October 19, 2012 6:09 pm

Ahhhhh, yet another killer idea…

The 007 fragrance is the latest addition to the panoply of Bond tat that proves popular among those with masculinity issues
An illustration by Lucas Varela©Lucas Varela

On the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film comes a dangerous new fragrance, and with it the opportunity men have apparently craved for half a century – the chance to smell like 007. The 007 fragrance is due for release in the next few days, infused with hints of apples and cardamom. It may not make the ladies fall at your feet, but it sounds like it might be good for dealing with those stale odours that build up in your carpet. Actually, I was surprised by the ingredients; not only cardamom and apples, but also touches of lavender and moss struck me as a rather sensitive creation for 007. I suppose I was looking for essence of misogyny, touches of baccarat and whiff of the killer. But then I found a site called fragrancex.com, which lists the five masculine scents “that drive women wild”. They are, apparently, spicy, citrus, clean, musk and earthy – all of which sounds to me like the names of members of a girl group. So perhaps 007, with its supporting extracts of sandalwood, moss and lavender and developed by the oh-so-chic Procter & Gamble, is right on the money. The vice-president of its prestige division – does that sell Fixodent or Pringles? – said the new scent “gave men access to the high-end world of 007”.

The high-end world of 007 in a bottle – cor, let me dash out now and splash it all over. But hang on a mo – which Bond would I be channelling when I’m doused in scent? After all, there have been six James Bonds (if one ignores David Niven and all the others who played him in the comedy Casino Royale) and one may not wish to smell like all of them. Don’t tell me that Timothy Dalton smelt like Sean Connery, because I’m not having it. A certain type of man – admittedly a man into safari suits – may wish to smell like Roger Moore. But what if you want the scent of Brosnan or the whiff of Connery? Are we to believe that Eau de Lazenby offers the same olfactory experience as essence of Craig? Can there really be only one bouquet of Bond? And besides, surely much of the time bouquet of Bond is a delicate blend of damp clothes, Feu Orange car air freshener and mothballs from the dinner suit.

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Robert Shrimsley

Such musings leave aside the possibly more important question of what kind of man buys a fragrance called 007? I mean, seriously, maybe it is so astonishing that women just fall into bed with you, but wouldn’t you feel a bit embarrassed to admit what you were wearing to a potential conquest? “Ah yes ladies, I am indeed wearing Hunky Shagger by Procter & Gamble. I may not play baccarat at Casino Royale, but I’m a dab hand at the one-armed bandits in the chippie.” Perhaps I’m mixing with the wrong type of women, but on balance I don’t think any of them would be impressed by the discovery of 007 fragrance in my bathroom. In their eyes, I’ve a hunch such information would pretty quickly turn me from lover to loser. Far better to stick with Bourne Identity Pour Homme.

The new fragrance is just the latest addition to the panoply of Bond tat that proves popular among those with issues around their masculinity. A site called jamesbondlifestyle.com offers a rival scent, James Bond – a blend of fresh exotic florals and citrus – and several accompanying women’s products for the Bond girls that almost certainly aren’t in your life.

But I suppose the only really surprising thing about this tragic product is that it has taken so long to get here. Perhaps we can now expect a fragrance with every blockbuster. One can imagine the conversations in LA: “Look, I’m loving the script. Tom Cruise is interested. I’m just not smelling a cologne here.” Whole teams of perfumers are doubtless employed full time on the scents of all future blockbusters. So look out for Twilight: The Smell of the Undead. A delicate blend of earthy tones for that “I’ve spent the night in a coffin” sensation. It’s time for Cash-in: The Smell of Money.

Not that I’m not buying into any of this. I’m sticking with Borat For Men. It doesn’t offer access to the “high-end world of 007”, but it keeps the flies away.

robert.shrimsley@ft.com

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