Thursday, October 13, 2011
Recently, a dear friend who understands my fragrance addiction gifted me with some samples of department store fragranced I had been eager to try. I have admittedly been falling behind on keeping up with the mainstream fragrance releases as I fall rapidly more and more in love with indie and niche fragrance lines. Still, all of the buzz that I was hearing about the three fragrances I will discuss below just made me have to try them. Susan, I am grateful for your gift!
Now, as the title of this post states, two of these fragrances were just huge failures for me, and one was a surprising hit. Rather than ramble on and on about each fragrance, I thought it’d be more fun for me to do short little mini-reviews of each and explain why they were hits or misses. Credit for the idea is due to darling Carrie, and her new Mini Mondays series (I do wish I thought of this first!). If you haven’t checked out her blog, I really recommend it; she has been a real guiding force for me!
Day One: Jo Malone Wild Bluebell
(picture courtesy of the Jo Malone website)
Oh, Jo Malone, Jo Malone, Jo Malone! How I used to love you, years ago. Red Roses and Orange Blossom carried me through many days, and I remain grateful for the love we once shared. However, in the past few years, none of your releases have excited me. Everything smelled “off” and just...not very pleasant. Still, when Wild Bluebell was released, the collective cry of excitement in the blogosphere made me curious. Besides, I quite enjoy Lily of the Valley.
I should have known I’d hate you. The scent of Lily of the Valley cannot be distilled naturally, and my nose has become accustomed to naturals. Synthetics aren’t often my friend these days. When I sprayed you, I instantly recoiled. It was as if I had been slapped or punched, my reaction was so strong. You smelled like cheap fabric softener. So harsh and synthetic you were, I was rendered unable to even distinguish a single note from the muddled mess on my skin. I wished I could shower you off, but Thirsty Thursday called, and in the scheme of things, enough frozen mojitos would dull my senses enough that I’d be unable to smell you. It took seven hours of booze for you to fade into ozone-y nothingness. The hangover was not worth it.
*Cool side note - the PHENOMENAL Victoria of Bois de Jasmin had the same reaction, sans the mojito spree (I think?). She also smelled cheap fabric softener!
Day Two: Givenchy Dahlia Noir
(picture courtesy of luxury-insider.com)
I have fond memories of Givenchy fragrances. My mom used to hoard L’Interdit when I was a small bun-bun, and as a present for starting high school she gifted me with a bottle of Hot Couture (which I am somewhat ashamed to say I still enjoy). With this in mind, I was curious about Dahlia Noir. Carrie’s Mini Monday review of the fragrance further piqued my curiosity, especially with lines like “The roses and aldehydes on opening are reminiscent of a quieter YSL Paris.” - YSL Paris is my weakness! I sprayed myself and took a jaunt to the Museum of Modern Art (hey, it’s free on Fridays!). I proceeded to spend more time at the museum trying to figure out what the heck I was smelling rather than enjoying the (incredible!) de Kooning exhibit.
Dahlia Noir is supposed to be a fruity floral with a powdery, cozy drydown - something I’d typically enjoy. But no, Dahlia Noir is not what it seems. Dahlia Noir is a big ole’ slap across the face with a watermelon-scented wet wipe (all credit here is due to Victoria of eauMG, who was also testing it the same day and confirmed that I wasn’t crazy for smelling watermelon). I know that there’s a mimosa accord present in this perfume, but I just had...a big slice of watermelon. Eek. Loud, obnoxious, and confusing! The perfume transitioned - slowly, I might add - to a very powdery baby wipe smell. Yes, there was the aldehydic fizziness that’s reminiscent of a wet wipe (y’know, that bright sort of smell only chemicals can provide), combined with a powdery facet that comes from what I believe to be iris and tonka. Uh, yeah. No comment here.
Day Three: Prada Candy
(picture courtesy of thegloss.com)
From what I gather, Prada fragrances are very hit-or-miss in the fragrance blog-o-sphere. My “devil on my shoulder” Sheila of Scent Less Sensibilities says that Prada fragrances all “have that hairspray thing” - meaning, they turn into a cloud of Elnett on her skin. I always feel like the odd one out for my love of Prada Infusion d’Iris - I’ve used two (2!!) bottles of the stuff, and quite like it. So, I was shocked to see the near collective love for Prada Candy upon its arrival (the two dissenting voices I’ve seen thus far: my dear Susan, who sent me the sample, and Sheila, who said in an email to me - god, does this woman write the most fantastic emails! - “it smells like burnt sugar almonds and Elnett and nothing else.”). Once I saw Carrie’s review, I was done for; I knew I’d love it. I just had one issue: I freakin’ hate the bottle. The bottle is so ugly to me: tacky, reminiscent of a door stop, and just too cutesy in its execution. What was I to do if I loved the juice it contained? For this reason, I waited and waited and waited until I could not wait any more to spray myself.
Oh, you can guess what happened: I fell madly in love. I proclaimed it immediately full-bottle worthy, and put out a call for someone to sell me a decant since I just...refuse to have that bottle on my shelf. The more I think about it, though, the more I may be willing to suck it up. This Candy is just too mouthwatering - and ridiculously misnamed. This isn’t a cavity-causing mess of Pink Sugar-ed proportions. This is the luxe cashmere sweater you starved yourself two months for (or maybe that’s just me), the warm embrace of your significant other by a fireplace, the leopard-print Snuggie and bowl of soup (again, maybe that’s just me!). This is a warm caramel custard swirled with benzoin: truly edible and tummy-filling in the way that only the best desserts can be. There’s also a musky aspect to the fragrance, which only serves to amp up the coziness factor: nothing makes me want to snuggle more than a musky gourmand, sigh. It lasted for hours, as did my joy. Yes, I will be purchasing you somehow.
So, have you had any fragranced failures (or successes) lately?