Zara does Eros
There is something to be said about having a certain number of fragrances in your collection that just rub youthful noses the right way – somethin’ fo da laydies, somethin’ fo da cluhhh, blah blah blah, bling bling bling blah. 1981 Los Angeles is a clone of Versace Eros. That concludes our intensive 4-week course on contemporary logic.
Seriously though, LA was a total blind buy after eyeing the notes and thinking – hmmm, this looks like a more interesting D&G The One. After watching a couple of reviews online, my thoughts changed to – well ok, it might START OFF like Eros, but surely it evolves into its own thing? But no. Ok, sort of.
The opening is unmistakably reminiscent of a cross between Boss Bottled and something from Zara. Superbly generic and synthetic aromatic fruitiness that doesn’t quite smell like plum or apple to me, nor does it quite reach the depths of well-blended vanilla sweetness from Boss Bottled. Noticeable ‘cleaner’ vibes in the opening too the first couple of times I wore it. I can’t deny that I wasn’t initially disappointed.
However, within 2 minutes, there’s a clear warm ginger note that comes in and plays with a VERY modest mint that also doesn’t quite match the mint in Eros. But within those first few minutes, the sweetness from the amber finally surfaces and increases steadily over time, allowing LA to take on the unmistakeable garb of Versace’s creation, albeit without the same overwhelming brashness, robust vanilla or projection.
Don’t get me wrong – the projection isn’t terrible, but certainly nowhere near the strength of Eros. Think of a more “library appropriate” version. And that’s basically how it remains for the next 2.5 hours – a slightly warmer/woodier, watered down and muted version of Eros, until it morphs into a simple and generic (almost powdery?) amber-ginger combo by hour 3. Total longevity is about 7-8 hours and projection is surprisingly decent for the first 2.
All in all, I have to admit that I’m not totally disappointed with the scent – in fact, I always disliked Eros for its annoying persistence. It was just too juvenile, too pervasive, superficial and sweet – like the energizer bunny that follows you around all day, banging that goddamn drum. LA seems to fix those problems by replacing the vanilla with a muffled amber and the apple with “plum.” It's very pleasant to the average nose (compliments = yes), but a little too uninspired for my taste. In fact, to a niche head, this might be the stuff nightmares are made of. Absolutely nothing natural about the ingredients.
So to sum up, I would imagine that Guess 1981 Los Angeles is what an Eros clone by Zara would smell like – quieter, more humble, somewhat neutered, slightly more generic (plasticy almost?) yet still incredibly likeable. It could easily be mistaken for a modern flanker too – Eros Amber or something - and undeniably better than that dreadful ‘Flame’ nonsense. Longevity is decent, although the projection is more suitable for an intimate evening affair. Humid clubbing environments would just eat this stuff up.
Overall, it’s not a bad scent, but it’s certainly not a good one IMO – merely average, and probably a great gift idea for a horny teenager (aren’t they all horny though?) There are far better scents at this price point; but if you’re in the market for a modest and inexpensive Eros clone, Guess LA is suitable option. That is….until Zara actually comes out with their own version??? Here's not hoping.