The Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 line has two fragrances called 2022 Generation, one for men and one for women. Both are largely unisex fragrances that were released in 2013 and are pure parfum extraits in concentration, but they have very different profiles. I had very mixed reactions to these two fragrances, but neither one evoked any sense of place, any story, or any imagery in my mind. Nothing at all, in fact, which says something in and of itself. So, we’ll get right to it.
2022 GENERATION HOMME:
2022 Generation Homme is a perfume extrait with 24% concentration, and is described in the press materials I received as follows:
Powdery mist of agarwood
Dry and Distinguished Oud, vertical opus.
Top: Yuzu zest – Blackcurrant – Mint
Middle: Cambodian Oud
Base: Precious Oud – Spices – Balsamic Notes.
2022 Generation Homme opens on my skin with a powerful wave of ISO E Super, followed by a crisp, chilly, leafy greenness that is a mix of the yuzu and mint. Subtle hints of tart, tangy, juicy cassis (or blackcurrant) dance at the edges. A warm, caramel-like sweetness fills the base, followed by a creamy woodiness and a sprinkling of cardamom. The overall impression is of intense ISO E Super with creamy caramel sweetness and abstract woods. It is a very airy, light, summery bouquet with initially moderate sillage of about 2-3 inches from 3 small atomizer spritzes.
Regular readers know my feelings about ISO E Super. I despise it. I can put up with small quantities, especially if a fragrance has a plethora of other notes, but I become extremely irritated if a scent has a lot of the chemical. Some people enjoy ISO E Super, and a few find it to be a pheromone, while others are lucky enough not to be able to detect it at all. I don’t fall into any of those categories, and my nose is extremely sensitive to the aroma. But I’ll still grit my teeth and bear it if the ISO E Super manifests itself as a mere “woody buzz” (as Luca Turin once described it) or as mere pepperiness. However, I become positively livid when it wafts antiseptic or rubbing alcohol odors. I don’t buy expensive perfume to smell like a visit to a hospital where a doctor has disinfected my arm before giving me an injection. And I cannot bear it when that particular aroma hits me in massive quantities. Like here.
2022 Generation Homme smells like rubbing alcohol and antiseptic on my skin. It’s sharp, chemical, and slightly peppered. It also seems to grow stronger with every passing minute, far outweighing the crisp, fresh notes. The latter all seem to blend into an abstract, amorphous haze of greenness, only occasionally accentuated by a clear burst of cassis. Or perhaps the problem is that there is so much of the damn, bloody chemical emanating from my skin that it’s hard for me to detect 2022 Generation Homme’s nuances behind the solid, brick wall of astringent mixed with caramel sweetness. It’s an odd mix, which renders me even more unenthusiastic about the fragrance.
If I focus really hard on everything but the damn ISO E, I can genuinely appreciate the creamy woodiness of the base, though it never once translates to my nose as actual Mysore, no matter what the notes may say. Generation Homme feels simultaneously both fresh and clean, as well as creamy, woody, and sweet. The mint and yuzu are quite abstract on my skin, lacking clear delineation, but they melt into the white musk in the base to create a definite sense of freshness. Their airy crispness lies in sharp contrast to the sense of a thick caramel creaminess mixed with dusty, exotic cardamom. Honestly, I find it to be a discordant mix. It’s like two different, non-matching perfumes have been melded together with a bridge of ISO E Supercrappy.
Generation Homme is said to contain two different sorts of oud. On my skin, a vague sense of some wooded smokiness appears at the end of the first hour, but I never smell “the noble rot” as agarwood is sometimes called. As with all the SHL 777 line, the oud that Monsieur Lucas uses never smells like the kind in Amouage, Montale, or Xerjoff fragrances. It is merely slightly smoky with a subtle muskiness and a tinge of sweetness. In any event, it takes less than 20 minutes for the oud to fade into Generation Homme’s base dominated by that caramel sweetness and the abstract, wooded creaminess.
I tried to tolerate 2022 Generation Homme, I really did. Regular readers know that I will put up with a lot of fragrances that are difficult, challenging, or unpleasant, including those with ISO E Super. I couldn’t do it in this case. The first time I tried 2022 Generation Homme, I lasted 2 hours before I scrubbed it off. The second time, I endured exactly 3 hours and 15 minutes before I couldn’t bear it any more.
The problem is that the ISO E Super simply becomes stronger and stronger on my skin. At the start of the second hour, it completely takes over, and Generation Homme is wafting roughly 70% rubbing alcohol antiseptic on my arm and 30% caramel, creamy woods. By the time the 3rd hour rolled around, it was 85% ISO E Super — and the number seemed to be climbing. It is undoubtedly an issue of my skin chemistry and how it reacts to aroma-chemicals in really large doses, so perhaps the rest of you will be luckier. But life is too short for me to put up with misery for the sake of a thorough review. 2022 Generation Homme is a complete scrubber for me, and a massive disappointment from a line that I had liked because it felt refined and wasn’t replete with aromachemicals.
The price does not make any of this more palatable. 2022 Homme retails for €235 for a small 50 ml bottle. I don’t know what the U.S. amount will be, but, whatever it is, it’s going to be too high for a scent with a largely generic, designer, mainstream profile of crisp, clean, woody musks with sweetness and a walloping amount of ISO E chemicals. The refined luxuriousness and elegance of the other SHL 777 fragrances — like the Khol de Bahrein iris-heliotrope-amber that initially caught my attention and made me pay heed to the line — is missing from 2022 Generation Homme. To someone who can’t detect ISO E Super, I’m sure it will come across as an approachable, simple, nice, easy fragrance that may be great for summer months. Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that Generation Homme is original, interesting or even particularly niche in feel. And I personally do not want to spend €235 for a designer-like, mainstream scent with a generic profile.
I’m becoming more peevish and irritated with every word I write about 2022 Generation Homme, so let’s just get to the next one.
2022 GENERATION FEMME:
Let me start by saying that 2022 Generation Femme is better. Significantly better. In fact, it has some very enjoyable bits, though the scent is still largely unoriginal and with a designer feel, in my opinion.
Like its male counterpart, 2022 Generation Femme is an extrait de parfum with 24% concentration and was released in 2013. The press release documents that I received describe the fragrance and its notes as follows:
Sandalwood and crystallized almonds
Iridescent Perfume dedicated to sensual and artful women…
Top: Imperial Almonds – Neroli – Nectarine
Middle: Heliotrope – White Tea – Galbanum
Base: Black Jasmine – Sandalwood from Mysore – Tonka Beans
2022 Generation Femme opens on my skin with sharp, pungent, intensely green notes of bitter neroli and galbanum, infused by equally bitter raw almonds and petitgrain. The notes may not mention it, but I definitely smell petitgrain and its particular form of woodiness. At the edges of 2022 Generation Femme, there is a touch of heliotrope which smells very floral, and is initially far from its usual sweetened, vanillic, meringue powder. The image of greenness and pungency — so well underscored by the galbanum — is countered by subtle flickers of sweet jasmine, but they are very subtle.
From afar, 2022 Generation Femme’s main opening bouquet on my skin is of an extremely bright, potent neroli scent with petitgrain. The perfume has a very retro feel to it, like something that I’ve smelled before, though I can’t place where. One of the blog’s readers, “Taleb,” wrote in a comment that he found 2022 Generation Femme to be similar to Cartier‘s Le Must de Cartier. It’s been years since I smelled the latter and, despite having a relatively good olfactory memory, all I can recall is of a crisp cleanness with white musk. The fact that Le Must left no impression on me says something, but the bottom line is that I can’t tell you if 2022 Generation Femme is similar or not. All I can say is that the perfume feels retro, and not strikingly different from some mainstream scents.
2022 Generation Femme slowly shifts. The almonds retreat to the background after 5 minutes, while a clean, white musk stirs in the base alongside a touch of creamy, initially greenish (non-Mysore) sandalwood. The neroli and petitgrain grow stronger, while the galbanum adds a touch of herbal pungency. I don’t detect any tea or tonka, and the jasmine’s syrupy sweetness is extremely minor. As a whole, Generation Femme is a very airy, crisp bouquet that feels almost chypre-like with its greenness. Three small sprays create a tiny cloud of roughly 2-3 inches at first, though the sillage drops to about an inch above the skin after 90 minutes.
It takes a little bit of time for 2022 Generation Femme to stop being primarily neroli and petitgrain in focus. The almond reappears at the end of the first hour, though it is subtle and quite muted at first. It now smells like the hard-shelled, vanilla-coated, European sweets that you see at Italian weddings called “Confetti” (or “Jordan almonds” in America), but the aroma is still overshadowed by the neroli and petitgrain. 2022 Femme only changes around the 90-minute mark, when the heliotrope and tonka fully rise up to the surface, softening the pungent, woody-citrus duet and providing a lovely, thin dusting of almond vanilla and heliotrope sweetness.
As some of the regular readers know, I’m a sucker for heliotrope’s soft serenity and comforting delicacy, so it’s definitely my favorite part of the scent. I’m even happier when it becomes a more prominent part of the scent. At the end of the 3rd hour, and the start of the 4th, Generation Femme is really pretty blend of raw almonds, green neroli, heliotrope almond meringue, and vanilla tonka powder. It’s far from being gourmand in nature, thanks to the bitterness of the bright neroli which keeps the sweetness in check. Instead, 2022 Femme is now a mix of citric freshness and bitterness, with sweetness and powdered coziness. The perfume hovers just an inch above the skin at this point, feels softer and has lost some of its clean musk.
Despite the heliotrope’s prettiness, it doesn’t remain as a constant presence. Generation Femme is primarily about neroli on my skin, and the perfume regains that focus about 5.5 hours into its evolution. It is primarily a bouquet of green, spicy, bright and bitter neroli with tonka powder and only a light trace of heliotrope. Tiny flickers of almonds remain, but what is much more noticeable is a new creaminess in the base. It doesn’t smell like Mysore to me (and you know what a finicky snob I am about sandalwood), but it is lovely nonetheless. It’s a smooth, creamy woodiness that is lightly spiced, and it works very well with the neroli. The whole thing is dusted with sweetened powder, but it only occasionally smells like heliotrope in a distinct way.
For the most part, Generation Femme’s middle phase centers mainly on spicy, powdered neroli with sweetness, all resting atop fluctuating degrees of creamy woodiness in the base. The latter begins to fade away as the hours pass, leaving a drydown that is just neroli, vanilla, and sweetened powder. In its final moments, 2022 Generation Femme is a simple blur of vanilla powder with a trace of spicy neroli. It lasted just over 14.5 hours on my perfume-consuming skin.
ALL IN ALL:
As a whole, both 2022 Generation fragrances seem intended to be different takes on crisp, green freshness combined with sweetness and woody creaminess. They’re both simple, approachable, easy scents that would probably work well in the summer months, and I think they are quite unisex in nature.
However, I also think that they lack distinctiveness or originality. 2022 Generation Femme feels like a more expensive version of a commercial, mainstream profile, but it is generally well done. I have no words to express my antipathy towards Generation Homme. There are plenty of niche fragrances that inundate you with aromachemicals, especially ISO E Super, but that doesn’t mean that it’s justified, in my opinion. Particularly for the increased cost. I expected a lot more from the SHL 777 line.
Both fragrances costs €235 for a small 50 ml bottle. As noted above, the complete 777 line will be in American stores at Luckyscent and Osswald NY at the end of April. I don’t have the American prices, but €235 translates to just under $325 at today’s rate of exchange. My experience with European exclusives is that the final American price is usually much less, so my rough guess for 2022 Generation would be around $295 a bottle. That’s merely a personal guess, though.
Generally, I try to provide comparative reviews or assessments for you to make up your own mind about a scent. If you’re interested, there are some brief, early comments in a Basenotes thread on both 2022 Generation fragrances, but I’m afraid I’m insufficiently inspired to talk much more about either one of them. Generation Femme is the better of the two, in my opinion, and a fully unisex fragrance that you may want to try if you’re someone who loves citric freshness with bitterness, greenness, vanillic sweetness, and some creamy woods. For the sake of politeness, I have no further comment on the other one.
Disclosure: Perfume sample courtesy of Stéphane Humbert Lucas. That did not influence this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.