Indulge me in a bit of whining here: I am so tired of mainstream fragrance flankers that I want to take them all and…and…and… Honestly, what could I possibly do with them? Fragrances containing alcohol are highly flammable, so starting a giant bonfire is out of the question. Having a weenie roast in the stadium parking lot is one thing, but feeding beer to the fire is not an option. The bottles are glass, so theoretically they can be recycled. But really, how many bud vases does one person need? It´s like trying to come up with alternate uses for a hockey puck; besides the obvious, and using it as a paperweight, what additional purpose does it serve?
Essence Narciso Rodriguez isn´t exactly a flanker to his previous scents, but it is in the same floral/musk family. I am not a fan of NR for Her eau de toilette or eau de parfum (too much chypre in that one for me), and I am completely anosmic to Musc Oil for Her. But, when I sampled Essence from the tester in Saks a few weeks ago, I liked it. I kept sniffing the inside of my arm for the rest of the day thinking I would love a full bottle of this; it´s just the right blend of musk – nicely earthy and politely skanky, with hints of clean floral. Unfortunately, what I got from the sample atomizer was completely different: it started with a sharp burst of iris, rose and (gasp!) powder; A LOT of powder. Where was the powder in the tester? And why did it smell so differently in the sample atomizer? Has this ever happened to anyone else, or is my sense of smell still in crisis?
When sample Essence finally settled down, it morphed into…Philosophy Amazing Grace. I pulled out my bottle of Grace, sprayed some, and yup, Essence is pretty near a dead-ringer for it. Grace is decidedly cleaner and better behaved in the drydown, but the two are remarkably similar; like how NR for Her Eau de Toilette and Lovely Sarah Jessica Parker are for the most part, identical. Maybe I should have started off by stating, “I am so tired of smelling scents that remind me of…”
According to Now Smell This, Essence´s notes consist of iris, rose, benzoin and musk; a very pedestrian blend as far as I´m concerned, but if you can withstand the initial blast of powdery flowers, what remains is quite pleasant. The bottle is a simple silvery flask, very much in keeping with the unfussy sophistication of Rodriguez´s clothing.
As of this posting, there is no information on Essence on Rodriguez´s own website, or any of the department store sites, although it is in stock at the Saks nearest to me. I believe 100 ml is $95.00 and there is a 50 ml size for sale as well. I tried in vain to find out what the exact notes are for Philosophy´s Amazing Grace, but I fear that Grace´s formula is keeping company in the same vault with the secret blend of eleven herbs and spices used to make Kentucky Fried Chicken. There is just nothing out there. There are listings of notes for Pure and Baby Graces on Sephora.com, but none listed for Amazing and Inner. By the way, Inner Grace is another SJP Lovely/NR for Her doppelganger. I´ll stop now, since this is turning into a “Six Degrees of Separation” scenario; a worthwhile idea for a future post, perhaps?