Narciso Rodriguez for Her – Hiding in Plain Sight?
Like the rest of you h-core perfume fans, I have my share of over-the-top fragrances. I have my dirt, my filth, my muck… my Mitsouko… my daft dank church incense, my violets, my leafy greens, fruits, veggies, solar musks, wallflowers, coneflowers, everlasting flowers, power flowers, my other nineteen incenses, my armpit fragrances…
What I don´t have, and have been longing for, is the no-brainer plain-white-tee fragrance, although I hate calling it that. For one thing, I don´t actually own (or want) any plain white tees.
It´s not a “comfort” scent I´m craving, either – not one of those warm cuddly chai-vanilla deals. It´s more a cross between perfect wallpaper and your favorite jacket — a scent that isn´t insipid or boring but reads as background noise in the best possible way.
I am not alone in my quest; let me quote Melissa who describes the problem in a recent comment. “I have the same problem with florals, citrus fragrances and lighter fragrances in general. Too sweet, too lemony, too young, too boring, too flowery etc, etc.” Finding that one good, all-purpose, always-reliable background fragrance turns out to be really hard — much harder than I thought. After all, we live in a vast sea of mass-market fragrances that aren’t designed to provoke or command too much attention.
In the summer, because I live in a humid climate, my selections skew to the light – cologne, herbs, tea. I´ve got probably a dozen things sitting right here I could throw on, all the way down to the ridiculously cheap and cheerful 4711, and be perfectly happy. They all work as wallpaper scents.
The other three seasons are trickier. When the seasons are actually changing I am excited – break out the leathers! Or the violets! Woo-hoo! There´s a long stretch from January to April, though, when I find myself wishing for … something low maintenance in a fragrance, but one that isn´t dull. Maybe it´s an occupational hazard of sniffing oddball scents all the time, but my desire for something nice and normal but still good began to turn into an obsession.
I thought for awhile that D&G The One might be … well, the One. I kept trying it, but … eh. There´s something in there that´s not quite right on me, and it´s too edible. Ditto Coach. Ditto YSL Cinema, which is back in my purgatory bowl for the third time due to vague sourpuss notes. Betsey Johnson was gonna be my BFF but she´s too sweet to be The One. Hil Duff With Love is too woody. My beloved Worth Courtesan has just enough character on my skin (I know, some of y´all are going, what character?!?) some days I just don´t want to deal with that cuminy note. Serge Lutens Clair de Musc wasn´t quite right as the One (too … fleshy or something) but it got me thinking musk might be my answer. Kiehls I quite like but it´s oddly vegetal on me. Ditto SIP Musc Botanique. The closest I come to The One is Barbara Bui. It´s the perfect wallpaper fragrance. I like to layer the perfume with the BB Huile Blanche. But some days BB does that thing where it´s just the teensiest bit doughy, and besides … can´t there be two of The One?
Then Helg at Perfume Shrine did a post on the many iterations of Narciso Rodriguez for Her, and I’d not paid enough attention to realize we were talking about four scent variations. Regular blog readers know I have a running joke about NR: I can´t smell it at all. At all. Might as well be water in those bottles. The additional irritating/baffling fact is, I´ve stopped two different women asking them what lovely scent they were wearing, and both said Narciso Rodriguez for Her, so what exactly is my problem? How can I smell it on others and not on me?
I got to wondering whether I´d even tried the original EDT – the bottles look alike, maybe I reach for the musk version since I´m such a skank queen? Anyway, I went commando (perfume-wise) for two entire days and then ventured forth to smell the Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT, which sounded the most promising, both in terms of attractiveness and non-anosmia.
To quote Luca Turin without actually checking my copy of The Guide, which has gone missing (probably taken by one of you folks tired of me quoting from it)… if I recall correctly, his review of NR begins with something like: to review perfume as an art form is to be in danger sometimes of missing the point. He goes on to acknowledge that while NR isn´t breaking boundaries in perfumery, it smells great.
And guess what? You, and every other person who has commented on the Posse how great Narciso Rodriguez for Her smells, are right. It smells wonderful. It smells smooth and creamy and good, like perfume on good clean skin. Bloglifting from Helg´s Narciso Rodriguez for Her review (regarding the EDT version): It is soft, “clean” in the most sensuous sense of skin that has been bathed but is living its day along nevertheless; musky in the sense that it beckons you closer radiating harmonious warmth; and feminine all at once. The EDP is more floral (and simultaneously less interesting), and the Musc for Her is … well, muskier. I guess. Because I pretty much can’t smell it.
And thus Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT, bane of my existence, turns out to be… The One. Along with Barbara Bui. It´s true, folks — the only bottle of perfume I bought in LA for myself was from Sephora, and it was Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT. (I bought something else for the Cheese at LuckyScent.) Sephora had a great little deal with a purse spray atomizer included. Yep, I paid full retail! Go ahead, laugh.
I´m thinking the new Apothia Pearl Nava just reviewed is another contender for this category, as Nava and some of the commenters suggested on Friday. It seemed awfully nice on my brief sniff in LA, without being either too much or too little. DSH Perfumes’ Special Formula X also falls partly into this category, although it’s such a skin scent on me I think it might be undetectable to anyone around me, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Are there any other perfumes you love that are excellent no-statement scents? Not just Safe for Work, or Comfort, but your ideal wallpaper scent? (Shout-out to the five of you who can smell L´Antimatiere or Molecule! Is this why you wear it?) Or does that style of perfumery not interest you, and why not?