A base note of utter blandness

Powdery, ‘green’ and smelling of parma violets, it launched back in the mid Seventies and when people get a whiff of it they either totally love it or absolutely loathe it, and that’s great because at least it elicits a reaction: which is more than can be said for the slew of new men’s fragrances currently gracing the shelves of your local department store. So dull are today’s creations that the fragrance du jour may as well be called Ubiquity Pour Homme – a concoction that is everywhere, smells like everything else and is characterised by a top note of predictability, a heart note of safety and a base note of utter blandness.

— Lee Kynaston compares his signature fragrance, Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, to its modern counterpart. Read more at Why are there no great men's fragrances any more? at the Telegraph.


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  1. bastet says:

    I love his final analogy comparing bad vs. good perfume to meaningless sex vs. true love!

    • Robin says:

      It’s a funny piece! I don’t buy all his arguments about what’s gone wrong, but on some of them, he’s spot on.

  2. trigger hippie says:

    Indeed Mr Kynaston, this is why I gave up on mainstream fragrances in the early 90’s when homogeneity was starting to show its face. There have been few mainstream fragrances since then that have elicited in me anything other than boredom. Perhaps Kokorico or Spicebomb have made me think “oh, that’s nice” but haven’t been nice enough to warrant a purchase.

    Instead I use fragrances like Grey Flannel, Bowling Green, Habanita, Stetson, Cabochard, Cabaret, Halston Catalyst, O de Lancome, R&G The Vert to fulfil my “spray and go” needs and have searched out other fragrances that aren’t as easy to come by – Bvlgari Black, Kiehl’s Original Musk,Tuscan Soul, Encre Noire, ElDO Like This, Rossy de Palma, Rien, L’Artisan Voleurs De Roses, Timbuktu, Dzonkha!, CdG incense range, Mitsouko, Casmir, almost anything by L’Eau D’Italie, Tom Ford and some from Sonoma Scent Studio & Andy Tauer, that make me feel like an individual.

    I will admit, I haven’t been averse to a little Absynthe (Lacroix/Avon), Jacomo Arts Series and my guilty pleasures Obsession (woman’s) and Baldessarini Strictly Private – which aren’t really mainstream these days any way. :)

    I spend a considerable amount on fragrance, but the big companies miss out on that because I don’t want to smell like laundry or everyone else.

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