The mob that invaded the United States Capitol building on January 6th, 2021 left a fragrance behind with the rest of their trash. What a ruinous public relations nightmare! Which brand was going to have to write a statement condemning their actions? Would it be Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab releasing and discontinuing a perfume called Next Time Get More Votes, You Jackasses? Would it be Marc Jacobs posing naked with his penis covered by a sign saying "My label denounces the conspirators disrupting the peaceful transition of power"? Would it be Serge Lutens composing an impressionist word painting that didn't make much sense in English or in French, but appeared to affirm that treason charges were appropriate for those flying the Confederate flag on federal property?
No! It would be Axe! Of COURSE it was going to be Axe! People knew the mob wore Axe even before the can was found. Reporter Mike DeBonis posted the photo of the abandoned can on the morning of January 7th...
...and here's internet personality @miliondollameat describing that photo, cigarette butt and all, nearly 13 hours before it was even posted.
Obvious joke aside, unless @miliondollameat was at the Capitol that day, they probably did not literally smell the invasion. They - and everyone else - just saw that a bunch of dudes were a-hootin' and a-hollerin' and a-smearin' their feces on the walls while dressed for the world's worst video game convention and thought, "Yep, that's who wears Axe."
Axe deliberately cultivated their terrible reputation for decades. The ads depicted Axe as an olfactory roofie that would make women horny and uncritical. They were targeted at teen boys who were either too stupid to realize they were being insulted ('Hey, loser! Women will fuck styrofoam if it smells like Axe! Maybe even you have a chance!') or who hated themselves so much that they nodded along when they were told they needed drugs to get laid. Further, Axe used to use the tagline "Spray more, get more." If the buyers of a product go through it like water, that's great for the sellers, because it means they need to replace it faster. With Axe, this was a second joke at the buyers' expense, since overspraying makes them obnoxious to be around, or moreso if they were obnoxious already. People often overapply fragrance completely unprompted, and here was Axe telling a market entirely made up of people with poor judgment to use batshit amounts of it. Some of them never developed the olfactory acuity or social skills required to stop. And that's how you end up with Axe in the trash on the floor of the Capitol.
People at home flexed their d0xx0ring skills on the mob. I didn't recognize anybody in the crowd, but I know how to ID a perfume. Each flavor of Axe has its own symbol so you can tell them apart even when the color schemes are the same. I shouted "ENHANCE!" at the photo of the Lonely Can until I could recognize the symbol. Then I bought a can of my own. Welcome to Axe Marine. It's associated with bad things. Is it a bad product?
While Axe products are widespread in the United States, Marine is not. That scent isn't distributed here, so stores have to get it from a third party if they want it. I had to order it online. My can's text is in French, Dutch, and Spanish, but not English. Patriotism! The can has a plastic top that drops down when you turn it to reveal the atomizer. It's kinda fun. I like twisting it. It's hard to apply sparingly. It takes force to press the button, then it dispenses in a constant stream until the button is released. This isn't an Axe problem, it's a deodorant spray problem. I want to rant about deodorant spray in general, but I'll save it for another time.
Marine opens crisp and lemony with balsamic herbs and a surprisingly realistic oakmoss note. It's fresh and mineralic. Woods appear a little later, creating a pleasant impression of wet soil in the forest. Marine was a product of the aquatics boom, but it's more earthy than watery until the drydown. There is a sweet calone core that becomes more and more exposed as the other notes die. The core remains for hours after the rest of the fragrance is gone, leaving my skin smelling like a men's fashion magazine in a waiting room a month after all the tester strips have been torn open. I respect the core's tenacity, but it's boring. The effective life of Marine is about two hours.
I neither like nor dislike Marine. I'm not a fan of aquatic men's fragrances in general, because they are rarely as realistically oceanic as I want them to be. Marine doesn't move me emotionally. It doesn't even reproduce the Capitol mob experience by itself, since the cigarettes and human waste are sold separately. But Marine is fine. It's nice. There are many paths to maintaining that shower-fresh feeling in the morning, and Marine is one of them. Considering what it's famous for now, we can call my indifference to it a grand slam.
I feel a little bad emphasizing the insurrection connection. Remember those paragraphs from before talking about how Axe targeted losers? There's a reason I phrased it in past tense. They've been trying to get away from that for a few years already. The new concept of Axe is as a communication tool that helps men express their best selves, rather than as a cheat code getting around personal deficiencies. Rome didn't fall in a day, and neither does a bad reputation. I think the Capitol will just be a hiccup for them. Their response to it was credible because of the groundwork they've been laying down. But it'll be a long time before Qanon conventioneers can raid a government building without spectators assuming they smell like Axe.
There is one last thing I want to mention. People have pointed out that aerosol cans can be turned into flamethrowers. The Lonely Can may really have been brought as a weapon. I wish I knew what was going on in the owner's head. Was it a weapon? Was their Axe Marine paired with a Marine axe? I want to believe they just really liked the smell. That would be a very relatable thing to me.