You walk down the cement steps and move cautiously through a wall of lights; the air buzzes with dance music, as if it’s filled with angry insects. Bodies meld together, indistinct forms of color and movement and flesh.
The bartender hands you a drink you’re unfamiliar with, but you take a sip anyway. You notice someone across from you on the dance floor. He slinks between shapes in the amorphous crowd, the top two buttons of his shirt undone. He looks at you; your eyes lock. You cross the floor and take his hand in yours. Together, you make your way onto the raised floor. Two bodies becomes one; indistinct forms of color and movement and flesh.
You step onto the dais, surreptitiously checking your hair in the small mirror you always keep with you. Satisfied that nothing is out of place, you advance, and a swarm of skeptical eyes sweep toward you. Your polished boots click as you approach the podium, sure of every step. Your notes are already there. You begin your presentation. Someone coughs, but it doesn’t break your stride. Nothing could. You make the merger, impress your peers, get the promotion.
You strut down the crowded halls, chin held just a tad too high, but you know it. Your black bookbag taps lightly against your side in silent rhythm with your movement. You don’t need to weave around the masses of gossiping children, because the masses move around you. You turn and laugh at the joke your friend just made, not concerned in the least with where you’re going.
1 Million by Paco Rabanne is all about power.
Notes of chilled grapefruit, blood mandarin, smooth peppermint, sweaty musk, dry cinnamon bark, aged leather, tonka bean, subtle patchouli, and amber ketal don’t just call for attention; they demand it.
1 Million begins with airy peppermint and sparkling blood mandarin. These two notes are rather distinct for the first five minutes or so, creating a refreshing blend that lends a sort of brightness and glow akin to that which accompanies a night with a lover. However, these soon begin to fade and give leave to more smoothly blended Middle Notes.
The Middle Notes mostly consist of dry cinnamon and a general spiciness. Here is where the power enters. At this stage, this scent is like someone whose mere touch is enough to make others bend to their will. It’s the power behind the throne, subtly pulling strings and directing the entire operation.
Within 30 minutes, 1 Million settles down into its Base Notes of leather and amber ketal (a synthetic variant of the naturally occurring ambergris). A sophisticated air takes hold, demanding a part in the hair and a steam-pressed coat. But a certain accord that can only be described as sweatiness hangs close to the skin. Perhaps this higher being is not as perfectly coiffed and buffed as his appearance suggests. Remove his jacket and you may see that his shirt was not fully tucked in the back. And wasn’t that part in his hair neater a minute ago? Ask around, and no one will mention having seen him. It makes one wonder…
The notes in 1 Million are so well blended so as to become almost indistinct. Imagine an abstract piece of art hanging in a gallery; a green square of peppermint and a crimson square of blood mandarin crowning a red rectangle of cinnamon, all atop two squares of leather and amber ketal, both in varying shades of brown.
Now, an abstract art hater comes in with a vial of grapefruit extract mixed proportionately with soft patchouli and tonka bean, and chooses this such painting to deface. He splashes this concoction all over the painting, and the blocks of color begin to run, mixing and dripping into one another to create a rather indistinct mass of grey with only remnants of their former brightness around the edges. This is as 1 Million.
There is a general sense of ambiguity running throughout the entire progression, higher notes fading into and staying with all of the following notes, and the medium notes wrapping them all together. However on the outskirts, shots of individual notes sneak in, hinting at the quality of this confident scent. But the overall sense of uncertainty puts the wearer in the possession of a distinct feeling that this a person shrouded with gauzy unknowns, someone who participates in covert liaisons with high ranking officials and excursions to exclusive nightclubs.
Now, this scent is by no means original. It is a dupe of many popular fragrances previously and currently on the market. But it does have one thing going for it: it outdoes them all. The sheer quality of the ingredients and the linear yet satisfying progression create a work that quite simply puts all of the other “power scents” to shame. 1 Million can most closely draw parallels to Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, but leaves behind the sharp, intense edges of such and comes in with a more subtly confident aire; a scent that makes others want to draw closer rather than forcing them to.
1 Million demands a self-assured wearer. This fragrance would most likely be a better bet for a night out or a day when victory must be assured. It could tentatively become a signature for the select few capable of wearing it, rather than let it wear them. 1 Million is a force of its own, and could easily sweep its wearer up in its tempestuous drive.
The bottle is absolutely gorgeous; a shined gold plate encompassing a tinted vial on the back. The spray depression (which is engraved) is laid into the top, making for a stunningly uniform body, and one that will prolong glances at your vanity in its entrancing aura.
While this is assuredly a masculine fragrance, a woman who possesses a certain quality of progressive aggressiveness and audacity tempered with subtlety could certainly give it a whirl. The only thing that may make you shy away from 1 Million is its “sweaty” accord, which is most certainly the most masculine aspect of the affair, but the overall sweetness (which is not at all cloying; rather, it penetrates and awakens) could lend itself to a more forceful feminine personality.
Is 1 Million a groundbreaking fragrance? Certainly not. But it does what it sets out to do better than any fragrance I’ve found on the market: create a sensuous journey for the strong of will and the quietly defiant.