Well, if last week was an unofficial ‘collections’ week, this week is most definitely ‘celebuscent’ week. So far we’ve gagged for Gaga and been perfumed by Pharrell, and now it’s time for another star to treat us to their fragrant wares. This time it’s Barbadian songstress and provocateur, Rihanna. Now, Ri-Ri is no stranger to the world of celebrity fragrance and has, at this present moment in time, a grand total of 6 fragrances under her belt. She has clearly been very busy.
I’ll be honest and say that, whilst I’m quite familiar with Rihanna’s musical outings, I’m less au fait with her olfactory output. That said, I have heard a lot of good things about Rogue, her feminine fragrance launch from 2013 and seeing as our girl Ri has just launched the masculine counterpart to Rogue, aptly entitled Rogue Man, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give both fragrances a test drive.
Rogue was developed by perfumer Marypierre Julien (Rihanna Rebelle) and is described as being a “flirtatious and sensual oriental”. Rogue Man was penned by perfumer Frank Voekl (Le Labo Ylang 49, Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream and Oscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar) and reportedly “intoxicates men with a choreographed clash of fragrance notes that are both masculine and ultra-sexy”. So how do these two rebellious perfumes fair as celebuscents? Well, let’s put them to the test!
Top: Lemon Blossom and Cyclamen
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Plum and Suede
Base: Musk, Woody Notes, Amber, Patchouli and Vanilla
How Does it Smell?
Rogue opens with a busy fizz of carbonated fruit notes. It’s peachy, plummy and tart all at once, and practically comes careering out of the bottle in a hive of activity. The fizz allows the fruit notes to have transparency and lift, ensuring that they remain tart and multi-faceted but never allowing them to fall into the celebuscent trap of overly-stewed sickly fruit . As the top notes settle down, Rogue becomes much jammier, exuding a richness that is difficult not to enjoy.
All of this fruity fun sits atop a surprisingly expensive-smelling bed of suede. Together, these notes create a delicate fusion that is in the same vein as Bottega Veneta, but perhaps a little cruder. If the BV is an immaculately pieced-together tan-leather handbag (by Bottega Veneta, of course), then Rogue is a fuchsia beach bag from Michael Kors – well made, yes, but definitely a lot more fun and frivolous. It’s also more floral too and boasts a lovely face powder-esque touch of rose.
Rogue sweetens further as it dries down, settling on a base of creamy leather, amber and vanilla (it’s sort of similar to the plastic patchouli of Gucci Rush, in a way). Thankfully, it never falls into syrupy or sticky territory and maintains that fizzy transparancey throughout. Personally, I find it to be a lot of fun all the way through, and whilst it is definitely less finely put together than Bottega Veneta, Rogue is brighter, more colourful and just as competently crafted. Colour me pleasantly surprised!
Top: Black Pepper, Rosemary, Clementine and Bergamot
Heart: Jasmine, Cedarwood, Labdanum and Vanilla Orchid
Base: Sandalwood, Musk, Patchouli, Amber and Tonka Bean
How Does it Smell?
Rogue Man is Rihanna’s latest launch and her first masculine fragrance. It opens with a blurred blend of citrus and pepper that isn’t particularly distinct, nor is it that palatable. The citrus, which is vaguely lemon-esque, has an uncomfortable and sour tone to it that feels quite off-kilter. Rogue Man dries down to a vague woody-vanilla that is similar in style to Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s effortlessly handsome Amyris Homme, but cannot compete in terms of quality or artistry.
Where Rogue is fun, frivolous and nicely done, Rogue Man is bland and muddily thrown together. I get that as a masculine celebrity fragrance, it has to have a wide appeal for men who are perhaps not that into fragrance as I am, but its lack of focus doesn’t help it come across as an attractive masculine fragrance. That said, I’m sure it’ll find fans amongst those that appreciate a straightforward woody-citrus that requires little effort to wear. I’m sure Rihanna fans will enjoy it.
Rogue is available in 75ml (£32.50) and 125ml (£42.50) Eau de Parfum. Rogue Man is available in 30ml (£25) and 100ml (£45) Eau de Toilette.
Samples via Rihanna. Image 1 via se1girl.com. Rogue notes, quotes and image 2 via fragrantica.com. Rogue Man notes and quotes via press release. Image 3 via Wikipedia.