Why did I choose Decadence over prudence ?

Decadence for Men is a scent that was released in 2003 by Parlux. There was a “feminine” version released several years prior, though with no reviews on Fragrantica.com. The men’s version has a few comments about it on Basenotes.net, however, but they are not very helpful. One member said:

It is largely a synthetic mixture like a weaker Ocean Pacific. Not bad but nothing to write home about.

The next opined:

I found it to be an invisible scent at first, turning only slightly soapy after a few minutes, and only when smelling up close. Way too subtle for my tastes…

And the third turned in an odd report:

The scent to me is very cloying and very long lasting. A year back a received a sample and for the heck of it wore and I thought it disappeared in about 20 mins. All day people kept asking me what terrible storng aftershave I was wearing…

The official “blurb” for it apparently was:

The Profligate And The Carefree Virile Have Been The Target. He Who Is Over Generous And Loves To Surprise His Girl Will Find His Embodiment In The Fragrance. The Absinthe Blossom, Imparts It In The Lighthearted Greenery, As It Takes An Energizing Dip In The Pool Of Strawberry And Mimosa Stem. At The Heart Peony, Violet And Spicy Anise Blossom Are Unveiled To Make Him The Perfect Charmer. The Musky Base Makes Your Memory Hover In Your Admirers Mind With The Topping Of Juicy Cherry.

So, why would I “blind buy” this one? First, the price was very low, and if I bought it I’d get free shipping on the order I wanted to place (gifts for others). Another reason involves the possibility of a price rise, though on an obscure scent that seems to be selling by the bucketful now that’s not likely to be realized for years, if ever. My major motivation, though, was the strange notes listed for it, but if it was released after 2003 (and especially over the last few years), I’d likely not have purchased it. This is because of the likelihood that certain aroma chemicals would be used in large amounts, especially iso e super or “laundry musks.” Dihydromyrcenol seems to be less often overused these days (in new releases), except perhaps in “drug store” and dollar store offerings.

Scents with strong absinthe notes are not common, and the only scent I really like with such a note is Ungaro I, which is now rare and expensive. The fact that anise was also listed suggests this may be niche-like. The violet or violet leaf note is likely just a top note, and even if it lasted more than a few minutes I wouldn’t likely mind. Peony is generally not strong, and I don’t mind it. I’m not sure what mimosa stem is supposed to be, but I can’t remember disliking mimosa. In fact, lately only tuberose seems to bother me, among florals, unless it is very weak. Cherry and strawberry are strange notes for a “masculine” scent, but having both is more than doubly odd, in my experience, but I think if they were strong one of the commentators would have mentioned this. So, what does it actually smell like?

At first I can smell the wormwood clearly, but not much else. I don’t detect any of the “usual suspect” aroma chemicals, and though I don’t mind some of them, I am really not interested in smelling them in yet another scent, even if in mild form. The sprayer produces a fine mist, so I thought four to the chest should be enough without being too much. My sensitivity has been low lately, which might explain my inability to detect the peony note, but I was surprised that I didn’t get any violet/violet leaf either. There’s nothing “synthetic” ‘or “soapy” about it, and if you like wormwood but don’t want a sickly-sweet anise dessert scent, you certainly don’t have to worry about this one. Over time, the wormwood weakened but the only major element that steps up to become obvious is what I think of as a synthetic wood note (perhaps methyl cedryl ketone). I’ve come across this in other scents, such as Tobaco Latino, and I’m not a fan. Interestingly, because I like the wormwood note so much here, it almost has the effect of making that wood note more appealing. I’ll be curious to see how I perceive this scent during subsequent wearings. The strawberry and/or cherry are weak but detectable.

With a name like Decadence, I thought the base might have at last some recognizable amber, but this is not especially sweet nor even a little syrupy in texture. There’s no animalic quality and the musk is mild. I feel that the old remarks on Basenotes (dating from 2005) are terribly off the mark, and this scent should have gotten some positive commentary. Parlux should be given some credit here for apparently trying to “go niche,” assuming that was their intention, and it’s not really “under-powered,” relative to most niche offerings. I’d say that if the wormwood was any stronger it would come across as obnoxious, actually. And while that wood type note may take it out of “niche” territory, at current prices, if you want a better wormwood-oriented scent I don’t think you are being realistic, unless you have no qualms about paying a whole lot of money to obtain it !

NOTE: After I ordered it and wrote the above, other than the description of how Decadence smells, a review for it (quite positive) appeared on Fragrantica. Also, I chose to “blind buy” another very inexpensive scent, Yacht Man Chocolate, so I’ll likely post about that one within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned !

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