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One Man Show by Jacques Bogart

One Man Show is Jacques Bogart's 1980 release for men. I don't know how it gets classified because there really is nothing like it, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's a fougère. It employs all the right aromatics, with green spices, emaciated citrus, and bitter woods. Its heart and base capitalize on raw incense and tobacco.

What's important about OMS is that it has an extremely aggressive top, right in the same league as Kouros and Quorum - perhaps even more so. It's obvious from the outset that the scent is conceptual, which is remarkable given its release date. The concept here is cold, dry, dirty metal. Somehow the nose behind this perfume dried everything out, found the starkest rosewood accord imaginable, and paired it seamlessly with angry citrus and basil. The result is a screaming basil, bolstered by the sugarless acid of the fruit, and anchored by austere wood. Lurking underneath is an ever-present hint of incense, somewhat garnished with tobacco, although I concede that these notes are inseparable at best. As OMS develops, the brutal top dials back a bit (all the time remaining sturdily present), and the incense moves forward, intensifying just enough to create a brilliant tension between metal and earth. The fragrance remains linear from this point, until the entire composition softens, with the incense bolstered by a nicely-rendered sandalwood until everything fades away.

Geranium, cool and detached, touches the edges of this scent and cools it down on every level, to the point where it conjures images of air-hewn brass and frozen wood. OMS should fail, and I should hate it, but for all the reasons that one can find in my description here, I can only say that I like it. I also appreciate the whole package. Bogart's bottles are particularly attractive, very Pierre Dinand-like in shape and design, but the box and label suffer from a starkness, an absence of color, and I don't quite know what to make of it. I'm inclined to think that the people behind OMS want to keep things simple, and more importantly, industrial. The gray gives the fragrance a listlessly impersonal feel that matches the tone of the juice inside. Still, this isn't the industrial era anymore, and perhaps a dash of color - even if just a Communist red in the lettering - would be beneficial. The scent is terrific, its quality shines despite its obvious use of synthetics, and the atomizer works fine.

If you enjoy controversial fragrances like Kouros and Quorum, especially for their treatment of incense, you would do well to explore One Man Show. For $7 on Amazon, how can you go wrong?

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