First of all, I like CC fragrances and I own a few. If you like this one and can pull it off, yer a Boss!
On No.1...I think it's mostly been said. I am not trying to be a hater...but just to put a finer point on it...for me...it's a powder bomb. Soap, powder and the spices all come together to give the impression of chamomile. Not fresh chamomile...but like someone just drank chamomile tea and is close talking right in your face. Yep...I said it, and I know I'm not the only one. Sure, there is a touch of vanilla on the dry down...meh. Otherwise, it's kind of a kitchen sink concoction, just all muddled up. Almost a dead ringer for Coty Exclamation circa 1988...yikes! Look that one up...if you don't know...now you know.
A citrus, floral herbal combination that is technically very well done, but not my cup of tea. I wore a sample several times and found it leaned too feminine in the floral construction. The floral notes are not my favorites, with lily and iris being the most prominent to my nose. If your into prior century scents and comfortable with the floral notes you will probably like this. Neutral for me.
Where to begin with this? Well, Clive Christian is either loved or reviled for buying one of the greatest historical perfume houses of the United Kingdom (a then recently-resurrected Crown Perfumery), and gutting it only a few short years after it had re-issued much of its turn-of-the-century and early 20th century catalog, transforming it into a vanity project for the elite furniture maker/interior decorator. This effectively means The Crown Perfumery ceased to exist (again), with all its regalia and bottle designs repurposed for fragrances made with no other intention in mind other than to be the most-expensive perfumes on the planet (at the time). Clive Christian No. 1 for Men (2001) is the male iteration of the launch scent, and held the record for the most-expensive perfume ever created when released (both to make and to buy), but has since been bested by several Middle East houses that rose to the challenge presented by its existence. No. 1 for Men comes in two main variations: the eau de parfum and the pure parfum concentrated limited version that is housed in Baccarat crystal and adorned with a diamond cap. Several anniversary editions have been released of the latter, including an imperial coronation version in celebration of the Queen. The version being reviewed here is the regular pure parfum concentrated limited, which is what the house considers the ultimate version of the non plus ultra in British Luxury perfumes, although there is nothing regular about it besides not having some even-more-limited celebratory packaging variation. That being said, Ive had my nose on the more-common eau de parfum variety available in the gold spray bottles, and will make differences in formulae apparent where they are found. Any version of this fragrance is going to feel like a vulgar exercise in conspicuous consumption anyway, as something which wears the way Clive Christian No. 1 for Men does can only be interpreted as an indiscreet way of declaring ones sense of self.
First and foremost, Clive Christian No. 1 for Men is a floral oriental chypre (aka floriental), which automatically registers as feminine to the older Macho Men or younger FragBros used to their mossy powerhouses or ambroxan-stuffed freshies respectively. However, fans of Middle Eastern perfume will likely appreciate the scent of No. 1 for Men a bit more, as it mostly pulls the same trick as many scents marketed to men in that part of the world, so think Amouage Gold Man (1983) for a close approximation of where this goes. Unlike perfumes from that part of the world, there is barely anything animalic about the composition of No. 1 for Men, but as no expense was spared for the composition, you can expect a lot of redolence. The opening is lime, mandarin orange, grapefruit, nutmeg, and cardamom, all in pure absolute forms. This opening lends a sweet oriental texture to the perfume and sets up the floral heart. Heliotrope, ylang-ylang, jasmine, muguet, iris, and rose comprise this heart, and a golden-hued floral tone they bring by virtue of their blending, with indoles from the ylang-ylang and jasmine thickening up the accord. The base is also very heavy, with caraway and artemisia infused with tonka, musk mallow, amber, and sandalwood, but dried out with cedar, vetiver, oakmoss, and ambergris. The whole thing has you smelling like quite the tart, needing only a powdered wig, stockings, a puffy shirt, and bell-tipped shoes to complete your King George III-era vibe. The Eau de parfum varies only in tone from the opening to the heart as more citrus is evident, plus the base gets significantly more powdery in the skin feel, being a sign that the florals and the woods play a bigger part than the resins found in higher quantity for the pure parfum. No. 1 for Men comes across like an 18th century clubber, in that it screams notice me but also respect you betters and know your place. I feel like someone walking into a social gathering with this would unironically call people knaves or impudent whelps if trifled with, which is sad. Due to how sweet this is, Id keep No. 1 for Men strictly as evening or cooler weather scents, as even Clive Christian himself has better and fresher options for hotter weather and more-casual situations.
Wear time for the pure parfum concentrated limited is basically until you bleach it off a shirt collar or scrub it off your skin with a coarse brush, because the stuff is pretty much all oil. Of course, such density greatly impacts projection so if thats your goal, go with the eau de parfum instead. The projection wont be monstrous regardless of what version you choose, but the sillage can be suffocating, and I believe this is by intent. The iron rule of oligarchs expected to wear this weighs upon those kept under thumb by their influence, so too should their perfume be equally oppressive. If you parse all the intentional socioeconomic classism and take Clive Christian No. 1 for Men as a perfume on its own merits, you have a floral oriental chypre composed by Patricia Choux (who hilariously also composes high-street scents like Celine Dion, Clean, and Michael Kors) to be resplendent for the sake of it. This is perfume overindulgence to the max and all the knobs were turned to 11 on density, sweetness, opacity, and extroversion, meaning that wearing Clive Christian No. 1 for Men feels like going to a sub shop and ordering the works just because you can. If youre willing to pay dearly for that, then No. 1 for Men may be worth checking out, but Im more of a just because you can doesnt mean you should kind of a guy myself, so I find the deliberate and humorless display of ostentatious pomposity to be gluttonous to the point of poor taste since its done with either cynicism or a total lack of tongue-in-cheek. Most people buying this stuff at the retail prices it commands (anywhere from $15,000-$1,500 for the parfum, and $850-$500 for the EdP) are doing so because money is no object to them, but I dont find fault in that because its harmless in the end, and in the greater scheme of things, who am I to tell another what their purchasing power is and isnt worth based on my perspective? Be that as it may, I give a nod to the composition for otherwise being well-constructed, just too tacky and not for me. Neutral.
Different. Can be polarizing for most. Very feminine after the first spray. 20 minutes or so and the flowery smell is taken over with the smell of woods. Kind of like cutting into a sweet smelling tree, but not resinous. To me this is like an exotic cocktail, I felt like I should be drinking it. Very intoxicating, as in it pulls people in. Two tiny sprays is all it takes, this is a longevity and projection monster. I washed clothes 4-5 days after wearing this and could smell in in the hamper. I like it.
Recently, I gave No.1 for Men another try. My last entry was based entirely on a spritz I had smelled off of a business card at a local Neiman Marcus. Over the years, I have learned how different paper sample cards or strips can really be versus applying the fragrance directly on the skin. That's what I did this time...
First of all, these are the notes in this bespoke scent:
I had recently did direct-skin samples of most of Clive Christian's colognes for men (i.e. "C", "L", "I", "V", "E", "1872", and "Noble Rock Rose VII"); what an amazing experience it was to examine these uber-prestigious scents! I noticed patterns and similarities between them which helped to cement a general feel for the CC mystique.
So enter in "No.1": It starts out with a LOUD blast of citrus-cardamom that was overwhelming. I was tempted to give this a thumbs down again just from that opening salvo. Artemisia, pimento, caraway, and nutmeg added all kinds of additional accents that sharpened this searing sensation, adding brightness, bitterness, and a wall of spice that preserved all of this. Flowers started to swirl in and made me feel like I was wearing an expensive LADIES' perfume for like 5 to 10 minutes. But I held in there, knowing that CC scents have wonderful dry-downs in general that can make any other uncomfortable perceptions fade away.
And that's what "No.1" did, softening down to a much more wearable, pleasing iris-amber-tonka-sandalwood-vanilla honey sweetness, surrounded by cedar and vetiver dry goodness, and touched with a tasteful dose of musk giving this a sexy turn. The initial citrus-spice blast was now a moderate aromatic spicy-floral sensation which is the defining personality of this amazing potion.
Given the price of this fragrance, it's not meant to be anything other than a powerful statement both to the wearer as well as to those who catch it wafting about. All I can visualize is a super-rich, upper-crust man given to making self-indulgent, expensive public statements about his wealth sporting this scent during gatherings with his equally magnificently wealthy peers at exclusive events, day or night, all year long. I can even sense a man of royalty credibly sporting "the world's most expensive perfume" in his larger-than-life environments and events where his mere presence is all that needs to speak...along with a tasteful spritz here and there of Clive Christian's No.1!
Personally, I would wear CC No.1 on very auspicious formal occasions. I can't imagine trying to wear this in a casual and / or sport scenario; its floral-spice nature limits when and where it would fit for me. In contrast, there are several other CC scents which are very easy to wear in all sorts of occasions as I would any other, non-niche level cologne in my collection.
I have not swooned into unconsciousness by the quality of the fragrance itself, which is quite well-made of excellent ingredients; always, it will be the RIDICULOUS price expected for a bottle which will knock me over. I suspect that those who can purchase "No.1" without breaking a sweat nor the bank are fairly familiar with what they are about to commit to; blind-buys for something this exclusive is akin to randomly picking a hypercar "just because!"
A respectful thumbs up then for CC's elite offering, in place of my hasty prior thumbs down.
Number 1 for Men by Clive Christian is a very floral chypre that could easily be considered on the feminine side of unisex fragrance spectrum. I have not seen the notes list for Number 1, but the opening is lemony bergamot that leads immediately into a jasmine floral blend which smells like: rose, carnation, lilly of the valley, heliotrope, possibly Ylang along with jasmine which has a baroque elegance of florals. Smells quite good, uplifting and slightly sweet. The base is a generic combination sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, tonka, vanilla, possibly some cinnamon although not heavy. There are many notes in here and you sense the dancing around of florals as in a Mozart Sonata. Is it similar to Patou pour Homme or Versailles pour homme by Jean Desperez? Yes, it has a resemblance to these greats but lacks balance within the complexity of floral and wood notes. No. 1 smells great especially at arms length distance where it projects artful elegance that is a rarity in mens fragrance today. This would be a perfect formal or "black tie" event fragrance. It is not my favorite, but I would recommend it with assurance for any fan of floral perfume.