Lipstick and Narciso

I’m so ridiculous sometimes.  This is supposed to be a review of Parle Moi de Parfum Orris Tattoo, which I’ve been sniffing off and on for a few weeks.  Believe me, that Orris is really pretty.  And that’s the problem, because each time I sit down and try to write a review, “it’s really pretty” seems to be the gist and the entirety of my thoughts.  So, if you like iris, you should try it.

It’s been raining for days and we’re prepping for Hurricane Florence and everyone’s a little jittery.  I went to the mall yesterday and beetled around for hours just to get out of the house.  Perfume-wise there was the good (our Nordstrom now has a bunch of niche-y brands AND empty plastic atomizers for samples!) and the bad (Sephora’s squeezed their entire fragrance line to one back wall while they shift their focus more toward hair and skin care) and the indifferent, as exemplified by the rather forlorn-looking counters at Macy’s with their jumble of poorly laid out perfume brands and broken testers.

In Nordstrom I tried on the new Bobbi Brown Luxe Matte lippies – have you seen those?  They did away with the modest Rich Lip Color line which I really liked, and these are the replacements.  I have to say, they wear beautifully – matte and unsticky without being drying.  Most of the shades in this initial lineup are YLBB shades, various nude-y pinks and plum-browns.  One of the darker plums was ripe for the taking until I asked the price – which was $37.  Huh.  Lipstick has always been my non-guilty makeup pleasure, but now that lipstick prices have crept north of $30 for the nicer department store stuff, I’m less likely to impulse-buy.  For that money I could get two perfectly nice Urban Decay comfort mattes at Sephora, I really like that formula.  If I’m going to spend roughly $37 I’d rather have something glam like an Armani or YSL.  I’m kicking myself because I forgot to try those Shiseido Modern Mattes, those look chic as hell and I think they’re $26, have you tried them?

While in Nordstrom I sampled the new-ish Narciso (in the short white bottle), Narciso Poudree (in the short, soft-pink bottle) and Narciso Fleur (in the tall pink bottle), to see if I could smell a difference.  I have the first, now iconic 2006 version called Narciso Rodriguez for Her (tall black bottle, Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian) which was a huge hit at the time. It smells like orange, amber and hairspray to me, and I’m varying levels of anosmic to all the musks.  I wear it when I’m feeling mainstream and all I can say is, without fail, it garners compliments every time.

The dozen+ NRs following that 2006 bombshell are all essentially flankers — variations on a theme, the theme being whatever atomic musks are working their voodoo magic in the heart of NR, which gives it its extraordinary sillage.  As I own the original, I have not been tempted by any of the flankers.

Until now. The short-white-bottle Narciso (2014, Aurelien Guichard) smells softer and rounder and sweetly milky, without the original NR’s raspy woods and weird amber-on-steroids.  Narciso Poudree (2016, also Aurelien Guichard) smells even more restrained, with jasmine instead of gardenia, although the flowers are impressionistic at best; it’s really all about the seamless musky-floral heart. The Fleur Musc (Calice Becker, 2017) is a huge step backward into fruitchouli-ville; it loses its distinctive NR-ness and smells like every third scent at Sephora.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m buying one or the other of those Aurelien Guichard Narcisos in the short square bottles, I think they’re delicious. After trying them all once again on Sunday, I was reasonably confident I was giving off nuclear levels of NR sillage, even though I couldn’t really smell it.  I walked around in my own little NR universe and – as usual – folks loved it.  The Chanel gal loved it.  The Bobbi gal told me “you smell great!” The babe in Sephora said, “you smell amazing!”  And so on.

22 Comments

  1. WOW March,
    I have just been thinking about getting the Narciso Poudree on the recommendation of a commenter earlier this week. TOTALLY spooky that you are talking about it today, I’m taking that as a sing and will purchase forthwith.
    Portia x

  2. I am chiming in with Portia in that the NR fragrances have come up recently in several blog discussions and posts. Particularly the confusion between the scents and the bottles. You’ve done a great job in clarifying and I think I will give the white bottle a sniff next time I am in Sephora.

    I am so jealous of the empty atomizers in Nordstroms. My local mall dept stores and Sephoras carry none of the niche. When I occasionally make a very long two hour train ride trip into the big city to go to SAKs for the experience of the niche brands they are extraordinarily stingy with samples (none handed out actually) and even when I bring my own empty sample vials they refuse to allow me to make my own samples. To me it would make sense to allow the customer to sample on skin one at a time over the course of several days at home rather than spraying 20 on a card or over various body parts in one outing (and believe me I have told the SAs that my trips to their store are few and far between). The whole purpose of samples is to illicit future sales, right? I can’t fall in love with a fragrance to want a full bottle if I am not getting the right sampling experience.

    • I personally think it’s a little ridiculous/narcissistic of ol’ Narciso, but I’ll soldier on, lol. Thing is, they’re all (vaguely) variations on a theme, so it’s pretty safe to settle on one or two. I’ll add that Luca Turin gave (white bottle) Narciso 5 stars recently in his new guide.

      The spray atomizers at my Nordstrom are relatively new. They used to be more generous with manufacturers’ samples, then it seems like those got scarce. I used to bring my own atomizers, which was generally okay and sometimes frowned upon. Then they got the empty atomizers but kept them hidden and you had to ask. So the fact that they now provide the sample atomizers right there on the counter is awesome. Yeah, I always thought it was ridiculous the way they try to talk you in to a full bottle of X for $160 or whatever (“plus a free gift!”) based on five minutes of wear. That view hasn’t changed. That approach makes a sale, but sours people on perfume re-buys.

  3. Orris Tattoo sounds like something I should try! I hope Florence doesn’t come too close to you, stay safe!

  4. Orris Tattoo sounds pretty interesting, as I tend to really love orris. I don’t get the appeal of matte lipstick–can someone please enlighten me? Matte lips look dry and weird to me… Not that I need any more lipstick. I already have more than I can wear in this lifetime! 😀

  5. I instantly fell in love with the Narciso in the white cube when I tried it last year, and my DH gave it to me for Mother’s Day iirc. I really like the soft gardenia-musk combo. It’s a lovely one with year-round appeal to me.

  6. I have the white cube and find it pleasant enough, don’t get compliments while wearing it though. The bottle is attractive, probably my favourite aspect of the whole thing. ;-).

    As for Orris Tattoo, I find it pleasant but lacking personality. I prefer Iris Silver Mist, Iris Nazarena and Iris Cendré for my iris fix.

    • I do think the white bottle is gorgeous. Orris Tattoo — maybe that’s the issue. I’m not one of those folks who plotz over orris in the first place. And nothing holds a candle to ISM.

  7. Finding things that smell good was always part of MY hurricane prep, but then I’m a little strange that way. I was probably(!) the only person on the neighborhood clean up crew after Wilma (think chain saws) that smelled of Chanel No. 5…
    I love the original NR and yes, it does draw compliments. I know I tried the white bottle one, but now I have to go back and give it another sniff as I don’t recall being overly impressed. I am very happy that Nordstrom now carries more variety, and mine has always had the sample vials out, which I very much appreciate.

  8. Thank you for reminding me to try something else thanChanel or Dior next time I shop for lipstick. Those Shiseido lipsticks look fab. I cannot do the matte look, my lips end up looking and feeling very dry. I am hoping for some wearable berry coloured lipsticks this season.

  9. Orris Tattoo from Parle moi de Parfum is their only perfume I’ve tried. Why? The SA chose it for me and I was impressed. It truly is very pretty and powdery and it reminds me a lot of the discontinued V/S from Versace. That’s good because now I wont’ have to hunt it down on ebay and pay unreasonable prices for it.
    I hope Florence will be merciful.

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