Gucci pour Homme II (2007) has a rather interesting story behind it, both in the creation department, its existence on shelves for the next decade or so, the way people in general felt about it, then its eventual rocket rise to the top heap of “holy grail” unicorns amongst discontinued fragrances. The latter can really just be explained away with the usual sycophantic group think that permeates the men’s side of the fragrance community. You know the deal when an admired personality (usually an influencer) says something discontinued is a “lost masterpiece”, which makes all the little trained seals bark and clap their flippers in agreement, then run out to buy 31 bottles so they can flip all but 3 of them on eBay for 6 to 10 times what they paid, cuz you gotta be able to afford those artisanal ouds somehow, right? Anyways, the road there is ultimately more interesting than that destination, because it’s the same one Gucci pour Homme (2003) reached when it came to an early end-of-life in 2011, although that fragrance actually had a lot of fans when it was axed so the hype feels more understandable. The short version is Gucci pour Homme II was made to plug a hole in the Gucci masculine line-up, which had Envy for Men (1998), Rush for Men (2000), and the erstwhile Gucci pour Homme, none of which were really a fresh casual option. Gucci pour Homme II was the first masculine made after the departure of Tom Ford in 2004, so it was designed to put distance between Gucci and the anachronistic retro-chic predilections of what Tom Ford put out under the Gucci (and YSL) nameplates, although the problem with that strategy seems to be that the people buying Gucci fragrances at the time liked them for the very fact that they were not ostensibly modern like everything else being rolled out in the 2000’s by designers. Oh well.
Because this scent is the first “deliberately modern” Gucci masculine but also something of a soft reboot for the line (the full reboot would come four years later), the Gucci pour Homme form factor and be presented as a “sequel” to bridge the gap between PPR-era Gucci and the later “Guilty” era ushered in under Frida Giannini, then perpetuated by Alessandro Michele. Karine Dubreuil was put on task to make Gucci pour Homme II, and has worked extensively on masculines for L’Occitane, bringing some of her love of spice over to this scent. Gucci pour Homme II can best be described as a “spicy green aquatic tea tobacco” fragrance, which sounds like a nightmare on paper, but works rather well. Violet leaf and aquatic notes mingle with what feel like bit of unlisted clove with a vague cinnamon note, eventually giving way to a pimento and black tea that comes in after about thirty minutes. The violet leaf and spice become a backdrop for the tea, which is then supported by wisps of dry tonka that impart a tobacco leaf quality similar to Dolce & Gabanna pour homme (1994) crossed with the violet of Burberry Touch for Men (1999), which is another noteworthy creation. The tea never reaches the levels of density that Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo (2015) reaches, but it comes to merge with the tonka, some white musk, and Iso E Super clear woody notes in the base. Folks struggle to find things that could easily take the place of Gucci pour Homme II, and that’s because nothing touches on all the various corners that it does, although you can get close with the sweeter Hanae Mori HiM (2012). Wear time is just under average at about 7 hours and projection fades early at about 2, making Gucci pour Homme II feel more office friendly than its older brother. Best use is spring through early fall in casual, office, or day time situations.
When Gucci pour Homme II was released, nobody really knew what to make of it, as everyone was so dead in love with Gucci pour Homme ’03 that they were actually wondering what the purpose of this “sequel” was, as if it existed to right some imaginary wrong. Gucci pour Homme II felt apologetic and unisex in the way people seem to see masculine market fragrances from the 1990’s, and although fans would slowly gather around Gucci pour Homme II for its calming elegance, it was not given the love nor the attention of the previous one. Gucci oddly kept it on the shelves after the 2011 killing of every Gucci masculine prior to Gucci by Gucci pour Homme (2008), making it the last vestige (albeit a transitional one) from the era prior. The scent moved slowly and was forgotten by retailers outside maybe Ulta, and could be bought for a song at discounters, becoming a legendary “good cheapie” for deal hunters but hated by fans of the Tom Ford era mourning the loss of Gucci pour Homme ’03 and woefully reminded of that loss by the continued existence of Gucci pour Homme II. Reviews online remained ambivalent or mixed for years, then suddenly in 2019 the plug was quietly pulled on it, which brings us to FOMO frenzy and hysterical double-takes we see nowadays, where people who hated or were indifferent about Gucci pour Homme II suddenly exalt it as a masterpiece now that their bottles are worth $400+ and not $40. The online fragrance community is really weird sometimes. Point is, this is a nice and competent fresh tobacco that’s rather unique, and although maybe not deserving of worship, at least gets some form of appreciation that it sorely lacked for years when commonly available. Gucci pour Homme II is a good fragrance that sadly more people won’t get to know due to the circumstances surrounding it. Thumbs up.