It’s very good, so just… Relax !

Relax by Davidoff is a 1990 “masculine” release with the following notes, according to Fragrantica.com:

Top notes are mint, lavender, tarragon, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are bay leaf, patchouli, jasmine, vetiver, heliotrope, anise, cedar and geranium; base notes are leather, tonka bean, amber, benzoin, oakmoss and vanilla.

First, I’ll mention that this is not a vintage scent I had any special interest in acquiring. However, I did obtain a bottle as part of a lot purchase, not thinking much more than I might be able to swap it off for something I’d really like to have. Second, when I see mint and lavender in a 1990 scent, I’m thinking, “something I probably should avoid” (I’ve already got a few and very rarely wear those). Of course this seems to be a popular combination (Le Male, Cuba Gold, 360 White for Men, and so many others), but to me it can be the essence of cloying. And there’s also an anise note, which again does not make me think pleasant thoughts with this list of notes, as visions of “classic barbershop” scents come to mind.

Fortunately, this is something I’ve never smelled before and it’s great – it makes me wonder why there haven’t been “clones” of this one since 1990. The major accomplishment here is that there is smoothness, whereas others with these notes are too harsh for me. What else can I say about it? Despite the jasmine note, there isn’t a strong animalic element here – perhaps a hint of the animalic at most. It’s sweet but not like some recent releases. The fougere accord is very mild, and unlike in so many other “masculines,” it complements the other elements rather than announcing its presence like some “Leisure Suit Larry.” In some ways it’s like a precursor of the A*Men flankers, at least in the drydown (it’s got a near gourmand quality).

There’s no “Play-Doh” type of heliotrope note and unlike Cool Water for Men, there is nothing “synthetic” about this one (such as the apparently large amount of dihydromyrcenol in CW), but I don’t get strong vetiver, geranium, wood, leather, or oakmoss notes. So, don’t expect an “old school” scent with powerful aromatics here. Instead, what you get is a really smooth, natural-smelling blend, with just enough contrast to prevent boredom in the drydown – the whole point of “designer” scents, in my opinion (“Brut in a tuxedo,” perhaps). The prices for this one on ebay now are quite high, to my way of thinking, and I wouldn’t pay those prices for a bottle, but I might go for a mini at $10 or so (though I’m wary of mini bottles that are splash). I can see why a fan base for this scent might have developed.

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