December 18, 2010
One of the classic department store fragrances is Aramis for Men. When you stand around a department store fragrance counter during a busy time like the Holidays it is interesting to hear people’s reactions to the strips the Sales Associates hand to customers. It is the way I do my very unofficial market research. When it comes to the original Aramis the feedback I hear most often is “it smells like my father/grandfather” or “wow that’s strong”. This is usually followed by the person asking for something that smells more “clean and fresh” or “lighter”. This person, if they buy, usually ends up walking away with one of the many Sport fragrances populating the department store fragrance counter. I’m guessing that Estee Lauder’s more formal research has told them the same thing. Aramis Cool Blend was the first attempt by Aramis to recapture the Generation Y market. Cool Blend really was a true flanker as the decision to lay in citrus over the spicy heart and sandalwood base of Aramis for Men. Cool Blend didn’t work for me because it felt like a clumsy pastiche of clean and fresh crossed with a powerhouse fragrance. As 2010 comes to a close Aramis takes another chance at appealing to the same demographic and this time, with Aramis Impeccable, I think they might have hit the mark.
Aramis Impeccable succeeds because it doesn’t try and use the original in any appreciable way except for the name. Impeccable begins with a simple citrus accord and when I first smelled this I was expecting Cool Blend redux but Impeccable goes in an entirely different simpler direction. The heart of Impeccable is just one note, juniper berry. Juniper berry imparts a clean fruity character. Juniper berry is one of the aromatic components of gin and the middle part of the development has a cool martini feel to it because of its presence. The base is all cedar and it extends the clean feel right through to the finish.
Impeccable has above average longevity and above average sillage.
Impeccable succeeds where, I think, Cool Blend failed by taking three well-chosen clean ingredients and creates something different from Aramis for Men. Next time I’m loitering around the department store fragrance counter I don’t expect to hear Impeccable described as “old” or “overpowering”.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Estee Lauder.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor