MAC Naked Honey and Africanimal : Fragrance Reviews

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

Naked Honey:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Africanimal:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

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.

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20 Comments

  • Lavanya: You make naked Honey sound wonderful- will definitely smell this. From the notes I would have thought Africaniminal to be the more interesting fragrance- disappointing that is doesn’t deliver.. June 18, 2009 at 5:44pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Linden. Oh yes! I’m just waiting for the moment when the “good” linden trees, the ones that blossom in July, cover Paris with their unbelievably glorious, complex scent. I haven’t found a fragrance that properly replicates this: the D’Orsay smells like “tisane au tilleul”, you know, the dried flowers and leaves.
    I’m also waiting for a fragrance that replicates the *shape* of the fragrance when it comes from the trees. Kind of like an atomic mushroom of perfume…
    I’ve spoken to at least two perfumers who dream of achieving this… Hope I can test out the MAC — if it comes to France… June 18, 2009 at 6:09pm Reply

  • Zazie: I love honeyed fragrances, how they blend with my own skin – I see the golden thread common to my favorite Serge Lutens, Beige and Cuir Ottoman… But it is your description of what summer smells like that makes me hold my breath: now living in a big city, I come from a very small town in norther Italy; there summer = linden blossoms, hot pavé stones, dry mud from the river Po, and long lazy afternoons…
    I suppose this makes Naked Honey a must try for me!
    Thanks for the beautiful review!!! June 19, 2009 at 3:31am Reply

  • Ines: I’m always scared of honey, but this one with all this wonderful linden association sounds wonderful. Too bad there is no MAC here but I’ll get my hands on it eventually… 🙂 June 19, 2009 at 11:18am Reply

  • Lucy: So glad it turns out these are as lovely as their names. Love those names! Love honey too, and been waiting for the right composition to really capture its subtle facets. Must try these, especially after reading your beautiful explanation of how they work on your sensibility. June 19, 2009 at 11:40am Reply

  • Jeanny: I’m at MAC all the time, so I decided to give this a try, based on your recommendation. The dry-down is pleasant, but it is not worth waiting to get there. It just smells like an ordinary, and very sweet, white floral to me. June 19, 2009 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Kathy: I have to try the Naked Honey~ I haven’t liked many honey scents though Ginestet’s Botrytis is beyond gorgeous and shows me just how glorious a honey scent can be. June 21, 2009 at 10:20pm Reply

  • Mollie: I just bought Naked Honey for my mother- she and I have vastly different tastes in perfume- but we both love it. She loves it to wear, whereas I just sort of… appreciate it. I agree with the way you described it, though! (In fact you almost make me want to use it myself, which is funny, since it’s not my thing.) I expected it to be sweeter, somehow, but on the other hand it turned out very well anyway. June 22, 2009 at 11:54pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Just purchased Naked Honey yesterday for our almost 20 year old DD. It really smells lovely, and she loves it!

    Thanks for the recommendation, V!

    Hugs! June 23, 2009 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Lavanya, going on the names and notes alone, I would have picked Africanimal first, but it was really disappointing. Naked Honey was such a delight, and so reasonably priced too! June 23, 2009 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: D, the scent of linden is among the most summery, sunny and uplifting aromas! I find it endlessly fascinating. Of course, all of its perfume renditions will fall short of the real thing, but still… For now, I can enjoy Nake Honey and La Chasse. June 23, 2009 at 1:47pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Zazie, I went to school in Italy, and the memories of those Italian summers are among the most vivid and wonderful for me. Today is a dark and dreary day, but I only need to close my eyes and imaging the warmth of the stone streets, the scent of coffee, the heady scent of gardenia … They weave the magic of those days for me. June 23, 2009 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Ines, I was pleasantly surprised, but it was quite pretty. June 23, 2009 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Lucy, honey is such a beautiful note, ranging from floral to animalic. It is great to find it being used so well in this composition. June 23, 2009 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Jeanny, sorry to hear that it did not work for you. What did you think of the other fragrance in this collection ? June 23, 2009 at 2:20pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Kathy, you’ve reminded me to revisit Ginestet’s Botrytis. I remember it being very opulent and unique. June 23, 2009 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Mollie, I also wish there was a beautiful linden fragrance, with the same effect as what carmencanada described in her comment above. L’Artisan has one nice linden candle, but it lacks opulence, being instead green, airy and fresh. June 23, 2009 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: R, I am so glad to hear it! It is a lovely fragrance all in all, I can it working beautifully on your daughter (and on you too, for that matter!)

    xoxo June 23, 2009 at 2:24pm Reply

  • Ashley: Ooh, I can’t wait to try Naked Honey, I hope there’s still some left! I was looking for a review of the D&G Anthology from you- I saw the commercial and it looks like Claudia Schiffer’s not wearing anything but the perfume.

    Have you tried any of the scents? September 3, 2009 at 1:48pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Ashley, yes, it is still available. Sorry, I removed the link, because its format is not suitable for this platform. The D&G fragrances are worth trying. Some of them are quite interesting, I liked La Lune 18 especially. September 3, 2009 at 4:36pm Reply

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