What I’ve managed to try from Xerjoff’s Shooting Star collection has been mostly excellent. From the refreshing Nio to the charismatic Uden, each of the fragrances from the line have one thing in common: quality ingredients. At the first sniff it is quite obvious, and this trait is also present in many of the other offerings from the house. But… as any decent cook will know, while quality ingredients are important, they aren’t everything. Xerjoff’s Oroville is a great example of a fragrance that fulfills the promise of quality ingredients, then falls short in execution.
The opening deceptively lured me in with the promise of more. The orange note was sparkling, the chamomile, unique, and the tobacco realistic and natural. Starting with the opening, but persisting throughout the mid, a top quality neroli/orange blossom note emerges to anchor the composition. In the first five minutes, I somewhat enjoy the scent of Oroville. It is an interesting and certainly unique take on tobacco, as the style is miles apart from the more common honey/tobacco blends. But then the mid starts to emerge, and the fragrance gets weird on my skin.
The tobacco and neroli offer a dry, dusty texture that is exacerbated by the aggressiveness of an emerging carnation note. This dry, almost powdery character is paired with a bay leaf that somehow manages to turn to sweat and spoil — an embarrassing state of affairs which is only further highlighted by the strikingly spicy nature of the carnation. Once the dry down begins, the blend becomes even more strange, as a sweet, ambered sandalwood note clashes with the spice and florals, bringing to mind a depressing image of dirty flowers decomposing in the sun.
Oroville isn’t totally unpleasant, but it is discordant. During my wearings of the fragrance, I always seem to be enthralled by the quality of the ingredients, particularly in the opening. Unfortunately, after the first 30 minutes, the composition becomes difficult for me to bear, and consequently it is impossible for me to recommend. In a sort of tribute to my shattered expectations, it lasted longer and projected better than I’d have liked. What a disappointment from a great house that has some true winners.
Ultimately, Xerjoff’s Oroville is a sad reminder that with fragrance, as with most art, quality ingredients are a necessary but not sufficient condition for greatness.
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