Black Polo - Ralph Lauren
Peppery-lavender with the inky and smoky-wood tone of oregano. Nice first impression but gets a too squeeky high-pitched chemical-spicy unbearable drained character that sucks the little life it had straight out of it. Smells like a mixture of old urine, dirty green waste bin and leeking ballpoint at some point. Nasty stuff.
This should really be called "Polo Sex on the Beach" because it has absolutely no sophistication nor "darkness" to it. It's not a nighttime scent at all but rather a scent I'd wear while playing beach volleyball or while reclining on a tropical island sipping, yes, Sexes on the Beach.
It starts with an interesting fruit note that bursts through its sporty freshness. The first 15 minutes are a lot of fun. Then it just dies right there. The fruit note blends into a smooth middle and then sadly the whole thing just fades to black.
Ralph Lauren had a pretty sizable success in Polo Blue (2002), with it's "reinventing the aquatic as something classy" approach, and young guys ate it up. Finally, there seemed to be a formal scent in a vein millennial men wanted to wear, and despite its many flaws, was enjoyable by most male age groups. Ralph Lauren Polo Black (2005) was an entirely different affair, right from the jump. For starters, this scent was made to go in the fruity ozonic sharp woods nose candy direction so many youth-oriented masculine scents traveled in from the late 90's into the mid 2000's before that noise was hushed up by "amberwoods" scents into the 2010's. Wild, unfettered, with no sense of moderation or "traditional" stern masculinity, the fruity ozonics were both great for the "metrosexual" effeminate strait guys borrowing all their mannerisms and dress from gay culture (something those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community both laugh at, and lament enabling simultaneously), but also good for folks who honestly enjoyed genderbending. It was an interesting time for mainstream fragrance, and certainly more lively than the 90's, but I feel not a lot of these olfactive creatures were understood in their time, and only appreciated now over a decade later because they represent real left-of-center alternatives to the boring dreck served up in department stores once again. Polo Black is one of the most fun of the Polo releases, but also one of the most divisive in the perfume community. I'm surprised something like this is still being made, but a few examples of every fad seem to carry on into the future, or else Jade East (1963) and Mandom (1969) wouldn't still walk the earth.
The scent opens with tangerine, lemon, an "iced" mango accord, clary sage, and what Ralph Lauren calls a "green effervescent accord" which could honestly be just about anything. I kinda feel everyone was sharing notes with Calvin Klein in the 2000's as well, since everything notable from the decade is stuffed full of fantasy notes that I've labelled "Kleinisms" when found in CK scents, since it is there where they are most prevalent. Here in Polo Black, all this translates to is a fruity citrus top with a bit of meaty aromatics and some sharper form of calone (probably cascalone) to make it nice and fruity-tart like mango. The middle has silver armoise, or a sharper form of the artemisia plant (which is already sharp to be honest), furthering the tartness, but a drying element in the form of timberol joins the fray. Timberol is an artificial ambergris-type scent that was a precursor to the much more authentic ambroxan, and here it provides some desiccation that sets up for a soft hedione-powered descent into sandalwood. Surrounding this obviously artificial sandalwood note in the base is patchouli, hay-like tonka, wormwood, and Iso E Super. Wear time is over the 6 hour mark with decent projection, but this definitely doesn't have the strength of past Polo variants, nor really has the sufficient formal character to honor the original Polo (1978) or the previous non-sport flankers in the long-lived line. Polo Black really is the black sheep of the family here, and likely turned a lot of heads, but not always for the reasons the wearer would hope.
Within the perfume community, there is a lot of sass talk against Polo Black, and I can see why: this is a fruity youthful antithesis of what old "mosshead" masculine perfume collectors consider a proper fragrance for men parading around in the bottle of something familiar to them, and even younger guys back in 2005 were kind of divided over this style (indeed many were more garish than this), with most of that controversy dying down thanks to the passage of time. Still, if you tell the wrong person you wear Polo Black, you might get an earful about what a proper Polo fragrance is, and as they tell you to hunt down a vintage bottle of the original moss boss Polo or maybe even long-dead Polo Crest (1991), because "proper man's cologne blah blah". Well, if you ignore the people STILL holding a grudge against Polo Sport (1993) for being "fresh" over 25+ years after it came out, you'll still run into people who hover around Polo Blue and its various flankers as the best of the line, or the newbies playing with the numbered "Big Pony" editions and Polo Red (2013) and clueless about anything before them. Such is the sad state of Polo Black: too bizarre for widespread acceptance in its day, too period-specific in taste to make the leap into the next decade, and too "new" for the old guys still clutching bottles of Chaps Ralph Lauren (1979). Yet, this stuff still hangs around at Macy's counters and even got a more-intense Polo Double Black (2006) flanker. Pierre Negrin and Ellen Molner sure broke the mold here, and although this flamboyant gay guy in the form-fitting black suit feels out of place in the Polo lineup, it's better than you might remember, if you even remember it at all. Thumbs up!
Behold, one of Ralph Lauren's most daring ventures in the world of Polo: Polo Black.
It's a manly, exotic fruity-spicy scent that has none of the dna of Polo original (green). It is fairly bright and has decent sillage. Patchouli and sandalwood smooth this one out somewhat, with a smoky sweet touch of tonka beans; but the mango remains on top as the dominant note.
Great for casual occasions, Polo Black should be worn with discretion given its sillage. Overall, this one is a nice option for me to wear when I want to experience mango-spiciness without smelling like a fruit stand!
This is my dad's signature scent. It smells of saltwater and mangoes, but isn't overly sweet. Actually it's very salty and not sweet as a fruity fragrance would be expected to be. Sillage is very good as is longevity. It also leans very masculine. It's not really my style but it's a very nice fragrance for the money, especially as mango is a rare note in fragrances.