More Than Words by Xerjoff


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Xerjoff More Than Words (2012) is part of the “Join the Club” collection, a line that originally served two purposes. In practice, “Join the Club” acted as an entry-level line inviting people to “join the club” of being a Xerjoff perfume owner (how condescending), and even had a mail-in card where you could register with other owners to form an actual club. In aesthetc, “Join the Club” sought to envision the “good life” of social clubs often found among wealthy elites, like golfing and cigar lounges, with More Than Words being themed around a poet’s society (and sadly not the song by Mr. Big). As an additional layer of “cool”, Xerjoff thought it wise to leave the notes absent and let the wearer interpret what they are smelling (or hide the fact that these were cheaper), and to me this equates to a rose/oud/resin fragrance in the Middle-Eastern vein. I’ve smelled a lot of high-quality Xerjoff fragrances, and while this one doesn’t smell particularly cheap, it smells like so many things that can be had more cheaply, so I’m not 100% sure if the value is here for the target audience of the line, which is the seasoned niche connoisseur unsure of value offered. This stuff might not have been advertised as a rose oud, to avoid giving away the notes as per the origina marketing gimmick, but once that was revealed by savvy noses, More Than Words had to slog it out among every designer prestige line and upstart luxury niche perfume brand trying to toss rose oud bottles at unsuspecting shoppers in high-end department stores across the Western world.

From the onset, I get a very sweet jammy damask rose and cardamom, heavy and rich. There might be some citrus here but if so, it’s going to be a muted mandarin orange because the rose jam comes in right away. At this point the opening resembles Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose (2013) in the pasty rose opening, accompanied with some synth oud but a much larger dollop of patchouli and olibanum than anything else. Some fruity lactonic notes also enter as the heart emerges, the oud note feeling a bit barnyard but thin, like Jovan Intense Oud (2012), which sells for a fraction of this in price. The real star of the show once the rose/patchouli/oud combo settles in is the labdanum, again very heavy, rich, and pasty. This labdanum is paired with benzoin of styrax, some woody-amber molecule, ambroxan, and musk. The final finish of More Than Words is somewhere between Perfume Calligraphy Rose, Jovan Intense Oud, and By Killian Musk Oud (2013) but with a bit of late-wear scratch. All but one of these is under $200, and one of them under $50. the first half of the 2010’s was a busy time for Western rose oud or rose patchouli takes, and sadly More Than Words gets lost in the din of them to me, plus Tom Ford Noir de Noir (2009) was also peaking in popularity then, so Xerjoff had its work cut out. Wear time is 12+ hours and sillage is intense, so there is no lack of performance for dollar spent at least. Best used in cooler months and in romantic settings. To me, this genre always reads unisex, but More Than Words is a bit fruitier and sweeter than some of this ilk, so it may come across feminine depending on your perspective on things.

Xerjoff More Than Words gets a surprising amount of talk from guys, but then again Xerjoff as a brand practically rolls off the tongue like a sneeze when other lux-o-niche lines like Creed and Roja Dove are mentioned in the same breath. Creed never really messed with ouds like this, and Roja Dove (bless his heart) likes to use the real deal, which puts his ouds out of the price range for even most well-off collectors, meaning something like More Than Words would become a defacto hit for guys into these “status brands” and looking for a rose oud that would win them brownie points on social media. In this role, More Than Words served amicably until the craze for rose oud or rose patchouli scents died down in men’s circles, with Parfums de Marly Akaster (2015) representing the Johnny-come-lately of the movement. Of note to collectors, “Join the Club” is a retired sub-label and like Sospiro or Shooting Stars, has had most of its popular entries re-issued in the now-standard Xerjoff bottles. The originals will command coin for looking different, but smell virtually the same, and the “club” facet of the line has also been retired. I like Xerjoff More Than Words, but I’ve smelled this trope so many times with so little variance that it’s hard to truly get excited. Smell for yourself before joining this club. What would you say if I took those words away? Then you couldn’t make things new just by saying I love you. La di da da di da… More than Words


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