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.