After my Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme review posted last week, many men wrote me at my Now Smell This email address "confessing" their love for L'Homme; these men were unwilling to "admit" their admiration for L'Homme in my review's comments section because I called the fragrance "standard-issue men's perfume." I think women are more willing to proclaim: "Call this perfume crap if you like...but I LOVE it!" All you sensitive perfumistos out there: I have a confession to make — I, too, like my fair share of "standard-issue" men's fragrances.
Perfume addicts are inclined to enjoy categories of scents: ambers, vanilla fragrances, rose perfumes, mossy aldehydes.... Me? I like citrus perfumes, leather scents, smoky/incense fragrances, and vetiver and tea colognes of all types. If I come across a fragrance full of lemon, orange, petitgrain, a hint of vetiver and wood — chances are good I'll enjoy it, even if there are 100 other fragrances that smell pretty much the same. Today's scent, Diesel Only the Brave, is not innovative or "strange", not by a long shot (it reminds me of Zirh Ikon for one), but I'm partial to its components, and I like it.
Only the Brave contains lemon, leather, cedar and amber. The fragrance opens with an ozone-lemon accord which is followed by a talc-y (super-light) leather note. As the ozone-lemon-leather notes recede, sweet incense and cedar notes emerge. During Only the Brave's dry-down, lemon returns to the fore — this time not "juicy," but "candied" lemon — and there's a moment or two when I swear I detect a hint of clove-cinnamon. An hour into wearing Only the Brave, the notes become a bit gauzy, and I'm left with a fresh, cedar-amber-musk accord. If the perfumers (Aliénor Massenet, Olivier Polge, Pierre Wargnye) had held back on the 'fresh' (ozone) notes I would have liked Only the Brave even more. The fragrance (sheer and suitable for summer wear) has great lasting power and sillage, and even after a shower I was left with a wonderful vanilla-cedar aroma on my skin (smelling a bit like benzoin-cedar incense cones).
Only the Brave is named after Diesel founder Renzo Rosso's Only the Brave charitable foundation, and the bottle is modeled on Rosso's fist — I'll leave it to others with more time and energy than myself to figure out that connection/symbolism (if there is any). Diesel Only the Brave is available in 30, 50 and 75 ml Eau de Toilette.
I'm wondering if all the guys who wrote me privately last week regarding Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme will publicly comment today: "Kevin, I can't BELIEVE you like this fragrance! It's so...." Here's a challenge for Only the Brave commenters out there: reveal your love for one perfume that most fragrance folks consider dull (at best) or vile (at worst).