Let’s cruise some of the mainstream releases that I just haven’t gotten around to, since it seems like I’ve done mostly the niche releases recently.

Yves Saint Laurent Elle has notes of cedar, litchi, peony, rose, freesia, vetiver, patchouli and pepper.  I just have no words for the open except, well, yuck.  It’s like bad bathroom spray – maybe it will improve?  Nope, Rose Lysol still, and I think rose Lysol is better.  30 minutes in, no longer rose Lysol, it’s just, well… poof, gone.  Disappointing much?  Um, yeah.  Which leaves me thinking that it may be my skin it reacts badly too.  Is it me?

Chloe, the perfume that Chandler Burr hated.  Notes of  peony, lychée, freesia, rose, magnolia, lily of the valley, amber and cedar wood.  It’s certainly not as offensive on me as the Elle.  It’s tooth-achingly sweet, but I can see how a younger woman would like this quite a lot.  It’s young, predictable, but the lily of the valley seems to keep it in some green check that makes it pretty… and forgettable.  I think I remember Chandler’s big beef with this was not that it was a horrible scent, but that the creative team in charge should have made something so much better. I have to agree. The bottle is adorable, the perfumers talented, and this should have been a far more interesting perfume.

Which leaves us at the final scent in the mainline trio – Ralph Lauren Notorious with notes of chocolate, black currant, pink peppercorn, bergamot, white frost peonies, carnation, patchouli musk, vanilla, woods and iris.  Inspired by actresses like Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall and Faye Dunaway, the offspring of the inspiration fell a little short of its mark. But if you take out that inspiration, you are left with a soft chocolate scent that opens just a little strong, but settles into a pretty nice little fruity floral gourmand, which makes it sound far worse than it is.  Of the three, this is my favorite, though it certainly is not a scent I’ll be hunting down to wear regularly, but I’d be happy smelling it on me and others. If you’re looking for a gourmand’ish scent that’s subtle and not overpowering, this one could very well work for you.

Hey, but you know what my darling Lee is picking up today?  That new Le Labo in London, the Poivre thing, wheeee!!!  I could kiss him and will when I see him next year.  I know, I know, I’m a snob.

  • Elle says:

    All three of them have peony listed in the notes. Is that mandatory now? The main plus for Notorious in my mind is that, unlike Elle and Chloe, it didn’t list litchi or freesia – two more apparently near compulsory notes.
    Can’t wait to hear about Poivre!!!

    • Patty says:

      You know what I hate more? I love peony as a note when done right, like in MDCI Rose di Siwa and Hermessence rose Ikebana, but done poorly, it just gives the whole note a black eye.

      I’ll be here middle of the night waiting for Lee’s review. 🙂

      • Elle says:

        You’re right – when done well, peony can be truly lovely. But it’s being overused and abused these days. I’m a big fan of it in Rose di Siwa and my fave is probably PdN’s Rose Pivoine. I’m just in a *mood* (and a half) today. 🙂

      • Lee says:

        If I’m stuck on this train for much longer with this crappy a connection, the review won’t be up until AFTER the middle of the night!b-(

  • Musette says:

    I tried Elle at Macy’s-from-H*ll and I couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough cause it was taking up skin space! Not enough pepper to make it interesting – really boring. I agree with March on Chloe. Bug spray (sort of like a girl-version of Pierre Cardin). Gorgeous bottle, though!>-)

    • Patty says:

      I think it’s interesting how we all get to bug spray on them. Elle was total Bug Spray or what I interpret as Lysol accord, just horrible.

      I am looking forward to trying the Elle Intense. YSL has tended to do a pretty good job on their LE, so I’m, um hopeful!

      • Musette says:

        People used to look at me funny-like when I said Pierre Cardin smelled like Raid Lite! Chloe isn’t quite that bad but I think I cut it little slack because of the beauty of the bottle. Oughta live up to that bottle, IMO.

        And I wonder about peony anyway – As wondrous as they are, such an indefinable and elusive fragrance – sort of like phlox, wherein the scent is more about what it suggests (spring/wet/earth/??) than what it actually is, as opposed to a rose that usually smells like – a rose….what, exactly, are they replicating? Maybe that sharp, green-earth tinge?

        Like I said, though, just my opinion

        How’s your mom doing?


        • Patty says:

          Mom is doing great. We won’t know good the surgery success was until she can start walking on it and sees if she’s still hurting a lot then!

  • Silvia says:

    Hi Patty, well done on the Poivre23 ! Do you also have a cunning plan for the Tokyo exclusive Gaiac10 ? All going well my lifelong dream of visiting Japan will come true next Easter (and while there will be happy to oblige with any perfume wishes btw), but don’t think I can wait that long to sniff this :((

    • Patty says:

      No cunning plan for Tokyo LL yet, but if any of our Japanese readers wants to help a girl out, just hit the contact us button on the left! My plan for getting the new Milan Only tom Ford seems to have evaporated, dangit! I hate to harass people that are doing me a favor, but!

  • March says:

    Chocolate and I just don’t get along, so I’m not too fond of Notorious. And you and I are switched around on the first two — the new Chloe I *loathe.* It smells like bug spray to me. I tried not to hold the fact that I liked the original Chloe scent (which my mother in law wore) against it, but even absent that comparison I hate it. The new Elle is … fine. Sort of a Prada knockoff? It’s extremely patch-y on me, with almost no rose. I wouldn’t buy it, but I would wear it if a bottle landed from the sky in front of me.

    • Patty says:

      Wow. I got zero patch out of Elle, all rose and medicinal. Just horrificly bad. The new Chloe I can see how someone might like it if they’ve been unexposed to something really good or they just like the bottle and image. The juice was okay, nothing that is exciting, but it was pretty enough, I guess?

  • Louise says:

    I’ve had a terrible run trying mainstream fragrances lately, though I keep trying. I only enjoy NR, and one that I am slightly embarrassed about…Guess Gold :”>

    I hope Lee’s catching those kisses 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Guess Gold? Hmmm, I need to try that one. NR I don’t really think of as mainstream, though it is, but it’s good mainstream. There’s definitely good mainstream out there, but it takes sooooo much time and effort to sort through them, I usually throw up my hands after 6 losers in a row and quit.

      The Lee, I believe, will be reviewing that new Le Labo tomorrow. I hope, I hope!!!

  • Masha says:

    I thought Elle was terribly boring and little sharpish. But then I really loathed that hot pink bottle, so I was biased before I even sniffed it. I really like Notorious, though, and full disclosure, I was sent a free bottle by Ralph Lauren. I was dubious because I haven’t got any RLs in my collection, but I’m one third through the bottle already. It’s good for everyday wear, even my mother bought a bottle, and she never does that.:-w RL made a mistake with the name, I think it should be “Cuddlesome” or “Snugglebunny”! It’s very flannel jammies and furry slippers.

    • Patty says:

      Agree! It was just really snuggly and wearable. I think the Elle and Chloe have done well in the market, so I guess name and advertising and marketing does still work. But I’d pick any of the burberries or the Marc Jacobs of the Ralph line before I’d pick either of those two for young women.

      Notorious I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of when it goes to discounters. Same with Feerie and B Boucheron. The retail price point is ridiculous for what you’re getting, but I do like them.

  • tmp00 says:

    Yeah I spoke to Le Labo last weekend and they told me I’d be “one of the first” to know..

    I wanted to get all Norma Desmond on them, but realised that all I had was the zip code..

    Lauren’s insipid “Notorious” was inspired by Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall and Faye Dunaway, Well, one of them is dead and I can only hope he cut the other two in on the profits..

    • Patty says:

      Can I be the second to know what you think of it? 🙂 Please? I will go all Norma Rae on you if not since my Norma Desmond is a little weak.

      I’m so jacked about getting my G Phone today, I’ll have to include it in a post this weekend or next week.

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh-wee! Poivre 23? Forget that other mainline, I mean mainstream, stuff. I can’t wait to try the P23!

    Still tapping my toes waiting for the LA Le Labo to debut. I called the store today, and the very nice man who answered said it should be out by the end of the month. Right, and I have a bridge I can sell him in B’klyn! He claimed not to know anything about it, other than it represented “an angel with a heart of darkness” or something like that. Oh puh-leeze!! I am so tired of all the LA stereotypes.

    Anywho, Patty, I sort of liked Elle. :”> It smells like pencil shavings! I wouldn’t buy it, but I must admit I really want to test the Elle Intense version, which should be at Nordstrom by mid-month.

    Notorious is boring, and the new Chloe?…Let’s not even go there. Pretty bottle, but the new juice demeans the original classic formula that I absolutely loved and wore throughout the seventies and eighties.


    • Patty says:

      I am jonesin’ for that new L.a. Le Labo. As much as I hate that city-specific thing, all of them have been great scents so far, among my favorites. I will be bugging you or tom to lend a girl a hand when the L.A. one releases. 🙂

      Notorious was the best of the three on me, subtracting out the name and inspiration. It was just warm and nice, but the lasting power of it was pretty weak. Every time I do a mainstream review, I think… why? I did love Feerie, except the price point, and B Boucheron is nice, but I was underwhelmed with the little bit I sniffed it in Chicago, but should try again. I think it really is the cheapness of the ingredients, they just don’t leave any room for adventure or uniqueness.

      • violetnoir says:

        Bug away, darling. I will let you know when the LA LeLabo debuts, and we can take it from there.