Challenge fragrance notes

  • Head

    • tangerine, lemon, lavender
  • Heart

    • ginger, spices
  • Base

    • rosewood, teak, ebony

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Latest Reviews of Challenge

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While it would be presumptuous to profess an intimate knowledge of any commercial perfumer's style based on what work of theirs made it to release, it does seem that when a perfumer claims credit for a work that otherwise has no perfumer officially signed to it, one goes into the purchase of said perfume with some expectations based on what work of theirs one has already smelled. In this case, the perfumer claiming credit is Pierre Bourdon, and the fragrance he is claiming is none other than the mostly glossed-over Challenge by Lacoste (2009). For starters, the Lacoste perfume brand itself ended up in something of a free-fall after Jean Patou shuttered all clothing activities in 1996, then ceased to be a perfume house on its own when Jean Kerleo retired. Shaneel sold off to Proctor & Gamble, who split Patou from Lacoste for good and sent the latter downmarket somewhat, to subsist on sending briefs out to the oil houses like every other mass-market brand was doing by the 21st century. Several fragrances from Quest and IFF later, and this little number somehow lands in Pierre Bourdon's lap post-retirement. No supplier is listed either, so I'm assuming he still cohorted with Fragrance Resources, his last employer at the time. Either way, Challenge defies all expectations on both the brand front, and perfumer front, but whether that's good or bad is up to the individual.

So what does Challenge smell like and why does it not seem like Pierre's work? That's easy to answer. This is a straightforward, simple, woody fragrance with a fairly neutral heart of lavender and violet over ginger, topped with creamy lemon and tangerine. I work backwards because the brevity with which the top and heart notes transition to that wood makes them fleeting enough to mention them in reverse order. The creamy citrus hits you, then the almost nutty ginger and lavender over drying violet, before a modern woody core that I've smelled a million times in more expensive perfumes comes on. Part of me thinks this must be Pierre's work because nobody was using notes like these in 2009, and now everything from Initio Oud for Greatness (2018) to literally every Navitus perfume is stuffed with this note. Rosewood, ebony, teak? It's just "modern woods" to me. I'm sure back in 2009 this fragrance probably smelled "cheap", but now a base like this is generally part of the MFK Baccarat Rouge 540 (2014) clone wars, so it inadvertently smells "expensive" whether it is or not. Plus, as weird and playfully constructed as Challenge is, I can imagine this was likely an excuse for Bourdon to mess with what were likely new materials then, especially in the base. Whatever it is, Challenge is long-lasting enough to make up for its lack of projection. Best use is casual year-round for me. I would consider most niche perfumes with this woody base unisex, so I'm going out on a limb by saying this cheapie progenitor is fairly unisex too.

Like most P&G Lacoste fragrances, this one dwells in physical discounter formats like TJ Maxx, Burlington, Ross, and so on. Also like most P&G Lacoste scents, it gets ignored by everyone except the folks who picked this up from those discounters as their first self-bought "cologne" and proceeded to bond with it. Anyone who speaks kindly of this made memories with it, just like all the old boomers screaming perfume died after 1990 because all the fragrances that have any meaning in their lives were worn by them in their 20's and 30's. In time, I'm sure this will dry up, as P&G Prestige no longer exists and Coty Prestige is not making most of the P&G Lacoste porfolio, meaning the few voices crying their love for this will get louder as most indifference or disdain dies away; but for now, opinions of Challenge by Lacoste remain rightfully mixed, no matter who perfumed it. Challenge Fresh by Lacoste (2011) would come out a few years later, and the actor Hayden Christiansen was the face for both, but like his acting career, the Challenge line proved a flash in the pan. Most people understandably sway neutral but I think this post-retirement oddball of Bourdon's is better than that, although I'm not a huge fan of this base. In judicious use like it is here, the lavender and ginger mix with "ebony wood" to make a "Greatness Lite" vibe years before Initio existed, and that I can get behind; just don't run in expecting a hidden masterpiece. Thumbs up
27th January 2022
Challenge is easy to like but hard to love for me. It's clean and slightly sweet, very agreeable without being harsh. But there are better scents that itch the same scratch.

Starts off citrusy and then goes powdery sweet and soapy, masculine, clean with a little violet leaf and soft woody notes. Comes off a little like Moschino Uomo but that's just how it feels, not really too much alike in notes.

Average projection but there is a crispness to it that helps you to pick it up easily. Maybe 4-5 hours longevity and then it becomes a skin scent.
14th February 2021

Challenge is a light, woody, musky scent that does evoke the wood of an old racquet and the the plastic grip tape that cushions the handle, which is cleverly represented by the bottle's lid. I do not get any citrus in the top notes. Pleasant, with a soapy cleanliness about it but the game is over all too soon.
13th November 2019
Challenge is actually a interesting fragrance in a modern way but it is not a original citrus aromatic for me! Definitely one of those that reminds you of something you have already. Fresh, lively, soft, masculine, casual, energetic, unobtrusive and young.

It is a refreshing blend that opens with notes of bergamot, lemon and tangerine and I dont find it great but the heart brings notes makes it better. It finishes with a soft and decent dry down as this mixture is reminds me of spring sunlight.

Anyway I don't find a major difference between this one and other Lacoste fragrances because like often of the fragrances from this brand Challenge is without innovation. Perfect scent for someone who can not wear heavy fragrances. Suitable for a young man in springtime. The bottle is cute too.
2nd June 2015
The Challenge is Longevity... Great scent, though... Lacoste Challenge comes out of the bottle with citrus notes followed by the woodsy finishing notes. Very nice fragrance... The projection, sillage, and longevity are average, or perhaps slightly below average. Soon after the initial application, the scent settles close to the skin. Challenge is hardly detectable on skin or clothing after two (2) hours following application. It is weak..!! (that comes as a disappointment to me as I have and enjoy many of the Lacoste fragrances...) I have not received compliments at this point, but I suppose it is possible - only during that first hour though..!! Challenge offers flexibility - it is a scent that can be worn any time of year and for any event. The packaging is first class, but the bottle design falls short of extraordinary nor to do a double take.. The going price is about mid-$30s for a large bottle. At this rate, and what we already know about Challenge, the buy is below average. There are plenty of great fragrances out there at a cheaper price that will last much longer. Final tally for Lacoste Challenge is 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Very pleasant fragrance, but does not last. Giving beats receiving..Pros: Very nice blend of citrus and woodsy notes...Cons: Lacks longevity and projection...
20th May 2013
I got this cologne hoping it would upgrade my tennis skills. Before a casual match against Andy I put a liberal dose all over, immediately feeling its effects. It starts with a big blast of synthetic lemon, like a refreshing puff of Lemon Pledge to the face. The drydown presents some very nice wood; mixed with the top notes it smells like some drunk made lemonade in a wooden salad bowl. That only lasted four minutes, however, before Challenge settled into a Parks and Recreation cabin that just had its carpets cleaned. Administrative and sterile, but the printer is fixed. It's Timberline if it forgot to rinse its hands after using lemon soap.

Unfortunately, the real challenge was trying to detect this cologne an hour after applying. Embarrassed, I had to make up an excuse as to why I left Mr. Roddick waiting on the court. Four minutes is just too narrow a window to recommend this.
23rd April 2013
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