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.).
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!