Originally Launched in 2011 as Fantastic Man by Swedish niche line Byredo, this fragrance was born out of a creative collaboration between Byredo’s founder Ben Gorham and the editors of a Dutch men's magazine called Fantastic Man. I bought my bottle of Fantastic Man when it came out. Sadly, the collaboration ended, and Fantastic Man now lives on as Sunday Cologne. Same juice, just a different name.
True to the playfulness and originality of the magazine, Fantastic Man is promoted as a take on the classic men’s cologne. Hmmm. Let’s see: it opens with that mainstay of men’s cologne, citrusy bergamot, but here it's tempered with the warmth and soft spiciness of star anise and cardamom. Then, dirty geranium starts to appear, backed by woody incense for depth and more warmth. That other traditional men’s cologne note, lavender, shows up too and offers a lovely floral dimension. At the base, vetiver, moss and patchouli come forward and bring it to a beautiful, warm, green, soft dry down that stays close to the skin.
As promised, it has the ingredients of a traditional men’s cologne, but it doesn’t smell like one. That's because Fantastic Man isn't a cologne at all but an eau de parfum. So, it's not about what ingredients are used but the proportions of those ingredients that make the difference. That explains why it smells old and new, warm and cool, familiar, foreign and fantastic on men and women.
UPDATE: Sadly, the collaboration between Byredo and Fantastic Man ended, but Fantastic Man eau de parfum lives on as Sunday Cologne. Same juice, just a different name.
Notes: bergamot, star anise, cardamom, geranium, incense, lavender, vetiver, moss, patchouli.