Smells very young and fresh with some refined woody spices. Fierce is still very modern and casual without becoming one of those sweet, blue scents that half of all new releases or flankers seem to end up smelling like. It does remind me of being in the mall 10-15 years ago but I still have some appreciation for this once obnoxious menace to retail spaces.
I have a newer sample so performance doesn't seem to be what it used to be but it still projects and lasts 10+ hours.
I approached this review with much caution because I know the cultural impact this fragrance has had for better or worse and it is difficult to parse that from the quality and style of the smell itself. Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce Cologne (2002) became the literal smell of the American mall and subsequently the mall-going teen to early-20's male for the remainder of the 2000's. Fierce replaced Abercrombie & Fitch Woods (1997) as the main male perfume offering, since Woods was a very conservative masculine affair that didn't click with the new 2000's "Mooks and Midriffs" marketing strategy of obnoxiously crass males in tanks and cargo shorts alongside vapid, over-sexualized females in crop tops and daisy dukes, meaning the olfactive experience had to match the visual one. Designers and boutique brands had been experimenting with bombastic youth-oriented masculine perfumes since the onset of the millennium to capitalize on "Y2K youth culture", a fabricated aesthetic by corporate interests to funnel the kinetics of ever-changing tastes from an emerging generation of guys spoon-fed instant gratification from internet-connected devices like laptops and early smartphones into scent form. These were the ozonics of the 90's retrofitted with additional sweet fruity tones and sharp woody musks into an almost neon glow to grab one's attention, and Fierce became arguably the flagship fragrance of that early 2000's ilk. It was a briefly-lived genre of "radioactive grapefruit" as I like to describe it, but despite the profusion of scent that once greeted the A&F shopper at the door, Fierce is actually one of the gentler examples of the style when worn on skin, although that isn't to say this is overall a gentle fragrance.
The bracing smell of Fierce is one instantly recognizable to anyone who walked past an Abercrombie & Fitch store in the 2000's, as the stuff was literally pumped through the damned airducts by employeed until enough complaints made them cease the practice in the 2010's. Vibrant and sweet citrus notes combined with airy florals and a marine note to announce the rest of the composition, which was essentially a hybrid dandy fougère and aquatic freshie infused with enough Iso E Super to kill a horse by accident. Petitgrain, lemon, orange, and grapefruit are all married to dihydromyrcenol and jasmine hedione in the solar flare top, with a bouquet of dry rose, muguet, cardamom, and clary sage in the heart to give Fierce the airy feel it has once the nuclear sweet tarts and citrus dies down. Soft and powdery cashmeran with vetiver, oakmoss, white laundry musk, and rosewood ride on that backbone of potentially nose-blinding Iso E Super, which attributes to the vibrance from afar, but can make Fierce feel deceptively quiet on the wearer. The overall aura of Fierce is really anything but once it settles down, as the citrus and aromachemicals are what makes this scream, but once they get tuned out, there is a rather unisex dandy floral under it all, sandwiched between the blaring top and sharp synthetic woods base. Final skin scent for Fierce is admittedly sexy and inviting, once you get past all the sexually ambiguous chest pounding in the transitional phase. Longevity is a bit questionable at 6 hours but A&F makes this up to 200ml so reapplication shouldn't be a problem. We won't go there so far as sillage is concerned. If you wear this, any time of year will do, but no proper context can be recommended for something this recognizably notorious.
Wearing Fierce is something difficult to do and be taken seriously so long after it's gaudy smell fumigated malls, high school hallways, skate rinks, arcades, fast food joints, night clubs, and movie theaters all throughout suburban America in the 2000's, and most guys who wore it then are only potentially rocking years later for nostalgia due to the associated memories but are somewhat embarrassed to admit they like it, while Abercrombie & Fitch still ostensibly pitches Fierce to the youth culture but with a wholesome unisex self-empowerment marketing approach, having long since scrapped the Mtv-inspired "Mooks and Midriffs" garbage and even covered up the ripped abs and exposed groin on the ridiculous bottles a bit more with a higher belt line. Stuff in this segment like Givenchy Green Energy (2000), Dior Higher (2001), Victoria Secret Very Sexy for Him (2001), Boss in Motion by Hugo Boss (2002), Calvin Klein Crave (2002), and Kenneth Cole New York Men (2002) have all but been forgotten (and discontinued in some cases), yet Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce Cologne soldiers on, such is the unlikely success it has had. The handmade cosmetic chain "Lush" seems to have taken a page from the retired A&F strategy and performs the same trick of annoucing their presence in a mall with a scent envelope, but I'm not sure it can be helped in their case. Give Fierce a shot next time you cruise into an A&F store if just for laughs, since a new generation of the same self-conscious trend-oriented teens will be glad to show you the way, and although my personal love/hate relationship with Fierce will continue on, I can't help but commend perfumers Christoph Laudamiel and Bruno Jovanovic from an artistic viewpoint for creating such an iconic aroma you love to sniff but hate to admit you like. Thumbs up.
Ah, Fierce. How amazing you are yet how bad you are at the same time.
Ever go to a mall? You're bound to smell it. A Frekin' concussion grenade shining through the vents of Abercrombie & Fitch. A scent that every popular teenager has or did have, and linked to many terrible crimes on the campus of many colleges. But that does not matter.
Many confuse politics with sports, or in this case, crimes with scents. But A&F Fierce, you hate to love it, but you do. You know its amazing, and you know it smells like something cheap you can pick up at your Walgreens or CVS. But again, that does not matter.
It's iconic, it brought a new wave of musky, woody scents to a younger crowd, that rebooted the current generation from wanting Axe, Old Spice, and BodMan, to going with Dolce & Gabanna, A&F, Dior Sauvage, and the list goes on.
Beware, my only complaint. Hold onto this scent for a while, and it will begin to wear off and not smell like you first bought it. I'm currently on the same 6.7oz bottle i bought a year and change ago, and it doesn't smell much like how we know it to be, has little to no sillage or longevity. My review is purely based on that initial spray, and first time you ever wear it.
This is must-try, but certainly not a must-have for anybody's collection.