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?

26 Comments
Dina C. September 15, 2014

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.

Julie L September 15, 2014

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!

katrin September 15, 2014

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!

rosarita September 15, 2014

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.

poodle September 15, 2014

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.

Jaime September 15, 2014

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.

Jennie September 15, 2014

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.

FeralJasmine September 15, 2014

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....