I´ve been noodling around with various posts but they haven´t quite coalesced (congealed?) yet so today we´re going to play a game, and you have to play too.
Remember all the gotta-try, must-have fragrances — the darlings of the blogosphere/MUAers/POLsters, etc., two weeks or months or years ago? Fragrances that you almost never see mentioned any more, because we´ve all moved on? Because we had to, because there are now 90-gazillion releases a year? (Examples off the top of my head: Wickle! Les Nez! Anne Pliska! Ylang Ivohibe! Sushi Imperiale! Tea for Two! Shalini! Fifi Chachnil!) Okay, dig up your sample or bottle of a similar niche darling and answer the eternal question: Is It All That? How did it work out for you? Is there some fragrance with continuing cult fandom you don´t quite understand? Something you thought was All That at the time, bought a bottle of, and now hate? Ask yourself the question, and then comment: Is It/Was It All That?
I´ll go first:
1) Cumming by Alan Cumming. For me, it took a little getting used to. Quote from his website: “But really, what could be better than smelling nice, feeling sexy and having a laugh?” Amen. Now I am desperately afraid it will be discontinued because while they have it online at Sephora (excellent!) it´s never in their brick and mortar stores, and why not!? My personal theory about why this scent is so good: First, Alan Cumming made a fragrance simply because he wanted to, not as an ancillary product in some giant celeb-retail empire. Second, he had a clear idea of the kind of scent he wanted to do. Third, he hired a man (Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume) who was perfect for the job: making an earthy scent with Cummings´ sense of humor: “leather, peat fire, highland mud, burnt rubber and white truffle ground the scent with rugged sensuality, while the core notes of cigar, heather, Douglas fir and rubber contribute to its sharpness. The fragrance is completed with spicy top notes of bergamot, black pepper, Scotch pine and whiskey.” The result: a hilarious, bold, delicious scent that I´d like to replace half of the Sephora Everyman-juice with, and women can borrow and wear too. The drydown is as smooth and mouthwatering as that whiskey. Verdict: Is It All That? Yes, and so much more. By the way, if you have never browsed his hilariously naughty site (Cumming in a Bar!) and watched his dirty little commercial, here´s the link.
An aside (because my mind wanders): SJP did a good commercial scent with Lovely, and she was already interested in fragrance before she made it. But I wish she´d make the scent she wanted to do in the first place and Coty wouldn´t let her because it was too edgy for them – a riff on her longtime personal blend of CdG Avignon, Bonne Bell Skin Musk and some unspecified Egyptian oil. Now that I´d like to smell.
2) Serge Lutens El Attarine. Come on, people. Seriously? You love this that much? I would think this smelled interesting and sniff-worthy if it didn´t smell like bits of, oh, I don´t know, five or nine other Serge Lutens scents, from Arabie to the Bois series. How many more of these are we supposed to put up with? The Emperor has had no clothes for quite some time, although I was willing to give him his silk undies back after Serge Noire. With the arrival of El Attarine, the man is not only buck naked but he´s back to waving his little, dried-up curried wood at me. Tell you what — I´m going to go by the Secret Serge Special Sauce Room hidden away under the Palais Royal in Paris, tie up the staff, and take away their (clearly unlimited) supply of curry, stewed fruits, and faux-bois. Verdict: Is It All That? No. Serge? Try something different. You could call Chris Brosius, maybe he´s got some ideas.
Okay, your turn! Thoughts on Idole? Worth Courtesan (snerk)? Stoned? Or any other obscure-ish scent you sampled?