Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
I have such an affinity for late 70’s/early 80’s masculine fragrances. I love the elaborate, hyper-masculine, yes, stereotypical perfumes of that era. I think it’s due to a few things. One of those being that I wear a lot of perfumes and I don’t let titles like “homme” keep me from wearing scents. But, so many of the marketed-to-men fragrances of that era are just *too* much for me. I don’t feel comfortable wearing them…and for some reason I admire them because of that. It’s almost like some sort of “odor envy” or something. Another reason I may like these scents is because I lack any patriarchal associations.My father did no wear fragrance. I guess the men I was attracted to in my youth was sneaking some of their dad’s aftershave…which was stuff like Polo. So, there’s that “crush” component of these sort of scents. But, then there is the final reason that I’m drawn to the classic Ralph Lauren Polo…it’s really good. This is a really interesting and well-crafted fragrance.
The original Polo opens with minty, cool wormwood and fresh, aromatic fir, like some sort of emerald green fairytale forest. It’s deep, dark and fresh. On my skin, there is a lot of an indolic jasmine and this feeling of “florist fridge” roses. I feel like on my skin, the cool “corsage” florals are amped; yet, this scent is still all about the spiced evergreens and damp grassiness of vetiver. People aren’t going to sniff Polo and classify it as a floral. The dry-down is this delightful mossy leather and tobacco with so much patchouli. My heart loves this dry-down so much. I almost feel like my olfactory system could be completely monogamous to this dry-down…*almost*. I really do love it but I have commitment issues.
Polo is multi-layered and a powerhouse chypre that was rather characteristic of an era. It’s the sort of perfume that has been copied many times throughout the years, giving it an unfair sense of banality out of its original context.¹ But, it’s been long enough. And one can go back and sniff Polo and appreciate it for the American masterpiece that it is.
Notes listed include artemisia, basil, caraway, juniper berries, thyme, lavender, cumin, coriander, cloves, carnation, jasmine, rose, evergreens, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar, musk, leather and tobacco. Launched in 1978. PERFUMER – Carlos Benaim
Give original Polo a try if you like classic masculines. Or if you like perfumes like Tom Ford Private Blends Italian Cypress, Halston Z-14, Etat Libre d’Orange Je Suis un Homme, Paco Rabanne for Men, Clive Christian C for Men and/or Antonio Puig Quorum. According to reviews on Fragrantica, you have to be like 50+ years old to wear this. I think one shouldn’t be allowed to wear this one unless they have a taste for good scotch.
Projection and longevity are above average. It’s potent.
Original Ralph Lauren Polo comes in two sizes (2 oz and 4 oz) with prices ranging from $64-$80 at Macy’s. It can also be found at discounters such as Perfume.com. if you can find a vintage bottle, that’s worth seeking out too.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Evergreen chypre – one of my favorite classic masculines. I love this fragrance so much.
*I used to compare Polo to a salad with thousand island dressing with patchouli bacon bits. From a distance and on paper, it’s like basil and smoky patchouli meats. And for some reason I love that too.
¹ – It’s original context was so good at selling the “All-American” male lifestyle that it was picked up by 80’s high school preps trying to appear more vigorous than their pubescent life would leave you to believe.
Want more reviews? Try…
Fragrantica – Member reviews
Basenotes – Member reviews
I included this in my list of favorite masculines.