First off, before I get into how I feel about Cereus No 11, let me tell you that your eyes are not deceiving you. This photo is of a slightly used bottle and that’s because I wear what I write about. Also, this fragrance isn’t new…I will define what I mean by “new” shortly.
A short time ago, I was feeling in the mode to buy a new fragrance when I shot my friend Brian Boye an email asking him for a tip. He recommended Cereus No 11 and off I went running to Barney’s. Standing at the fragrance counter, I felt like a kid in a candy factory, so much to smell, so many choices. But I focused my attention and smelt Cereus and began to ponder its effect on me. I will admit, I also smelled Le Labo’s Rose 31 while I was feeling this out (see my feelings about that below) and was instantly mesmerized but was a little unsure about it at the time. There was something about Cereus that had me captivated but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So with that, I took the word of someone I really respect and paid $125 and continued smelling my hand all the way to the train station. As I made my way home I wrote Brian an email and this is what I said, “What an interesting scent. The woody notes remind me of Comme de Garcon’s Man but it continues past that and ventures into something soft and spirited…I guess that’s where the pepper comes in. I can’t stop smelling my hand as I write this.”
From the way the bottle feels in your hand to the use of the wood looking top, Cereus No 11 is packaged for men. I can’t quite put my finger on it but something about the way it looks reminds me of English Leather. Maybe its the wood top or the clear bottle or maybe I’m just on crack but that is what ran through my mind. There clearly isn’t any stallion on the front to drive home the “this is for a manly man” thought but there’s something familiar but new about the packaging and its odor.
Cereus No 11 is a masculine scent without beating you over the head. The definition of masculinity has evolved. I love watching my Sportscenter and hate being asked to change the channel when its on but can you imagine if I was writing about this sort of stuff in the 40’s and 50’s…I’m sure you know where I’m going. But today, while we’re just as driven, aggressive, stubborn, etc, etc., we’re also more sensitive, very conscious of our appearance (you can tell from the increased hair product shelving space and the variety of colors we’re wearing) and apparently doing more housework (recent study Fox news talked about and I can attest to that. I have a woman and I’m swifting, washing and cooking…YIKES) But seriously, if we’re evolving why can’t our choices in fragrances do the same. For me, smelling like I just left the barber or leathery just isn’t cutting it. That’s why I love Cereus…its manly without beating you over the head and that’s the best way I can sum it up.