Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Invictus by Paco Rabanne

It was back in March when I first exposed my nose to a tester of Invictus by Paco Rabanne and I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh new smell and had to get my hands on  a bottle as soon as possible.

The aftershave made it onto my aftershave wish list and the rest as they say is history. 

A bottle was purchased for £50 for a 100ml bottle and boom, my years of wandering in the Paco Rabanne wilderness were over. I had been a big fan of XS in my youth but had gone off it over time. As I said in my previous review, my tastes changed dramatically and the fashion house just didn’t come up with anything new to really grab my attention.

Oh how that has changed.

The marketing blurb for Invictus really does take creative writing to the extreme:

‘Created for contemporary heroes, Paco Rabanne Invictus is the ultimate scent of victory.

The eau de toilette is an ode to the unconquered and invincible triumph of athletes, a signature scent for sons of Olympus who exalt in the sensation of winning.

The quintessential essence for men who are modern champions, no matter their sport.’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some numpty who rushes out to buy a fragrance just because I like the look of the bottle, but it was the bottle that made me investigate more. It is so unique, and looks cool. It reminds me of the European Cup (yes, the European Cup that Liverpool Football Club have won five times if reading Manchester United fans) and I‘d be lying if I said I hadn‘t lifted the bottle above my head to recreate Istanbul in 2005 (thankfully I wasn’t wearing a full Liverpool kit at the time - no excuse for a grown man to wear a full football kit).

Invictus by Paco Rabanne

Invictus by Paco Rabanne

Invictus by Paco Rabanne

Invictus by Paco Rabanne

The notes to Invictus give a good idea of what to expect and while reviewers would have you believe this is a ‘woody’ fragrance I’m inclined to disagree with this broad brush description. It’s far too easy to label an aftershave and put people off when actually they would be surprised. 
  • Head: Grapefruit Peel, Marine Accord;
  • Heart: Bay Leaves;
  • Dry down: Guaiac Wood, Patchouli, Amber Gris Accord.
First of all, the bottle is really easy to grip, with the atomiser located within the top. Three sprays and hey presto, you have enough of the fragrance dispensed to leave you smelling wonderful for over ten hours, in fact on a good day you can still smell it the morning after applying which represents one hell of a long lasting product, which if you consider the price actually makes this fall into the good value for money category.

But what does it smell like? Well, as soon as it leaves the bottle you are hit with a beautiful blend of grapefruit - rather than wafts of citrus though it immediately blends with the marine accord to give depth to the fragrance. It isn’t sickly sweet, instead it rests on the skin without irritation and stays fresh for a good hour or so until the heart and dry down notes come to the fore.

It’s a young fragrance at first but starts to change, becoming warm and sensual. The bay leaves give this an edge that make it that touch more masculine than you would expect.

After two hours, unlike other aftershaves I can still smell it on me and my clothes and I admit it, I do find myself staring into space when I catch a whiff of myself during the day - it is lovely. 

The patchouli and amber I had expected would make this really heavy on dry down but that isn’t the case, the fine blend is out of this world and doesn’t make it so warm you lose that young vibe it gives off on first application. This is where I disagree with the categorisation of the fragrance.

While this is a deep and seductive fragrance it can’t be placed strictly into the ‘woody’ category in my opinion. It is far too light on application, has a lovely citrus zing to it and when it dries down isn’t overly warm. Yes you can pick out the patchouli that gives a masculine and manly base but the head and heart notes don’t fade away completely giving this an edge that truly does make it the aftershave of winner, nay, the aftershaves of kings. 


OK, well here is the picture of me pretending to win the European Cup....

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