I was wandering amidst the perfume shelves at Debenhams, after elegantly dodging a SA who wanted to spray some Dot by Marc Jacobs on me (I tried it already, I said, it’s very good, very much in the style of Marc Jacobs, do you like it? I asked. Yes, she said, it’s fruity floral, and walked off), but I was completely uninspired. Until I stumbled upon Antidote perfume by Viktor and Rolf.
Long story short: I smelled it and put together the review thinking it was a fragrance for women, and I thought the spicy edge was really cool for a woman’s skin. Until I found out it’s a fragrance for men. But I’m not going to let the forces of gender division win, and this review will be for a perfume for women.
The start of Antidote by Viktor and Rolf is overall a bit dull. In its first notes, you can smell something, but it feels like the perfume has three options ahead: the citrus, the floral and the spicy. It holds its breath for two-three minutes, not knowing very well what to do, and then it goes down the spicy road, keeping a base of generic, non-dense floral. I read it’s lavender, and it makes sense, but it’s muffled and made hard to recognise by the spices.
Antidote cologne grows more complex as minutes go by, offering also minty, balsamic and sweet tones here and there. The spices are cardamom and cinnamon, but they are given a moderate twist: they won’t sting too much, but won’t be too shy either. All in all, they add a nice layer of interest, maybe because I met too many powerful florals (not a huge fan of them), and spices for women look like a good idea, especially when they’re not too aggressive. Even in what must be the second or third hottest day of the year in Dublin, with a whooping 24°C outside, it didn’t feel too heavy.
The floral side will keep its effacing embrace with spices for a good chunk of time (the blotter gave back almost no spices at all), although it seems to gain some ground after two-three hours, as the spices subside a little. The base will be pale and fairly clean, with woods joining in with a faint sweetness and warmth.
And this is how Viktor and Rolf Antidote felt like: an ordinary perfume for men, a very good perfume for women.