Cologne Indelebile opens with a very natural smelling bergamot, neroli and orange blossom trio before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the orange blossom remains in diminished form as underlying support for an emerging effervescent, slightly sharp lemon, yellow narcissus flower and clean detergent-like synthetic musk trio that takes over control, with the synthetic musk the most prominent. During the late dry-down the lemon and light synthetic musk blend together, sans effervescence as the orange blossom gradually grows back into a co-starring role through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity is outstanding (especially for an Eau de Cologne) at over 15 hours on skin.
This was a blind buy that I really didn't know what to expect. I knew the nose behind the composition, Ropion, when "on" is the best in the business and does his best work under Malle's direction. Aside from the nose and that the composition was an Eau de Cologne I knew little else going in... When I sprayed Cologne Indelebile on skin the first time, I thought I might be in for a very traditional Eau de Cologne, as the natural smelling bergamot and neroli that primarily open things up are very traditional indeed. Once the composition entered its early heart, thoughts of a traditional style Eau de Cologne quickly evaporated, as Ropion shifts gear to a synthetic clean laundry detergent-like musk focus, with significant sharp effervescent lemon and narcissus flower joining in. It is difficult to describe the overall effect, but the closest composition I can think of in *spirit* to this is Mark Birley for Men. During the late dry-down, the orange blossom makes a reappearance, as it joins with the lemon and the white musk, now all melded as one without the detergent and effervescent aspects, settling in for a very long lasting, sublime finish. I suspect that this is going to be a "love it" or "hate it" kind of composition. For one, the composition gets a pretty heavy dose of the synthetic white musk, especially during the early heart section which may be too much for some and indeed, I had some trouble with it myself. It is really not "challenging" per se, but rather a bit over-the-top for a time when paired with the narcissus floral. Once the narcissus vacates leaving the orange blossom to reemerge joining the lemon and musk things get much better. Another potential downside is while the heavy use of musk is an interesting facet that separates Cologne Indelebile from most others in the Eau de Cologne genre, at the end of the day it still is an Eau de Cologne without a whole bunch of interesting twists and turns along the way, making for a less innovative outing than one might expect from Editions de Parfums. On the whole, however, the positives far outweigh the negatives making Cologne Indelebile an excellent option in the genre, especially for those who want an Eau de Cologne style composition, but want much better performance metrics. The bottom line is the $260 per 100ml bottle Cologne Indelebile is an interesting, slightly innovative take on the genre composed by the best nose in the business but at the end of the day it is still an Eau de Cologne, earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation. As an aside, it should be mentioned that while the price being charged is extremely high in relative terms for an Eau de Cologne, when one considers that *this* Eau de Cologne has longevity exceeding many extraits, the price is not as outlandish as one might initially believe.