Bergamot, Artemisia, Lemon, Grapefruit
Cumin, Patchouli, Jasmin, Pine, Sandal, Cyclamen, Carnation
Leather, Tobacco, Moss, Amber, Olibanum
I know I said I wouldn't write another new review in a few years, but with this one I couldn't resist. So much for resolutions.
Quorum dates from 1982, and as a kid growing up in the '80s, I remember walking into my friend's houses and wondering what the acrid, musty, heavy smell was that haunted their abodes. Guess now I know - their dads wore Quorum.
This opens up with a blast of bone-dry citrus, along the same lines as Grey Flannel, but with more of a "perfumey" feel, as the bergamot and grapefruit are semi-sweet. Of all the notes, Quorum's top smells cheapest, which may be where the bargain price ($14 at Marshall's) is justified. However, as things dry down the fragrance is akin to your typical $300 niche scent.
The middle notes are a complete mashup, except for the cumin - the basketloads and basketloads of cumin. This is enough to make even the brightest rub turn rancid. Just when Quorum seems like it's about to become Satan's Kouros, the sweaty cumin is joined by its partner in crime: tobacco.
Once the tobacco sets in, about ten minutes after application, it becomes resoundingly clear which form of nicotine-laced smoke we're smelling. This is all about dense, semi-burned black cigar tobacco. The effect is bolstered by olibanum, also known as Frankincense. The resinous base, coupled with a moistureless moss, sustains the tobacco on a craggy precipice of musty spice and conifer accords.
Quorum is the Yatagan of the 1980s in that it is vicious, heady, totally original, and utterly one of a kind. This is where all similarities end, though, as both fragrances are of different origins, and render different effects. As it arrived on the market very early on in the '80s, it is safe to say that Quorum spawned the era of 1980s "powerhouses" that followed into the early '90s.
The bargain price is unbeatable, especially since you get a 3.4 oz bottle. The atomizer works fine - maybe a little too fine, actually. The packaging is also very unique; Quorum has a very Pierre Dinand-like look and feel, although I do not know who designed it. The dark brown motif carries over onto the cap and box, and usually I'm not a fan of such basic designs, but here it seems to capture an era. Back in the late '70s and early '80s earth tones were still relevant, especially in Europe, which was like 15-20 years behind America. Coming from Spain, Quorum encapsulates an iconic zeitgeist, and was the go-to fragrance for men who wanted to smell smokey and a little filthy. It was also good for that Winston Churchill-before-bombing-Berlin effect, you know, after all those cigars on the way to Parliament. Wear this, and both your smoke and filth status will be firmly ON.