Every guy who has ever ordered a men's perfume from Perfume.com or FragranceNet has likely encountered a carded sample of this sooner or later, and I feel that "Exceptional Parfums LLC" is just another arm of the same company that governs the online mailorder fragrance juggernaut, making Exceptional Because You Are for Men (2008) a "store brand" fragrance of sorts. If you can get past the ridiculous name, what most people with a bit of experience in the market will identify is an accord bearing striking similarity to Creed Millésime Impérial (1995), but sitting closer to Love & Luck for Men by Ed Hardy (2008). Some people claim that latter scent is also a clone of Millésime Impérial, but there are enough differences between them that I refute that claim in most regards as just a confusion caused by similar openings. Exceptional Because You Are for Men straddles the two however, therefore coming dangerously closer still to the dreaded "Creed clone", and because it came out in the same year, I might be lead to believe this is a rejected formula from Olivier Gillotin for Love & Luck that was deemed by the late Christian Audigier (then owner of Ed Hardy's perfume division) as "too close for comfort". Whatever the case may be, this composition was clearly phoned in by whoever the perfumer was, and if not a clone of an expensive niche luxury fragrance on a discounter budget, is clearly playing "the game" with the safety on.
The opening is a sparkling mixture of citruses and ozonic notes that initially give this a lot of lift, being somewhere in that nexus between the sea salt and grapefruit of Creed and the mandarin white floral cocktail of the Ed Hardy plus a pinch of pineapple to make it different than either. There is a bit of barbershop mint tossed in here too amongst a lot of the usual limonene/linalool dryness and sharpness inherent with citrus and wood scents of this nature, so the whole thing smells very "common" and "shower gel" past that opening. Some violet leaf and calone enter the fray, one proviving another masculine-friendly dry floral experience and the other providing some fruity "freshness" (as if there wasn't enough already), with the final dry down being the typical boring "karmawood" and "clearwood" transparent woody notes, vetiver, and tree moss that were popular with sporty men's designers of the 2000's. The whole thing makes a big fuss for about 30 minutes, then becomes a skin scent that lingers for the duration of about 6 hours, meaning this is not a perfume lover's perfume by any measure, especially not someone looking for a cheaper alternative for Creed. Acceptable for spring and summer use, or as a casual spritz after a shower, Exceptional Because You Are for Men is clearly exceptional only in the way it promises greatness but gives you a basic no-frills understated "fresh and clean" scent that any Addidas or scent could also do for even less money.
I think the perfume sells mostly on the principle of psychological reciprocity by coming in hard with compliments to your good taste, then wins you over with the "handshake" that is the rather nice opening, before revealing that what you really bought is a formula rejected by a B-List perfume label (or somewhere thereabouts) that was cheapened further with cut-rate base materials. Even the nondescript round bottle and plain monochrome black packaging speaks of the total of 15 minutes "Exceptional Parfums" put into the marketing of this phoney baloney scent. There is nothing particularly terrible about Exceptional Because You Are for Men beyond the obvious wordy and obsequious naming of the stuff, even if you ignore the uninspiring appearance of this "store brand" fragrance, as the smell is pleasant enough to be enjoyed. However, even at the perpetual "sale price" of $30 FragranceNet sells this for, there are just so many better designer options from labels like Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, or Lacoste that are worlds beyond this for the same money. Conversely, you could buy Love & Luck for Men by Ed Hardy and get a similar opening with a much more-rewarding dry down that lasts much longer - for less!! Make an exception and purchase this if you want (because you could do far worse), but my free sample is more than enough for me. Neutral.
This smells like a bar of generic soap. I cannot remember which variety. It is not impressive in the slightest. A few steps below Axe in complexity. Alcohol blast to begin, puerile scent profile, poor longevity.
I got several free sample vials of this one from an online fragrance vendor. My impression: It bears a resemblance to Perry Ellis 360 Degrees Red for Men, being a fresh, citrus and spice formulation that is pleasant.
Main complaint is the poor longevity.
I'll personally stick to 360 Red to achieve a MUCH longer-lasting version of what Exceptional for Men wants to do.