Friday, April 12, 2024

Xerjoff’s Alexandria II: Overpriced Clone Or League Of Its Own?

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One of the greatest debates I’ve seen around Alexandria II is whether it smells like Le Male. Now, I quite like Le Male. It’s a bold lavender bomb whose bottle radiates more than a little gay energy. But I also associate Le Male with the bathrooms of trashy Irish clubs, both radiating off loud young men and sitting on platters held by restroom attendants. Its simplicity and sharpness are admirable, but there’s a limit on just how artful the perfume can come across.

So when it comes to Alexandria II – well over three times the price of Le Male – you’d hope for a massive improvement. You don’t have to be in the fragrance game very long to know that price doesn’t always correlate to quality. In addition, most Xerjoff perfumes I’ve smelled have been high-quality renditions of familiar ideas. It wasn’t promising to hear that Alexandria II might be an upgraded version of an affordable classic. Even its sky-high reviews across the board – pretty characteristic for even Xerjoff’s most mundane offerings – didn’t offer much comfort.

Alexandria II Notes

Apple, cinnamon, rosewood, lavender, cedar, lily of the valley, rose, amber, sandalwood, musk, vanilla, oud

If you find Le Male in a club bathroom, you find Alexandria II in a hidden library in a mansion, having wandered off during a masquerade ball and discovered a crystal chalice sitting among dusty classics. In short, Alexandria II is a magnificent fragrance.

This is lavender perfume, certainly, but the way that note sits in composition is very unique to Alexandria II. The central lavender accord – and it certainly feels like an accord – floats above the rest of the composition, brought to life by brushstrokes of spice and wood. Cinnamon provides the boldest counterpart to lavender,  balancing its herbal elements with a brighter warmth.

Perfumer Chris Maurice also manages to isolate the fruity tartness of green apple without bringing along its unpleasant sharpness – a key for people like me who normally see the note’s presence as a big red flag. Meanwhile, amber and an array of soft woods sit underneath this hovering lavender accord, providing a lovely experience in contrast throughout the fragrance’s first few hours.

And yes, I mean its first few hours, because Alexandria II performs very, very well. Even more delightful is how it dries down. Over time, the floating lavender accord and the woody base merge, forming a smooth, cohesive whole with a surprising amount of texture. Only about eight hours in does the perfume start to lose its edge, and even then, it remains very pleasant for several more hours.

Alexandria II is one of those rare perfumes worth its price tag in nearly every aspect. It’s unique, universally likeable, and performs just about as well as anything on the market without being cloying. Skeptics of the Xerjoff brand, look no further. This is a lavender fragrance beyond compare – a treasure all on its own.

Samples and decants of Alexandria II are available here, and bottles are available here.

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated. 

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