Marina’s Big Reveal (reposted)

After March’s wonderful post, you all know that the three of us have been torturing each other by sending out Mystery Sample Packs to blind-test and comment upon. I sent eight samples both to March and to Patty, five of them were different, three identical. Let me start with the different ones:

March’s first five Mystery Samples.

Specimen No. 1 smelled to March like unisex cologne. “Buttery, a little sweet, a little herbal, maybe a little pepper half an hour later. If the juice were in a higher concentration it might really appeal to me. This is a really pretty and tenacious skin scent. I wish it were twice as strong, though. Maybe it comes in Extreme?” March, you were spot on here. This was Calche Eau Delicate by Hermes! With notes of jasmine, rose, mandarin, cassis, white cedar, this is a lighter version of Calche. So, no, it does not come in Extreme, but it does come in Regular!

Specimen No. 2 was described by March as “a winter scent. A dark, warm incense-y thing, masculine on me, although I would definitely wear it. It smells very familiar. Smoky. March was not sure she liked it in the first five minutes, since it was “too syrup-y, but it’s settled down into something extremely pleasant.” One hour later the smoky part she liked was gone, leaving behind an inoffensive, ambery base. March, it does not surprise me at all that after an hour you needed to re-apply, what does surprise me, is that it lasted a whole one hour on your skin. After all this was Russian Leather by Demeter, and as we all know, Demeters do not last.

Specimen No. 3 in March’s opinion was “an intensely powdery classic (vintage?). Or, alternatively: it is a new, niche perfume that is breaking ground by smelling like an intensely powdery etc. etc.” Again, got to give you the props here, March. This is a new, niche-ish perfume that was supposed to smell like classic scents from the Golden 1920s. Inspired by the old black and white movies and created by Chris Sheldrake for Space NK, this was Melodrama.

Specimen No. 4 smelled to March “sorta Abinoamish, Niche, nice, renders itself alternately as herbs and tea (pleasant) and sap (less pleasant). I will say it’s extremely interesting, though. A murky, herby thing that I am never sure whether I like entirely, but which I can’t stop sniffing compulsively.” I am not sure whether it might be classified as niche, since it is sold at Sephora along with its six counterparts. This was Sloth, one of the 7 Sinful Scents by Gendarme (Notes: Bergamot, Lime, Green Lemon, Cognac, Cardamom, Magnolia Flower, Pepper, Musk). I personally thought it was quite nice too, especially compared to the other sinfully boring Sins.

Specimen No. 5 smelled of “florals, galbanum and paint thinner.” Says March, “I feel like I should cover my ass and say something about how great it is, because it smells niche to me. Am I about to expose myself as a middlebrow fraud?  Well, I am not sure what to say here. This thing is so extremely obscure here as to almost qualify as a niche scent. However, in the land where it comes from, it is pretty much mainstream and has always been very popular. The No. 5 was Mystery of the Riga Woman (Tayna Rizhanki) by a Latvian perfume and cosmetics company called Dzintars. “A harmonious alliance of rose and violet on the charming background of lily-of-the-valley, iris and magnolia flowers” and apparently paint thinner.

Patty’s first five Mystery Samples.

Specimen No. 1 was “tart, a little fruity, very nice. Not a stunning perfume, but definitely wearable. Is this Armani Code for Women?”, asked Patty. It is not, but you are not far off, since you probably would find the two in the same Department Store. This was Miracle So Magic by Lancome, “a magical [yeah, right] encounter between two flowers: wild rose and narcissus”

Specimen No. 2 made Patty choke and beg, “Kill me now!” Revisited later, she found that “age has not improved this “beauty.” “ She classified this Specimen as a Hairy Armpit of Older Brother. Though it never made me want to end my life, I must admit I do not love this scent either. Specimen No. 2 was Must de Cartier, “a dramatic Oriental fragrance” with notes of bergamot, tangerine, lemon, aldehydes, peach, rosewood, jasmine, leather, carnation, ylang-ylang, orris, orchid, musk and amber.

Specimen No. 3 made Patty wonder, “WTF? Plastic and Rubber? [Specimen] No 2 met a can of motor oil and had a love child? The single worst thing I have ever put on that was called perfume.” What can I say, Patty, I have smelled worse perfumes (yes, Nelly Rodi Cacao, I am talking about you), but I am not a fan of this scent either. This is Odeur 53 by Comme des Garcons. The notes of this, uh, unusual fragrance include oxygen, flash of metal, fire energy, washing drying in the wind, mineral carbon, sand dunes, nail polish, cellulose, pure air of the high mountains, ultimate fusion, burnt rubber, flaming rock. Enough said!

Specimen No. 4 was a “nice floral“, but there was some  “weird note there” that created “a dissonance, though not an unpleasant one.” Overall, Patty really liked this one and wondered if this was “Serge? Citronnier maybe?”. It was not Serge, but it was a “niche” brand indeed. This floral little number was Vicolo Fiori by Etro. As for the “weird note”, I get it too. To me this scent has an unpleasant aquatic undertone that I just cannot stomach.

Specimen No. 5 was à¢â‚¬Å“very niceà¢â‚¬? and had à¢â‚¬Å“a Guerlain feel to it, almost Mitsouko-ish.à¢â‚¬? [!!!] Patty liked it, even though, by her admission, à¢â‚¬Å“most Guerlains and I don’t become roommates, just distant admirers.à¢â‚¬? She thought that the drydown was even more lovelyà¢â‚¬¦So, Patty, remember March´s Specimen No. 5?à¢â‚¬¦Did you think I will let you get away without having to sniff a similarly obscure Soviet masterpiece?à¢â‚¬¦Well, this à¢â‚¬Å“Mitsouko-ishà¢â‚¬? creation wasà¢â‚¬¦a good old classic, favorite of many Soviet men (to be used externally as well as sometimes, regrettably, internally) eau de cologne Russian Forest (Russkyi Les) by Novaya Zarya.

And finally, the last three Mystery Samples.

Specimen No. 6 Says March: “Yeeeeeeeeeeccccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhh. Feet? Rubber? Rubber feet dipped in amber? You concocted it out of….. Ambre Russe and Bandit? Vodka and shoe polish? Root beer candy and Nair? Will probably turn out to be some wildly desirable thing. It doesn’t smell cheap… wretched, but not cheap. (Uh, am I going to hurt feelings? Should I be more…diplomatic?) Unisex. Pansexual, actually. Bestial, even.”

Says Patty, “Goes on pretty sweet, I hope I don’t get cavities before it calms down. Something horrible has happened to it, though, it smells like I’ve been out in the sun too long without a shower on a summer day and I’m covered in cotton candy. How did that happen? Gag! This may be the first scrubber in the bunch. May be has just gone to definite.”

You cruel girls left me in tears, my heart is broken. This “rubber feet dipped in amber”, this “scrubber” that provoked in March the same reaction she has “to the sweet, tangy smell of fresh vomit”, this monster has been one of my Holy Grails for the last ten (10) years. This, my unkind friends, is Marina de Bourbon by Marina de Bourbon. Created by a real princess no less, this lovely, pretty, wonderful perfume has notes of lemon, watermelon, marigold, cistus, black currant leaves, violet, orris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, passion fruit, raspberry, peach, praline, tonka bean, vanilla, amber “Rubber, vodka, shoe polish??? I don’t think so! (In all fairness, I have been wearing this scent since I was 19 and way less sophisticated (ahem). I aged with it, I have gone through some good and bad times with it. I am not sure I even smell it anymore. (For all I know it does smell like vomit.)

Specimen No. 7. Says March: “It’s a light, sweet, summer cologne-ish smell on me. A man could wear this, if he was secure in his masculinity. One of those guys in the Boden catalog. I love this. Can I have some more of this if I promise not to describe anything else as smelling like vomit? This would be perfect in our sultry summer weather. The olfactory equivalent of 4711, but better quality.”

Says Patty: “Citrusy, tangy, with a weird note to it on the top, like a dry grapefruit left out too long and just a little dry. Stays pretty darn tart too, but I really like it, great summer scent! I’d bathe in this in July.”

This scent, so well liked by both girls, was Aromaparfum Vitalisant (or Vitalising), a part of the discontinued Aroma Allegoria collection, by Guerlain. This is a truly lovely scent that combines the notes of citrus, tea and saffron. And yes, March, you can have some more of this as soon as I get over your vomit and rubber comments about my Holiest of Grails.

Specimen No. 8 “This is Cooool,” said March “WTF?!?! Chocolate? Are you trying to make me eat my no-gourmand-fragrance words? Honest. Smells foody to me. The richness and depth of Serge (Douce Amere, Chergui) but unless it’s one I haven’t smelled it’s not Serge. I really, really like it.”

Says Patty: “Floral-ish, white flowers definitely, very pretty, but there’s almost a White Shoulders feel to it? I can’t tell if I’d wear this or not for long. Nothing offensive about it. I’m not sure it’s love, though.”

The fragrance in question was a sibling of Specimen No. 7, Aroma Allegoria Apaisant (a.k.a. Soothing), with notes of lime blossom, lime, chamomile and freesia. March, to me too, it does have an unexpected and not unpleasant, chocolaty undertone!

The conclusions? Guerlain’s discontinued scents rule, a Demeter scent doesn’t last, and Russian Forest smells like Mitsouko. This blind testing was one of the most fun things I have ever done. Let’s do it again, girls, I will send you more of my Holy Grails to compare to feet and generally badmouth…Nah, only joking! Great sniffing, March and Patty and thank you for having me here as a guest poster!

  • Patty says:

    Jenny, I’m so sorry!!! I have a feeling it’s not that bad, but most Cartiers so far have not loved me at all, they just go very, very bad. So do D&Gs as well. Not sure what is in the base, but once I knew it was a Cartier, I think much of it is my reaction.

    Sheesh, I think I’m gonna go kick puppies instead. :d Kidding!

  • Patty says:

    Katie, 53 is the freakiest thing I have ever put on. Good golly, that’s not a perfume, and I *like* the Criminelle. I suspect this one could grow on me when I”m feeling more freakish than usual.

  • Marina says:

    Join The Club of Broken Hearts. They hated one of my favorite scents too. :((

  • Marina says:

    It was a slow, slow day in so many areas and on so many levels 🙂

    OK, Mitsouko is not scary…but it IS intimidating.

  • Jenny says:

    Auw you hurt my feelings! I do love Must de Cartier. It’s one of my favorites. A Hairy Armpit of Older Brother? No way! The funny thing is that my husband wear this perfume on the day I met him, he didn’t know it was a perfume for woman, and it was wonderful on him. We both now use this perfume it’s our favorite.

  • Marina says:

    I would not subject anyone to reading Gulag, educational and important as it is. But…”The First Circle” (I think that is how the title is translated) is superb.

    I read 5-6 books at once too. Drives my DH mad. He he.

  • March says:

    Mitsouko is not scary! Take it back, take it back!:((

    Where the heck is everyone…. in South Padre on Spring Break? Don’t they have internet service down there? Sheesh.

  • Katie says:

    No, no Solzhenitsin. I am thinking actually I am going to start reading more children’s books: just think of the sheer NUMBER of books I can claim to have read that way! 😉 I’m thinking I want to do that 50 book challenge (you have to read roughly one book per week) because usually I seem to read in spurts, where I have five or six (or more, ugh) books going at once, and then I read nothing for weeks at a time… If you’ve got one by him that you especially recommend though, I will add it to my list. You know, if I don’t go the children’s book route, heh.

  • Marina says:

    Yikes. Have you read Solzhenitsin too by any chance? 🙂
    I swear Russian Forest The Fragrance is not scary at all. Ask Patty. It smells of Mitsouko to het. Mitsouko is not scary, right?…Well, actually it is a little scary to me.

  • Katie says:

    Oh shoot. I forgot to tell you the samples arrived safely! Poo on me. Well, yes, I do think that the Russian Forest was in there, too, but the Dzintars name grabbed my attention right away – I just like the way it looks (pronunciation I can guess at, and I like the sound of the way I think it’s said, but ??) Russian Forest to me sounds scary – not too long ago I was reading the memoirs of a lady who was sent off to the slave labor villages in the east (she was a German-Russian so she got loaded onto a train like so many out of the Ukraine) and she talked a lot about having to haul trees as a child. It’s just… ever since reading that, Russian forests evoke sad tragic things for me, of young girls with no shoes having to slog into the snow and icy rivers just to survive. And… yeah, that’s way more info than anybody wanted to know, right? So anyhow, uh Dzintars… can’t wait to give it a go later! Thanks!

  • Marina says:

    Oh, so the samples made it! Yay *relief* Let me know *please* what you think about Dzintars…and did I send you Russian Forest too? It seems I’ve been busy spreading “Soviet” scents around :d

  • Katie says:

    Shoot. I am already wearing something, but now I really have to try that Dzintars sample Marina so kindly shared with me! I mean, flowers and March’s paint thinner! Heh! I gotta put it on tomorrow just to see!

    Patty – try Odeur 71 sometime for one that’s truly weird. Or actually, don’t, perhaps. It’s EVEN WEIRDER. I rather like 53, on me it’s like burnt out light bulbs and flowers in alcohol, which… I like for some reason unknown to me.

  • Marina says:

    I considered boycotting you two, but then was forced to beg for help this morning so…that didn’t work :d

    To be fair, as I said, I am so used to Marina de Bourbon by now, I don’t even know how it smells anymore, if you know what I mean.

    Of the three Aroma Allegorias (the 3rd one is Exaltant), these two are the most ebayable. That is where I got mine and they were not expensive. I am still stalking ebay for the Exaltant, that one is real hard to come upon.

  • Marina says:

    I can’t wait for you Big Rebuttal (gosh, is this the right spelling?)!

  • Patty says:

    Morning blog calisthenics.

    Marina, are you ever going to speak to us again after we both hated your HG so much? I swear, I could see how it would be a good smell on someone, and it started out pretty good for like a second, and then it just morphed like I’d been playing tennis for two hours (I’m presuming that’s what I would smell like since it’s been ages since I attempted that).

    I did like those Aqua Allegorias. I want more vitalising too! Is it eBayable?

  • March says:

    Whew, glad you fixed the comment section!#:-s

    Not gonna say a word about the post, though.