Él' must face the comparison with 'Kouros', absolutely. Especially who is familiar with the old YSL cracker longer, perhaps even decades, will not overlook certain similarities, or can over-smell.
A mere copy is 'Él' but really not, for Rodrigo Flores-Roux is simply too good perfumer - he does not have to copy. But anyone who looks at the inspiration for this fragrance, will quickly understand that 'Kouros' was, so to speak, no getting past.
The idea was to develop a fragrance duo that harkens back to the hedonistic fragrance language of the 70s, when the distinction between men's and women's fragrances was still largely given, and both sexes were vying for supremacy in terms of erotic vibes. Animal-infused chypres were mainly found on the women's shelves, while no less sexualized fougères graced those for men. Caron's 70s version of 'Infini', 'Weil de Weil' or Piguet's 'Futur' are representative examples, as are 'Paco Rabanne pour Homme', 'Azzaro pour Homme', 'Jules', increasing in the amount of animalic admixtures and finally culminating in 'Kouros'.
Arquiste's 'Él' and 'Ella' pick up precisely where these fragrances left off, paraphrasing them into a modern olfactory language without tipping over into the modernist.
Smelling 'Él' today, I actually wish 'Kouros' had smelled just as wonderfully dark green, herbaceous and aromatic back then, with that great tart honey note and the incredibly sensual, mossy civet base. Maybe then I wouldn't have hated it with such fervor, as I did now when every other smelled like it (the other half smelled like 'Antaeus', and that's who I was).
Though yes, it did smell similar, at least to some extent. Maybe not quite as green, and not quite as herbaceous, but the honey, the laurel, the civet - the intersection is quite striking!
But when I compare the scents today, I notice that Rodrigo Flores-Roux's scent is much more clearly contoured, less hazy. The individual notes breathe more freely and everything seems airier, fresher, less sultry. Even the animalic components of the base unfold more loosely, as if they've escaped the confines of the famous 'Animalis' base of 'Synarome' that characterized so many animalic scents, not just 'Kouros'.
Animalism at all!
Today I could lie into it, but that's probably a matter of age, or rather getting older.
Just as they say that good food is the sex of old age, it could well be that you only really become receptive to animalistic scent eroticism over time, right? In any case, I've yet to meet anyone under, say, 30, who was - or is - into animal scents. As a young person, I guess you'd rather stick with freshness, cleanliness and sweetness, rave about the 'performance' of the 'ever-goer', hope that the newly acquired scent is a 'beast' - in keeping with the SUV-ization of fragrance culture.
But ambiguous, somehow grubby-sensual animalism: Satan, soft!!
Admittedly, I felt similarly, back then, when I was 16 years old for the first time with an erotic fragrance offensive à la 'Kouros' was confronted - an affront! To let my pants down in such a lecherous manner, I found unheard of - shameless as I was.
I probably would have liked Le Galion's 'Sang bleu' better, but such a 'Kouros', freed from head-blushing filth, did not exist at that time. It is precisely this eroticism, however, that I miss in 'Sang bleu' today - who would have thought it?!
However, as much as I appreciate fragrances that clearly flaunt animal secretions today, I am wary of wearing them more than in homeopathic doses, because I know how difficult they are to endure for many people.
Arquiste's 'Él' now offers me an irresistible quantum of it: not too much, and not too little, combined with more herbaceous green notes and fresh rose geranium, so that I actually think: 'Él' ought to please everyone!
But beware: the image of a guy with gold chain in the swelling chest hair, thick mustache and bronze complexion, the shirt unbuttoned to the navel and the jeans so tight that everything shows, plus a lecherous smile and a lewd look - that's 'Él'.
That's not me, though.
I'm not a Tom Selleck guy, never have been. But I always liked that one. Magnum was just a cool sock. His machismo: cheerfully ironic and gallant, his erotic charisma: simply stunning.
But even if I'm not a Tom Selleck kind of guy, I can still wear a fragrance that evokes the image of such a man-man, I think.
Refractions must be, they make but only interesting.
Maybe to him, Tom Selleck, would also rather fit a dark velvety rose scent, who knows?! Also a nice refraction.
'Él' is, in any case, an exceedingly successful reminiscence of the cheerful hedonism of the late 70s and early 80s, before the AIDS horror swept in, and with it the Biedermeier of the Kohl/Thatcher/Reagan era.
Especially in these unfortunate Corona times, I remember it fondly, even if my own Gschamigkeit (a Bavarian expression, I know, but I love it!) saved me from indulging too carelessly in sensual pleasure at the time - fortunately!
Today I would no longer put my hand in the fire for it. But for that I have now 'El', the substitute drug: Hedonism 'in a bottle', so to speak.
A very nice one, by the way!
Not only good food is the sex of old age.