Review: “Karl Lagerfeld For Men” cologne or vintage “Karl Lagerfeld Classic”

A rave perfume review for one of my old favorites that smells better than I ever remembered: the original, classic, pre-formulation Karl Lagerfeld for Men (now named “Karl Lagerfeld Classic”).

IMAG0022Imagine your boyfriend’s leather jacket, covered with honey, and in an old Russian or Greek Orthodox church filled with smoky incense and the whiff of a passerby in rose and jasmine…. this is better. If there were a honey seller in a stall sandwiched between a musky spice vendor of nutmeg, tarragon and anise, and one who sold sweetly fragrant tobacco that your uncle put in his pipe — all in a giant leather store filled with the finest British leather saddles, which was in a Turkish bazaar… this is better.

 Karl Lagerfeld for Men opens with a sharp burst of super-bright lemon (and a hint of some orange blossom) that vanishes in 45 seconds to be replaced by notes of tarragon, anise, nutmeg and cinnamon on top of pure golden, amber honey. That lasts for about 20 minutes before the leather, smoke and tobacco come out. As time progresses, the leather and honey get stronger, but there starts to be a faint whiff of powdery rose and a touch of jasmine, mixed in with rubbery resin and church-style incense. You almost wonder if you actually smell the flowers because of the power of the leather — which at this point TOTALLY reminds you of your BF’s leather jacket — but now the warmth of some Tonka bean, sandalwood and musk join the parade. No, you say, I do smell jasmine and rose, but is that smoky wood now, too?

Some say that it’s like a male-version of Shalimar and I suppose it’s the faint touch of powder in it. But if Meryl Streep wears Shalimar (and she does), then Tina Turner would wear this. If Shalimar is a Rolls Royce, this is James Bond’s Aston Martin or perhaps a BEAST of a muscle car driven by a Russian Orthodox monk in a leather jacket. That’s it! This is the smell for Rasputin, though one commentator elsewhere said that they thought Robert Redford in the Great Gatsby would wear this. I disagree. This is pure leather smoke covered with honey.

And….. it’s sex on a stick. I’ve worn it for 2 consecutive days and it really lasts and LASTS — 10 hrs plus on me (when almost nothing lasts more than 4-5 hrs).

I urge all you women and men who love spicy, smoky orientals to hunt this down on eBay. Make sure you get a bottle that does NOT have “Karl Lagerfeld Classic” on it. Ask if the writing is not totally visible on the box or bottle from the listing photo. Do NOT get the “Classic” which supposedly smells not just synthetic (post-reformulation) but like Jovan Musk. Get the original because it’s the kind of smell that makes women ask what a complete stranger is wearing (as evidenced by repeated such stories in the Makeupalley reviews), and also because it’s the kind of smell that will make you feel powerful and like ROARRRRRRRRRRING. Just be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart and that, depending on your body chemistry, powder may predominate over leather, tobacco or honey. Also, if you’re not into powerful scents, do not put on more than one spray.

For me, though, it’s going to be hard to wear anything else for a while.

~~~ Official description from Fragrantica : “In 1978 perfumer Ron Winnegrad created an oriental-woodsy fragrance for prestigious house Karl Lagerfeld, named Lagerfeld Classic. The fragrance opens with aldehydes, bergamot, nutmeg, sweet orange and estragon. The heart is composed of cedarwood, intense and sweet jasmine, iris, patchouli, rose, sandalwood and tobacco. The base reveals amber, musk, oak, Tonka beans and vanilla.”