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Dirty English: Me Versus The World

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It was fairly early into my exploration of fragrance that I realized I particularly enjoyed a few notes, more than others. At the top of the list was cedar, and Iíve come to enjoy it in all itís shades and nuances. Perfumery mainly uses two species, the Virginia Cedar, which is the sharp, resinous, woody scent that most people associate with hamster bedding or pencil shavings. Thereís also Atlas Cedar, which is a more distinguished, camphorous smell, beautiful in itís own right for entirely different reasons, and used in entirely different applications. Rarer are the perfumes that use cypress, which is a nice balance of the qualities of both and was used, along with Atlas cedar, in Juicy Couture Dirty English. I have said for a long time now that this is the most underrated fragrance of 2008, missing the ballot altogether for Best New Fragrance in the 8th Basenotes Awards entirely, replaced instead with things like Diesel Fuel For Life and LancŰme HypnŰse.

But enough reminiscing. Dirty English opens in a very unusual way, in that it blends sweet citrus notes with spicy cypress and caraway seed. Let me take a step back and say how much I enjoy the addition of spice notes to fragrances, and what a difference they can make. The black pepper note in Ralph Lauren Romance Silver saves it, it gives character and strength to Burberry London, it turns the entire composition on itís ear in Cereus No. 7, itÖwell, you see where Iím going. The maneuver is a good one, and itís a very distinct spicy opening. The edges of the sweetness and spice fade, and the drydown is much like the opening, but with the growing presence of moss and leather to esconce it firmly in the masculine category. Where it really shines for me, though, is body interaction. The hotter the temperature, and the more I sweat, the better and better this thing gets. It is my go-to summer scent, despite not strictly meeting the criteria. Itís entirely because of skin interaction; Gucci Pour Homme is a close cousin to Dirty English but I rarely wear it in the hot months because it doesnít do anything interesting on my skin. I seem to share, overall, the most interesting dynamic with Dirty English out of anything in my collection. Projection is above average, longevity varies with temperature, lasting longer in warmer weather on me.

One other thing I enjoy about Dirty English is that it acts as a crossroads on a journey of cedar exploration. Itís well rounded and centered, and examples of extremes can be found in every direction, towards Virginia Cedar in Gucci Pour Homme (or, Pencil Shavings Pour Homme), towards Atlas Cedar in LíOccitane Notre Flore Cedre, towards cypress in CdG Monocle Scent One: Hinoki, and other close cousins can be found in creatures like Parfums 06130 Cedre and CdG Series 2 Sequoia. Theyíre all distinct and different, and it really demonstrates how much utility one note can have. Hopefully some of you that passed up Dirty English because of the Juicy Couture name will remember this and give it a wearing the next time you see it on display. To skip it is to miss a very unique cedar creation, and the most underrated fragrance of 2008.

(Original post here.)


  1. 's Avatar
    Patchouli is my favorite scent and I find really enjoy cedar as well. For me the two together are just brilliant. My grandmother has a ceder trunk that she keeps her cashmere in wrapped in patchouli leaves. When the trunk is opened it is just heaven for me. I agree Dirty English is a gem that many are overlooking. Nice review.
  2. 's Avatar
    I agree with you on Dirty English. I have stated before that this was one of the rare current releases that was worth anything.

    Nice post.
  3. foetidus's Avatar
    I learned from and enjoyed your discussion of cedar and I certainly agree with you about Dirty English. It's a radical departure from the typical designer norm, an excellent fragrance, and highly underrated.
  4. Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
    Good to see you back, bluesoul. Absolutely agreed about Dirty English. That one has really grown on me. I remember buying a more summery scent in San Antonio during the heat of the summer, and looking at an ad for Dirty English as we were waiting for the bus, and OH how I wanted to go back in that cool store and buy a bottle. If I would have known how well it works in summer, I would have done it. You're right - it doesn't get cloying and nuclear, even though you would think it might. Great longevity nonetheless. And while I see merit in both Fuel for Life and HypnŰse, I agree completely that Dirty English is not just underrated, but superior to many scents that get more love. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is one of those designer scents that people will look back on with serious respect.

    My only complaint? The deodorant stick smells nice, but mechanically it's a piece of crap. I'm going to have to dig the goop out with a knife and apply it with my fingers. Not a happy camper on that one.
  5. Un Belle Parfum's Avatar
    Great review! It's interesting how many people can't seem to get past a name or a brand's image/marketing and end up missing out on a great fragrance.
  6. auee's Avatar
    This is one of my favorite recently released fragrances and it is a great one. Let us hope that it stays in production with its current formula for a long, long time. I also enjoy wearing Gucci Pour Homme and thank you for the information about the different types of cedar, which I am coming to believe is one of my favorite notes.
  7. 's Avatar
    This blog instigated me to buy a 50ml of this today. I'm not mad, but my paypal hates you for it.:rolleyes:
  8. bluesoul's Avatar
    Thank you all for the comments and kind words. Maybe it's now me and a few friends versus the world.
  9. Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
    Damn straight! I wore this one today just because you reminded me how great it is. Before I put it on, in one of my famous master bathroom vanity experiments, my wife picked it blind over a recent $180 high-end designer offering - without hesitation. Not sure what that says about my purchasing wisdom...
  10. Zgb's Avatar
    Dirty English is my recent discovery. I love it, own it. Very nice blog btw.
  11. weegee's Avatar
    Overlooked and underpromoted. Ah, well... more for the rest of us who appreciate it. "Pure MAN" in a bottle, but I guess Mugler has that nametag all sewn up.
  12. river1's Avatar
    Thanks for a great review; I wore this today on a nice warm sunny day.
  13. neo_angel's Avatar
    i agree, dirty english is a worthy acquisition for any collection
    i was still very new into fragrances when i Blind Bought it as a recommendation from a friend.
    when i first spray it i immediatly thought i made a Big mistake, it was completely different of everything i used to wear (mostly acquatic, fruity, fresh fragrances, mayBe a few fougeres and thats all), to me it smelled like dry cinnamon and incense.
    it definitely grew on me, i thought that was going to Be one of those scents that i only wear for me, But surprisingly several times received compliments from the opposite sex telling me how nice i smell.
    and yeah it is totally suitaBle for summer, i can 100% support you on that
    i live where the heat gets 36c + , with high humidity
    and this one doesn't get cloying. it smells nice and instead of dying on the skin Bcus the sweat,
    high heat and humidity helps dirty english to increase sillage and improve projection and longevity, also when it totally dries down and there's just vetiver left its very nice.
    i've done a lot of testing during last summer, in search of the most suitaBle fragrances for high heat and humidity, Bcus 75% of the year is hot here, and i already have a lot of stuff for the winter... so i did my homework and i can assure you that dirty english works great for hot days
    there's a lot of hyped up fragrances which are supposed to work good for the summer, But they really don't...
    mayBe certain woody fragrances are suitaBle for summer, i am going to try more of them
    once i tried rocky montain wood, i wasn't very impressed, But it was just a very tiny spray that tha sa applied on my wrist, i need to give it a good go


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