One of the greatest mysteries of the modern age is why in god's name Azzaro discontinued Acteur. I blame Cool Water and the rise of aquatic nightmares - Acteur was issued in 1989, and is reminiscent of '80s aromatic fougères, many of which were more popular in the earlier part of that decade. It would not have been as spot-on in the '90s, but it should have been. It's infinitely better than most of what was big when I was in high school, stuff like Tommy and Acqua di Gio.
Acteur opens with an explosion of resinous notes, namely smoky birch tar, incense, and tobacco, all in the tradition of angry powerhouses like Quorum and Yatagan (minus the celery and pine). Slowly, the smoke and tar lift, and the incense breathes, but this is a hot, burning incense, not the raw stuff of Kouros. Weaving among these notes are distinct nutmeg and tobacco elements, backed by the sweetness of red apple. After about an hour, the apple steps forward, and supported by the incense and a strong, dry rose, takes center stage.
True to its name, this is all very dramatic, bold, powerful stuff. I almost passed on buying it because the incense in the opening reminded me too much of Quorum and Yatagan, but the apple accord that emerged was just too unique, authentic, and endearing to leave behind. $25 for a 1.7 oz bottle seemed like a good deal. Along with a few others, this is a terrific autumnal fragrance, great for pumpkin festivals and sharing apple cider.
Although it is still available online in eau de toilette, deodorant, and aftershave form, it's become very difficult to locate bottles of Acteur. If you see it, don't even hesitate. For its novelty value alone, it's worth getting, even if you don't plan on wearing it. I, for one, plan on wearing it, and am already sad about the day it will be spent.
The packaging is classy and minimalist, and the bottle is quite nice, especially for something from Azzaro. Staying power is 7 + hours. The atomizer is fine. The photo above was taken by me, because it's impossible to find a decent one on the web. I'm sending out a query to company headquarters -
Chrome, Pure Lavande, Visit. What the F**k?
Bring back Acteur.