Dunhill Icon Fragrance Reviews: Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Absolute, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Racing

Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Absolute

It’s intriguing to watch the evolution of a fragrance range from the launch of its pillar fragrance (Dunhill Icon) to the roll-out of its flankers (Dunhill Icon Absolute, Dunhill Icon Elite and Dunhill Icon Racing). It tells you something about the heritage of the brand and where it’s now re-staking its claim.

Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Absolute

ICONIC: The Dunhill Icon fragrance collection, from left to right, Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite and Dunhill Icon Absolute.

Dunhill has released many memorable fragrances since the launch of the superb Dunhill For Men in 1934. But the quality of releases over, say, the last two decades has been erratic, even for the most devoted fan. The launch of Dunhill Icon in 2014 was the esteemed British brand’s reclamation of all the iconic descriptors associated with its fragrances. “Quality”, “elegant”, “craftsmanship” and “British gentlemanliness”.

Dunhill Icon

CRAFTSMANSHIP: Dunhill Icon was launched in 2015.

With the recent release of the latest addition to the Dunhill Icon range, Dunhill Icon Racing, I sniffed out all four fragrances. These are my impressions of each of the EDPs.

Dunhill Icon Racing

RACING GREEN: Dunhill Icon Racing is inspired by the British brand’s motoring heritage.

DUNHILL ICON EDP

Launched in 2015, Dunhill Icon makes its debut with this complex scent created by master perfumer Carlos Benaim. It’s so much more than its aromatic-woody profile suggests. Notes of neroli, bergamot, cardamom, lavender, black pepper, leather and oakmoss feature in this effervescent EDP.

Dunhill Icon

DUNHILL ICON ABSOLUTE EDP

This later 2015 release ventures into more opulent territory. It’s the Dunhill Icon take on the oud trend, while not going the whole shebang. This is a refined treatment of agarwood, with bergamot, black pepper, jasmine, saffron, black rose, leather and tobacco leaf notes adding to its appeal.

Dunhill Icon Absolute

DUNHILL ICON ELITE EDP

An unapologetically woody fragrance, with ebony and sandalwood notes featuring prominently. There’s also a smattering of citrus, cardamom, black pepper and suede notes in this 2016 release. It’s smooth, seductive and modern, without being overly trendy. We’re talking Dunhill bespoke suit kind of stuff.

Dunhill Icon Elite

DUNHILL ICON RACING EDP

Complete with stripes on the top of the bottle, Dunhill Icon Racing is inspired by Dunhill’s motoring heritage. To my nose, Dunhill Icon Racing is not as immediately impactful as its predecessors. Give it time, though, and this Laurent le Guernec composition make an impression with vetiver, lavender, cardamom, citrus and musk notes. I normally like my vetiver dark and dirty, but this fresher and younger interpretation is a winner too.

My conclusion? This is not a range, but rather an evolving fragrance collection that warrants its higher-than-the-average perfume price.

“Mark Eisen’s award-winning cylindrical metal and glass design for the Dunhill Icon collection gets it right on so many levels.”

I must also mention the design of the Dunhill Icon bottle. The fragrance industry has no shortage of beautiful bottles to behold. But South African Mark Eisen’s award-winning cylindrical metal and glass design for the Dunhill Icon collection gets it right on so many levels. Paying homage to Dunhill’s motoring heritage, its solid and classic design is a sophisticated statement that Dunhill Icon is a collection with longevity. You can read more about fashion designer-turned-industrial designer Mark Eisen (picture below) here: http://fragroom.com/2017/09/15/south-african-beauty/.

Dunhill Icon Racing EDP, R1 095 for 50ml and R1 595 for 100ml.

5 OF THE BEST FRAGRANCES OF 2016

This year has been another whirlwind of new fragrance launches and personally I get a kick out of trying as many of the latest products as possible. But when it comes to the all-important purchase for yourself or as a gift, how do you tell (and smell) the oh-so-good from the so-so?

These five fragrances stood out from the crowded counters for me:

BENTLEY INFINITE RUSH EDT

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For a company that has only been in the fragrance game since 2013, Bentley keeps the quality coming. Bentley Infinite EDT and Bentley Infinite Intense EDP, both launched in 2015, were class acts and Infinite Rush is no exception. From the opening notes of pink peppercorn and mandarin orange to the dry-down of amber, vetiver and cedar, this is a fresh summer winner. Here’s hoping Bentley Infinite Rush White EDT will be launched in SA too.

R895 for 60ml and R1 195 for 100ml at Dis-Chem and Truworths stores.

DUNHILL ICON ELITE EDP

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If 2015’s Icon Absolute was Dunhill’s contribution to the fashionable oud genre, Icon Elite sees the British brand firmly back in classic territory with this deliciously woody and spicy composition that’s big on sandalwood, cardamom, vetiver, ebony wood and black suede notes. This EDP is grown-up stuff, so if you want something “shouty”, best look elsewhere. It’s the perfect scent from the office to evening cocktails.

R995 for 30ml, R1 095 for 50ml and R1 595 for 100ml at Clicks, Dis-Chem, Edgars, Foschini, Markham, Red Square and Truworths stores.

L’HOMME PRADA EDT

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Not everyone will “get” the powerful powdery iris note in this Prada fragrance, but that’s what makes this EDT so special. That and the amber, geranium and patchouli. Just like Prada’s previous big fragrance release for men, Lunna Rossa Sport, this one is under-rated and deserves a little more time to reveal its charms. From the box to the bottle, the packaging is seriously sophisticated too.

R1 060 for 50ml and R1 485 for 100ml from Edgars, Red Square, Stuttafords and Woolworths stores.

ARMANI CODE PROFUMO EDP

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Disclaimer: Generally, I am not a fan of sweeter scents, but I will make an exception for this recent addition to the Armani Code line. This EDP opens with a quick flourish of green apple and cardamom before settling into a warm, sensual and cosy (never thought I would use that adjective to describe a Giorgio Armani) rendition of tonka bean, amber and leather. Bellissimo!

30ml for R819, 60ml for R1 306 and R1 630 for 110ml from Edgars, Red Square, Stuttafords, Foschini, Woolworths and Truworths stores.

 VALENTINO UOMO INTENSE EDP

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Valentino Uomo was one of my favourites when it was released in South Africa in 2015 – and the intense version is perfume perfection to me. Yes, there’s a luxurious leather vibe here, but it’s mixed oh so seductively with iris, tonka bean, vanilla and clary sage to make this so more than a one-trick wonder. The studded grey bottle is also gorgeous. Excuse me, while I sniff myself again and again. Mmm….

R1 210 for 50ml and R1 510 for 100ml from Edgars, Red Square, Truworths, Foschini and Woolworths stores.