I've been wearing Royal Copenhagen sporadically for the past 15 years, and every time I wear it, I like it even more. It's never been something I wear very often, but that doesn't make it any less good. Royal Copenhagen is more a victim of the size of my fragrance collection, and it gets lost in the shuffle.
This scent is so old school, you'd be wasting your time even sampling it if you hate powdery colognes. It's a floral oriental scent, but unlike most orientals, it smells crisp and not particularly sweet. Strong lavender in the opening gives the scent a nice snap, while floral notes give it the old guard powdery smell. The sweet amber in the bottom end doesn't even rear its head until a few hours into your wearing this, and the sweetness is merely subtle. That's a good thing, because I can't stand powdery fragrances that are super sweet.
What I really love about Royal Copenhagen is that it uses a skanky smelling musk to give a dirty, animalic facet to the scent. This adds welcome complexity and a masculine, even daring, edge to what would have otherwise been a stuffy cologne.
My favorite aspect of Royal Copenhagen is how it blends dry, crisp smells with powdery and sweet notes so well. This is a hard feat to pull off, mixing polar opposite smells like this, but whoever composed Royal Copenhagen did so masterfully. The crisp lavender hangs on for a very long time, and blended with the floral powdery notes, it fits right in to the marketed image of a schooner at sea. Yes, for me Royal Copenhagen succeeds in making me think of the ocean when I wear it. It's not that it smells salty or watery, but the lavender and powder together create this cold, slate-colored starkness in the fragrance that smells oceanic to me. I wore Royal Copenhagen today when I took my dog for a walk on the beach, and it suited the occasion perfectly.
I need to say something about the current version of this. Royal Copenhagen is an old fragrance from 1970, and much has been said about how this has been reformulated many times. The biggest complaint I hear is that the current stuff, made by Five Star Fragrances Co., is so weak. I've never smelled any of the early versions of this, but I can't imagine anyone thinking this current version is weak. In fact, I find it very strong, and I'm actually careful in how much I put on. I'm wearing this right now, having put on four sprays eight hours ago, and it's still going strong. I've always gotten 12+ hours of longevity from my bottle of wimpy reformulated Royal Copenhagen.
This is a winner all the way, and is a must-have for any fan of old-school masculines.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: Royal Copenhagen