I have no idea why those who had the license to Perry Ellis fragrances released Perry Ellis by Perry Ellis for Men (I think that’s the official name for it) in 2008. When I first sprayed it on, I was thinking that it doesn’t seem to fit in with other “masculines,” of that time or any other! Of course I may just be ignorant of certain kinds of masculines of that period, because I was never a fan of citrus-dominant fragrances. But let’s start with the notes – even there are not clear. For example, Fragrantica.com has the notes as:
…grapefruit, woody accords, resins, iris root, leather.
But Parfumo.net has the notes as:
Green apple, Grapefruit, Patchouli, Woody notes, Amber, Musk, Leather.
Then there’s the Basnotes.net list, which is just apple and amber. I don’t get a clear apple note, green or otherwise, and instead it seems like a soft grapefruit. And it begins quite musky. Several reviews talk of a metallic, bloody, or fishy note or aroma chemical, and when I wafted this to my nose I detected that, but since it’s not pleasant I stopped, and then didn’t smell it again. My guess is that the people who say this smell it up close or waft it around. Now in 2005, Everlast Original 1910 was released, which included these notes (from Fragrantica):
…lime, lavender, mandarin orange, mint and grapefruit; middle notes are nutmeg, cypress, cinnamon, tarragon and geranium; base notes are leather, tonka bean, patchouli, musk and guaiac wood.
However, EO 1910, while possessing strong grapefruit/citrus in general and leather, also has a fougere accord gets a bit oriental over time, whereas PEbPEfM doesn’t change much. The citrus gets weaker but the musk really hangs in there for hours (thankfully, it’s not of the sharp “white” variety, but it’s not animalic either). After a few hours, I do begin to think this isn’t too far from EO 1910’s drydown. I never got clear iris, “resins,” nor woods, and the leather is more like a texture to me. It’s a touch a sweet, but otherwise indistinct, though in its own way (I wouldn’t call it a “blob” because there are a few obvious facets). There is still an oddball quality to it, in terms of the metallic, bloody, fishy element but it has dissipated more than a little. And this brings me to Sécrétions Magnifiques, which was released in 2006, the official notes being (from Fragrantica):
Lodized accord (fucus, azurone), adrenalin accord, blood accord, milk accord, iris, coconut, sandalwood, opoponax…
And if you don’t know, this is a scent that has nauseated its fair share of aficionados, who claim to smell things like spoiled milk, metallic blood, etc. My guess is that those who say this are more likely to smell it up close on the skin, but since I’ve never sampled it, I can only wonder whether the perfumer for PEbPEfM decided to do a low-level designer version of SE for the “masses.” At Fragrantica no perfumer is listed for it, but Antoine Lie composed the other two. Even if he had no part in the creation of PEbPEfM, another perfumer might have sampled the other two and thought about combining those. In some ways it reminds me of the original Hummer scent (“vintage” formulation), in that it’s a fairly recent “mainstream” release with a strong (and interesting) but not entirely “friendly” muskiness. Perhaps this would be great for someone who doesn’t want to smell too much like all the other young guys (many or most wearing Sauvage?) but doesn’t want to stray into the potentially weird waters of niche.
But wait, there’s another possible “mystery,” depending upon how you define them. When I posted about PEbPEfM not long ago over at Basenotes, one comment on that thread was:
…it’s quite disgusting. It smells even cheaper than it costs. I can’t see any basenoter enjoying it. It is synthetic but that’s not the worst part. It’s just a total mess and it’s topped with this rotten ‘aquatic’ stuff.
My response was:
Perhaps you should have read the reviews before making the latter statement? And how many BNers like Secretions Magnifique? Is that one for “sophisticated noses” whereas because this one was released by Perry Ellis it’s got to be bad? Seriously, these are just smells, so if you don’t like them, fine, but you don’t have to implicitly (if not explicitly) assert that some scents are “bad” and some are “good.” I think more than a few BN favorites are a kind of olfactory torture, but I know that there are factors at work, such as sensitivity to certain aroma chemicals, that need to be taken into account. This PE scent is what I think of as a training wheels Secretions Magnifique, so I might actually wear it once in a while, and in fact if I spray the air with it and walk through the mist, it might be quite good. I’d much rather have a bottle of it than a whole bunch of other scents, and that would include TdH, Fahrenheit, the original Moschino Pour Homme, etc. (all other things being equal; otherwise I’d take one of those others and sell the bottle quickly).
Here’s the “mystery” element, IMO, embodied by this hypothetical question: what if Antoine Lie had created PEbPEfM, and in an interview had said he was “perfecting” his Sécrétions Magnifiques composition, with one aspect being to make it more wearable? Would it then be embraced by those who think they can speak to “objectively good” scents that “sophisticated noses” would appreciate? Why can so many like the idea behind Escentric Molecule scents, but can’t seem to recognize an interesting composition released under the Perry Ellis brand name? But one doesn’t need to go that far – what about Terre d’Hermes? When I first tried it back around 2008 it felt like a chemical assault! How in the world is that “objectively” better than PEbPEfM? Again, for all we know PEbPEfM was Lie’s greatest achievement (in his opinion, at least), but even if he had nothing to do with it, how does one “objectively” say PEbPEfM is terrible but “vintage” TdH is great? How can some people become so distorted in their thinking?