This is a blog about men's fragrances, so I'm judging Royal Secret on the basis of whether or not a man might enjoy wearing it. It's marketed as a fragrance for women, but you could have fooled me if I didn't know any better. This is a superb, French styled, extremely old-school scent that falls somewhere between a classic chypre and an oriental. Of course it would smell great on a woman, but I think it makes a much better men's fragrance, that is, for those who love classic scents. My wife doesn't wear it, so I guess I'm clear to wear it around my household. When I wear it, it never crosses my mind that this is a woman's fragrance. It smells pretty damn masculine to me. It's a hundred times better than the mediocre Royal Secret For Men.
Royal Secret is usually described as an oriental. With it's evil looking dark brown juice, it certainly looks the part. However, Royal Secret strikes me equally as a chypre, and that's because the fragrance shifts off and on smelling like both throughout its life on your skin. The opening is awesome - dark, super strong, bitter, woody and heavy, just like a great old school leather chypre; fans of Guerlain's
Right when you're thinking you're wearing an old guard oriental, the scent starts smelling lighter, breezier, airier and bitter, just like a great chypre would. This is the part of Royal Secret I enjoy most, and is the most long lasting. It smells dry and dusty, with a pale green, mossy bitterness that makes it smell a lot like the drydown of Chanel Pour Monsieur, one of my favorite fragrances. Labdanum, an essential ingredient for a chypre, is not listed as a note in Royal Secret, but it sure smells like there's labdanum in it.
Royal Secret is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. I get Derby in the beginning, and then for the next eleven or twelve hours I get whiffs of Youth Dew and Chanel Pour Monsieur, constantly shifting in and out for the duration. Chanel Pour Monsieur is notorious for having terrible longevity, and that's the beauty of Royal Secret for me - it's like wearing a version of Chanel Pour Monsieur that lasts for twelve hours. How awesome is that?
The only reason I don't give this a perfect score is because you can tell that it doesn't exactly contain the best quality materials. Unfortunately Five Star Fragrances Co. is infamous among perfume enthusiasts for reformulating classics using cheap materials. I guess I can't complain, considering a 100 ml. bottle only costs about $20
Royal Secret will be right at home sitting next to your bottles of Capucci Pour Homme, Ho Hang, Moustache and Chanel Pour Monsieur on your dresser. Both thumbs all the way up!
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: Germaine Monteil, Five Star Fragrances