Dirty English has been identified by Nash-Taylor of Juicy Couture as a cross between the influences of her own Anglomania (she is married to John Taylor of Duran Duran), Skaist-Levys’ “CZ Guest Style”, a dash of punk (Sex Pistols) while its style (the bottle's?) borrows from their flagship store located on Rodeo Drive. She also promised that, "Any self-respecting bad boy will want to wear it." (Women’s Wear Daily)
The name of the perfume is immediately catchy and if we were to start drawing a list of The Best of 2008, it would have to be nominated under the category "Best Fragrance Name". It actually makes you want to create the category. The first whiff from the bottle promises the scent to be less than pale. It is sweeter and more heavily resinous than average.
The perfume turns out to be a noteworthy twist on a traditional woody-leathery-tobacco scent for men with fresh fougere accents. It demonstrates how you can play with the idea of excess without being excessive in reality. Its most traditional facet suggests the suave after-shave of a gentleman frequenting the requisite club with all the necessary trappings of leather furniture, books and polished woods with beeswax that one would expect. This is deemed an ideal by many and it is a comfortable one. Its more adventurous facet is a humorous and sensual play on the notion of human foulness and extreme bodily exhalations as it plays with the notion of dirtiness but ultimately and paradoxically in a clean and allusive way. This Englishman is indeed a bit dirty and it is not just a play on words but really a play on olfactory sensations......
The perfumer Claude Dir (Clinique Happy, Lacoste Pour Homme, La Prairie Silver Rain, Britney Spear In Control and In Control Curious, Paris Hilton Can Can, Elizabeth Arden Mediterranean…) skillfully pushed some of the notes so that they would verge on smelliness, but that impression remains abstract and is swiftly replaced by the sensation that the perfume did not trespass olfactory tolerance in the range going from pungent and interesting to smelly and offensive. The leather, the woods (proprietary Santal Fatal accord with sandalwood, Atlas cedar and vetiver root), the musk (with caraway) were worked upon so as to be made to smell a bit borderline with the addition of a sensation of inebriated breath further down the line.
Three references come to mind: it is like a cleaned up and sweetened up CB I Hate Musk only hinting at transgression here and also draws its inspiration from Gucci for Men but without xeroxing it like Tommy Bahamas. Finally just like Gucci for Men was a bit reminiscent of a Serge Lutens perfume with its closet niche feel, the spicy peppered mandarin here in the opening recalls Mandarine Mandarin somewhat.
Dirty English appears at first from the bottle to be amber-y, resinous with a fresh fougere background. The amber has in fact a pronounced resinous character as in Ambre Sultan with tobacco nuances and dirty musk ones (the “dirtiness” is further suggested by dry pungent herbal and spicy notes)
The top notes are interestingly spicy and exotic (peppered mandarin) the latter accord can be interpreted as feeling a bit “Chinese” as it evokes dried spicy Chinese mandarin skins that are considered a treat. Incidentally Vivienne Westwood also used Chinese references for her perfume Anglomania.
There are leathery, birch undertones. It is the smell of wet pungent black leather and here it borders on coming across as smelly or sweaty but it does not cross that threshold of pain or pleasure, you choose.
Next the development suggests the heavy breath of a pickled and polite gentleman and because he has a lot of social credential, the “smelliness” can be ascribed to his love of the outdoors and his brisk walk in a northern forest with his dogs, warming himself up with a little whiskey from a flask rather than lack of olfactory decorum.
Further the perfume becomes more discreet, restrained and closer to the body with little whiffs of potato alcohol and apples drying-in-a-barn which come into play, a traditional combination of notes in masculine scents.
The dry down is woody, a bit metallic as in the aroma of clove, with a subtle nuance of animal fat. One of course thinks of wool fat in this context. Then floral nuances emerge.
The scent becomes more intense and deeper after a while. It is like entering a dark thick forest in daylight letting through the sunshine intermittently.
The resolution however is very proper and stands as the conventional end to a more eventful development. It smells even more like Gucci for Men. The dry-down is on the light side but probably more so for the wearer than for the non-wearers since smelling is an exercise in relativity and comparison, and the end just seems lighter than the main development of the scent. The longer dry-down smells of a dirty yet civilized musk and is very long-lasting.
The packaging is typically Juicy Couture offering two charms attached to the bottle. And to end on a practical note, it reads on the packaging: “Do not spray directly onto light colored clothing”.
Top notes of peppered mandarin, blue cypress, Calabrian bergamot, caraway and cardamom pods; a heart of marjoram, black leather and the proprietary Santal Fatal accord, consisting of sandalwood, atlas cedarwood and vetiver roots and a dry-down of agarwood, ebony wood, black moss absolute and amber musk.
The scent is available at Bloomingdale's