…And Where The Men Are “Ugly Bastards:” Bud Parfums of Australia, Part Two (and a Prize Draw!)
In my last post I reviewed several feminine fragrances from Bud Parfums of Australia, and now I am turning my attention to the offerings for men. I seem to have some that are on the sweeter side of the range, but I guess I was attracted to their descriptions without thinking too much of variety. No matter, because I like all of them, and if these are any indication of what the others are like as far as quality is concerned, I need not worry. Perfumer Howard Jarvis certainly seems to know what the gents like to wear.
Chocolate Soldier is deceptively sweet to start, with a big in-your–face chocolate note combined with a highly pitched citrus that could be either petitgrain or neroli and seems a bit too much with the chocolate, but once that quiets down, which is very quickly, the orange loses its sharpness and a harmonious rum accord joins in. At this point, I thought it was still going to be sweet and somewhat boneless, but some pleasingly warm spices soon intervened, and there is a base of mellow wood (perhaps teak?), that holds it all together and keeps the chocolate in check. Chocolate in perfume can be problematic to the point of being a deal breaker for me (i.e. (Montale Chocolate Greedy, one of my very few Montale scrubbers so far), but Chocolate Soldier is a creamy, nutty dark essence, not a dry dusty cocoa, and it is an ideal match for the woody base. By the time it has all settled down it’s a smooth talker of a perfume, seamless and quite sophisticated, and the longevity is excellent. I have liked it more with each wearing and as much as I would like to find out what it’s like on a man’s skin, it surely does work very well on mine. Add another one to the relatively short list of fragrances that incorporate chocolate with great success.
In contrast, Assassin is somewhat more in keeping with the usual idea of a “masculine” fragrance but it is by no means business as usual. It is rich and ornate and it definitely has a dark side. It’s as elegant as James Bond, with a secret up its sleeve; the unusual and well, addictive base notes involve oud and a touch of hashish, and gives it an edge that makes it just unfamiliar enough to keep you guessing. It is not like one of the trendy new ouds since that is not the dominant characteristic; I actually get more of the hashish aroma here, just enough to be distinctive, and the oud wood is simply another component of the whole. This is a good thing, because it is more wearable than some of those more aggressive oud perfumes which, while often beautiful, require a lot of restraint and are not suitable for all occasions. A subtle and persistent fruitiness that I decided must be pomegranate adds even more interest and I finally realized, after several trial runs, what it reminded me of. I once bought a perfume called Persephone from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, and Assassin smells not unlike a more evolved rendition of that, but with a masculine sensibility This is a man’s equivalent of a feminine evening perfume, a little too much for daytime but just perfect for stepping out on the town – and if you run into a little international intrigue on the way, at least you will be dressed for it.
I still wish I had asked for a sample of the leathery Whoa de Cologne, but there is an even more colorfully named fragrance in the lineup, and that is Ugly Bastard. The tongue-in-cheek idea behind this one is that it smells so good everyone will think you are handsome even if you’re not – and smell good it does! If I had to give it a classification I guess it would be a fougère since it has a freshness that persists all the way through its development, but it is a richer mix than is usually found in this style, and it has none of that piercing synthetic sharpness that passes for “fresh notes” all too often found in today’s modern fougères. There is some chocolate and rum in here too but with contrasting elements of delicate florals, herbs, spices and a particularly nice teak wood base that lift it into a whole different realm than Chocolate Soldier. It’s brisk without being medicinal, refreshing without being astringent and just sweet enough to be charming. I found the far drydown to be especially delicious. Gentlemen, regardless of your appearance this well-constructed fragrance will be find favor with whoever you wish to impress, and even if you are already good-looking you will seem even more attractive while sporting a splash or two of Ugly Bastard.
Now for the good part: Bud Parfums is generously donating a 10 ml bottle of Ugly Bastard to one lucky reader! Just indicate in the comments if you would like to be entered. The winner’s name will be drawn the week after this review is posted. (Sorry, U.S. mailing addresses only.) And do tell – have you tried any of the Bud Parfums fragrances before, and which ones do you like?
Disclosure: The perfume samples were sent to me for testing by Bud Parfums at my request. Samples are available for purchase on the Bud Parfums Web site.
Image credit: Photo of Australian actor David Wenham via the hunkies.com, original source unknown.