Fragrance Review: Dunhill Desire Red Extreme EDT

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme

Fragrance evokes all sorts of memories and associations. I was first introduced well over a decade ago to the Dunhill Desire range by an ex who had quite the fragrance collection. Even then, as a fragrance novice, I could notice its accessible sophistication. And the hip flask-like flacons were eye-catchers among all the other bottles. So what would I make of Dunhill Desire Red Extreme, the fifth and most recent addition to the range since its launch in 2000?

As this newbie is an extreme rendition, its transparent red glass bottle certainly makes a bold statement. And the listed notes (blood orange, bergamot, saffron, clary sage, cypress, leather, patchouli, vetiver and amber) score high on the Fragroom appeal-o-meter.

So what does it smell like?

I have been wearing Dunhill Desire Red Extreme for the last two weeks or so and it’s a good – albeit safe – choice.

There’s an initial sweetness to Dunhill Desire Red Extreme, but it’s the right kind of sweetness – refined and fresh. While I can’t pick up all the listed notes, the leather and patchouli base is sensual, come-closer stuff.  Sometimes a leather note in a fragrance can be quite cold, but this one is warm and inviting.

Thumbs up to nose Michel Almairac, who also created the original Dunhill Desire for a Man. Dunhill Desire Red Extreme retains the sweetness of the original. But, like any good flanker, also adds something different to the mix.

I have been working from home a lot recently, but as I have some important work meetings coming up this week, methinks Dunhill Desire Red Extreme will set the tone perfectly for those occasions. Distinctive, confident and intriguing. Now all I need to do is polish my shoes.

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme (R1 195 for 100ml) is available at Foschini, Truworths, Edgars, Dis-Chem, Red Square, Markham and Clicks stores.

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme

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.