Now here's a fragrance that really seems to have passed under everyone's radars. I've searched all over the web and could not find a review of this anywhere. That's too bad, because this is a good fragrance that is likely to be ignored by most people because of its dirt-cheap price. I've seen Carrera Black in lots of bargain bins at stores like TJ Maxx recently. I'm glad I took the plunge and plunked down the $9.99 for my bottle, without having sampled it first, because it turns out that Carrera Black is a damn good masculine fragrance.
I'd assumed that with a name like "Carrera" this was released by the Porsche sports car company, but it's not. I'm not sure what company actually makes this - my bottle says Vapro International, and I've read elsewhere that the company is named Muehlens, while others say the company is named Carrera - but apparently they already have a number of other budget-priced fragrances, which I wasn't even aware of. If Carrera Black is any indication of how good these other frags are, then I need to try them out.
It looks like this is a recent release (2010), but thankfully it's not another boring woody/spicy/sport/aquatic clone. No, Carrera Black is actually an aromatic fougere in the style of Azzaro Pour Homme. Yes, you read that correctly - this is a 1970s styled fragrance produced in 2010. Talk about a perfume company having some balls. This is a classic style of masculine fragrance, but let's be honest - aromatic fougeres are a product of the Seventies, and these scents haven't really had mass appeal (at least in the U.S.) since that time.
For those of you who wear Azzaro Pour Homme, imagine what it would smell like if you added even more anise (i.e., black licorice smell) to it, and made the overall smell a little bit darker and more assertive. When you think about it, Carrera Black smells like a cross between Azzaro Pour Homme and YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme. If you aren't familiar with either of these scents, think of a fragrance where the smells of black licorice, lavender, talcum powder and vanilla are blended together to create a scent that is similar to what you smell in an old fashioned barbershop. It's a very manly smell, and you really stake your claim when you wear this. Carrera Black isn't super powerful, but compared to weaklings like Chrome and Acqua di Gio, this is pretty strong and bold.
I guess the only negative comment I have is that this has been done many times before, particularly in the Seventies. The extra dose of anise gives Carrera Black a modern touch, but in reality this is just a really good smelling cologne that's lacking in originality. If you've never worn any of the 70s classics, then Carrera Black will smell like a revelation for you, and in that case, go for it.
Although I really like this scent, don't think for a second that Carrera Black will ever replace Azzaro Pour Homme for me. Carrera Black lacks the complexity of the great Azzaro. If you're like me and already wear Azzaro Pour Homme or Rive Gauche Pour Homme, I can't really say that Carrera Black is a must-buy, but it still smells really good and represents good value. Thumbs up.
MY RATING: 8/10