Addition — btw folks I know the blog was down again this morning, I assume it’s a traffic problem but haven’t been able to sort it out, as it’s intermittent. It annoys me too, and we’re working on it.
I spent a fair amount of time on Sunday sitting on my butt reading the new, improved paperback version of The Guide, which is every bit as much fun as I expected. The great thing about reading about fragrance is I’m often reminded of scents I’d quasi-forgotten, and I find new ways to think about perfume.
So today I decided to post on fragrances that smell like a party, because it seems like the perfect time of year for Party Scents. These are not the sophisticated, tasteful scents that I (or most definitely you) might choose to wear to a party — your precious flacon of 1958 Mitsouko parfum, the bottle of Bal a Versailles your husband gave you for your anniversary … ohno. I’m talking about scents that make me laugh out loud because they are their own party — right there in the bottle.
Gucci Rush – I’m wearing it right now and grinning, why do I not own a bottle of this stuff? I used to hate the red plastic box container with the same passion I hated the YSL Nu purple-plastic-diaphragm container, and for the same reason: I figured that cheesy packaging was keeping people from appreciating the goods inside. (Everyone Who Loves Incense: TRY NU. Usually it’s cheap, $40 or less, online. Thank you.) But I’ve sort of come around to the red box, because Rush is so cheerfully faux, so resolutely synthetic, so cracktastically weird — hairspray, candy, milk and skin. That sounds disgusting, and I suppose for some people it is, but I think it’s wonderful. Notes are: gardenia, freesia, jasmine, Turkish rose, coriander, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver. Created by Michel Almairac in 1999, and this is definitely what you’d want to wear to party like it’s 1999… which doesn’t sound half bad.
Apothia Velvet Rope — this is supposed to be the quintessential lounge fragrance, yes? It is strangely sweet, and can make your stomach lurch a teensy bit if you have too much (just like a cosmo!) I personally find it more effective as a room scent than a personal scent; I have a candle. But man, what an evocative scent it is. Perfume, smoke, and something wet and sharp like gin. Notes: juniper berry, grapefruit, jasmine, rose petals, cypress leaf; patchouli, vanilla and white musk.
Dior Addict Eau Fraiche – mandarin, jasmine, bergamot, tuberose, gardenia, Bulgarian rose, Bourbon vanilla, sandalwood, musk. The nose is Thierry Wasser (ha! I’m guessing he doesn’t brag about it). Um, okay, that’s a fancypants list of notes for something so cheerfully airheaded. It paints a picture of an evening spent at the carnival set up in the parking lot at Sears in the 1970s, when I was fifteen and wearing tube tops with overalls to flirt with the carnies. Redolent of Marlboro light, cotton candy, tilt-a-whirls, the Himalaya (“barracccuuuudaa!”), and maybe a rum and coke washed down in the GTO beforehand. When I put this on, I feel my IQ drop 30 points, but my boobs are perkier.
Dianne Brill – okay, okay, nobody loves this as much as I do, but if you kill off the sweetness in the top, which I do, it’s surpassingly strange – poppers (apparently it shares this with Gucci Rush, named after a popular brand of poppers), cardboard, refrigerated air, cigar, spices, and sweat. This smells like the inside of some of the not-quite-licensed dance clubs I used to visit back in the day – the ones where it was BYOB, which we did, even though we weren’t old enough to drink. They were playing Dead or Alive, or “One Night in Bangkok.” Here’s a link to my review.
Party in Manhattan – bergamot, sage, jasmine, carnation, ambergris and vetiver. I hear a rumor that this was revised and is not as intensely animalic as the first draft, although I don’t know if that’s true. In marked contrast to all scents listed above, this is a fancy-dress party – a crowded cocktail party, or perhaps a bal masqué, in which you undertake a conversation with a gentleman not your own, and he invites you back for a quick visit to his nearby apartment to, uh, study his etchings. Your response? Just let me grab my coat. The fact that you don’t know his name makes it even better. If a fragrance can be described simultaneously as joyous and filthy, this is it.