Finally something able to stand up to Dunhill’s reputation. They aren’t Kilgour or Anderson & Sheppard, but they definitely deserve better than that Custom, Black, Xcentric rubbish they’ve been releasing for the past dozen of years or so. Icon finally marks some difference, starting from the bottle, a heavy – and I mean, physically hell heavy – piece of great design, not some usual random glass bottle with some lousy chrome-plastic cap. Coming to the juice inside it, well... it isn’t a groundbreaking fragrance and it doesn’t aim to be so – except for the vaguely megalomaniac name, but it’s surely miles above the abovementioned mediocrity which Dunhill has been getting us used to for the past years. Nothing overly exciting, but it’s good.
Basically Icon is an elegant, clean and laid-back everyday fragrance built on a conventional, yet always pleasant structure of classy neroli – that means a zesty mandarin note tinted with some floral-leafy muskiness – blended with cardamom, lavender, crisp woods, tangy peppery notes (I smell quite a bold note of juniper too) and a subtle sort of smooth, dusty, slightly sweet vibe all over, which I guess may be due to musk, tea (as usual, a generic sort of mellow sugary-green note), some amber and a touch of powder, well contrasting the fresh head notes. A fresh, spicy-floral and orange-y take on a “barbershop” scent with a really enjoyable soapy freshness. At first, as other reviewers mentioned, it smells a bit like Declaration due to the initial blast of cardamom on a fresh, aromatic “eau de cologne” base, just with a sharper and fresher feel; then it slowly becomes woodier and slightly soapier, with a warm and slightly smoky base keeping the distinguished “mature” vibe going on, also adding a whiff of synthetic leather.
I agree with the reference to Terre d’Hermès and similar scents (just a bit more floral and muskier, and with some richer neroli instead of some more ordinary citrus), but I also think the tart, bracing sort of brightness which persists all over Icon’s life on skin reminds me of Guerlain Homme, especially the radiant Eau Boisée flanker. Finally, I think Icon may sit also somewhere near the current version of Eau Sauvage, just in generic terms of “family”. With these names on the table, you get the picture: it won’t surprise and amaze you, but the quality is good – and that’s the point – and the fragrance smells crisp, compelling, long-lasting and refined, with a persistent, really pleasant feel of clean elegance. Mature and youthful at once, fresh, long-lasting but discreet enough to be perfect for any situation – from the office, to a date. A respectable and unpretentious candidate for a “signature scent”, surely ending straight on top of Dunhill offerings for men – it didn’t take that much for that, though.
The only “con” I would mention is an annoying synthetic, slightly sweet woody-ambery-powdery base... thing, which I get in every, and I mean every single masculine fragrance manufactured by Interparfums. I don’t know what that is, probably some of their standard bases, but at some point on the drydown, here it is – Interparfums’ signature, like a thief signing his robberies. It’s not tragic, that note/base I mean – but a bit cheap, flatly plastic. And Icon didn’t deserve that. But well, it’s nice anyway, and Benaim did a respectable job. The official retail price seems a bit too high for me, but you already find some discounted bottles here and there – at half the price, it’s perfectly worthy the purchase for me.