Fuzzy Candy

I had my eyes dilated today and I can´t see anything. Let´s test my touch typing skills! In keeping with my semi-blindness, here are blurry impressions of some of the fragrances I have sniffed recently, most of which did not leave me breathless.

The new Fendi Palazzo – the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, the best bottle I´ve seen in some time – a glass and gold rendering of a building (hence the name). I stuck the photo in here, but it really doesn’t do the bottle justice. The juice, as Patty reported, needs further evaluation in cooler weather. It´s a heady mélange of orange blossom, rose, tangerine, bergamot, lemon, pink pepper and jasmine, and my initial impression is that I like it better than Asja but not as much as my best friend Theorema. It starts off with a strong hit of bergamot, goes through a weird 5 minutes where it almost disappears, and then the fireworks start with the florals, and I´m thinking some excellent base notes (vetiver? patch?) It´s very rich and made an amusing fragrance accompaniment to Hairspray, in which, in case you are wondering, John Travolta in a fat suit doesn´t hold a candle to Divine as Edna Turnblad. The music´s pretty catchy, though.

Are you wondering where all the leather went in Hermes Kelly Caleche? You´re missing your leather, right? I´m missing mine. Do you know where it is? It´s on the arm of my 10-year-old Enigma. On me, Kelly Caleche is all about the roses, and no thanks. On her, it´s all about snuggling up in your gearhead boyfriend´s old leather motorcycle jacket, which is so … unfair.

I would love to tell you more about the Prada Iris Infusion, but I can´t get it to linger on my arm long enough to form much of an impression. One of the rare fragrances that will not stay, although fleeting impressions were favorable. I did try the lotion, which was lovely, and I´m not a lotion fan. I may actually get some of that lotion, which would be the first time I´ve ever bought one. A pale, dry, non-rooty iris.

Patricia de Nicolai Vanille Tonka – Louise sprinted back to their store in London and bought some after Judith commented that it smelled like incense (and what kind of stupid false advertising is that name?) On Louise, and on me for the first five minutes, it is a sheer, woody frankincense – a fascinating scent with some of the luminosity of CdG Palisander. Then on me it morphs rapidly into an atomic-level vanilla with an off note, like cake mix batter with artificial vanillin in it (don´t they make that stuff out of wood pulp?) God, it was awful. Eventually the vanilla died down again, but I won´t be repeating the experiment. What my skin does to vanilla is criminal; no wonder I hate it in any kind of quantity.

That stanky, teeny, expensive vial of oud juice that Louise bought from the flashy shop across from Selfridges – I´m sure she´ll fill in the rest of the info below. I dabbed it on and it smelled all poopy on me, like the great ape house at the zoo, or the circus without the cotton candy. Then it died down to that mulch-smell. After about an hour it was delish

Huh. Would it surprise you to hear that my computer keyboard smells like perfume? No?

I have to give SJP credit — when you smell her new Covet, you don’t think, meh, I’ve smelled that a million times before. I still can’t believe what she used as a top note. (Remember, folks — this is the throwaway, short-lived opening that’s supposed to reel the suckers in and get that credit card out before it dries down and they realize they don’t like it.) Now Smell This describes it in her review as “vaguely reminiscent of citronella,” and Bois de Jasmin (I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets here) told me in an email that “I like it very much. It opens on a crisp, floral lavender with a bit of rose-geranium and dries down to a very soft, sensual musk.” To me, sprayed on the paper strip it smells like hell. Or, more precisely, like industrial carpet cleaner, or maybe oven cleaner. I jerked my head back like my dog did when he stuck his snoot in a nest of red ants. But NST and BdJ both give it the thumbs up and say I need to try it on my skin.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new Gwen Stefani L – holla back, gurrrl!! that juice is so unbelievably booooring. It could be any random bottle in Victoria´s Secret. Or BBW, even. There, Gwen, take that and stick it in your wide-leg sailor pants. Of all the people I expected to release something interesting, you were it. Okay, you and Prince. (Has anyone smelled the Prince one yet? I thought it came out in July?) The only thing interesting about it is the bottle, and that´s only interesting because it´s so stupid. The giant cap essentially fits over 4/5 of the bottle, leaving random customers in Nordstrom trying to figure out where the sprayer is. Cripes.  It’ll probably be one of their bestsellers.

Pucci Vivara – I love Pucci. I have some faux Pucci gear, and two gen-u-wine vintage Pucci dresses, and when I work one of those with some big Dallas hair I feel like a million flashy smackers. Anyway, you look at that swirly purple and blue container and you think, cuuuuute!! Probably something fresh and sparkly, maybe citrus?! And then the SA at N-M sprays it on a card and hands it to you and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! It was just … really, really strong. Not sweet. More like being hugged by someone wearing Animale. Or like eating a whole gorilla. I´m thinking something fierce along the lines of Aromatics Elixir, maybe? I made that embarrassing Mr. Yuck face to the SA that I had to apologize vigorously for, and I´m not smelling it again. You chypre sluts go do some reconnaissance and report back.

PS. Remember back in March when we all talked Patty out of getting that shar-pei bag? Well, the New York Times Sunday fashion spread was filled with a half-page of New Yorkers carrying those purses, which are now the thing. P — you’re ahead of the game.

PPS Scentzilla’s back with a post on Yatagan. I love her writing; we’ve missed you, hon.

  • Priti says:

    Am I the only one who thought the Covet ad was awful? With SJP being a thief and running around in her SATC garb with the raccoon eyes saying ‘I had to have it’. The ad made me not want to smell the perfume [-(

    • March says:

      The personal charms of SJP have always eluded me. She seems (in interviews) like a perfectly nice person, and I think a relatively intelligent one, but I have never understood how she managed to find herself on TV. Looking at the ad, she didn’t look any more peculiar to me than usual… hope there isn’t some latent, huge SJP fan club on here that’s now going to attack.:-“

  • Robin says:

    The Fendi & Pucci are easily the best bottles I’ve seen a very long time. I want them both. Not pleased with your reviews. I think I was secretly hoping that the Palazzo bottle held a juice that was exactly like Theorema, and they were just pretending it was something new. Drat. Afraid to smell them now.

    • March says:

      R, well it definitely doesn’t smell like Theorema! And Palazzo doesn’t strike me as “you” particularly, but I could be wrong. (I’d have guessed PdN Eau Exotique would be too much for you.) I thought it had a rich, floral, elegant smell, but two folks up there said “Angel,” which gives me pause. I hate Angel. OTOH I smelled it once, with several other things, hardly an in-depth study.

      And Vivara, I don’t really know WHAT it smells like. As you can see! Just really strong.

  • Patty says:

    You know what I figure out Palazzo reminded me of? Fath de Fath. Don’t you think?

    so I found some vintage Vivarra, which I have heard is actually pretty good, much better than this new one, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed like crazeeeee.

    Wonder what’s in the top of Covet that gets such varying responses. I don’t care about it, you hate, Robin thinks it’s a little charming. Huh?

    • March says:

      Hey!! You!! YOU might actually like that new Vivara! I realized it’s got that edge that reminds me a little of the original Gucci you like so much that sort of fights with me a little. And you liked that weird herbfest Niki de St. Phalle. Hmmmm, maybe you’re gonna be the new Vivara queen.

      I’ll have to smell the Fath — but that sounds right. It’s got that kind of classic, mom-gets-dressed-up feel.

      Well, BdJ says it’s “crisp lavender” which let’s face it is a train wreck on all sorts of people. I think that with the citrus is what smells so nasty to me. Lavender can have that weird industrial smell, you know?

  • winterwheat says:

    Ah, yes, the Arabian Oud shop on Oxford. I have a bottle of perfume from that shop. I think it’s called Saudi. It’s a rose-oud blend with soft leathery notes. Their oud is HARSH. It’s more bearable blended, but alas I can’t even wear Saudi that much. 🙁

    • March says:

      I think I am, in general, an oud-in-extremely-small-doses gal. And of course everyone wants to combine it with rose, which makes me like it even less. I think we’re doing the Montale Rose Oud(s?) soon, and :-ss

      • Lee says:

        It’s Montale Flowers, March – not quite as scary, I promise. And you get the pleasure of Cuir d’Arabie too!:d

        • Tigs says:

          Do you mean Montale Aoud Flowers, Lee? I’m anxiously waiting a small decant of that one. I think that’s the one elle loves, and our taste is often similar, so I’m really looking forward to it. Haven’t found a Montale Aoud to really love yet, but Golden Aoud was close.

  • violetnoir says:

    And the winner is…the oud juice, March? Who’d have ‘thunk’ it? :d

    I think you summed up all of these fragrances quite nicely. None of them have thrilled me, but the Prada Iris is very pretty.

    And Covet as oven cleaner? Too funny. All I did was open the Covet strip in a magazine yesterday, and I couldn’t get the smell out of my car for hours. Yuck!! #-o

    Hugs and love!

    • March says:

      R — Covet seems like the anti-you in fragrance, as does Vivara.

      I can see you wearing Palazzo, though. How do those notes sound to you? It’s maybe a leetle sweet and heady on me, which might be perfect for you.

      The oud juice lasted forever. It was a great smell to experience, but not the sort of thing I think I’d find myself reaching for.

  • tmp00 says:

    That Fendi bottle is stunning, but the juice was not all that.

    I spent Sunday Maundering around the Beverly Center sucking up the AC and looking for Covet to no avail: neither Macy’s nor Bloomingdales had it! Weird, huh?

    • March says:

      Well, the only place I’ve seen it was Nordstrom, and they don’t have the bottles to sell yet — just the tester, which I thought was a little odd. I mean, yes for a day or two, but they’ve had the tester for 3(?) weeks and still no bottles to purchase.

      I may buy Palazzo just for that bottle, I’ll set it next to my bed.

  • Jennifer says:

    I wanted to love Covet (I absolutely loved Lovely), but Covet was a screeching disaster on me. A most definite try before you buy, but must give SJP credit for putting something so completely different out there.

    • March says:

      I was hoping she would do her version of that dark thing she wears that’s a combo of Avignon and musk oil, or whatever. That would have been great. This is, I think, not me — but good for her for doing something different, yes.

  • Ina says:

    I tested Palazzo yesterday, and it instantly reminded me of Angel. Then it reminded me of something else. Then I realized what it was: L’Or de Torrente. Or something along those lines. Vivara was a major disappointment.

    • Helen T says:

      Ina, I had exactly the same instant reaction as you, it was all eau de Angel to me, and so it put me off instantly. Maybe I should give it some skin time but I’m really not sure. If it goes all angel on me I will really regret it, Angel induces serious biliousness in me :-&

    • March says:

      Ina, I need to re-smell it when I’m not smelling several other things. Interestingly, I can see your Angel comparison without it actually smelling “like” Angel to me, that is, I despise Angel, and I kinda liked this one. I think it will be too much for me, though.

      Wonder what Vivara smelled like to you?

  • Marina says:

    That Kelly Caleche thing is definitely unfair. You know what else is unfair? I sprayed DD with En Passant yesterday. On her- amazingly gorgeous lilac from start finish. On me- Cool Water. :-w

    • March says:

      Oy — I think you really HATE En Passant? Or just on you? What a wonderful fragrance to smell on DD, though. Giggling at cool water! Bleah!

  • Louise says:

    Oh, that bottle is so lovely-I have medium hopes for the scent-my mother wore several Fendis well-me, not so much.

    Yes, it is unfair that Enigma gets the leather now-but think of her future! If she is not totally frightened off fragrance entirely by her mom’s obsession, she’ll wear so many of our favorites well. Especially if her skin doesn’t react like yours with vanilla.

    Speaking of which, yup, I can comment on your skin’s evil attack on Vanille Tonka. I love gooey white cake with loads of real or fake vanilla; I wear sweet vanilla fragrances; vanilla smells of the functional family I wish I had. But VT on you-yikes! Sorry, love, but yuck.

    The aoud/oud was surely ka-ka at first, but turned softer and mulchier as you note-I didn’t get the hours-after scent, since we parted, but I bet you’d like a good samp of the stuff-anytime. I will be interested in Lee’s take on aouds (Montales), since it is surely acquired taste-but soooo interesting, even when a touch repulsive. I bought 2 other blended scents at the Arabian Oud shop (shoppe?) across from Selfridges-one is a stunning oud, rose, patchouli, spice confection-(called Prestige)it completely changed my view of rose on me. That’s the one, March, you have a spill of. The other is a honey, vanilla, saffron, lightly rosy number (can’t find the name of this one)-I wore it to work yesterday, even got compliments (most collegues run away from me-though that may not be related to perfume).

    The best part of the shopping experience was that I visited quickly first round, let things dry down, and was welcomed back into the special downstairs room when I cam back to buy-complete with a plate of gooey dates, furnace-strong coffee, and burning aoud chips. The manager was delightful, and made this Oregon Jewish girl feel very welcome. They have a shop in Paris, and elsewhere and a website (arabianoud.com)-and likely do phone orders.

    Oh-back to kid skin-I gave my boy CdG 2MAN and it is exquisite on him. Like FdB, minus the femme. His skin normally eats up everything like mine, but this lingers. My condo smells wonderfully of the fragrance; I hope it lasts a bit after he leaves for college next week.

    • March says:

      That’s the name of the shop, thanks! Also, next time I see you I’m bringing the CdG EDP, I think you’ll really like it.

    • Maria says:

      Those wishing to walk on the oud wild side should take note of the fact that there are several for sampling in the Perfumed Court. Diane sent me some in her Dragonfly days. A couple were scary but a couple were very nice, and I may need to retry them in winter to see if I need a decant.

  • Helen T says:

    Funny, I just tried the Palazzo this morning. I’m loving the bottle, but I’m not sure that I love the juice yet. I think maybe I’ll have to let it loose on my skin and just see, but it’ll have to wait, still working my way through my haul from Les Senteurs.

    And the SJP, I like because it’s different, but it’s not different enough for me to like it. But its not a fruit floral so I give her credit for that, cos there are bound to be a whole load of those this autumn from every celeb from A to Z list!

    • March says:

      Helen, wow, I’m surprised they have Covet over there already?!? You’re in London, right? I thought it might take a celebuscent awhile to show up. Ahhhh, all those things to play with from Senteurs!

      Confirming something I was asserting to an SA over here: how many years (roughly) do you think you’ve had D&G The One? And you just got Light Blue relatively recently, yes? Or no? We had the opposite, I think — LB for eons, and they’re just rolling out The One as The Hot New Thing over here. She didn’t believe that it wasn’t brand new.

      • Helen T says:

        Hi March

        The One was D&G’s big launch for last Christmas, so probably came out this sort of time. I think Light Blue has been around for ever, as there are certainly plenty of other things that have been influenced by it since, in things like shower gels etc.

        I think some celebuscents take longer than others, it depends on who the parent company are I guess, and how well structured they are in the UK. Thankfully, we are waiting a long time for Mariah…! Our most recent celeb offerings other than the SJP are Katie Price/Jordan and I think the Kate Moss is imminent.

        Today I’m on Rousse (sp?) from Serge Lutens, and thinking its quite me, but its quite soft. My skin is just eating fragrance this week, so everything except Musc Ravageur has disappeared real quick.

        I think I am having fragrance schizophernia though. I just got given a sample of the Paul Smith Rose…and I love it. Really love it. It is just like sticking your nose into a real old fashioned scented road. Not cheap, not sickly, not at all unreal. I’ve taken to wearing it around bedtime, I find it quite comforting to spritz on after my post run shower. Definitely not my normal choice, but quite happy to stick with it!

        • March says:

          Thanks for the update! I had NO IDEA Kate was doing a frag, wonder what it’ll smell like? Not like her boyfriend, I hope.

          I’m glad the Paul Smith Rose loves you. @};-

      • Lee says:

        Covet is EVERYWHERE here…:o

        • Helen T says:

          Expect to see pictures of her shopping in Boots anytime now. Sure that was when Lovely launched, it ended up in Hello.

  • Judith says:

    Oh I am so sorry about the PdN VT.:(( I’m glad that Louise was around so that I didn’t seem completely crazy. On me, it’s wonderful. And a friend of mine suggested that we rename it Vanillincense– or Frankanilla! :d You + vanilla = me + lemon!:o

    • March says:

      Hey, no apologies necessary! I’m the one who’s apologizing. It’s criminal what I did to that beautiful thing. Honest, for the first 3 minutes I was sitting there chatting, thinking about whether they carried this online anywhere or whether I’d have to call the store — that’s how great it was! So thanks for that.

      Louise and I sat there and guzzled coffee outside Nordstrom and sniffed ourselves and each other vigorously. She’d brought her bottles from her trip and I think I had 8 or 9 things on. People walked by us and looked at us like they were trying to decide whether to call security.

    • Louise says:

      No, Judith-not crazy! By the way, VT is fab on me-so sad for March…

  • rosarita says:

    Well, it’s raining here in biblical proportions. Driving to work I made it halfway down my street and hit curb to curb flooding, and now my poor little beater of an ancient Camry is sitting there w/a couple of others, flooded out. Can’t do anything about it till daylight, so why not join y’all in coffee & perfume!

    I commented the other day about how the Palazzo bottle just speaks to me, which rarely happens as I’m not much of a bottle sl*t. Can’t wait to try it, as I love most of the Fendi frags….and very unfair about Enigma & Kelly Caleche, but chemistry – whatcha gonna do? Thanks for all your impressions – and yeah, I had the same high hopes for Gwen, but still think L will be a ginormous success, based on her popularity and our celebuworshipping culture, nabbing consumers at ever younger ages.

    • March says:

      Poor Camry! Just sitting there, waiting for the Ark to float by and the doves to come out… yeah, sit there and drink some coffee and surf.

      As I commented up there, I feel the same way about Palazzo! I’m not a bottle slut either, and I have to have that one.

      I kept sniffing the Gwen, thinking, I just have to WAIT for the interesting part. No dice. And yeah — it’ll be HUGE, if anyone can figure out how to get the cap off to smell it./:)

  • Lee says:

    Lucky Enigma!:d

    • March says:

      Really. It’s ridiculous. I get Osmanthe Yunnan and she gets Peau d’Espagne? Slightly more worrisome was the fact that she LIKED it. Of course, she also likes Pink Sugar and those Clean things, so I’m okay for now.

  • Maria says:

    Hello, March. I bet you’ve gotten your sight back now. That Palazzo bottle looks fantastic. I must try the juice. I missed out on Asja; maybe I’ll get a sample at some point. But I have my Theorema to keep me warm–okay, OUR Theorema.

    Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: I’m so excited that Andy Tauer asked me to try out his frankincense mods and write about them! You can read the first part of my impressions on his blog today, the next part Friday. Truly, truly shameless. :d

    • Louise says:

      Maria-congrats on a fine piece of writing-we would, of course, expect no less…the ‘fume seems wonderful. I am just a little frightened of the Orris, after what my skin did to Andy’s Orris-a great tragedy for me. Looking forward to tomorrow’s write-up!

      • March says:

        Orris … that went tragically wrong on you, didn’t it? Although it worked out rather nicely for me.:-” As I recall.

        Today: FdeB. With a vengeance. Vengeance is mine, sayeth March the Maleficent! I hope the c*dar doesn’t rear its furry head too much.

      • Maria says:

        Louise, I hope I’m not to late for the party. I had a three-hour faculty meeting. I know you can relate. Unfortunately, its effect wasn’t |-) but rather 😮

        I understand your trepidation after the Orris experience. Fortunately, my skin works differently with it. If Andy releases this one, I’ll buy a bottle as soon as it’s available (like, the minute), and I’ll send you a sample. There will have to be more than one bottle of this in my future because the DH loves it.

    • March says:

      Oh, I’m so excited! I’ll go read it right away. I’ve been hoping for some time he’d play with incense. Frankincense and Andy sounds like the perfect combo!

      The Asja bottles (which BTW are really cool looking) are available at various online discounters for cheap cheap cheap if you get a small one. It’s pretty — sweet and a little plummy — but it’s hard to live up to my expectations after Theorema.

      Regardless of how I feel about the Palazzo, I may buy a bottle just to look at it, and I am soooo not a bottle slut. It’s a knockout.

    • Judith says:

      Terrific review, Maria!! But now you have created a HUGE lemming for me!:((

  • Tigs says:

    Katie, welcome back! We missed you. (I finally posted tonight, too, but on books and in a very incoherent, long-winded fashion.)

    March, I actually like Covet, but I can’t believe she had the stones to release it with top notes like that either. And yay for Frank V., that fine fellow! Need to try the Fendi. After a quick breeze of incongruous and interesting lime, Vanilla Tonka smells exactly like Pez on me: not a PdN favourite. I prefer Vanilia.

    • March says:

      Tigs…. do me a favor and smell that Pucci, ‘kay? Because somehow I think you’ll think it’s just the greatest. Are you near ANYWHERE that might sell it? If not maybe I’ll try to make a stealth sample when nobody’s looking. The things I do for love…/:)

      • Tigs says:

        I have no idea where they might sell it around here, but I’m going to Seattle for the long weekend to visit my best bud, so maybe I’ll get to try Vivara then. That “eating a whole gorilla” line made my whole day – how sick am I? So, you’re right, it sounds like me!