Ralph Lauren Polo Double Black : Perfume Review

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Ralphlaurendouble_black

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The exclusive Guerlain fragrance Nuit d’Amour turned out to be a fairly predictable floral oriental, but nothing could have prepared me for the new Ralph Lauren masculine, a sensual and unconventional offering. In part, this is due to the fact that I began my exploration of the Ralph Lauren line only recently, discovering the legendary Polo and Lauren as well as the gardenia petal softness of Ralph Lauren Blue. The masculine fragrances from the line have always struck me as quintessentially American, portraying the clean shaven and casually clad ideal frequently appearing in Lauren’s menswear ads. Polo Double Black likewise maintains the same laidback aura, yet its seductive oriental twist lends the fragrance a certain unexpected allure.

The top notes of Double Black are marked with a spicy freshness which, like a cool breeze, lightens the rich woods that form the backbone of the composition. The luscious sweetness of mango becomes pronounced with time, underscored with a resinous peppery note. This forms a beautiful prelude to the opulence of cardamom, nutmeg and dark roasted coffee which suggests an abstract gourmand dessert without ever making the allusion obvious.

The rich woodsy base layered over the subtle warmth of musk is perhaps my favourite aspect of this seamlessly constructed composition. It possesses a wonderful softness, alternatively evoking dark velvet and weightless cashmere. Although Polo Double Black is certainly virile, it is such a handsome and sensual fragrance that I am prepared to disregard the gender boundaries. Of course, smelling it on a man would be a treat. It is not a loud and overwhelming fragrance, but one that makes you want to lean in and inhale deeply. I foresee wearing it on the many cold days yet to come, cuddling under a blanket with a favourite book and a steaming cup of tea.

Double Black features notes of mango, coffee, nutmeg, vetiver, cardamom. It is available from Macy’s, Sephora and other retailers.

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29 Comments

  • Dusan: After the major disappointment that was Polo Black, I just can’t believe Double Black is such an improvement on the original. It’s a long way from bland to sensual…
    Thanks for the review, I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance – now this cardamom lover can’t wait to try it! October 26, 2006 at 6:01am Reply

  • Judith: Oh this sounds good!! But since I recently have spent way too much, I will be strong and resist! Someday. . . . . October 26, 2006 at 8:12am Reply

  • Elle: Cardamom! All the notes sound wonderful. And w/ such a comforting price – irresistible. October 26, 2006 at 8:20am Reply

  • Marina: The way you describe it…”laidback aura”…”seductive oriental twist”…”handsome and sensual”…I don’t know if I want to wear it or to ask it to marry me :-) Sounds just wonderful! Thank you for a great review! October 26, 2006 at 9:02am Reply

  • March: I kneel at your feet. See, I never would have tried this. Never. The notes sound fabulous… and “sensual and unconventional” — I’ll take it. Off to sniff ASAP. October 26, 2006 at 10:15am Reply

  • Nick: I have a small bottle of the original Polo, probably eight years old now. I hope they havn’t changed it. I love its 70s aura. It makes me think “The Great Gatsby” with Robert Redford! All those twenties’ clothes in 70s fabrics! A good thing. October 26, 2006 at 11:02am Reply

  • Nick: And an interesting chypre to boot. (The original Polo) October 26, 2006 at 11:04am Reply

  • newproducts: Thank you for a great review. You make me want to go out and sniff this right away! I haven’t tried many Ralph Laren men’s fragrances, but I am partial to Romance because my hubby wore it on our wedding day. I wore the woman’s counterpart. They both really are “romantic” fragrances, I think. October 26, 2006 at 1:54pm Reply

  • Robin: Sounds gorgeous, and way more gorgeous than I got from a quick sniff on a card. Will have to go back & snag a sample! October 26, 2006 at 3:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, while they share the same perfumer, I by far prefer Double Black. It seems to avoid the quintessential bright freshness of other masculine fragrances. October 26, 2006 at 4:02pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, just try some when you pass by RL counter on your next trip to the stores. I would be curious to hear your thoughts. October 26, 2006 at 4:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, it is definitely. And one cannot argue with that price point. October 26, 2006 at 4:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, your comment made me smile. I have been wondering whether it is a fragrance one shares (it is a masculine, after all), but I have decided that I shall keep it for myself. October 26, 2006 at 4:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, thank you for having confidence in me. I hope that you will like it as much as I did. October 26, 2006 at 4:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, it is such a classic! I have not smelled it until I came to the States (even though it was the only Ralph Lauren fragrance that made its way to Ukraine), and when I was at the store with one of my friends, she picked up a bottle and remarked something to the effect of “this is the reason why American men smell like pinetrees.” It is so woody and resinous. I doubt I would ever dare wearing it, but it is a must to keep on hand for studying the evolution of American masculine perfumery. October 26, 2006 at 4:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, it is definitely interesting, not that predictable given the trends of its time. October 26, 2006 at 4:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Newproducts, I have not been exposed to any of Lauren’s fragrances when I lived in Ukraine (we did not receive them), therefore my explorations are only recent. Still, it is an interesting line. October 26, 2006 at 4:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, definitely try to get a sample. I think that it is going to appeal to you more when you give it a proper trial. October 26, 2006 at 4:10pm Reply

  • March: I drove out to the mall and ate one of those giant pretzels — all YOUR fault ;-) It’s beautiful. I wish I got a little bit less vetiver and more cardamom, if the vetiver would … bury itself a bit more it would be perfect. (from the perspective that the vetiver makes it a tad more conventional) The coffee/mango part is what’s so wonderful and different. I did run it by two male friends who stopped by today, and they both were enthusistic but balked totally at the idea that it’s a men’s frag, much less RL! So it will be interesting to see how it sells… October 26, 2006 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Dusan: Vika, don’t get me wrong – I quite like RL men’s line. Romance was lovely, Romance Silver was wonderful albeit with a longevity issue, but my vote goes to Polo Blue. It’s got a bad rap among Basenoters for being – well – too common, but I strongly disagree. It’s got lively fresh top notes paired with (youthfully) elegant sueded musk drydown.
    The best news, however, is that I’m on my way home now with Fumerie Turque and an assortment of wax samples, finally in my possession! And you know what – I’m shaking with anticipation and would probably be simpering like a schoolgirl were I not on the bus. Yaaay! :-D
    Hugs October 26, 2006 at 4:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I am glad that you made a trip to try it! And I am even more pleased that you enjoyed Double Black. I do not notice the overly strong vetiver note, it seems more balanced to me with spices. The last time I stopped by Macy’s I saw that the counter had only two bottles behind the glass. I asked whether it has not yet been delivered, but I was told that they were selling out of it. Great to see something other than Aqua di Gio pour Homme being successful, and I certainly do not mind encountering it more often. October 26, 2006 at 10:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, thank you for your email! I am very glad that you are pleased with Fumerie Turque. Sounds like you made the right choice and that the wax samples that your friend got for you might steer you towards other interesting Lutens. Enjoy it! October 26, 2006 at 11:00pm Reply

  • Diane: Now that I have a SO, I will be reading your reviews for fragrances designed for men (although we women can certainly wear them, and often should experiment and fiddle with them) with a different mindset. :)

    I can’t wait to snag a sample of this and test it on myself and ambush my SO. It sounds very nice. October 27, 2006 at 1:32am Reply

  • Erika: I may have to spray this on the better half whilst he sleeps – it sounds like it might be a great choice! And of course, if he *did* decide that he likes it I would have a great excuse to share it; I simply can’t justify any more ‘me’ purchases for a while… October 27, 2006 at 9:46am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Diane, it is definitely a worthy fragrance to ambush your SO with! I was so taken aback by it, because it is such an interesting fragrance–sensual, warm, languid. October 27, 2006 at 12:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Erika, that is the best way! You have the best of both worlds. :) October 27, 2006 at 12:33pm Reply

  • ramez almualla: Two thumps way way up…I love it….its a must have for every man.. November 30, 2006 at 4:54am Reply

  • Derek: What a wonderful way to describe this fragrance. Always love R.L. and his contribution to my lifestyle. Really, wow, hell yeah, woodsy base, peppery, but as the day progresses you have the nutmeg, almost a powder, wow, wow. Mr. Lauren, you have completely done it this time. I can’t wait to open this at Chirstmas – I will hate taking a shower tomorrow. December 17, 2006 at 1:20am Reply

  • Marshall: When I wear this I can count on getting laid, every time. July 5, 2007 at 6:36pm Reply

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