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Truman Says

Smell This: Tom Ford's New Fragrance (That Doesn't Smell Like Sweaty Balls)

Ford's latest love potion promises a sexy, sensual scent that is fresh but with a woody, manly edge. "I wanted to create a men's fragrance that is at once both fresh and classic, and yet contemporary in its warmth and deep background," Ford said "I am proud that we have created what I think is a sensual and very original scent."

The fragrance delivers a well-balanced (albeit feminine) scent: a fresh, grassy and citrusy beginning gives way to warmer and deeper notes of musky cypriol and powdery amber.

The top notes of Mediterranean hesperidic notes, lemon leaf oil, Italian bergamot, mandarin zest, basil grand vert, violet leaves and ginger give the first spritz a grassy and citrusy scent.

The middle notes blends rare floral notes of orange flower absolute Tunisia and the grapefruit flower Morocco with spicier black pepper and tobacco leaf (one of my personal favorite notes).

Finally, as the fragrance matures, the bottom notes of deep amber accord, cedarwood heart, Virginia patchouli, vetiver mist, oakmoss, leatherwood and cypriol are revealed for a spicy, masculine and powdery warmth.

While the scent smells sweet enough to eat (and could become a favorite of gay men who don't count themselves among the exceptionally butch), the fragrance doesn't quite stand out as spanish fly from other men's fragrances.

Amber-heavy fragrances have been all the rage for the last couple of years and numerous designers have released scents for men laced with the stuff--including Prada and Baldessarini. And at first spritz, the bright citrus notes are reminiscent of something familiar--Obsession or Eternity maybe?--but it quickly dries down to a borderline feminine, powdery scent with a little kick of musk that doesn't quite rescue it from androgyny (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

My roommate says "It reminds me of the ladies rooms at nice restaurants or hotels where they have a few fragrances on the counter and comfortable couches. The room always smells of flowers and powder." Okay, so he was sniffing it off my arm--and I might not have testosterone dripping from my pores. It would probably smell different on someone else.

Where this fragrance does offer a bit of cool cachet is in its rare notes--the most exotic being the Grapefruit Flower Morocco, which only blooms for three weeks out of the year. Ford's passion potion also uses cypriol, a root from India which the company touts as a new ingredient that has never been used in fragrance (some fragrance connoisseurs refute this, of course)

Overall, I think it's a beautiful fragrance but doesn't pack the punch that the media hyped it up to be. It's a great yearround fragrance if you're not the type to switch scents when the seasons change. Give it a whiff at your fragrance counter and see how it interacts with your chemistry. Perhaps it will become your signature scent.

Tom Ford for Men, 1.7oz/ 50ml EDT - $60, 3.4oz/ 100ml EDT - $85 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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