Alabaster. Discover your feminine side with a delicate and captivating scent. A touch of blended lotus flower, wild rose and warm musk and you'll bewitch the ones closest to you. A lotus note is usually a kiss of death for me. Here, however, it is not as headachingly, dazzlingly intense and aquatic as it can be. The rose note is dewy and subtly sweet, the musk almost nonexistent. I would disagree with the “delicate” description; this is a forceful scent, albeit in a clean, airy sort of way. The only scent of this kind (clean, fresh, vaguely marine) that I have ever really loved was White Linen Breeze by Estee Lauder (although I did have a fling with Love in White once…). I am genetically indisposed to be able to appreciate this perfume genre. On the whole, Alabaster is “mostly harmless”, pretty and rather dull.
Jade. Unearth a scent that reflects your vibrant spirit. Tropical pomegranate, musky cotton flower and Kashmir wood unite to create this bright and intriguing perfume. Neither bright nor intriguing but simultaneously inoffensive and strong, Jade is a fresh fruity fragrance in which the fresh and the fruity sides battle for domination. Neither is winning, which is not necessarily a good thing, because the pomegranate, a potentially lovely, rich note, is never allowed to show its beauty and the clean accord is never quite as attractively radiant as it could be. To keep the long story short, Jade is neither fish nor fowl and is my least favorite of the five Banana republic scents.
Rosewood. This warm and alluring scent unearths a soulful sensuality. Fusing bergamot champagne, white tea leaves, and white amber are sure to enchant any suitor. Sweet, but not cloyingly so, this is a scent that is both cuddly and quite “dressed up”. I don’t get any “champagne”, but I do smell sweet tea, somewhat similar to that in Flowerbomb Extreme, and fluffy, velvety amber with plenty of vanilla. I might be imagining this, but the scent seems to have a fruity undertone, I swear I smell very ripe figs and some sort of berries there. In the drydown, the warm aspect is underscored by a creamy chocolate note. Rosewood inhabits The Kingdom of Angel, no doubt about that, but, as far as Angel-alikes go, this scent is one of the palest, most discreet, most watered down versions of the Big Kahuna.
Black Walnut. Capture the moment by titillating the senses. This sensual and refined scent made with a mixture of cognac, tobacco leaves, cedar wood is sure to be fondly remembered. With notes like that, I imagined the scent would be some sort of “poor” person’s Le Dandy. No such luck. This is a subtly peppery, vaguely sweet, rather dry cedar-heavy fragrance, which smells like a gazillion men’s scents out there. It is not offensive, it is just incredibly dull.
Slate. Be remembered for your masculine, crisp and energetic scent. A blend of glacier citrus water, silver sage, ginger root will inspire the senses for more. “Crisp”, “glacier”, “water”, “energetic” are scary words that spell a disaster for me. However, although I don’t love Slate, I find it more interesting then the disappointingly insipid Black Walnut. Off all five new Banana Republic scents, with their rather synthetic forcefulness, this one is surprisingly the most subtle. It walks the line between the aquatic and the green, never overstepping in either direction. It has a pleasant, sweetly-piquant aspect and an appealing apple-like undertone. I would not mind smelling in on a man and, if pressed to wear a Banana Republic fragrance myself, this would be the one I’d grudgingly choose.
The perfumes are available in Banana Republic stores and on bananarepublic.com. Women’s scents retail for $28.00-$62.00 depending on the size, men’s for $45.00 for 50ml.