Once I got over the fear and shame of sampling a spritz of Number 1 - "the world's expensive perfume" - at a local Neiman Marcus fragrance counter, I gave it my all in analyzing this halo scent.
Well, for me Number 1 is way too feminine in quality, screaming with lilies, roses, jasmine, and other I can't quite nail down. The vanilla is indiscernible, which would have won me over as a foundational, stabilizing note. And the vetiver seems to be cloaked by the floral array, which doesn't do it for me.
I'd rather use Clive Christian's "V" for its more accessible, masculine oud qualities (price is still stratospheric there, too!).
What can I say that hasn't already said about the pretentious packaging? Overall, the marketing and the fragrance composition itself just makes me uncomfortable (not just because I'm not a millionaire, LOL).
Number 1 for Men by Clive Christian is a very floral chypre that could easily be considered on the feminine side of unisex fragrance spectrum. I have not seen the notes list for Number 1, but the opening is lemony bergamot that leads immediately into a jasmine floral blend which smells like: rose, carnation, lilly of the valley, heliotrope, possibly Ylang along with jasmine which has a baroque elegance of florals. Smells quite good, uplifting and slightly sweet. The base is a generic combination sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, tonka, vanilla, possibly some cinnamon although not heavy. There are many notes in here and you sense the dancing around of florals as in a Mozart Sonata. Is it similar to Patou pour Homme or Versailles pour homme by Jean Desperez? Yes, it has a resemblance to these greats but lacks balance within the complexity of floral and wood notes. No. 1 smells great especially at arms length distance where it projects artful elegance that is a rarity in mens fragrance today. This would be a perfect formal or "black tie" event fragrance. It is not my favorite, but I would recommend it with assurance for any fan of floral perfume.
10th February, 2016 (last edited: 11th February, 2016)
This review is for the limited edition 15-year anniversary extrait version, as opposed to the EDP that's sold all the time. Honestly, it's quite good.
It's a grand, expensive smelling aldehydic chypre in the style of Chanel No. 5 extrait, Joy, or Amouage Gold Man, with sparkly lemon champagne aldehydes on top of florals on top of a rich creamy mix of iris, sandalwood, and musk. What sets it apart are the citruses on top. Where most of this style of perfumes are content to let a bit of lemon and bergamot do the heavy lifting, Number 1 surrounds them with a full-on fruit basket of oranges, tangerines, and possibly a hint of grapefruit. Meanwhile, the florals center on jasmine and carnation, giving it a very expensive feel for those in the know.
If you're familiar with Gold Man, imagine that with the poop removed and the frankincense toned down to make room for more upfront citrus and florals. The base doesn't quite have the over-the-top richness of No 5 extrait, but it's still really good. As such, it's not exactly original, but extremely well done for fans of this sort of thing. Whether the extrait is worth $1500 a bottle is up to your budget, but it's definitely worth a sniff.
Hot raging naked amazonian werewolves, this is utterly gorgeous...
thats what i would be saying if this was any good.
but alas, the fierce truth of the matter is very different, and its almost disgusting to see 'THE WORLDS MOST EXPENSIVE PERFUME' printed on the bottle and box.
but then, that shows how easily marketing gurus can sell utter tosh to the general public, poor folk who dont know their rectum from their eyeball.
But perhaps im being too harsh... perhaps. And forgive me for being this way, but when hard earned casheroonie is splashed out on such a hyped and uber fragrance, only to get a mediochre scent worthy of Superdrug, its hard not to lay on the attack thick.
but in truth, the frag itself isnt horrendous, infact far from it. it is, for all intent, a nice even smooth frag. to me, it seems to shout heralds to many other scents and this is to be accepted, as so many scents before this have already used the same notes, same kind of composition and succeeded in producing worthy and long lived frags.
perhaps thats where it falls short. With that Moniker written all over it, youd be forgiven for expecting some sort of earth moving, mind blowing, orgasmic experience upon spritzing, leading to a mating dance of utmost perfection inspired by the magical world of scent youve delved into.
thats daydreaming. anyone who ends up breaking into their CreditCard limit for a jug of this is either very very wealthy and its small change, or has had a bad rhinoplasty operation and suffers with sinusitis constantly.
Id buy it if it were priced similar to Hugo Boss!!
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
Where did this go so wrong? I'm guessing it went wrong at the concept stage, the "concept" being to create "the world's most expensive perfume", as this stuff is marketed, although, almost unbelievably, Clive Christian has managed to mess up that statement, as on the bottle and box we find instead "the worlds most expensive perfume". You'd think someone would pay a little bit of attention to detail, considering this stuff costs $700 for 50ml.
So, what problems do I have with Clive Christian No.1 for Men? Well, it starts with the brief. "Make the most expensive fragrance in the world". If that's your starting point for making a scent, you're in trouble, because you've started out trying to create a scent without regard for what it actually smells like, your only concern being to make it expensive. It's a great marketing ploy, as there will always be people who want something just BECAUSE it's the most expensive. Now, I make a good living and I will always go for quality over quantity, and I don't mind paying handsomely for something of high quality - something finely crafted, durable and, most importantly, something that's the best in its field.
Which brings me back to the scent. I'm not someone who believes "natural is best" when it comes to scent. Sometimes, harvesting a natural product is very harmful to the environment. Sometimes, a synthetic ingredient smells better. Sometimes a synthetic is longer lasting. Better, in other words. So simply stuffing your fragrance with very expensive natural ingredients will NOT necessarily make it good.
Ultimately, this is just not a good scent. It's generic woody-floral with a slightly spicy opening and a powdery heart - powdery notes aren't something I enjoy. The fragrance is produced with one goal in mind: to create the perception of exclusivity and value by deliberately creating something expensive, without regard to whether it's actually any good or not. What they've ended up with, unsurprisingly, is a mediocre scent.
No. 1 for Men on skin all but immediately goes straight to the floral heart notes of powdery heliotrope and iris, a subtle jasmine and rose, and an almost banana and honeyed frankincense-like ylang-ylang floral as the primary heart note. Base notes of tonka bean, sandalwood, amber and vanilla sweeten the now receding powdery florals further in the dry-down almost to the point of the scent becoming too sweet, but stopping just short. Projection is below average and longevity is below average to average.
No. 1 for Men is a very nice pleasant smelling unisex floral composition that while not really my kind of thing is well put together. The ylang-ylang really dominates the other florals here, with the heliotrope and iris adding powdery support and the rose staying well in the background but still detectable albeit quite subtle. Subtlety in general can sum up No. 1 for Men, as it really is rather conservative for a floral and is relatively easy to wear for just about anyone. I particularly like the honey-like nature in the heart that pervades the florals to give No. 1 for Men a nice sweet overall character. What I *don't* like is the ridiculous price it sells for. At $100 for 50ml I would continue singing No. 1 for Men's praise, but at $865 you have got to be kidding me! I won't unfairly mark down the composition due to the pretentious and insultingly snobbish marketing on the bottle as "The World's Most Expensive Perfume" nor its entirely unreasonable wallet busting price-point but even though the scent earns a very good 3.5 stars out of 5 rating for its smell, the value for the money and marketing from Clive Christian does not even merit one star. I recommend getting a free sample of this just to say you have tried it, but in no way would I ever buy or recommend this at anywhere near its retail price. Shame on you Clive Christian!