On our previous post, Drugstore Cowgirls, Patty and I took the drugstore challenge – sample drugstore scents and pick three: one for ourselves; one to exchange as a gift; and the biggest loser. Patty’s already posted her loser.
This post is about my big loser – but really, it´s about more than that. Because, honestly, I was hoping to find some decent drugstore scents. And I emerged from the CVS pretty battered.
First off, what is the deal with Coty? Think about it and weep. This is a perfume house with an amazing history, the house that gave us one of the greatest perfume gifts of all time – Coty Chypre – a fragrance your average frag buff would give his/her right arm for. Seriously, follow this link to boisdejasmin.com for a fascinating, brief look at the house of Coty.
And now look what the world has come to. Based on my visit, Coty has cornered the market on crappy perfume. And some of the scents used to be wonderful – help me out here, Victoria? Robin? – I mean, maybe my memory´s bad, but Back in the Day, Emeraude was a gorgeous, shimmery, seductive thing. I´m a huge fan of vintage L´Origan, too. The current incarnation of Emeraude I sampled this week isn´t just a ghost of its former self, it´s a force of evil – as if Coty decided to take the original scent, delete the beauty, and overemphasize the darker, bitter elements, making the current version smell both incredibly dated and nastily synthetic. Is this where Guerlain is headed with its non-oakmoss reformulations? In 20 years, will I be buying Jicky at CVS for $3.99 in a plastic bottle shaped like a teddy bear? It´s keeping me up at night.
And why all the musk? White Musk, Pink Musk, Wild Musk, (just) Musk, Vanilla Musk, ad nauseum, until I got tired of writing the names down. They aren´t good musks (okay, what did I expect?), nice sexy skin scents. They´re mostly too sweet (are horny teenage girls the demographic?) and too synthetic-smelling, frequently with some dreaded marine note at the top.
My other big issue was the staying power. Given the way some of them smelled, maybe zero lasting power is a blessing. And I understand at this price point (under $10) most of them are basically colognes, there´s not going to be amazing sillage. But, man, these scents weren´t just fleeting, they were evanescent to the point of non-existence, like spraying on Canned Air. Like the Emperor´s New Clothes. (How´s that for a scent name? Jovan marketing team, are you reading this?) You´d have to empty half a bottle onto your arm to be able to smell it long enough for the ride home.
I was FRUSTRATED. Because I wanted it to work, because I love perfumes, because I´m anti-snob, because this is a free-market economy and so there must be some reason people are buying these things, because otherwise nobody´d make them. But who? And why?
I guess at the end of it I felt like – wait for it – a confirmed Perfume Snob. I sent Patty the one I actually liked, for reasons I´ll explain in the Winner´s Post. But it´s heartbreaking and wrong to be faced with so many losers, to have my high (okay, modest) hopes dashed.
So, without further ado, my Biggest Loser: Coty Ici. Not sure if you pronounce that “Itchy” or “Icky,” but either one´ll do. A cologne of such throat-closing, mortifying, plastic sweetness it makes White Shoulders look butch. Here´s the description:
“Launched by the design house of Coty in 1995, ICI by Coty is classified as a flowery fragrance. This feminine scent posesses a blend of: crisp and citrusy, with exotic florals. It is recommended for casual wear.”
Sure, if you´re completely smell-deaf and you hate every living thing around you, go for it. Put the whole damn bottle on. It´s so cheap you can buy three of them for $10, so why not? Just stay the hell away from me. I´m going home to have a good cry in the shower.