Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ralph Lauren Polo Black: Rock, Jazz, R & B

I don't usually wear fragrances for Men or those marketed as Unisex but sometimes I am curious about them (and some of them are favorites of mine such as Creed Silver Mountain Water). I love buying fragrance for people and I also like to know what kinds of scents my favorite designers are coming out with. I've always loved Ralph Lauren even though I don't dress preppy at all. I like the simple, classic American styles of dresses, jeans and other sportswear (the ones that aren't too preppy for me). I especially love the formal gowns as they're never overdone--never too colorful or too frilly and frumpy-looking. Hard to believe all that American chic came out of The Bronx, NY, baby! But heck, why not? My own American ideology is that it's not where you come from but what you make of yourself that counts, and Mr. Ralph Lifschitz, with his talent and imagination, has given me lots of pleasure with his creations throughout my wonderful life here in the US.

Before I get to the Men's, let me take you on an American scent journey. Ralph Lauren has launched some excellent world class perfumes over the years beginning with the understated beauty, Lauren (1978). Lauren is considered a classic by many perfume lovers. It's often classified as Fruity Floral but this is not your average watery fruit punch--Lauren has greens and earth and wildflowers in the sun, all of the splendor of the great American landscape, and for a lively twist, pineapple. Is pineapple American or even New York? Again--why not, if all the world is welcome here with open arms? Surely there's room for tropical elements in an all-American blend. The vibe of Lauren is both relaxed and poised, casual but well-mannered, effortlessly beautiful. I smell a chypre element in Lauren which gives it a very slightly sophisticated overtone but it's not at all a haughty Old Money scent (at least it doesn't seem to flaunt it). Lauren feels right to wear in jeans, a cotton summerdress, a suit or even one of those fabulous Ralph Lauren gowns. The bottle is clean and simple, made in the image of an ink bottle, a favorite bottle design. Please forgive me my long and convoluted Lauren tangent but it is also my Fragrance of the Moment and a perfume I deeply love. This one gets "Who smells nice?" from strangers every time I wear it.

Ralph Lauren's first fragrance for Men launched in the same year and if you're in the USA, you probably know someone who wears or has worn Polo. It's the one in the green bottle with the Polo logo on it and it smells very strong, mostly like pine. It's classified as a Chypre by Jan Moran. I would say the scent is more woody-herbaceous than flowery, traditionally more suitable for a man (but if you're a woman and this is your perfume, I think that's OK, too). I thought it was a Fougere (Aromatic) because of the herbaceous notes but I guess I was wrong. Polo is a very easy scent to overdo. If you like this scent, my best advice is to keep it subtle.

Since Lauren and Polo, Ralph Lauren has launched many more popular fragrances such as Chaps (1979), Safari (1990), Polo Sport Woman (1996), Romance (1998), Ralph (2000), Blue (2003) up to the newest launch, Ralph Hot (2006), their first chocolate-based Gourmand scent. Now, without further ado, here is what's supposed to be the pièce de résistance of this post: Polo Black for Men, a launch I somehow missed last year being too wrapped up in the Women's perfumes.

Has anyone heard about this? I found the blurb on Canadian Elle magazine's site:

...Music being a passion for the Polo Black man, the three "notes" of the cologne are described as effervescent rock, liquid jazz and soulful R&B...

Well, you know I have to smell that! So if any of my readers has actually sniffed Polo Black, please let me know if you caught any music in it. I haven't smelled it but the notes sound good, although they are a bit mysterious. (Edited to add) I finally smelled it and I can't say it's music to my nose. It smells a lot like a modernized version of the original Polo to me, even though it starts on a somewhat pleasant fruity accord. I thought it dried down kind of sour and tinny, too, but I also think that of John Varvatos which people seem to rave about online. YMMV.

Ralph Lauren Polo Black (2005)
Top: Iced mango, Spanish sage, green effervescent accord.
Heart: Silver armoise, hedione, lush liquid accord.
Base: Patchouli noir, sandalwood, tonka bean, timberol.

Jan Moran's notes:

Lauren by Ralph Lauren for Women (Floral-Fruity) 1978
Top: Wild marigold, greens, rosewood, pineapple
Heart: Bulgarian rose, lilac, violet, jasmine, lily of the valley, cyclamen
Base: Cedarwood, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver, carnation

Polo by Ralph Lauren for Men (Chypre) 1978
Top: Basil, chamomile
Heart: Leather, tobacco
Base: Oakmoss, patchouli

Perfume-4sale.com lists additional notes of juniper, cumin, thyme, pine, carnation and amber.