Let me explain something to you. I don’t love anything more than I love Rihanna. Not myself, not my family, not anything. I have always loved her, but in the past year or two, when every other pop star has exhibited nothing but an acute and desperate thirst for headlines and record sales, Rihanna has taken it easy still remained the best, coolest and most relevant pop star of our time.
During the summer of 2013, the news broke that Rihanna was gearing up to release a fragrance for men, Rogue Man, in addition to her growing collection of successful women’s scents, including the original Rogue. It was almost too good to be true. I accepted it as her own personal love letter to me.
Sidenote: I saw Rih live in August when she was on tour with Eminem.
When people ask me how the concert was, my standard and truthful response is “I saw god.”
I didn’t expect to survive the show, and frankly, I’m kind of mad that I did, because it was clearly the high point of my life that will never be topped. Gazing upon her beautiful face, glowing skin, four foot wig, and her wrists, boasting thousands of dollars in accessories, is like staring straight into the sun, but better.
My mind kept taunting me, “Look at her life, and look at your life. Look at her life, and look at your life,” to which I fired back, “But mind, she IS my life.” She is just effortlessly cool. When the intro to her hit “Umbrella” started playing, she asked the crowd, “Y’all remember this shit?” Yes, Rihanna! I do! I do!!!
My heart is pounding as I write this.
But back to present day. Last week, the fragrance finally arrived on my doorstep, delivered by, and I kid you not, two angels. They apparently messengered the package straight from Rihanna’s hands to mine because the parcel smelled faintly of new hundred dollar bills, vintage leather, and good weed.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Rogue Man. Say what you will about celebrity fragrances, but I’m not going to listen. Yes, I’m pretty sure Rihanna didn’t craft this all on her own while in her own personal fragrance lab in her mansion hidden deep in the Pacific Palisades, but celebrity fragrances are no more or less contrived than anything else being released by the big beauty brands. They’re all made to sell. And if there’s one thing Rihanna knows how to do, it’s sell something.
My point is, a great scent is a great scent. Rogue Man is just that.
Rogue Man is balanced throughout, offering the perfect marriage of citrus, herb, and wood no matter where you are in the wear of the fragrance. It opens with black pepper, rosemary, clementine, and bergamot for a clean, green introduction. The citrus notes don’t come across as sweet, more so fresh and bright, like when you first tear the rind off of an orange.
As the scent warms up, the middle notes of jasmine, cedar, labdanum, and vanilla work their way out. The floral, woody heart of the Rogue Man is reminiscent of a classic, clean, men’s scent made for the tennis court like Eau De Lacoste L.12.12, instead of all the new “sport” fragrances we’re seeing, which tend to be overbearing on all fronts. I know I always bitch about sport fragrances, but it’s getting hard and harder to find a men’s scent that doesn’t end in either sport or intense. Apparently those are buzzwords that make these scents fly off of the shelves, but if you see them, do me a favor and don’t.
At the base are the reliable sandalwood, musk, patchouli, amber, and tonka bean. While there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about the collection of base notes, I’m a believer that you can never have too much of a good thing whether it be booze, boys, or base notes. The base creates a musky, smoky, sensual anchor that both showcases the rest of the notes in the scent and makes them work together as a cohesive fragrance.
What I’m most impressed with is the way it wears. It smells great all day without fading, but it stays close to your body, so it doesn’t enter a room before you do. Celebrity fragrances are typically crafted to be everything all at once so that moment you smell them at the fragrance counter, exploding with red fruits and citruses, your love of the scent paired with your love of the celebrity make them an easy impulse purchase. (I would know.)
Rogue Man doesn’t need you to make your mind up at the first spray, because it takes its time drawing you in and evolving on your skin over time. It’s as good when it first hits your skin as it is right before you’re washing it off. It never dulls, but it’s not going to overpower you either.
Have you smelled Rogue Men? Do you love it? Would you wear it? It's great for women too because everything is unisex. What are you wearing right now? Let's talk in the comments!
Tynan is tweeting about Rihanna on Twitter @TynanBuck.