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