Reaction: Clinique Chemistry
There's something--a lot, really--to be said for an unadorned, uncomplicated scent. I love dazzle, I love fireworks, but sometimes I just want something simple, and Clinique Chemistry is usually what I reach for.
It's not boring, mind you. It opens with the short-lived sizzle of acetone and a fresh burst of hesperidic notes, which, mystifyingly, stay put for at least half the duration of the scent. Most citrus notes are gone in a quarter-hour or less, sometimes a matter of a few minutes; these hang around for hours, bound to the skin by the prickly, spiced herbaceous middle notes. Very slowly, over the course of hours, the hesperides die away as a soft, woody base with a hint of oakmoss and ambergris rises to the surface, but it never overpowers the enduring middle. (I spritzed some on this morning, just one spray on the back of my hand: now, almost thirteen hours later, I can still detect the middle notes close up.)
There's no question, right from the outset, that this is a man's scent; it's what your father and possibly your grandfather would have called "cologne" and wouldn't have been afraid to splash on. But it's more than that: it's perfectly constructed--subdued, unaggressive, masculine, nearly the quintessence of a man's fragrance. If it were better known, it would be called a classic.