In response to a recent Perfume Pen Pals post, "Help Dan Find a Citrus Cologne", you all weighed in with a orange grove's worth of glorious suggestions. Your hesperidic proposals have inadvertently created a marvelous "to sniff" list for any curious cologne seeker, for which I thank you. And -- cue the choir of angels -- they have also led Dan to his cologne nirvana. (Is that mixing religious metaphors?)
It was Steve Gontarski who gave Dan the tip-off to his pith-rimmed future:
"Bois d'Orange by Roger & Gallet. It's so inexpensive and does everything a citrus should do."
I got a bottle of Roger & Gallet Bois d'Orange and it might be the best cologne per dollar that I've ever smelled. It just smells good. And it makes me wonder why so many other classic woody citruses don't smell good.
I've been wearing this for nearly two straight weeks with the expectation that I'd have something insightful to say about it. But it's not the kind of fragrance that lends itself to insight. It's a good citrus cologne. It's...conventional. It's what I imagine Don Draper sprays on in the morning, one more veneer of normalcy to cover up what's inside, from his co-workers and himself. And I don't mean that as a criticism of Bois d'Orange or of Don Draper: we can't constantly go around pondering and expressing our dark inner selves and expect to get anything done.
Bois d'Orange is exceptionally good when you consider its price, but also quite good when you don't. It's one of those fragrances that smells perfectly balanced going on and maintains itself for its full run, jettisoning its bright citrus opening for a surprisingly rich woody-amber base, uncomplicated but not quite uninteresting. It doesn't last more than a few hours, but by then I imagine the smell of Don Draper's lunchtime cocktails and cigarettes would overwhelm most colognes anyway. (Maintaining normalcy is not without strain and you must allow a man his vices.)
Jung said, "People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls." I believe Bois d'Orange has a role here. I feel good about myself when I'm wearing it, and if further examination suggests that feeling is unjustified, then I say it's time to spray on more cologne. And maybe fix myself a cocktail. Don't tell my therapist.