KC Black has been in my regular rotation since I discovered it a few years ago. So when I was presented with an opportunity to receive a bottle of Vintage Black free as a gift, I jumped at the chance without having ever having had the chance to test it.
As a flanker to the original, this vintage version is very curious. At first sniff I detect almost no connection whatsoever to KC Black. It comes across as very citrus heavy and quite alcoholic, as if someone had just poured a freshly made lime tequila cocktail. The citrus is very juicy and almost natural. It does not come across like a pledge cleaning product as so many other citrus based frag's can do. As it progresses through its lifespan of about 5 hours tops, it does have some faint similarity with KC Black; but it is missing the incense and particulalry the sweetness of the original's mint (as already pointed out by dougczar).
Another curious aspect of this, is that despite the listed notes of sandlewood, oak and cedarwood, I can not really detect any woods in this at all. It stays very citrus and linear on me and doesn't really develop much at all. I do detect a very light musky type base though.
I also found the name to be curious too, that is until I made a connection that I suspect could be the answer. I was sure this reminded me strongly of something else in my collection, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I stumbled across my bottle of 4711 Eau de Cologne. That's right; Vintage Black dries down to smell very similar to a more concentrated version of a traditional Eau de Cologne. I guess the combination of citrus, lavender and musk has that effect. Maybe that's where KC got the 'vintage' inspiration for this?
Overall I find that I can only give this a neutral rating. It's sillage and longevity are average and I can't see myself getting nearly as much use out of this as I do with the original KC Black. At least it didn't cost me anything to give this a go!
To my nose (concededly less trained than many that post reviews on this site), Kenneth Cole Vintage Black is a a decent but uninspiring fragrance, an mixture without form or character that remains such (merely a mixture) throughout its mediocre lifespan. It teases with interesting notes (as well as an overall notes pyramid) but delivers something shapeless and generic.
I love this one. Not the greatest for longevity, not the greatest sillage, but a remarkable scent that is not overbearing, overpowering, or cloying.
This actually is very similar to Kenneth Cole Black in many ways - it just seems to be missing the sweet top note that KC Black has. This makes it just a little more subdued than Black. If you already own KC Black, you probably don't need this, since they are so similar. If you don't yet own either, you may want to try both out and decide for yourself which is better -- or do what I did and buy both. I loved KC Black so much that I bought this one blind - and I don't regret it.
If I had to pick between the two, I would probably choose KC Black over this Vintage version (I like the added sweet watermint that the Vintage is missing), but you can't go wrong with either... or both!