On the face of it, Paul Smith’s new fragrance for men, Optimistic, has everything going for it: great name (especially given these miserable, drepressing and doom-laden times we live in), a fun, smiley, youthful ad campaign and a great, simple cylindrical bottle with playful blue stripes.
It follows, too, in the footsteps of highly respected fragrances like Paul Smith Man and Paul Smith Extreme for Men – fragrances happen to really like.
Unfortunately, what lets this new fragrance down is…well, the fragrance. Everything I love about Sir Paul Smith the designer – his quirkiness, originality and ability to put a new spin on an old tradition is missing from Optimistic. My initial reaction when I had a sneak preview of it several weeks ago was one of indifference – and in my book there’s no worse indictment when it comes to fragrance.
Though it’s a classic ‘fougere’ (the most popular type of men’s fragrance) and is pepped up with spicy notes of pepper, cardamon and geranium the sum of its parts merge together to produce a kind of bland nothingness (a bit like when you mix loads of different coloured strips of plasticine together and come up with a brown lump).
I’m not saying it’s bad, offense or polarising even, just that it’s disappointingly safe. Not so much masculine as predictably blokeish. But then we live in times where being optimistic is easy but being adventurous – especially when millions of pounds of revenue is at stake – is still stubbornly hard.
Paul Smith Optimistic For Men is available exclusively from Boots from April 1st and nationwide from May 1st.