At a first sniff, Forbes of Forbes seems quite close to, if not falling within the broad “British barbershop” family of scents comprising Taylors of Old Bond Street, D.R.Harris and Geo Trumper type of compositions – traditional masculine accords and some old-school distinguished feel of restrained edginess. I thought of Trumper’s Curzon, for instance, with a hint of Eucris’ ghastly herbal mossiness too. The quality here seems a bit higher though; Forbes of Forbes is a quite bold “eau de parfum”, and for once you can definitely get it in terms of thickness, richness and longevity if compared to Trumper’s or Taylors’ lighter (and often, duller) “eau de toilettes”. And most important, there’s quite much more going here also in terms of creativity... in a just partially compelling way for me, but it’s there.
Now, the blend. Honestly I don’t get some of the notes mentioned in the “pyramid”, while I get others. There’s surely a tangy, but quite tame citrus-fruity orange-pineapple head accord which goes away quite quickly leaving just a subtle, yet pungent and fruity persistent sort of herbal-damp feel smelling as much acrid as disturbingly cozy; and there’s a rich, dusty patchouli-ambery base, “ambery” meaning here both vanillic amber and a camphorous, salty, quite realistic ambergris-like note. But I also get a whole dry woody-mossy-pine accord which connects Forbes to several old-school powerhouses of the Seventies and the Eighties (think of any dry mossy-woody fougère).
Nonetheless, what I get above and beyond all of this, is a bold note of leather (which is mentioned on the box of this fragrance, so I’m not dreaming this): polished, contemporary, slightly ashy leather, a bit designer-oriented too. “Polished” means here nothing like Knize Ten or other raw, tanned, “unprocessed” old-school leathers, and also nothing like modern, over-smoothened soft suede leathers à la Tuscan Leather. This is nothing like them, and a bit like both – say, halfway between them: a dry, smooth, even slightly boozy sort of clean leather which has just been polished with a hefty dose of shoe polish, so showing a sort of chemical, varnish-like pungent aftertaste together with a sort of ashy-powdery feel, which to this extent, makes it smell slightly similar to leather’s rendition in Moschino pour Homme (I said “slightly”, and I refer solely to the leather note – contain your enthusiasm...). Quite realistic overall, but a bit pungently synthetic too, with an almost odd combination of tropical, herbal, ambery and camphorous notes and a salty-vanillic base acting altogether as a quite double-edged sword here – they surely make Forbes of Forbes smell quite interesting and unusually elegant, but also almost a bit screechy.
Overall this fragrance feels halfway really traditional and really unusual to me; it has definitely an old school chypre kind of vibe (besides the leather-powdery combo in Moschino pour Homme, Krizia Moods comes to my mind as well, minus the floral notes, and a bit of Polo Green too), it also has undoubtedly a “barbershop” feel, it has a really enjoyable warm leathery-ambery drydown... but at the same time, a few key nuances make it smell just a tad more “bizarre” than any of the references I mentioned above. More exotic-tropical, somehow more “gothic”, maybe more natural too – a quite raw, austere kind of “nature” with a really fascinating kind of lukewarm feel of somber, even animalic dampness. That’s probably the most interesting feature of this fragrance, which is there also on the drydown – this turbid feel of mossy-woody moisture. I’ve never been to Scotland but well, I guess this fragrance may surely fit the image many people (me included) have of Scottish foggy and humid natural landscapes. Ambergris even provides a sort of “wet stones” feel which surely fits the atmosphere. So far so good, you may say: now add to it some astringent feel of “salty tropicalness”, and you get why I called this scent “bizarre” and “not entirely compelling”.
I’m a bit torn about this distinguished mess, it feels like wandering through the Scottish hills on a moody cloudy day and stumbling upon the wunderkammer of a lunatic explorer. But for some reasons, I think I like it.
Very similar to Minotaure (Paloma Picasso).
A delightful pineapple with orange gets the ball rolling - very nice and very soon seeing a basil undertone added on, followed by woodsy notes - mainly pine. The base sees oakmoss - a very good but restrained one - and ambergris is present towards the end.
Whilst this is not my favourite of this house, it is a very good scent with respectable performance: strong sillage, good orojection and seven hours of longevity. A good spring fragrance. 4/5.
Top: orange, mandarin
Mid: basil, oakmoss, pine
Base: clove, patchouli, amber, vanilla
I like forest, pine, herbal and mossy scents... they are my favorite elements. I didn't find this to be any of those. Quite a tepid opening, and an excruciatingly bad dry-down of amber and vanilla. Yuck.
Wonderful fragrance, and my favorite of this maker thus far. It has a dark green foresty top note and a warm not- very-sweet amber botton. It is rich and subtle, and darned if it doesn't remind me of something more "main stream" but I can't place it. The amber makes this fragrance a near great. It is the closest thing Forbes has to an elegant fragrance. Not a sexy or power smell, but being Scottish I guess you could say its The Laird's toilet wataer, and yer donna try it laddie unlessen yer got the kern in yer pockets. I like it very much, but the price might require me sell a half interest in the Glenn house, and I am not sure that it is worth that much. Still, very fine stuff, worth a try if you can find it!