“For Davidoff Adventure, my inspiration has been what I dream about adventure…a dream of wild nature where bright colors and hot spices blend with the humid freshness of the rainforest and the sensuality of exotic woods,” Antoine Lie, perfumer*
I don’t know how much traveling Lie has done, but with Adventure, he’s stayed on the beaten path and only dreamed of wild places and rough journeys. Davidoff, who may have reined in Lie’s more daring ideas, makes many claims in its Adventure ad campaign: Adventure “explores uncharted fragrance territory” “is daring and elemental” and was “inspired by … wildernesses and raw, masculine emotion.” “Rainforest,” “wild earth,” “intense thrill,” “discovery,” “exoticism,” and “challenge” are reference points for the aura Adventure aspires to capture. This is all reminiscent of Ralph Lauren’s ad campaign for its Polo (armchair) Explorer fragrance.
To add another layer of “adventure” to its new cologne, Davidoff hired actor (and “adventurer”) Ewan McGregor as its model for video and print ads and mentions McGregor’s two filmed adventures: Long Way Round and Long Way Down. (Like most well-heeled adventurers in history, McGregor has sponsors and is equipped with a team, including a medic, on his trips.)
Davidoff Adventure is described as a "fresh, woody and spicy" scent and contains mandarin, lemon, bergamot, black sesame, pimiento, maté leaves, chili black pepper, cedar wood, vetiver and white musk. Though these ingredients are nice, I would not, in 2008, describe them as “adventurous” in the least (unless all a person has worn before encountering Adventure is lavender water or Jean Marie Farina Eau de Cologne).
Adventure begins with the scents of creamy ‘fresh’ citrus and (hints of) pepper and sweet sesame; then, there is a quick chilled-tea break (maté?) before the fragrance segues to smooth, mellow woods, light vetiver and musk. Adventure’s white musk dry down is rather feminine to my nose and it’s similar to the sweet base notes in another Lie perfume: Etat Libre d’Orange Tom of Finland. Adventure provides a well-blended, seamless fragrance trip; there are no: glitches, bumps in the road or nights without a bathroom (or bath). Adventure smells clean, but its “freshness” does not seem to be created by overt use of ozone/marine accords. Overall, Adventure is a pleasant fragrance but it does not conjure up the rainforest — or any particular place for that matter.
As usual with “BIG” mainstream perfume launches, Adventure’s style (huge ad budgets) trumps Adventure’s substance. I don’t need a bottle of middle-of-the-road Adventure. If anyone wants some real “adventurous” perfumes that bring to mind exotic places and provide exciting aroma experiences try: Comme des Garçons Incense or Red series fragrances; Diptyque Eau Lente; Eau d’Italie Sienne l’Hiver; L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu or Bois Farine; Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver; Parfumerie Generale L’Eau Rare Matale, Harmatan Noir or Aomassaï; Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque or Muscs Koublai Khan; or a knock-your-hiking-boots-off oud perfume by Montale or Amouage…thankfully, the list of gutsy niche “adventure” fragrances is long and varied.
Davidoff Adventure is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette sprays ($47.50/$59.50), 100 ml aftershave ($45), hair/body shampoo, 100 ml aftershave balm ($45) and deodorant ($16).
* All quotes are via the Davidoff Adventure website.