Perfume Directory

Polo Black (2005)
by Ralph Lauren

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Polo Black information

Year of Launch2005
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 492 votes)

People and companies

HouseRalph Lauren
PerfumerEllen Molner
PerfumerPierre Negrin
SupplierGivaudan
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > Prestige & Collections

About Polo Black

Polo Black is a masculine fragrance by Ralph Lauren. The scent was launched in 2005 and the fragrance was created by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Ellen Molner

Reviews of Polo Black

Ralph Lauren had a pretty sizable success in Polo Blue (2002), with it's "reinventing the aquatic as something classy" approach, and young guys ate it up. Finally, there seemed to be a formal scent in a vein millennial men wanted to wear, and despite its many flaws, was enjoyable by most male age groups. Ralph Lauren Polo Black (2005) was an entirely different affair, right from the jump. For starters, this scent was made to go in the fruity ozonic sharp woods nose candy direction so many youth-oriented masculine scents traveled in from the late 90's into the mid 2000's before that noise was hushed up by "amberwoods" scents into the 2010's. Wild, unfettered, with no sense of moderation or "traditional" stern masculinity, the fruity ozonics were both great for the "metrosexual" effeminate strait guys borrowing all their mannerisms and dress from gay culture (something those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community both laugh at, and lament enabling simultaneously), but also good for folks who honestly enjoyed genderbending. It was an interesting time for mainstream fragrance, and certainly more lively than the 90's, but I feel not a lot of these olfactive creatures were understood in their time, and only appreciated now over a decade later because they represent real left-of-center alternatives to the boring dreck served up in department stores once again. Polo Black is one of the most fun of the Polo releases, but also one of the most divisive in the perfume community. I'm surprised something like this is still being made, but a few examples of every fad seem to carry on into the future, or else Jade East (1963) and Mandom (1969) wouldn't still walk the earth.

The scent opens with tangerine, lemon, an "iced" mango accord, clary sage, and what Ralph Lauren calls a "green effervescent accord" which could honestly be just about anything. I kinda feel everyone was sharing notes with Calvin Klein in the 2000's as well, since everything notable from the decade is stuffed full of fantasy notes that I've labelled "Kleinisms" when found in CK scents, since it is there where they are most prevalent. Here in Polo Black, all this translates to is a fruity citrus top with a bit of meaty aromatics and some sharper form of calone (probably cascalone) to make it nice and fruity-tart like mango. The middle has silver armoise, or a sharper form of the artemisia plant (which is already sharp to be honest), furthering the tartness, but a drying element in the form of timberol joins the fray. Timberol is an artificial ambergris-type scent that was a precursor to the much more authentic ambroxan, and here it provides some desiccation that sets up for a soft hedione-powered descent into sandalwood. Surrounding this obviously artificial sandalwood note in the base is patchouli, hay-like tonka, wormwood, and Iso E Super. Wear time is over the 6 hour mark with decent projection, but this definitely doesn't have the strength of past Polo variants, nor really has the sufficient formal character to honor the original Polo (1978) or the previous non-sport flankers in the long-lived line. Polo Black really is the black sheep of the family here, and likely turned a lot of heads, but not always for the reasons the wearer would hope.

Within the perfume community, there is a lot of sass talk against Polo Black, and I can see why: this is a fruity youthful antithesis of what old "mosshead" masculine perfume collectors consider a proper fragrance for men parading around in the bottle of something familiar to them, and even younger guys back in 2005 were kind of divided over this style (indeed many were more garish than this), with most of that controversy dying down thanks to the passage of time. Still, if you tell the wrong person you wear Polo Black, you might get an earful about what a proper Polo fragrance is, and as they tell you to hunt down a vintage bottle of the original moss boss Polo or maybe even long-dead Polo Crest (1991), because "proper man's cologne blah blah". Well, if you ignore the people STILL holding a grudge against Polo Sport (1993) for being "fresh" over 25+ years after it came out, you'll still run into people who hover around Polo Blue and its various flankers as the best of the line, or the newbies playing with the numbered "Big Pony" editions and Polo Red (2013) and clueless about anything before them. Such is the sad state of Polo Black: too bizarre for widespread acceptance in its day, too period-specific in taste to make the leap into the next decade, and too "new" for the old guys still clutching bottles of Chaps Ralph Lauren (1979). Yet, this stuff still hangs around at Macy's counters and even got a more-intense Polo Double Black (2006) flanker. Pierre Negrin and Ellen Molner sure broke the mold here, and although this flamboyant gay guy in the form-fitting black suit feels out of place in the Polo lineup, it's better than you might remember, if you even remember it at all. Thumbs up!
13th January, 2019
Behold, one of Ralph Lauren's most daring ventures in the world of Polo: Polo Black.

It's a manly, exotic fruity-spicy scent that has none of the dna of Polo original (green). It is fairly bright and has decent sillage. Patchouli and sandalwood smooth this one out somewhat, with a smoky sweet touch of tonka beans; but the mango remains on top as the dominant note.

Great for casual occasions, Polo Black should be worn with discretion given its sillage. Overall, this one is a nice option for me to wear when I want to experience mango-spiciness without smelling like a fruit stand!
19th August, 2018
This is my dad's signature scent. It smells of saltwater and mangoes, but isn't overly sweet. Actually it's very salty and not sweet as a fruity fragrance would be expected to be. Sillage is very good as is longevity. It also leans very masculine. It's not really my style but it's a very nice fragrance for the money, especially as mango is a rare note in fragrances.

4/5
03rd May, 2018
I refrained from reviewing this back when it came out because I couldn't wrap my understanding around what it was trying to achieve. It smelled like pencil shavings with fruity intentions to me at the time.

Now I like it, especially considering the disasters released over the past decade. originality has largely gone out the window (though slowly coming back) and I think this will set you apart in today's aroma scene.

It only took 12ish years, but I think Polo Black has a point.
19th January, 2018
The opening on this is very clean, fresh (iced mango indeed), and nice. I was in love with it, right away. A little too "pretty" of a scent, but I like it.
Then the dry down comes into play.
It still has that mango-like scent, but instead of being sharp and watery, it gets creamy. Creamy, but for some reason, not in a good way. I don't if it's because it smells too common, but that dry down just doesn't do it for me. More recently, I tried it again, and the dry down smelled like some bad buttered popcorn.

SIMILAR TO: Marshall's Artisan Woods/TJ Maxx's Imperial Woods. The Marshall's version has a faux metal looking cylinder cap, the TJ Maxx one has a faux wooden rectangle cap.
That fragrance opens up very sharp and synthetic but immediately dries down into what the opening of Polo Black is like. It doesn't last that long, maybe 4 hours, but it's pretty much Polo Black done right. That queasy creamy dry down is not here, but instead, a smoother version of Polo Black's top notes.

CONCLUSION: Aside from my most recent experience with it (maybe THAT tester bottle went bad), it's pretty safe, but the dry down is nothing great, just generic.
28th November, 2017 (last edited: 12th April, 2018)
I just got this perfume (15 ml sample in a gift set), and I was actually pleasantly surprised.

I was fearing an overly-sweet blast of synthetic mango in the top, but this is actually not a sweet scent at all. The iced mango is detectable, but it smells like actual mango and not that orange gunk that can be found in ice cream and cheap soap.

Other than the iced mango, the patchouli and sandalwood play very well together (this definitely comes to show after you've worn it for a little bit). In general tha combination of ingredients form a very pleasant and interesting fragrance. The first word that comes to mind when having to describe its smell is "dark", so they've definitely done something right!

It's not as dominant as many RL perfumes tend to be, which makes this the perfect perfume when the wearer doesn't want to stand out too much. I find this to be great when at school/work. Especially if your outfit is mostly black. It is a bit mysterious, so it's actually pretty good for a quiet guy (like myself). It's very pleasant yet subtle. I love that!

I think this perfume can be worn on any occation. I probably wouldn't wear it for family get togethers, but that's the only occation I can think of.

Both longevity and projection is great on me. Lasts all day, and projection is pretty strong (although the perfume itself is a subtle one). Yeah, I'm one of those lucky bastards.

9/10
01st February, 2017

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