There are a ton of reviews on Antaeus on the web, but too many of them start off with, "This is a review of vintage Antaeus...". What about the Antaeus that's available in department stores right now? Most people who have never smelled this fragrance are not going to search high and low for old bottles of Antaeus - these people want to know what's readily available now, and what it smells like, period. I'm here to review what Antaeus smells like in its current form, and luckily it's good news.
Most people merely describe this as a woody fragrance, and it's rare to find a review that actually categorizes this scent. It's obvious to me that Antaeus is a heavy masculine chypre, no more and no less. It smells dirty, animalic, mossy and sort of sweet. There are some woody and herbal notes in Antaeus to give it a masculine aromatic edge, but what dominates by far is the base blend of labdanum (providing the semi-sweetness), castoreum (providing a urine-like, animalic punch) and oakmoss. It's what I consider to be Antaeus' signature smell, and any other ingredients it contains, like beeswax, florals, sage and patchouli, are there merely to embellish it. It's a powerful, heavy and long lasting smell, and I just love it.
A lot of people call Antaeus an Eighties powerhouse fragrance. Although it's ultra-masculine and very strong, with nuclear sillage and amazing longevity, I'm on the fence with that label for Antaeus. I think it's too old school in style to qualify, believe it or not. When I wear Antaeus, I never associate it with the other power frags from the Eighties at all. For me, Antaeus smells very classic, old school French in style, and that's mainly due to the heavy labdanum, castoreum and oakmoss it contains. It has a lot more in common with classic perfumes like Ho Hang, Moustache, and Miss Balmain than it does with stuff like Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui or Drakkar Noir.
Vintage fans have called the current version of Antaeus a disgrace and a "shadow of its former self". I say nonsense. I have a decant of vintage Antaeus, and though it's a little bit different and slightly better, it's not a deal breaker at all. Antaeus used to be slightly warmer and better balanced than it is now. Antaeus now has somewhat harsher top notes, and there's a slightly more heady floral angle to the middle stage, but it's still unmistakably Antaeus. It still has monstrous sillage and lasts more than 12 hours on my skin. New Antaeus suits me just fine.
Antaeus remains an outstanding fragrance, with its inimitable old school style.
MY RATING: 9/10
Fragrance House: Chanel