Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quick sniff impressions

When I left Boston, I left my best perfume sniffing companion behind (that would be Elizabeth of Nosy Girl); I also lost next-door access to a handful of well-stocked perfume counters, as my office building was right next to the Prudential/Copley mallplex, which houses a big Sephora, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and Barney's in throwing distance of each other. So whenever there was something new to smell, I'd dart over during a break or after work.

I was mildly worried that Denver would be a perfume wasteland, but it's not as bad as I feared. The nearby Cherry Creek Mall has a Nordstrom and a Neiman Marcus in addition to the expected Macy's and Sephora, as well as one of those goofy little mall stores where you can sometimes find fun older things that are either discontinued or in production but with limited distribution. There's also Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's studio in North Boulder, which is great. It's not Manhattan, but it could be a lot, lot worse. Also, shortly after moving here, I discovered that the author of one of my favorite perfume blogs currently resides about a mile from me. What luck!

Today we ventured down to the mall for some endurance sniffing. Solo sniffing is dangerous because the sales associates tend to hound you, so it's good to have a buddy, especially one who's not afraid to fry her nose (and fry our noses we did). Here are super-quick impressions of some of the (many) things we sniffed:

@ Macy's:

Truth or Dare: Madonna's perfume was at the top of my list of newish releases that I definitely wanted to check out. On paper, though, I didn't really like it. More than tuberose, it has a ton of whatever synthetic material usually goes into "gardenia" accords plus the kind of metallic jasmine found in Gorilla Perfumes Lust. I find Lust oddly compelling, like the super-trashy sister to Annick Goutal Songes, but Truth or Dare also has a big dose of that buttery lactonic note from Fracas, which turns the whole thing kind of rancid. Like Fracas, it's very close to several things that I really like, but the balance felt off. Bottom line: Impressive effort but too much of a muchness.

Lady Gaga Fame: I think I pulled a muscle rolling my eyes. Enormous fruit note, smells like every other celebrity release of 2012.

Coco Noir: Ari was right; Coco Mademoiselle with more patchouli.

@ Neiman's:

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Delicate: Natalie had her eye on this one; it smelled great on her. A variation on the original along the lines of Mugler's "Taste of Fragrance" flankers, it was fruitier, with a jammy fig note, in the EDT, and the EDP seemed to have a more natural, petal-y floral accord.

Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache: I love the way this smells if you just sniff the nozzle, and sprayed on skin, it had the most amazing top note -- with the super-toasty quality of just-roasted nuts as well as the sweet, marzipan-like intensity of pistachio ice cream. Then within minutes it turned into an overwhelming Angel knockoff, all choco-patchouli-candyfloss with no nuts in sight. Huge disappointment.

Spicebomb: I've been wanting a bottle of this since it launched earlier this year, but today is the first time I've tried it on skin. Now I NEED a bottle. I was initially drawn to it due to its similarity to Tea for Two, which is reportedly discontinued, but now I think I like it even better. It's smoother than TfT, which is so smoky initially it evokes barbecued meat, and the longevity is terrific. Of the five or six things I spritzed on my arms it's the only one that's still well-represented.

Midnight in Paris: This was the other winner of the day, a terrifically smooth leather, not too sweet, smoky, or animalic. We're planning to order and split a bottle of this.

@ Sephora:

I don't remember a thing I smelled here, our last stop of the day. OK, I just looked at their inventory online to jog my memory:

La Petite Robe Noire: This has been reformed. It used to be nice and pretty complex, similar to Lolita Lempicka. The thing I smelled today had a bright cherry top note but smelled very simple and thin.

Marchesa: Notably not a run-of-the-mill fruity floral, but not particularly compelling anyway. Kind of a white floral? It's advertised as iris, but I got mostly a cheapish lily.

La Vie est Belle: Smelled like everything else so I spent no time on this.

Loverdose: I remember hearing that this was interesting. It was interesting all right! A huge grape soda note (as in the original Alien) plus a huge pepper note that somehow added up to the smell of salami. I mean, wow. I kept smelling it and laughing in shock. But it's literally impossible to imagine anyone wearing it.


  1. Spicebomb is so good! I want a bottle, too, but I'm sitting on my wallet right now post-Seville a l'Aube full-bottle splurge. I definitely coated myself with a *bit* too much Spicebomb this summer at a Duty Free in Dublin and was still delighted when I landed in Boston. (Though don't airplanes do the weirdest things to fragrances? l feel like I see people spray whole bottles on themselves at Duty Free and then on the plane it's just errant farts and pneumatic air, with that hot-lunch smell if you're getting food, but only the flight attendants are wearing enough perfume to register.)

    Now I must smell Narciso Rodriguez For Her Delicate as well. Jammy fig note! And hw great that you live near Natalie of the delightful Another Perfume Blog.

    Your Boston sniffing-buddy misses you bad!

    1. You're right, I can only remember smelling perfume on someone on a plane once, and it was a tiny plane, and the perfume was Angel!

  2. Such fun sniffing, and you remembered so much I forgot. I am enjoying the description of Loverdose possibly the most. Doesn't the name make you want to find ways to fit it into Shakespearean phrases? :)

    1. Oh yes! It's really a waste of an awesome name.

  3. OOOH (makes interested eyebrows) mini-reviews!

    Love Midnight in Paris. It is awesome on Gaze. Must smell Spicebomb.

    1. I'm planning to write mini-reviews more often! I have so many samples and things sitting around that I save thinking "I may want to write about this someday..." and then I never do.

      I think you would like Spicebomb! If (I mean when) I get a bottle I will send you a sample.