Beauty and the Beast

Today´s post is dedicated to two fragrances I can´t believe don´t get more play among fragrance lovers, at least that I´ve noticed. I´m posting them together because the contrast amuses me – one is so beautiful, and the other one´s so ugly.

First, thanks to Robin at Now Smell This, I finally tried Fendi Theorema. Have you smelled this? What rock have I been living under? I´ve never even seen it, and I´m almost afraid to review it for fear of hexing the whole thing and causing the discounters to stop carrying it. Notes (courtesy of Imagination Perfumery) are: California Tangelo, Thai Shamouti (sweet orange), Jasmine, Osmanthus, Spices, Cinnamon, Pink pepper, Cream, Amber, Macassar, Mysore, Sandalwood, Gaiac wood, Musk. The only review I spotted on the fragrance blogs was Robin´s (forgive me if I missed one.) Anyway, she describes it perfectly: “The top notes are mostly orange with strong spice notes … It settles into a soft, lightly spicy scent with woody base notes. The sweet cream gives it a milky, almost vanillic feel … however it is by no means overly sweet…”

Theorema opens on a note of juicy orange, transforming fairly quickly into a scent that makes me think of a milky, spiced orange chai tea. It has a rich, woody drydown that´s a cross between Mandarine Mandarin and Chaos, if you can imagine. But it´s more straightforward than either of those two – there´s something wonderfully transparent about it, like looking through the amber-colored glass above. Robin describes it further as a “winter comfort scent.” I´ll quibble with that only to the degree that it is comforting, but it´s also gorgeous — a perfectly-cut dress of a scent, not a cashmere sweater. When I take the cap off, I keep expecting light to come streaming out of it. Rumor is it´s discontinued, but Imagination Perfumery has the EDP for $37.99! (you want the EDP) UPDATE WEDS. AM — YOU’VE BEEN BUSY, IT’S SOLD OUT ON IP, but there´s always eBay…

Moving on to the Beast: when we lived in the Southwest, the ranchers there had the wonderful expression “all hat, no cattle,” used to describe someone who was either a faux-rancher or otherwise pretentious. That expression springs to mind when I think of Eau du Prince Jardinier, created by Isabelle Doyen, which is so unloved that Luckyscent can´t even get rid of their inventory at $25 a bottle. Notes are: Clary Sage, Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Tarragon, Angelica, Olibanum, Balsam Fir. The key to this scent is that it´s “all cattle, no hat” – the opening is so tame it makes you think of some tasteful citrus-bergamot Eau de Snooze man-juice. (The other problem with this scent is it´s much better sprayed than dabbed.) It´s the antithesis of the way popular fragrances are designed to appeal – there´s no hook there to grab you in the first 30 seconds. But the drydown! Within fifteen minutes its weirdness begins to emerge, like a gremlin from a velvet sack, one small, oddly-shaped part at a time. There´s the clary-sage and tarragon herb garden; the fragrance is so sap-green at this point it´s almost over my line – and, speaking of which, what is that other impolite smell crawling out? Muskrat? (Or maybe a civet dashed through the garden last night). If you´ve been reading this blog much, you know right there I am charmed, and I am sure the angelica is adding its own heady funk in there, along with the pronounced incense note of olibanum. Finally, there´s some leather that I think is an illusion – it´s referenced in the Luckyscent commentary but not listed in the notes. But it´s definitely there, like my old cowhide gardening gloves, steeped in five years of peat and sweat. Compelled to use one word to describe this fragrance, I´d say “impolite” – it smells both herbal and feral on me. Stylistically it is probably the antithesis of Theorema, and that´s okay. They´ll look mighty nice next to each other on the shelf.

Finally, today´s giveaway: You Must Be Joking. I´m going to do three sample sets of viles — er, vials of lovely Theorema plus a special bonus of sh!t NOBODY will buy – but, hey, that´s why it´s free! Yep, you´ll also be receiving Jardinier AND two of my beloved horrors from Diptyque – L´Eau Trois (incense? or hell?) and Elide (lavender/citrus? or hell?) If you´re interested in the giveaway, leave a note saying so in the comments. I’ll announce the winners next week.

Amber Light image – pbase.com

48 Comments

  1. How foolish can I be? I have been persuading myself that I’m all set in the “winter-comfort-spicy-orange-cinnamon-spice-section of fragrances:-? Time to start searching for a bottle of Theorema. How could one resist after such a lovely review? L’Eau Trois sounds interesting too. So little time, so many fragrances to try…

    I’d love to be included in the drawing for the samples, thanks

  2. Yum! Orange and chai sounds marvelous. Please include me in the drawing too.

    Scentzilla is also a big fan of Theorema.

  3. Hey, March! Theorema is a marvel. I had read last year on one of the blogs that it will be available only in the Italian market when the supply elsewhere runs out. I get tea from Theorema and orange pencil shavings. Love it! Great post, BTW, and lovely image.

  4. Theorema used to be hugely popular on MUA. I’m guessing it just doesn’t get mentioned any longer due to the constant search for the new (shuffles feet, looks down, raises hand…guilty as charged).
    *Love* that expression, “All hat, no cattle” – have never heard it. Think I’ll start to overuse it. 🙂 Oh, and I actually forked over for Eau du Prince Jardinier when it was full price. The dry down slays me.
    Great photo!

  5. Eau de Prince Jardinier sounds like something I’d like – please include me in the drawing. As for Theorema…. nice enough, but it’s the extrait that’s the jewel in the crown. I swear, it makes you gasp with wonder!

  6. Ok…I’m always up for smelling stuff that’s amazing as well as horrifying…so please sign me up! Any ‘fume that gets one to use the phrase “beloved horrors” is well worth a sniff!

  7. You know me – always up for weird. I’d also like to know where on the feminine / masculine scale you’d put Theorema (yes, I know no such scale exists and I should just wear what I like but HELLO! I ain’t slipping into Fracas or L’Air du Temps any time soon).

    And that photo had me gasping. gorgeous.

  8. Theorema is just the best. The more I wear it, the more enchanted I am with it. i’m thinking it would layer really nicely with Poivre or, well, just about anything!

    But the gardener gloves thing sounds pretty charming too, I think I need to smell that as well.

    BTW, Imagination Perfumery is out of the the Fendi. The only place I’ve found it is eBay.

  9. 😡

    Followed the link from NST and glad I did! Great site! Would love to be included in the drawing!

  10. I was laughing so hard at your description of Eau de Jardinier. I’d love to try it. I want the gremlin in a velvet sack.

  11. I adore Theorema. I have it in edp and extrait (rare find on eBay). Theorema is inviting and spicy without heaviness. Your picture is perfect.

    (No need to enter me in the drawing.)

  12. Okay, you convinced me, March. Please sign me up for the drawing, too.

    Hugs!

  13. Wow the Theorema sounds just lovely. Citrus, spice, cream….

    Please enter me in the drawing so I can find out if I should pull out my credit cards and “buy now” on Ebay.

  14. What a curiousity-piquing review. Theorema sounds delish.

    Please include me in on the drawing also. Thanks!

  15. OK, I’ve got to try this – herbs and sweaty leather? Please enter me in the drawing. Theorema sounds right up my alley too – I don’t have nearly enough in the yummy spicy category. Of course, what is enough?

    I know I smelled L’Eau Trois at some point and thought it was weird, but I don’t remember any specifics. Better try again.

  16. Katie on Scentzilla also did a review of sorts on theorama. She adores it too.
    (no need to include me!)

  17. Theorema sounds wonderful, too bad it’s now as hard as Mandarine Mandarine to find. I love your description of PJ. This was one that I sprayed on, caught a strange smell and then thankfully the whole thing just disapeared. I can’t imagine using hard earned cash for this. I would love to be in the drawing for the Theorema though.

  18. Theorema sounds like heaven! Please enter me into the drawing.
    Thanks!

  19. OKAY — to EVERYONE who asked to be included — you’re all in, so I’m not going to post individual responses. In case you’ve wondered — I have one of my kids pick the winning numbers. As I’ve said before, their hands may be filthy but their hearts are clean.

  20. Kuri — thanks, that seems just right — it’s definitely a Scentzilla kind of scent.

    Pam — thanks for the information. I poached a bottle on eBay, and I’m going to look in my local discounters, there may be a bottle sitting around here.

  21. Elle — I know, it’s so easy to forget things in the search for the new… I’ve tried to use the hat/cattle thing around here, but people just stare blankly. I’m also glad to hear I’m not the only person who thought PJ was interesting.

  22. Dinazad — you’re killing me:(( The EDP’s still relatively easy to find, but not the extrait.

  23. I’ve been singing its praises forever! I can’t believe you hadn’t tried it yet! 😡 (I wrote it up, too, I did. But that was over a year ago. Which is ancient in interweb time) 😉 I need to dig it out, I haven’t put it on in what seems like ages! And it’s so lovely to wear this time of year.

  24. Leopoldo — I’ve pondered your question awhile.:-? I get no florals, but I’d still describe it as feminine, if not overtly so. I’d say it would depend on your skin chemistry — the Big Cheese tends to magnify whatever the masculine notes are, so if it tilted in the direction of the woods you’d be fine. Even if it didn’t, the sillage isn’t killer.

  25. P — thank you for the tip about the Theorema.

    I’d be happy to send you some stanky garden glove, if you didn’t buy a bottle already!

  26. Oh wait, I want to be entered in the drawing, too. Your “or hell?”s have got me laughing and curious to see for myself!

  27. Anggellene — thanks for stopping by!

    Marina — glad I made you giggle. It is SO funky. I think you’d like it.

    Iris — thanks for the compliments! I loved that picture, too.

  28. After reading Robin’s review I went and bought a big beautiful bottle of Therorama from ebay for $10.00 and it is now one of my favorite scents. I would love to try the samples, particularly the ones from hell (I hear it is lovely there this time of year ;))

    Skye

  29. Orange??? Did someone mention…orange? And spice? And other things nice? OMG…that’s it, that just totally does me in. I’m getting out the ice-pick, chopping out my AmEx card and heading over to eBay, pronto…:-O Amber is a favorite stone, orange is a favorite scent, and yes, I would like to be included in the drawing, too! Especially since I can’t find my ice pick…

  30. What a fun review. I’m a greedy thing — please enter me in the drawing. It’s a great time of year for spices, orange, cream, etc.

  31. Katie — several people mentioned here how much you 😡 Theorema, and you’ve sung its praises. Sorry I missed your review – I’ll go read it!

  32. Skye — yeah, I got my bottle for $15 and am feeling pretty pleased with myself. What an amazing fragrance.

  33. Tarleisio, Cindy and Patch — you’re all in! Thanks for stopping by.

  34. Lovely review. I have been reading for a while, and I’m crazy nuts for perfume but a bit shy about posting as the perfume blogging community seems so… bonded. But Fendi Theorema sounds about perfect for snuggly winter evenings. Discontinued? How sad. Can I be included in the drawing as well?
    Thanks

  35. March, I’ve been trying to comment and I hope this gets to you. I adore your way with words and find your sense of humor rather contagious. I love theorema and should have purchased it when I had the chance. Now I truly must get the parfum. Thanks for the beautiful review. Jardinier, well I’m torn….love Isabelle, worried about the herbal notes. hmmm….

  36. I remember sniffing Theorema years ago, but my younger self wasn’t ready to appreciate it back then. I’m intrigued beyond words about the giveaway. Please sign me up.

  37. I’d love to try the Theorema – I’ve heard of it before, but have never seen it anywhere. Please include me in the draw as well, if it’s not to late. Thanks!

  38. Oh yes, please enter me in the drawing. I came upon your site googling for poetic inspiration for a poem I’m working on “Beauty Sleeps”–a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale. Theorema is what this poe would smell like–diffused in amber light–a winter comfort scent.

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