After having lived with the fragrances for a week, I am somewhat surprised by my reaction. I bought the eau de toilette rather than the body spray because, sampling in the store, the eau de toilette seemed to have brighter top notes. I also could not resist the glass bottles with the different silk-screened designs on the back. The shape of the bottles remind me a little of Commes des Garcons; does anyone else think so?
I thought that Citron would be my favorite, but it has not turned out that way. It has even less lasting power than most citrus fragrances, and the base notes sort of overwhelm the citrus top notes even in the beginning. It's not bad, and it may end up growing on me, but I expected to like it better.
My previous impression of Oak was spot-on. At times, I get the spicy dry-down of Halston Z-14; at other times, it's more like the chocolate gourmand quality of A*Men. Interesting, unique, and complex for a mall cologne. A little hard to wear, though; too much and it wears you instead.
Last week's sale was buy-2-get-1-free, so I chose Noir as my free one. I agonized over whether to get a backup bottle of Oak or Citron instead, because I had not really been impressed by Noir at first. I eventually decided to try Noir for variety's sake, and I am glad that I did. Sure, everyone these days is doing a fresh-plus-sweet, vanilla-plus-coriander thing and calling it Noir or Black. But apparently that's because it really works in a versatile way. Not too heavy for the office, reminds me of some kind of chai or cappuccino drink.
What I learned from this experiment is that the trial-size shower gels did not give a perfect indication of the fragrance. They helped me narrow down my choices, but they misled me a little, too, especially regarding Noir and Citron.
By the way, the Memorial Day sale this weekend is buy-3-get-3-free, which is basically half off, or $15 a bottle for the cologne. It appears to me from the web site that the deal is mix-and-match with the regular Signature line. Finally, some equal rights for guys from the Bath & Body Works folks!