Random Wednesday: Weird and Wonderful

By March

1. Unfinished business – I have about fifteen friend requests in FaceBook I haven’t responded to; my daughters tell me this is terrible form but I don’t recognize the names.  If you’re a perfumista and you want to friend me, I’m delighted – just put a note in there explaining how we’re connected.

2. For anyone who missed it on Monday, the discussion on the Art of Fragrance event last Friday, the Patricia de Nicolai perfume presentation on Saturday with her reconstructions (and IFRA blah blah) continues…

It’s been cool and rainy and I am not complaining one bit.  Fall is here, apparently.  It’s been wonderful digging out the wool sweaters, smelling the woodsmoke in the air, and curling up under a comforter and wool blankets in a nice, cold bedroom.  Someone please remind me I wrote this when I’m whining about the weather in February.

I tried the Mugler Womanity, hoping for some caviar/fig love, being a big fig fan.  There’s no extended review here for what is in that bottle — because it is sooooooooooooooo terribly sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. It’s 30 seconds of fig and then a level of cloying sweetness that was actual scrubber level — as in I had to hunt down a sales associate posthaste and ask that it be removed from my arm with a makeup-remover wipe (if you’re in a department store, throw some skin care product at it.  At Sephora, grab their silver cleanser bottles.)   What a huge disappointment — shouldn’t fig/caviar from Thierry Mugler at least be an interesting flop?  An aquatic fig newton?

I also got a mini of Mugler Angel in my gift bag from the Art of Fragrance event.  So I tried it.  Again.  I’ll go so far as to accept Angel as interesting, a great technical scent.  What baffles me is its popularity.  I swear, I am sincere in my curiosity here.  All the Pink Sugar and the sweet gourmand musky stuff?   Coco Mademoiselle?  The cupcake scents?  I totally get why those are popular.  The smell’s familiar, or at least friendly.  Nothing “old lady” about it.

But Angel?  Angel’s so weird. Angel’s in the Cartier Must/Dior Dune discordant mode, the “opposites attract … in theory, but you know, not really in this case” effect, a razor-edge shiv of lavender/patch drowning in a tub of marshmallow fluff.  Wearing it is an endless distraction, like being stuck in a room with two mean girls drunk off their asses and pulling at each other’s weaves.  (Bet you $20 that Real World house is awash in Angel.)  I’m even on board with that bitter/sweet concept – I like it in Dune, I swear.  But I wouldn’t nominate any of those scents for Miss Homecoming Queen.  Why isn’t every third girl wearing, I dunno, Miss Dior Cherie L’Eau?  Angel doesn’t fit in my understanding of what’s popular now and why.  Angel fans – peace and love.  Look, I didn’t use the word “vomit” once, did I?  I made it the whole day and didn’t even wash it off (that stuff lasts and lasts, eh?)  Do you find it soothing?  Creamy?  Sweet n’ cuddly?  Maybe I really magnify the patch, I dunno.

So I put some Dune on instead and thought about other things, like how I really want to get my mitts on the L’Artisan Coeur de Vétiver Sacré after Kevin’s review.  He says it’s not so much vetiver as tea-ginger, and that kicked my interest up enormously.

Throwing it open to you today in the spirit of the changing weather – in all our hearts, if not in your specific geographical location.  What scent do you find perplexing?  What scent has turned out to be much more (or less) appealing to you personally than you were expecting?

  • bellemoon says:

    Long time Bloglovin lurker and rare commenter here….

    My *headpalm* fragrance, like others, is No. 5. Tried every formulation out there including Eau Premiere, and can’t wear a one save for the Sensual Elixer. Even that goes alydehlic-haywire on me for a few minutes and then decides to elegantly settle down..some days faster than others.

    I will peep my head out and confess that I own Angel, but the older I get the less it likes me. It is a sillage MONSTER on me, I would have people literally stop me in college on the sidewalk to ask what I was wearing. With one spray.

    Love this blog and you ladies (and gents) have provided many giggles and perfume ideas. Keep it rolling, y’all! :d

    • bellemoon says:

      lol what a goofy avatar, kinda looks like the Angel bottle…on lots and lots and lots of drugs

  • Darryl says:

    The one fragrance whose perennial popularity I have the hardest time fathoming is Aromatics Elixir. The patchouli, woods, florals and musk are simply to-die-for…at about 20 paces, and a few millennia after you’ve sprayed it on. Up close after applying, it’s acrid, musty, and almost bilious, at least to a modern nose like mine, and it suffers horrendously on a paper strip. So does AE ever rope in new noses at the Clinique counter, or do 99% of sales go to women who’ve used it religiously since it was released, and the other 1% go to curious sniffers like me? I love it and wouldn’t give up my bottle for anything, but…still a bestseller? Really?

  • Pimpinett says:

    Angel, oh, Angel… sort of gives me hope, actually, precisely because in some ways it is such an unlikely runaway hit. I love it, but I am well aware that I may not be you average fragrance consumer (I also love Borneo 1834, which should say something about my relationship with both patchouli and general perfume weirdness)and probably wasn’t even the first time I came across it and fell in love with it, in the mid 90’s. Somehow I really think that the weirdness of it is what makes it so appealing to the masses as well – it’s certainly what makes it sexy, the sweetness with that murky, musty patch giving it a dangerous edge, a feeling that there’s something else lurking underneath. (How very Lovecraftian!)

    In short, it makes me think that the general public really doesn’t want only fresh fruity florals. If they did, they certainly wouldn’t be shilling our for these massive amounts of Angel.

    Aramis surprised me. Such a gorgeous leather, the heart notes are glorious and very similar to vintage Bandit – instant love, and I don’t get why it’s sometimes touted as such a hairy-chested macho fragrance.

    • mariekel says:

      Om y lord, you are so right about Aramis — it is a light version of my darling nasty-girl Bandit! My dad wore Aramis when I was a kid but I had no real recollection of it. I have a sample that was in a pile of frags waiting to be sent to a male cousin but now, having tried a bit on, I might just keep this one!

      • Pimpinett says:

        It has much sweeter top notes than Bandit and lacks the bitter, green bite, but I like it almost as well in it’s way. The quinoline leather is pretty much the same, the leather note must be constructed in a similar way, and that part is what really makes me weak at the knees in Bandit. The drydown of Aramis is great, too.

  • nozknoz says:

    I was surprised by how much I loved Rush. Too paranoid about gasing everyone around me to wear it i public, though. What I don’t get is Fracas – it’s just too much and not in a good way, to me.

    The one in last weekend’s sample bag that I have now tried and really enjoy is Boucheron. Trying to decide whether ethically I should go order it from Bloomies, since they were a sponsor of that wonderful event, or just troll the internet for the best price or lie in wait for an interesting vintage bottle on ebay.

  • Dante's Bra says:

    I took one for the team with Womanity and left it on for a few hours to see if the caviar/ambergris overtook the sweeeeeeet– it came out a little, but not much. Not enough, fer sure! I was really taken aback with how shrill that thing is.

    I really want to like Timbuktu and Dzonkha, but I just can’t. The top notes are so screechy on me and last so long that I can’t even get to the incense/woods that everyone loves. It makes me sad– the notes sound great, I really like Duchaufour, but they just drill holes in my head. :((

  • mariekel says:

    Can’t quite understand Angel, either. It just seems so little girl-ish to me, with all that hyper-sweet floss. Finding it wafting from an adult woman strikes me as a bit odd. Even more so, I have never been able to grasp Shalimar. It just clobbers me over the head with heavy florals, vanilla and tonka. I love many of the Guerlains – Chamade is my all-time fav and I adore Fleur de Feu — but Shalimar makes me slightly queasy and I swear it temporarily ages me ten years every time I smell it.

    Today, I sampled that Luca-hyped Breath of God from B-never-so silly and was shocked by how absolutely ghastly it is. Rotting fruit salad and mustiness. If I hadn’t put it on just before heading out into the rain with a desperate-to-pee basset hound, I would have scrubbed it off. Until my skin bled if necessary. Fortunately, BoG’s sillage was quelled by the comparatively pleasant aroma of wet dog.

  • Winifreida says:

    Yes I’m another Angel lover and admirer, to me its pure genius, that scorching icy patch camphor thing just blasts into the stratosphere like it is supposed to.
    The last time I smelled it was on one of those remarkable witch wimmin in their fifties, the ones who are totally self-possessed and stylish with leopard print tights and pink flashes in their grey hair (I’d like to emulate but I’m too lazy!!). She was pushing a trolley in Aldi, I was rushing thru’ trying to grab too many things without one…I was just transfixed, it was the most amazing conjunction of charisma, beauty, and style.
    I WISH I’d done the ‘oh Angel’ thing, I’m sure she would’ve loved it…

  • Elisa says:

    I don’t like No. 5, but what surprises me more is how underwhelmed I am by most of JC Ellena’s scents. Too clean, too thin, too high-pitched — it’s like all I’m getting is treble. The scent of his I’ve liked most that I’ve sniffed is First, which is nothing like his signature style (and not really my style for wearing day to day either, but at least has a certain complexity and richness I can get into).

    I love the dissonance of Angel. It’s so much more avant-garde than the gourmands that are being made now. The patchouli is so thick, like bug spray — it’s an ugly-sexy thing.

  • Erin T says:

    I went through a very brief stage (a matter of weeks) at the beginning of my perfume addiction where I mostly wore Angel – and like many Angel-wearers, wore entirely too much of the stuff. I still wear it very occasionally, but now kind of think of it as my mother’s sig scent, as she picked it up from me and it suits her better. Other than the gourmand factor, I think Angel is popular because it is different, distinctive and *loud*. I shall explain myself:

    1. Despite the endless attempts to clone it, you still recognize the real stuff immediately. Whenever I wear it, girls on the subway ask if I am wearing Angel. For some reason, instead of being horrified that we wear the same thing – like showing up in the same dress to a party – women always seem gleeful to be able to identify other Angel wearers. All those pale, harmless, fruity-fresh-floral things smell the same. You’d be very hard-pressed to peg somebody wearing, say, Gucci Flora or Ralph Lauren Romance or something. I think Angel is a statement against those type of fragrances.

    2. Sillage monsters can be popular. Jane Doe doesn’t dab a small amount of $5 per ml nectar on and then spend the rest of the day compulsively huffing that tiny spot, like we do. Many normal people want to walk around in a *cloud* of perfume that tells them they’re really wearing the heck out of that stuff. I think this is why people wear 18 sprays of Angel, too – they’re trying to win the war against smell blindness. They want to smell that thing all damn day, and they want other people to smell it, too.

    • Erin T says:

      Oh, and I hate 100% Love, which I find perplexing. So much for me being okay with chocolate notes! Some commenter on NST once said it smelled like hoover dust when you change the bag and I agree.

    • Gretchen says:

      You could be talking about Giorgio wearers in the ’80s! “Wearing the heck out of it” and greeting each other as fellow Giorgio lovers. . . I twitch thinking of it.

  • Nita says:

    I keep spraying Bois des Iles (the pure parfum) on my wrist and sniffing it all day- it fascinates me but somehow I just don’t want to wear it. It’s that dark, (and I hate to say it, but almost rubbery) undertone that bothers me, and I don’t know what it is. (Can anyone tell me?) Chanel No. 5 parfum has the same dark undertone to a much smaller degree, which means I almost love it, but not quite enough to wear it. Recently I bought the Eau Premier and adore it- recognizably Chanel No. 5, but lighter, with a dreamy dry-down. I am also enjoying my recent purchase of the gorgeous 31 Rue Cambon, and hoping to be able to try some of the other Les Exclusifs soon.

    • March says:

      31RC is extraordinary, isn’t it? The one I’d take a bottle of if they were giving it away. (Next would be 28 La Pausa, the iris one, or Bois des Iles.) I’m not sure what’s bothering you in BdI — but I am friends with the EdT which does not seem dark at all.

    • mals86 says:

      SPRAYING Bois des Iles parfum?? WHERE? I must go there… I deeply wish the edt weren’t so dang light.

      • Nita says:

        Oops- sorry- I meant dabbing- from a tiny sample ordered from TPC…… and I am wondering whether the lighter edt would work for me. I am hoping to get in to the Chanel store (about an hour & a half away) within the next couple of weeks, when I will have a glorious time sampling everything!

  • DJ says:

    For me, Coco (not Coco Mademoiselle) and Chanel No.5 both = fail on me, as well as EFM Noir de Epices. Actually, my skin struggles with most :( but I want to like certain ones and love certain things on other people–Coco for instance. I love it when someone walking is wearing it well and getting a waft of it.

    I can’t think of Angel without thinking of the woman that sold Chanel accessories at Saks in Boston–I was working in *cough* scarves and hosiery. She trailed Angel everywhere, every single day. And this was back in 1995. She was lovely, but the scent is just her…forever seared into my olfactory memory.

    • March says:

      Coco and Noir Epices are similar enough I can see them both being duds (and I’m sorry to hear it, because I love them both.) I think Coco smells grand on me, if I do say so myself. I layer my vintage EdP with the new parfum.

      See, maybe that’s part of my problem with Angel — I feel like for awhile there it was suffocating everyone for miles around.

  • karin says:

    Hi March! Re: Angel, well, I wouldn’t say it’s exactly “popular” today. It was released in 1992, and became a huge hit. Yes, it’s still a bestseller, but it’s almost in the “old lady perfume” or “classic” camp now. Why did sales skyrocket? It was different! It was the Opium or Giorgio of the 90’s. The heavy hitting blast of the unique. Weird! Strong! Offensive! Addictive! And men LOVE it. I wore it when it first came out, and occasionally still wear it today. But, I wouldn’t say the young crowd is flocking to the Angel counter. They seem to be after the sweet fruit, not the old lady Angel. I really think every third girl IS wearing Miss Dior Cherie L’Eau. Or Daisy. Or Love and Juicy…

    • March says:

      Okay, you win. I’ll be honest: I forget how old Angel is. You’re probably right; what I think is “young” is likely a buncho women in their late 20s and 30s who are still wearing it.

      I did give Diva some to sample — she’s 16. She said she liked it because it was “soft” and “didn’t smell like ho.” When I asked what “ho” smells like, she said the fruity stuff from Victoria’s Secret and Bebe. She also said people shouldn’t wear fruity musks after gym class.

      • karin says:

        More like late 40s and 50s! Ha! I could be wrong, though. That’s been known to happen. :d

        Wow! Angel = soft? Funny because my hairdresser wears it, and it’s definitely soft on her. It smells great. But I think it’s a matter of application. I’m guessing she sprays one small spritz on one wrist, and rubs them together. It’s the heavy sprayers that make the thing so darned suffocating!

  • Tiara says:

    Shalimar and Fracas are 2 that I thought I’d love. I am holding out hope that I’ll like the new Shalimar flanker, Ode de la Vanille.

  • maidenbliss says:

    About 7 years ago, while staying in a hotel, a woman passed by and smelled so divine
    I asked what she was wearing- Angel. Bought a bottle for my daughter and was subjected
    to sugar plum fairies dusted with sickeningly sweet fumes wafting through house/car for years. How could this smell so delicious on one woman and cause to me gag and open windows when my daughter wore it?
    Carnal Flower. Fracas. We don’t play well together.
    Furriner-I’m in your camp….nice, but???

    • March says:

      LT stuck to his story last Friday that scents don’t smell different on different people, but …. I just think he’s flat-out wrong.

      • maidenbliss says:

        We, as a collective, albeit tiny society, are imagining this? How does he account for the body chemistry theory we’re all so familiar with?
        He must have scientific data that he’s collected to corroborate his theory….

      • Gretchen says:

        Has it never occurred to LT that humans each have their own unique and recognizable (to other humans, not just to bloodhounds) body scent? Every one who wears a perfume, or for that matter scented soap or shampoo, is layering it with his or her own smell. And we all know that some scents have synergy in combination, while others clash hideously. . .

      • mals86 says:

        My personal theory on LT’s theory is that he’s “smelling through” the extraneous stuff not pertaining to the actual perfume, probably because he has a trained nose and also probably because he’s already familiar with (by this time) nearly everything.

        So many times when I do a mini-sniffa with my teenage daughter, I’m saying, “ooh, there’s that tuberose!” or “See, that smells like mildew*!” when she’s puzzled and saying, “All I smell is alcohol…” In my lame sort of way, my nose has learned to identify some things that my daughter can’t even smell because she’s distracted by other stuff. I think LT isn’t distracted by whatever’s not perfume.

        Or something like that.

        *Mildew = the first twenty-thirty minutes of Nuit de Tubereuse. Which I like afterward.

        • nozknoz says:

          mals, I think you are right about LT – it’s the only way I can imagine that someone wouldn’t feel that perfumes can smell very different on different people.

  • Persolaise says:

    Hmm… it’s funny, ’cause your post made me realise that, actually, more often than not, perfumes turn out to be pretty much what I was expecting them to be… which raises all sorts of questions about objectivity and self-fullfilling prophecies…

    …but here’s one for you: Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire. I was hoping for an all-out, smoky, raunchy, earthy vetivert, but what I got instead was a cold display of clinical efficiency. It left me utterly unmoved.

    And I guess I should also mention Bleu De Chanel, but that subject’s just too depressing.

    • March says:

      I refuse to discuss Bleu because it makes me get that stabby look in my eyes (even more so than usual). Jebus, they couldn’t do better than that?

      Oh! What a great description of “clinical efficiency” and how a fragrance can (apparently) be technically good and not move you an iota … how’d you feel about Sycomore?

      • Persolaise says:

        Oh dear, I feel like I’m being put on the spot 8-|

        Here’s an honest answer for you: it’s one of my favourites. I was totally bowled over after just one sniff.

        Now you’re going to tell me you hate it, right?

        • March says:

          Well of course I hate Sycomore, because I hate vetiver. Because I’m an utter FAIL at impartiality. But at least I’m honest. Let me try that in another way: I think Sycomore’s the most brilliant vetiver I’ve smelled, and if I liked vetiver, which I don’t, I’d pick Sycomore to wear.

          Feel free to rag on anything you like in return.

  • Cheryl says:

    My confession: Homage Amouage. I love everything about what I thought it was. BUT I can only bring myself to respect it. I don’t love it. It’s like a hornet on me looking for a place to drill…and it seems to be an attar version of “Joy” (which I do like, well enough). Why, why, why!???

    • Shelley says:

      LOL at the “hornet looking for a place to drill”!! :) Which, incidentally, is what No. 5 frequently does to me.

      And, in the realm of weird connectedness…would you believe I have an attar called “Joy”? Distilled, concentrated hornets.

    • Wino says:

      Right there with you, Cheryl. After reading the glowing reviews of Homage, I expected to be overwhelmed by its beauty. Instead, I found it screechy and somewhat thin on my skin. I just can’t believe that the gorgeous descriptions are for the same scent that’s sitting on my wrist, annoying me! :-?

    • March says:

      You know, I stopped trying the new Amouages awhile ago. I know this is heresy around here, but they release them faster than I’m interested and they’re hard to get ahold of, and after the ones I’ve already tried, some of which were great enough, I still hadn’t ordered up even a decant.

  • sweetlife says:

    OK, here’s my stab at the continued popularity of Angel:

    1)It’s recognizable, so if your sorority sister is wearing it, you know she is (and how), and you recognize it the second and third time, too, and so can remember it and track it down.

    2)It combines the sweet stuff with some sex. Not in a way you enjoy, obviously, M, but still, I think a lot of younger women are craving something with some basenotes, they just don’t know how to ask for it, or where to look for it. Everything is either cupcakes or fresh, fresh, fresh. If I’d been on a steady diet of BBW fruit and Blue I can see how Angel might blow the top of my head off in a good way.

    3) See #1. I think loving a perfume, for a lot of less adventurous people, requires having some guide posts. Thus the genius of the Jo Malone scents, whose names announce what you are supposed to be looking for (and the terrible decision of the Le Labo people to confuse us all). Even perfumistas love the guideposts of a good review. If a recognizable scent is all around you, you are more inclined to feel you understand and enjoy it. It almost (almost) doesn’t matter what it is.

    And FWIW, I don’t much care for No. 5 either. The aldehydes in the EDT make me feel like shards of glass are being shoved up my nose. I literally jerk my head away. I go back to bang my head on the parfum every other year or so, hoping for enlightenment.


    • March says:

      Gah — two kids home sick today and the house next door is being re-roofed, the banging’s driving me nutso — wah wah — loved “sex not in the way (I) enjoy” — 😉 so you’re getting sexy where I’m getting mothball or thereabouts. But your argument makes total sense.

      The Le Labos, don’t even get me started. The only one I lust for is Poivre, but even that I’m not buying a bottle of, I’d rather have Marocain, I think. Okay, I want both. 🙂

      So … shards of glass in a *bad* way? (eyebatting emoticon)

    • Gretchen says:

      Good points in your analysis of Angel fans, Sweetlife.

      Myself, I love no. 5 (especially in parfum; haven’t even tried edt), so bring on the aldehydes! Though I always give them time to sublimate before I sniff deeply.

    • carlene says:

      Shards of glass! Yes. I also envision those enlarged electronmicroscope photos of pollen or spores with their zillion tiny spikes. Chanel No. 5 hurts. There are quite a few aldehydic fragrances that I love, and others that I don’t love, but that I get. Can’t get this one. I am definitely going to seek out the Eau Premiere.

  • Style Spy says:

    I believe you were standing near me last Friday when I told Tania I was going to swallow my pride and wear Angel once to see what happened. What happened was I put some on one wrist and soon after went looking for a coyote to gnaw off my arm. What the HELL??? It smelled like someone made an ashtray out of a chocolate cake. And threw some cherries on it. Badbadbadbadbad.

    I was also meh about Nuit de Tubereuse, which surprised me because Denyse & I are usually on the same page.

    I am perplexed by Manoumalia, although I adore it. I know it’s a “tropical,” but it’s barely recognizable as such, compared to the others I have in the perfume drawer. It barely smells like perfume, frankly, with its rubbery-ness, but I find it incredibly compelling.

    My confession? I was not a huge fan of Iris Gris. I know this will elicit stunned silence in some quarters and no doubt they’ll yank my Frag Hag card, but… just not a big iris gal. Even Luca’s holy grail of iris. Nope.

    • Masha says:

      It’s funny, but I think, “Bad bad bad” about Angel 99% of the time, then those 2 or 3 days a year, that’s all I want to smell! It’s so bizarre. Manoumalia is the same way, sometimes it’s rubbery gag-worthy, other times, that’s all I want to smell! I love most iris scents, but some I find quite loathesome, like Iris Poudre, which goes nuclear on my skin. And the Prada Iris- I couldn’t smell it!

      • Masha says:

        Come to think of it, NdT went totally nuclear on my skin as well, one of the aromachemicals just really doesn’t like me at all, and I wonder if it’s the same one that’s in Iris Poudre and Nahema?? It gives me a violent headache.

        • Shelley says:

          Wait wait wait! Nahema can do that to me, but so far Iris Poudre has not. Oh, please, PLEASE, let it not be true of IP…

          • Masha says:

            Well, it’s probably not the same aromachemical then. I just remember a bad incident on a crowded European train after I’d tried a tiny spritz of Nahema pur parfum. That car was empty after 5 minutes!

    • Shelley says:

      SS, I love iris. It’s a core around which I’d collect many iterations/interpretations. Okay, fine; not I *would,* but I *have.* ;) But if it’s not your bag, I can see why maybe you wouldn’t swoon over it. Maybe. ;)

      Funny, Angel makes me go all “garrrr,” but I like me some Lolita Lempicka every now and then. You know, in the same way you go for a certain dessert. (I point this out because PdN had Angel and LL over there on the same part of the oriental tree.)

      • Masha says:

        Lolita Lempicka is very popular in Italy, and it seems perfect for many Italian women- quirky, fun-loving, exuberant. It’s a stranger critter than Angel.

        • Ann N. says:

          Hi Masha and Shelley, is it the original Lolita Lempicka to which you refer? I can’t wear that one so well, but I do love me some L de Lolita Lempicka — a little gourmandy, yes, but gently so, and oh so good! BTW, I’ve just tried the limited edition Fleur de Corail Lempicka and on me it’s a softly sexy incense.

          • Shelley says:

            Yes, I’m talking original. I remember somebody really liking the Fleur de Corail…I have a sample hidden for future fun…I think perhaps you have inspired one of the trial sessions in my near future.

          • Ann N. says:

            Have fun, Shelley! There’s nothing I like better on a chilly fall day than to pull out my perfumes and play! And if you want some L to try, let me know …

          • March says:

            The regular L in the little mermaid bottle is sweet immortelle (hay and syrup). Great on a winter day.

          • Momlady says:

            Hmm, maybe that’s why it comes out rootbeer on me…hadn’t made that connectionbefore..thanks.

    • March says:

      Chocolate ashtray … joining me in the Must camp, eh? I think I translate the “ashtray” part into lavendarchouli on my skin but yes, there’s this angry, unpleasant streak running right through it.

      Manoumalia, as you may recall, I loathed with every fiber of my being.

    • March says:

      Heh. So you don’t like iris. At least you know that, right? You can move on now. ::Shrug:: I’m never going to be the Rose Queen either.

  • donanicola says:

    Womanity – “makes sign of the cross”. Tried it once and totally agree with your assessment. Now when I see the bottle in my local dept store I circle it as warily as if it was a hand grenade with the pin about to spontaneously pop. I don’t mind Angel, it sort of fascinates me and I like the men’s version (more stubble less candy floss). The coffee and malt versions also good. The one I scratch my head over you have mentioned – Coco Mad. WTF?

    • March says:

      The coffee one I’ve always been sorry I didn’t buy, I liked it that much, but of course I only wanted it after it was gone.

      You know … I’m going to stick up for Coco Mad. It smells great layered with regular Coco. It’s cheesy and vapid and I feel like that was its job description, and I don’t even mean that insultingly.

    • mals86 says:

      On the right person (my sister comes to mind), Coco Mad smells like the far drydown of some older floral chypre – austerely floral, sternly lovely, very feminine. On the wrong person (say, ME – or the other twenty people around me wearing it on a regular basis), it’s harsh, discordant and dreadful.

      I dunno.

  • pam says:

    I have been seeking out the Womanity to give it a try and it has not arrived in this part of the world yet. After reading your review, March, I will seek other fragrances on my treks around town. This one sounds awful. Not an Angel fan, anyway.

    24 Faubourg is one that I am still trying to figure out. Why the fans? LT thought it was good in a dated way. Maybe it just hates me, but I get such a chemical-y smell from it. Maybe I’ll try it again in a couple of weeks.

    • March says:

      Uh, yeah, I wouldn’t make finding Womanity your life’s work. And 24 Faubourg … it’s kind of humorless, like Baiser, although I don’t always agree with LT about “dated” — he said the same thing about Coco.

    • DinaC says:

      To me, 24 Fauboug was like a classical music symphony. There were tons of instruments all playing…the sound was amazing…but it was a bit overwhelming. Not sure when I’d ever feel like it was a day to pull that one out and actually wear it.

  • Momlady says:

    I lol-ed…your experience with Womaninity is a total flashback to my experience with Coco Mademoiselle. My SA couldn’t find the wipes fast enough.Which was pretty impressive if you think about it…I believe they attend training seminars to be desensitized to such unpleasantness and still be able to tell you with a straight face that it’s the newest thing and it’s supposed to smell like that! Oops,lol some more.
    For me the thing with Angel is this, I have a friend who wears Angel..with a light touch and for what ever reason, chemistry, good karma, deal with the dark forces of perfumery…what ever, it smells amazing on her. Kind of like I’ve know three people (we’re talking over the course of approximatly 40+ yrs) who could wear Tabu and it smelled so good you just wanted to follow them around. Normally I can smell this scent in parts per squijillion…and it makes me gag..don’t know why..just does.so I’m sure you can imagine my surprise at discovering the facinating scent was my worst olfactory nightmare.
    Dune…doesn’t even pretend to like me..not even the least little bit…and here’s the worst part…(learned by sad,sad experience)…it WON’T be scrubbed! 2 days later people are still giving strange looks and loved ones try to not wrinkle their noses when I come within the 3 ft personal space perimeter.

    • mals86 says:

      I know there are people who wear Angel well – it’s all berries and dark vanilla sexiness on them – but I must amp up the manly stuff. On me, it’s like Drakkar Noir drank too much cherry Nyquil and fell into a vat of marshmallow fluff. Bleargh. Horribly twisted.

      • Masha says:

        When I wear Angel to class, my students think it smells great. And believe me, my students tell me when they don’t like a perfume (they know I’m a perfumista and I bring vials of various things to class sometimes when recess gets cancelled by rain or blizzards). And on certain women I’d describe as “blond Valkyries”, usually of Scandinavian origin, Angel just seems so perfect. Why it smells good on me, I do not know, I’m a tiny teddy bear.

        • Tiara says:

          While I’m blond but not Scandinavian, Angel(applied quite sparingly) smells pretty nice on me. It’s the berries but mostly dark vanilla Mals mentioned.

          Angel Liqueur wears quite nicely as well.

        • March says:

          This is another argument for the idea that some fragrances simply smell great on some people and not on others.

      • Momlady says:

        Oh Mals..too funny. It does something similar on me but I’ve never been able to conjure such an apt image…lol’d right into my coffee!

    • March says:

      There’s that general First Rule of Scrubbers, which is: the more you hate it, the less likely it is to leave. So Dune would definitely be there for two days. Borneo lasts a week on me. Womanity, thank God, I did NOT get on my clothing. I have had things drycleaned to get rid of the smell.

      I’ve scanned the comments and the consensus is, there are people on whom Angel simply smells great. And on others it’s not so great.

  • Isa says:

    My last letdown has been Love, Chloé. It was my most anticipated perfume in the season. When I read the wonderful review of Octavian Coifan I thought: “this has my name on it. I have to love it”.

    Then, I tried it and well… it smells good, it’s powdery (which I like) but it’s so light that I can barely smell it. It lacked oomph and character.
    Anyway, I want to try it again just to see if my opinion changes.

    • March says:

      That’s funny … you know, this is probably a more common occurrence than you’d think. It’s just kind of meh. You smell something that’s been raved over and you don’t HATE it, you just feel sort of nothing. The Nuits de Tubereuse from L’Artisan got a lot of that. Well, at least there are plenty of other fish in the sea…

  • Louise says:

    Weird and Perplexing? Right up my alley.

    I’d nominate most of the recent Amouage Opus collection. Not a one in there is wearable for me, but they are indeed interesting. SL Serge Noir-it should smell great, goes verrrrry odd, but fascinating on my skin (oh, I just noticed Francesca nominates this, too ; ).

    I hate to say it-but some of the older formulations of Mitsy are pretty weird. One of my PdT bottles is kind of brackish and sharp in the base-not turned, just very odd. I love it.

    Angelique Encens runs beautiful and strange on my skin. The slightly jarring mix or green bitter and vanilla is a bit startling-and I can’t get enough of it.

    Nice to see you at least not gagging on Angel, Marchele!

    • March says:

      Oh I thought you’d be proud! And I didn’t scrub. But it’s still a mighty strange thing to behold, and maybe I’m a party of one but I smell a more than passing resemblance to Dune, only of course Dune is far less sweet.

      Those old Mitzy bottles are bizarre, and I am sure you have some oddities. AE …. yeargh….. gave away that decant awhile ago. That buttered feet bit always makes the stomach flip a bit.

  • Francesca says:

    Several of LucaTania’s 5-star scents had me scratching my head, even though I accepted their concept of interesting and well-composed as opposed to just “smells good,” Secretions Magnifiques being chief among these. As far as personal wearing experience, I’d have to say Bulgari Black. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did, thinking rubber wasn’t something I’d want to smell like. Wore it once, happily. Wore it twice and nearly turned into litle green-faced vomit guy.

    Serge Noire was much, much better than I’d expected, given how many people hated it. And my response to the much-praised Beige was simply, “Ew.”

    • March says:

      SM I don’t get at all and hope nobody ran out and bought it based on his review (or their recommendation for it as “sexy” in some mag awhile back, I think Allure? OMG, as the youngsters say.) Bulgari Black is quite the surprise — sounds like it hasn’t become part of your regular rotation….

      Serge Noir I really liked and I don’t care what everyone else says. [-(

      • Masha says:

        I LOVE Serge Noire! When I bought Bas de Soie, they gave me a sample, and I’ve been wearing a dab now and then, I think it’s brilliant, wish I’d bought a bottle of that, too.

        • March says:

          All right, then, we can all sit next to each other. I think LT gave it one miserable star!

          • Masha says:

            That is just soooo wrong. I will wear my Serge Noire with pride!

          • Francesca says:

            I think it was TS who reviewed and haaaaatedit. Whatever. It smells great on me. In fact, I’m going to dig out my decant to wear tomorrow.

    • Gretchen says:

      Beige smells of hawthorn, which to my nose is both annoying and insipid. Good thing that Chanel has so many other scents that I can love wholeheartedly.

    • sharyl says:

      LT gave such an interesting and glowing 5 star review of Missoni that I ordered it in my last samples order from TPC. Well, my experience of it is an unidentifiable mess of something that a child might cobble together out of the kitchen cabinets if left to their own devices to play. I don’t know. I just really do not get this one at all on any level.

  • Masha says:

    How funny, I’m wearing Angel today! I get the urge to wear it about twice a year, must have something to do with hormone levels?? I dunno. I find that the perfumed powder is quite enough, though! Angel I get, because it’s twisted. Perverse. But just pure sugar attack frags?? Those I don’t get at all. And those zillion fake citrus mixed with fake florals. Gag. Don’t get it at all. Womanity was shockingly sweet, wasn’t it? The Cinnabon of Mugler, in terms of carb content. Hated it! My fave Mugler is still the Cologne, it’s just incredible, and peculiar, too.

    • March says:

      Well, YOU get it. You’re a perfume freak. But why do millions of young American trollops wear it? It strikes me as the kind of scent that, if it were introduced right now, and I took a bunch of SAs out to stroll Macy’s with bottles of it, American girls ought to back away with their noses wrinkled and say, ew. Collectively. So its continued popularity baffles me. It’s too quirky, and the sweet candy bit is strongly offset by the patch … like, Womanity is closer to what I think they’d want.

      Mugler Cologne is great stuff and always shows up on any decent perfumista list of colognes to try.

  • Furriner says:

    I find Jubilation XXV perplexing. It’s nice n all, but I find it kind of average.

    • March says:

      Well, I always get 25 and XXV confused in my head — XXV is the men’s one right? Incensey? A little sweaty? If so I liked it a lot but it’s got some competition in the category.

  • Gisela says:

    After all the buzz I had high hopes for Nuit de Tubereuse, but on me it was only PINK PEPPER and sour red berries – ugh.

    And I can’t wear Fracas (when my dishcloth is in dire need of washing it smells exactly like that), so Carnal Flower was a wonderful surprise – perfection for me!:)

    • March says:

      ugh that dishcloth smell, that’s a bad one, isn’t it? I’ve thrown them away for that sin… Carnal Flower is the bees’ knees, so good for you. And more than one person was Meh on NdT.

  • Madea says:

    Firstly, I’m going on record as saying: In my view, Real World house would smell like those cheap ‘Coconut fanatasy body sprays’ and flavored vodka. Just sayin’.

    Second, I sort of like Alien. Not love, but if someone had a bottle they were over and offered it to me, I’d take it. I think I like it because it doesn’t smell like anything else. It was bold of Mugler to do it, rather than fruitcholi #9,578.

    I didn’t like Violettas di Parma. I love violets, and really old fashioned stuff, but all it smelled of on me was plastic.:((

    On the other hand, someone sent me a decant of Jardin sur la Medtiranee, and I actually used it all (I can nurse a single 1 ml sample for months, so that says everything). It makes me feel put together and slightly posh.

    • March says:

      I sort of like Alien too! And like you I think I would wear it if it were gifted to me.

      Violetta di Parma … maybe the formula’s changed or the bottles vary? It’s a great bedtime scent and to me smells like violets, if not sophistication…. and you made me gag with your Real World description, yech, you are probably right.

    • mals86 says:

      I was surprised to like Alien as well. I’m not a big jasmine fan, and amber is frequently way too sweet for me, so why Alien was a success is a mystery. I have greater tolerance for “sweet” in scents that I sleep in, and Alien is definitely a lounge-around-the-house-in-my-pajamas thing.

    • Cheryl says:

      Yes…something is not swoon-worthy delightful in Violettes de Parma…I agree!

    • maidenbliss says:

      Madea, I sent an email to you, don’t think it’s the right addy. Let me
      know if you got it–I’ve got samples for you.

  • DinaC says:

    I tried Womanity a couple months ago, and this was my review:

    A cheap fruity air freshener sprayed abundantly in a guy’s dirty-sock-filled dorm room.

    That’s honestly what it smelled like to me. Fruit and dirty socks. Sickening sweet and salty sweat mixed. :-& (that should be little green faced I’m about to barf emoticon).

    My DD was eager to check through my goodie bag from Friday night’s perfume event. I let her have the mini Miss Dior Cherie (waaaay too sweet for me). She loved the little Angel bottle, but I told her that it was super strong, vile smelling stuff. I let her try one drop of it on, and of course, she liked it. 8-| (rolling eyes guy) Nevertheless, I told her that one was staying in my possession. I don’t get the love for the whole gourmand family. I don’t want to smell like vanilla, or cookies, or muffins, or chocolate. Eat them? Sure!

    Yeah, I want to try the new L’A Vetiver, too. I’ve been wearing Sycomore this week and loving it.

    • March says:

      Huh. Great review… I’d have welcomed more sock, to be honest. Anything to cut some of that sweetness. And it was enormous — I only did one spray and the sillage was astonishing.

      LOL on the samps — they’ll likely wind up in various Santa stockings, but I hear you on the Angel. We have rules about what I have to put up with in my house. :) Of course I’ve given them so much frag they’re hardly lacking.

      I like gourmands, actually, just not THAT one. The spicy-vanilla ones I’ll wear, like Organza Indecence, although they’re not exactly highbrow.

  • violetnoir says:

    I love Coeur de Vetiver Sacre! I am wearing it today, and will probably wear it tomorrow. I am completely and totally smitten.

    Have you tried Angel Liqueur? Didn’t you review it last year, March? Where as Angel can literally blast you out of the room, the liqueur is smooth as silk. Pretty bottle, too.

    Hey, it’s cool and rainy out here, too!

    Nope, have not tried Womanity yet. And, even after all the recent commentary about it, I still can’t imagine what it will smell like on me. I will get to it one of these days.


    • March says:

      Okay, then, you’ve kicked it up my list, might have to order some up from TPC. I didn’t do the review of Angel Liqueur, I am pretty sure that was Robin NST you’re thinking of… lord, take a pass on the Womanity. It’s not interesting enough even to suffer through.


  • Daniela says:

    Womanity was interesting for me at first. The blend of salty and sweet was a curious combination. But it wore out its welcome fast, and after a few test drives, I just left it in the parking lot (i.e. didn’t buy it).

    Similarly disappointing is the latest Opium flanker. Although – as everyone has said a million times now – it’s not a flanker at all because they are quite vividly dissimilar.

    One that blew my socks off was Eau des Merveilles. I know I’m late on the bandwagon, but after all the praises, I had to give it a sniff. And it’s wonderful (duh!). Ordered a decant of it, but it’s seeming more and more like Santa will hopefully be slipping it in my stocking :)

    • March says:

      Oh, so glad to read your love of Merveilles! It’s quite an unusual scent, I can’t think of anything like it, really. And another nice thing about it is it’s so common you can generally get a discount bottle online somewhere. Although if I “owed” a nice sales associate in my local retailer I’d likely buy it there. Maybe Santa shops near you. ;)

  • carlene says:

    Chanel No. 5. I try it again every couple years, but no. Still don’t get it.

    • March says:

      Is it the aldehydes? Aldehydes are hard, and it’s not a warm, cuddly thing … also the EdC is extremely powdery. The EdP is pretty different than the EdT btw. (abbreviation overload!) My personal favorite is the Eau Premiere, personally, putting all my cards on the table. They’re recognizably related.

      • maggiecat says:

        I just wore the Eau Premiere yesterday (for my birthday!). If you *want* to get No. 5 and don’t, try this version. The genius of the scent comes through, minus the whiff of aldehydes, which translate to “old lady” for some.

        • March says:

          Eau Premiere showed up on a survey on Now Smell This as an example of a good flanker, and I’d say it deserves its own space on the shelf on its own merits. I’ve gifted it, even. And it’s neither young nor old.

        • mals86 says:

          I’d agree – and I LIKE No. 5. In vintage parfum, I love it. But Eau Premiere is so much friendlier, while keeping the general character of the original.