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.