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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Perfume Review: Ralph Hot by Ralph Lauren and Missoni by Missoni

I have mentioned several (probably too many) times before that I am not a fan of fruity-floral scents. Those joyful, almost always too “pink”, often borderline aquatic, dazzling blends are basically an antithesis of everything that I am and everything that I like in perfume. As far as gourmand scents are concerned, I am more inclined to like them, even though I am quite fussy when it comes to gourmand notes (I disapprove of too much vanilla or too much chocolate or in fact of too much anything). But what scares me more than the pinkiest of all pink fruity-florals and the foodiest of all gourmands, are the scents that attemp to be both and to mix the unmixable. Ralph Hot and Missoni are the latest examples of fragrances that are simultaneously fruity-floral and gourmand.

Ralph Hot is a follow-up to Ralph and Ralph Cool, Lauren’s fragrances targeted for a youthful audience. They are “sexy, flirty, fun” and “capture the energy, spirit and personality of today’s young woman”. Like its Regular and Cool predecessors, Ralph Hot is an annoyingly cheerful and exasperatingly sparkling concoction. It is a bright-pink fruity floral, and if that was not enough to irritate my cantankerous old nose, some gourmand notes were also thrown into the mix for a good measure. If it were just fruity and floral OR just gourmand, Ralph Hot might have been a more pleasant, smoother scent. As it is, the edible accord and the fruits do not seem to blend; the fragrance has an unfinished, hastily-thrown-together feel about it. Of course the problem might simply be that I lack “the energy, spirit and personality” to properly appreciate the scent. In other words, I am way too old for Ralph Hot.

Missoni, although undoubtedly much more “mature” and “expensive” in feel (as well as in actual price) than Ralph Hot, is yet another example of that worrying trend of pairing warm gourmand and fresh fruity-floral notes. “A fragrance colored by joy, scented by passion, fueled by "amore"”, Missoni mixes not three, but four “layers of scent”, Radiant Yellow (bergamot, nespolo and magnolia petals), Magenta Pink (peonies and roses), Intense Orange (mandarin, bitter orange and kaki) and Chocolate Brown (amber and Gianduia chocolate). What works for colorful Missoni fashion, does not translate well into perfume. To my nose, the scent is a mish-mash of incompatible ingredients. The intense, almost aquatic, strangely minty freshness of citrus fruits clashes with the dusty sweetness of chocolate-amber accord. Radiant Yellow, Magenta Pink and Intense Orange without the Chocolate Brown could have been a fun, bright if rather too sweet scent. The Chocolate Brown part on its own could have been much more appealing and perhaps even quite enjoyable. Thrown together, on my skin, they are frankly a disaster.

Ralph Hot is available at Sephora, $28.50-$55.00. Missoni can be found at Neiman Marcus, $60.00-$110.00.

*The images are from Polo.com and NeimanMarcus.com.

26 Comments:

Blogger lilyofbp said...

If you are "way too old," I must be dead! Reading about these scents makes me feel like it, anyway. Yuck--that's all--just yuck!

7:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Sexy Sadie said...

I can not see my self even trying this perfumes on my skin.

8:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Christina H. said...

I've tried the RL Hot and it, of course, was a disappointment and I am sure that I'm not in their target age range for this anyway.(My teenage daughter might like it though.I'm not even compelled to bother with the Missoni.Thanks for the reviews on these.

8:30 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Judith,
Well, at the danger of sounding horribly mean...one of these two was so long-lasting and so ...not good on my skin that in the end I wished I was dead. :-)

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Sadie,
You never know, what if you like them? What is bad for one, might turn out to be wonderful for another. Don't let my grumpy reviews prevent you from trying them! :-)

9:09 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
I am trying to remember if RH is something I might have liked when I was a teenager. Given the fact that I loved and wore Poison and Poison-"type" scents...maybe not :-)What scent did you wear when you were 14-15?

9:11 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I am still puzzling over the Missoni. It is a weird fragrance, and in that sense, I have to prefer it to all the more mundane fruity florals we've seen lately. But in the end, have to agree that the ingredients just don't mesh somehow.

2:16 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

R,
There are some weird scents that are beautiful and wearable. This one just does not work.:-(

2:21 PM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I was not impressed with either one. I guess they are fine for what they are, but that in itself is a boring category at this point. I think that the main reason why I am so happy with L by Lolita Lempicka is because it does not play by the same predictable rules.

7:06 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
I absolutely agree. L surprised me. I fully expected to be indifferent to it if not dilsike it. It turned out to be a winnder :-)

7:41 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Meh. #1 daughter selected Ralph Cool for her first perfume purchase at age 11, and that just about says it all.

The Missoni I was disappointed in primarily because I find their clothes so interesting (although I don't own any.) I was expecting something similarly edgy in their fragrance. I felt like I was sniffing the wrong bottle.

7:51 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
I felt that they were trying to make their perfume as colorful as their designs, and fair enough, that's how it should be. But something just didn't work right.

7:59 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Giggling at your other comments. OMG I looooooooooooooved Poison. I was just SOOO SOPHISTICATED bathing in Poison for my first real job. Were we insane? I smelled it the other day and laughed. Although at least it was distinctive and not some foofy thing like, what, Chloe. Hmmmm.... maybe we WERE the bomb.

Interesting comments on the Missoni -- you are right! It DID smell "wrong" , not just bad. Like they read the manual wrong. That chocolate note maybe -- sort of sourish like it was bad?

8:47 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
YOu said "they read the manual wrong" and it reminded me of that episode of Friends where Rachel was making a truffle and the pages of the cooking book got stuck together so she put minced beef in her truffle :-)
The chocolate in Missoni might have been that minced beef that shouldn't have been there.

9:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous Constance said...

This, Fantasy and all other gourmandy,fruity, florals make my stomach want to heave. It's the combination of them together that just makes me shudder!! Yuck and then Yuck some more!!

ps... M, will you please rid the blog of my first post please? Couldn't spell nor type apparently! lol

2:02 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Connie,
And a yuck from me too!
:-)

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Sali said...

Fruity Floral Gourmand is up my alley. That's right. So is pink. :-) I liked Ralph Hot but I can't wear it because of the coconut. It makes me smell like a hair product when I'd rather smell like bubblegum. Or bubblegum and chocolate. Bubblegum and chocolate stuck under a wooden desk. Yeah, that's it. I have to try that Missoni.

Thanks for linking to my blog! I'll add you to mine.

11:26 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Sali,
There is joyful, bright, luscious pink like a certain Pink Manhattan fragrance. And there is poisonous, neon pink of...oh, so many of them! :-)
Of course, when all is said and done, what it comes down to is skin chemistry. What is a scrubber-stinker on me might simply blossom on your skin!

11:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Sali said...

Gee, I think you're swell. :-) Thank you for that. Perfume-Smellin' Things is a lovely place to be. Your comments on this thread are pretty hilarious. It's amusing to me that you find Ralph Hot to be sparkling at all. When I smelled it, I thought it was more Oriental-Gourmand (heavy and sweet) than dazzling or effervescent in any way, even if there were fruity notes. I thought it was a bit spicy, too, typical of Oriental scents.

3:13 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

:-)
Skin chemistry works in mysterious ways, yes it does :-)

9:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Giselle said...

is Maurice Roucel the perfumer behind the Missoni scent? The magnolia note made me think he could be. I have read about the scent, and he was not mentioned, but the family was involved, choosing notes that reminded them of their life in Italy, which would explain the many different notes. They might have done better with more than one scent. If this is a Roucel, it needs to be lived with, and tested thoroughly. Remembering all of the craziness over 'Insolence' the wildly different reviews, some calling it trash...
As for the Ralph hot, it is too much--and what an unfortunate name, I know two guys named Ralph and I would not want to imagine them 'hot' . eww.

G.

10:28 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Giselle,
Missoni clashed so badly with my skin chemistry, I wouldn't want to live with it even if it was by Maurice Roucel whose work I adore. :-) Ralph Hor is ...Not. :-)

10:32 AM EST  
Blogger pseuperfly said...

Ha, I've beem lurking on this board for some time--too green to contribute much, just soaking it all in, and sniffing everything I can. The Missoni thread, though, coaxed me into the open...because I just bought Jo Malone's Blue Agava & Cacao against all reason (as it should be a scent I would loathe, given the sweetness and the chocolate and my preference for pepper and leathers and such)...and was cruising around reviews of chocolate fragrances. A friend had given me a Missoni sample which I sprayed and instantly found myself looking for the keystroke command (Ctrl + Z) to "undo" my action--seriously, I was so distressed I had sprayed first, and sniffed after. It was appalling, I hated it.

Then I went to pick up my 5-year-old--who has quite a good nose, it must be said, or at least, his preferences seem aligned with mine!--and when I went to hug him, he shouted HI MAMA!--immediately followed by, You don't smell that good today.

HA! See ya, Missoni!

7:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Hi and welcome!
He has a great nose, your little one :-)

7:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh this is bad-- I really like the missoni scent because it smells "oriental" (in their words) mixed with summer. It reminds me of a fruity drink or something, and people told me i smelled good when i wore it... I want to but it, but I'm concerned that it may be too strong/"old-ladyish". :/

9:55 PM EST  
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1:09 PM EDT  

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