Mainstream Monday: Michael Kors, Reveal, Modern Muse Chic

Reveal MainstreamWhile visiting my mother-in-law over Labor Day weekend, I popped into the local mall (Macy’s and Dillard’s, etc.) and poked around. Not much piqued my interest, but I did try a couple of things.

First, the new(ish) Michael Kors trio:

The Sexy Amber was fairly predictable, but I like amber in most guises and this one was pleasant enough, but not 90-plus bucks pleasant, if you know what I mean.

By the same token, I expected to enjoy the Glam Jasmine, and although pretty, it was a bit too synthetic-y for my taste. Someone on Fragrantica mentioned a similarity to Marc Jacobs’ Blush, and I definitely could see that. Like the Sexy Amber, if someone gave me a bottle, I’d not quibble, but I still would rather spend the extra bucks and have one of Serge Lutens’ offerings or something else a bit more unique.

There was also a bottle on the display with the main three, called Sexy Rio di Janeiro (a Macy’s exclusive it turns out). I thought that one might be the most adventurous, but it turned out to be so fleeting that I didn’t wind up making any notes on it at all.

After sniffing it on the blotter, I blew off the Sporty Citrus altogether for any skin time. It did not stand out in the least to me and easily could have been one of a number of similar scents already on the market.

A bit later on, I spotted the pillowy, cube-ish Calvin Klein Reveal bottle, divided diagonally into half glass and half metal. (As I looked at it, I kept thinking: Didn’t I have a pair of earrings from the ‘80s that looked like this?) They’re calling Reveal a “solar oriental,” so I was unsure what to think. It turned out to be a slightly salty amber musk, back-heavy on the vanilla, with the tiniest thread of something marine running loosely through it. It reminded me of a scent that I couldn’t quite put my finger on; and although it didn’t thrill me, I could see Reveal working nicely on a brisk fall or winter day as a cozy wrap of warmth. A soft, warm and creamy skin scent and unlikely to offend anyone. And I think it could be good on the guys as well. Hey, at least it’s not another fruity-floral concoction.

Then as I was heading for the door, I passed the Estee Lauder counter. No skin territory left, but the SA kindly gave me a sample of the new Modern Muse Chic. On the blotter, I thought I sniffed a touch of citrus infusing the original. But when I got home and tried it on skin, all I got was what seemed like a slightly altered version of Narciso Rodriguez for Her. Not a bad thing, mind you, but not what I was hoping for.

So Reveal wound up being the best of the bunch for me (meaning, I would enjoy a sample or three, but no more).

What about you? Have you found love (or even like) with anything out in the mainstream lately?

  • Dina C. says:

    The notes that you mention in Reveal sound like a cheaper more synthetic version of Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles. Haven’t sniffed it yet, so I can’t tell if that’s so, but it sounds similar from the way you describe it. My favorite mainstream release from recent is Marni. I want to try out Bottega Veneta Knot because I really liked their first release. Also want to try Rosa Nobile from Acqua di Parma sometime.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Dina! Yes — the Hermes crossed my mind but I couldn’t find my sample to compare, but will do so as soon as I get back to the counter to try Reveal. Also the others that you mentioned.

  • Julie L says:

    Hello! Great write-ups as usual! Well, I found a giant bottle of Jessica Simpson “Fancy Nights” for 10 bucks and thought, ‘what the hay’?..for that amount of money and a whole lot of plastic-ish patchouli, no harm/no foul 🙂 I’ve been using it on days when I can’t decide what to spritz and don’t want to waste any of the good stuff. It’s not bad, really! It’s been verrrry fall-like here and I just adore the fall, so anything spicy, incense-ish or Oriental is ready and waiting! Yippee!

    While this isn’t mainstream at all, on a side note, I got some samples last week that truly make me sad. NOT because they’re horrible, but because I LOVED them and just won’t be able to buy. Tom Ford: Tuscan Leather (swoon!); White Suede (beautiful but an exact replica of Brosseau’s Ombre Rose-I’ve had two bottles of that over the years and knew the similarity immediately!); and Creed Original Santal. Heaven!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks so much, Julie. Yum — lucky you to have scored a big bottle of Fancy Nights! I’m looking forward to pulling my decant out when the temps here chill somewhat. BTW, your comment about White Suede nearly had me jumping up and down in my chair — when I first sniffed it, I couldn’t put my finger on what it reminded me of and it was making me crazy. You hit the nail on the head — yippee! I used to adore Ombre Rose back in the day so it’s great to have a modern version of it. Thanks!

      • Julie L says:

        Yes, I knew it right away! Ombre Rose, for sure….I adore that as well! Bottega Veneta-MMM!! I have a sample of that and have it squirreled away for a rainy day 🙂 The other one I forgot to mention was White Patchouli. It’s also verrry nice, but I still think Coromandel is better 🙂 “So many perfumes, so little time”

  • katrin says:

    I decided to take a closer look at the Sensuous bunch by Estee Lauder (a kind fairy had sent me a flanker of the original) and
    I really like them all in the series, perhaps the most surprising was Sensuous Noir, because I normally don’t like such notes, and on initial spray found it way too intense, but the drydown was so beautiful!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Katrin! That is a nice line, isn’t it? (And thank heavens, not a fruity-floral!) I agree, the Noir was excellent. I hope Estee Lauder stays true to tradition and doesn’t discontinue it 🙂

      • I hope they don’t, but I do find that Noir is harder to find than the others in the Sensuous line. Sensuous and Nude are available just about anywhere there is an EL counter, but I think around here I’ve only seen Noir at Neiman Marcus. Don’t know if that’s true elsewhere.

        • Ann says:

          Thanks for the info, Jennifer! I will poke around for it next time I’m in the big city. But I do see it on the Nordstrom site, so maybe it’s in their stores, too. Let’s hope …

  • rosarita says:

    Hi Ann – I had those Reveal earrings too, and probably still have them stashed somewhere 🙂 Bottega Veneta remains my favorite mainstream perfume and I just got a bigger bottle, it’s perfect right now. Haven’t been to a department store in ages but I’ll give Reveal a sniff when I get the opportunity.

    • Ann says:

      Yay — great fashionista minds think alike! I might be able to dig mine up as well. Glad you’re still loving BV. Have you tried the newer ones, the Knot and the other one, whose name escapes me? I wanted to try the Knot when I was in Neiman’s but had run out of skin, ha!

  • poodle says:

    I think most of the Chloe’s are okay. I really like Love, Chloe for its cosmetic powdery scent. I think Queen is good too. I haven’t sniffed anything new at the mall in ages. I did smell a magazine scent strip of Reveal and thought I’d give it a proper sniff when I see it. I almost want to buy it just in the hope that if it sells it will inspire companies to steer away from the fruity florals a bit.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear! I agree, the Chloes can be nice, but don’t do all that well on my skin though. Do give Reveal a try sometime. And yes, let’s try to encourage them away from the fruity-floral superhighway. P.S. Haven’t forgotten Oscar for you …

  • Jaime says:

    Not a new scent, but one mainstream cheapie that I like is Queen by Queen Latifah. When I’m in the mood for a “low” (rather than perky) vanilla, it hits the spot.

    I haven’t had any time to peruse the department store perfume counters, so I haven’t kept up with what’s new. The hubs took a little detour one day though, and came home with some blotter strips with the latest Daisy flankers. He seems to like fresh florals on me, while I lean towards woody, ambery…and never the twain shall meet?! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your reviews, Ann! It doesn’t sound like I’m missing out on much so far.

    • Jennifer Smith says:

      Get the body butter for Queen . It’s great too!

    • Ann says:

      Yes, yes, Jaime! Portia posted on it not too long ago and I swore I’d get some to try (and hope to soon). That was so nice of your hubby to do — my DH, wonderful as he is, wouldn’t be caught dead in the fragrance area of a store (he dislikes stores altogether anyway). And the body butter sounds delightful, Jennifer — a good body butter is such a treat!

  • Jennie says:

    I went on a sniffing trip through Myer last week and tried some new bottles that I hadn’t met before. Here’s what I tried:

    Dahlia Divin by Givenchy – unexpectedly fruity and not to my taste. I do like the original Dahlia Noir, can’t imagine why they did this to it.
    Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez – deeper notes than the original but it’s lost some of the brightness and is somewhat milky to my nose (was told by the assistant this was due to sandal wood), however not distinctive and not buy-worthy
    Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs – better, fresher, happier than the previous versions IMHO, but still very light. Would consider buying if I didn’t have lots of similar fragrances in my collection
    Valeur Absolue – a range with visible pearls of the major essential oil ingredient. Tried Harmonie (lavender), Sensualite (Rose de Mai, Musk) and Joie Eclat (Citrus). Sensualite was the pick, but again, not buy-worthy.
    Candy Floral by Prada – Still toothache-inducing. Didn’t really detect any floral notes. I love the packaging on this range but the perfume is a flop for me.

    Finally I found the reissue of Anais Anais “L’Original” in EDT. It was on special, so I was a bit suspicious that this reissue was a dud, however to my nose it was much more like the original from the early 80’s than other recent bottles. I ALMOST considered buying it for nostalgic reasons, but didn’t. It was a favourite of mine when I was younger, and was in fact my wedding perfume (first marriage!) all those years ago. I think I’ll let it stay in the past.

    • Ann says:

      Jennie, it sounds like you had a big ol’ sniffing spree, too! So you weren’t buying either? Well, that’s money saved all around, which is a good thing. I’m not familiar with the Valeur line you mention (maybe it’s not available here in the States), but it sounds interesting. So cool that you found the Anais and that it smelled close to the original, but have to agree — some scents are better left in the past.

  • FeralJasmine says:

    Hi Ann! I keep trying mainstreams and keep wishing I hadn’t, because most of them are SO very bland and forgettable, but I do have to mention the lovely Kate Walsh Boyfriend. It’s discontinued but EBay bottles are still reasonable, and I’ve stocked up on this one. Still love EL Tuberose Gardenia in the summer and Chanel Coco in the winter. And about once a year, alone at home with the windows closed, I wear Paris Hilton’s Siren. It makes me smell like a bakery cake with buttercream icing. Afterwards I can’t quite believe that I did it on purpose, and that impulse is over for months. But I keep the bottle around because SI know that best year I will do it all over again….

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Should read “I know that next year I will do it all over again.” I am a very bad proofreader.

      • Ann says:

        Hi, dear! I’m so glad you mentioned Boyfriend — that is a great one! And later, after I’d posted the review, I thought that the Calvin Klein Reveal could work in a similar vein. Also, I love Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights and am enjoying the Hilary Duff scent as well. It’s good to know there are some gems out there!

    • Julie L says:

      I’ve always wanted to try the Boyfriend!! did you pay a ton for it?? I’ve heard it’s just wonderful!

      • Ann says:

        Hey, Julie, if you want to try Boyfriend, Surrender to Chance (upper right corner of this page) has samples and decants of it.