Andy discovers a fun “cheap & chic” oriental. And just because it’s made by a celebrity, it doesn’t mean that it’s boring.
“Proceed with Caution” is my go-to rule when it comes to celebrity fragrances. In the fearsome land of celebuscents, bushels of candy-coated fruit fall from trees, rivers flow with vanilla syrup, and billowing clouds of white musk fill the sky, so as far as my tastes are concerned, a visit to that part of the fragrance counter is to be met with extreme trepidation. Imagine my surprise upon testing a celebrity flanker, Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights, which eschews all the flirty fun in favor of a bolder, more sophisticated composition of patchouli and smooth woods.
First off, it’s best to forget the name, because the nicest thing about wearing Fancy Nights is that it never feels like I’m dressed up for a special night out. Rather, I find it a more appropriate accompaniment to a casual, cozy night in. In essence, Fancy Nights is a shoestring budget oriental, though the overall effect smells remarkably well crafted and ultimately quite unique next to almost any mainstream celebrity release I can think of in the past few years.
The top notes of Fancy Nights bring bergamot accented by a short-lived touch of dried fruit. Most interesting to the top and heart of Fancy Nights though is an undercurrent of woodsy dryness that is conspicuous but transparent, making me think of paper. My mention of paper could be a result of my imagination, but there is something about the fragrance, perhaps in the dry, vanilla scented woods that does make me think of flipping through the yellowed pages of an old book. The effect is at its best in the heart, where clean patchouli and smooth woods take on a light glaze of amber. The fragrance, luminous and enveloping, remains at this point for many hours before descending into a cozy base of toasted vanilla and sandalwood.
As a celebrity fragrance especially, smelling Fancy Nights feels like a refreshingly bold departure, with its forward woodsy oriental theme. Bold as well is the sillage, as this fragrance projects generously for me, and has wonderful tenacity. After an evening spent with Fancy Nights, I love smelling a hint of creamy vanilla lingering on my wrists the next morning, and as I’ve found in cold weather, it makes a great scent when added to a scarf before heading out.
Admittedly, as far as oriental fragrances are concerned, Fancy Nights breaks no ground, though its low price point (around $10 at US discounters) is hard to beat. It may not be highly nuanced or even smell like it contains any expensive natural ingredients, but it is generally very pleasant and easygoing. It has the worn-in ease of a classic oriental while still smelling like a modern-day creation, making it both comfortable and undemanding, a perfect compromise of new and old.