R&G is one of the most common brands as they are sold both in perfumeries, pharmacies, drugstores, and even Duty-Free.
However, this is not the case with non-unisex perfumes like R&G Open, and any of its flankers. They are simply not sold anywhere nearby. I was very interested in buying the original R&G Open as a backup flask, but at the last minute, I swapped to a blind order of Open Black. I became aware of a slight similarity with Givenchy Gentleman Eau de Toilette
. I happen to love the vintage Givenchy Gentleman. I can now confirm that there is a common type of olfactory development in both fragrances, even if the notes of the two perfumes are not similar. There is also a slight similarity with Antaeus Eau de Toilette
but without the animalistic notes. I'm a sucker for dark, noir fragrances and thought that perhaps the word "Black" in Open Black, could also mean some added smoke, or a darker scent, or even both.
I have a decant from 1985 regular Open Eau de Toilette
. It gives us smoky vetiver and tobacco, framed by lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. It is somewhat similar to Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) Eau de Toilette
and Havana Eau de Toilette
. The base is all about a strong dry pipe tobacco aroma with patchouli and smoky vetiver notes. A real old-timer gem for sure! Open Black
is the concept that proved that a rich potent fragrance for men in the old style, can still 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 a little dark and similar to that already mentioned of Jacomo. The development leads the scent to a more barbershop-like heart due to the detectable notes of cardamom, thyme and cloves. The barbershop phase slowly changes to a definitive base structure of smoked vetiver, moss, coumarin, patchouli and musk around a strong note of dried pipe tobacco, similar to that present in the original Open. There is a dark rubbery tar-like background, typical of smoked birch or smoked vetiver notes. I just don't get the "beast mode" projection, so common in many vintage powerhouse perfumes. For a start, that was not my aim as well. The longevity of up to 8 hours and sillage of up to 2 metres is sufficient, and probably the best way to preserve my nose from olfactory fatigue.
My final impression is of a less powerful relative of Givenchy Gentleman Eau de Toilette
from 1974, a richer and smoother Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) Eau de Toilette
, or even a variation of Lapidus pour Homme Eau de Toilette
drydown in a "lesser beast mode", and using modern ingredients. Open Black is indeed a darker, less formal younger brother of the original Open, just as I hoped it would be. On the other hand, it is a unique perfume and with a close relationship only to its predecessor. Perfume lovers who appreciate dark smoky vectors and love the Encre Noire type of perfume should also pay attention to Open Black. This fragrance may be the most serious and up-to-date current attempt at "a load of patchouli" perfume style typical of the 80s.
When? It is particularly suited to cold and dreary weather, so for winter and autumn wear, whether at night or during the day.
Where? If you like the fragrance, give it a great personal use. It's safe enough for the office if your colleagues are serious grumpy men and not pretty girls you want to flirt with. Avoid wearing it in Clubs or Bars unless you are a regular visitor to Cheers, Cougar Texas Bar or Coyote Ugly Saloon.
What about the Open Black math?
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
- Opening: 9.0 (Citrus with a barbershop vibe)
- Dry Down: 9.0 (Tobacco, a load of patchouli and dar vetiver; quite pleasant)
- 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 Eau de Toilette
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 - what a bargain!)
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
- Average: 8.18/10.00
between 7 and 8 => above average;
between 8 and 9 => recommended;
equal or bigger than 9 => don't miss it;
My conclusion: As dark fragrances and vintage scents lover I can only recommend this inexpensive and semi-dark fragrance. With such a low price is safe enough for a blind purchase, The same advice applies to the regular R&G Open.
Music: "The Windmills of Your Mind" sung by Sting