Thursday, July 09, 2015

Bandit-Robert Piguet: Review

Bandit never intrigued me when it was around, and I didn't miss it when discontinued. In 1999, it was reissued and I still didn't give it much thought. What was it? The name? The plain looking bottle? The description of smelling like an overflowing ashtray? Whatever it was, I somehow managed to avoid Bandit all these years until in a frenzy of perfume decant buying (I was paying a flat rate for shipping, so it was worth placing a good sized order) curiosity finally seized me enough to splash out on a decant of the vintage formulation.

Turns out, I already knew Bandit, or her close cousin Azuree. Without a vintage bottle of Azuree for comparison (and please, be warned that the Tom Ford Azuree is not the same fragrance) I can't say they're identical, but they're close enough that my initial reaction was worry that my room was a mess and my mother was going to come bursting through the door to yell at me about it. At one point we had the bath products lined up on the windowsill of our rather small bathroom, though as far as I can recall I was the only one using them. I don't remember it being around once we moved to a more spacious house, but by then my sister had moved on to Chanel #19, and mother was enthralled with L'Air du Temps. By the mid 70's, Azuree had pretty much run the popularity course. No one wanted to smell like a dirty hippie when they could smell like a liberated woman (Enjoli, Charlie, Moon Drops, etc.).

Through the magic of the Internet I was able to find a picture, though I remember the cap on the body lotion being a large hard plastic thing that was hard to grip with lotion on your hands. This must have been a later re-design. But not too much later as I remember the bath salts. Anyway, what I'm getting round to saying is that Bandit reminds me of Azuree, only better. There seems to be a pattern of fragrances I love, but don't wear. Bandit would fit in there with Azuree, Aramis, and Cabochard. I adore them, and in the case of Cabochard and Aramis have some that I spray on hankies to keep around the house-but I don't wear them. They don't turn body odour-ish on me as some people complain of with their own body chemistry, I just don't have whatever it is I think it takes to wear them, at least not regularly.

I knew as soon as I applied Bandit that I wouldn't need to worry about Danny using it all, as it is a civet bomb. Civet, oakmoss, vetiver, leather, musk, amber-it is everything he hates all bottled up and ready to wear. I've yet to meet civet and oakmoss that didn't at least interest me even if it wasn't love, but this is love. A love best kept at home and private, but love nonetheless. Bandit would be a difficult fragrance to wear out in modern US society. It isn't sweet, or floral, or even obviously fresh herbal, and as such it wouldn't immediately register with most people that you were wearing a fragrance. If anything, it might smell like you slipped out to smoke dope. It isn't dominant, but every so often I'd catch a whiff and think, "Whoa, I wouldn't want to get pulled over wearing this." Imagine how much worse it would be were you in fact, a bandit!

There are florals listed in the notes for Bandit, but I can't detect them as anything individual. If I think about it, perhaps I would notice the carnation, but rose, tuberose, neroli and gardenia are indistinguishable from everything else as far as my nose is concerned. I guess it just gets lost in the civet and aldehydes.

Strangely, I don't find the leather notes as strong as other reviewers do. I smell the patchouli and vetiver much more distinctly, and of course the kitty cat. I wonder if I tend to smell what I like, placing it at the head of the pyramid because I know it is there?

Bandit is a gorgeous fragrance (in the vintage formulation anyway-I can't say what it would be like stripped of the civet and oakmoss) and I completely understand why it has such a devoted following. Be aware that it has some serious staying power, so apply with caution your first time out. A little goes a long way, ditto for the sillage. Probably not a good office scent, even if you really hate your co-workers. If personnel gets a whiff of you, you'll be sent off for drug testing. Save Bandit for your own time when you want to smell intensely wonderful. No point wasting that sort of intensity at work.

Next Up: Reader Bibi mentioned Fame de Corday, and I got hold of a decant of the vintage. I'd been interested in it for years, and now I finally have the opportunity to try it. So that's my weekend plans. Stay tuned. Thanks, Bibi!


Mim said...

Bandit is one of those scents that have been reworked here, there and everywhere over the years, so different vintages apparently smell very different. Mine's very leathery. I bought my bottle blind, on its reputation, and was horrified! It's grown on me over the years, though I'll reach for Balmain Jolie Madame, which has violets along with the leather, before Bandit.

I *did* wear it when pissed off at a previous job, layered with Shocking for a 'used leather panties' effect. And then a workmate who wore Narciso Rodriguez but must have been anosmic to it because she wore enough to fill the room completely overwhelmed it...

Bibi said...

Dhanyabad! (That means you're welcome in Nepali)
I can't recall exactly what Bandit smelled like, tarry tobacco springs to mind along with the civet & oakmoss.
I just found out my beloved Roma has been reformulated without civet & oakmoss to accommodate IFRA. My 90's bottle of Roma is down to the dregs & I need a new one as it's one of my favorite fall & winter 'fumes. (If Shalimar were Italian it would be Roma). I can't even imagine Roma without oakmoss & civet. Sigh.
If they truly want to ban something that's allergenic & sensitizing why don't they ban tobacco?

Beth Waltz said...

Now I am curious about Azuree and Bandit. Acting on your recommendation, I indulged in a tiny .25 ml decant of the Guerlain Oeillet: this stuff is medicinal! The fresh carnation is better than caffeine! I not only want it, I need it! (See, I was paying attention earlier.)

Goody said...

You say "used leather panties" like that's a bad thing?
Now I'm interested in trying another decant from somewhere else to see if I get different notes from it.

If they could simply list the allergens, people could avoid what ails them. I have a heck of a time finding body lotion (and quality soap) that doesn't use almond oil, but I wouldn't want to see the ingredient banned. As for civet-people drink coffee made from civet turds, which is OK because they don't kill it. Couldn't they just wait until the coffee-pooping cats die a natural death and then harvest their glands?

@Beth Waltz
I hope I'm reading, "Medicinal" in a good way (therapeutic). At least I hope I didn't convince you to buy something you dislike.

Beth Waltz said...

The segue from caffiene (a good thing!) to civet turds disturbs me to the point of -- and I know I'm going to regret it -- asking "what coffee made from civet turds?"

Yes, indeed, please do read "medicinal" in a good way! I'm following your reviews of classic fragrances as I would the book reviews of someone whose tastes match my own. You love it? I'm curious about it.

Goody said...

@Beth Waltz

Don't say I didn't warn you.