Signature Royale by Zaharoff (2020) is a flanker to the original Signature pour Homme by Zaharoff (2018), and according to some, closer to the original Zaharoff pour Homme (1998), although I can’t confirm that. What I can confirm is this limited-edition fragrance does smell a bit more like a mod of the original Signature pour Homme that George decided to go ahead and spool up for limited production as a flanker, than something created from the ground up by perfumer Claude Dir for the purpose. As such, expect this to smell very close to the original Signature pour Homme, to the point where some may decide to just skip it altogether for redundancy’s sake. Is this truly redundant next to the OG? Maybe? That depends on how much you like subtle variations on a theme meant to be alternatives to one another contextually, something Jeremy Fragrance tried (and failed) to do with his Fragrance One range. Here we see a more semi-oriental side to the Signature pour Homme DNA, so the soapy notes and blue stuff stays on the bench.
The opening is a bit powdery with iris ionones coming to the fore, although this opening is the most Signature Royale will ever smell like something such as Dior Homme by Christian Dior (2005), so do not get your hopes up for that. Afterwards, we get a tart apple and juniper, with some aldehyde sparkle sneaking in behind the apple. Cardamom will play a bigger role in the later stages of the drydown, although for the moment this scent is all about the lavender and odd choice of tagetes in the heart, giving Royale a bit more yellow floral oomph to join those aldehydes in the top, threatening to feel a bit like a classic women’s chypre if not for that lavender, the juniper, and so on. The synth-oudy base of the original returns, this time joined by a thicker, fluffier musk choice of cashmeran and old-school musk-K, whether that’s really what’s here or not. The rest of it is the “semi-oriental” part with vanilla, amber, patchouli, and sandalwood. Zaharoff’s take on the 90’s semi-oriental fougère is this, sitting somewhere between Lalique pour Homme (1997) and Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent (1993).
All this 90’s semi-oriental mature man formal goodness, but compressed and sandwiched between two slices of bread top and bottom comprised of elements prominently featured in the original chimera blue barbershop fougère that is Zaharoff Signature pour Homme. If that seems too redundant for you, or if you’d rather hang out with the likes of Cartier, Chanel, or Guerlain and their period takes on the subject, it’ll probably be cheaper per ounce anyway unless you’re paying retail or buying vintage specimens of each. As for me, I like this stuff but it doesn’t resonate with me the same way the original one does, so I’d probably not add it to my collection unless it fell in my lap. That doesn’t however, stop me from recommending this stuff to people who like the Zaharoff brand, and if you buy one of his 3 or 4 bottle package deals he has directly on his website, you can have this as part of the complete set anyway, which is probably the best way to buy it, if I’m to be honest. A decent offering, but I wish it came out from behind the shadow of big brother a little more. Thumbs up