Well, it’s 31 minutes late for “Fragrance Friday”, but here’s my review for Marc Jacobs BANG.
With an ad campaign that sparked huge controversy in the fashion industry, this cologne has certainly made a distinct niche for itself in the fragrance world. But is that necessarily a good thing? Read on to find out.
Browsing the wide selection of mildly provocative tee shirts, rubber galoshes, cubic jewelry, and affordable-yet-attractive flip flops in a Marc Jacobs store in Provincetown, I would have had to be nearly blind to miss the BANG by Marc Jacobs display on my way out. Front and center, with a nearly larger than life poster of the infamous (in the fashion community) ad of Marc Jacobs himself posing nude on a bed of crumpled metal, the display surely was alluring. The unique, dented shape of the bottle, the strategically placed lighting glinting off the almost tinfoil-like surfaces drew me in like a moth to an open flame. One test spritz was enough to convince me of an immediate buy (probably only my second ever-I usually test it out for at least three days before returning to make the plunge.)
An initial rush of cinnamon, pepper, and some other spice I can’t identify mark this amazing fragrance. Now, this isn’t the cinnamon one uses when baking a delicious pie or sweet bread, nor the candied, artificial cinnamon used in Red Hots or chewing gum. It’s a sharp (but not unpleasantly so), deep scent, reminiscent of freshly extracted oil from a cinnamomum tree deep in the tropics of South America before it has been transported to a refinery. The peppercorn notes bring in a sensual, masculine feel; one that made my head reel slightly and forced me to take a deep breath to regain my composure. It’s a heady aroma, and slightly cloying in that it stays in your nostrils, and your thoughts, for a small while after smelling it.
The drydown is short, but pleasant, loosening the peppercorn notes and allowing the cinnamon to dissipate, while gaining a modicum of the woods on a crisp, early autumn afternoon. Slightly lighter, with a dry moss feeling to it, and hints of patchouli sneaking in, but just barely there, and certainly not enough to overpower the other notes.
The final hours of this cologne are rather unique among the many fragrances I’ve tried. The best way I can describe it is reminiscent of a forest fire. Slightly smokey, with some dry herbs and a smattering of the initial peppercorn finishing it off. The patchouli rounds it out nicely, acting more as a binder than a distinct note. It has that quality that, although I abhor smoking, draws me (or at least my nose) to occasional smokers of quality cigarettes: a dry, peppery, spicy, and almost narcotic smell, hinting at tobacco and simply reeking of sex. A smell that makes others want to explore, and brings them closer to the individual wearing it.
BANG is a fragrance that can easily wear the owner instead of the owner wearing it. It requires a deeply sensual, highly sophisticated, confident man to pull off. On that note, this is definitely a man’s cologne; there is very little unisexuality here, and I’d be hard pressed to think of any woman I know who could wear this successfully. That said, I’ve received innumerable compliments from both men and women while wearing this.
The projection, after drydown, is rather close to the body, something you’ll smell occasionally when you turn your head quickly or bring your hands up to fix your hair, etc.
However… Longevity. At most, I’ve gotten six hours out of this, but my nose is quite acute, and even then it’s a barely there smell. Usually, I can get this to last four hours with three sprays.
That aside, this has become a permanent member of my collection, and one I proudly display on my vanity alongside the likes of Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit, and Aquolina’s Blue Sugar. If I run through the bottle faster than my others due to necessary, though welcome, reapplication, so be it.
Suggestions: Try layering this with Dior Fahrenheit (1:2). Makes a wonderful, complex, and lasting (YES!) scent that combines the best of both colognes and results in a spicy, woodsy, hot-tar (I’ll explain this in my Fahrenheit review) smell that just radiates sexual savageness. Hot.