Searching online databases for "Gucci Pour Homme" brings out several completely different fragrances. Gucci is one of the biggest offenders in axing a perfume (completely) and then creating a new one and giving the same name. So just to make things clear, tonight we're talking about the one from 2008 (though my samples were current. Sephora has been pushing this cologne pretty aggressively in recent months), AKA "The one with James Franco".
Gucci chose Franco around the time he was somewhat over-hyped (the following year he was named "The Sexiest Man Living" by Salon.com). I guess they wanted to bank on his smart artistic hipster appeal, which is better than many alternatives. Imagine how we'd feel if they'd booked Shia LaBeouf. Does his face sell perfume? Do men want to smell like James Franco? I guess that just like Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, this is a safe choice.
The opening of Gucci is so generic that it's quite horrid. A smelled-it-a-million-times-before sweet bergamot and chemicals thing that calls to mind 75% of designer men's colognes from the last 20 years. It has that sharp and fresh and sweet thing going on that made me question my sanity and resolve every time I tried it. But as the fragrance dries develops and settles on the skin it becomes more wearable. The violet leaf freshness with its cucumber water aroma is decidedly not to my taste on any skin, especially my own. But the sweet pipe tobacco and sheer incense are very nice and, indeed, pretty manly. There's some fresh wood activity going on, and while my brain instantly registers it as very, totally, and incredibly synthetic, I can see why it has a mass appeal among Sephora shoppers.
Gucci by Gucci smells familiar (see "melled-it-a-million-times-before") and risk-free. It dries down nicely and if one has no idea that he could be smelling far more interesting, than this is probably enough. Me (and my loved ones)? I vacillate between being bored to tears and feeling grateful that it's not another aquatic.
Notes: bergamot, cypress, violet, tobacco leaves, jasmine, patchouli, amber, elemi.
Gucci By Gucci Pour Homme ($61, 1.7 oz EDT) is available from Sephora, Macy's and various online retailers.