Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dior's Fahrenheit

As I've mentioned before, most of my favorite fragrances didn't impress me much at first, taking their time to grow on me and reveal their fine qualities. But Fahrenheit, perhaps the only fragrance that I'd want to take with me to the grave (or at least carry some backup bottles of into the next few decades), positively repulsed me upon first sniff. It was tarry, peppery, smoky, leathery; it called to my early-20something mind an old man's armpit; and, upon more focused sniffing, an old man doused in gasoline and pine resin. And then lit on fire. I was dumbfounded, and as I sniffed my wrist throughout the next few hours I was amazed that Fahrenheit was, and still is, a bestselling fragrance for Dior. But something about its character, its audacity and distinctive profile, intrigued me. I made a mental note to revisit it at some point, and revisit I did. Several times. With each spray from the department store tester bottle, I was freshly gobsmacked by the first 10 minutes of it on my skin. "It's a chemical spill", I thought to myself. "Dior is selling a chemical spill in eau de toilette. They're geniuses. Who's buying this? And why?" But with each testing experience, I paid more attention to Fahrenheit's smooth, floral, leathery, musky drydown, which struck me as lovelier with each sniff. It got to the point where I'd walk into a store, spray Fahrenheit, then settle for something more subdued, more classy, more "me". And then I'd sniff my Fahrenheit-soaked wrist compulsively on the way home. It got stuck in my head. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I craved it for an entire week - its brash opening, its iconoclastic profile, its headstrong character and firm sense of self. It was exactly the kind of fragrance I needed at the time, the polar opposite of a comfort scent: Something to square my shoulders, force my chin up, and help me face the world. I broke down and bought a bottle, gave it a proper wearing instead of a hurried spray-and-sniff, and fell in love. Eventually, even the chemical spill came to be addictive.

The green notes in Fahrenheit make the initial impression; the florals (including a violet note straight out of YSL's technicolor Paris) offer a hypnotic counterpoint; and the woods and musk in the base round out the whole composition, a textbook example of Trying Something Different...And Nailing It. 1988's Fahrenheit flew in the face of the de rigeur aromatic fougére blockbusters of the era, offering an alternative to the man who wanted to stand out. The brilliance of Fahrenheit is that it still stands out, in an equally monochromatic market of bland masculines and sugary-sweet feminines. It makes an indelible impression and is worth its weight in gold. Try it, retry it if need be...and when the cravings come, settle for nothing less. A classic.

No comments:

Post a Comment