Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely : Perfume Review

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Narcisorodriguez

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Chypre category with its strong accord based on the interplay of hesperidic, floral, woody and mossy facets has gathered popularity since 1917, when Coty Chypre intriguingly explored the extremes of olfactory spectrum to create a memorable and unusual fragrance weaving bergamot, oak moss, labdanum, and patchouli . Subsequently, the affinity of the chypre accord with the voluptuous fruity and floral notes has been discovered, resulting in the orchestrations that fused various flowers, peach (Guerlain Mitsouko, Rochas Femme), plum (Guerlain Parure, Shiseido Féminité Du Bois), as well as exotic fruit (Jean Patou Colony) with the classical chypre accords. The marriage of chypre with other notes is likewise fascinating, with fragrances like Grès Cabochard and Robert Piguet Bandit being examples of the animalic leather chypres, and Dior Diorella, Clinique Aromatics Elixir and Couturier Coriandre exhibiting the beautiful interplay of chypre accords with modern synthetics such as hedione.

While the popularity of the classical chypre has waned, the chypre category is hardly ignored. Ralph Lauren Pure Turquoise, Lulu Guiness Cast a Spell, Dior Miss Dior Cherie, Chanel Chance, Coco Mademoiselle EDT are the examples of the fragrances released in the past couple of years and classified as posssessing chypre accords. The very definition of the chypre seems to be changing, with the emphasis made on the transparent and fruity notes combined with the chypre facets, and many fragrances classified as chypre these days do not even seem to be related to the classical chypre accords. Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely are two examples of the classification that would consider them as floral oriental compositions with chypre accords and they are often compared. The main similarity between them is in their luxurious musk accords touched with the ambery warmth that makes these compositions melt beautifully on the skin, and while the fragrances are by no means identical, they create a similar effect of warm, sensual softness.  Now, whether chypre classification might applicable here is a whole another story. …

Narciso Rodriguez for Her (2003) was created by Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian for the fashion designer famous for his elegant and graceful silhouettes. The chypric ambery facet of its composition is slightly reminiscent of Miss Dior Cherie, which was created by Christine Nagel, although in Narciso Rodriguez, the woody-musky ornamentation renders the effect to be more sophisticated and refined. The crisp sweetness embellished with citrus fruitiness gives way to the floral heart, dominated by orange blossom. Its sensual, yet innocent radiance serves as a perfect prelude to the woody drydown lit up by the vanilla and amber. Bathed in the voluptuous musky richness, the composition has a decadent feel of a silk dress, and even the slight sharpness that marks the EDT, perfectly conjures the sensation of rubbing raw silk against the cheek.

Lovely2

Like Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Lovely (2005) with its gossamer layers is supported by a base of luscious musks and woody amber. While Narciso Rodriguez intersperses its musky layers with the woody richness and caramelized sweetness that reveals a vanilla bean pod one moment and a handful of raw sugar crystals the next, Lovely leaves a creamy trail, soft and delicate. Laurent Le Guernec and Clement Gavarry of IFF worked closely with the actress Sarah Jessica Parker to create her first fragrance. Lovely has a spicy top accord, touched by a soft herbaceous verdancy and a muted glitter of citrus. The fruity note of apple sweetens the composition without lending a cloying touch. It is not an overly complex fragrance, and indeed it is not as rich and interesting as Narciso Rodriguez, however it is subtle and refined, like a comfortable silk slip. Wearing it is an effortless endeavor, yet unlike some skin scents, Lovely does not have a predictable persona. It hums softly, yet the melody is soothing. While Narciso Rodriguez is more assertive about its sensuality, Lovely hints at it gently. Lacking the immediate impact of Narciso Rodriguez, it may be less unusual, but at the same time an easier fragrance to wear.

Narciso Rodriguez EDT includes honey flower, solar musk, orange blossom, osmanthus, amberlyn, vanilla, tactile musk, tactile woods, vetiver. The EDP also features rose and peach, being more floral, with the accent on pink roses, than the original EDT, although it is admittedly less interesting. The EDP notes include pink chypre, pink floral, voluptuous woods, soft amber, sheer chypre, flower honey, tactile woods, amber light. Lovely features notes of mandarin, bergamot, rosewood, lavender, apple martini, patchouli, paper whites, orchid, cedar, white amber, musk and woods.

Narciso Rodriguez line might cause some confusion, therefore perhaps some clarifications are in order. There are three concentrations of Narciso Rodriguez for Her: the EDT packaged in black bottle, the EDP packaged in pink and the parfum in a rectangular clear vial with a dropper. There also exist versions called Musk for Her and Musk Oil, which are blends of musks, lacking the floral notes of the original.

Both Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Lovely are available from Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, as well as a number of other retailers and online discounters.

Please see other reviews of musk dominated perfumes.

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41 Comments

  • Mercedes Rey: Hello everybody, I have been away for a few days, didn´t have Internet, and I have missed you! I use Narciso Rodriguez, both the EDT and the EDP (which I´m wearing today). I adore them, for me they are very very sensual yet refined. When I smelled the EDT for the first time, I thought: “Glup, it´s something like glue”, but I bought it after a year or so,…and now I´m in love with it. Wonderful bath line, also, but I only have samples. January 11, 2006 at 4:44am Reply

  • julien: I am not fond of musky scents.
    I was really disappointed by smelling both perfumes:Narciso and Lovely.
    I mean,they have great success in France(well,at least narciso is really a success)and women seem to be crazy about it,telling musk is so sexy…
    I am sorry,but i don’t think so.

    The only musks wich i find sensual are MUSC RAVAGEUR (cinnamon at first disturbs me,then,after an hour,musc ravageur is absolutely wonderful of sensuality,almost sexual to me)and serge Lutens MKK in a much more animalistic way.

    By the way,i would love to know how real musk smells.
    Synthetic ones are usually said to be “white musks”,recalling the smell of something clean and a little powdery while real musk is supposed to be strong,animalistic and so attractive.

    And what about you,my dear?
    What is your favorite musky scent?

    Kisses,j. January 11, 2006 at 6:34am Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, I only know NR though I´m not sure which one – I think the tester was packaged in a black bottle, but I also saw “Msuc for her” very often & always wondered what the difference was. So thank you very much for the clarification!
    I should test Lovely soon, it was just launched here about a month ago.
    NR strikes me as a very feminine, warm scent, I like it somehow, but I´m not sure if I like to wear it. I connect the smell with an older woman (I don´t mean that in a negative way!) than I am/or feel 😉
    But it surely differs from other musk scents which I often find too clean smelling.
    The only musk fragrances I like are LV Musk & perhaps also SL Muscs Koublai Khan – though I only know the wax sample, but that smells really good 🙂
    How do you feel about both scents? Which one do you prefer? January 11, 2006 at 7:25am Reply

  • Marina: V, I also find Lovely easier to wear. I like it more than NR for very irrational reason that in a strange way it reminds me of my mum. I don’t know why, it might smell like some shampoo or conditioner she used to use…Anyway, for that reason I find Lovely a comforting scent 🙂 January 11, 2006 at 10:11am Reply

  • Robin: V, you will probably know what ingredient is in the NR that causes an immediate allergic reaction of some kind: my throat & nose seize up very quickly, leaving me unable to smell anything at all for hours. I do not have the same problem with Lovely. January 11, 2006 at 10:49am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Bonjour Victoria,
    I loved your eloquent review of Narcisco Rodriguez !
    In fact, I have the EDT and to supplement amall perfume oil. I also received a large sample body cream as well. Upon first ” smell” or experiencing NR – I was strolling through the Saks 5th Avenue in Southhamton on a gorgeous sunny day. I was wearing Joy. Wow ! At fitst whiff =I sprayed the perfume oil – I was mesmerized by its aromatherapy -like effect on me. I loved the juxtaposition of a fruity floral superimposed on a soft amber- vanilla richness. It was exquisite. To me it screams of “Summer Love “. I find the eau de toilette juice more appealing to me over the Eau de Parfum. The problem being the EDT loses some OOmoh – it is simply not lasting enough and its aura is enhanced by a laying effect of nearly any body product. I love the perfume oil. I would heartily recommend it for warm weather use. Love to you Victoria and reader friends allover.
    Madelyn E January 11, 2006 at 10:57am Reply

  • Cait: Hello,
    I liked your information on the transformation of the chypre. It seems like a lot of these contemp. scents are so far afield from what was chypre, it’s hard to think of them that way. Especially when these scents focus on musk. Do you know about the process for official classification? I am sure that as with food and all of the commercial arts, France has a classification process. Or did Michael Edwards corner the market on that? It would be interesting to know about. These scents sound pleasant. Thanks for your review.
    Cait January 11, 2006 at 12:39pm Reply

  • Sisonne: V, I tested Lovely today, but I think I prefer NR because it´s more rounded.
    The Lovely bottle is gorgeous 🙂 Simple, but very pretty! January 11, 2006 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Christine: Lovely reviews (forgive the pun)! I can’t wear NR, it gives me a raging headache. I bought a bottle of Lovely, cause I looooooove SJP! 😀 January 11, 2006 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Ayala: Victoria,
    Thanks a lot for the detailed reviews of both Lovely and Narcisso Rodriguez. I have been just thinking about these two this morning, and was planning to try them again… Perfect timing!
    There is something very alluring about musk, as it is simple and complex at once, clean and at the same time clean.
    I disagree, however, with any classification of those scents as chypre, as well as Pure Turqoise. These are florals or forientals, it’s a total distortion to call them chypre in my opinion as there is none of the oakmoss-bergamot distinct effect that turns a perfume into chypre. I strongly feel that they are classified as such because of pure marketing purposes – as people that are attracted to chypres are likely to be attracted to musky skin scents as well. And that is where the similarities end in my humble opinion. January 11, 2006 at 1:37pm Reply

  • marchlion: What Ayala said. I guess I’m an animalic-chypre type, although Diorella really rocks my boat as well. I found Pure Turquoise to pretty much exemplify everything I hate in a modern perfume. SJP is a lovely scent, but not something I would wear, and I think Coco Mademoiselle went in exactly the wrong direction — why won’t they humor me and release Coco Prostituee, with twice the naughty bits? January 11, 2006 at 1:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, nice to see you again! I have never tried the bath products, but I would like to, because I hear good reviews. The EDT is my preferred version, since it is muskier and more sensual than the EDP. January 11, 2006 at 2:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, I suppose that you prefer the balmier, more chocolatey richness of musk in Musc Ravageur. Someone who tried the real musk tincture said that Musc Ravageur did a great job in capturing it.

    Synthetic musks vary a bit, from metallic freshness to fruity sweetness to balmy warmth. It is difficult to speak generally about them.

    My favourite musks are FM Musc Ravageur, Armani Emporio White for Her (white musk) and SL Bois et Musc. I also very much enjoy musk in both NR and Lovely. January 11, 2006 at 2:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, it sounds like you tried the EDT. I have been confused too over the difference, because the bottles look so similar. Glad that my clarification helps.

    I like the addition of amber and vanilla to NR and Lovely. The added warmth dispels some of the cleanliness, or the feeling thereof. SL Muscs Koublai Khan is very interesting and very sensual, but besides musk, it has a heavy dose of civet, which has a characteristic fecal smell. In the EDP, it is more pronounced than in the wax sample. January 11, 2006 at 2:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, yes, Lovely is much softer and gentler. Like you, I find it reminiscent of something very comforting. Perhaps, it is indeed a smell of some Russian shampoo? January 11, 2006 at 2:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, my first guess would that it is the woody amber used in it, because I was told once that it might strike people as sharp and some are more sensitive to it than others. It has a very immediate effect. In the past, whenever I would smell NR, I would feel it in my throat a little as well, however it has not been happening after the first couple of times. January 11, 2006 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Ayala: The Narcisso Rodriguez line is indeed very confusing. The EDT smells harsh at first, but than softens into a clean musk. I can smell hints of orange blossom. One needs to be suprecareful and resist the urge to reapply as to not end up with a headache. The EDP is way too sweet and floral in my opinion – which is kind of dissapointing, but it’s also quite nice. It’s peachy and rosy indeed. The musk oil (I tried the one in the big balck square bottle) is a very subtle musk with nothing else. Not much different than musks that I have tried in headshop stores I dare say, but smells less cheap – more subtle. Still, I it makes me wonder why it is so extremley expensive though. And it has a strange consistency of a personal lubricant, if you will excuse me for the vulgarity, which kind of makes me steer away from wanting to apply it. January 11, 2006 at 2:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, thank you! I am glad to hear that you are enjoying this fragrance. I have never worn the perfume oil together with it, but I tried once and found it very pleasant and soft. I know what you mean about the EDT softening significantly, more so than could be expected. I do not mind it, however I can see that if you wanted the fragrance to preserve the initial sparkly effect, it may not be a good thing. January 11, 2006 at 2:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, I find the changes in what is classified as chypre both fascinating and confusing. If I did not see the classification beforehand, I would just call NR and Lovely as florietals, woody florals, something along these lines. Michael Edwards’s became the prime person in classifying, and he works with a team of perfumers and advisors in trying to get these classifications correctly. However, many fragrance companies have their own tools in classifying as well. January 11, 2006 at 2:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, I find Lovely more subtle and softer, with NR having more of a presence. I like both quite a bit, and I would have difficulty choosing. Well, I find Lovely to be easier to wear, and since the skin scents are the kind of fragrances I would need to be in a mellow mood for, I would probably choose Lovely January 11, 2006 at 2:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christine, thank you. 🙂 Enjoy your fragrance. I think that the bottle is very nice to hold and the shade fits with the image of the fragrance. January 11, 2006 at 2:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ayala, I am glad that you enjoyed the reviews. Moreover, I am very glad that you brought up the question of classification, because I was hoping for a little bit of a discussion on this issue. Many classifications I have encountered classify these fragrances as having chypre accords. Michael Edwards classifies Narciso Rodriguez and Pure Turquoise in Mossy Woods category that contains Ma Griffe (to give a point of reference). I know that he works with a team of perfumers before making a decision. Yet, personally I would never had called any of these fragrances chypres if I did not see the classification beforehand, but comparing them side by side, I begin to see the similarity of their base accords and why they might be classified together. Indeed, it does speak of some change in what chypre means, and I would be curious to explore it further. Furthermore, since oakmoss is now considered to be an allergen, it is likely that we shall not see too much of it in compositions, although synthetic oakmoss is explored more, even if its olfactory profile is different from the natural oakmoss.

    The only thing I am not sure is what marketing purpose there might be in classifying these fragrances as chypres (other than Miss Dior Cherie, which is a descendant of Miss Dior, a quintessential chypre). The group has been out of fashion for a long time and I wonder if the majority of consumers (especially those Lovely is targetting) might be attracted to the classical chypre. January 11, 2006 at 2:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, a friend of mine once described Coco Mademoiselle as a beautiful, but obnoxious and loud person at the party. At first, you think that she is attractive and then you begin to be tired of her. I have to agree. Like you, I love animalic chypres, but I noticed that hedione-patchouli combination also appeals to me very much. I love that radiant jasmine juxtaposed with the dusky chypre accord. January 11, 2006 at 2:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ayala, great descriptions. Some musks can be very expensive and amberlyn in NR is a very expensive ingredient as well. Perhaps, the concentration in Musk Oil is much higher, hence the price increase. I have to admit that the texture did not appeal to me at all for the same reason you mentioned. In general, I do not like oil based perfumes. January 11, 2006 at 2:44pm Reply

  • michelle: I read somewhere that the defining notes for a chypre are: bergamot, oakmoss, musk and amber. The rest being optional. I’ve been using that as my reference point – but am curious to hear if there are other definitions. Chypres are among my favorites. January 11, 2006 at 8:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michelle, labdanum often is used in amber accords, and since it was a part of the original Coty Chypre, many sources would list it as an important ingredient for a classic chypre accord. Of course, there are many chypres without labdanum, but with other types of notes that give a warm feeling that characterizes chypre accords. Chypre should contain floral, woody and mossy notes (there seems to be a consensus here), and bergamot and oakmoss are important, as the citrus-mossy interplay is what makes a classical chypre accord. January 11, 2006 at 9:27pm Reply

  • Karin: I love what you said about Coco Mad. I cannot wear that at all. Too brass/brash and it doesn’t settle down. January 11, 2006 at 10:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Karin, it is in the category of fragrances I personally cannot wear–too sharp and never seeming to settle. I am told that the parfum is softer, but I have not tried it yet. January 11, 2006 at 11:15pm Reply

  • linda: Coco Mlle is the number one headache inducing perfume for me. My sis used to wear it and I had to beg her to stop. January 12, 2006 at 10:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I used to wear it at one point, but I got tired of it quickly. January 12, 2006 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Deloris: I fell in love with Pure Turquoise by Ralph Lauren. It is brand new but if you have a chance to sample it before it really hits the market you should try it. You will have people asking “what are you wearing” all the time! January 12, 2006 at 4:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Deloris, good to hear that you are enjoying it. I have a friend who wears it, and it smells very nice on her. January 12, 2006 at 4:44pm Reply

  • Donna: I was trying Pure Turquoise the other day and the sales lady who was helping me mentioned that it was a chypre. She agreed that it doesn’t smell like chypre. I am glad that you wrote about this. Why are these fragrances classified this way? January 12, 2006 at 5:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Donna, the reason why these are classified as chypre is not clear to me, and somehow I do not think that it is pure marketing. Another related issue could be that they merely have a chypre accord (which does not make them chypre per se). At any rate, I find this curious and puzzling as well, hence my interest in raising the topic in the first place to see what opinions others have on this. Ayala makes some good points above. January 12, 2006 at 5:57pm Reply

  • Tania: It makes you think they’ve classified these things chypres because the oriental category was getting so crowded that they wanted to move some out. January 13, 2006 at 3:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Seriously! Seems like the most logical explanation. 🙂 I have to agree with Ayala above that it is indeed confusing that they are classified as such. They are miles away from the typical chypre. January 13, 2006 at 4:23pm Reply

  • malini: I was recommended Lovely at Nordstrom’s when I was looking for a chypre fragrance. I wish they would make up a new category for these fragrances instead of trying to fit them clumsily into the existing families. Hrmph! January 14, 2006 at 11:38am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Malini, I think that the new “chypres” are anything but that. I can hardly smell oakmoss in any of these fragrances. January 15, 2006 at 2:09pm Reply

  • Leoness: I doubt any of you will get a chance to read this (afterall, the review was over a year ago), but I have to say that Coco Mademoiselle is not as bad as everyone has made it out to be. I particularly don’t understand the prostitute comment. I have the EDP and rather like it– on me it’s fresh and floral. I wouldn’t dare wear this scent to work or the university, but find it a classy scent to wear to symphony concerts and on special evenings out. My personal favorite at the moment is Cartier’s Delices, but I also enjoy Valentino’s Rock n Rose and CK’s Euphoria. I’ve sampled both Narciso Rodriquez for Her and Lovely, and I like them both, although I prefer the NR EDT over the EDP (and over the Lovely for that matter). I know you all try your best, but please do try a little harder to keep an open mind. March 12, 2007 at 11:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Leoness, fragrance impressions are very subjective, and often one fragrance that smells awful on one person will smell glorious on another. I discovered this often with Coco Mlle. It is a fine fragrance, and I wore it for about a year when it was first released. I still have a bottle, with which I will not part. Enjoy yours too! March 13, 2007 at 11:49am Reply

  • ida: I must say that all the 15 year old slutty girls with fake hair, fake nails and too tight jeans wear Coco Mlle and Chance. Cannot stand those perfumes any longer. Mlle is quite beautiful, fresh and flowery on me but I just can’t.

    I think NR is sooo easy to wear! I had the edp, and it smells like sweet warm skin and hair to me. I used to spray it in my hair, and my boyfriend loved it when we were riding our bikes to uni and he got a whiff… I could just put it on and feel great instantly. I ran out at some point and I need to repurchase. February 25, 2012 at 1:40pm Reply

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