Introducing a new series on the best budget fragrances.
If you’ve been reading my fragrance reviews so far, and checking the pricing on them, you’ll probably have noticed that many of them are quite expensive (with the exception of Mercedes-Benz Club Black). I developed a taste for the fine stuff quite quickly, and am lucky to know some people who are both devoted to fragrance and generous enough to introduce me to these wonderful scents.
However, life isn’t all luxury and expensive taste. I want to highlight the best budget entries too; being on a uni student budget I’m well aware that it’s important to have budget options.
So, this is the first in that series.
Bentley Intense is no secret to fragrance fans, and it represents some of the best value for money in the fragrance game. This makes it an ideal candidate to highlight first.
Bentley Intense immediately smells like a product of much higher quality than its price point would suggest. It’s a boozy, leathery character, and it reminds me of Nasomatto’s Pardon or Frapin’s Speakeasy.
Its creation is attributed to perfumer Nathalie Lorson, whose portfolio also includes Lalique’s popular Encre Noire range, Armani Privé Cuir Noir, and Givenchy Gentleman among hundreds of other works.
It presents beautifully, in a bottle that distills Bentley’s coachmaking and automaking heritage into an aesthetically pleasing, automotive-inspired design. The chunky lid reminds me of a spare tyre in a car boot, but in a luxury sort of mood.
The Olfactory Notes
As previously mentioned, this is a scent of boozy and leathery character. There’s a good bit of spice in the mix.
This spice is immediately apparent in the top notes, with black pepper and bayleaf presenting themselves alongside some synthesised bergamot.
On the drydown, we’re presented with a bit of an olfactory buffet.
Rum, woodsy notes and cinnamon make themselves known here in the heart. There’s some labdanum and geranium to temper the strong edges of these notes and provide some smoothness, and a touch of clary sage for punch.
The base notes bring us a strong, resinous backbone; the leather accord resides here, alongside some benzoin, and additional woods. Cedar and sandalwood are listed, both synthesised. Smooth patchouli is also present, and the notes cite frankincense to round it out.
At this price point, I think the majority, if not all of the ingredients would be synthetics.
However, these are quite good synthetics. They have decent staying power, and the fragrance smells great.
And smelling great is what we’re after here.
I get around 6 hours out of this fragrance. My experience of performance seems to be on the low end of general thoughts, as many others have boasted 8 to 12 hours of longevity.
As always, with variances in individual skin chemistry, your own experience will inevitably vary.
What I do find is that Bentley Intense is a strong projector, just shy of being a projection monster.
It won’t fill the room, but your presence will be known by others in your vicinity.
It’s not an offensive scent, so the big projection is a good thing.
Blend Quality: .7/1
While the blend is excellently executed, the presence of mostly synthetics caps this at a 7/10 for me.
I’m a fan of the presentation, the choice to show the colour of the juice in the bottle and the overall aesthetic.
Personal Smell Score: 1/1
I can’t fault the actual smell at all. It’s lovely, and at this price point, that’s exceptional.
Total score: 3.9/5 B+
What Would I Wear This With?
You could wear this scent with anything short of formal attire. It’s super versatile.
Due to the thickness and resinous character of the scent, I’d suggest wearing it with cooler weather outfits.
Leather jackets, Barbours, tweed, cable knit cricket sweaters, denim and so on.
Wear something with texture, because this fragrance is full of olfactory texture.
I could see this working really well with a simple tee and jeans as well, if you feel inclined to do so in the transitional seasons.
There’s no denying that Bentley Intense for Men provides excellent value for money with its boozy and leathery sweetness. If those are your kind of scents, you’re going to love it.
This isn’t the only Bentley fragrance to be surprisingly good value for money, either; Bentley Absolute for Men is also striking at a similar price point. I’ll be doing a spotlight on that one in the near future, as it makes an excellent layering companion to Bentley Intense as well.
Stay tuned, and stay well, my friends.