Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Recently MAC has launched two new limited edition fragrances in the Creations Hue range: Africanimal and Naked Honey. Prepared as I was to find them perfectly pleasant and well-done as most MAC scents, I was taken aback by the beauty of Naked Honey. It took me from rainy New York to the sun dappled garden of my childhood, to the linden lined alleys of Paris, to the warmth and languor of long summer days… How did Harry Fremont of Firmenich who created Naked Honey know exactly what my idea of a perfect summer smells like? I could wax poetic, but please smell Naked Honey and tell me if this opulent linden blossom and honey fragrance does not evoke the smell of sun on warm skin, the heady lushness of green foliage and the profusion of summer blossoms.
My sentimental associations aside, Naked Honey is a wonderfully balanced composition, which does not fall into any extremes and yet manages to retain its memorable character. It opens up on a bright jasmine inflected floral bouquet, to which the green and honey notes add interesting twists. Together the florals—from orange blossom to honeysuckle–weave an idea of a perfect linden blossom, which seems almost dripping with delicate nectar, touched by a crisp stemmy verdancy and a citrusy sparkle. A green leafy note frames the floral heart, lending it a wonderful radiance and delicacy. Not terribly complex, Naked Honey is luminous, crisp and refined.
Unlike Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom, Naked Honey is not heavy on citrus in its interpretation of linden. It also manages to avoid the waxy drydown of another linden composition many niche lovers know, d’Orsay Tilleul. In fact, the strength and clarity of Naked Honey’s drydown are impressive. While Naked Honey does not possess a heady richness of a linden accented bouquet like L’Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillon, it shares L’Artisan’s natural feeling. It is a vision of real flowers rather than of their stylized essences.
As for the other fragrance in the series, Africanimal , it is, on the other hand, quite forgettable, being neither smoldering nor seductive. “An aromatic orgy” promised by the press release does not really materialize, but then again, maybe it is for the best. Overall, it is a rather polite floral oriental with a peppery note accenting the top.
Naked Honey includes notes of freesia, orange blossom, nigella, honey, honeysuckle, vanilla orchid, woods. Africanimal is comprised of bergamot, freesia, pink pepper, honey, jasmine, orange blossom, black pepper, oud, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, frankincense, vanilla. MAC Creations Hue Africanimal and Naked Honey are available at Nordstrom, Dillards, as well as the MAC website.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Naked Honey is only $25 for 20ml! It is hard to resist it for this price.