A bunch of men’s fragrances have recently hit the market (what’s new? there's no let-up!); to stay as current as possible (or start to catch up), I’m reviewing two perfumes today in one post: one fragrance I had no interest in (I'm being honest) and the other was a wild card (accent on “wild”).
Dior Homme Eau for Men
(bergamot, grapefruit, coriander, iris, cedar)
Christian Dior Dior Homme Eau for Men didn't intrigue me (it has a DUMB name, it’s described by Dior as “a fresh, woody fragrance”...ho-hum... and the ad copy's references to James Dean made me laugh — the Robert Pattinson connection didn't appeal either); I probably never would have tried Dior Homme Eau for Men if a sample didn't fall into my lap.
When first applied to skin, Dior Homme Eau for Men smells like hot plastic (for a split-second I was worried a cat toy had been sent flying into the fireplace); after the initial industrial aroma burns off, the fragrance starts to smell like a little girl’s vinyl purse stuffed with artificially flavored fruit candies — made of the sort of chemicals IFRA should tackle instead of beloved natural essences!
Not one note in Dior Homme Eau for Men smells real or even close to reality. All notes are gauzy, hazy, indistinct as the fragrance develops. Dior Homme Eau for Men’s iris and cedar notes (if there ever was a smidgen of naturalness associated with them) seem to have been divided into a thousand parts and then reassembled with only 10 parts remaining, and those parts seem diluted even further. Dior Homme Eau for Men’s base notes smell like several hundred other sports and acqua/aqua/Eaux on the market — with the sweet and dreary aroma of generic, inexpensive men's cologne.
Dior Homme Eau for Men is a scent for a person immune to distinctions of quality in fragrance. Now, if Dior had made this a hyper-unrealistic, powerfully artificial experience it could have worked in the vein of Comme des Garçons Odeur 53. But, no…that won’t happen with a brand like Dior: we get banal instead.
Dior Homme Eau for Men is at Macy’s, 50 ml/100 ml Eau de Toilette for $62-$84 (crazily overpriced in my opinion).
Juniper Ridge Winter Redwood
(redwood needles, bay laurel, Douglas fir pitch, sea grass, Chanterelles, sage, woodsmoke)
Oakland, CA-based ‘wilderness perfumer’ Juniper Ridge makes perfumes by steam- and campfire-distillation, tincture and infusion, and enfleurage. Their latest limited edition fragrance, Winter Redwood (337 bottles were made), was inspired by Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County in Northern California.
Winter Redwood begins with intense notes, some food-y, some medicinal, some resinous. As I wore Winter Redwood for two days, a couple scenarios came to mind to describe the scents of this perfume during different stages of development: one involved a rustic, mountain restaurant (one serving forest-foraged foods) that uses wood to fire its ovens (“rooty,” earthy notes mingle with the wood smoke); on another day, Winter Redwood smelled like a rain-soaked sequoia, recently drenched by cougar piss, too (with some "marshland" thrown in). And if you think that’s a put-down…it ain’t. For me, there’s always room for an interesting concoction that smells like the natural world.
Winter Redwood is expensive; one must use a lot of fragrance to make it last (the company recommends putting a nickel-sized amount of perfume in your palm and then rubbing the fragrance onto your jeans and/or neck. One ounce of perfume would not last long. I wish the Juniper Ridge perfume line came in spray bottles, but perhaps the oils are just too powerful for (destructive to) plastic spray parts? If you have the chance, do give Winter Redwood a sniff (I still need to try Juniper Ridge incense sticks.)
Juniper Ridge Winter Redwood is $70 for 30 ml. For buying information, see the listing for Juniper Ridge under Perfume Houses.