Total Reviews: 20
Every time I try Bandit, I wonder why I don’t love it. I should love it – I love chypres, I love leathers, and I love the idea of a perfume so bad-ass you can almost visualize its resting bitch face.
Maybe it’s because there’s nothing to distract from Bandit’s core brutality. Chypres are bitter, leather is bitter – leather chypres are therefore doubly bitter. Tabac Blond takes you almost to the edge but drifts into a sweet, smoky amber drydown that softens the landing. Habanita covers it up with flowers and face powder. Jolie Madame has the sweet sparkle of violets.
Bandit apologizes for nothing, and covers nothing up. It’s a tough, bitter, raw-edged leather that winds up in ash and sweat. The flowers that are there are putridly creamy in a stomach-turning way, and the civet forces your head into its crotch.
Putting it on is like fighting your way into a tight black leather jacket that crackles with hostility as you try to make it bend. Once on, there is a raw, salty meat smell that crawls up at your nose from the seams of the jacket, as if bits of cow flesh still cling to the underside. I was always disappointed that Lady Gaga’s first fragrance didn’t smell like I imagined her dripping meat dress to smell – but Bandit does.
But that’s not what turns my stomach. What gets me each and every time is the jarring clash between the raw, salted-meat leather notes and the creamy floral side. The florals are calorific, full-fat renderings of themselves – a rubbery tuberose, a petrol-like jasmine – mashed into a cream cheese texture that when it rubs up against the dark, dry leather causes my gorge to rise. The civet plays a key role here, of course, both heightening the pitch of the brutal leather accord and giving the florals a slutty growl.
To my surprise, it’s the smoky ashes of the dreaded galbanum that rescue Bandit for me – cutting through the overly rich florals and brutal, salted leather, the ash weaves in and out and draws my attention to a campfire in the distance, a successful (and much appreciated) piece of misdirection. Every time I get to this part of the dry down, I wonder if it’s worth at least getting a decant.
On the plus side, Bandit is distinctive, bold, and full of character. It is also ageless. In its cleaned-up, reformulated state, the current Bandit EDP is firmly modern in its minimalism. There is nothing in it that pegs it to any one year, let alone a year as far back as 1944. As Teutonically ergonomic as an Olympian swimmer’s waxed chest, it feels like it could have been debuted in the same year as Rien (Etat Libre d’Orange), even though 62 years separate the two.
On the other hand, Bandit is a fragrance whose high proportion of green notes makes it vulnerable to the ravages of time. In two samples I’ve had (vintage and concentration unknown to me), the green elements – the moss, hyacinth, artemisia? – seemed to have wilted like lettuce in strong sun. The resulting vegetal, decaying mulch does nothing for me, not because it is unpleasant per se, but because part of me associates that wilted green note with perfumes I find dated. I won’t name names, but basically anything with coriander, peach, gardenia, and sometimes that 70’s way of treating patchouli.
In the end, though, Bandit is just a curiosity for me, and a placeholder – it smells much better and richer than the brown-grey drudgery of the current Cabochard and less herbally-up-its-own-ass as Miss Balmain, but not nearly as good as Jolie Madame, whose rush of violets makes me smile. Habanita and Tabac Blond are its sisters-in-arms, equally at home with a sneer and a cigarette dangling out of their mouths, but I would take them – any of them – over Bandit. I just don’t have the personality required for such naked aggression.
The current version of Bandit by Piguet smells something *like* its vintage version, which means a classic aldehydated-leathery chypre, with “humid” and heavy floral notes on a gloomy base of leather, woods, civet, galbanum, patchouli, benzoin, and the usual green-floral breeze: shortly, a feminine "femme fatale" scent like Habanita or Cabochard (which means men can easily wear them as well, as such scents now became more masculine than the masculine ones). But as for (new) Habanita and (new) Cabochard, this current reissue has not the slightest resemblance in terms of quality with its predecessor. It is plain, artificial, inoffensive to all extents: the notes are apparently more or less the same, but their texture, their substance is remarkably different. The new Bandit completely lacks in all the smoky, dark, raw animalicness of the vintage versions, its organic dark shadiness, and the thick richness of each note. And obviously, civet and oak moss are just pale echoes in today's version. The smell “seems” somehow similar, so in a way it may be considered kind of decent as they did not apparently reformulate it that much; they just tamed down what had to be tamed down due to regulations and changes in customers' taste. Comparing Bandit today to its vintage ancestors feels like watching a mediocre photograph of a scene, and be where it has been shot – you miss all the palpable “living” feel. Plain and weak, simply put. No evolution of the notes also, they all just become drier and more rubbery. It’s not a disaster, but as much costly as it may appear, if you truly *like* perfumes go for the vintage.
24th December, 2014 (last edited: 25th December, 2014)
I wish this smelled right on me. My skin just does NOT do it justice. On others, it smells the way it should - like an amazing awesome woman wrapped in a leather jacket on a motorcycle. I wish I could pull this off, it exudes confidence. I tried the vintage edt.
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A floral fougére
The original vintage version:
Amongst the classic chypres this is a more floral one, with touches of citrus, rose and jasmine in the top notes. Woody and leather becomes more obvious in the drydown, but overall this is a restrained and not at all heavy scent on my skin. Longevity is about three hours.
i can't even give this a rating, i am SO divided on it. it's horrible, all manner of stench, rough, choking, lodging in the back of the throat -
then it's interesting in a tromping-thru-a-swamp sort of way, near the skunk cabbages - and the occasional bright, ephemeral glimpse of a tiny flower.
the question is: is the possibility of glimpsing the flower enough to make one overlook the rest of it?
sadly, i am still sitting on the fence!
Initial leather and woodsyness is quite lovely but the carnation dry down is oddly rubbery on me. Disappointing.
Bandit in the current formulation is dark, dank, mossy, bitter, refreshingly herbal – all things I love. The leather is discreet, there's orange peel in the heart and a floral bouquet that somehow always stays several steps behind the bitter chypric impression. It's old school in an Aramis sort of way. Now there's my, admittedly entirely subjective, problem with it: impeccably constructed it may be, but I've moved on from these scents that convey impressions of a gent's library or of dashing about wielding leather briefcases wearing a tailored suit.
Also, gets quite dry and dusty after the 4 hour mark.
It’s often said that Bandit is a love it or hate it fragrance, with the implication that greatness is divisive. Well I’m smack in the middle of the road with this icon. Bandit makes me wonder, even though I’m an enormous fan of both leathers and green chypres, if there’s something particular to its construction that neutralizes the defining elements of the two genres on which it's based. There are other leather chypres that appeal to me: No 19 EDP, Aramis, Heely’s Cuir Pleine Fleur, Rabanne’s La Nuit, possibly even Cuir de Lancome and Scherrer de Scherrer (questionable that they’re both leather chypres or, respectively a floral leather and a green chypre.)
After the first sweeping minutes of Bandit, the chypre and the leather seem to cancel each other out and Bandit isn’t as vehement as either a strong green chypre or a nice, rough leather. The basenotes are dry but calm and feel more woody than anything else. Not particularly bitter, not smoky.
Bandit doesn’t entirely satisfy either my chypre or leather urges. I reach for other green chypres, leathers, and even more satisfying leather chypres like Azurée far more often.
08th July, 2011 (last edited: 29th September, 2011)
I wish I didn’t have an aversion to the leather note in Bandit. The leather / cistus makes Bandit smell totally horrible to me. The first time I tried Bandit, I had never before experienced a bad reaction to a particular leather note (Bandit began my leather dislike). I sprayed a couple of sprays on the back of my hand, took notes on concerning the opening, and sat down to watch the news while the fragrance developed further. I was tired the news was boring and I fell asleep. I woke up twenty minutes later to one of the most wonderful rose / jasmine accords I had ever experienced. I couldn’t believe how perfect that accord was. A half hour later, though, the leather / castoreum note came on strongly and I rushed to wash off the fragrance… I’ve waited four years to try it again... Again, I get the same reaction to the leather note but now it shows up immediately and I don’t smell the roses.
After reading so many rave reviews of Bandit--even some on various sites speaking of it in the same sentence (and with equal awe) as my beloved Tabac Blonde--I had high expectations of Bandit. I was intrigued by the idea of a sexy, bad-girl, leather scent, particularly one created by the esteemed Germaine Cellier. Of course, what I sampled, the current formulation, is not Mlle. Cellier's concoction, but one might hope to catch just a hint of the glorious past behind this perfume.
Leather? Oh, yes. Bad-girl? Quite. Sexy? Not to my mind. What I smell is a bitter bunch of violets that were used to clean an ashtray then stuffed in the pocket of a very lived-in motorcycle jacket. I actually do know some who would consider that sexy--I don't. I'll refrain from adding more. Hillaire has already filled in the details eloquently and more than adequately. I couldn't express it better myself.
09th September, 2010 (last edited: 10th September, 2010)
Oh Bandit, how we were loving you in the Original formula EDT. A quirky blast of dark chypre flowers, and quickly drying down to an amazing leather that had us feeling rebellious, sensual, and brisk. This was compared to D'zing and was the more pure leather of the two. This was also compared to DK Fuel for Men and Bandit is more stark and unaltered leather. DK Fuel seems quite cheery in comparison. Lastly, this was also compared to Cumming, which proved to be a more earthy leather than Bandit.
So back to Bandit, in my passion, I bought the reformulated EDP, and it's just not the same! I was warned, and took a risk. What's left in this version is a linear dark floral - I liked to call it angry flowers. To me it never dries into that glorious leather of the original EDT and has me cursing it. I have yet to see if my wife can sport this in some undiscovered way. We have a whole bottle to figure it out though!
At this point, Bandit is no longer in the leather category for me, and Cumming, Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella, Cuir de Russie by Chanel, and DK Fuel by Donna Karan are the superior leathers for me.
05th March, 2010 (last edited: 23rd March, 2010)
There is a very specific place for Bandit:
In the boudoir of a woman whose fetishistic, retro fascination with fifties, tawdry-class sexuality is of the Betty Page/pin-up variety.
This fragrance evokes black, conical, peek-a-boo bras, animal prints, pink vinyl sofas, and bondage restraints.
Dare I say, it is not my cup of tea?
Nonetheless, my hat is off to this truly wicked sex kitten.
Oh my!!!!! What the f*^/# !!!! Can you believe this fragrance????
Bandit is horrific.
I've never smelled a perfume like this before.
A green soapy opening blast, then long lived (about 3 hours on my skin) more soap and shearer's dirty underpants.
Middle notes I clearly get are Lanolin and Urine. Seriously.
The base is strong fresh sweat. Sweat precisely on the cusp of turning nasty; and soap, lots of it.
There is a pleasant smooth creaminess to the base.
Almost inexplicably (I suspect it contains pheremones) I am strangely compelled to go back and sniff this awful fragrance again and again...and again
There is something so intensely sexual, mysterious and addictive hiding under all the nasty stuff here...
Worse still; the dirty bastard is making me horny.
I feel so ashamed!!!!
I don't think i could wear this as it smells exactly like sweat, soap, wool and nasty stuff, raw and brutal with no attempt whatsoever to prettify itself; but i definitely think Bandit is extremely unusual, strangely sexy, shocking and amazing.
Maybe a tiny amount layered with something loud and pretty could work???
I'm glad to have experienced it's awesome power.
I'm giving it a neutral for now....
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This is for the reformulated EdP version. It's just too harsh and bitter for me. There's really nothing I find pleasant about it. It's almost like the "bones" of the Original Francesco Smalto fragrance (mossy, musky leather), and seems to me to be a relic of a bygone era (or error). So, if you find this too harsh and want a softer yet more masculine version of it, try the Francesco Smalto (while it's still available and super cheap). I'll give it a neutral because I can see this as a matter of taste, not "good" versus "bad."
Although marketed as a lady's perfume, the topnotes strongly resemble the scent of Trussardi Uomo. However, after a few minutes the musk takes over and provides a more conventional style.
Like so many others, this is a deceiver. If you test it, do not buy on first sniff, but give it some time to develop
I bought this with my sister in mind. She is younger, bolder and maybe braver than I am. For me, Bandit is too strong (did I say that?), too green at the start and way too "perfumey" at the finish. I can't believe young people like this stuff. I hate it and it gives me a headache... and I know that my sister will LOVE it! PS Having said all of that, I tried Bandit again. While it is not a leather fragrance that suits me, I have learned to respect what it is...an unapologetic leather perfume of depth & quality.
04th August, 2008 (last edited: 05th September, 2009)
I tested the edp with high expectations, only to crash and burn! This one lost it's punch on me after the first 5 minutes. It rapidly weakened into a sharp, non-descript eau de cologne...I did'nt hate it, but I didn't enjoy it either.
I was initially going to put a thumbs down but I decided I'm going to keep trying this to see if I ever get the attraction. All I get unfortunately is a horrible gag reaction. To me it is over-the-top green with a touch of stale, used tobacco. So Sad! I wanted to love this more than anything but it hasn't happened so far. Others I've let smell it didn't get the same reaction so I guess I'll keep at it. The next time I put it on could move me to tears of joy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
I am so deaply jealous of the other reviewers. I hoped for leather, complexity, incense - and got white pepper instead. Heady, sweet and vaguely floral white pepper. Tons of it. I even sniffed white pepper out of my cupbord and sniffed my wrist again - nearly identical. Oh well.
I am once again struck by how changeable any frangrance can be. Dry? Non-floral? Not on me. The green notes are persistently sticky, the florals don't blend at all and the leather notes vanish leaving only ash. Even after several hours I am left with an impression of a decaying bouquet of pungent white flowers in a vase of greenish water next to an ashtray.
Knowing what I like in a fragrance, I had thought Bandit promising, what a disappointment! Blame it on chemistry, I guess, clearly it works splendidly for some.
If Bandit just doesn't work for you, you might sample Jean Louis Scherrer - I found it gave me what I thought I might find in Bandit. The leather stays high and tight throughout with a silvery green edge lurking below the surface. The green notes fade, of course, leaving a beautiful array of florals that emerge and recede over time. For me the carnation persists the longest, just over the leather and very close to the skin.