Baldessarini Concentrée by Baldessarini (2002)

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If you want to know more about how Baldessarini as a brand came about, I’d recommend reading my review on Baldessarini by Baldessarini (2002), which is the flagship scent and pillar to this higher-concentration flanker. Baldessarini Concentrée (2002) is sort of its own animal a bit apart from the original eau de cologne release, and not so much an improvement in my book, but I’ll reserve judgement until later on. In short, Werner Baldessarini was a high-profile member of Hugo Boss upper management and design team that spun off his own label for mature men before eventually leaving the Hugo Boss fold altogether right on the eve of the perfume line’s launch, meaning that for less than a year, both this and the original cologne were Hugo Boss products. However, there is no difference in smell between rare early bottles of Baldessarini by Hugo Boss versus Baldessarini by Baldessarini, because Baldessarini continued to let P&G Prestige Beaute keep the manufacturing license for his perfumes, and Hugo Boss contracted out to P&G Prestige Beaute as well at the time. In the case of Baldessarini Concentrée, I’m guessing the option was created for someone wanting more-noticeable sillage and projection than the standard eau de cologne allows, but tweaks in the formula to facilitate that make stylistic changes overall a la the difference between various iterations of Chanel No. 5 (1921). I get the notion the decision to make Baldessarini Concentrée came in the clutch, because the scent smells rushed.

The basic point of being a then-luxury high-end tobacco chypre-adjacent fragrance for men is carried over from Baldessarini to Baldessarini Concentrée, with added sweetness of benzoin to the latter and a few choice alterations besides that. The original has bitter orange, while this “concentrée” goes for a meyer lemon blossom note instead. This sweeter introduction follows through with similar tangerine and lactonic note in the head, but something like a ethyl-maltol kind of sweetness also enters which reminds me of newer and much cheaper-smelling modern masculines that I do not like. The original concentration has none of this artificial sweetness, and here the sweetness hides the mint and chamomile note but lets the caraway and clove speak more in their stead. By the time the base is reached, this becomes a bit more about amber and the aforementioned benzoin than the tobacco, which itself is snowballed into tonka and white musk until it “blobs out” into a single accord. Projection is higher, sillage more present, and wear time is over the 10 hour mark, but at such great cost to complexity and nuance as to be a bit annoying on the nose. The same basic “Baldessarini smell” is there for those familiar with the original, but gone is the nice layered drydown, with a single assertive semi-oriental thumb of artificial sandalwood late-wear to keep this vibing on skin until you wash it off. If you love the original cologne but wanted something more-throbbing for romantic or club use, I can sorta see reaching for this version, but I’m not a fan of this anyhow so I’d reach for something else entirely if given the opportunity. Less for me is more in this particular instance.

Baldessarini Concentrée is by no means foul or anything like that, it’s just an unbalanced take on the original scent by Jean-Marc Chaillan and Peter Wargyne that feels more like a last-minute twist of the arm than something either of them probably meant to do. I get similar vibes to other “intense” flankers to modern masculines where a louder base or simplified structure focusing on the hardest players from the original are used to give an appearance of muscularity, but since I don’t measure the value of a fragrance in sheer performance metrics, the results are rarely appealing. The same scenario unfolds here: A subtle but well-constructed (if a bit plain) tobacco scent is sent back to the gym to get a pair of “guns”, and comes out a bit more belligerent and less sophisticated for the effort. Baldessarini by Baldessarini had the problem of being smack in the middle of an emerging tobacco style that many players both upmarket and downmarket would exploit into the 2000’s, meaning it gets lost in the mix if you’ve already bought things in the same train of thought and has since gone from being a premium item to a bit of a collector’s gem better bought from a discounter. The house of Baldessarini itself still puts out something here and there that gets attention from the online community, and that attention invariably gets focused back to these eponymous debut releases, but the original eau de cologne variant I think is the more timeless of the two. That being said, smelling is believing so try for yourself. Neutral.

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