Fourplay in a PG kind of way

This week Bryan is going to join us so we can have a foursome involved in fourplay in perfume… PG of course. Not that PG, the Parfumerie Generale PG. We’re going to laud or laugh at Psychotrope (cyclamen, violet, jasmine, lilac wood, black leather, musk) and Ether de Lilas Blanc muchlongername (passion-flower, orange blossom, bark, mandarin, lilac, leaves, iris and musk).

Psychotrope is for psychos?

March: I’ve tried to wear this three times, and it horrifies me. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of fragrances that have that effect on me. I feel about this the way some people feel about Black March; it’s cold and nightmare-inducing. I had this preconception (I have no idea why) this was some sort of pretty white floral, which probably added to my freak-out. This is like … a zombie wearing a bondage suit? I give up, I’m baffled. It doesn’t even smell bad; it’s not nasty like one of those Etat things. It smells mostly of violet, leather and musk, which is a combo I love in, say, Cuir Amethyste. But this. This smells like bottled fear to me. (What’s that horrible, violent movie where they bring out the gimp? This is like watching that scene.) Okay, I am a big fat baby, and I am going to wash it off right now and take a soothing hot bath, followed by something reassuring and girlish and tender.

Patty: Very little cyclamen, very little violet. Mostly black leather and musk. I feel like I got mugged by Cruella DeVille’s boots… and I like it. This is cold and dark and like a slightly more snuggly Bvlgari Black. Did it kill the cyclamen and violets? Is that what that “other” smell is in there, trapped, starving violets? So sad, a cruel perfume.

Bryan: Though I haven’t smelled it in a while, I’m quickly reminded of the icy concoction that is Les Nez’s Unicorn’s breath, only here, we have the unicorn’s burp…after she has feasted on withering violets and Harry Potter’s forgotten shoe. Ok, I’m being a bit flippant, I get a somewhat inoffensive fresh floral with a touch of old leather, and not the good kind. I will have to agree with Lee and say that it isn’t for me. Thankfully, it remains close to the skin.

Lee: This is an ice maiden scent. For some reason, I imagined it was a tuberose number – on sniffing, it isn’t. It seems a little similar, at least in descriptive terms, to Ether de Lilas (I wrote my comments on that one first, hence the lack of narrative clarity. You’ll have to live with it): starts out green and watery. Then the white florals come through with something faintly rubbery / plasticky. Maybe the ice maiden is dressed in latex – who knows? It’s not a scent I warm to, because it’s entirely without warmth. I love some chilly perfumes (Iris Silver Mist, I’m looking at you, beautiful), but this one doesn’t speak to me in any language I understand. I don’t actively dislike it, but if I sniff it for too long in one go, there’s a shrill quality that tickles my throat and makes my head start to tighten. I’ll leave it for others to love.

Ether Lilath ith tho pretty

Patty: If anyone below me says one bad word about this one, I’m gonna stomp ’em! Ether Lilas truly pulls off the miraculous — takes a sweet flower, the lilac, makes it sweeter, but somehow the concoction becomes better than it should be when the perfumer tries to do such a horrendous thing. I don’t get the references to En Passant. This one and En Passant, while both having lilac in them, are very different in feel and approach. I love them both for very different reasons. One is a Lilac encased in crystal sugar and laughter, and the other is a lilac wreathed in bread and tears.

Lee: What a purty perfume for wafty ladies lingering in languid ways over a glass of iced peach tea. It’s so pretty, it should come with a parasol. It’s sharp, almost astringent in a green and clean way, in its initial blast, but then immediately softens to a haze of watery floral loveliness. You know those classic 70s shampoo ads where they seemed to smear the camera lens with vaseline (steady!) to make it soft focus, and turn down the colour so that blues and reds were muted (did you have Timotei Stateside? That’s what I’m referring to I think)? It’s the atmosphere of that, bottled. Gives En Passant a definite run for its money, without the cucumber and breadsticks.

March: Well… huh. Ether de Lilas opens with a showy florality that makes me think of that Gwyneth Paltrow LE (Pleasures?), if you can wrap your mind around that. Then it becomes all about the lilac. Lilac is hard to do well, in my opinion. Too much and it gets that plastic-Glade vibe; too little and it’s some granny toilet water. Ether is neither of those. It’s got a sweet, semi-gourmand note which I’m assuming is some trick of the orange blossom and musk — it’s like candied lilac (caramelized lilac?) I’m alternately charmed and a little revolted. It’s very pretty; I’d give it to someone, but I think I’ll stick with my beloved En Passant.

Bryan: At first sniff I thought, dude, where’s my lilac? (I know, horrific reference). I wait a few minutes and there she is. I am at a loss as to the comparisons to En Passant. Where Giacobetti’s lilac is brilliant, PG’s, for me, is somewhat watery. That is not to say pale or unbalanced (so retract the claws Patty, please). I smell what March brilliantly calls semi-gourmand and without it, I’d pass. This is a lovely spring scent, but I’m rather unimpressed with what I’d hoped would be magnificent. I want a bold lilac; pretty has been done.

53 Comments

  1. Welcome back, Bryan. And of course, nice to see you again, Lee, March, and, oh, especially that wonderful…nay, magnificent…sublime Patty to whom I send perfumed kisses. 😡 (Pre-emption.)

    I love lilac, genus Syringa. It’s one of the things I miss about the East Coast. I recently had to pay White Flower Farm prices for a hybrid that does not require more winter chill than is available in CA. Therefore, I was eager to try Ether Lilas. Where’s the lilac????????????? I don’t smell any lilac. I held my arm under my husband’s nose. He loves lilac even more than I do because he’s from New England. He could detect no lilac. Granted, I have strange skin. Maybe the lilac comes out for other people. On me Ether Lilas is just a chilly but pretty floral–without lilacs. :((

    Thanks for the warning about Psychotrope.

    • It’s definitely lilac to me, though there is a rhubarb-like astringency cutting through it at the same time. I’m sniffing it against En Passant to see if my glib reference to that Giacobetti wonder was warranted. So far, not really….

      • Two hours in and there IS a lot of similarity. VINDICATED. By myself. How does that work?:-?

    • The lilacs are out right now. Lord, I love that smell. Ether was pretty strong lilac on me, but not “true” lilac — more candied. I guess I’ll stick with En Passant. Also, have you tried the Ineke? I can’t remember which one, but the website would say. I thought it was a very realistic lilac.

    • Obviously, Ether Lilas is very reactive with skin chemistry. When I saw that Solander had described it as a “tropical/beachy” scent, I nearly fell out of my chair. For me the impression is of a tall, very elegant female ghost moving through a posh New York apartment. The fragrance remains the same on me no matter how long it’s on my skin. No changes.

      March, I’m putting Ineke’s After My Own Heart on my to-try list. I have Crazylib Lilas Spiritual on the to-buy list.

  2. Hey, Patty, you can stomp on me. ;)) I did NOT like Ether… I thought what Bryan thought, “dude, where’s my lilac?” only I never ever found it. What I found was an insipid fruity/floral (passion fruit rather than passion flower) that, well, SHOULD come with an umbrella. It smelled like the latest something Summer, a generic tropical/beachy scent of the cute and “fresh” variety that’s not so heavy on the coconut and sugar. It had some kind of sharp not which I guess was supposedly the foliage, and thankfully it faded fast.

    I’ll have to step in and defend Psychotrope though! “Cold” scents generally disagree with me. A lot. But Psychotrope didn’t feel cold to me. Lukewarm, maybe. Slightly cool and aloof and elegant but not an ice maiden or latexclad dominatrix. If my memory serves me right it’s supposed to smell like a flower with leather petals and I think it does. It’s even a little less kinky than I expected from that description, more of an elegant and wearable leather/jasmine. Cuir de Russie’s less frilly cousin perhaps. Thank you so much Patty for sending it to me as a freebie! 😡

    • All I can say is these two scents have brought out the 😕 in me.

  3. How lovely all your reviews of Ether de Lilas are..They make me think of it as a perfume straight out of an impressionist painting. I must find it and try it.

    • Although Divina, from March’s description, that Impressionist painting could go all Norman Rockwell on you….

  4. After reading your posts, I was tearing my hair out for not buying Ether de Lilas before the end of March limited sale deadline, but I checked on the PG website and it’s still there. May be I got it wrong. Anyway, I can’t wait to receive my bottle: En Passant encased in laughter sounds marvellous indeed. And I did have a good laugh thinking of myself starring in a 70s Timotei ad, with a floaty dress and a halo. Thank you all, Magnificent Four !

    • The candied part is really interesting, and kind of growing on me. I think I’d like it better in cooler weather, and En Passant in warmer weather. Ineke makes a really pretty lilac, too, can’t remember what it’s called.

  5. OK, stepping up to defend my beloved Psychotrope. 🙂 On me it is essentially Ether + Leather. *Love* it. Madly. Totally odd scent and I normally don’t care for chilly scents (at all), but this one just is magic on my skin. Must try it on DH’s skin and see if it goes evil and cruel on him. I didn’t think I’d care for Ether, since I’m very hesitant about lilac scents other than En Passant and Vacances, but it’s just crazy, beautiful, cool spring on me. Adore it.

    • Wow. Well, that’s definitely one we aren’t twins on! I kept thinking, this can’t be right, so I spread it out. But … 8-x

  6. Another Psychotrope defender here! I LOVE this weird scent. Watery leather–a completely odd (and, I would think, unappealing) concept, but one that works out great here for me! Wonder whether our differences are chemistry or taste–probably a little of both. 😡

    The Ether–well, it’s pretty, but it doesn’t grab me. I much prefer En Passant–and Vacances (for me) is in another class altogether!

    • We’re going to have to change our names and open a new blog — look at all you Psychotrope lovers coming out of the woodwork?!?!

      I’ll try it again. I’m with you on En Passant, though.

        • Me too! I love it and am eternally grateful to Robin for introducing me. Marina is the one who finds it very crypt-keeper.

  7. Psychotrope defender No 4 here. 4 against 4, shall we take this outside? :d

    Anyway, Ether de Lilas smells to me JUST LIKE Psychotrope, only without the leather. It is the cold floral accord of Psychotrope bottled as a separate scent. I adore both, but Psychotrope a little more, because of the leather.

    • I’m perplexed to see more than one person actually compare Psychotrope to Ether! To my nose, the floral in Psychotrope is a very well-behaved white floral, probably jasmine. While Ether is all about the horrid pseudo-exotic, synthetic smelling passion flower… Perhaps my skin amps fruity notes like crazy? I think it does…

      • Sorry–I wrote my reply at the same time as you. Now I REALLY need to try Ether again, to see which side my skin is on! I hope I still have my sample, b/c I do remember I didn’t like it enough to want more.:)

      • You and me both. I’m not finding the similarities. However, you calling Psychotrope a well-behaved jasmine stuns me, too. I am not getting that at all!

      • “Passion flower”- this makes me think they might have mislabeled your sample, seriously.

        • “Passion flower” isn’t something I just made up, it’s in the notes at Luckyscent, and I did think it was weird for a lilac scent… And I can’t possibly believe Patty would have mislabelled my sample, but perhaps Ether suffers from different batch problems too?

    • I clearly need to try Ether again–but it occurs to me (as far as I can remember) that you and L. are undoubtedly right. But if you leave out the leather. . .well, it’s like hamburger and ketchup–without the hamburger.:d

    • Marina — I am beginning to think that the PG line is something that I admire more in theory than in person. I have to admit that, as much as I liked some of the last set, there isn’t a single one I wear just for the fun of it.

      Heresy, huh?:o

      • March – I’ve tested the PGs long term style – all of em. For me, there are only two that are bottleworthy: Bois Blond and Harmatan Noir. All the rest – there’s something that’s either rapidly or eventually off-putting – not to say they aren’t great scents though.

  8. Dear hearts: Not my kinds of things, these two, but thanks for reviewing them. You all write so beautifully. –Ellen

    • Hey, look, a friend! We’ve provoked some lively conversation with our idiocy…/:)

  9. 😮 You’re dissin’ the Psychotrope?!?

    Had to go spritz liberally to see if we’re talking about the same frag… we CAN’T be! This is one of my favorites and it’s got to be all about body chemistry. When I first tried Sister Shirl’s sample she said, “THAT’S Psychotrope on you?!?” It’s not cold or scary or any other of those terrible adjectives, similes, or metaphors you used. It’s fresh flowers in a leather vase. Right at the skin I can get some saddle soap if I try, but a few inches out it’s utter perfection.

    Ether de Lilas? Meh. I don’t dislike it, but I want it to be MORE.

    Still love you all though! 😡

    • Well, you’re clearly more in the majority than we are, judging by all the comments up there./:) Fresh flowers in a leather vase sounds perfect. But what I got was …. The Gimp.b-(

      If Ether was any *more* on me I’d have scrubbed it! I was really throwing out some sillage with that one.

    • Kelly,
      I would love to stand next to you some time and get the wonderful sillage. I just wasn’t enthralled by the psychotrope (or ether). Fresh flowers in a leather vase…beautiful and somewhat sexy. We are talking about Psychotrope?? I’ll take your word and spritz a friend when they’re not looking…and walk behind them. :-“

      • I was just stunned to see that all 4 of you found it akin to chemical warfare! I thought maybe my skin was twisted, my nose was broken, or my secret Dominatrix streak was subconscioulsy revealing itself. I’m glad to see so much more support for the lovely ‘trope! Beautiful and somewhat sexy is exactly what I would call it.

        Now I just know that you 4 are all looney! 😉

        • We’re changing our names and starting a new blog under assumed identities. How about …. Perfume Possum? That’s what someone on MUA thought we were called./:)

          • Nah, don’t roll over and play dead! I’ll take your unwanted Psychotrope, and you can have the Vetiver Tonka, which to me is nothing more than dirty ashtray – and I truly can’t comprehend the love.
            :)>-
            BTW, Jules moved in yesterday. Gads he’s studly. Rrrrrow!

  10. Oh, and is your gimp reference to Pulp (yawn) Fiction, March?:-b

    • That’s it!!! I found the entire thing so offputting I’d deleted any other information that might help me remember … okay, now I am forgetting again.

  11. Psychotrop defender #47 here. I love that one because it is unabashedly weird. Ether de Lilas however, not so much. The soundtrack to the “supermarket ballet” in the original “Stepford Wives” kept going off in my head when sniffing it.

    I have to agree with Lee, although the FB’s I’ve gotten are different: Aomassai and Querelle. I was thisclose to getting Cuir Venenum, but then it went bad on me in a sour-milk way that made me pause.

    • Wow, all you Psycho lovers. 😮 If I could wave my wand and get a FB, it might well be Querelle. THAT I loved.

  12. I tried the Ineke a couple days ago, and I thought it smelled like room freshener. My skin has a problem with sweet scents though, I think they make my skin feel threatened and combative.

    I love your reviews of the Ether Lilas. Of course I’m partial to lilac since I grew up near Highland park, home of the lilac festival. Well, I guess partial and often dissapointed, since even the perfume they sell at the festival really can’t compare to hundreds of lilacs all in bloom at once.

    • Maria: I just looked this up & you need to get to Rochester, NY, some time between May 11-20! Wouldn’t mind it myself, actually. My backyard lost its contribution to the neighborhood eau de lilac when I had to take it out to put in a fence. Practicality…. sigh. 🙁

      • Yes, I think everyone should go at least once! It’s a little bit staggering to see that many lilacs, but in a good way.

  13. OK, Lee, that’s just oogie. I’m getting phantom whiffs of “freezer burned roast”. Thanks for that. 😉

    • Heh — I think “freezer burn” should be listed in a couple of things I can think of. It’s definitely there in blue sugar.

  14. Hi,
    You have all done so very well- to read such a contradictory contrary confabulation!!! Love it.
    I haven’t tried any P.G. perfumes. They just haven’t got off the ‘must try very soon’ list, you know the one that I can’t see the end of any more because you guys are so good at stimulating the imagination.
    [-o< Ineed more time, more money, more skin.;)

    • I know, I know — I have a whole vat of samps up there, including most of the Tom Fords, in my actual dwelling that I haven’t tried yet!:”>

    • Hey, Amarie: I think that’s a contestant for the next Perfume Posse catchphrase: “more time, more money, more skin!” Great! –Ellen

  15. Thanks everyone for your description of Ethere! I’m still on the hunt for the perfect lilac. Someday I hope to go to Rochester in May -how amazing that must be to inhale all those fragrant lilacs at once!

    Tomorrow I’m going to the Perfume Shoppe for a spring sniffin’ expedition, and am hoping that Nasrin will have and assortment of lilac tinged things to try. Woo-hoo!:d

  16. If anyone is still reading this thread, I’ve tried Psychotrope and to me it smells like concentrated orange juice. I must be missing something because I don’t smell flowers or leather.

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