Friday, April 15, 2011

We got style, baby, and we know how to use it.

Perfume Challenge Week 15: Monday, 4/11/11, to Friday, 4/15/11

Post early this week because I am off to Seattle for the weekend to celebrate my friend Becca's birthday. I'm stopping off at the in-laws tonight in Olympia, then heading to the big city tomorrow morning to spend two days eating cake, watching movies, going to Pike's Place market, and generally having a good time. I hope the rain lets up, but I'm not counting on it.

Monday: Kenzo Flower - Notes: Wild Hawthorne, Bulgarian Rose, Parma Violet, Cassia, Hedione, Cyclosal, Opoponax, White Musk, Vanilla. You've heard the expression "hit with the pretty stick"? Imagine the stick is a powder puff the size of your head and coated in cake flour. Being hit with that in the face is what spraying three tiny spritzs of Kenzo Flower felt like to me this morning. Seriously.

It was the perfume equivalent of of that moment from "I Love Lucy" where Lucy is working in a candy factory and gets hit in the face with flour. FN1. This isn't to say that I disliked Flower. In fact, here I sit about an hour later, surprised by how much I like it. It's definitely a powdery rose, and though I haven't tried them next to each other, in my mind I keep thinking it's a lot like Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming (or should I say, Miss Charming is a lot like Flower, which was released in 2000, seven years before Miss Charming).

Three hours later: Flower has backed off considerably. Either that, of I've grown immune.

FIFTEEN hours later: Okay I have to mention this. I lay down for bed around 10:30. I sprayed three small sprays on Flower in around 7:30 a.m. As I fold my arms beneath my head, I get this gentle puff for flower prettiness and at first I can't remember where it came from. Then I remember -- I'm still smelling Flower! Note of warning: this one will be with you

Talking about Flower, Bois de Jasmin wrote "Flower is a beautiful example displaying that an impressive sillage and tremendous lasting power do not have to conflict with a nuanced and delicate overall impression." I love that assessment because it sums up my feelings exactly. It's a well-made, pretty scent that lasts and lasts. You just have to be comfortable with your perfume arriving five minutes before you and lingering long after you've departed. An unexpected 3.5 - 4 of 5 nods.

Tuesday: Le Prince Jardinier Labyrinthe Libertin - "Notes: bergamot, caraway, mint, artemisia, basil, orange blossom, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, violet, marigold, cedar, vetiver, iris, boxwood, amber and musk." Advertised as a "green floral," Labyrinthe Libertin is is an earthy floral that still has those clean notes you expect from jasmine, which is the dominate note for me. About a half-hour in, if you shove your nose right up against it, to really breath it in, I get the cedar/musk/vetiver lurking beneath. It makes it a surprisingly warm soapy floral in a way that diverges from the usual spin. ("Throw some dirt in there! More patchouli and moss! We need more moss!") FN2. Round the forty-five minute mark I also got some violet. It's layered with a lot of other things, though, so if you don't normally like jasmine, you might like this one if you approach it with an open mind and willing nose. A nice little scent that I see popping up a discount places around the tubes. If you like florals, I saw the 3.4 oz of this one available for $45, which is half the original retail. Try and it and buy it soon -- I don't expect it to be around much longer. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: Red Flower Champa - Notes: Champa flowers, mimosa, jasmine, osmanthus, rose geranium, ylang ylang, palmarossa, clove bud. As a perfume oil, I always find Red Flower organics light but long lasting. If I told you it reminded me of the smell of sweet skin, like that great smell babies have, would that put you off? There was a time when that description would have brought a disgusted crinkle to my nose. I barely remember that time now, like it was another woman in another world.

I think the scent is nice and different from a lot of other things I sniff, but I can't decide if I like it. I think I do? It's so light it's hard to get an impression one way or another. One minute I get a smell one would expect if you made a tea exclusively from the skin of barely ripe peaches. In another I moment I get more green and geranium, and it runs toward the dry herbs and plantlike with fruit around the edges. It's solid and pretty, just very gentle.

If you like subtle, non-aggressive scents, this might as well be holding down the other end of the spectrum from Kenzo Flower. I can attest to the long lasting power of the roll-on perfume oils, because I have the Guaiac. I haven't tried the perfume concentrate sprays, so if you have, I'd love to hear from you. 3 of 5.

Thursday: Pilar & Lucy Tiptoeing through the chambers of the moon - Tuberose, amber, other unidentified notes. The opening on me is a whirl of sugar-free grape lollipop and green tea soda. If I were to peg it to a tuberose, I'd have to say it reminded me more of Prada Infusion de Tubereuse than Robert Piguet Fracas. You know what else I get around the ten minute mark? Civet. And while others might turn away from those fertilizer like base notes, I shove my face further into my arm. If only that part lasted! After about an hour, the amber is stronger than anything else, taking up 70% of the space, with 29% remaining for the balance of tuberose and a meager 1% left for anything else. Also, I completely agree with Scentsibility about the packaging on this one. Yick. (I admit to liking the name, though.) 2 of 5 nods.

Friday: Parfumerie Generale L'eau de Circe - Notes: Damask rose, jasmine, osmanthus, orchid, ylang ylang, white peach leaves, tangerine, patchouli, wood, amber and honey balm Apples, strawberries, peaches and tangerines -- oh my! This is one super sweet fruit cocktail of an opening, sliding within minutes into a powdery presentation of the same. It's so light and sweet I keep thinking it must have been designed for little girls to wear during First Communion and while tossing flower petals at weddings. I know a lot of people love this one, but I just don't see it. It reminds me the disappointment I felt when they made that Nancy Drew movie a few years ago, and Nancy was this wide-eyed innocent, naively placing herself in danger, instead of the intelligent, bold, tough little cookie I loved in the original novels as a girl. Give it a whirl if light, sweet, and innocent floats your boat. If you're looking for Circean  seduction, look elsewhere. 2 of 5 nods.

Winner of the Week: I can't believe it -- Kenzo Flower emerges the winner.  I can tell you I did not expect that on Monday.  I think I'm going to have to pick up a small bottle next time I hit Sephora.

"You and me, we couldn't stand being normal
That's why we, make a good you and me
We both laugh, at the most random situations
That's the key, baby don't you agree?"
~ "You and Me," Plain White T's
FN1. While the whining can be grating sometimes, Lucille Ball was a physical comedy genius. Every woman who wants to be funny should watch at least ten episodes of "I Love Lucy." Tell your friends.

FN2. I love dirt/earth notes in scent. LOVE THEM. Probably the easiest way to sell me something is to "throw some dirt in there." That said, it's getting a little played out because it seems like "earthy" or "dirty" is the way to make a complex or 'alternative' model of something otherwise common, like they think they can put a bird on it (see video below) and it suddenly it becomes edgy.

Photos: mtoo, Pilar & Lucy website, and I Love Lucy. Video from IFC

1 comment:

Elisa said...

I loooove Kenzo Flower. It's very abstract to me, not an homage to any one flower. And the drydown is so great.