It is way too cold for this time of year.
It is nearly May and the North Wind doth blow, and we all know that means poor Cock Robin is sheltering in an icy barn somewhere freezing his tiny little bolĺocks off. I mean come on, it is nearly the First of May for Gods sake : I want to be half undressed underneath a canopy of quivvering Neroli, to be caressed by a tender breeze bringing with it the scent of mixed blossoms, hope and love in its wake.
Alas this is not to be.
The sun is shining yet the air is biting – so bright along these old city streets, yet it is bitterly cold and I keep moving to halt the damp creeping into my bones. I am in search of many things in my life, but today it is to simply to try out new scent. I have not worn Perfume for a week, as I rest my nose from time to time in order to sharpen and fine tune what can become too familiar. It also makes sampling new scents more enjoyable and often more intense.
Town is quiet this morning which is always a bonus. Within the Department Store, I carefully edge my way towards the cloud of invisible, toxic, diabetes inducing, aromachemical warfare
(Prada Candy anyone ?). I am hopeful I might be able to try a few new commercial releases that are at least not trashcan Gourmandes, or godforsaken generic Fougere ‘Sports’ for spotty grotty Man-Boys. I am destined to be only partially successful.
First up is an eagerly anticipated pre-release sample of :
Guerlain’s ‘L’Homme Ideal – Eau de Parfum’.
I had high hopes for this as like many high end houses, the Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Parfum are frequently variations on a theme, and can bring out very different aspects of the Perfume composition, adding light, shade and subtle shifts in nuance.
I was expecting this to be a big, boozy, leathery affair but it is terribly polite : a brief tart-sour citrus blast followed by a pleasant but ultra safe aura of warm spiced woods. We are talking the middle management of Chanel’s ‘Allure Homme’ here, not the lofty, arrogant airspace of say Lubin’s ‘Idole’, despite a waft of Myrrh and Almond creating some intermittent refinement here and there.
This flanker has neither the clout of it’s cocky predecessor, nor the confidence to be something more mature and sophisticated. It feels a bit jumbled, muddy and indifferent – an exercise in money for old rope perhaps ?
I so wanted to like this … at best it is agreeable and something inoffensive. It is not powerful in projection but it’s sillage is reasonable; a few hours later a mellow vanilla and a trace of amaretto is detectable up close but really is little more than a skin scent. Not what Guerlain afficionados are yearning for, but I appreciate this is not the demographic that is being targeted.
Disappointing, but perhaps I was expecting too much from what is essentially a footnote to the rather lovely original. The Ideal man is a myth, and here it would also appear to be true of the fragrance.
Moving on to another new release, I was presented with
Mugler ‘Angel Muse’.
Firstly, I disliked the name which means nothing to me and screams ‘Yawn’; the bottle looks like an intergalactic sex toy which wobbles perilously on a flat surface and is sure to smash spectacularly on the new kitchen floor.
The sales assistant assures me it’s really nice : you know – like warm and sexy. Mmm…
The big question, does it smell good on first whiff ? No, not really … well sort of if you like uber sweet, remixed, unsubtlties.
The Vetivert does not seem wildly apparent but there is a strong Tonka/Heliotropine overload for a good hour which is synthetic and murky. According to the blurb, it’s meant to be groundbreaking in the sense that it is a ‘Female Vetivert Gourmande with cream of Hazelnuts’. Perhaps the marketing team conveniently forgot Givenchy’s spectacularly brilliant but teleported elsewhere ‘Very Irresistible for Men ‘ which had Vetivert and er, Hazelnut in it ?
Up close it is brash and disconnected as if someone had superglued a bar of chocolate to an aromatherapists couch, yet in sillage it begins to smell really quite nice. A little generic but interestingly not much like the original, more a cut and paste of the long forgotten Body Shop ‘Amorito’, a watered down ‘A*Men’, with a touch of the dreaded Prada ‘Candy’. This is totally unisex if not veering towards a mainstream masculine : the juice does smell a little recycled and familiar, and the bottle looks suspect, but it lasts and is very approachable when it rests a few hours into its development.
In short, the general public will love it. Ker-Ching !
And finally to Narciso Rodriguez ‘Narciso Eau Poudree’
The third installment of the never ending Musk Odyssey that is Narciso Rodriguez. A flanker to the Edp, and Edt, this smells wildly retro which shamefully I admit I am rather fond of : dense synthetic florals underpinned by huge clouds of powdery fluff and warm musk undertones. This sits somewhere between Caron’s ‘Nocturnes’, Anais Anais and other soft focus olfactory romances of the early
1980’s but with a contemporary injection of subtle spicyness.
It’s a pinky beige and of cashmere touch, essentially an enveloping embrace of a scent : possibly a little Mumsy, but wearably classy without being aloof.
This will not set the world on fire but Narciso devotees and the odd impulse buyer will enjoy its soft cozy glow very much.
This would make a nice gift as it is safe, but looks and smells expensive.
So, the day has been cold, but my nose and soul have been uplifted by experiencing various scents and talking to some lovely if not slightly dim Sales Assistants. Out of the three new releases I sampled today, I would probably not buy any of them : which by all accounts I suspect, means they will all be hugely successful.