At the end of 2020, Formula One debuted a five-scent line of perfumes in collaboration with Designer Parfums that are somehow designed to mimic the smells of a race weekend. I finally got a chance to sniff my way through the collection at the United States Grand Prix, and I’ve come to share my findings with you.
I would like to hedge here that F1 doesn’t call them perfumes; rather, it opts for scents, because F1 stresses the unisex nature of these smelly bottles of water. If you’re the kind of person to prescribe certain types of scents to a specific gender, you’ll find that the F1 line is pretty good at blending musky smells with lighter florals to make a fairly solid combination. Some bottles are more cologne-y than others, while some others are more like a delicate perfume. They are, to put it pretty simply, Alright.
But like all things Formula One, these perfumes are expensive. One 2.5 fl-oz. bottle will cost you $100, and the limited-edition bottles with the 3D printed casing are a massive $280. It looks like there’s a race weekend-specific price increase, because you can purchase a bottle on the F1 Fragrances website for the equivalent of $82.
There also appears to have been a little miscommunication. The kind salesperson at the F1 Fragrances tent informed me that these scents were only available in France, so to buy a bottle at the race would make me unique in the United States. The scents are actually available throughout most of Europe and the United Kingdom, and even with shipping, they cost less than buying a bottle at the US GP.
Now, let’s get into the rankings.
Our salesperson told me that Overtake 320 — the scent in the red bottle — is a bit of an enigma. Some people absolutely love it, but other absolutely hate it, and there’s no one in between. Except for me. I couldn’t decide how I felt about Overtake 320. The F1 Fragrances website describes it as such:
A volcanic red inspired by the heat and energy of the race, Overtake 320 is all about the intensity of Formula 1. The moment smoking tyres spin as the car speeds up, and the immense power of the engines. Fiery cinnamon and pink pepper melt into a warm blend of tonka bean, vanilla and gaiac wood. A spicy amber that accelerates at lightning speed.
That’s all well and good. It smells warm and inexplicably round, kind of like a fall-scented candle, but it’s definitely more candle-y than perfume-y. I’d like this as a gentle smell wafting through my house on a rainy November day, but I don’t think I’d put it on my body.
From this point on, ranking was tough, because the rest of the scents were decidedly enjoyable. Turn 1, the fragrance in the black bottle, is definitely one of those more masculine scents, and F1 gives it the following description:
Drawn from the deep asphalt tones of the track, Turn 1 is a fresh and mineral fragrance – evoking the tension of tyres on wet tarmac. The saltiness of rain and electrifying energy of intense turns. The ozonic spice of angelica mixed with vibrant woods, aromatic violet leaf and inky oakmoss. A woody aromatic scent that symbolises the car on the track.
I think it’s the mineral quality to this one that makes me rank it fourth. It’s musky and cologne-y in a very good way, but there’s also this element to it that makes it smell like a sweaty body (again, in a very good way). I personally wouldn’t wear it, but I’d like to sit next to anyone who had it on.
Carbon Reign (the lighter gray bottle) is apparently the bestseller of the F1 fragrances collection, but I can’t say it was my personal favorite (though I also won’t say it’s bad). It has probably the most eclectic of the F1 Fragrances descriptions:
The thrill of victory – capturing the prismatic lights at the podium, Carbon Reign is a fragrance that celebrates the joy of the win. Energetic notes of pink and timut pepper convey triumph in a shower of sparks, with thrilling notes of geranium, lavender and amber crystals. An aromatic woody fragrance charged with energy.
I don’t know that I’ve ever sniffed a light and found it to have a smell, and I don’t know that Carbon Reign captures that scent. It’s not an awful fragrance, though; it’s musky and cologne-y with a little punch of something lighter (I wouldn’t call it floral; it’s almost more soap-y), and I can see how it would appeal to dudes or their lady friends in search of a good smell for their man.
The darker gray bottle of Precious Mettle is, honestly, a very close runner-up to our ultimate winner because it has some of my other favorite scents of all time: soapy citrus and wood. Here’s how F1 describes it:
In a bottle as steely as the nerves of an F1 driver preparing for the race ahead, Precious Mettle opens with a burst of freshness. Classic notes of leather, lavender and patchouli combined with airy mandarin and metallic pink pepper. A thrilling citrus woody with a brilliance that evokes the adrenaline rush of the race.
I feel like I’ve had a shower gel that has smelled exactly like this perfume, and I love it. It’s a very bright scent where the previous three I’ve talked about are a lot headier. I’d consider this one the most unisex scent of them all; it mostly just smells clean.
I’ll admit it; I loved Neeeum White (which, obviously, come in the white bottle) because it combined two of my favorite smells of all time: flowers and leather. Here’s the F1 Fragrances description:
The slick white of a Formula 1 drivers’ suit, Neeeum White is as daring as racing down the home straight. Crisp and streamlined, an audacious note of narcissus subtly twisted by the slick powder of iris, aromatic juniper and black pepper with the richness of leather. A fougère floral that celebrates the uncompromising thrill of this technical sport.
I’m no smell expert, but Neeeum White is really well balanced. It has undertones the warm, muskiness of leather and the spiciness of the black pepper, but the floral bits are most prominent and a little sharper. It does trend a little more to the traditionally ‘feminine’ side, and as a woman, I enjoyed it. But I can guarantee any dude with this scent on would be my new best friend.