fruity patchouli: 9 posts

Thierry Mugler Angel Muse : Perfume Review

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Elisa on the Angel tribe and Angel Muse.

To my mind, the original Thierry Mugler Angel is pretty much unimproveable. Nevertheless, I enjoy almost all of its many flankers and spin-offs too. It’s like one of those great songs whose greatness is preserved in multiple cover versions. (“Wild Horses” and “Landslide” spring to mind.)

The latest version of Angel, Angel Muse, was billed in the ad campaign as “the new fragrance you will hate to love.” I’m pleased that the folks at Mugler have embraced Angel’s inherent divisiveness and want to nurture, rather than overwrite, that reputation. After all, is there any perfume from the past 30 years that inspires such strong love-it-or-hate-it reactions? I do, in a sense, hate to love it, since it’s so unpopular and so recognizable I wouldn’t really feel comfortable wearing it, say, to work or on an airplane, and I wear it most often at home.

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Chanel Chance, Eau Fraiche and Eau Tendre : Fragrance Reviews

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Perfumer Jacques Polge has authored or co-authored so many of my favorite Chanel fragrances (Beige, Coromandel, Cristalle Eau de Parfum, Coco) that it always pains me to admit that he has also authored my least-favorite Chanel scent, Chance.  Chance always smells to me as if a brand of lesser and striving quality decided to make something “à la Chanel” in style and came up with Chance.

I understand where marketing was going with this scent—that extremely lucrative twenty-something market must be addressed and not with No. 5.  In its fruit, vanilla, and patchouli trope Chance has the ingredients to appeal to this younger market and from that marketing standpoint Chance was a smart idea indeed; the scent does sell and sell well. I smell it on young girls in the mall, their hair swinging and their limbs tanned, and it doesn’t smell any better to me on them than it does on me.

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Christian Dior Miss Dior (Cherie) : Perfume Review

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I was a late convert to Miss Dior Chérie (2005), the Coco Mademoiselle sibling-scent that expanded a green patchouli note with sticky carnival accords like strawberries and caramel popcorn.  Miss Dior Chérie is aimed at the young; I was converted to it by a nineteen-year-old girl who owned her own makeup store.  She considered it the height of elegance and at first I scoffed, and then I tried.  It was too much fun to pass up, with its neon fun-fair atmosphere bopping around underneath the nose in a major chord of teenage pleasure.  Why didn’t they have stuff like this around when I was fourteen?

With the mechanisms of the perfume industry being what they are, Miss Dior Chérie was recently reformulated and renamed  Miss Dior (the “real” Miss Dior is now called Miss Dior Originale).  Sometimes the reformulations means that a “bad” ingredient was removed and replaced by a “good” (and often inferior) one, and other times it means that something that is no longer available is replaced with something that is.  The truth is, perfumes are reformulated all the time for a variety of reasons, and the differences can be subtle or striking.

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Nicole Richie Nicole : Perfume Review

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It should come as no surprise that Nicole, the debut fragrance from reality-star fashion icon Nicole Richie is—gasp!—a “fruitchouli.”  The Nicole perfume, which debuted in September in 2000 doors nationwide, features notes “ juicy blackberries and oranges from Seville, which are followed by golden amber, Moroccan rose, lily of the valley and papyrus, layered over the base of cashmere, sandalwood, sugared patchouli and vanilla absolute.” The nose behind the fragrance is Steve DeMercado, who also authored Paris Hilton’s eponymous scent as well as mall blockbusters like Marc Jacobs for Women.

According to Ms. Richie, the scent is meant to evoke her mother, who layered oil and perfume over lotion and created more than just a “one-dimensional smell.” The smell that one gets, however, leads one to contemplate how involved any particular celebrity is with the creation of their namesake fragrances.  While Sarah Jessica Parker was intimately involved with the creation of Lovely, or at least tried to steer it into darker territories, one wonders about Nicole or whether Nicole was herself steered by market trends.

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Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto : Fragrance Review

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Take Thierry Mugler Angel and dilute it with sheer, lemony jasmine till all you have left are the pastel colored outlines of the original gourmand patchouli. Shake it up, label Yves Saint Laurent, and you have Manifesto! I complained that Lancôme La Vie Est Belle is unexciting, but next to Manifesto it’s downright avant-garde.

My qualm with Manifesto is not that it’s a bad perfume, but that it doesn’t have much character. Smell it once, smell it ten times, I guarantee that you won’t remember it. Of course, not every single fragrance needs to make a statement–mild, unobtrusive blends do have their place, but Manifesto could be inside any bottle: the latest celebrity launch, Escada, Calvin Klein, Coty, Avon or even Bath and Body Works. It’s not entirely clear what makes this perfume Yves Saint Laurent. It doesn’t have the bravura of Opium nor the voluptuous beauty of Paris. It lacks the sensuality of Cinéma or the moodiness of Nu. It smells trendy, like a scent you’ve noticed  many times before at the mall or inside a crowded subway car–a cotton candy laced patchouli, with a soft blur of flowers.

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Latest Comments

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Oh my! I’ve wondered about this one for ages. I will get my hands on a small vial 🙂 August 17, 2017 at 5:55pm

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Thank you! I tried Ormonde Woman many years ago, when I was new to niche. I will be sure to try it again. And thanks for the Coty rec–Ma Griffe… August 17, 2017 at 5:52pm

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Thank you so much! I actually just received a mini of vintage Niki Saint Phalle parfum this week and it is heavenly! I’ve been wondering about Zelda…I will be sure… August 17, 2017 at 5:50pm

  • rosarita in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Still relatively easy to find at discouters/eBay is Niki de St Phalle, a classic softer chypre. Estee Lauder Private Collection or Aliage also. For a more modern yet vintage feel,… August 17, 2017 at 4:23pm

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