The debut of Sean John Unforgivable, the fragrance from a man known by a variety of nicknames including P. Diddy is a new chapter in the celebrity fragrance trend. Indeed, given the success of Sean Combs’ clothing label, which set the example for other celebrities to follow, it is surprising the fragrance was not released sooner. While my relationship with P. Diddy (or rather with his music) has been problematic, due to the fact my neighbors’ predilection for listening to it at very high volume effectively ensured that I developed none, Mr. Combs’ new fragrance is a completely different story. Created by Dave Apel, Unforgivable is an elegant composition, subtle and sophisticated.
The hesperidic accord has a vivid character conjuring a vision of tangerines and oranges left in the sun. The warmth permeating the fruit underscored by the freshness of the fleshy pulp is laced with the ozonic notes, which persist throughout the composition. Nevertheless, the ozonic element is not the typical sharp and synthetic zing that one tends to associate with the marine themed fragrances. Instead, it lends a bright, cool leitmotif to the sparkling citrus, the warm fruity richness and the green herbs. Apel rendered the sea breeze accord as bound by a sweet warm element, which gives a nice balance to the composition. …
The warmth suggested in the top notes is explored further in the heart, which has a quality of fig skin—soft and silky. The fruity tonality is emphasized by the creamy apple sweetness folded around the spicy verdancy of basil. The fruity facet paired with the delicate herbal touch elicits comparisons to the rosemary and raisin tart I once had in Liguria, however any gourmand aspirations are kept in check by the aquatic notes. The elegant base contrasts the radiant freshness of musky notes with the gentle softness of ambered woods, while retaining the fruity sweetness and the crisp coolness.
The EDP is released as a limited edition, and it is supposed to have a richer feel than the EDT, which will be available in February. It has a soft sillage, as well as subtlety that is not often present in the masculine fragrances. The end result has a certain pleasing freshness that is not compromised by the richer elements of the arrangement. While a woman can certainly wear it, especially if she likes the citrusy-musky compositions, I would say that it would be very appealing on a man, elegant without being too aloof and sexy without being too obvious.
Notes include lemon, bergamot, tangerine, grapefruit, juniper, champagne accord; Mediterranean air accord, basil, iris, clary sage, lavender; cashmere accord, sea moss, sandalwood, amber and tonka bean. A limited edition of the EDP is available at Saks 5th Avenue. The EDT will be released in February of 2006. Sean John line will also include the bath and body product as well as a women’s fragrance for the fall 2006.
Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.