Tuesday: Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Union Station - Truthfully? The opening smells exactly like a high quality version of Gap So Pink! I know because I wore it for a couple of years in high school and still keep a little bottle for nostalgia.
Two hours later: Still very Gap So Pink!. I'm gonna go home and try a side-by-side comparison and get back to you.
Later that night: Okay, so on my left arm I have Union Station, and on my right arm, So Pink! Putting them right next to each other, I can see the obvious differences but there is absolutely no denying the similarities, especially after a couple of hours. On application, So Pink is more citrusy, but in a fake cleanser smell kind of way. Union Station, on the other hands, smells like a basket of pale pink flower petals, like roses and tulips. The scents are like half-siblings. In fact, let's imagine it together, shall we?
Imagine two girls.
Union grows up in an upper middle class ranch-style house on a block in a suberb full of the same micro-McMansions. She's an A/B student on the JV cheerleading squad and always has a date to Homecoming. She will probably make the Royal Court for Winter Formal this year. She drives a light blue Cabriolet convertible her parents bought her for her sweet sixteen. She got a good score on her PSATs and already has contacts in the admissions office of the big state school of her dreams, where she never pauses to doubt she will be accepted.
Then you've got Suz. She lives in a cramped two bedroom aparment in a rundown complex with her mom and her mom's boyfriend, Bob (rhymes with "knob"). She doesn't know anything about her dad, except that her mom dated him for a while, but he broke it off when she got preggo, which gives Suz some pretty dim views of dating. Suz makes okay grades, with the occasional A, not because she isn't capable of more, but because she hates going to that damned school full of the bubbleheaded rah-rahs and their beefy boyfriends makes her teeth ache from the fake sweetness of their hallway gropings. Suz rides the bus or bums rides off her friends, and avoids dances like she getting ready for for the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott.
The girls have a few run-ins during high school -- invites to the same parties, interests in the same guy -- that are just enough to allow them to torment one another with their mere respective existence. As they grow older, look so much alike they could even be twins if you look past Union's dyed hair and nose job (broke it on a seesaw as a kid, had to have *that* fixed) and Suz's colored contacts.
Years later, purely by chance, they end up working at the same large company. Union is a corporate account exec and Suz one of the top HR people, completely unaware of one another until they run into each other in the elevator one afternoon. There they realize they not only know each other, but may have more in common than they ever realized when they were sixteen and sitting on the opposite sides of bitter enemy lines, the kind that can only exist in high school.That's what wearing Union Station is like compared to So Pink!. Like the stylish, better heeled half-sibling of my beloved high school scent in a plastic bottle. So if you like So Pink! this is a nicer version of a scent so similar after about two hours I could barely discern a difference. If you like Union Station okay but think it's a little on the pricey side, give So Pink! a try.
Just remember -- the money you spend going to make a huge difference in the quality of the opening salvo. Later...well, not quite so much. 3.5 of 5 nods.
Wednesday: Andrea Maack Sharp - Notes: orange blossom, angel skin, sweet vanilla, white musk and soothing softness. The opening is all black pepper and bitterness, probably from the orange blossom, but I'd expect to see white pepper among the notes, and I don't. In other words -- sharp! This part lasts about half an hour as it blends into the middle, which is anything but.
The middle is sweet, but not in a floral or foodie way. It is very ambery without, apparently, any amber. The sweet is a little on the dry side, as if you could make dried herbs of sugar cane. The overall experience reminds me of the way it would taste if you ate the coating off roasted spcied nuts, but without the nut part.
Except....except it has this little medicinal edge to it that keeps tugging at the edge of my brain, refusing to be ignored. It's interesting, as sweet as it is, you'd think I'd say it was floral or gourmand, but truthfully, it is sweet in the way that makes me want to meet the man who would wear it because I think, at least in a small dosage, it might be sexy as hell on a man with the confidence to wear it. FN3. Of course, this is the same phantom dude comfortable with wearing Theirry Mugler Angel, who I still have yet to encounter. FN4.
Now the big question: Do I like it? I think...yeah, I think I do. I can't quite call it an oriental, though it is definitely in that direction, because it lacks the complexity and incense-y edges I normally associate with orientals. I don't think it's overly aggressive (though, woah baby, it's got some sillage) as far as orientals go, so if you don't normally like things of that nature you might really like this. For me, it was like wearing the smell of Katy Perry's new album, Teenage Dream. Seriously. That album cover? That addictive poppy bounce? This scent has it. So look at the visual aid to the right, and you essentially have this scent. A lot of nice, but more than a smidgen of naughty, too. And you know what? I think I'm developing a crush on Katy Perry...and on Sharp. FN5. 3.5 of 5 nods.
Thursday: Keiko Mecheri Cuir Cordoba - Notes: black violet, bergamot, elemi, suede accord, patchouli, sandalwood, benzoin. Immediate impression: "Medicinal at first, but the sweetness underneath makes sniffing this feel the same as the feeling of velvet rudding against skin. I feel like a cat; I want to pur and rub myself against this one."
Okay, I wrote that before I read the Luckyscent description which says "Cuir Cordoba is like the softest, most supple suede." *AND* "Luxuriously tactile and equally gorgeous on a man or woman: Cuir Cordoba purrs utter sophistication." Seriously, how crazy is that? Soft fabric and purring? But I mean to tell you, those are the two things that come immediately with Cuir Cordoba. In fact I don't really know what else I can say: it's sweet and soft, the patchouli is very light, providing a kind of shading on a mix that smells 70% sandalwood and violet/10% benzoin/10% whatever the hell "suede accord" is. The only thing I didn't really get a lot of was the bergamot. And it doesn't smell like velvet or suede. It smells like the feel of velvet or, yes, I can see suede, against your skin. Definitely sexy, and could be worn by a man or a woman.
1 hour, 31 minutes later: Why is my lovely fabric scent turning into a copper penny dipped in blood? WHY!?! I loved it! It was one of the best scents I'd tried this year. I could have gone along rubbing my hand on my face for hours. But now? Smells like someone bleed all over my velvet gloved hand.
~ 3 hours in: The coppery blood smell has faded somewhat, but still there. It's better, but I don't so much want to spend hours with my hand glued to my face anymore. The coppery notes are less obvious from a distance of say, a foot away, but if you sprayed it on and someone went to kiss your neck or wrist, they might get an unpleasant undernote surprise. This makes me really sad to say, but I think I have to downgrade my initial impression, which was in the 4.5 to 5 range, to only a solid 3.5 to 4 nods.
Friday: Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine - Notes: blood orange, bitter orange; heart notes: jasmine, geranium; base notes: amber woods, tonka beans, sandalwood. It is hard to do a good orange scent. I don't know what it is about orange scents, but so many of them smell a little like cleaner to me. I don't think it is the perfumers' faults, it is just that citrus smells get used in cleansers a lot, so that's the first thing that spring to mind.
With that disclaimer, this is one scent that does not smell like cleaner! It is a very good orange scent. Right out of the gate, it is like a blast of realism, sweet orange fruit flesh all over you. It fades down quickly into a quieter scent, which allows a slightly sweet floral aspect come to play underneath. I think it screams summer scent, as you can practically feel the warmth coming off it in waves. It also works as a unisex scent, I think because citrus notes are found so often in genderless air fresheners and cleansers. My only complaint is how light and fleeting it is, though that makes it pretty safe for those of you in work aren't scent friendly. 3.5 of 5 nods.
Winner of the week: Andrea Maack Sharp edges out both Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine (for being too light) and Keiko Mecheri Cuir Cordoba (because of the weird coppery part I can't get over). That said, would love to any of them. Great scents all. In fact, this whole week was consistently pretty good to great, which says nice things for all these perfumers.
This week's song dedicated to the Tuesday's scent and the warring fictional perfumey teens in my head.
"She lives her life like it's a party and she's on the list.
She looks at me like I'm a trend and she's so over it.
I think her ever present frown is a little troubling.
she thinks I'm psycho 'cause I like to rhyme her name with things.
But sophistication isn't what you wear or who you know
or pushing people down to get you where you wanna go.
They didn't teach you that in prep school,
so it's up to me: no amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity..."
"Better than Revenge," Taylor Swift (You can hear a clip of the song here.) FN6.
FN1. Why was I crushing flowers between my fingers and sniffing at them? I dunno. What can I say? I was a weird kid. I also ate mint picked wild from my backyard even though my mom told me not to.
FN2. My sample was generously provided by Perfume-Smellin' Things and Luckyscent
FN3. Like Ted from How I Met Your Mother and his red boots. "Pulling them off."
FN4. I suspect this is a mostly American problem.
FN5. Seriously, did you see her on HIMYM? So cute! See the video below...
FN6. I love Taylor Swift. I love her new album, Speak Now. If you want to debate her as an artist or a positive icon for girls/women, we can do that, but I can tell you that if I had a guitar and her talent at twenty-one, I'd be writing songs just like hers. And I love her for that. I love that her music feels like a window back to young love and loss, because it feels real, even if it isn't perfect in its maturity or awareness. After all, who's perspective is especially at twenty-one?