This is a rich, riotous medley of florals and honeyed purple fruits like grape or plum. Within seconds of applying this to skin, I was reminded of vintage Poison esprit de parfum. Then I checked the reviews on Fragrantica, and I saw that I wasn't alone. Several people noticed the similarity too. When the alcohol dried on my skin, the resemblance to Poison faded a bit. Still, the association lingered in my mind long afterward. The scents aren't identical, but they are just similar enough that a person who loves Poison will probably love this too. And paradoxically, a person who thinks Poison is too loud might like Jil Sander No. 4 anyway because the latter scent is a bit more restrained. But only a bit. It's still a late '80s- or early '90s-style powerhouse, not the sort of weak and apologetic department store fragrance that is considered the norm today.
There are two things I notice about this fragrance. First, it's nearly identical to Halston Catalyst for men, a vastly underrated drugstore fragrance. I'm wearing them side by side right now, and I can barely tell them apart. 2 Man starts out a tiny bit drier and woodier, while Catalyst starts out a tiny bit sweeter and spicier, but within twenty minutes, they become indistinguishable on my skin. I think if 2 man is not within your budget, you can easily wear Halston Catalyst for men and no one but you would know the difference. The other thing I noticed about 2 Man is how brilliantly the concept was executed vis-a-vis the other 2 by Comme des Garcons, the one for women. That fragrance smells damp, silvery, and cool, while 2 Man smells dry, golden, and warm. If you want to think about feminine and masculine archetypes for a moment, feminine energy is usually compared to the moon, while masculine energy is compared to the sun. Comme des Garcons really did a great job conveying that when they came up with these scents. It's a pair of fragrances that works intellectually as well as olfactorily. And they both smell so good.
Fragrances -Oscar de la Renta - Oscar Fresh Vanilla
prettykitty1 5/4/2012 9:00:00 PM
This is essentially a boozy vanilla and rose scent but with the surprise of a cremesicle orange opening, courtesy of a very strong bergamot top note. I don't find this very similar to Trouble by Boucheron, except for a brief phase when the vanilla is most prominent. I also detect a resemblance to Trouble when I take off the cap and sniff the sprayer. But on my skin, it smells more like John Paul Gaultier Classique in the EdP formulation (not the EdT). Lasting power is impressive. Sillage is perhaps a bit too much at first, but it mellows out within minutes. This would make a nice springtime or summer scent. Best of all, because it starts out as a foody gourmand and turns into a floral, there's something in it for everyone. Oh, and I agree about these limited-edition Oscar scents being underrated gems. They come and go in a flash, barely registering on anyone's radar, but they smell pretty good and now are obtained fairly cheaply, in most cases, online at places like eBay.
Like Estee Lauder's Private Collection, Bluebell is a powerful but ethereal fragrance that uncannily evokes the smell of freshly cut leaves and stems from a garden dripping with dew. But there's a twist-- once you get past the first thirty seconds of intense greenness, a floral note begins to emerge, sweetening the overall composition while the green notes slowly step back. That floral note is immediately recognizable as hyacinth, and it takes my breath away for its utter realism. There's also a dash of cinnamon or clove-like spice in there, but barely detectable. Mostly, it's all about the hyacinth. Not since Un Lys by Serge Lutens have I encountered a floral fragrance that so perfectly captures the scent of a living flower, from the blossom to the stem to where the roots touch the earth. It's that incredible. An aside: I'm puzzled by the sheer number of people who have sampled this fragrance, hoping this would be a sexy, glamorous scent because of the reported connection to Princess Diana. But honestly, Bluebell is not what most of us would classify as a seductive or glamorous scent at all. Like other realistic, clean-smelling florals such as Un Lys and Anais Anais, it's so prim and proper that it's downright asexual. Because seriously, there's nothing sexy about the smell of a bouquet of flowers or the inside of a florist's shop. But it's certainly a beautiful smelll, and that's the whole point of this fragrance: beauty for the sake of beauty, not beauty for the sake of seduction. If we really want to discuss how this fragrance may have captured some aspect of Princess Diana's world, it's certainly not the borderline personality disorder, the eating disorder, the smoldering extramarital affairs, or other dramatic elements in her life: this fragrance seems to capture the stereotypical British notion of the stiff upper lip, the upholding of royal traditions, and the legendarily damp, fragrant air of an English garden. It's pure propriety, not prurience. And that's exactly what I like about it. In a world filled with so many "sexy" scents that try so hard to be over-the-top, this one says, "Let's not get carried away." I can see a full bottle of this in my future. It feels lush and cool, like a shaded garden bench on a clear day.
This showcases the best aspect of mimosa: the tendency to be both powdery and sparkly at the same time. Other fragrances have combined mimosa with dirty notes of patchouli or cumin to make things more interesting, but in my opinion mimosa doesn't need backup singers to hold my attention when there's already such a lovely harmony of powder and sweet, sparkly, almost aldehydic freshness. I like Annick Goutal's mimosa and L'Occitane's limited-edition mimosa scents, but this one by Henri Bendel is the truest, most elegant one of all.
Did the world really need another fragrance like this one? It isn't half-bad, but the look of the bottle and the composition of the fragrance are both so derivative. To start, the bottle is adorned with fake flowers, a trend that was made too ubiquitous by Marc Jacobs and then Justin Bieber. As for the scent, it's awfully similar to Radiance by Britney Spears--a light, tangy fruit. Not quite a dupe, but close enough that it makes one wonder whether they both need to be on the market at the same time. It also raises questions of what you *should* be getting when you pay high-end department store prices for the latest fragrance, whether it's Valentina or some other scent in that price range. There was a time when department store fragrances were often qualitatively different than the fragrances found at drugstores and mass-discount retailers, but now the composition of the fragrances at all of these places are becoming so similar that you may as well base the purchasing decision on reasons that have nothing to do with the way the fragrance actually smells. You might, for instance, choose to buy Radiance because it's so much more affordable than Valentina. Or you might buy Valentina because the bottle's fake flowers are in tasteful, neutral colors, unlike the gaudy pink and blue plastic gemstones that encrust the Radiance bottle like a grade-school mosaic project gone horribly wrong. You might even choose Valentina over Radiance because you simply want to tell the world, "I'm the kind of person who can afford to shop at Nordstrom," not "I'm the kind of person who can only afford Kohl's." So there's the irony: no matter which one you choose, and no matter what your motivation is for choosing it, in the end, you're going to smell pretty much the same: fruity, cheerful, and likable, but maybe not very distinctive or memorable. Incidentally, had I never tried on Radiance at Kohl's, I'd probably still feel the same way about Valentina--that it's a halfway decent fruity scent, but nothing out of the ordinary. Call me old-fashioned, but whether I'm paying thirty dollars or eighty dollars for a new fragrance, I want something that smells so good that it's positively addictive, not merely pleasant. And that's what Valentina is-- a pleasant scent in a pretty bottle that will make a very nice paperweight on someone's desk long after the person has moved on to other, better fragrances.
Fragrances -Pacifica - Indian Coconut Nectar - spray perfume
prettykitty1 4/13/2012 10:00:00 PM
How do you feel about Pla-Doh? Because that's what Indian Coconut Nectar smells like as soon as the alcohol evaporates from the skin. The coconut in here is barely detectable at all.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Mary Chess - White Lilac
prettykitty1 3/9/2012 11:16:00 PM
Recently, I had the good fortune of finding a brand-new bottle of Mary Chess White Lilac toilet water, still in the original box. Neither the bottle nor the box bear a five-digit ZIP code, so it must date to an earlier time. The fragrance bears an uncannily realistic resemblance to fresh lilac blossoms still on the tree. There is even a strong suggestion of dampness, cold, and earth, like the way the air smells early in the morning when the grass is covered in dew. For a toilet water, this is *extremely* strong. It wears like an EDP or parfum. Ironically, if there is only one drawback to White Lilac, it's the scent's enormous strength and linearity. Pure lilac soliflores have a way of smelling prim, funereal, or just plain soapy, depending on your personal associations of the scent. And sometimes, if you sniff it long enough and hard enough, lilac can even remind you of the sickening smell of a vinyl shower curtain, inflatable pool toy, and even pool chlorine. Mary Chess White Lilac is no exception, beautiful though it may be. Still, it's an amazing, high-quality fragrance, and the extreme intensity and linearity of the lilac is not a shortcoming at all. In fact, it's a boon, considering how hard it is to find a vintage toilet water or cologne with any sort of oomph to it. Those who don't care for an in-your-face lilac could easily layer this scent with other fragrances, but in my opinion, this one is worth experiencing alone. It isn't often that you find a vintage scent of such quality, realism, and strength. I honestly like how it smells at every stage, from the fresh, wet-smelling burst of flowers in the top notes to the strangely soapy vinyl finish. The way I see it, these lilacs have been sleeping silently in their bottle for over half a century, and now they want very badly to be heard, loud and clear. Who am I to stifle their message or disrespect it by layering another fragrance beside it? Some things are meant to be appreciated exactly as they are.
First off, I wonder which of the previous reviewers were sniffing the original version and which ones were sniffing the reformulation. As for me, the bottle I acquired appears to be an older one, if only because it looks nothing like pictures of the new ones on the Internet. I just wish I knew what decade my bottle is from, as I'm unable to find an exact match to the ones that are vintage. As for the smell of this bottle, it's definitely unique: mostly I get an impression of intense heat, as if I'm stuffed inside a fur-lined sleeping bag with my head tucked in and the zipper zipped all the way to the top, with very little room to move or braethe. It's a curious image, I know, but it's the first one that comes to mind unbidden. Here in this hot, stuffy cocoon of warmth, I smell a waft of rose, but not the living kind--the closest thing I can think of is the powerful, slightly rancid rose you get from Nahema parfum, right down to the slightly peachy, powdery note. (Here I should emphasize that the top notes of Nahema parfum are virtually identical to the smell of Chamade, and while Le Dandy reminds me of Nahema's drydown, there is no resemblance to Nahema's Chamade-like opening, just the peachy, powdery, overripe rose notes. Being the kind of person who can't wear Nahema or anything remotely resembling it, I was put off at first by the smell of Le Dandy, but the longer I let it sit on my skin, the better I liked it. It does seem to mellow after a while. But would I wear this often or buy it again? Probably not. It's too peculiar and starts out way too "big" for my tastes. Still, I'm grateful to have found this particular mini bottle and will continue to experiment with it, if only to see if I can discern the other notes that are supposed to be in here, like whiskey. P.S. Le Dandy was made for men, but to my nose it escapes stereotypical notions of fragrance marketing to different genders. It's like the strong smell you might notice when walking into a warm, stuffy room that hasn't been aired out in a while: a smell that you can't easily assign to a particular person, male or female, just a general smell that seems to occupy the airspace like a living, breathing entity all its own. It may skew toward the feminine side because of the floral notes, but just barely.
This beautiful, almost effervescent-smelling citrus has no discernible licorice to my nose, but it does smell like a hybrid between lemonade and Coca-Cola. If you love L'Aromarine Cola, you'll love Eau de Reglisse too, as they are incredibly similar. Eau de Reglisse has, in my opinion, a nicer drydown than L'Aromarine Cola because it stays truer to the freshness of the top notes, whereas Cola fizzles out.
After seeing all the wide-ranging reviews, I was so excited to get my hands on a sample vial and satisfy my curiosity about this scent. On my skin, Margaretha Ley is a subtly sweet, powdery fruit like the smell you get from a freshly torn roll of SweetTarts candy. The dominant fruit is peach. Underneath, there's a hint of warmth and spiciness. This spiciness could very well be interpreted as cumin, curry, or BO by some people--hence the poor reviews by the haters. I'm no fan of those objectionable notes either, but having smelled some cumin-y fragrances that are far more intense--Annick Goutal Songes, Amouage Jubilation 25, L'Artisan Safran Troublant, and Worth Courtesan, just to name four--I find that the smell of Margaretha Ley is quite tame in comparison. It's much softer than any of those four fragrances and (at least on my skin) unlikely to be interpreted as BO. It's more on par with Annick Goutal Le Mimosa, where the musky, cumin-y note is subtle and not as dominant. But whether I love this scent is a whole 'nother story. I think I like it well enough for a cold winter day, but in the blooming heat of summer, it could very well be a risky fragrance to attempt in a crowded room.
When freshly applied, this scent reminds me of the apple-tinged Rose d'Ete by Parfums de Rosine. Then it dries down to become nearly identical to Apple Bottoms by Nelly, a clean, fruity, shampoo-y smell. Along the way, there's a passing resemblance to Bond No. 9's Scent of Peace. It's a nice-enough scent, and the lasting power exceeds that of Scent of Peace, so it may be a better investment as far as fruity floral Bond fragrances go. But Bond makes so many fragrances that are more interesting and unique than this one that I would definitely pass up a bottle of this in favor of some other Bond.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Laura Biagiotti Venezia
prettykitty1 1/21/2012 11:06:00 PM
I had the good fortune of finding an obscenely large bottle of the original Venezia two months ago on one of my many vintage fragrance hunting expeditions. It's a lovely scent dripping with honey in the top notes but without the slightly urinaceous note often found in honey fragrances. It dries down to a creamy vanillic base that I find absolutely addictive. That base, by the way, bears a slight similarity to the drydown of vintage Samsara EDP in the clear glass bottle before Guerlain changed the ingredients. It's rich, smooth, and woody. If Venezia has just one drawback, it would be the stunning resemblance to the scent of the original Caress bodywash in the paech-colored bottle. Don't believe me? Sniff them side by side, and you, too, might think for just a moment that Caress smells like a flanker of Venezia or vice versa. The only difference is the extra blast of honey in Venezia. Once I caught the resemblance, it was hard for me to wear Venezia without feeling like I had stepped out of the shower without rinsing all the Caress bodywash off my skin. It smelled great; it just felt very... wrong. Comparing my vintage Samsara to my vintage Venezia, I prefer the former, if only because it's one step further away from Caress and just as creamy and delicious in the drydown. Still, for the full honey experience, there's nothing quite like Venezia.
This is a soapy-clean, green, glitteringly cold scent with a touch of skank in the top notes, but not enough to scare me away. I'm one of those people with a real aversion to chypres and patchoulis, but Mystere de Rochas, like Givenchy III, is incredibly smooth and wearable. So consider this high praise coming from someone like me.
Thymes Moonflower is the perfect scent for a crisp autumn day. It is practically a dupe of Lexington Avenue by Bond No. 9, but at a more affordable price point. The rollerball I have is perfect for keeping in my purse, and it has a subtle glitter mixed in for a touch of evening glamour.