More Weird Candy

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?

  • AnnE says:

    Jolie Madame is one of my top 10! I have both vintage parfum and current EdT and enjoy wearing them both – with a profound passion for the parfum and a deep affection for the EdT. While this may sound like faint praise for the latter, considering how other classics have been blanched and withered over the years, I think JM has not fared badly at all in its current rendition.

    March, I couldn’t agree with you more about the floral/leather combo. Sexy as all get-out. Chanel’s Cuir de Russie is another one that comes to mind here, although if I had to choose only one, I would have to say I prefer the more pronounced duality of JM.

  • Maria B. says:

    March, is Hampton Sun Privet Bloom is the fragrance you were fretting about totally knocking? Where else could they get as funny a review? 😉

    I’m sitting here feeling stunned about the eBay developments. I’m glad the decanters are starting their own collective Web site. One particularly galling detail is that eBay will continue to allow the sale of full, original bottles. The one time I got ripped off in an eBay fragrance deal was on just such an item.

    Patty thank goodness you’ve had your own store up and running for a while.

    • March says:

      Yep, that was the one! Good memory! Hey, do you think they’ll use part of my review on their website? (I think for awhile Nobi at S-Perfume had the one up there for Lust where I said it was the nastiest thing I’d ever smelled … but that’s Nobi, you know? The man has a sense of humor.) I’m thinking the Hamptons are not all about the sense of humor.

      I’m contemplating ways I might get eBay’s attention. No, seriously. I am that angry. Maybe I’ll even lawyer up, but I want more information first.

      • Maria B. says:

        March that’s so funny about your blurb being used! =)) Everyone should get a sense of humor if he/she doesn’t already have one.

        Don’t forget we have a perfumista lawyer who is probably angry as heck. They don’t have to know how nice a person she is. (Of course I’m talking about you, Ellen.)

        On this sad day for perfumistas everywhere I’ve put on Jicky extrait to express my solidarity. I just hope the vomit phase is over before my DH gets home.

        • March says:

          aHAHAHAahahaha! The vomit phase! I’d describe it more as the urine phase… whatever. No wonder some people are freaked out by my habit. I had a friend stop by yesterday who’s mostly unaware of my little problem…. she sees the bottle of Black ORchid, sniffs it and makes the most amazing face! I will say that bottle I have they seemed to have spilled some extra ass-note in…:-“

        • pitbull friend says:

          Right ON, Maria! I’ve got a letterhead and I’m not afraid to use it! (That and about $2 will get you on the bus around here…) Alas, I have no intellectual property background, which makes me not so very useful. — Ellen

    • Tigs says:

      Maria: Me too! The only time I (knowingly) got shafted was with a full bottle, also. I don’t think it can be really worth it for sizable decants – many people who order decants have sprayed on a strip or tested in the store or sampled at home, and know what the fragrance smells like. And quite frankly, eBay customer service was worse than useless when it came to trying to fix the two problems I have had (one lost package, one fraud.)

      • March says:

        Exactly. The decanters are, so far as I know, honest. The counterfeit perfumes are the ripoffs, and eBay knows perfectly well they’re fakes. I cannot figure out what we’re missing here.:-w

  • AngelaS says:

    I have Jolie Madame’s new EdT and vintage parfum, and I like them both. There’s something about the wild flip from brisk galbunum and sweet violets to leather that is terrific and startling. In fact, I just might go and spritz myself right now….

    I’m so glad that decanters are going underground. How else can I smell everything I need to? I just won’t buy a bottle now without trying a sample first, and we all know how hard it can be to get samples if you can’t buy or swap for them.

    • March says:

      Angela — hey, that is an excellent description of the EDT’s appeal! I’m glad to hear you like it too.

      The decanting thing…:-w I am trying to remain calm and explore the options. I still haven’t read the official BS line from eBay, trying to hunt down a letter or email or whatever it was.

  • Robin says:

    Drat, I love the Attitude bottle too — was hoping it would be better than that! Didn’t like Hampton Sun either, LOVE Fleur du Male.

    • March says:

      R — you’ll have to smell and tell! It smells a LOT like Double Black to me, but I love Double Black! I think it’s sexy in a hairy-chested way… and that bottle! In person it’s wildly attractive, very fun.

      Fleur … wow. I can’t decide. That is a LOT of OB.

      • Robin says:

        Have to jump back in here and say that someone left a comment on my blog comparing Attitude to Bvlgari Black, which did increase my interest!

        Hard to do too much OB for me 🙂

  • Bryan says:

    March, you rock. I love your opinions and your tasteful way of speaking your mind. I love that your husband doesn’t freak out when his son wants a dress. Incidentally, I played football and ripped heads off dolls, and lets say I’m the intended audience for the sailors. I don’t think you’re off base with the ads, but I think they’re provocative and funny. I wonder if I gave a bottle of Le Male to my brother (a proud daddy of one week, by the way). I think he’d wear it once in a while, but maybe that’s because he’s supporting his “artistic” gay bro. I do know plenty of straight guys wearing le male, but some of them, and I’m not kidding, keep it next to Mon Classique…insisting the juices should be switched….the female form for men, etc. Come on guys, splash on a little homophobia!

    • March says:

      Brian — hey! How are you? Thanks for the compliments. Okay, then, you’ve confirmed it about Le Male… Kevin said something really funny on his post, he said, probably your straight guy looks at the bottle and thinks, yep, buff just like me…;)

      That sailor ad with the tatttooed torso (and around the nipples) is particularly hot, but I am soooooooooooo sure I’m not the audience.

  • Flor says:

    I’ve always liked the ads for Gaultier perfumes, especially the Le Male’s. Hubby has no patience for them though, he dislikes them immensely and says he would never wear them. Truth be told, I can’t see him wearing anything like that either. He likes perfumes that come in black bottles for the most part: Drakkar Noir, Nemo, Armani Code.
    I have the new Jolie Madame EDT and I like it a lot. I actually just got it like a week ago. I used to wear the vintage one, and I can honestly say that the new one is lovely. I have no complaints.

    • March says:

      I like the ads too. The one for Classique is pretty amazing (the nude woman and the hands). Hubby sounds like he smells delicious!

      The new Jolie EDT I like because it’s easier for me to wear — less of a statement. I could even see wearing that in warmer weather, you know?

  • Patty says:

    That CdG sounds like fun. My M key keeps misfiring, I thmink IM’ll just mlet it go.Iwaswith youonthe — spacebar hates me now. Time for a new keyboard. Privet Bloom wasn’t me either. I didn’t hamtme it, but it just seemed sorta okay.

    • Patty says:

      PS — Mr. Patty would definitely not buy that mbottle, unless it had Rum in it.

      • March says:

        Yeah, mine would buy it if it had premium vodka. Hey, your typing is hilarious! IT was sort of fun translating it.

        Okay, I’m still totally cheesed at eBay.

  • Judith says:

    So much I haven’t tried here! I clearly need to get off MY derriere and try those Gaultier scents. In answer to your question, I honestly don’t think Mr. Lily (AKA Mr. Judith) would be put off by the bottles or ads–in fact he probably would like and be amused by them (no further comment here)–but if the juice itself is floral and femmey, he would probably register it as “too sweet.” He’s into leather, of course.:)

    I also agree with Elle on Jolie Madame. I love the vintage parfum, and find it superior to the EdT, but I am eager to try the new one, anway.

    • March says:

      Of COURSE he’s into leather!/:) I was quite pleasantly surprised by the new EDT (which, by the way, came from TJ Maxx or one of those places for $14ish, a big bottle). The opening’s a bit wrong, but the drydown is still delightfully dirty. It’s pretty wan next to vintage parfum, though. Lower your expectations.

  • pitbull friend says:

    Hey, March:
    Thanks for another great review. I had wondered about Privet Bloom, esp. after reading Colombina’s review, because I am still absolutely seeking the right eau de plage. Your “Nantucket Idyll” is a beautiful mental image. Would you please send that to C. Brosius for his mental image file?

    I’ve still not gotten around to his Summer 1966. Must say that, although I adore almost everything of his, I loathe his M. Hulot’s Holiday (supposed to be Mediterranean beach). Such hard notes to hit.

    Here’s my childhood eau de plage (Jones Beach, Long Island): salty air, french fries, dried driftwood, suntan lotion. It’s hard to get salt & grease in there without being gross, but that’s what’s needed. Ah, yes, and possibly the cry of seagulls exercising their penchant for group drama? And the feeling of a 7-Up float (just 7-Up and vanilla ice cream) washing the salt from the back of your throat. Yes, it’s a lot to ask!:)
    –Ellen

    • March says:

      Mr. Hulot — I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t “get” it at all. To be honest, I think I must be anosmic to some part of the scent. I feel like I’m only registering part of the spectrum. In the Library I didn’t dislike either but had a similar reaction…. I’m used to fireworks with his stuff, you know?

      Beachy frags. I like Bobbi Brown Beach, Nars Monoi Oil, and cheesy old Sand & Sables. I also think Rosine Rose Ecume is a great salty beach rose… but you’re right, nobody’s made my perfect beach. I like the sound of yours though.

  • Christine says:

    Thankfully, after the boyfriend basically ignored his bottle of Chanel Allure Homme that I bought him, he loves the Ralph Lauren Double Black. And therefore, I won’t need to worry about the Gaultier on his shelf. Or more accurately, in our kitchen window, since that’s where all his frags end up. Maybe I should just build a display case there? So he can better spray as he heads out the door in the morning?

    So cute about Buckethead!

    • March says:

      Hey, if he’s wearing Double Black, you should just consider yourself a lucky woman and take back everything else to YOUR shelf.;)

  • Elle says:

    I did get my derriere out to try Le Male and fell in deep love w/ it. 🙂 However, *why* did I not try Gaultier 2? Will remedy that in the next few days. I think scentaholic men are bottle blind if they like the scent – same way that I am. I love it when there’s a bottle that I feel in sync w/, but my main concern is the scent.
    Am also going to have to try the new Jolie Madame. My main concern is that it’s not parfum and, even in vintage, I much prefer the parfum to the edt of JM. I absolutely agree w/ you – floral notes are brilliant w/ leather. I often layer straight leather scents (especially CB’s accords) w/ floral ones.
    The Privet Bloom scent did not work for me. At all. LOTV attack.
    But the CdG….yummm!!! I *love* scents that make me sit up and pay attention.

    • March says:

      Now, why didn’t I think of layering leather with florals?!?

      Now I need to go back and try the other weird DCGs, because clearly my tolerance is growing.

      I’ll be interested to see what you think of Gaultier2. Boring, or delicious? You be the judge.

      That privet bloom — ack!

  • Dusan says:

    As you know, I love FdM and have to admit that it is rather femme-ish. Does it make me want to slip into a black silky number and stilettos and go man-hunting? No. But butch it certainly ain’t. I can’t help it – orange blossom rocks my world, especially when whipped into vanilla ice-cream. Actually the part I love the most is the indolic bit you mention that cuts the sweetness. As for the bottle (for both Males), I can’t say that I’ve ever felt aroused touching the guy’s chest but have to agree they *are* homoerotic only because I’ve seen the ads for Le Male and know Gaultier has been pushing this gay aesthetics of his in both his clothes and fragrances. Still, as long as the jus is great, I couldn’t care less if it were marketed to women, men, dogs or Martians. And I’d happily wear one of his sailor T-shirts! 😉

    • March says:

      Okay … so I’m not imagining this?! You saw the photo Kevin used in his review, which I wanted to use but it didn’t seem right — the tattooed torso dude? Those images are not for the ladies… although I kind of liked that one!

      Those sailor shirts are so sexy. I wonder if I could get the Cheese to wear one… he’s the nautical type. Maybe with one of those neckerchiefs?:-?

      • Dusan says:

        My best guess is that the Cheese would probably look way better than me in one of them sailor shirts. Neckerchief, on the other hand, um… I’d say don’t push your luck, hon 🙂
        The TT Dude – definitely blowing fluffy kisses to the rest of his crew… AHOY!

  • Tigs says:

    Oh man, I wish you hadn’t brought up the CdG. I don’t need ANY more samples, but I’ve been trowling the Bay for a whole set (original, White, #2, #3) and I’m obsessed with them, and darn it, they’re even unseasonal by now! But I love that “it’s a ride” line. It’ll have to tide me over. DH is here saying “No more samples!”

    • Patty says:

      Tell DH that you only have two days to buy samples/decants on eBay or through Basenotes, and then they go away!

      • pitbull friend says:

        Patty: Is that public knowledge? Are you emailing customers? I’m buying like a madwoman. Glad you have a non-Ebay store — you haven’t gotten any kind of cease & desist on that, have you?

        Do they know you’ve got an angry lawyer with pitbulls out here? (I’m not sure I could get them to do anything mean, but no one has to know that.)
        x( –Ellen

        • Patty says:

          I believe it is public. BN just announced they are shutting down decant sales/swapping too, just because they are nervous.

          My belief is it is the threat to third parties with no control of what their members/sellers are doing that presents the problem. Direct sales by people doing the decanting should pose no problem, and there is and has been underway a larger effort for a joint website, and I would encourage any smaller decanters to start their own. Yahoo stores are pretty cheap to set up and certainly less than the ebay fees, and I would happily link to any decant seller that I know here and on my retail site.

      • Tigs says:

        I just read the news at NST (I don’t frequent Basenotes or MUA much anymore.) I’m floored. Thank the heavens for your store, Patty – I hope other eBay sellers will do likewise.

        • Patty says:

          They are and will. ;;) There haven’t been formal announcements of this kind of thing because a website isn’t done yet, but since Lisa got booted from eBay, it was clear they were not wanting us there.