A Men’s Scent That Smells Even Better on Women-------
To spritz or not to spritz, that is the question. Style.com/Arabia critic and perfume industry legend Luca Turin reviews the latest fragrance launches and answers this age-old question.
Name: Montblanc Emblem Notes: Cardamom, violet leaf, wood
When I was a student, on the “try everything once” principle I went spelunking with the university club, a truly miserable experience. I remember only two things: how good it was to see the damp grass and leaden sky of Yorkshire upon climbing out, and the wonderful smell of the old-fashioned acetylene lamps we carried that were strapped to our foreheads.
One of the great wonders of smell is that we can infer the composition of a molecule by smell alone. Acetylene has an unusual triple carbon-carbon bond and it—and all derived compounds—smells, well, acetylenic. In polite fragrance language, the smell is referred to as “violet leaf” so as not to offend sensibilities. Unfortunately, triple bonds are quite chemically reactive, and most have been banned or severely restricted by the ever-watchful authorities. Grey Flannel  and the Original Fahrenheit  made great use of the sharp, metallic tang of triple bonds.
It appears either that one of the violet leaf compounds has escaped regulation or that a perfumer has figured out a way to get the same effect without using them, because the violet leaf note in Emblem is both intense and durable. This is a masculine fragrance, of course, and it comes in a beautiful black bottle that looks like the cap of a titanic fountain pen. On a guy, it would probably be a little too Porsche Design “black is the new black” for my taste. But it will work great on a woman, as a chaser for the nauseating meringues everyone else is doing, and to advertise an unrepentantly dry-eyed disposition.
For another review from Turin’s bimonthly column, click here.