Am I King? (Review of “I Am King” Cologne)

Well, that all depends on how you look at it.

Current life cycles for a new cologne or perfume have been reduced from decades to maybe a couple years (by contrast, Coco’s Chanel No. 5 was introduced in 1921 and still tops $100 million in sales annually). With our insatiable ADD buying culture, we are constantly looking for the latest and greatest – considering new products obsolete even before they hit the market. So from that perspective, the fact that Diddy’s “I Am King” will even have a 3rd birthday to celebrate this November is in and of itself an accomplishment.

Packaging is elegant; a simple, clear glass bottle tinged pale lilac topped by a glassy mirrored cap gets the job done neatly. The understated branding in the bottom corner doesn’t scream vanity. Nice.

However, when you grab the top you notice two things right away: Firstly, you’ve stuck your grubby hands all over the once pristine cap, leaving smudgy finger prints behind. And secondly, the top is much lighter than it looks. You realize that it isn’t (probably wisely) actually made of mirrors, but cheap, shiny plastic. The whole experience is somewhat…disenchanting.

But hey, this is all about the scent, right?

“Top notes” (the very first thing you smell while the cologne is still wet) are all citrus fruits. Tangerine and Orange walk into your house uninvited, but that’s OK because they don’t stay long. While they take leave, you realize a darker more complicated somebody has been sitting in the corner the whole time. The “body” (what comes out when the top notes depart) draws out wood tones including cedar, sandalwood, and oakmoss, as well as sea water, lemon and cranberry. It’s like a warm summer’s night on the Riviera in a classic wooden speedboat. And there are a lot worse ways to spend your time.

The undertones settle down in a few hours to an enjoyable yet subtle spice and that’s exactly where they stay all day or all night. To test the longevity I sprayed directly onto my skin and then went for a five mile run. Sweating out three pounds of water weight later (no exaggeration) the scent was still hanging on, though in reality there wasn’t much left.

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to like any scents by Puff Diddly, or P Daddy, or whatever it is that he calls himself right now. I figured the cologne would be like his recent music; juvenile, uninspiring, and increasingly irrelevant. But actually, I quite like I Am King. Is it the best cologne out there? No. It’s not even the best cologne I’ve personally owned. But is it King of the moment? Sure, why not.


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