Friday, July 6, 2012

Marbert Man

A head-on locomotive of a fragrance if there ever was one.  Marbert Man represents the aromatic fougere style of the Seventies in its loudest, crudest form.  Those who don't like powerhouse or old-school scents will surely find it obnoxious and crass.  Its street fighting style hits below the belt, telegraphing its punches minutes before you even enter the room.  Released in 1977, Marbert Man was so boisterous and brash, it needed something like Azzaro Pour Homme to come along and teach it some manners.

It's not even like it's the strongest fragrance I've ever smelled, even though it is very strong.  I'm more bowled over by its adrenaline-charged rawness, the way it fires all its heavy weapons right at your head, and keeps doing it for hours and hours.  It has unrelenting power.  Put it into historical perspective and think about when it was released; it's as if those crude bastards at Marbert said to one another, "Paco Rabanne thinks it's so tough?  Just wait till they smell this!" 

Every facet of Marbert Man is treated in heavy-handed fashion, yet everything comes together quite nicely, believe it or not.  Marbert Man is surprisingly very wearable, assuming you like powerful old school fragrances.  There seems to be every harsh herb known to man in this (herbal frags were the rage in the 70's), as well as truckloads of leather and patchouli, but it all blends amazingly well together.  You never feel like you're wearing 12 fragrances at the same time.  It even has a weird greasy underlying smell reminiscent of motor oil in the drydown.  That's not a criticism, by the way.  That motor oil smell is well suited to the robust nature of this hairy ass fragrance.

Even though I really like Marbert Man, I can't say it's an essential addition to the wardrobe.  Sure it's macho and strong as hell, but I can't say it's particularly unique for its era.  If you've worn Paco Rabanne, Brut or Azzaro Pour Homme, Marbert Man won't surprise you, even if it is cruder than any of them.  If I were to make a comparison to another fragrance, I'd say it smells a lot like the original Bogart from 1975, with more herbs and the volume cranked up to 11.  In fact, Quorum smells like Marbert Man for the 80's. 

The bottom line for all you powerheads and old schoolers is this: if you can find a bottle or a mini of Marbert Man for a good price, snap it up, because it's a damn good fragrance.  However, don't sweat it.  If you already own Bogart and Quorum, you can probably get the same effect by layering the two.

UPDATE, 7/7/12

Today I just tried for the first time Dunhill For Men 1934, which is a bitter and leathery, but very refined, classic.  It struck me about 15 minutes into it that Marbert Man smells a lot like a more herbal, brutalized version of Dunhill.  Both fragrances have the same aldehydic, alcoholic "cologne" smell so common in old school men's fragrances, but Dunhill, of course, handles it with a lot more grace.

Another way to think about it is this: pretend both Dunhill and Marbert were guys instead of fragrances.  If both of them went to the opera, Dunhill For Men would be dressed in a tux, looking dashing, sitting quietly in his seat, with his eyes closed while taking in the music.  Marbert Man would be the asshole in the center row, dressed in a jumpsuit, ripping huge farts during Isolde's Liebestod.

MY RATING:  8/10

Fragrance House:  Marbert

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