Robert Piguet Bandit, 1950

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(Middle of the Road, 1972)

Perfumer Germaine Cellier

It’s often said that Bandit is a love it or hate it fragrance, with the implication that greatness is divisive. Well I’m smack in the middle of the road with the modern version of this icon. It makes me wonder, even though I’m an enormous fan of both leathers and green chypres (and Germaine Cellier), if there’s something particular to this construction that neutralizes their effect.

After the first sweeping minutes, the chypre’s inkiness and the leather seem to cancel each other out and Bandit isn’t as vehement as either a strong green chypre or a nice, rough leather. The basenotes are dry but calm and feel more woody than anything else. Not particularly bitter, not smoky.

Bandit doesn’t entirely satisfy either my chypre or leather urges. I reach for other green chypres, leathers, and even more satisfying leather chypres like Hermès Bel AmiHeeley Cuir Pleine Fleur and Knize Ten far more often.

Vintage Bandit? That’s a different story.

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