Over the past six months or so, I´ve been completely enthralled with watching cooking shows, particularly those on the Food Network. Some of my favorites include those starring Giada DeLaurentiis, Paula Deen and the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I particularly enjoy watching Ina because she seems to always be cooking for every hot gay man in East Hampton. As she is known to say, “How bad could that be?”
There is a special place in my heart for Guy Fieri. For some reason, I find him irresistibly offbeat and charming. To me, he´s a combination of Susan Powter, the early 90s “Stop the Insanity!” infomercial queen (it´s that spiky bleached hair of his), and Chef Emeril Lagasse. His bombastic personality is hugely entertaining on his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show, where he cruises America in a 1967 Chevy Camaro in search of off-the-beaten-path eateries. Usually, these places aren´t especially dive-y, but they are far from being white-tablecloth, fine dining establishments. If you´re in the market for a sloppy hamburger you have to eat with three hands, down home barbecue, all-day breakfast that will leave you stuffed for closer to a week, or authentic ethnic fare in places you would least expect to find it, Guy is your guy. He´s on a perpetual journey in search of “Flavortown”, and I´m always happy to go along for the ride. His travels have inspired me to look for new springtime scents that aren´t necessarily hoi-polloi or hard to find. While I´m always up for an adventure, be it the search for the ultimate burger, the most amazing barbecue, or a ridiculously hard-to-get vial of fragrance, sometimes, what happens to literally be right under my nose, is just what the doctor ordered. Hop in and enjoy the ride…
True Religion Eau de Parfum: Bergamot, Mandarin, Violet Leaves, Granny Smith Apple, Red Currant, Freesia, Pear Tree Blossom, Amaryllis, Purple Plum, Hinoki Wood, Ambrette Musk and Blond Cedar Wood. Smells like at least a dozen other existing scents; Bond No.9 Scent of Peace being one of them. It seems like the newest idea in Fruity-Floral Land is to add woods in the drydown instead of, or in addition to, musk. This one happens to have both. It is pleasant enough, and if you happen to be drawn to scents with juicy berry/citrus openings, this is a good choice. The cedar wood is the most predominant in the drydown, probably because it is a clean-smelling wood, and therefore safe to ply the masses with. Hinoki is richer and very distinct to my nose, and I don´t pick up any; whatever the heck “Ambrette” musk is supposed to be, I have no clue.100 ml goes for $79.00, so in fragrance terms, it´s quite a bargain. The bottle is kind of charming and hippie-ish (the large center crystal reminds me of the big jewels belly dancers paste to their navels), but don´t scramble for it if the juice doesn´t tickle your fancy.
DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom: Grapefruit, Cassis, Apricot, Muguet, Rose, Jasmine, Apple, Blond Woods, Smooth Skin Accord. Here again we have fruit, woods and musk. Why the euphemism “Smooth Skin Accord” needs to exist is beyond me. Why can´t we just call it what it is? Musk! I guess I´d get thrown out of a marketing brainstorming session if I dared suggest something like, “dirty”, “skanky” or “strongly redolent of roadkill”. I am about 10 or so years past the targeted demographic for this scent, so maybe I should just stick to my Donna Karan favorites: Chaos, Cashmere Mist and Black Cashmere. But wait a minute – if the designer herself can flout her youthful transformation (check out this month´s issue of Allure) courtesy of a raw food diet, aromatherapy, intuitive healing, Reiki and yoga, why is there a need for demographics for her fragrances? She looks damn good for 60, and I can honestly say, approaching 42 has me feeling a bit hangdog right now. I probably just need to have my chakras adjusted. As for Fresh Blossom, it has the tart green apple heart of the original Be Delicious fragrance, and the apricot shines through nicely, along with the jasmine and a slight bit of the grapefruit and rose. I like it; demographic be damned. You can procure 30 ml for $40.00, so you don´t have to choose between a new fragrance, and a sack of groceries.
Flora by Gucci Eau de Toilette: Citrus Accords, Peony, Rose, Osmanthus Flower, Pink Pepper, Sandalwood. I love the smell of osmanthus flowers in fragrances. One of my favorites is Parfum d´Empire´s Osmanthus Interdite. It has an intense, fruity green tea vibe that I adore. It´s springy, and sparkly and I love it because it does not mimic the legions of other fruity florals out there. Unfortunately, I barked up the wrong tree with Flora because the osmanthus note seems to be lost in a hail of peony, pepper and sandalwood. Don´t get me wrong; this is a perfectly pleasant scent that is in keeping with the latest trend of fruits/flowers/woods. Since it is an Eau de Toilette, $65.00 gets you 50 ml.
Prada Infusion de Fleur d´Oranger Eau de Parfum: Oranger Fleurs Absolute, Tubereuse Absolute, Jasmine, Neroli and Serendoline. OK, the $64,000.00 question is: what is Serendoline? Is it the French translation of, “Serenity Now!”? Honorable mention will go to whoever can provide an accurate answer. In the meantime, how is Prada capable of getting away with continuing to sell scents that up and disappear within 10 minutes of application? I really like this one, but just like Infusion d´Iris, it´s gone before you get a chance to put the cap back on the bottle. Maybe that´s how they justify selling 200 ml bottles; if you don´t constantly reapply, than why bother? Calling it an Eau de Parfum is an even bigger misrepresentation. 50 ml is $74.00. Here’s an update: Since the two Infusion scents share some of the same notes, I layered them, and the result is surprisingly good. The combination of the two increases the lasting power a bit, but unfortunately, not that much.
And, now for the Lightning Round:
Philosophy Unconditional Love Eau de Toilette: As usual, the notes are nowhere to be found. But, as a fan of Philosophy fragrances, I can tell you that Unconditional Love is nothing more than an amped up version of Falling in Love, with the addition of a burnt caramel note. If you already have some Falling in Love, or Trish McEvoy #9 (Blackberry, Vanilla & Musk) for that matter, don´t rush out for this one; although, at $40.00 for 50 ml, it is a bargain.
Dior Escale à Portofino Eau de Toilette: Bergamot, Citron, Almond, Orange Blossom, Cypress. This is a perfect eau frà¢iche scent for really hot, sticky weather. The fresh, green citrus is perfectly complimented by the almond note. I think I need a bottle or two to get me through the summer. $65.00 for 75 ml, or $85.00 for 125 ml. My upcoming birthday is May 5, for your gift buying convenience. It is sold exclusively at Nordstrom. To quote Guy Fieri, “It´s crazy good!”
Image of Guy Fieri: foodnetwork.com.
****Honorable mention goes to Zagara who answered the $64,000.00 question in the comments section about the “Serendoline” note in Prada Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger. Thank you!****