Bandit opens with a quick hit of bergamot and an overload of soapy aldehydes – the aggressive, flourescent kind that feels like someone is brutally forcing a bar of Dove into your nostril. It’s hyper clean at first, the scent of pure sudsy soap, undercut with a bitter greenery of galbanum and a translucent citrus that brings to mind industrial cleaning fluid. It’s grim in a good way.
The great thing about Bandit (already) is the development - it is long, and slow, allowing you to experience each individual stage with complete ease and leisure. What rises under the green aldehyde bomb is leather – isobutyl quinoline I think. It’s a leather formula that smells like a little mix of earthy castoreum and labdanum with a bitter green edge (the word bitter is going to pop up a lot here). The greenery brings to mind crushed leaves and earth – a slightly damp, swampy quality that is semi-dried out by the robust leather.
As it settles further, Bandit goes into its next phase - the green, the flower and the animal. A hint of civet comes forward which seems to awaken some florals - for me, it’s mainly carnation. The carnation is subtle, but warm and spicy with a decent clovey hit that darts in and out of the foreground. Ylang-ylang, devoid of any banana-ry, tropical qualities gives the heart of Bandit a little lift whilst the soapy opening begins to get tamer. The oakmoss that entwines throughout the fragrance gets more and more prominent, it smells pitch black and inky, with a liquid like texture that with the florals and leather, smells a little bit like pot. It has that green but juicy quality with a slight sourness to it that kind of makes your mouth water but it’s not at all edible.
There’s a slight, clean, white floral something going on in the heart that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t want to put it across as a bad thing – but it smells like Illuminum’s piss poor attempt at a gardenia (White Gardenia Petals), is hiding in here a little bit. That same, soapy, synthetic gardenia joke – only here it is blended, not isolated, and actually works pretty well! The carnation dies down allowing this cheap white floral to come forward, along with a cleaner tea rose which helps to balance it out.
Underneath, (the tyre leather still going strong) a slightly soiled vetiver that turns a little vegetal, paired with the oakmoss provide an expected bitter green base. There’s a trail of smoke which seems to get a little stronger, and I’m not sure whether it is the labdanum-like leather, or a hint of incense. Mainly though, Bandit is green… GREEEEN. It’s execution comes across as a mix of a classic Chanel, and an 80′s masculine powerhouse like Aramis… yes, completely not style – but Bandit’s vintage aura is undoubtably charming and I feel pretty darn dapper when I wear it, almost certain that people around me assume I’m slathered in some cheap drugstore cologne, but there we go.
Bandit is lovely – a captivating bitter green chypre that smells old, crude, and classy.
Bandit 50ml EDP Robert Piguet – £75 Liberty.co.uk