Roger & Gallet unisex perfumes are very easy to find and buy in Portugal. Locally, R&G is one of the most common brands as they are sold both in perfumeries and pharmacies.
However that's not the case for non unisex perfumes like Open, Open Black, Open Gold and Open White. They are just not sold anywhere nearby. I became very interested in blind buying the original R&G Open (from FragranceX in the US) but in the last minute before commiting the order, I changed it to an Open Black order, just due to its possible similarity with Givenchy Gentleman (the vintage one). I just happen to love Givenchy Gentleman (the more vintage, the better) and I can confirm now that there is a common type of developpment and scent vibe in both fragrances, even if the notes of the two perfumes are not exactly alike. There is also some faint similarities with Chanel Antaeus without the animalic notes. I am a sucker with dark and noir fragrances, and thought that maybe the word "Black" in "Open Black", could also mean some added smoke, or a more gloomy scent, or both.
The Parfumo listed three notes for Open Black are just not correct. Believing both Basenotes and Fragrantica, the correct notes are:
Top Notes - Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Lavender, Cardamom
Heart Notes - Sage, Thyme
Base notes - Tobacco, Patchouli, Vetiver
(note: I detected more notes than those listed above, as well a different note distribution by each phase)
I have a decant of the regular Open from 1985. It indulges us with smoky vetiver and tobacco undertones, framed by lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. It's somewhat similar to Jacomo by Jacomo and Aramis Havana. The base it's all about a strong pipe dry tobacco scent with patchouli and smoky vetiver notes. A true gem for sure!
Roger & Gallet Open Black from 2012 is the concept proof that a rich powerhouse fragrance for men in the old style, still can be made with acceptance in modern times.
To my nose the scent opens sharp and rich with citrus (bergamot and lemon), lavender and sage. The opening is somewhat dark, and similar to the one already mentioned from Jacomo de Jacomo. I can also relate this phase to typical early 80's perfumes like Boss Number 1, Givenchy Gentleman or Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui.
The development drives the scent to a more barbershop heart due to the detectable notes of cardamom, thyme and cloves. There is a dark rubbery tar-like background accord typical of smoky birch or smoky vetiver notes.
The barbershop phase slowly changes to a definitive base frame of smoky vetiver, moss, coumarin, patchouli and musk around a strong dry pipe tobacco note similar to the one present in the original Open. I don't get a "beastmode" projection so common in vintage powerhouse perfumes. To begin with that was not my goal . The longevity of up to 8 hours and the sillage up to 6 feet is quite enough, and probably the best way to preserve my nose from olphactory fatigue.
The final impression is one of a less powerful relative of Givenchy Gentleman, or maybe a richer and smoother Jacomo, or even a variation of the Ted Lapidus Pour Homme drydown in "beast minor" and using modern ingredients. Open Black is indeed a darker and formal younger brother of the original Open just like I hoped it to be. When I mention similarities with other perfumes, by no means I intend to state that Open Black is a clone of any other fragrance. Actually it's a very unique perfume and close related only to its predecessor.
As a first R&G "Open" experience, I am pretty happy and I really like this perfume. This inexpensive dark late coming flanker will surely please the fans of the original Open. Perfume lovers who enjoy really dark and smoky vetivers and worship the Encre Noire type of scents, should also pay attention to Open Black, as I think that this fragrance may be the most serious and up-to-date current attempt of "a load of patchouli" perfume style typical of the 80's.
When? It's particularly fit for cold and gloomy weather, so for Winter and Autumn usage, either during night or day time.
Where? If you love the fragrance do give it a lot of personal use. It's safe enough for the office if your colleagues are serious grumpy men and not pretty babes you want to flirt with. Avoid using it in Clubs or Bars unless you are a regular visitor of Cheers, the Cougar Texas Bar or the Coyote Ugly Saloon.
Although I still want to buy a bottle of the traditional Open, I am now eager as well to purchase the Gold and the White versions. Due to the more than nice price, the risk is very low if I buy all of them.
What about the Open Black math?
- Scent opening............9.0
- Scent Dry Down.........9.0
- Longevity....................8.5 (up to 8 hours on my skin, with 2 sprays)
- Sillage..........................8.5 (sillage up to 6 feet; it projects for 2.0 hours with 2 sprays)
- Versatility....................7.0 (Cold weather => mainly Winter and Autumn, day and night)
- Usability......................7.0 (personal use, daily use and formal events; office and Intimacy are possible but depending on people liking or not a noir fragrance vibe)
- Compliments..............7.5 (distinct, elegant, even sophisticated, but not cute or sexy; sporadic compliments only)
- Uniqueness.................8.5 (quite unique; only the classic Open is really similar to this perfume)
- Quality.........................8.0 (above average quality ingredients; good spray)
- Presentation ..............7.0 (discrete as its predecessor)
- Price...........................10.0 (100 ml flask - €13,50)
between 7 and 8 => above average;
between 8 and 9 => recommended;
equal or bigger than 9 => don't miss it;
My conclusion: As a dark fragrances and vintage scents lover I can only recomend this inexpensive and semi dark fragrance. Try before you buy.
Music: "The Windmills of Your Mind" sung by Sting