When I was asked by Annelie to contribute to this blog with a guest review as a male perfume nerd, the question about masculine verses feminine was evoked. Just as she points out in her review of J.P Gaultier´s Fleur de Male, what is masculine and what is feminine, for real? There isn´t any simple answer to that question, and we can all admit that the stereotypes changes according to time, culture and values. But also, I thought about if a women would have chosen to review the scent I´m about to review as a firsthand choice? There are different reasons for me to choose this scent, but one of them is that this scent represent a male "idol". Maybe, it isn´t that flattering -in my mature age- to have an idol, and a fictive one at that, but I think it´s just as good to be brutally honest about it.
The fairly new perfume house, Scentstory, created by Gabriel Chami has come up with a scent, 24 The Fragrance inspired by the main character Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) from the tv-series 24. Those of you that have seen the show know that Jack Bauer is a tough, male agent working for the American Counter Terrorist Unit. In the character of Jack Bauer, we find all the classic and stereotypical male macho qualities that our culture (before gender science) taught us to associate with masculinity such as physical strength, bravery and sense of duty (think James Bond and Clint Eastwood). At the same time, Jack Bauer also shows, as expected by the modern man, a more gentle and softer side.
Scentstory´s Gabriel Chami, with many years within the perfume industry, has taken on the task to capture Jack Bauer's properties in olfactory form very seriously At once when you hold the box in your hand and lift up the bottle -designed by Daniel Clarke- you can tell that it ´s a sturdy and tough piece. The first launching tells that this is a serious scent with a lot of candy in it. No, it´s not gunpowder or leather that first hits the nose receptors but clearly fresher notes of bergamot, mandarin / orange, lemon and a hint of coriander.
Right after the fresh top notes, you can also smell the darker and spicier notes , telling us that that we are dealing with a basically warm oriental
There is, power and strength and you sense a longevity and sillage well above average.
24 The Fragrance is quite linear and cedar wood mixes with bergamot to a nice middle note. In the base there are more goodies in the form of ambergris and vanilla that brings warmth, but also a darker note can be sensed, it´s the famous oudh note. I had to wear 24 The Fragrance several times before I could get some more subtle impressions and before I could feel that I finally had come to grips with it. Initially I was happy that it wasn´t just one of many "male mainstream" scents, but a scent with many facets and layers.
Without doubt it is a powerful scent, but at the same time there is a softness, even a kindness present (my youngest sons first impression was bubble gum). The bergamot note contribute with an Earl Grey feeling to it, which overlaps to an even darker oudh-amber base.
What makes this scent particularly exciting is that the whole spectrum of notes, from top to bottom, lingers throughout its life span of at least 7-9 hours. If the scent was to be translated to film discourse, one might say that the fight between light-dark, good-evil, etc, going all the way to the uncertain end and keeps the viewer riveted to the screen
So some brief final comments on "24" The Fragrance!
Is it masculine? Answer yes! Can it be worn by a women? Why not? Does it have a distinct identity? Answer yes! Is it exciting? Yes, and to reconnect to the question concerning gender belongings, I believe that excitement and dynamics always is created by contrasting effects. It is a middle-aged man's hope that the contrast pair male-female will continue to be eligible for our linguistic and biological repertoire. That said, it is my belief that life is both better and more fun when men and women can switch roles with one another, both for fun as well as in serious matters!
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