From what I've read, One Man Show was one of the only Western European fragrances for men available behind the Iron Curtain during the 80s, and was a big hit in the Soviet Union. I remember that time period vividly, and as an American who'd never been behind the Iron Curtain, I used to imagine the Soviet Bloc as being this cold, gray and bleak place where its people were marooned from the rest of the world. Still to this day, whenever I think of places like East Germany or the former Soviet Union, images of outdated machinery and massive Stalin-era concrete apartment buildings always come to mind. It's not a pretty picture I think of.
For me, One Man Show represents all of those grim, industrial images in scent form. While it has very strong herbal qualities, with basil being a very dominant note, One Man Show feels extremely stoic and mechanical when I wear it. It smells rigid, steely and unsmiling. Although there are a lot of herbal and coniferous wood notes that give it a dark greenish smell, the color it exudes is primarily concrete gray. It's loud and brash, and I can just imagine Stalin himself wearing this.
I like One Man Show, and I've owned a bottle for a couple of years now, but I don't love it. My one complaint is that it smells kind of thin, as if it's a fragrance consisting entirely of rough, jagged top notes that last a long time. I feel that a fragrance this bold should be propped up by some heavier, meatier notes in the base, to flesh out the scent and give it a more full-bodied smell. Without that extra muscle, One Man Show smells a bit skeletal.
However, if you think I'm describing a lousy fragrance, I'm not. This may be an ugly fragrance, but sometimes art is ugly. It's ugly but very wearable, and I do like the way it smells; no one will ever suspect you're wearing Chanel No. 5, that's for sure.
Most importanly, how many other scents can you think of that smell like this? I can't think of any. If nothing else, One Man Show is unique, making this wacko fragrance deserving of a thumbs up on that basis alone.
MY RATING: 7.5/10
Fragrance House: Jacques Bogart