When a perfume comes in several colors, like the recent Ralph Lauren Polo collection, you should stay away, because this is not a good sign. Coding a perfume with a strong color on the bottle is a technique much used in the mass market universe and it usually says that the "brand" or the "fragrance line" is more important than the product itself. You certainly remember the body sprays from Axe, Bac, Fa, Nivea, 8x4, Impulse, Brut, Denim and many others since the 70's, when this concept has started to be extensively used. Today something else happens around. Mass market products changed their points of sale and the luxury perfumes of the past lost their aura and uniqueness in the constant battle for shelf visibility. Colored bottles are like the small ads with faces put on the packaging since 2006 and they attract you in the huge ocean of novelties in a perfume shop.
Lacoste took me by surprise with their 3 new perfumes in Paris. I thought I was somewhere else, where the bottles with celebrity scents compete with the shower gels. Lacoste L.12.12 line is inspired by the polo shirt created in 1927 by René Lacoste where each number represents a coded element of design. Unfortunately for Lacoste, Ralph Lauren was faster and has recently launched their collection of big polo bottles. In fact, the 3 Lacoste perfumes represent the new paradox of fine fragrances. 10 years ago I knew there was Adidas EDT (with their sporty fresh notes) and the expensive and luxurious Chanel, Hermès, Dior, etc. Today this line is blurred because what was yesterday an inexpensive perfume with a formula inspired by those used in deodorants became the new "luxury" creation in 2011.
Lacoste L.12.12 Blanc, Bleu, Vert are decent fresh masculine colognes on a musky drydown, but they are also 3 perfumes directly inspired by the early AXE products. With several major differences: price, concentration, point of sale and the lure of prestige. Uncomplicated, almost boring and easy to wear, they represent the style of a new generation of consumers who are probably in love with Bleu de Chanel and other sporty Allure creations built on the same design principles.
Lacoste L.12.12 Blanc, after a very sparkling citrus note with grapefruit, cardamom and light aromatic notes, becomes floral feminine with touches of tuberose and ylang and ends in a very sensual musky transparent cedar drydown where marine, aldehydic and soft suede note are combined with light mosses.
Lacoste L.12.12 Bleu is a bitter aromatic fougère with mint, grapefruit and the sour vetiver-cedar-aquatic-violet note (Kelly Calèche drydown) combined with a classic masculine chypre accord.
Lacoste L.12.12 Vert brings a more accentuated citrus note with grapefruit combined with aromatic notes of lavender and thyme, green fig leaves and a very soft cedar - birch leather note.
All 3 perfumes are in the same tonality and their choice is hesitating as if the brand could not decide between 3 proposals created from the same formula. Strong musk and clean floral notes support the woody transparent facet while the Burberry effect is quite obvious in the drydown. They smell like a shortcut for many other masculine creations from the past 5 years.
What else is a polo than the same basic shirt from Zara to Armani with a small logo that can change everything?
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art