Why is it that the best laid plans always get shot to hell? I know; I’ve asked that question before.
I was looking for something easy to review for today, and my nose took me on quite an unexpected sniffing expedition. I started contemplating a barrage of samples I´ve accumulated lately, thinking I would get inspired by one of them, Lise Watier´s Folies Neiges in particular, since I somehow wound up with about a dozen samples of that scent. They´re those flat little soaked cotton pads, not vials, and I think a Shoppers Drug Mart SA might have gone a bit overboard stuffing them into my bag. She may not have intended to give me quite so many. Folies Neiges is quite possibly the greenest of any green scent I´ve ever smelled. Miller et Bertaux Green used to be the greenest scent I´d ever smelled. Then came Issey Miyake´s a scent, which is green on steroids. Having now smelled Folies Neiges, what is greener than green on steroids? Nuclear green? How green was my valley? More like, how green can green possibly be?
So, I went to Shoppers Drug Mart this past Monday, since I was picking up dinner at my favourite falafel restaurant that just happens to be in the same shopping centre. I immediately spotted Beyonce Heat, and without even a shred of trepidation, I spritzed some on the back of my hand. March was right; canned peaches and unwashed ladyparts. And patchouli. What was I thinking? I had to do a vigorous scrubbing before attacking my falafel.
Yesterday, I went to Yorkdale. I always manage to find something at Yorkdale. My first stop was Bath and Body Works. After the Serge love fest two weeks ago, I figured I needed a little lowbrow sniffage to balance out the high-end niche bender I´ve been on for the last little while. I was looking for the new Orange Sapphire scent, which Robin had good things to say about on Now Smell This. I was also curious about Sweet Pea Forever, mostly because of the cute pink bottle with the abstract peace sign on it. Orange Sapphire wasn´t available yet, so I spritzed a bit of Sweet Pea Forever and proceeded to walk around. It was the usual syrupy fruit cocktail concoction that I´ve come to expect from B&BW, but that bottle is so darn cute. I´m a sucker for peace signs, but apparently not enough of a sucker to spend $30.
From there it was over to The Bay. I´d remembered that I smelled the latest Givenchy Ange au Demon flanker, Le Secret, a few weeks ago, and I went back to check it out again. I liked it – green tea, cranberry, citrus, a bit of jasmine. Perfect for the faux spring weather we´ve been having lately, which I´m quite confident is not going to hang around much longer. As I was doing the wrist-snort, I spotted Balenciaga Paris; and then the walls fell.
It isn´t very often that I get bowled over by a department store fragrance, but for all the “meh” I´ve smelled lately, Balenciaga Paris more than makes up for it. I fell in love with the bottle the first time I saw an image of it, but the scent description left me a little cold. I don´t normally go for anything chypre, modern or otherwise, but experience has taught me that these “modern” chypres that are out there now don´t bear any resemblance to anything chypre. So, I am usually willing to give them a sniff.
It turns out the bottle is beautiful in person, and the scent is quite wonderful. It is a lovely, understated interpretation of violet, combined with a bit of fizzy bergamot and spicy pepper, and just a hint of woods and labdanum. The other notes listed are oakmoss, cedar and patchouli, but as far as my nose is concerned, they´re non-existent. For me, this is Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory turned on its ear. The stunning combination of incense and violet is breathtaking in the cold weather, but stifling when it turns warmer. If you remove the heaviness of the incense from Silver Factory, I´m convinced what you would be left with is Balenciaga Paris. And that makes it perfect for now, and for when spring is really supposed to arrive. I really enjoy the fact that this is a violet-based scent that does not smell like laundry detergent. Violet is a tough one to get right, but Olivier Polge and Nicolas Ghesquià¨re hit the bulls eye with this one.
Sample Mania: If you´d like to sample the overwhelming greenage that is Lise Watier´s Folies Neiges, I´ll have Lily cat draw 6 names from the comments section to receive a foil-sealed sample. I´m warning you: you have to LOVE green scents to appreciate this one. Lily will be celebrating her 13th birthday on the 23rd, and would love nothing more than wishes for continued good health and happiness.
Disclosure: I was given a sample of Balenciaga Paris by Marcos at The Bay in Yorkdale. I also bought a 75 ml bottle that I swore to him I was going to “wear the crap out of.” That is one fragrant promise I intend to keep.