When I entered Copley Place, the last thing I ever expected to find was a TTAC review. My trip to New England already having yielded material, the trip was already a success on that front. Yet, as I roamed the halls, ignoring designer label after designer label, destiny was slowly creeping up on me. At 2:15 PM on May 29th, 2009, I flagged the Porsche Design store. More specifically, I smelled it. The combination of pistonhead intrigue and olfactory delight was too powerful, and I walked in.
“Whatever this smell is, buddy, please tell me you have it in a bottle,” I proclaimed. Witness the power of product! He wasted no time in introducing me to Porsche Design: The Essence. If first impressions are important, The Essence passed with flying colors. It struck me as a sophisticated mix of both fruity and earthy scents, a great transition from the more boyish colognes to something you could wear in a room full of mahogany and Afghan rugs.
Using my smartphone, I went on the Porsche Design: The Essence website and began researching the cologne. The site threw a bunch of marketing-speak at me that made me question the value of a race of beings that could produce such absurdity. There was only one morally correct course of action: As a single guy, and, as a pistonhead who’s always wanted his own Porsche, I had a duty. I had to test this thing in the only place it mattered: the field. After a quick text message to RF, the first ever TTAC fragrance review was under way.
I deployed The Essence in the three contexts a man of my age was most likely to use it: professionally, casually and romantically.
Professionally, I wore it at a client meeting attended by two global directors, a CIO and some internal auditors. With men, the goal was to not be offensive. The men (typically) either did not notice or said nothing anyway. This outcome is the maximum I’ve come to expect from all but the most flaming of men (yeah I said it; deal). The women noticed it as soon as I entered the room, and smiled. Unsolicited, one of them asked me, “What is that you’ve got on?”
“What do you think of it first, then I’ll tell you,” I replied coyly.
“It’s great. It’s like a cross between Pi [by Givenchy] and Aqua di Gio.” Both of which, by the way, are on my roster, along with Boss and few other secret weapons.
“You won’t believe me even if I do tell you,” I followed (Are you guys taking notes?). When I eventually did fess up, she could not believe she was going apeshit over cologne marketed by a gimmick label masquerading as an automotive design studio. Who the hell is impressed by Ferrari lunchboxes, right?
Casually, I wore the cologne to an epic birthday house party where I had absolutely zero intention of going Supernova with the Casanova. I spritzed The Essence faintly on my wrist and randomly approached women, asking them for their thoughts. Unconcerned with olfactory conflict, I spritzed my other wrist with Pi to serve as a comparison tool. What I won’t do for TTAC readers!
The first lesson I drew was that asking women to evaluate cologne was an excellent way to open them up [Ed: so to speak], but that’s a digression. More topically, I got zero negative or indifferent reviews, though I assume of some of them were just being nice. Among my admittedly statistically inadmissible sample, though, several of them became very enthusiastic about it, spewing comments like “it smells like success” and “wow, that’s so money!” (now I know who designed the website). Unanimously, the women preferred The Essence’s hybrid fruity/earthiness to Pi’s full-on earthiness.
With two out of three tests aced, I began to ponder actually adding The Essence to my roster. The cool, new-age bottle would look great on my glass shelf. I needed a good “Jack of all trades” as it were, and I was tiring of Boss, which was moving downmarket precipitously faster than Dieter Zetsche could say “B-class”.
So I hit up M with it, M in this case being a young law student of particular wit that I’d met on a terrace in the Old Port of Montreal. She came over to my place and we just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company. As for The Essence, she loved it. In a particularly tender moment, M confessed that she loved how I smelled. Two days later, I received a text message telling me her sweater still smelled like my cologne and she couldn’t stop wearing it. The cologne had served as a perfect way to anchor the good memories we had created.
Roster addition complete.
SCENT: 5/5. A great hybrid between the boyish fruitiness of some popular fragrances and the heavier stuff that 55-year-old men wear.
ENDURANCE: 4/5. Lasts the entire day, even through some heavy duty activity. Ahem.
GRAVITAS: 5/5. “It smells like success”.
APHRODISIAC EFFECT: 5/5. It might have just been me, though.
DESIRABILITY: 1/5. Seriously, most girls don’t even pronounce Porsche properly.
OVERALL RATING :4/5.