Bingo! My favourite Private Blend scent so far. Or better say, the only one I would say I truly like. I wouldn’t ever spend that money for this, but let’s be honest – this is very good. It’s basically a better (way better) Ralph Lauren Polo Green, which is a scent I moderately admire and really wanted to like, while I couldn’t really – pardon the blasphemy, but I find it (in both its vintage and new versions) too dry, unbalanced, screechily macho and almost vile. Italian Cypress just tweaks the right knobs and fixes that same concept to perfection, creating a very handsome, mature scent with a brilliant masculine vibe miles away the idiotic baseball-hatted “bro” attitude of half of the rest of the Private Blend line.
Basically it’s a very compelling, “virile” and old-school yet somehow totally contemporary green-woody fougère with an amazingly crisp sort of leafy-earthy feel of balsamic greenness and smoky woods. It covers the whole spectre of aromas you’d encounter in a forest, basically – from the thin fresh balsamic air, to the damp smell of woody roots. It may sound nothing special or new, but instead it manages to present such a conventional structure under a very different, and ultimately quite distinctive light. Probably the cypress accord is the key, as it’s green, minty and woody in a very peculiar way – a sort of bitter, watery, rooty, exceedingly realistic smell of crisp green woods. Now take that, surrounded by a half-macho, half-gentleman fougère-inspired aura of smoke-infused darker woods (slightly birch-y, too) and topped with an added dose of more rarefied citrusy greenness. Nothing really Italian actually, this smells more like some German forest to me, like in some Prussian area – it feels quite balsamic, uplifting, but at the same time somehow cold, dark, archaic. More “viking” than “macho”, so to speak. “Italy” shall mean probably more citrus, more herbs, and a more friendly, affable, laid-back mood, while Italian Cypress has some fascinating feel of dry, austere breezy darkness that definitely moves the inspiration way “more up-North”, in my opinion.
Anyway, inspirations aside this is a very well made scent, not overly creative but really impeccable. It smells just great: refined, quite natural, fascinatingly complex, subtly austere, it manages to do something I always love with fragrances – making you feel “home” with an apparently conventional structure (the early Eighties green fougère here) but yet refreshing and playing around with it a bit, just enough to smell distinctive and show some, say, “up-to-date” personality. Plus it also checks all the relevant performance marks – lasts well, projects well, no unpleasant surprises, very decent materials. Well done.