Perfume Directory

Bowling Green (1986)
by Geoffrey Beene


Bowling Green information

Year of Launch1986
Average Rating
(based on 161 votes)

People and companies

HouseGeoffrey Beene
Parent CompanyRevlon Inc > Elizabeth Arden Inc
Parent Company at launchElf Aquitaine > Sanofi Beauté

About Bowling Green

Bowling Green is a masculine fragrance by Geoffrey Beene. The scent was launched in 1986

Bowling Green fragrance notes

Reviews of Bowling Green

Given the numerous approving reviews, I was initially baffled by this scent. On my skin it opens brutally with a very sharp, juicy lemon spread over resinous, synthetic pine. The effect is not one of freshness, but of bilious chemical sourness, like a 75 cent "Lemon Fresh" pine-tree-shaped car air freshener, or to move to an automotive metaphor that better suggests the scent's funky recesses, like the interior of an elderly man's musty Buick that's been parked in the hot sun after a cheap detailing job left the seats damp with some sort of lemony cleaning product. As the newly-mopped-floor intensity of the opening wanes, the notes don't quickly evolve; it's lemon and foul pine, well into the second quarter.

But, things change. The pine-lemon cleanser eventually stops screaming and recedes, and a soft, unexpected and beguiling duo of patchouli and sandalwood comes in, gently offsetting what remains of those stiff initial notes. The scent improves astonishingly, and evokes in me a memory of an inexpensive Chinese Sandalwood fan I had as a kid that I loved to sniff and that never lost its faint, beautiful smell. Remarkably, after its truly painful beginning, Bowling Green becomes something understated, and rather charming.
30th July, 2018
This is my signature scent (along with Mugler Cologne) and out of my entire collection, I've only gotten backup bottles for this as well as Mugler Cologne - two fragrances I would rate as my absolute favourite fragrances. This is possibly the greatest mens' lemon verbana fragrance out there. Lemon verbana is a plant that is unrelated to the lemon tree yet has leaves that smell somewhat like lemon, but with a very green plant-like character to the scent. This fragrance starts off with a very realistic and strong lemon verbana; the lemon verbana is vibrant, green, and refreshing in this fragrance and lasts for about 2 hours. On drydown after 2 hours I smell lots of beautiful masculine greenery with leaves and moss while the lemon verbana disappears - hence the name "Bowling Green". It smells sort of like smelling a lemon verbana bush, carrying some leaves of the plant with you, and then walking in a cool forest in the middle of spring. I believe this is a masterpiece and combines the notes I love in fragrance (namely citrus and fresh green notes). In my opinion this is Geoffrey Beene's greatest creation, and far superior to the putrid (to my nose) Grey Flanel. Sillage is moderate but leaning strong (especially in spring or summer weather) while longevity is very strong at 10 hours. The fragrance also leans very masculine and has an old-world type of feel to it (in fact I bought a bottle of this for my grandpa as well). The juice colour - greenish yellow - is very indicative of the scent inside, one of green citrus, and the bottle (and even box it comes in) are actually quite beautiful with an antiquated vibe to them. The sprayer is also one of the best out of all my fragrances and lets out a lot with each spritz. And the low price on this is also unbelievable (less than $20 for a 120 ml bottle on online discounters). Geoffrey Beene should continue producing this forever.

03rd May, 2018
Bowling Green was a long-awaited follow-up to Grey Flannel (1975), and like it's predecessor, was a very verdant and herbaceous scent that went against the grain of most musky, mossy, and animalic scents which proved to be the apex predators of the masculine fragrance scene. However, this unique anti-establishment theme did not impart the same level of success as Grey Flannel, and eventually led to Bowling Green's discontinuation. It was revived once by EA Fragrances when they acquired the Beene portfolio, then retired again, yet this is always so highly-rated by critics and collectors in spite of it's long track record of commercial failure. I feel Eau de Grey Flannel (1996) was an intended replacement since it too was rather light and herbaceous as well, but also faltered in sales, leaving only the original Grey Flannel as the continuing Geoffrey Beene masculine. What happened? It's hard to say because all the masculines from this house are good for what they tried to be, but I guess lightning doesn't strike twice. On it's own merit, Bowling Green is exactly as it sounds: an extremely green and fresh fragrance, almost a revival of green chypres from the early 70's but in male form, a la Aramis 900 (1973) minus the rose and jasmine indole.

Bowling green opens with a brutally sharp bergamot to let you know it's still from 1986, but afterward, a very high-quality lemon verbena note that gets compared to Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985) appears, but this doesn't stay in "GIT Territory" for long and soon moves through basil and juniper before hitting the pine forest middle. I compare the next phase of this slightly to Pino Silvestri (1955) but only in it's use of prickly pine needles in the scent. The pine is not dominant here, as it has to sit alongside lavender, artemisia, cinnamon, and cardamom. There is a jasmine here, but it's fresher than the indolic variety of Aramis 900, reminding me of the jasmine "ghost note" from Grey Flannel, but as an actual ingredient rather than just implied. The base is fairly light and free of the usual crotch funk animalics popular by the mid 80's, giving it a finish similar to Drakkar Noir (1982) but without the gray scale monochrome drab aura of that cufflinks-and-tie scent. Patchouli, oakmoss, cedar, amber, sandalwood, and balsam fir take this back into the garden grove of the opening, ending in a dry crispness and subtle woodsy warmth that underpins all the citrus and coniferous freshness of the opening. Bowling Green isn't quite "aquatic fresh" but holds up lightyears better under the modern "simple and clean" mindset than the bulk of it's 80's ilk. I'd say this stuff rests somewhere between an 80's sport scent (before sporty meant mimicking deodorant), and a 90's "freshie" with a slight throwback to the antique eau de colognes in it's opening.

Bowling Green probably just didn't have the sophisticated charm to accompany it's theme like Grey Flannel, which was far more daring as a male floral chypre in an age of aromatic fougères anyway, whereas Bowling Green was more like a simple green herbal chypre flying in the face of neon-lit testosterone powerhouses. It definitely doesn't have the galbanum bite of stuff like Aramis Devin (1978), but Bowling Green is a rare breed of bitter green regardless of preferred decade, and the perfect spring/early summer scent, when the air is just warm enough to carry it aloft. Unfortunately, this stuff doesn't have the power for colder weather and is too casual/simple for office use, but those who often work (or play) outside during pleasant times of year might find it appealing. If you want a good, unassuming green scent for warm weather days when you don't want your scent trail to make a "statement", then you can't do much better than Bowling Green. Quite a shame this stuff never really got it's due, but for the price, this is an easy blind buy, especially for the guy who loves outdoorsy chypres hut finds the flower power of Geoffrey Beene's masculine debut a bit too challenging. If there is any criticism here, it's in the sillage and longevity, but for these prices, you can just spray on more throughout the day!
30th March, 2018
Mind blowing stuff, really. This had to have been inspired by Green Irish Tweed.

I am amazed that something like this isn't as loved as something like Fahrenheit. Although they are so very different, they both present that classic aura, they bring you back to the 80s, but they are both still very modern.

Bowling Green opens up with an amazing lemon verbena note, I mean, breathtaking, vibrant, uplifting, even better than the lemon verbena top note in Green Irish Tweed, which is hard to top. It blends smoothly with a noticeable bergamot. About 10 minutes in, the bergamot fades, the lemon verbena remains strong, and it becomes more herbal, and green. The pine note is excellent, it's not modern, but it's not dated, it fits in well. As it dries, it becomes more lavender heavy.

Unfortunately toward the 2 hour mark, the beauty starts to fall apart. Not to say it's bad, because it's still good, but not great. The base smells sort of cheap. It's hard to tell what I am even smelling at this point. A somewhat wet mossy, musky, floral. It kind of incorporates pieces of Grey Flannel, only much much lighter.

The first 2 hours are gorgeous. Even younger guys will probably love this. Don't be biased and dismiss a fragrance for its age. If this was remarketed and redone today, with a different label, I guarantee people would talk about what a modern classic this will be.

We are fortunate that Geoffrey Beene either brought this back out of discontinuation, or somebody found a massive stockpile of this somewhere and they've been selling all over the internet for $15-20 bucks for a 4 oz bottle. One of the best bang for your bucks out there. I have not smelled the original, and I am sure it's been reformulated just like everything else has, so I can't say how this used to be. I can say how it is now, and it is excellent!
24th May, 2017
For an inexpensive juice, Bowling Green impresses. Snappy summer barbershop with bergamot, flawed only by its quick fade like Eau de Grey Flannel. It simmers down to a pachouli base; I don't love that element, it's OK. This would make a splendid Vacation favorite during a month at the Cape.
16th March, 2017 (last edited: 30th March, 2017)
Not the one in the picture, this is the original Sanofi one with a little cloth tied round the cap.

It's different, evidently. I get a little citrus and it's spicy and green but the pale sweet fruity core - that runs all the way down - smells like pear. And that makes it a little ... flaccid.

Pear fougère. Nice but not outstanding.

30th August, 2016 (last edited: 14th September, 2017)

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