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A very fresh, tropical, enjoyable, unique and pleasant opening that makes good use of citric fruit over spice and greens to capture a wide range of moods, making it rather universal and best suited for a mass audience. A Ralph Lauren mantra since the manufacturing of Polo Blue that has suited them financially quite well, to say the least. Imbues a bit of Caribbean flair with a rather synthetic but fairly well blended mango and tangerine accords that press nicely against the sage and greener qualities. These elements are then layered over a prominently spicy patchouli presence that within 10-15 minutes starts to get creamier as the tonka bean becomes more prominent.
The first 20-30 minutes are when Polo Black really shines, with the citrus taking full control and not allowing the patchouli and rather stale sandalwood note to reach center stage. A great seller in this respect, as the top and middle are very nicely done and find just the right balance between citric, herbal, and spicy, the perfect amount of time to sample, purchase and exit before realizing that Polo Black may not be all its cracked up to be.
The problem unfortunately lies with the rather uninspired and bland basenote formulation, which lacks a dark and brooding presence to give it depth and muscle. The patchouli is far too prominent and cloying during the drydown and the tonka bean just doesn´t seem to hold as well as it should, struggling to emancipate itself from the restraint of the overemphasized patchouli and highly synthetic sandalwood. One can only imagine what a little tobacco or leather accord or a more prominent and improved organic tonka bean accord could have done for Polo Black to make it truly exceptional.
This is nice, department store fodder but doesn´t have the same elegance and charm of Armani Code, which does a far finer job of finding a balance between cream, spice and citrus. Leans more in the direction of a skin scent and does seem to imbue the wearer with a sweet and creamy synthetic charm that does give this a certain versatility perfect for fall, spring or winter; day or night; casual or formal.
Projection may be a bit below average on most skin but longevity seems to tremendously vary based on individual chemistry and environmental circumstances. I have gotten as little as 3-5 hours and as much as 10-12 hours, with colder weather climates generally inducing a longer stay of the patchouli and sandalwood residue.
Certainly nothing to turn away from initially, Polo Black is very enchanting in its initial applications but after a few wearings quickly becomes tiresome to even the most loyal Ralph Lauren patrons. Blame it on the patchouli and sandalwood?
19 January, 2011 (Last Edited: 11th February, 2012)