To begin with, I've read quite a few reviews here and there making a comparison or stating that Absolute is the perfect replacement for the discontinued masterpiece Gucci Pour Homme... Albeit it is a child of the same perfumer that created Gucci Pour Homme, and as you can see the notes are very similar, but they are a bit different, yet I will not express any opinion here being I had no chance to get together with Gucci, sigh, my bad.
Bentley for Men Absolute is a story I have had my eyes on since its release communication over a year ago after being highly impressed with Bentley for Men and even more-so with Bentley for Men Intense. I've waited a while to try it, it was not available here in Italy, and online the price was still too high. Swiftly, a few days before Xmas I came across it on eBay from an Italian seller, it was relatively new, just tested with few sprays, and bought it. I like Bentley for Men, Intense, and all the other flankers very much, but Absolute makes its mark at all. Ain't similar to the original, nor to Intense or any other flankers. The first two are more about the leather and rum, along with a different bay leaf note. Absolute is an entirely different scent. Absolute is dry, is woody and spicy, is ashy and resinous, is unique among all Bentley's colognes and all of my collection's artifacts.
If I were asked to describe Bentley Absolute in one word I’d say smooth! Oh man, is this juice just smooth. It smells luxurious and positively masculine. The notes of incense and freshly chopped wood remind me too much of the traditions and holidays of my childhood in past winters. And, to wear this fragrance in any other season but the winter, to me, seems plain wrong, unless you're on a cold fall which is fine, either. It is a classy and luxurious scent in a mysterious dark way like its bottle, and I do have the all black one.
But, let's jump into the smell. The opening is divine! Hands down the best overture of any cologne that I own. That blast of fresh pencil shavings magically blended with pinchy pink pepper and smoky and spicy incense. I adore this opening and wish there was no scent development with Bentley Absolute, just that opening. Don't get me wrong, I like the dry down too, but I love the initial accord most. When this juice does dry down, it’s dark and muggy and smooth. This redolence is the smell of an Arabian prince, Ali Baba I think was wearing this if he were a real man. This treasure feels less like cologne and more like a scarce and expensive anointing oil. It is initially bone dry resinous pepper with fresh birch sap in the background that initially brings to mind. All the while I detect slightly pungent ginger and papyrus mix and ever so slightly sweet pink pepper orbiting around the main notes of bone-dry oud and olibanum dripping into a flame.
Absolute, I will call it this way from now on, uses precious woods and natural essences to define an experience of pure luxury. Michel Almairac did a great work here. The top note surprises, with a spicy cocktail of fresh ginger and pink peppercorns, and a hint of mystical frankincense. As aforementioned, it is not citrus, yet clean and tasty and smoky from the very beginning.
The fragrance announces its uncompromising extravagance within just a few seconds. After several minutes the heart note unfolds with elegant woody aromas of papyrus, cedar, and sandalwood in a way that is remarkably powerful and masculine. Atlas cedar is noticeable in the top notes, and the pencil sharpener accord is outstanding as in LeLabo Santal 33. Papyrus intensifies this dry and bare accord more, whereas sandalwood adds creaminess and balances the heart.
Absolute smells like incense, the resins put under heat and are just at the brink of giving of smoke but it hasn't yet. It's warm, it's natural... this is gorgeous. This is not the incense stick kind; this is the same high-quality resin smoked to perfection.
The base note includes the most seductive essences in the world of fragrances: Oud. It is agreeable and not too sturdy, this time blended with other resins and woods rather than bitter saffron, amazing rose or luscious vanilla. The sensual ambergris and elegant harmonies of moss surround the golden resin for a gorgeous and longlasting dry down. I've read a few reviews stating that Oud is not noticeable at all... That is not true to me, Oud is there and gives that far east touch to this cologne without being too medicinal.
It is not a firm or heavy scent though it is warmth-inducing.
It is almost linear even though dominant notes appear here and there during its development, the pepper note is more pronounced in the opening then it fades slowly, but ginger, oud, and olibanum remain virtually until the end. The dry down is a tangible woody and dry smell with a little sweetness.
I think the longevity is just a bit more than average, it is quite a beast, you could smell it the day after on your t-shirt or sweater, yet the projection and sillage are moderate, not offensive. The scent lasts for many hours on my skin and sits reasonably close. I love it, and I have been wearing it every day since receiving it. Absolute is very masculine, very sophisticated and very in line with the Bentley brand promise. In my own words and after only a week I own it, I am blown away by this fragrance. It is the wafting smoke of a red-hot saw blade struggling to cut through some old hardwood.
Ultimately, about the title, somehow I get that association. The wooden and leather chairs, the old books, the smell of all sorts of tobacco, the coziness and the vibe of all the visitors coming and going. I find this very attractive, not necessarily in a sexy way but still somehow intriguing. It has class and style in a rather old-fashioned, yet not dated way. It is not pushy nor boozy like the Intense when applied with caution, and the longevity seems to be slightly above average. Good juice this!
Absolute made my day!