Friday, 9 April 2010

Further adventures in scent today. On my way back from lunch I passed via the shopping arcade and tried some new things on.

1) Givenchy, 'Gentleman'. Turin and Sanchez give this 2/5 and dub it 'a sad little woody leather.' They're right. It starts with a forceful patchouli topnote, before mellowing to a woodsy, leather drydown. It doesn't suit me at all: too old, too frayed, too brown.

2) Davidoff, 'Cool Water'. Very famous, this one. Five stars from the Guide, which calls it a 'cheerful, abstract, cheap, and lethally effective formula of crab apple, woody citrus, amber, and musk', adding: 'Now let women wear it for a decade or two.' On my skin, it's a kind of marine musk, and as I'm not the kind of man who wears polo shirts, it generally makes me feel slightly vulgar---not necessarily a criticism.

3) 'Paco Rabanne pour Homme'. Four stars from Turin and Sanchez. Weird citrus/woody thing with a green, honeyed animalic drydown. Smells exactly like the fur of a cat that's been cuddled by a woman wearing very expensive perfume, before going out mousing in the rain. Interesting and sophisticated in a slightly dank way.

4) Chanel, 'Allure Homme'. One star. A kind of woody amber, very like 'Cool Water' but with the volume turned right down. It has a kind of anisic, Pernod/liquorice topnote that lasts about fifteen seconds. Totally undetectable on my skin after half an hour.

Well, I wouldn't buy any of those, and interestingly I didn't make up my mind about any of them until I sat down to write this, manically sniffing my forearms all the while. Having mentioned 'cK One' yesterday, I had a sniff at the tester again in passing. Still lovely, still the fragrance equivalent of an Agnes Martin painting:

I also tried one of the companion pieces to Hermès's gorgeous 'Eau d'Orange Verte', namely, 'Eau de Gentiane Blanche.' It's honestly one of the most horrible things I've ever smelled, so bad that I didn't dare even spray it on a card: it has a horrific topnote that smells like the lurid green sap of a very poisonous plant, like hemlock or (especially) giant hogweed. Turin and Sanchez descibe this as 'a thrillingly weird topnote of raw peanut and green peppers', which gets it exactly, though 'thrilling' wouldn't exactly be the adjective I'd choose. According to them, it then calms down to 'a meek orange blossom', but I'm buggered if I'm hanging around this triffid-venom long enough to find out.

So no luck from the lunch-break's activities, really; but still, I have Jo Malone's 'Lime, Basil, and Mandarin' to look forward to.


Mariana said...

You should seriously consider writing your own book/article on perfumes, because your descriptions are just priceless.

A perfume I hated was Cacharel's Lulu, second only on my most hated list to a perfume I once tried at a pharmacy, so horrid my mind was traumatized and erased its name from my memory. All I can say is I'm pretty easy to please, and in my book that scent didn't even qualify as a perfume. I just couldn't believe it. It literally gave me a migraine (and I never ever get headaches) that only passed once I realized what the culprit was and I washed my wrists. I wouldn't wish it on an enemy.

Bo said...

'Loulou' gets a very good review from S and T, though they do it it's utterly over the top. It's apparently like a Christmas tree bauble that 'looks like silk and feels like sandpaper'!

Do log in to The Expvlsion if you can---I'm sure I added you---there's much more in there than out here!

aelred patrick said...

Dear Bo

Thanks for putting me onto Antony Tauer, esp the gift pack, which (1) I could afford & (2) transversed the globe from the Swiss to the Australian alps in le temps doublequick.

It was only after I read your review of Marocain that I ever considered mineself might be worthy to aspire to the wearing of scent qua persona - even though 'frankincense' has been one of my 10 favourite words since the midnight Masses of my childhood.

Thanks also for going ahead like a good scout - stout fella - to warn us poor critters in the bumpy wagons following, of the triffid saps, the tawdry octanes & the lolly waters, et qualia et alia.

As you note, these hazards damage more than your sinuses. Even now when I drink Fanta, there's that medicinal residue that transports me back in time to my first stint in hospital with bronchitis. But that's another story...

Another AT perfume I like is Lonesome Trail. Again, auras & essences of burnt coffee or billy tea, a soupcon of canvas and saddle sweat, on a bright, chilly campfire night on the high plains. Its like my skin is breathing a long-lost, atavistic hill country dreaming, as I navigate the urban spires & political conspiracies of Canberra.

Yr constant reader, Aelred Patrick

Bo said...

Andy Tauer is a genius!!! Thanks for your very sweet comments, Aelred.

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