As some of you might know (I may have mentioned it once or twice), since smelling Secretions Magnifiques all that time back, I have been on the hunt for a truly wearable version of it. There are aspects of SecMag that I like, and a million that I don’t. I guess what I’m drawn to is that harsh metallic accord that despite the marketing, and I guess somewhat ironically, smells totally “inhuman”. This metallic accord can for sure be found in numerous compositions, toned down to a level of wearability that it almost becomes non-existent – one example is my beloved Bas De Soie by Serge Lutens. I wanted something more upfront and obvious, a cold and aggressive fragrance, entirely synthetic and almost “heartless”, which led to me to AB.
The first time I tried AB I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away, and in all honesty, it still doesn’t. BUT, I’ve finally succumbed to it and ended up with a bottle (half price I will say – but also I recently found it for even cheaper brand new on an eBay outlet!). The reason I decide to settle on it, despite being put off by consistent bad reviews of the brand, the novelty marketing which in all honesty doesn’t faze me but the negativity of others started to rub off… and also Mercury by Nu_be. Mercury is a new release that has been getting a lot of praise from some noses I respect and having finally got the chance to test it out a couple of times on skin, I thought “This is AB with grapefruit…”. Sure there’s a little more to it, and a little less… but Mercury seems to be AB, and/or a toned down SecMag, with a subtle masculine cologne-like structure running throughout to make it more wearable. Sure it fits the bill of what I wanted, but it’s also double the price I thought “fuck it” and bought what I keep getting drawn to… every time I’d pass it, I’d sniff… it’s not love, but it’s weirdly necessary.
Well after that intro, if you haven’t run off now you probably will…
AB hits my skin with the scent of rubbing alcohol, a heavily synthetic, very cleaning-product-esque lemon, and a hectic overload of an aldehyde chain. After a matter of seconds, it begins to settle and fall into place as a relatively linear accord that will dominate half the life of it. The aldehydic structure isn’t quite the plush, cosy aldehydes of Chanel, and they are somehow even colder and more grating than Stephen Jones. It’s the scent of disinfectant soap, overload with a crystal clear water accord that together, still manages to refrain from the smell of freshly washed hands. Sure, this phase of AB is about as clean as a fragrance can get, but it can no way be placed onto a scale of “natural clealiness”… it is totally abstract.
It’s bizarre how the scent of cold water can be so pungent on the skin, and here, it’s enhanced by a hugely metallic note. The metallic note thankfully doesn’t pair with a lactonic accord – a la SecMag, but occasionally presents a subtle oily quality that does turn my stomach. This oily/greasy quality only pops up now and again, and then is dominated by the clean water and aldehydes. The fragrance is as high polished as the bottle, maybe not so much in it’s actually construction, but the image it presents. Water, hygiene soap and metal, held together by an overwhelming mineralic accord similar to the “pulverized rock” of Stephen Jones. Although I keep mentioning those two fragrances, they aren’t very similar, especially Stephen Jones (that is a true perfume, after all).
I am not deluded in thinking that AB is a perfume, it is merely a smell, more of a creation or an experiment, and it does not smell like it was designed for the skin. Still, I find that concept kind of appealing, smelling so abstract, but not offensive. I guess up close and explored in-depth, AB is pretty offensive, from afar, again, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came across as tame and non-memorable. It smells extremely “fresh”, without being a cologne – but it also doesn’t smell human, it almost blanks out the smell of your skin underneath rather than meld with it. Even in the drydown, the hyper-clean cedar wood resembling that of Artek Standard of Odeur 53 – there’s even subtle trails of cold incense… or maybe I’m just trying to create something out of nothing.
AB is no masterpiece, but it is a fine little piece of modern fragrance artwork. It can easily be dismissed as a novelty, but I’d rather just enjoy it for it’s over the top, intentional weirdness… knowing full well that the creators probably had a laugh making it, imagining the loons, like themselves, like me, who would actually appreciate and try to wear something so ridiculous.
UPDATE: I have worn this continuously for about 3 days, slowly enjoying it a little less each time
I like the composition – but I’m now questioning whether this is actually wearable… Unfortunately I don’t think it is. If it continues this way, I might have to say AB was a passing moment in my fragrance collection and send it on it’s way (I have no time for things I don’t wear). I haven’t edited my review because I believe it’s all true… but I can’t wear this.
AB 60ml EDP Blood Concept – £98 http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk