Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
One cannot fault Viktor & Rolf for lacking creativity when it comes either to their fashion collection or their fragrance packaging. The amethyst tinted Flowerbomb is incased in a faceted grenade shaped bottle, while the new masculine fragrance Antidote is presented in an elegant square flacon; its pale emerald liquid contrasting with the ebony black detail on the bottle and the box. Yet, the fragrance inside Flowerbomb was a let down. Instead of the black Victorian gown of a fragrance that I envisioned, it was an ivory satin dress. Lovely and tasteful, but somehow lacking the edginess of Viktor & Rolf fashion. …
It is difficult to call Antidote a risqué fragrance given its extremely refined character. If Flowerbomb is conventionally pretty, Antidote is classically elegant. The transition of accords from the top to the base is perfectly seamless, which lends a polished quality to the composition. The green florals in the heart of Antidote creates a bridge between the herbaceous spice of the top notes and the vanillic woody base. As the initial freshness fades, the drydown assumes an unexpectedly smoky quality.
In order to create impact, Antidote takes the oriental elements most commonly found in feminine fragrances and sets them against the woody freshness one encounters in fragrances like Acqua di Giò pour Homme. The feminine touch is not new in masculine perfumery. Dior Homme, Lanvin Arpège pour Homme and most recently Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme have all relied on a similar technique of fusing a pronounced floral facet into their composition; this emphasis makes them stand out among either the sweet masculine orientals à la Angel for Men or the hair-chested fougères like Yves Saint Laurent Kouros. After the top notes of Antidote wear off, the heart remains quite androgynous, which should make it appealing to women as well.
If one expected a revolution from Antidote, such hopes would be misplaced, although Antidote is undeniably very well-composed. Nevertheless, it seems that Viktor & Rolf perfumes have taken the road of polished charm, leaving the edgy ruffian to the catwalk.
Antidote includes notes of mint leaves, Italian bergamot, mandarin orange, essence of grapefruit, essence of cardamom, sambac jasmin absolute, lavender, geranium, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, freesia, orange blossom, violet, cistus labdanum, vanilla, iris, white cedar, guaiacum wood, tree moss, leather, white musk, tonka bean, sandalwood, ebony, patchouli. It is available from Nordstrom, Saks5thAvenue.