First off, I'd like to say that I love this scent. There's a lot of unfair hate for this fragrance; a lot of the hatred could be just someone that walked by and smelled out of the bottle.
I bought this fragrance some months ago and then just waited for the right weather to come, and here we go. Pure XS is a fresh, green, vigorous, and oriental fragrance, a renewed version of the original XS, which was first launched back in 1993... whoa! It's that kind of scent in line with recent 3.0 releases such as Dior Sauvage, Dylan Blue, and Bleu de Chanel, to mention a few, yet not a dupe of any of those. Gee, this is a love at first sniff affair. When sprayed, it conveys a sensation of skin shivering with desire and burning with pleasure. Shivering and burning altogether, what an intriguing oxymoron! It has a sweet and spicy aroma with the most potent notes being vanilla and ginger. Sweet but not too much, I get a lovely vanilla with myrrh and leather with spices. Hard to describe, but it has this semi-sweet tropical vibe. There's a freshness to it as well which rounds off the scent without being too warm or coying,
Now, coming to the smell. It is sexy, sexy and sexy. I love this smell, and I do agree with Jeremy Fragrance, this scent has a boozy, lemon fizzy coke mixed with delicious vanilla and liquor accord. The very first whiff might give you that generic kind of feeling, a tad harsh, but then it grows warmer on you. The scent bursts open with a lot of spicy and pungent icy ginger, very common in modern fragrances, and an aromatic touch of thyme and some green accord. It's fresh, tasty fresh, and green. So sharp and tangy with a bright, lemony citrus note that feels cheerful and bubbly. Every so often, the ginger peeks out and makes the whole thing a lot more unexpected.
The opening is followed by a boozy, toned down, and warmer heart. I've no clue which notes, once blended, create such a fruity tropical vibe. Anyway, I love it. The leathery accord used here is soft and mild, more similar to suede, closely akin to Aventus Creed leathery tones, and it perfectly marries the great vanilla and cinnamon, I cannot stop smelling that heart. I love the use of spiced ginger and vanilla with this, really velvety and cozy and supremely infused with leather-liquor-musk inflections.
And then a soft, sugary, and a bit smoky dry down comes, while a sort of mineral note of incense adds a silvery touch. There are some holy places I always notice when I come out that my clothes have picked up a lingering scent of faded incense from the site, and a few stages of Pure XS are a dead ringer for that smell. If like me you love the idea of incense fragrances but find them too bitter on their own, this one could be worth a try. Woody base notes of blonde woods, resinous warm myrrh, sweet cinnamon, and kind of like sugar offer a balsamic and a little bit fumy trail. Then the more it dries down the more myrrh becomes pronounced. Don't get me wrong, but I seem to catch some floral notes in the base I am not able to associate with.
Fresh spicy, leathery, and fruity accords make an excellent combo so that Pure XS can be worn in cooler summer nights, yet it's perfect for the autumn months when the days are shorter and the nights draw in. It's a clean and fresh smelling fragrance, but rather subtle! The projection of the scent is reasonably moderate; after all, it is quite a delicate smelling fragrance. The longevity isn't as good as some of the other scents in the Paco Rabanne range, Invictus for instance. On my skin, it has good staying power for about 6 hours, and projects for 3 if you put more on. So, it is perfect for office but not for clubbing, too weak for competing with other beasts. Honestly, I don't know if PureXS is one of those fragrances that turns heads, that is memorable, that is bold, sexy, and give you confidence. Yet, I know that I love it no matter what the hype believes, as it's completely different from most vanilla-based fragrances.