It's got all the essential ingredients for an Out editorial; abs, body oil, shiny stuff, random mismatched tattoos, stubble, a come hither expression (which is, ironically, not at all lust inducing) and a complete lack of clothing and shame. Now I know the ad is probably supposed to be at least partially tongue in cheek, but to me it just reeks of desperation and, oddly, insecurity. Once upon a time Marc was this nebbishy little downtown dude who just happened to be the coolest of the cool kids and didn't seem to care about fitting in. Over the last few years he's made himself over, and while I'm still a great fan of Marc the designer I honestly can't stand Marc the Chelsea scene-queen/pop culture icon. Something about his new image seems wrong to me, and this ad is just a glaring example of that. When I first saw the ad I remember saying something to the effect of "the old Marc would have found this ridiculous".
As for the scent itself I was intrigued by the list of notes that accompanied the announcement of it's impending launch. With an opening act of black, pink and white pepper and a combination of woods, benzoin, vetiver, moss and patchouli in the heart and base, it sounded like something I might be into. I managed to snag a sample while visiting the fragrance counter in late July when Bloomingdales was previewing it and I have to say, I'm not feeling it. The top notes are exactly what the name of the fragrance suggests, a big bang of dry, scratchy, spicy pepper. It's a bit like sticking your nose directly into a container of the stuff and taking a deep breath. That's how realistic it is. While it does have an appealing zing to it, and as unusual as an all pepper top is for a fragrance it gets to be really overbearing after the first minute or two. Thankfully it does chill out (eventually) and moves into a mellow spiced woods groove. With the traces of pepper it has an almost pine-y kind of vibe to it. Then again, since some of the notes are just listed as "woods" it could very well be pine. Or it could be that the mix of notes is playing a trick on my nose and creating the illusion of it. Whatever the case I'm not really a fan. For whatever reason pine is a smell, be it natural or synthesized, that I have never liked, so it's for damn sure I don't want it wafting from me all day long. Turns out though that I don't have to worry about it invading my nostrils all day because from start to finish the fragrance has only lasted 2-3 hours on me both times I've worn it, and while it does last it seems relatively tame as far as sillage goes. I guess this one just doesn't work with me. If I had liked what the scent was doing on my skin that would be a bad thing, but since the peppercorns outstay their welcome and the woods/resins don't combine to an effect that I find appealing the fact that it doesn't last isn't such a negative after all. I will give BANG this much, it's pretty unusual as far as mainstream designer men's fragrances go. There really isn't anything sweet or fresh or clean about it, and that opening is a little on the strange side. You'd be hard pressed to come up with something that smells similar if you were shopping the men's side at Sephora or any mid-to-high-end department store. I think it's worth trying for that pepper medley top alone, but I'd recommend spraying with caution.
image from mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander