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    professor goggles's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    (Untitled) by Martin Margiela

    Definitely a unisex fragrance, and not feminine as listed here in the Directory, (Untitled) is not as interesting as I would have hoped from MMM, although I should have known, considering the recent step-down of Martin Margiela as head of the house he founded. The very fact they're releasing a perfume at all is a step in the wrong direction, in my opinion. Seeking a larger appeal through a more accessible product runs counter to the whole project begun by Martin Margiela, whose hallmarks have always been rigorous material-driven experimentation, serious craftsmanship and a fantastic sense of humor. The fragrance just doesn't quite carry this forward, but they're really striving hard to market it as if it does, except the humor part. Their ad campaign presents it as if it's some kind of chemical miracle. All perfumes rely on chemistry, and they don't need to beat us over the head with it as if it's something brand new. What next, a perfume in a test tube called (ExPeRiMeNt)? That's the kind of heavy-handedness they're resorting to in their ad campaign. MMM has never done that. Always they've insisted that their clothes speak for themselves, and the trompe l'oeil effects they achieve and the curiosity aroused by their very appearance have allowed them to do exactly that. Perhaps with a liquid scent, which cannot rely on visual appeal alone, other tricks are necessary to get the point accross, but I fear they've taken it too far and in the wrong direction.

    It's nice, and that's its whole problem. L'Oreal helped them make it. It's a clean, green money-making machine.. It starts very fresh and soapy, but then there's a weird kind of sweet chocolate fruitiness that I found cloying, and then it disappears. Nothing sticks out. It doesn't last at all. For an expensive product, I'd hoped it would have some staying power or something that really distinguished it as new. That's all I'm looking for from them, and them especially: something new. And it's not. There's so many ways they could have played with the whole idea of perfume to create something more interesting, but they chose to play it safe and produce a very slickly marketed and accessible product with mass appeal, branding it with some clichés of minimalism and conceptualism. And frankly, where's the fun in that? As a perfume it's okay, and I'll definitely rotate it as a fresh spring and summer scent, so it gets a neutral rating from me. But as the début fragrance from one of my favorite fashion houses, I have to say I'm disappointed to say the least.

    UPDATE: My expectations were simply too high, and I've had time to get to know the fragrance as it is. After several wearings, I've warmed to it. The chocolate accord in the opening is quirky. Chocolate has lots of tannins which have a bitter, astringent quality which lead naturally into the green galbanum heart of the thing. It's an odd take on chocolate, giving a flash of comforting warmth, which instantly switches into herbaceous green high gear. It fades to a wam comforting balsamic drydown. It's actually more complex than I gave it credit for and evokes that particularly French innocent fondness for sweet pâtisserie with a green accord that is actually quite sophisticated, an effect similarly achieved in L'Artisan's Mechant Loup with its hazelnut and woods. Sweet but smart.

    01st October, 2010 (Last Edited: 27 June, 2011)