For whatever reason, we are all over the map today. Dig in.
Armani Attitude, new for men. The SA at Bloomingdales seemed genuinely alarmed that I was actually trying this on, which happens to me occasionally. (Do most women stick to sniffing the caps in the men´s department?) Notes are: Calabria lemon, coffee, cardamom, lavender, cedar, patchouli. I´ve stuck in a photo to the left because the bottle´s so great – like a giant Bic lighter. The scent is … vaguely familiar? (Ralph Lauren, call your lawyers! Comparison notes for Double Black: mango, pepper, coffee, nutmeg, cardamom, woods, juniper). Okay, kidding, don´t call your lawyers. But there´s the resemblance you´d expect from two men´s scents with strong spiced coffee notes. I like Double Black better (that mango is brilliant), and my guess is nobody´s going to be yammering about how fabulous Attitude is – it´s not interesting or weird enough (for that, see my next review of the new Gaultier.) But if you nuzzled the neck of that fine-looking dude standing next to you in the bar, and he was wearing this confection, I think you´d be pleased. On the other hand, what would you think if he were wearing …
Gaultier Fleur du Male? Would you ask him to show his man card? Seriously, this is begging the question. Fleur´s notes are orange blossom, petitgrain, coumarin and “fern accord,” and it makes Gaultier Le Male, which I love, look butch by comparison. Le Male and Fleur share a whiff of that compelling vanilla-amber-sex base that is the entirety of Gaultier2, actually. (Note to fragrance twin Elle: I saw your comment on Kevin´s Le Male post on NST, and you might try Le Male, and Gaultier2 if you haven´t. Gaultier2 also needs a very light hand, but the oil is fabulous.) Fleur is, to me, pretty much 98% about the Orange Blossom – the sweet, powdery orange bit, and the indolic bit as well. The bottle is white and shiny and gorgeous and Ken-doll-like and – fine, I´ll say it – I cannot imagine anyone other than a gay man (or a woman), not even the most metro of metrosexuals, picking that thing up.
An aside: the Big Cheese took Buckethead, our four-year-old boy, to preschool last week, and Buckethead was wearing a dress, not because the Cheese was making a statement about gender roles, or because he´s getting his son in touch with his feminine side, but because – hey, the kid and his twin sister Hecate wanted to wear matching dresses. (He took Buckethead, who was wearing a tutu, to ballet class last year without batting an eye. Buckethead was the only boy, and he wanted to prance around in a tutu and slippers like everyone else. This is what happens when you´re born into a girl-centric household, and I have some excellent photos to prove it.) But when I asked the Cheese about the original Le Male bottle, he raised an eyebrow and grinned at me. He´s pretty sure that whatever´s in that man-torso isn´t for him, and given the gay-sailor ads (am I misreading that?) I can’t say he’s wrong. A shout-out to our male readers playing for all teams: How do you feel about those bottles? Ladies – would you buy it for your man, if you have one? Kevin says the straight guys are definitely wearing it…
Balmain Jolie Madame (new EDT) – gardenia, artemisia, bergamot, coriander, neroli, jasmine, tuberose, rose, jonquil, orris, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, castoreum, leather, civet. This starts off as a pretty, almost face-powdery scent that is worlds away from the leathery carnality of the vintage Jolie Madame parfum. I have no idea what folks who really know about the scent would feel about the current iteration (probably nothing good), but it still is far more appealing to me than most of what´s on the shelf at Sephora. The violet-powdery notes at the opening disappear in the first 10 – 15 minutes on me, and then we´re onto something closer to what I think of as the right smell – still plenty of bottom, if you catch my drift, along with just enough rose/orris to evoke a floral note. Leather ladies – weigh in here. Because I´ve been pondering, and it seems to me that the leather in Jolie and, say, Bandit work so beautifully precisely because of that floral counterpoint. Leather alone is elegant, yes, like SMN Peau d´Espagne, and I can adore it without quite reaching the same level of sensual arousal. There is something inherently shocking about leathery and floral notes in the same fragrance that make them particularly appealing to me. Men can (and should) wear Jolie Madame.
Hampton Sun Privet Bloom – notes are: privet flowers, muguet, jasmine, linden, gardenia, orangeflower, dune rose, driftwood and sun-warmed musk, designed to capture “the purity and elegance of summers in the Hamptons.” It´s time for a company to issue a fragrance that conjures up “the beautiful beaches of Eastern Long Island.” Alas, Privet Bloom is not that scent. Instead, it evokes for me the interior of the Crabtree & Evelyn store at the mall, perhaps the shelf space between Nantucket Briar and Summer Hill, assuming they could tone Privet Bloom down a bit. A powerful mélange of LOTV, jasmine and musk that sent me sprinting for the shower. I´m still waiting for someone to do Nantucket Idyll (notes of sea salt, sand, sunscreen, scrub rose, cranberry bog and vodka tonics on the beach at dusk, with a drydown of the scent of the sunwarmed skin of a small child cradling a handful of shells.)
Addendum: The folks at Hampton Sun graciously sent me this sample, and I’m guessing they weren’t looking for me to piss all over it. It’s not like I’m awash in company freebies either, and now nobody’ll ever send me anything again. I suppose the gracious thing to do would be to say nothing. Instead I’ll point out here that Colombina gave it a very nice review, and if you read my posts so you can avoid what I like, because you think I’m an idiot, and/or you like what Colombina likes, and those notes sound nice to you, well … then you should try it.
Comme de Garcons original parfum – cardamom, coriander, geranium, nutmeg, cinnamon bark, clovebud, labdanum, styrax, cedarwood, cut hay, olibanum, black pepper, sandalwood, rose, honey. Weird. A nose-bomb of sweat-smell that suddenly morphs into Christmas (if you celebrated it on another planet), and then back toward the pepper and sandalwood, then spicy geranium, and then … you get the picture. This thing will not sit still. It´s a ride, not a fragrance, and I´m in no hurry to get off. I think it would annoy the hell out of me on a day I wanted a wallpaper scent, but if you don´t have anything else to do besides sniff yourself every 15 minutes and grin at the ever-changing scenery, you should definitely give it a whirl.
le male poster: parfumini.net; armani attitude image swiped from eBay because, interestingly, I can’t find it on any of their official websites, and where’s the big advertising rollout a la Armani Code, anyway? Did Armani forget they released a new fragrance?