(Ladies and gentlemen– please welcome DUSAN, the author of today’s Friday Guest Post and another bona fide male! Not that Patty and I don’t have ba — well, never mind. Dusan will be hosting today, and enjoy your flight!)
Drip, drip, drip! You wake up to find yourself in a huge red windowless orange whose ceiling is leaking droplets of honey. As you feel your way around, sliding on the slippery floor, you realize that the walls are lined with cookies and truffles. Your hand reaches for a particularly tasty-looking brownie and tears it off the gloopy wall. You´ve hardly taken a mouthful when you hear a sigh interrupting the echoing patter. Unmoved, you proceed to munch on your brownie, sucking it, gulping and groaning with pleasure while you lick your fingers. It´s only when the orange starts wobbling and squishing that you begin to feel a little unnerved. But it´s too late! One by one, the cookies come crumbling away while the patter of honey swells into a steaming shower. Gasping for air, you struggle to keep your footing in the violent orangequake. But as you open your mouth to take in a breath, a walloping dollop lands straight in and down your throat. The rooftop caves in with a bang and even as you are choking, a giant honeycomb crashes down on your face, knocking you down into the pool of goo and out of your greedy consciousness.
This is more or less how I described my first impressions of Paco Rabanne´s latest entry, Ultrared Man, to Robin of Now Smell This. To be perfectly honest, the story could also have been that of two siblings stranded in the woods, trying to trace their way home along a path strewn with breadcrumbs just because their parents felt they needed to spice up their dying sex life. How´s that, you ask? Well, because the rest of the story ties in neatly with Ultrared´s development (notes: blood orange zest, praline, tonka bean, patchouli, vanilla). Although brash and ultrasweet at the opening, twenty minutes in Ultrared shifts from a roar to a purr and from then on it´s basically a skin scent of lovely woody amber (to evoke the witch´s house), praline (the candy) and slightly earthy patchouli (the forest). In my version, the witch turns out to be a loving granny who not only adores children (hers have moved away and seldom visit) but also takes great pleasure in baking them all manner of cakes and tarts. Appalled at the siblings´ sorry state, she takes them in, naturally, and feeds their poor starved bodies back to life. Plump, she says, is how she´d like them to be. At worst, she could be a particularly crafty sales assistant that uses the gingerbread house to lure prospective unsuspecting customers into buying the latest Kylie, Britney and Christina fumes. Did I mention that she works on commission?
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the reason why I decided on the orange story instead. Well, simply because for me blood orange is the star in Ultrared. Whether in the big bang of marzipan, vanilla and cookies or long into the drydown of woody praline, it´s always present – either to cut the sugar-bomb with its delicious tart zest or liven up what could well have been nice but altogether flat amber. It breathes and it sighs – and that´s exactly what I want in my comfort-gourmand fragrance. And please, don´t let my over-the-top description of Ultrared´s opening scare you off. It´s just the way it should be. If you are into that sort of thing, that is. For the record, this is not the first time Paco Rabanne has used a praline note in his fragrances. XS Black, a stunning cologne on others but sadly not so much on me thanks to my pathetic sweetifying skin, has a woodsy, strawberry-tinged praline accord that smells amazing atop dark incensey woods.
Ultrared for women I tested briefly on a strip and… it´s really nice, much in the same vein as the men´s, only amp down the woods, add some florals, brighten it up a notch and there you are. Fans of the recent crop of faux-chypres like Elle YSL, Gucci by Gucci and Nina should seek it out. Personally, I like Ultraviolet better, but this one is growing on me.
I´d meant to write up a review of the men´s Ultraviolet but just like so many times before, I sprayed it on and … poof, nothing. Well, something sweet anyway, vaguely minty. Half hour later, the mint is stronger and a vetiver-like note has appeared with a whisper. An hour later, you guessed it right, nothing earth shattering happens, just a synthetic minty sweetness. That´s all I can get out of Ultraviolet, I´m afraid. Which makes me sad because I know men who wear it well and leave a powerful sillage in their wake (!) I guess I´m just an Ultrared kinda guy.
So, my question to you is: what perfume sends you to fairyland?