When they are built around the parallel with another fragrance, perfume reviews produce the result of cutting off all those readers who are guilty of not knowing the second term of comparison. Yet, I guess I’ll have to be the offender this time, by talking about Drakkar Noir By Guy Laroche For Men, and thinking of Cool Water by Davidoff as well.
I’m not – of course – discovering any affinity for the first time here: these two fragrances for men are often talked about together. They both were kings of the 80s and the 90s (although Drakkar Noir is from 1982 and Cool Water entered the scene towards the end of the decade, in 1988), and both were staples of the (quoting Jean-Claude Ellena in Chandler Burr’s book The Perfect Scent) “hygienic phase” which had started with Paco Rabanne Pour Homme in 1973.
Another thing that Drakkar Noir has in common with Cool Water is a molecule called dihydromircenol, which is responsible for the smell of bathroom detergent. It’s present in a quantity of 10% in the first and 20% in the latter, and was used so abundantly and so often from then on, that nowadays it is, when not openly loathed, at least dismissed as too diffused.
With all that background, plus the smell of Cool Water in mind, I actually found Drakkar Noir subtler than I expected. It’s dry like stone and introverted, and the only concessions to the outer world are the clean notes and a balsamic fir quality. The cleanness in it is coupled with spices, which keep a tight core.
It’s masculine in a low-profile way, dry and to the point, as opposed to Cool Water’s flamboyance. Although they’re both sons of the same age, with such different personalities none of them could have really eclipsed the other.
Check this page for a comparison between Drakkar Noir and Cool Water