Basile Uomo by Basile Profumi (1987)

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Basile Uomo by Basile Profumi (1987) is the product of Weruska & Joel S.r.l from Torino Italy, and can be considered something of a B or C list masculine fragrance that was once taken for granted as a drugstore staple over in Europe, much like products from Antonio Puig or Maurer & Wirtz. Weruska & Joel were new kids on the block back in 1987 though, having only been around since 1980. The Basile range was originally manufactured (briefly) by S.I.R.P.E.A s.p.a., and resulted in eponymous launches of Basile Profumo da Donna (1986) and the aforementioned Basile Uomo the following year, with both scents following in a style considered mostly safe for the Italian market; a market that loved polarized gender themes thanks to very patriarchal cultural traditions. As many have now noted, a lot of masculine fragrances from this market up through the 90’s tend to swing the pendulum into the furthest reaches of macho-man land, to the point that Moschino began to parody it with their masculine fragrance releases. However, unlike the so-manly-its-comical nature of Moschino pour Homme (1990) and its super-skank-spice-leather bomb, Basile Uomo is serious about its masculinity and tracks accordingly. That isn’t to say Basile as a brand is not affable mind you, I’m just saying that it isn’t tongue-in-cheek like Moschino. Real “red-blooded man’s cologne” is this.

Here we see a bit of an inbetweener in terms of composition, as Basile Uomo isn’t full moss-boss like Gianfranco Ferré for Man (1986), but not the sharp pine and leather of Sergio Tecchini (1989) either. People have a difficult time categorizing Basile Uomo just as they do Quorum by Antonio Puig (1982), especially as reformulations seem to more drastically affect it as time goes on, just like Quorum. Basile Uomo makes basil an opening player (duh), but then moves into a mixed bag of artemisia, juniper, pine, and sandalwood rounded with dandy florals like indolic jasmine, carnation, and geranium. In effect, we have a really dark chypre structure here, and one that relies a lot on amber and patchouli rather than labdanum by itself or civet. Oakmoss is obviously prerequisite, especially for an Italian men’s fragrance from the 80’s, but don’t discount the castoreum either. To my nose, herbs over jasmin indole and amber dominate this one, and I like it; but due to complexity of formula, your mileage may vary. Performance is good with great longevity, even if Basile Uomo isn’t a screamer like some 80’s fragrances. Best use would probably be spring through fall, although the dead heat of Italian summers may make you want to switch out for something like Acqua di Selva by VIctor (1949), or Pino SIlvestri by Vidal (1955) instead.

Basile Uomo in its earliest S.I.R.P.E.A or W&J formulations (short list ingredients) treads the same ground as Chanel Antaeus (1981), Maxim’s pour Homme (1988), Caractére by Daniel Hechter (1989), and the aforementioned Quorum, in that it goes to 1970’s “brown town” with the aromatics and leather, but tosses in an X factor to make it feel more 1980’s. In Chanel’s case, this was done with juxtaposing soapy top notes with beeswax and triple animalics, while Quorum used tobacco and Maxim’s did the musty stale fruit bowl thing. The Daniel Hechter fragrance would come out at decade’s end and infuse lighter, fresher tones with its take on “brown”, while good old Basile Uomo here sat somewhere in-between them all, having the most-ambery finish of the lot. The green leather amber vibes here remind me a lot of the later Guerlain Coriolan (1998) and Avon Uomo (2000), but newer long-list bottles of Basile Uomo replace some oakmoss with soapiness and move the profile closer to something like Roger & Gallet L’Homme (1982), which isn’t necessarily bad even if not for me. Newest bottles with a different design tend to be compared to Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973), so maybe that’s a different scent? Basile Uomo is not a must-have, but definitely an enjoyable, dependable mossy aromatic chypre. Thumbs up

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