I like to think that I’m not an insufferable perfume snob, but on occasion I do have to check myself and ensure that I’m not biased by brand names, or that I don’t turn my nose up at something just because it’s not the sort of thing I would usually wear. So I’m an occasional snob, which is OK, I guess! The latest from Joop! was one such moment where I had to remind myself that a scent should not be judged by its name and I’m glad that I gave it chance because it’s actually rather decent!
Wow! was created by perfumer Christophe Raynaud (Guerlain My Insolence and Penhaligon’s The Coveted Duchess Rose) and is described by Joop! as being a “fresh woody addiction” of a scent that plays “with excesses and overdoses”. It’s a fragrance that speaks of confidence but does so with depth and complexity – it’s not just a scent of brovadao and no substance, Wow! actually delivers an interesting and masculine fragrant experience that is incredibly modern, not to mention utterly enjoyable.
Top: Violet Leaf Absolute, Bergamot Essence & Cardamom Essence
Heart: Geranium Essence, Vetyver SFE & Fir Balsam Absolute
Base: Cashmeran, Vanilla Surabsolute & Tonka Bean Absolute
How Does it Smell?
Wow! starts out in a clash of spicy and fresh notes. Bright bergamot brings a fuzzy, sparkling feel whilst cardamom and cumin provide an underlying funk that gives Wow! just a little crackle of naughtiness. Violet leaf, that well-trodden trope of masculine perfumery makes an appearance but in a muted manner, applying a touch of violet-like sweetness without the foghorn of grey aquatic tones that is so usually used (or abused as my good friend and Fume Chat Co-Host, Nick would say) when it comes to violet leaf. The overall impression is a refined and lively opening with an inviting sense of complexity.
In the heart, Wow! is an ode to Cashmeran, an IFF material that has a rich odour profile that ranges from spiky woody to richly fruity and balsamic with a vanilla undertone. You’ll most likely know it from MUGLER’s Alien which contains an overdose of Cashmeran in the fragrance’s blond woods accord. In Wow! Cashmeran is shrouded in a cloud of woody, pine-like warmth that makes it feel a little drier than user, taking it from velvety blonde woods to auburn sand. It’s a decidedly masculine take on Cashmeran and it smells pretty darn good.
Things do go a little bit south in the base and Wow! loses interest in being different and settles for a woody base that feels a little bit generic. There is a touch of bourbon, booze-like sweetness that provides a stylish twist, but for the most part the impression is of a synthetic-smelling sandalwood accompanied by a vanilla note used with a measured approach. It’s a shame that Wow! doesn’t well, wow, all the way until into the dry down, but it can be forgiven this transgression because it is generally very good elsewhere.
Wow! is a revelation. It’s a good humoured, well composed and handsome smelling masculine that all gents should fix their nose upon. Sure, it’s not wildly unique in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like it’s been fully worked out from concept to execution. I don’t think I’ll wear it, in all honesty, but boozy, woody masculines have never been my bag however, I would certainly recommend it to any gent looking for something new and exciting in their wardrobe. Well done, Joop! I certainly won’t be a snob any more.*
* I cannot guarantee this.
Wow! is available in 40ml (Limited Edition), 60ml (£39) and 100ml (£52) Eau de Toilette. Matching body products are also available.
Sample, notes and quotes via Joop! Images are my own.