And yet…They are what I was magnanimously given as samples, more than once, on a recent trip to Barcelona. Only after performing my best sample-whore routine, mind you, and with shop girl displays of ennui at having to scrabble beneath the counter for these precious pearls of great price.
So I thought these samples would die unloved in my cupboard. But then I thought hey, I have all four of the suckers, why not share my great bounty and write you guys little reviews of them? Someone’s gotta do it. As a local comedy duo are wont to say before their film reviews: We watch it for you in case it’s kak (and if that’s your first encounter with Afrikaans, “kak” means “shit”, but more flavourfully).
So here goes! I am NOT promising you a drydown-and-all complete review. More a blow-by-blow of the first half hour – honestly, isn’t that all these things sell for, that first little thrill? Who’s expecting a deep and meaningful drydown here? But hey – maybe I’ll fall in love, how cool would that be? However, I reserve the right to scrub off vileness after thirty minutes. Let’s find out:
(But before we do: What is up with these fancypants new samples? They’re credit card sized pouches of cardboard; you pull a cardboard tab thingy at the top and a plastic thingy appears with a tiny sprayer, and you squeeze the whole pouch, kind of like a very very thin, flat plastic “bottle” encased in cardboard. I hate them. Might they be a Europe thing? Drat, I can’t find images of them online to show you. The Escada and Oilily samples (yes, just imagine my joy) I got in Barcelona are the same style. Single use, too! Give me a glass vial any day. Cheapskateness reigns.)
First up is – surprise! – the one with the big number one on it. RL Blue, they want us to call it, and it is alleged by the Ralph Lauren website to be a floral citrus, “a fresh, invigorating mix of sparkling grapefruit and cool blue lotus.” Sounds pretty good, actually.
(Spritzing commences) Oh, that’s nasty. Aww man, the “lotus” is baaaad. Boyfriend: “That is the worst kind of perfume. Komkommer-kak (cucumber shit).” I concur. Migraine in a bottle. Once again the wisdom of staying away from most blue perfume bottles is underlined. This most closely resembles a slightly daintier Axe. Very teenage boy. But hang on; five minutes in and it’s less unpleasant. Because it’s gone. Almost – what remains is eau de last night’s pumpkin skin. This bodes ill for numbers two through four.
Number 2, “Ralph Lauren Pink blends cranberry and tonka mousse to create a sensual, fruity scent.” Now what in blue blazes is “tonka mousse”? Pony up and find out, nostrils! (And I confess to liking the pink bottle.)
(Spritzing commences) I can work with this! Very boozy opening which immediately puts me in mind of Kenzo’s late lamented 7:15 am in Bali. A soapiness enters. Boyfriend: “wax crayons”. And I see what he means! This is not revolting, but I think one spray too many and you’d be dealing with death by fruity-sweet cocktail. Alcoholic and waxy-fruity. Can’t say I can isolate the cranberry.
I won’t kick it out of bed. Real sweet, though. And… after 20 minutes, we’re left with a sour soapiness that I sort of do want to get rid of. Definitely longer lasting than Ralph Lauren Blue.
Number 3, “RL Yellow is infused with the natural radiance of pear notes and mimosa for a dazzling floral scent.” Pear, please no! But I love mimosa, so once more unto the breach…
(Spritzing commences) Harajuku Lovers Music! Or, as it is also often known, purest shampoo. This one is totally non-heinous. Perfect if uninspired for a tween. Very very similar indeed to Music, but with a way less cute bottle. The mimosa peeks out after a few minutes, when the most strident of the “pear” chemicals have burnt off. But don’t expect Champs-Élysees.
Really not bad. Soft and easy. But would I actually choose to wear it? I bought a large bottle of Music at a discounter, sure it would find love on those don’t-wanna-think days, and I’ve hardly worn that, so…
And lastly, the compellingly titled RL Purple strikes fear into my heart: “the daring and delicious RL Purple blends wild cherry and purple amber for a soft, oriental floral scent.” Sweet withering copy editors, purple amber?!
(Spritzing commences) Almond! Oooh, and that purple Palmolive Aromatherapy Anti-Stress shower gel (looks like it is called Absolute Relax in some places), my word, it is the exact same smell! Verrrry sweet, but not awful. Although better in a shower gel that you can, you know, wash off. This will get real thick and smothery when spritzed from a real bottle. Wow. Uncanny how much this resembles the above-mentioned Palmolive gel; I’d guess a cheap ylang-ylang aromachemical? I can smell cherry now, after five minutes. My teeth are starting to ache. (And fifteen minutes in I really want to wash my hand. Another ten minutes and it has softened a bit.)
So, my verdict? I expected worse. Except for the truly vile RL Blue, these are more or less wearable, and RL Yellow might make it onto my skin, were I given a bottle. It is almost amusingly better than any of the others. Both Pink and Purple are thickly sweet, and I suspect only my Lilliputian tester sprays saved them from being slated as aggressive oxygen thieves.
All in all, my only recommendation would be to investigate RL Yellow if a) it were dramatically marked down and b) you were in the market for a perfectly nice shampoo scent. Don’t bother with the others, and train your dogs to warn you of the approach of RL Blue.
And this from the people who brought us Safari…