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A solid, spicy chypre with extreme tenacity and a solid working knowledge of perfume's big fragrances.
Fetish starts with a massive citrus: predominantly lime with a distinct peppery spin on it. The chypre bitterness is present immediately, carried here by cypress notes and spices more than oakmoss alone, and there's a faint soapiness squeaking through that's common with these kinds of top notes. A bulky castoreum, sprinkled with cinnamon, hums along underneath, and I get a gourmand texture that I believe might be patchouli. It's massive scent, with a lot of individual components at work, yet oddly, I'm not getting that much leather from it—or at least not as much as I expected.
It settles into a scratchy cardamom musk over bronzed resins that come across as a touch candied, yet the tart, bitter notes remain as a reminder of the citric opening as it begins to fade. The whole thing winds down to a very tasteful vanilla musk that manages to sidestep predictability through the residual bitterness that reads as bit mentholated here.
This has a wide profile: it's a very loud and prominent composition which, like its infamous sibling M, is extremely tenacious. And it's the inevitable comparison of the two that clarifies where Fetish PH stands for me. I've always found M to be more futuristic than it seems—very clinical in its components, as though it were assembled by surgeons on the perspex surfaces of some floating laboratory lit by clinical fluorescence. Fetish, however, offers more of a history: it's contemporary and relevant, yet it looks back along perfume's past trajectory for its touchstones, finding them in the powerhouses of the last three decades.
For me, M keeps the gold medal out of the two, but that's mainly because Fetish is playing a deck that I'm personally not that drawn to. There are several notes in this that don't sit right with me, but they sit perfectly within the composition itself, and certainly within its genre. Objectively speaking, it's an impressive scent in its complexity, although it's perhaps a tad too shouty; but subjectively, it's not quite my cup of tea.
Pros: Excellent blend with enough nuance to elevate it above other in the genre.
Cons: Its high volume seems out of sync with its nature."
28 September, 2013