Should you KISS Him or not ?

If you are not aware, a scent was marketed several years ago bearing a design of the 1970s rock band, KISS (pictured above). For quite a while now, it’s been selling for very low prices. Some have called it niche at near dollar store prices, or something along those lines. As is the case for at least a few scents, the reviews of this one are “all over the map.” The listed notes for this one (taken from Basenotes.net) are:

Bergamot, White Pepper, Anise, Black Cumin.

Lavender, Cypress, Dark Rum, Fir Balsam.

Sandalwood, Tonka, Moss, Honeyed Amber Crystals.

However, if you read the list of ingredients on the box, you will see that it contains ionone gamma methyl, which imparts a powdery violet/iris kind of quality, and it seems in this scent it is used in large amounts. Because of this, you may be surprised at how KISS Him opens, and this somewhat “synthetic” (to me) powdery quality lasts for a while, which I think some will find quite irritating. First, I want to quote a few reviews from the Basenotes site:

definately in the top 10 for worst scents of all time. this bijan,trussardi uomo,derrick black and many of the over the top80’s scents. the odd thing about this is it came out a few years ago though, go figure.body odor,piss and an animal’s cage is what this smells like.

Anyone remember Spencer Gifts mall stores from the 1970s? The stores that used to sell lots of KISS t-shirts and mirrors, as well as other goodies like Farrah Fawcett posters and whoopie cushions? Remember that sweet and spicy chemical smell that every Spencer Gifts store had? KISS Him replicates that smell very well.

This is really bad. At first it smells sort of promising, kind of like a darker Havana. However, KISS Him has a sickening, metallic spiciness that just overpowers this thing all the way into the drydown. It also has a dark rubbery smell that also permeates the whole scent…

…this fragrance is really good…. starts sweet with some dark thing going in the background , after one hour takes place a leathery base , kinda synthetic , but does not hurt my nose. It’s a OK fragrance , nothing outstanding , but it’s good.

When I first sampled this one, years ago, my sensitivity was high, and I didn’t like it. However, when I was able to deal with the powdery quality, I didn’t think there wasn’t much of a base beyond the powderiness! Don’t expect obvious rum, sandalwood, fir balsam, cypress, pepper, or even lavender here, though as has been said, if you know what cumin smells like you likely will recognize it here. Instead, it is the combination of notes that is the “star attraction” here, though the clear cumin seems to shock some people, apparently those who are expecting some sort of generic “celebuscent.” However, even if you like the idea represented by the note pyramid, you may be disappointed by the strong ionone gamma methyl. With this scent, I’ve found that I have to spray a lot more than usual in order to get it to “perform.” Perhaps the ionone gamma methyl was used because it’s not expensive and so the more expensive base notes could be used in smaller amounts. Whatever the case, there’s a strange compositional notion at work here.

After studying this scent for quite a white, I think I finally have come to largely understand it. The major problem is that the powdery violet type aroma chemical used can really bother some people, as it did to me, while for others it can obscure the other major notes, as it also did to me. However, once that mostly dissipates, there is a peppery haze that then can do something similar. Once I perceived those two things about the construction/structure, I was able to detect the other notes, and they are mostly blended without much note separation and without any one dominating. I’m not a fan of the peppery haze quality, to be sure, but it does impart a unique quality, at least relative to other scents I own. And I certainly look forward to wearing it again, though I see this as a once a month type of scent, even for those whose rotations are not large. My guess is that I’ll be able to perceive the other notes better in the future.

I think that with a scent like this, my usual application technique may be very helpful to those who are overwhelmed or irritated by it, especially the first hour or so. That is, it’s too strong at first with one or two sprays, but then it’s too weak an hour or so later. Now I understand that I should try using a lot of sprays but trying not to breathe in too much of the top notes. I spray in one room while holding my breath, then I go to another room where I blow on the area I sprayed to dry it quickly. I turn my head while taking deep breaths, which seems to really help to avoid experiencing too much of the scent at this point. By doing this with KISS Him, I’ve found that I can detect more of the notes and they are much better balanced. In this case, it seems to be the difference between a pleasurable and unpleasurable olfactory experience !

Lastly, let me make clear that I’m not saying that KISS Him is a “great” or “must have” scent, but if you like the idea, why not blind buy at current prices ?

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