Party in a Bottle


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.

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  • rosarita says:

    Gucci Rush! I couldn’t stand this when it first came out; since this current perfume obsession, it now smells great to me. I bought a bottle a couple of years ago and I even like the red plastic box because, hey, at least it’s unique. When I was reading the first part of your post, this jumped into my mind immediately. My husband lurves it. One whiff and I instantly want to be in a dark, sweaty 80s nightclub, dancing to INXS and smoking a cigarette. Yum.

    • March says:

      After writing this post I caved and bought some. :d You know, I could smell it for almost two days on my skin, I really like the drydown. And I’m there with you, smoking a Marlboro Light and listening to INXS!

  • First off, Patty, happy birthday! As a friend said to me recently on a significant bday of mine, “You’re never going to be as young again as you are today.” Haha.

    Re: Gucci Rush. Cracktastically awesome indeed. It’s like a designer drug in a bottle — you’re suspicious of the good mood it’s putting you in (what the hell is this stuff?! you ask) but after a while, a good mood is a good mood!

    I hadn’t worn Gucci Rush in ages and the other night, while it was rainy and cold in San Francisco and I was supposed to step out to have a drink with friends, I thought, “Why not put some red lipstick on and spray Rush on?” Wow. I really did smile after taking a whiff, and did that eyes rolling in the back of my head thing I do if something tastes good or smells good. Gardenia, milk and crack — those are the prominent notes, right? 🙂

    • March says:

      Actually … it’s March. :d But I’ll pass the word on.

      Gardenia, milk and crack are definitely the notes. I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t like this. You could definitely argue that it’s too STRONG, and I wouldn’t be overspraying this in an office environment, but as a going-out scent it’s wonderful. You know, I think it would smell extra-good in the dampness of San Francisco. Good job with the red lipstick!

  • DJ says:

    I tried PIM and loved it, but it was price prohibitive. I go visit it some times when I get to Harrods.

    A good friend of mine wore Gucci Rush all through art school (she is 10 years younger than me) and I cannot smell it without thinking of her–she made it her own, in all it’s ‘I’m 21 and can have as many boyfriends as I want, don’t need sleep, live on beer and cigarettes’ kind of way. When I smell it, I get kind of wistful or melancholic. I was never a 21 year old that would have worn that, and I miss her (she moved from England to Germany).

    ‘When I put this on, I feel my IQ drop 30 points, but my boobs are perkier.’ as amazing a line as ‘tampax accord.’

    thank you for making me smile.

    • March says:

      Your friend sounds like the perfect person for Gucci Rush. And I’m glad I made you smile with my words! This is where I scratch my itch to be a creative writer.

  • Robin R. says:

    I’d wear a few tablespoons of Muscs Kubhlai Khan and soon be having all the hors d’oevres within a twenty-foot radius to myself ;))

  • Disteza says:

    Hmm, party scents…after the party-that-wasn’t of Silver Factory, I started wearing Cumming, Bulgari Black, and El Attarine to go shake ma thang; all are capable of making me exclaim with joy. Being younger, I can testify that most people at parties/clubs nowadays either reek of their ‘body product’ or smell overly sweet/fruity, if they smell at all. I’m usually the only oddball, smellwise, though I once ran into a girl who was wearing the heck out of Attrape Coeur (I followed into the bathroom at Plush just to ask her what she had on). I sometimes get compliments, and some strange looks (mostly from the men who have swooped in too close and are taken aback by what they’ve smelled 😮 ).

    • March says:

      Oooooh, excellent sighting of A-C! I’m trying to think if I’ve ever accosted someone (not a fellow perfumista) and discovered they were wearing something wildly exotic, and I think not. It’s almost always NR, Michael Kors or J’Adore … make of that what you will. 🙂

      Chocolate Axe. Should be illegal.

      • Jared says:

        Yeah, every time I notice my friend smells good and ask him what he’s wearing, it’s Varvatos. The one in Sephora. Apparently they’re all doing something right.

  • Robin says:

    Party in a bottle…what a great theme! And “my IQ drop 30 points, but my boobs are perkier” could be another theme on its own….please do that one next!

  • Claudia says:

    I think of Gucci Rush as the first really “out there” perfume I ever bought. It was easily the strongest scent I had ever smelled, and even thought I was a little afraid of wearing it, I DID smile every time I smelled it. So in the end I bought it, and figured out that in order to wear it, I had to spray it in the air and then walk into it. Otherwise it made me (and everyone around me too, I’m sure) gag. I still have my original ugly red box and I still love it. And I’m still afraid of it.

    • March says:

      Hah! I hold my wrist out and spray in the air and wave my wrist through it. I just bought myself a mini, so the spray will (hopefully) be finer. Gah, can you imagine drenching yourself in that? 😮

      • Claudia says:

        No, I can’t. If I’m feeling brave I spray it at the base of my throat – the tiniest, quickest spray I can manage. And never in summer.
        Hmmm. I may have to wear it tomorrow. I could use a party frame of mind this week.

  • ScentRed says:

    For silly, giggly fun in a bottle, I’d vote Oyedo by Diptyque.

  • fountaingirl says:

    Love this post! You have convinced me. I’m going to try both Rush and Nu. The others, probably too high priced for me for a “party” frag that won’t see super-frequent wear. But good to know, and maybe to seek out samples.

    • March says:

      Rush is just great fun, and you can find it at Sephora, etc. – places with testers. Don’t blind buy it! 🙂 Nu is trickier, I’ve never seen it anywhere except online. I think it’s tremendous. Unisex, woodsy incense. One of those secret-handshake perfumista scents. I loathe the container. Oh btw I think Tom Ford did it?

  • ScentRed says:

    I bought Gucci Rush specifically as a response to a strict, all out fragrance ban in my office years ago and it was the first thing that came to mind when I read the first paragraph of this post.

    Another one that comes to mind (please don’t stone me) is Giorgio Red. I associate it with loud music, general excess and frequently, poor judgement – but always FUN. And though I’d no more wear it now than my wide shoulder pads or bright red blouse tied at the waist – it was a blast at the time.

    Today my party in a bottle fragrances are Fracas and Divine by Divine and OJ Fragipani. Obviously my parties are much quieter than they used to be 😉

  • sweetlife says:

    P.S. Completely OT — March (or anyone on here)–do you remember smelling the Kurkdjian soap bubbles on the Sniffa tour? Did they smell like anything in particular? Or was it just a nice idea?

    • Musette says:

      Ihated Pulp for that very reason but you know what? I need to lighten up! I’m going to revisit it tomorrow and try to look at it from your perspective.

      I played with the soap bubbles at NM Chicago. I suspect the idea is more concrete than the actual application – then again, I was in the perfume section. An evanescent bubble doesn’t stnad much of a chance. It might be fun (expensive fun) to do at a tea or cocktail party.

      xo >-)

    • March says:

      Sorry, I’m having a hell of a time getting on here today. :-w IIRC the ones we smelled were the very light Acqua Universalis (sp?) not sure if they come in differing scents? Honestly, it was more a fun idea than a great scent experience.

  • sweetlife says:

    “When I put this on, I feel my IQ drop 30 points, but my boobs are perkier.”

    I am so quoting you on that one, March.

    I haven’t tried a single one of these. Clearly I need to get out more. The last perfume that made me laugh out loud when I tried it was Pulp. Much to the consternation of the very serious and Euro Byredo SA. I couldn’t help it–it was like an enormous jam jar had just exploded on the Barney’s beauty floor. I suppose that’s a party of certain kind…

    • March says:

      She was offended that you laughed? 😮 Pulp made me laugh too! It’s like a fruit the size of the peach in James and The Giant Peach. I don’t want to wear it, but it’s fun.

  • Musette says:

    I haven’t tried ANY of these!:((

    they sound like whole lotta fun….maybe I’m just Not Any Fun No’ Mo’

    xo >-)

  • Francesca says:

    I have a number of people working right near me whom I think are fairly sensitive to perfume, so usually I am considerate and mindful. But sometimes I have a meeting with a bitch editor or an author whom I suspect will be a pain in the ass, and then I bring out the big guns. Ha.

  • Occhineri says:

    My first husband hated perfume, so I didn’t wear any when I was with him (the horror!). Gucci Rush came out right in the middle of our divorce, & I bought a bottle & absolutely loved it. I was running a bit wild at the time (celebrating my sorrows, if you will), & I don’t think it would suit me now, but when I see that ugly red bottle, I smile.

  • Francesca says:

    You know what? I’m in a really what the hell mood, moving slowly with these two broken vertebrae and feeling like they’re lucky I’m going into work at all. So I think it’s Bal Ã¥ Versailles for the office today, and….just eat it.:d

    • Graham says:

      And be sure to spray it on RIGHT before you enter the workplace…. That’s when it’s at its harshest! 🙂 Love Bal – the initial blast is a bit much, but it dries down so well…..

    • March says:

      Is this the EdC that smells like butt? Or the EdP that smells like floral sex? Or the parfum that smells like candied incense?

      • fountaingirl says:

        Wow, now I want to try all three versions. :d/

      • mals86 says:

        Yes, now I want to know what Francesca’s armoring herself with.

        I have some pdt that’s def. floral sex. But the parfum is the same, only intensified and with candle wax dripping onto the menage.

        • Francesca says:

          I’m wearing the parfum.Maybe that’s why I’m getting candied incense (and mals, candle wax is an excellent observation! I just got that too!) Don’t think I want to smell like butt.

          • March says:

            I bet you were yummy. And the candle wax is so true.

          • Jared says:

            Hmm, I have been intrigued by the parfum. I only own the EdT (?) version and that’s strong enough. But hell yeah I want that French ho-house. God, what is wrong with me??

  • Olfacta says:

    I agree. Very good post indeed!

    I haven’t tried The Party (yet). I guess it’s because I’m afraid I might fall in love with (yet another) ridiculously expensive perfume. One of these days. I do love Rush, it’s so synthetic-so-what out there. And Bal of course, which is what I actually wore to those after-hours dives, until discovering the (first version of) Cartier’s “Must” perfume, signature scent of the Walk of Shame, 80’s version.

    • March says:

      Must! Total walk of shame, the original. I always thought it smelled a teensy bit like vomit. 🙂 Which just adds to the authenticity.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Damn. The Party will be my first post-lottery-win purchase, how dare they change it? It’s also gone up in price since it came out, which is outrageous considering how expensive it was to start with.

    This party post has put me in a good mood, thanks March ! <:-p

    • March says:

      They raised the price? Wow. You’re right, it wasn’t cheap, although didn’t it come in some fancy flacon? And Francesca says it’s skanky as ever.

  • Melissa says:

    Oh dear, love the memories, but these fragrances will now be associated with the aftermath of the carnival, with the excess of Barcardi, Marlboros and spins around the Tilt-a-Whirl. :-&

    Or, jump a decade forward. You do remember the reaction to Diane Brill on my skin. Even you thought it smelled like I had a collision with a drunk girl coming out of the restroom at a dance club in the mid-eighties. (I was not that drunk girl. Really.) 8-|

    Gucci Rush? I’ve never tried it. But I will. For giggles.

    The exception here is The Party in Manhattan. I love it in all of its skankalicious glory. I hope that it hasn’t been toned down one tiny bit.

    • March says:

      Man, that Dianne threw up on you, what’s that green stuff? Midori? So, right after she had a Grasshopper. And too much ecstasy.

      PIM must be stunning on you, for sure. Gucci Rush doesn’t strike me as “you” at all but I think it’s so fun.

  • Jared says:

    Ah The Party in Manhattan. I still don’t know what to think about it because I want to love it. I want it to be beautiful and filthy and I could have used just a little more filth. But, worn next to some others, I detected a bit of L’Air de Rien in there, which delighted me. If it’s been reformulated to de-skank it, I will throw someone off a bridge (perhaps myself). I picture wearing it to a 30s era party with the new Madonna song “Celebration” playing. “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before? I guess I just didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.” Brilliant.
    PS, if anyone knows if it’s been reformulated, chime in and stop me from buying a new version!

    • Francesca says:

      I don’t know, L’air de Rien just smelled kind of like dirt to me. just dirt, tout court, not sexy dirt. It didn’t bother me, and I thought it was really interesting, but I didn’t want to wear it. On the other hand, Le Labo Oud 27, or whatever the number was, which LT touted as one of the skankiest things ever, gave me a migraine, and I sent the sample to a curious friend (if the damned post office ever sorts it out) with a biohazard symbol on it.

    • March says:

      Rien was total barnyard on me. Over my skank line. But I am apparently a musk magnifier. Not that I am complaining, mind you. And elsewhere on here, Francesca says PIM still smells plenty ripe to her. :)>-

      • Jared says:

        I put on my sample after I posted my comments and had instant yearning for a bottle. It’s like Mitsouko mixed with L’AdR. I’m curious though, March, as to what other scents cross the line? Whatever they are, I probably want them! :d

  • Francesca says:

    Geez, Marchie, you really were a, what shall we say–bold?–teenager; tube tops and carnies, BYOB underage…what I missed by having a rageoholic, controlling, and on top of all that, AUSTRIAN father..Anyway, I’m happy to see so much love here for The Party. I won a sample right here on this very website a while back, and I’ve bought what is probably a lifetime supply (because where, exactly, can you wear this stuff) from TPC, and I don’t see any difference (still gives The Silver Fox the vapors at the very mention).

    I don’t think too many other of my frags are LOL, but I would like to mention Lipstick Rose; I can’t remember TS’s exact quote, but I think it’s that it has a sense of humor, in that it really does smell exactly like a highly scented 50’s lipstick. (Aunts, kisses….)

    And right now I’m trying to think what I want to wear to an upcoming party in a gorgeous duplex,
    given by a charming young man who was a judge on a reality show about dog grooming, and his lovely wife, in the presence of their beautiful champion show dog. I suspect we will be among the older of the guests, so I may go for seriously funky. If not The Party, then def. Bal a Versailes.

    March, this was a wonderful post. So nice to be giggling so happily at 6:45 a.m.:x

    • Francesca says:

      Versailles. Too early.b-(

    • March says:

      Hm. I totally hear what TS is saying about Lipstick Rose, and maybe it’s our age difference (I’m sure she’s considerably younger than I am) or I’m just reading it wrong, but to me it’s a very moving scent, and a little melancholy, precisely because it’s so evocative. I like it very, very much but it makes me sad.

      You know, I almost put Bal on this list, only because I feel like Bal has a total sense of humor, although I’m not sure why. I’d probably go for Bal (although PIM would be great too) — Bal strikes me as the sort of retro-cool scent some young kids might actually run out and buy just for the novelty.

      • Francesca says:

        I don’t know what kids are wearing these days, but the “somebody” Rose with Scarlett Johannsen as the model is pretty nice. I wouldn’t wear it myself, but I certainly wouldn’t mind catching a whiff of it worn by a younger colleague.

  • Masha says:

    Great idea for a post. My “laugh out loud” party scent is MaDame (Gaultier). It’s packed with references to a Gen-X teenage-hood. It always cracks me up, even during the darkest days of winter. I love it. It’s like wearing a fluorescent pink raincoat in uber-conservative rural Germany.

    • March says:

      Excellent choice! MaDame is on my “waffle” list of scents I like but am too lazy/cheap to buy (would I wear it?) You’re right, it’s loads of fun. Another one like that for me (although it’s a very different smell) is YSL Elle, which everyone hated but I liked. Fizzy.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I love The Party and funnily enough, Roja Dove recommended it for me, given its similarities to Mitsouko…..and it certainly was beautifully skanky when I tried it.

    I like to think that the sort of party I go to now is the sort where I can wear my vintage Guerlains with aplomb, or my Givenchy vintages and come over all Audrey Hepburn (well, apart from the slender and stunning part).

    • March says:

      I’m surprised how many people on here today have tried PIM. I guess I shouldn’t be! And yes, in general, I go to the same sort of party as you. 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    I love this! instant fun!- please find more frags for many sequels. Makes me want to snatch my purse, buy fags underway (remainders to be disposed of on the way home) and hit town even if it’s only ten in the morning here and I’m scheduled for the dentists in twenty minutes…..

    • March says:

      Oh, the clubbing days there must have been fantastic! I wish I’d been someplace like NY in the 1970s and 1980s, although I’d likely have fewer brain cells.

  • Amy K says:

    March, how do you feel about Dinner by Bobo? I’d never sampled it before and recently swapped for a bottle on a whim. After seeing all the “Dinner by BO” jokes on MUA, I expected it to smell like a ripe armpit, but it’s really not over-the-top skanky on me. It’s like the chewing gum meal from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – a first course of cumin and citrus, followed by spicy candied fruits, then custard and incense. It’s a very bizarre party-in-a-bottle kind of fragrance. I smile every time I put it on.

    • March says:

      You know, I was sure I’d love this, and I didn’t. I can’t remember if I did a mini-review? It’s less melange and more hodgepodge, and too … meaty? It reminds me somewhat of Dana Tabu, and I’m more a Youth-Dew fan. But you’re right, it would work on this list. I’d file it under “banquet.”

  • Flora says:

    I almost bought Gucci Rush at TJ MAxx not long ago, until I remembered that I am actually over 30. I have to try it someday though!

    Th Party In Manhattan seems like more my style. I sure hope they did not chicken out and actually tone it down, I heard it was pretty intensely skanky, in all the right ways of course.


    • March says:

      I hate it when I remember that I’m over 30. It’s crucial to keep that in mind, though, especially from a clothing perspective. 🙂

      Francesca down there says PIM is as skanky as ever. 😡

  • Erin says:

    I bought Gucci Rush about ten years ago when it first came out and when I was in my late teens – I had smelled it in a fashion magazine, and it was so bold and intense, and so incredibly different than what I thought a ‘perfume’ was supposed to smell like. It was one of the first fragrances I ever owned (can you imagine starting out with Gucci Rush??). It is still one of the most instantly recognizable fragrances for me. Although I greatly admire this scent from afar as a work of art, I absolutley cannot wear it. Evidently, I couldn’t back then either, since the 50ml plastic bottle I bought is still nearly full. I think even back then I admired it more as a bold and unique and scent creation rather than as a wearable fragrance.

    • March says:

      Hah! Really, though, I think it would be a great fragrance for late teens … you don’t think it smells a lot better than much of the gourmand junk out right now? I’m poking around at the online discounters, I think I can get it for $30ish!

  • Tara says:

    The Party in Manhattan just makes me happy (in that I wish it were the 80s kind of way)….the first time I sniffed it I burst out laughing…if it weren’t so darned expensive, I’d own a bottle and a back up. I’ll have to try the others..especially the Gucci…1999 was a good year!

    • March says:

      I kind of wish it were the 80s, and I never thought I’d say that. It’s looking pretty good from this distance. In any case, PIM is fun.

      Rush btw is powerful stuff, I’m still getting hits of it this morning.