For the past few weeks, I was worried (I can only admit this now that I am safe.) Nothing was doing it for me. I wasn´t that jacked for any new scents, or compelled by the old ones. I kept reminding myself it´s the summer, we all have our lulls, our dysfunctions, blah blah blah. But it was … freaking me out a little.
Who would ever have guessed that a single shopping trip could break the spell? Yes, it´s true – I was cured by a visit to our local Saks, which is such a ghost town in August that the remaining salespeople have been reduced to trying to shill each other. And there, my friends, I discovered not one, not two, but three new things to be excited about! Today I´m posting on the first – Issey Miyake’s A Scent.
The way some of you feel about my love for Kenzo (ie, wth?) is the way I feel about Issey Miyake, which translated into English means “watery grave.” The thing that scares me most about Issey is when we go to our watery grave, we get there via some hideous fresh/marine/aquatic note (maybe with some melon), and y´all know how I feel about aquatics. I´d almost rather spray myself with urine (which I hear is sterile… whoops, you aren´t reading this at breakfast, are you?) Yes, I know — at one point L’Eau D’Issey was groundbreaking and fresh and new. Well, guess what, folks? Once upon a time, Hammer pants were groundbreaking too. And I love that video, but I never want to see those stupid pants again, and here’s a shout-out to all the designers currently trying to resurrect them, along with jumpsuits: I will drive a stake through your heart, do you hear me?!?? Stop it NOW. I am not playing around.
Anyhoo, desperately reeling myself back to the point of this review, my expectations for a scent (that is how it’s written on the bottle, and hey, won’t that name suck in ye olde Google searches?) – uh, my expectations were less than zero, but the poor ladies at Saks had nobody to play with and they were nice, and it was air conditioned, so I sniffed the new Miyake on a card, expecting… well, nothing. If I was lucky. (Melony aquatic ozone if I wasn’t lucky.)
Instead, you´re getting this post, because wow, how freaking great is that?!? Notes for A Scent are hyacinth, verbena, galbanum, jasmine.
Let’s be clear: I wouldn´t wear this if you gave it to me. It’s a riot, and it is very much not my sort of thing. It´s a big green green green (did I mention green?) sour floral that in terms of initial aggressiveness on my skin reads somewhere between Shrek and the plant in Little Shop of horrors. It’s Vent Vert with a shiv, updated somewhat for modern times. If you took Vent Vert and sent it out clubbing with Cristalle, and they got sloppy drunk and split a pack of Marlboro Reds at the bar and then staggered home, A Scent might be their love child. It´s got that goes-with-cigarettes smell that Cristalle and a lot of the Estees have, and I don´t mean that as a criticism, either.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around this coming from Issey Miyake. I can´t imagine walk-of-shame is what they were going for, as I think this is supposed to be all about the crystal airy freshness of a mountain high on liquid clarity or whatever marketing fluff they´re spinning, but there you have it. If you like galbanum and/or hyacinth and/or Cristalle/Vent Vert makes you feel a little dirty in a good way … check it out. The jasmine only comes into play well into the drydown on my skin, and while the entire thing becomes more palatable to me at that point, I think it would start to lose its appeal for you galbanum freaks. Five-hour update: okay, the fun’s pretty much front-loaded, after five hours it’s just sweet jasmine and verbena, reminds me a little of Jo Malone White Jasmine Mint. But the first part! The first part is great fun. If you’re into that sort of thing.
I am obliged to link to Grain de Musc’s review of A Scent, because our reviews are so similar in some parts it’s funny and also because she makes some great additional parallels with the new Estee Jasmine White Moss (Denyse adds oakmoss to the list of notes.) I have to quote this part of her review because it really resonated with me: “ I can´t exactly figure out why the Lauder inspired me to grumble while I´m feeling quite happy about the Miyaké: they clearly have the same lineage. After all, I bear a lot more of a grudge with Issey Miyaké who´s been poisoning my airspace with Calone for over 15 years.”
Also: I am such a dope, I just noticed two days ago that Basenotes had announced their awards, which is sorta embarrassing because I’m over there all the time reading reviews, etc. So, congratulations to Robin and the gang at Now Smell This for taking the Gold, and thanks to everyone on here for voting for us — squeeee, we took the Silver!!!! — and also congrats to Octavian at 1000 Fragrances for the Bronze. I promise never to discuss spraying myself with urine again and I’ll try not to gross anyone out in comments for … what … the next seven hours? There’s some restraint. Lee and Louise I can’t take any responsibility for. Or Carter. Or Musette. Or the rest of you smutmuffins.