Monday, November 12, 2012
Grey Flannel is one of my favorite fragrances, so it's only fitting that I finally review it for my blog. Besides, the other day fellow Grey Flannel fan Bryan Ross posted a really good piece about all the Grey Flannel hate on the internet, and it's inspired me to also come to the defense of this classic scent. I come from what seems to be the polar opposite end of the current day's opinion spectrum: Grey Flannel is awesome. How can you not like it?
It must be the violet leaf that turns some people off. Dry, sharp and steely, the violet leaf in Grey Flannel would slash your nasal passages if it weren't for the other ingredients like galbanum, sandalwood and oakmoss softening the blow. There's also a wonderful sparkling note I detect in here that smells like black pepper. The overall effect of Grey Flannel is one of intense greenness, that's both grassy and crisp. It's dry and bitter (I like that), but its verdancy persists for the entire duration of the scent, and that's what draws me to it.
Grey Flannel is a clean, debonaire smell. Wear this with a crisp, freshly ironed white button-down shirt, and you're set. It also makes a great scent to wear in a business setting, because it also comes off as serious and austere when you want it to be. If you're in a position of authority and need to show it, the smell of Grey Flannel will protect your back.
Take a look at Bryan Ross' article on Grey Flannel. Watching all those YouTube video reviews makes me wonder if a lot of the hate may be, in part, generational. The guys trashing Flannel all appear to be at least ten years younger than me, which means most of them likely grew up during the Nineties. Think about it: by the time the 90's came around, aquatic and sport fragrances were in style and considered the norm. All those hairy chested aromatic fougeres and chypres from the Seventies (Grey Flannel's era) and Eighties were considered outdated, and were a borderline laughing stock. I grew up in the 70's and 80's, and the smells of my youth were things like Brut, Jovan Musk For Men and Drakkar Noir. By contrast, if you grew up smelling L'Eau d'Issey all the time, then it's not so surprising that something like Grey Flannel would smell outdated. Often times, our tastes are based on what we were used to smelling when we were in our developmental years.
A case in point: my kids. My kids (my son is 11 and my daughter is 6) are used to smelling stuff like Quorum, Kouros, Eau Sauvage, etc., around my house all the time. They smell my wife wearing stuff like Miss Dior and Miss Balmain a lot. They don't know one fragrance from another, but they're familiar with these kinds of smells. Yesterday I asked both kids to close their eyes and sniff Grey Flannel and tell me what they thought of it. Both of them said it smelled really good. Strong, but good. What does that tell you?
In my most objective state of mind, I still cannot understand all the associations between Grey Flannel and dead bodies, grandmas, the bra aisle in a department store, etc. that are made in those YouTube reviews. What is that all about? Even if I try to put myself in those guys' shoes, all I ever get from Grey Flannel is a sense of green freshness. How can you not love that?
I'm definitely guilty of tacking on the term "dated" to many fragrances, but Grey Flannel is not one of them. To me, Grey Flannel is timeless, classic and eternally modern. It's one of my most frequently worn scents, and I give it a perfect score.
MY RATING: 10/10
Fragrance House: Geoffrey Beene