In this post we are going back in time, as I often do, but just a bit this time – to have a look at a successful fragrance from Paco Rabanne launched in 2008, targeting the male market. It’s none other than 1 Million, created by perfumers Christophe Raynaud, Michel Girard, and Olivier Pescheux. And perhaps Christian Dussoulier had something to do with it, too. FYI, for those not in the know, Paco Rabanne is a French fashion house that started in 1966.
I believe this is one of the fragrances, if not the fragrance, that started the trend for sweeter men’s fragrances. I love gourmand fragrances, obviously, but not if that is all the mainstream market is offering up, and sadly I do feel that sweeter fragrances are still de rigeur. Now we know that one million dollars doesn’t buy as much as it used to, and this scent has never been worth its weight in gold, but does it still pack a good punch? I shall dispense my views shortly.
There is good reason for the past and continuing high sales volume of 1 Million. First and foremost, I think, is the packaging. A gold bar as a bottle is very gimmicky and kitchy, yes, appealing more to 20 something guys who likely care more about attracting the ladies (or others), than the quality of the actual scent. But it’s also clever and fun without being too tacky. Second, it does smell good, and at the time of its release at least, rather unique. Here are the notes:
- blood mandarin, grapefruit, mint
- cinnamon, spicy notes, rose
- amber, leather, woody notes, Indian patchouli
1 Million is a sweet, spicy, fruity, warm and inviting scent. The fragrance is built around a leathery fruit and ambery wood accord. There’s a juicy fruit pop of mandarin at the top, and some lovely rose garnished with cinnamon dissolving into a deliciously addictive woody leather base.
It’s an attention grabber, a great evening or night time fragrance if you want to steal the limelight. It’s still one of the top-selling, most popular mainstream fragrances out there for men. I can also see it being splashed on in outdoor events in the summer. Apparently, it is a lady killer, but I think this one came after my time, as I have no memory of the men around me wearing it, very sadly. Locals in Japan are not much for fragrance, as I’ve likely stated earlier, especially men. Boy, I am in the wrong country. Can women wear it? Well, I have, and have been complimented on it, too. Although it is sweet, it does lean slightly masculine, probably due to the combination of base notes. Conceptually, this fragrance is supposed to be represent power, wealth, luxury, and durability. I wouldn’t call this sophisticated, though.
This has decent performance, lasting up to 8 hours on me. I know some of you might get more out of it that I do, though. I blame it on my dry skin. Sillage and projectivity are above average (for a designer scent, I mean).
1 Million fast became a great success, spawning several flankers, including 1 Million Intense – a 2013 stronger, more romantic version with Rose, the Privé version – a 2016 version with tobacco and tonka bean by Christophe Raynaud, 1 Million Lucky – a 2018 fresher ozonic version by Natalie Gracia-Cetto with hazelnut and plum, 1 Million Parfum – a 2020 salty tuberose and solar leather version, 1 Million Elixer – a 2022 release with a more sensual, apple and floral take of the original, and 1 Million Cologne, the only bottle in all glass with a cap that is predictably lighter, has citrus, and unlikely performs well. Of course there is a whole other 1 million line targeting the ladies, but at present I know nothing of those.
Many of the 1 Million flankers flankers don’t all borrow a huge amount of DNA from the original, from what I know. I’m not a huge fan of flankerization, but I’ve read from a few fellow fumeheads that 1 Million Privé is an improvement on the original, but as always, that depends on personal preference. If you’ve tried them all, which do you like best?
1 Million is available mostly in 50 and 100 ml sizes, and this is surprisingly an EDT formulation. Some of the flankers may or may not be around any longer, but I think you can still easily find the original.