Judith Leiber Night : Fragrance Review and Poll

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JudithLeiberFlacon Solo Glamour

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

Judith Leiber’s idea of night is rather close to my olfactory nightmare. For a moment, I thought that I had made a mistake and sampled one of the new Mariah Carey Lollipops; the synthetic fruit, sharp patchouli, and strident floral notes seemed incongruous with Judith Leiber. The glittering image of Swarowski encrusted purses led me to expect something likewise sparkling and whimsical, but I feel that with Judith Leiber Night I have received a vulgar rhinestone imitation.

The fragrance immediately comes across like a pastiche of various commercial fruity-patchouli and gourmand oriental ideas, from the tart berry opening to the amber and cotton candy drydown. A jasmine note appears as a delightfully lush layer, but then it disappears all too quickly into the cloying heft of cotton candy and woody base that has become ubiquitous since the launch of Thierry Mugler Angel. It is familiar to the point of déjà vu.

Of course, commercial does not necessarily mean poor, and even the most popular and widespread ideas can be treated in new and interesting ways. Yet, in the case of Judith Leiber Night, I do not find anything that would make me pick it out of the lineup of existing woody orientals. At this rate, one might as well consider some other better made patchouli orientals like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Prada (original) or Estée Lauder Sensuous Noir. Even Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium, which I found vulgar and brash, seems rather elegant and polished in comparison. To be fair, Judith Leiber Night smells like a good submission on a low budget that went through far too many market tests.

Judith Leiber Night contains notes of bergamot, cinnamon, jasmine, lily, peony, patchouli, woods, incense and caramelized amber. Suggested retail price of 2.5 oz bottle is $175.00, 1.3 oz bottle is $115.00. Available from Neiman Marcus and other retailers.

Sample source: PR

Now that I am done ranting, I am turning the floor to you: what was the most disappointing fragrance you have sampled lately?

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28 Comments

  • ines: Oh, I have one.
    D&G Rose The One. 🙂
    It had the most promising opening and I was already happily contemplating the purchase in near futue when it turned into a monster an hour after spraying it on.
    If they could have just kept it like the opening, it would be mine. May 19, 2011 at 4:41am Reply

  • Suzanna: This is brilliantly written. That first sentence grabs one’s attention and leads to the other witty and arch observations. This also leads to a desire to stay far, far away from Night.

    As far as a disappointing fragrance goes, this presumes some anticipation on the customer’s part. There are many fragrances in which I have no interest and which I do not seek out. I did, though, collect a few samples of the new Keiko Mecheri scents. Why I did this considering my dislike for Loukhoun (and others) is baffling to me, but I did it nonetheless, reeled in by some promise of tropical white floral in Isles Lontaines. Instead, I was hit over the head with tiare madness, further bashed by toothpaste-y almond, and then suffocated with powder.

    Thus ended my curiousity. May 19, 2011 at 8:49am Reply

  • Elisa: Robert Piguet Visa — I only sampled it on paper, but it also smells like an Angel clone. I wasn’t expecting that. May 19, 2011 at 8:54am Reply

  • Safran: Most disappointing, because I had highest expectations was Annick Goutal’s Le Mimosa for me. There is a strange note in it, especially in the beginning, that strongly smells like white pepper to my nose. Very strong white pepper paired with cooked apples and pears. After 20 Minutes or so I got only the cooked apples and pears combined with an odd musk note, way to strong for that scent, imo. I usually love mimosa centered scents, like Mimosa pour Moi, Mimosaique and also Aria di Capri. Also, I loved AGs last scents, especially Matin d’Orage and the oriental ones.
    The next one will be great again, I’m sure!

    Cheers
    Safran May 19, 2011 at 9:21am Reply

  • axum: Visa smells like Angel? Oh no! As for disappointments, there have been quite a few lately, but the most upsetting is reformulated Feminite du Bois. Once my favourite of all, now I don’t even like it. May 19, 2011 at 9:28am Reply

  • Victoria: I also hated that one, very sharp and impossible to wash off (but of course!) 🙂 May 19, 2011 at 10:51am Reply

  • Victoria: Suzanna, thank you for this very nice compliment. 🙂

    I tried and failed to appreciate Keiko Mecheri fragances. Loukhoum was in particularly unpleasant on me, heavy, dense, cloying. May 19, 2011 at 10:53am Reply

  • Victoria: Same here! I was very excited, and then I also was disappointed to find an Angel in a vintage garb. May 19, 2011 at 10:53am Reply

  • Victoria: If I smell FdB on its own, it is ok, but next to the original, it is very disappointing. At this rate, one might as well go for Bois de Violette or any other Les Eaux Boisees. May 19, 2011 at 10:54am Reply

  • OperaFan: My most recent disappointment is not new – PdE’s Eau de Gloire that turned into a horrible jarring mess on me that doesn’t resemble a unisex cologne but something rough, dark, and heavy. Wish it sang for me instead…. May 19, 2011 at 10:54am Reply

  • Victoria: I found Le Mimosa pretty, but strangely wan and timid. That sweaty cumin note was such an odd pairing to peach-pear. All in all, for someone who loves mimosa, it was very disappointing. May 19, 2011 at 10:55am Reply

  • Victoria: You know, I cannot wear most of PdE’s fragrances. The musk accords in their base are very sweet and flat on my skin, smelling like some functional products. Eau de Gloire was very rough and strident on me too. May 19, 2011 at 10:57am Reply

  • Zazie: You know when a lemming builds up, based on the list of notes, inspiration, and reviews? And if you’re a Guerlain fangirl, and the lemming is all Guerlain furs and whiskers, you are very very very much tempted to buy unsniffed.
    Luckily, I didn’t: I waited impatiently for a trip to Paris and finally got to test Tonka imperiale and Bois d’Armenie last summer.
    Ewwwwwwww!
    #*!!!#* the best thing I can say… is that it was a HUGE deception. I know these get a lot of love, but I get all bitter and bite-y when I hear them named…. Ewwwwwww again! May 19, 2011 at 11:04am Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, don't I know the feeling! 🙂 While not with these particular fragrances, but I've certainly experienced it before. Iris Ganache was one such disappointment. May 19, 2011 at 11:20am Reply

  • dleep: HA! I did make the mistake of tryine one of those Mariah Carey scents. I think it was Honey. I couldn’t get home fast enough to wash it off. Guerlain Idylle was such a disappointment. I was expecting so much more from that house. May 19, 2011 at 11:53am Reply

  • dee: The new Jean Desprez! I’m doing that fragrance evaluation, and I got the Platine version, and it is a MAJOR disappointment. Like, I want to smash the bottle in my driveway disappointing. Crazy, I know, but I was not expecting D&G Light Blue form JD!!!! May 19, 2011 at 12:15pm Reply

  • minette: wow, only one star? that’s the first one-star review i think i’ve seen from you. her first one smelled just like nina ricci face cream from the early ’90s, so that was a flop for me (even though in the face cream that scent is gorgeous!)

    recent disappointments? AG’s new mimosa, which didn’t smell a thing like mimosa. in fact, it didn’t even smell like a goutal to me. strange thing. May 19, 2011 at 2:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do have a few one stars here and there (you can click on the tag “1 Star Perfume & Fragrance Reviews” to see others.) But it is boring to write about bad fragrances, that’s all. May 19, 2011 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: Wow, sounds like it was a major letdown! May 19, 2011 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do not remember which one I tried, but it was smelling like a cross between Duane Reade candle section (an entire one!) and cotton candy. Quite awful. May 19, 2011 at 2:54pm Reply

  • sara: Jeux de Peau was a colossal disappointment for me. It smells like candied popcorn and its tenacity is in direct proportion to my letdown! May 19, 2011 at 3:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, it is a tenacious fragrance, to be sure! A dry cleaning cannot get the scent out of a coat, on which I inadvertently spilled a whole sample vial. I do love the fragrance though… thankfully! May 19, 2011 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Marion: Hmmmm racking brain…am getting good at ‘predicting’ what I might like in the sampling department…but remembering Shalimar Ode de la Vanille; I was on the point of getting my daughter to pick up a bottle unsniffed when she went to Sydney, so sure I was that I’d love it, when a sample turned up with a split.
    I was very let down; I found it rather flat and chemical, with a honking false ‘dirrty’ note compared to the old well-beloved original. I hoped it might be another rendition of Spiriteuse DV, which I adore and have found to have a ghost of Shalimar floating around behind the booze and tobacco!
    I just received splits of the two new Guerlains, the Jasminora and Floral Romantique; will wear with pleasure next summer but neither will be FB’s. I spent last summer craving ans seeking out jasmine and rich florals; what a pleasure it would be if I had found the ultimate in Guerlain, but no, Serge, Montale, Killian et al win again. May 19, 2011 at 6:17pm Reply

  • Debbie: It has to be Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium. Think I was suckered by the lovely bottle and the promise of something somewhere between Opium and Nu which sadly it didn’t deliver. I’m now looking for situations where I can freely apply it to use it up, just so it doesn’t seem a complete waste of money. May 19, 2011 at 7:07pm Reply

  • vanessa: I have been puzzling over my disappointment with this one lately, which I gave two goes on skin. I think I am very sensitive to odd cumin pairings – partly with *pear*, it would seem in this case. Didn’t care for cumin and heliotrope in Lalique Le Parfum, for example. And in Le Mimosa I just knew I was getting a “weird fruit note” of some kind. CdG Daphne and Escale aux Marquises were wrong in a very similar way for me, if that helps explain it (maybe not!). Le Mimosa was wan and flat I agree – no uplifting sherbety brightness as in Mimosa pour Moi. May 19, 2011 at 7:28pm Reply

  • March: Jimmy Choo. I thought it might smell interesting, if not enormously sophisticated. Or at least pleasant. Or fun? Flirty? I don’t know, V …. something MORE. An opportunity wasted. It smelled like Mariah Carey could have made it for Dillards. May 20, 2011 at 2:00pm Reply

  • moi: With the possible exception of Coromandel, the entire Chanel Les Exclusifs line. I think I remember you saying once that these are more like accords than perfumes and I totally agree. I would also add that they have a “rushed” feel that is almost palatable, and if I were in a grumpier mood, I might even call them the Emperor’s New Clothing of perfume. May 20, 2011 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Flora: I was aghast when I smelled the new Balenciaga Paris since it has been getting a lot of positive reviews. to me it smells like nothing, literally, a wan little shadow of a scent, certainly nothing like the great Balenciagas of the past. I literally cannot find one single original thing about it. May 23, 2011 at 4:15pm Reply

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