For a whole generation living in the scent shadow of Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million – a fragrance which, whether you love it or loathe it, has set the kind of commercial benchmark most contemporary fragrances can only dream of equalling – it’s easy to forget that there was another Paco fragrance that grabbed the male fragrance market and made it its own.
That fragrance, of course, was Paco Rabanne Pour Homme which, remarkably, is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Again, whatever you think of it, it’s undisputedly iconic. I came across it as a teenager in the mid eighties. Although over a decade old by then, this big, bombastic scent – aromatic, green and smoky, with a slightly soapy edge – still chimed with the times.
Given that it launched in the 70s when men’s fragrances were all about hyper-masculinity it’s big (and I mean big) on tobacco and oakmoss but the whole thing is tempered by a delightful floral heart of lavender and geranium and there’s a hint of honey in there too which works beautifully with the smokiness of the tobacco. And whilst it might open big, the dry down is lovely.
Smelling it now I’m taken back to a different time and place – not to mention a different me. So is it worth a go? Well, personally, I think it’s a little like rediscovering vinyl after years of clean, crisp, slightly soulless CDs – if you remember it back in the day you can’t help but love it – nor resist the temptation to give it another whirl.