I popped by Talbots to return a couple of fancy tees I’d ordered online during their sale – unfortunately on me the neckline is somewhere between square and a bit draped, so basically it looks like a bad fit – when I noticed, standing at the counter, a rollerball of their eponymous perfume.
Of course I had to try it on immediately. I love sniffing the “house brand” wherever I spot it, then evaluating whether I’m seeing any connection with what the brand is, or wants to be. And I’d sniff anybody’s house brand. I’d sniff (and probably buy) a McFlurry Rollerball if I happened to spot one on the counter at McDonalds.
From their fall 2014 press release: “Talbots, known for over 67 years for its brand heritage and classic American clothing, has created a new fragrance exclusively with the Talbots woman in mind. This floral, fresh and fruity signature scent has an easy elegance with sparkling top notes of Fresh Freesia, Pink Grapefruit and Watery Pear. Beautiful floral notes of Magnolia, Tuberose Petals and Tiare Flower. With a memorable finish of Blonde Woods, Peach Skin and Sheer Vanilla. This exclusive new fragrance will debut in October 2014. Retail price, 1.7 ounce Eau De Parfum, $59.50, .25 ounce rollerball, $22.50.”
On first sniff it smells younger than I expected – really, Talbots should be ripping off Youth Dew or Azuree or some other chapter of the Estee Lauder grown-ass-woman back catalog. But what I’m smelling makes sense, because for the last few years Talbots is clearly (and annoyingly) trying to appeal to a younger demographic. I live in an area where grown women wear Lilly Pulitzer unironically to the supermarket, so Talbots certainly has a customer base here, and I wish they’d give up all pretense of style and go back to selling nothing but classic cardigans and quality tights and wool sheath dresses…. but I digress.
The first thing Talbots (the fragrance) offers up is a generous pelting of pear, quickly followed by a second, disharmonious sploosh of sour-citrus. The florality is abstract, less about any particular flower and more about those dubious, plasticky room scents from the dollar store, wherein the flowers are translated into something like “Tropical Passion.” As the fragrance develops further into the heart notes, I experienced the (hinted-at) aqueous onslaught suggested by the words magnolia, freesia and “watery.” Blond wood renders itself with all the authenticity of a pressboard shelf from Ikea; vanilla came from the same vat of macerating wood pulp. The drydown gets increasingly screechy; I was contemplating whether I needed to fetch the Liquid Tide for some relief, but then the whole sad scent gave a last blurp and dribbled off.
So I’m underwhelmed. But hey, let’s turn this frumpy frown upside down! Looking at the general category: which lesser-known or less-obvious-than-Chanel designer/luxury-goods fragrances do you enjoy? Or not? I’ve been randomly digging them out of my stash because they often (not always!) make good office-wear. I’ve got my Bottega Veneta violet-leather. Balenciaga hits me in the same spot. Kelly Caleche is perfect … there’s Bulgari Tea. I miss the original death-by-white-flowers Kate Spade, and consider its discontinuation a minor tragedy, although I wouldn’t have worn it to work… I still smell Prada Infusion d’Iris regularly on passersby, and I’m not complaining. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a Michael Kors or a Versace, except for the deliciously wack caramel-tobacco Dreamer. No fan of: Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, Judith Leiber. What am I missing? Which have you picked up and enjoyed, whether or not you’d wear them to the office?