I've never been impressed with the fragrances put out by old-guard niche house Floris. Most are boring, one-dimensional, stodgy floral scents of no interest to me. Elite, however, is one of their few men's fragrances, and it's superb.I'm assuming that Elite was Floris' attempt at creating a power scent for the well-groomed gentleman. It was, after all, released in 1980, and it has a big, dominating oakmoss note. Elite, however, won't burn the house down with its strength. It's got the super-masculine smell of an 80s power scent, but without the pounding sillage of a bomb like Giorgio For Men.
This is a wonderfully dry, green herbal scent. The two notes that dominate, to my nose, are oakmoss and laurel (a/k/a bay leaf). Laurel has a warm but very dry, pale green herbal smell. It gives a fragrance warmth and richness without weighing it down. However, when it's blended with heavy hitters like patchouli, amber and oakmoss, Laurel gives a fragrance a leathery smell, and Elite is no exception. I love how Elite smells both rich and dry (a hard thing to acheive in a fragrance, I might add), with no sweetness and without excess flab. This is a very substantial scent, but it's not overpowering at all.
Many people have criticised Elite as smelling like an ashtray full of old cigarette butts. I have to agree - laurel can give a fragrance that kind of edge, and it does with Elite (another 80s scent that makes heavy use of laurel and has that "cigarette butt" smell is Sung Homme). However, I love the way the laurel blends in with the oakmoss, patchouli and vetiver in Elite. The laurel is what makes it such a masculine smelling scent. I can't imagine a woman wanting to walk around smelling like this all day.
Elite is apparently a love-it-or-hate-it scent, judging from all the reviews I've read. Count me in as one of those who love it. It's a great fragrance to wear when you want to wear a mossy 80s-styled fragrance, but don't want to kill everyone around you with your scent. It should appeal to both fans of powerhouse fragrances as well as those who like more traditional, gentlemanly scents. It also exudes a great deal of class and authority, which adds to its appeal.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: Floris