly feel the bold twist this rose takes. Although Aramis 900 has a muted, subsonic quality, it is a very strong fragrance. Both volume and body come straight from the 70's. By today's woody fresh standards it can even be offensive. It is imperative that one simply caresses the nozzle of the sprayer to be able to wear this comfortably, especially in warm weather.
Throughout the development a leathery undercurrent lurks in the composition. It is the magnificent green leathery accord that Bernard Chant has infused in many of his creations. Like Aromatics Elixir, Aramis 900 is a chameleon scent. Depending on who smells it, it can be a bold floral, a green leather, a woody chypre, a herbal-spicy scent. It certainly is a larger-than-life fragrance. The kaleidoscopic explosion of densely knitted notes is nothing else but the more demure sibling of the magnificent Aromatics Elixir. Like all Bernard Chant creations it has a thick honey like texture. It does not envelop the wearer, it rather swallows him. It takes no prisoners. Wearing Aramis 900 and Aromatics Elixir side by side can be a wonderful experiment and dissection of how the definition of gender in fragrances has shifted. Back in the 70's perfume was bold. It only made sense to lighten up the feminine composition to create a perfume that could be marketed to men. By doing so the rose pops up in the composition giving to the masculine Aramis a decidedly more floral aspect. Nowadays if the two scents were subject to a marketing blind sniffing panel, I doubt that the initial gender assignment would be maintained. Aramis 900 is easier to be worn by younger women while Aromatics Elixir is so familiar to those who wear the classic Aramis. So next time you stumble upon a discussion about what degree of sophistication and dare it takes for a man to pull off a feminine scent, please go to the counter and smell those two together. Men have been gender bending since the 70's without even knowing it.
Notes from my nose: galbanum, jasmine, carnation, rose, powder, patchouli, earth
Rating: 8.5/10 (where Aromatics Elixir takes the perfect 10)