Pass the scalpel, please: Ramon Monegal Pure Mariposa

On a recent trip to the big city, I popped into Neiman Marcus. They had played musical chairs with the beauty/fragrance lines since the last time I was in there, so as I wandered about trying to get my bearings, what should I spy over on one counter but a slightly familiar- looking bottle with a white flip-top cap. It was the Ramon Monegal Mariposa, exclusive to Neiman’s. If you’ll recall, Musette mentioned it a while back with her RM post.

mariposa2 So I made a beeline for it and spritzed the back of my hand (the only skin real estate I had left). Whoa! For the first 10 minutes or so, I was so intrigued, almost mesmerized, thinking, “Oh, my –- this is like nothing I’ve ever smelled before.”

And then — out of the blue — epiphany over. The scent took a nose-dive deep into fig territory and never left. Not that I don’t like fig, but it’s not one of my top 5 favorite notes, and this wallop of it was utterly unexpected. So understandably, I was disappointed. After that amazing opening, I was hoping for something equally striking from the later phases of the scent. The end result felt like I had a slightly more floral Philosykos
on my hand. Nice, but not exactly what I had in mind. I mentally berated my freaky, fig-amplifying skin.

Oh, if only I could capture the Mariposa top notes, hold them on my skin and keep them there for a while longer, using a combination of surgical skill and perfumer’s precision to neatly lop off the back end of it.

But such is life. I will give the Mariposa another test (this time on my wrist) next time I’m in there, just for the sake of fairness. (And to enjoy that wowza! opening again while it lasts!) I do adore the bottle (waves to Musette), and opened and closed it joyously several times at the counter, while the SA looked at me like I was nuts. Alas, it’s still not enough to warrant forking over the required bucks. Guess I’ll stick with Entre Naranjos or Kiss My Name as my fave Monegals so far.

Here’s hoping the Mariposa smells wonderful on some of you; I would love to see how it develops on someone else’s skin. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll be easier to sample before too long.
BTW, all you lucky folks going to Scentsation could hit the Beverly Hills Neiman’s and give it a whirl. If you get to try it, do come back and let us know what you think.

Available at Neiman Marcus stores and online; 1.7 ounces, $200.

Notes from NM: orange, grapefruit, bergamot, yuzu, black currant, plum, helional, melonal, calone, ultrazur, oakmoss, grass accord, fig, osmanthus, jasmine, lily of the valley, rose wardia, tuberose, sandalwood, cashmeran, iris, anchouli, peach, tonka bean, amber.

So please share with me: What scent have you loved a part of, but were disappointed with the rest?
And was it a deal-breaker for you?

  • Flora says:

    The fun, boozy opening of the eponymous David Yurman perfume made me giggle with delight – for all of five minutes, after which it became a watery, nondescript FAIL. You would think a brand like that could afford to launch a fragrance that has something to say!

    • Ann says:

      Flora, I hear you! I liked this one, too, for a while and then something in it just turned me off. I did rather enjoy the body cream though.

  • FeralJasmine says:

    Ann, I have to say that I am disappointed by every hyacinth frag that I have discovered, and some cases can’t be fixed by surgery. Acrid or grassy, they miss the lavish beauty of the real thing by a mile. Jessica McClintock does have several pretty minutes at the very beginning, and may e your scalpel could graft this to itself. If it had 15 pretty minutes, I’d try it.

    • Ann says:

      Have you sampled the Tom Ford Ombre de Hyacinth? Several reviews I’ve read mention that for the first 15 minutes or so it’s fairly realistic and then not so much, I haven’t worn the original Jessica McClintock in ages but I do remember it being quite pretty. Let’s scrub up and start the surgery!

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I just ordered a sample of the Tom Ford. I’m hopeful. I find that it can take some time to get used to his scents. I hated Velvet Gardenia the first time I tried it, and now it’s one of my favorite soliflores, but des have to be worn with discretion.

        • Ann says:

          Here’s hoping you like it. As you said, his scents can take a while to warm up to, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.
          BTW, I envy you being able to wear the Velvet Gardenia. My skin really amps the blue cheese aspect in that scent, and I dislike blue cheese intensely. Just ask my poor DH: One time at a restaurant they mixed up our salads (mine was supposed to have creamy Italian dressing). When I tasted his blue cheese by accident, I thought I was going to lose it, ha!

  • thegoddessrena says:

    I am very disappointed by Gothic Bluebell. It is one of the most gorgeous scents ever on paper, but on my skin there’s this grassy opening that takes 2-3 hours to fade out before I can get to the pretty. This was totally heartbreaking to me

    • Ann says:

      Arghhh … that is so frustrating, isn’t it? Very sorry to hear this. That’s a long time to have to wait to get to the good stuff. Here’s hoping you find something else to love soon.

  • FearsMice says:

    I was lucky enough to win a sample of Pure Mariposa, but for me it was pure disappointment from beginning to end. Boo hoo! There was just too much melonal and calone in it for me — I didn’t get any of the beauty that others mention. Oh well, at least I’m not lemming something expensive this time!

    • Ann says:

      Boo hoo is my sentiment exactly! As I mentioned above, I’m not a melon fan and luckily I didn’t detect that when I tried it. I’m thinking that maybe I should get a very small decant/spray sample of the Mariposa and have a bottle of Tide handy. That way, when the glorious opening goes pffft, I can just scrub the rest away and put on something else. And you’re right, it is $$$ saved for a fragrance that we love all the way through.

  • Connie says:

    I really liked the osmanthus drydown of La Belle Helene (which I tried this weekend) but couldn’t stand the opening or heart. And the drydown has so little sillage. If only they could amp up the drydown and build a whole different perfume around it…

    • Ann says:

      Exactly, Connie! Too bad they can’t custom-blend an existing scent to our tastes. BTW, I love the LBH, but I hear you — and it’s way too pricey to just love the drydown.

  • I got a booklet in the mail from Neiman Marcus about their beauty event that was going on the last couple weekends, and it had a sample of Pure Mariposa in the back. Really didn’t work for me. At all. I don’t remember getting any fig. I’m a sucker for fig, so that might have improved my impression of it. I thought it smelled kind of cheap on me, kind of thin and scratchy, and I didn’t like the melon-ish note of the calone. I went to NM a couple weekends ago and tried the other Monegals they had, and honestly none of them really interested me much.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, no, Jennifer — I got the fig that you might have loved! Isn’t that always the way? I usually don’t like melon in any shape or form, but it really didn’t come through in the Mariposa on my skin or I would have hated it.
      Several of the RMs are nice, but I have yet to find one that I’d fork over for a full bottle.

  • Lynne Marie says:

    Fields of Rubus by Kerosene was my big disappointment. The top notes are the most beautiful ethereal raspberry notes I have ever smelled – absolutely glorious but after about 1/2 hour it turned into this mediocre amber thing ( and understand – I LOVE amber, the key word here is “mediocre”) that was definitely NOT something I wanted to spend the rest of my day smelling like. I was so sad.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Lynne Marie! So sorry to hear this; sometimes the most wonderful opening/top notes just can’t make up for the rest of it. Maybe we need to hurry and scrub off the scents when they head downhill, but that’s a pain, too.

  • Catherine says:

    Funny. I want to dislike Florabotanica because of the whole Kristen Stewart thing, but I get compliments on it all the time. I guess it is a non-thud for me.

    • Ann says:

      Yay, Catherine! So glad it works so well for you — it really is pretty, but skin chemistry is such a funny thing.

  • Beth says:

    Isn’t it funny that we can handle the ones that open badly, but then bloom … but the ones that do the opposite, it’s just heartbreaking. Maybe it’s the syndrome of the “light at the end of the tunnel”. We can endure the pain of top notes, knowing those will fade and we can enjoy the rest. But the opposite, knowing the bad is coming, makes it impossible to enjoy the beginning. It’s waiting for the hammer to drop.

    There’s not been a ton that I have had the dry down issue with. The one that breaks my heart is Apres le Ondee. It’s all lyric beauty for an hour or so, and then it’s gone. But the worst I can recall is Chinatown. I love it for the first 1/2 an hour, then it just grates on me. I can’t even say why. Now I have to go put myself through it again because I wonder….

    • Ann says:

      Beth, you hit the nail on the head! It’s so much easier to suffer through a bad beginning if we know it’ll turn out lovely; but if it goes the other way — well, you put it perfectly: “waiting for the hammer to drop.”

  • malsnano86 says:

    Just mentioned my experiences with the Incredible Shrinking Fragrances Coup del Foudre and Terracotta Voile d’Ete, but I had been very interested in Pure Mariposa, right up until you mentioned the fig. That seems to be a dealbreaker for me.

    The other thing that just kills me is strongly balsamy notes popping up in the drydown. Just can’t do that.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, Mals, don’t let me discourage you — it’s probably just my weird-o skin. You should at least try it when you get a chance; it might be wonderful on you.

  • Portia says:

    I love the way you write the let down, so real!!
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, dear. It really was such a disappointment that I came this close to tearing up, big baby that I am. 😉 I did think, however, of two scents that might be distantl cousins of this: Diptyque’s Oyedo and Prescriptives’ Calyx. Both have that wonderfully sparkly, almost effervescent opening, although the Mariposa was definitely different.

      • Jan Last says:

        Ann, I did dip into both the Oyedo and the Calyx, and loved them. They were trigger pull purchases gone right, not my usual “oh, why did I buy that so soon?” I’m going to rehab, lol.

        • Ann says:

          Hi, Jan! Glad you’re loving Oyedo and Calyx — they are great — especially for warm weather.

  • Sherri says:

    I loved the opening of Delrae Coup de Foudre and was ready to run to my computer and order a bottle! So glad I didn’t because another hour later it became sour on my skin! Top notes are absolutely gorgeous, though! I’ve noticed this one often appears on others’ swap lists..wonder if others have had the same experience,

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Sherri! You were so wise to wait to pull the trigger — what a difference an hour makes, eh? You might be right about the swap lists; maybe you have to have just the right skin to wear it all day.

    • malsnano86 says:

      It didn’t go sour on me, but after about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, it shrunk right down so that it had absolutely no waft whatsoever. I really hate that sudden volume-lowering thing, makes the fragrance impossible to dose. Put on enough to increase the lasting power and you get blasted out at the beginning; adjust for the opening, and you can’t smell the end. SUCKS. In fact, Terracotta Voile d’Ete did that to me as well, and I got so frustrated by it that I finally sold my bottle.

  • Tara says:

    I picked up the tester of Pure Mariposa, but after sniffing the nozzle I put it down quickly, too afraid to spritz. It smelled like a screechy floral of nuclear proportions. Maybe some day I will be brave enough to try it. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Tara, maybe I should have done that to begin with — would have avoided a little heartbreak, ha! But oh, no, Ms. Full Steam Ahead here just had to go and spray. Do try it on a card, at least, sometime — you never know!

  • hajusuuri says:

    Florabotanica was NICE on a paper test strip but when I tried it on me (spray and walk into the mist), I just about crawled out of my skin. As to Mariposa, I’m afraid to try it (I have a spray sample from a swap) as I understand that it stays and stays and stays no matter how hard you scrub. Eeeeek!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, dear. I hear you on the Florabotanica — it seemed so promising on paper but went THUD on me.
      Do give the Mariposa a go sometime, maybe one little spritz on your wrist on a day when you could live with it for a while if you had to. Or spray on a card or cotton ball and then dab that once on your skin. You never know; you might love it.

      • Musette says:

        I agree with Ann. I think Mariposa works best as a dabber. It is lovely that way and it’s not like plutonium or anything – you can get rid of it with a good wash, if you don’t like it.

        xoxoA

  • rosarita says:

    Bulgari Omnia, the purple one, Amethyst? It opens with this perfect, green sappy combination that is swoony for a sap lover like myself but sadly, it becomes soap and water within minutes and is gone without a trace in half an hour or less. Nice to see you Ann 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Hey, lady! Gone in half an hour, you say? Oh, dear, that is bad. If you at least got an hour or so out of it it might be worth it, but that’s waaay too little bang for your buck. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Musette says:

    Drama Nuui. The Heartbreak of Musk. The first spritz is a laser-green…ohh, yeah, baby.

    then that supid musk.

    Broke. My. Heart.

    xoxoA

    • Ann says:

      Oh, sweetie, so sorry to hear that. Another scent that needs a little surgical assist.

  • FeralJasmine says:

    Ormande Jayne Woman offered me about ten minutes of quivering beauty and then nothing. After fifteen minutes, my husband could put his nose right on my wrist and not be able to tell that I was wearing perfume. SL’s Cedre has lovely lyrical opening notes, then goes “okay” and stays there. In both cases, total deal-breaker. For what perfume costs, I need a little more entertainment than that.

    • Ann says:

      Exactly! For those price tags, the scent has got to be more than a one-trick pony. I wonder if layering with the OJ Woman body lotion would help any?

    • Connie says:

      Your loss is my gain, FeralJasmine. I bought a 10 mL purse spray of OJ Woman after using up the sample you sent me. <3

  • spiker says:

    Hi Anne! I love the opening of Serge Lutens Rahat Louhkoum, but after some cherry loveliness (i’ve heard it compared to cough syrup, but it’s just so much better!), I get very little in dry down. It could just be that I haven’t been generous enough in putting on my sample, and I’m certainly going to try again, but the cherry note seems to go so quickly… sigh.

    • Ann says:

      Isn’t that so frustrating? BTW, are you dabbing or spraying the Rahat? If you can, try two or three spritzes on one wrist just to see what that does. But maybe, like me, your skin just eats the drydown notes.

      • spiker says:

        I’ve been dabbing from a 1ml sample, but I like it well enough I’m thinking I’ll order a small spray decant and try your suggestion. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that my skin behaves better than yours. Thank you for the tip!