First, the bad. Royal Secret smells like it’s made entirely of synthetic ingredients, and not the best quality synthetics either. You can tell by its lack of depth and complexity, and the drydown smells flat and kind of lifeless. Rather than winding down to something that smells interesting, the drydown just farts away to this undefinable, blob-like sweet smell.
The fragrance is also poorly blended. It smells like the ingredients were thrown together with no regard for balance or fit. The sweet amber is often overpowering, threatening to flatten the entire scent. It’s crude and rough. Perhaps this is due to a bad reformulation, since Royal Secret For Men used to be made by Germaine Monteil. I don’t know. Overall, it smells cheap.
Despite all its flaws, however, I kind of like it. Maybe it’s Royal Secret's shamelessly old-school, powdery smell that draws me in. This is an old fashioned, sweet oriental with powerful sandalwood and amber sitting on top of a very powdery base. Yes, this is a sweet fragrance, and no I don’t like sweet fragrances, but I love sandalwood, and this combination of sandalwood (which I’m sure is synthetic), amber and powder has a strangely aromatic quality that manages to cut through the sweetness for me. It’s the same effect that A*Men, probably the sweetest fragrance in history, has on me, even though A*Men is light years ahead of this. The sandalwood is of the rich, milky variety, not the resinous type, and it works well in this scent. If it weren’t for the lame drydown, I’d probably like this scent a lot more than I do.
I’m giving this a 6 out of 10, sort of as a compromise between its objective qualities and how much I like it. If I were to rate Royal Secret purely on its construction and quality, I’d give it a 3. This is cheap stuff. But I like the way it smells for the most part, and if I rated it purely on that basis, I’d give it a 7. Ergo, my rating.
MY RATING: 6/10
Fragrance House: Five Star Fragrances