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Well, I'm back after a (forced) holiday of two months...All I can say is be very careful not to irritate the moderators. They have the power of life and death on Basenotes.
With Summer coming, I have been to the department stores looking over the fragrances. Those who follow my posts on Basenotes know I have been a staunch niche fragrance fan. True they are harder to find, and more expensive, but you will not smell like everyone else, and the scent usually lasts all day.
Armed with a handful of test strips, I tried Gucci, Givenchy, Chanel, and Dolce & Gabbana. What struck me was the amazing similarity among them. It seems they almost try to smell alike. Then I decided, these were the "safe" fragrances everyone talks about. No one would dislike them.
They all started with a citrus (bergamot, grapefruit, etc) then add a little pepper (white peppercorns, pepper, black pepper) then in the dry-down add oak moss, patchouli, or cedar. Voila! you have a "safe" fragrance. They all smelled nice, and were appropriate for summer. D&G The One, D&G Pour Homme, Armani Code, Gucci Guilty, Gucci Guilty Black, Givenchy Play, Chanel Allure, Chanel Bleu, Givenchy Gentlemen Only, They were strangely similar, not cousins...but brothers, and twin brothers at that. I walked away with a tentative favorite...Givenchy Gentlemen Only It didn't stand way above the rest, It just had a slightly different twist. Honestly, if you smell 1 Million or A*Men, you will be able to recognize it immediately. If you sniff Le' Male or Fahrenheit you will recognize them without hesitation. These are department store fragrances, too. But there is a group of citrus/aquatics that sit most prominently on the counters that seem to blend together. I know fans who insist they can easily tell the difference, but for my nose, they are very similar. Remember something- Citrus fragrances have good projection but horrible longevity, so you may want to pick up a 5ml atomizer to keep in your briefcase or desk, these need re-applying at lunch time. So don't sweat the Summer choices, head to the store, find out which one is on sale, which one comes with a free tube of shower gel, and pick it up. You will smell safe, fresh, and citrusy this summer.