Monday, 26 October 2015

Persolaise Review: 1 Million Cologne from Paco Rabanne (Olivier Pescheux & Michel Girard; 2015)

I have written precisely nothing about the commercial phenomenon that is Paco Rabanne's 1 Million, but the arrival of this new 'Cologne' version provides an opportunity to make amends. I can't quite believe that 7 years have passed since the original fragrance hit the high street, but it's true: the year was 2008 when we were first invaded by that now all-too-familiar leathery, spicy, apple-sheesha accord over an amber base. For some reason (the advertising? the bling bottle? the name?) people went bananas about the stuff, to the extent that it has become one of the best selling masculines of all time. Young bucks eager to indicate that they'd graduated from the realms of cheap body sprays bathed themselves in it with a fervour the previous generation had reserved for Gaultier's Le Male. The objects of their predatory affections swooned with how 'grown up' the scent seemed to be. Needless to say, several flankers - and even a feminine counterpart - soon followed.

I've never been a fan of it, but then again, it hasn't offended me either. I find its smoky facets attractive, although I don't think they do enough to push the composition away from the cliches that clutter up the men's departments of high street perfumeries. Several people in my family wear it - despite my mild protests - and I'm often asked for recommendations for scents which smell similar... to which my response, in case you're wondering, is: "If you like it so much, why do you want to wear something different?" It is harmless, well-constructed, and yes, I concede, superior to most of the dross inflicted upon guys.

However, in recent years, its treatment by Paco Rabanne has been regrettable. The trouble started in 2013 with the Intense version which missed the point of the original by ramming a sore thumb of synthetic sandalwood right into the base and completely knocking the whole off balance. What was once appealing in a naive fashion became brutish: a not-so-young buck with an unappealing leer. The new 'Cologne' doesn't improve the situation. To my nose, it is a lighter rendition not of the 2008 scent but of the Intense incarnation, which is a shame, because a crude, out-of-place sandalwood is still a crude, out-of-place sandalwood, even if it's been made a tiny bit quieter. The moral of this story is simple: if you like the original 1 Million, then please continue to wear the original 1 Million. Meanwhile, the rest of us will count our blessings: at least the stuff isn't as dire as Invictus.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Paco Rabanne in 2015.]


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