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Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Review by Tom

Most of the time I get samples from generous bloggers, or I'll just buy them on the internets. Or just baldly beg them from ScentBar or Barneys. Sometimes I get some in a goody bag from some place. Every once in a while I will kill some time at a Macy's or a Sephora while waiting for it to be time to meet a friend for dinner. This is the story of one of those times.

Of course, I love Sephora. They are incredibly nice there, usually very up on their products and more than willing to give samples out, even to make them up if necessary. So when a coworker suggested a quick trip at lunch, who am I to say no?

Lotto Man

I'd never heard of this company before, apparently they are from Italy (Googling "Lotto Man" is an excercise in futility). The notes on the Sephora website are Mandarin, Bergamot, Lemon, Apple Blossom, Clove, Nutmeg, Water Lily, Teak, Musk, and Patchouli (note, the caps are Sephora's take it up with them). The three citruses are the first thing you smell, quickly followed by the lily and the apple blossom, which are an interesting twist. The spices join in the middle in a way that's quite nice and it dries down to the toasted (almost burnt) teak and a quite yummy little musk. It's all very Italian: clean, slightly quirky and quite delightful. It's strikes me
as something that I would buy for a boyfriend who might be scared off by some of the olfactory joy-rides that I usually buy. It's much nicer than the usual department store brand: the ingredients seem truer and better blended and while it does have practically zero sillage, if I had that putative boyfriend, I'd make him wear this so I could snuggle in and smell it.

CKin2u Him

First of all, the name. C'mon. in2u? How cutting edge! Just like text messaging! I'll bet the marketing department was ROTFL over that one. In any case, onto the fragrance. It is of course impossible to review this without touching on its obvious forebear, CKone. For those of you who were in a coma in 1994, CKone was a monster hit for Calvin Klein, so much so that the testers were kept behind the counters and the bottles were under lock and key to prevent pilferage. It was a bubbly bergamot with a nice skin-musk drydown that had the lasting power of a fruit fly. Personally I didn't mind this because I liked its bright citrus opening so much that it was a pleasure to respritz. CKin2u is clearly trying to catch that particular lightning in a bottle: although the listed ingredients are different (Tangelo, Lime Gin Fizz, Pomelo Leaves, Pimento, Shiso Leaves, Cacao, Cool Musk, Palissander Wood, and Vetiver) the composition is remarkably similar. CKin2u, however, IMHO has a slightly industrial smell to it that I find remarkably unpleasant. The vetiver smells, well, kind of cheap to me, with a strange metallic twinge that reminds me of zinc tablets one takes to help get rid of the flu. The middle for me is dominated by a sweet meloniness that I find disagreeable. The drydown is the same skin musk as CKone, but with that overly metallic-smelling vetiver popping back in to put me off again, and an odd soapiness. Oddly, unlike the fizzy and fleeting CKone, CKin2u seems to last forever.

I finally got sick of this and went to wash it off in the little kitchenette we have at work. Oddly, Kirkland (Costco house brand) Citrus dish soap smells remarkably like this to me. But I am an old fart and the SideKick wielding 'tweeners they are so desperately marketing it to will no doubt lap it up. LOL [/ironic AIMspeak]

Aquolina Blue Sugar

I now have to humbly beg the forgiveness of the nice people at Nez a Nez. I wrote that their fragrances were far too sweet. I now have a new definition of what too sweet means. The listed notes of this mess are (from Sephora) Bergamot, Tangerine Leaves, Star Anise, Ginger, Licorice, Patchouli Leaves, Lavender, Heliotrope, Coriander, Caramel, Vanilla, Cedarwood, and Tonka Bean. They neglect to mention high-fructose corn syrup, saccharine, glucose, erythritol, or cyclamates, but I am relatively sure that they are in here. This is the first and only scent I have ever tried that I am sure was decaying my teeth as well as assaulting my senses. Not only do I want to wash this off my wrist, I want to send my wrist to rehab. Nez a Nez was trying to be something interesting and different, even if I didn't care for them. This smells like deep-fried black licorice.

Sephora writes this is "Energetic. Lively. Irresistible." Energetic like a double-gulp full of Mountain Dew and a few packs of pop-rocks. Lively like the person who consumes such a snack, and about as much fun to be around as they bounce off the ceiling. Irresistible as the coma that surely must follow this kind of diet. I am told that Pink Sugar (the girl version) is sweeter. How this is physically possible, I cannot think, and have no intention of finding out.

Lotto is $35 for 1.7oz, 3.4oz for $50. CKin2u is $36 for 1.7oz, 3.4oz for $50. Blue Sugar is $35 for 1.7oz, 3.4oz for $50. (Sensing a trend here?) All at Sephora.


Blogger colombina said...

I shudder at the thought of Blue Sugar. Thank you for fearlessly going out there and smelling it. I might have stumbled upon it somewhere and sprayed myself. OMG. You probably saved my life. :-)

10:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Hysterically funny review, Tom. We've been waiting on pins and needles for you to review Blue Sugar. It was worth the weight. High fructose corn syrup is a good guess.

12:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, your review should have come with some warning. I was thinking about all of those people with diabetes! I am sure I gained a couple of pounds just reading about Blue Sugar! Yuck!!!!

1:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Thank you for reaching deep so I don't have to. I'm not sure I have the stomach for it anymore.


3:59 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Ahh, the aroma of deep-fried black licorice in the morning.

Very funny, sweetpea !

Well, ONE out of three ain't bad.
Now, if I can find you a sweet young thing to douse in Lotto...

You just leave THAT one up to Mama, baby.

I always enjoy your doing the 'dirty work' for me-
Perhaps, we could enlist you as a co-host on "Dirty Jobs" ?
[BTW, the fellow on that show IS rather dishy...]

Fear not.
On the day we embrace, I assure you, I will not incite Type 2 diabetes with my aura.

7:01 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I can't even remotely imagine buying a scent w/ a name like CKin2u. On so many levels it's just gag inducing. And, speaking of that, in the interest of scientific experimentation, I tested Blue Sugar. Why do I do these things to myself?! Scary, scary stuff. Licorice (specifically, double salted Scandinavian) is one of the only sweet things I actually like (not a chocolate fan), so I always have some hopes for licorice scents, but this was beyond disgusting. I used Tide and a Mr. Clean sponge to scrub off all remnants once I got home.

7:27 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

LMAO, dude!!! I think you captured the essence of Blue Sugar perfectly -- deep-fried licorice is IT (although I might dust them with powdered sugar. Why not? I have a 32oz. Mountain Dew sitting right there...)

While it is technically true that Pink Sugar is sweeter, it's just a burnt sugar smell. There's something about BS (the licorice?) that really turns up the barf factor.

Your're also right about CKOne. It was an iconic scent, and the new one smells weirdly industrial (that other glowing one seems to have disappeared from my local Macy's, maybe to make room for this.)

7:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Hahaha! This made my morning. So now why am I irresistbly drawn to smell this thing? Is it the Human Existence effect?

8:15 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Thanks for a most entertaining and salutary review! What on earth possessed Aquaolina? (sp?)While I am aware there could be ickle girlies out there wanting to smell like candy floss (sugar and spice and all things nice etc etc - passed me by but never mind) I cannot think of any man or boy who would want to smell so saccharine. And have you seen the tv ad for the CKIN2U? I seem to have passed onto planet generation gap as I kept thinking - surely they could go somewhere a bit nicer than an old graffiti ridden lift shaft.

9:15 AM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

I was a lover of CK One, but I do not hold out hopes for a scent called CKin2u. From your review, it sounds very...meh (or worse).

I wonder if spraying Blue Sugar would stave off the sugar cravings. That might be quite useful!

9:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous MarkDavid said...

Very funny and soo true about Blue Sugar. I smelled the cap in Sephora this weekend and I got a cavity - right on the spot!

I should sue for dental work.


10:37 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

The Human Existence factor, indeed! I am now dying to smell Blue Sugar (but not on me--maybe a scent strip).:) thanks for the wonderful reviews!

11:16 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


When March wrote about it as being "like a pot of toffee left far too long on the surface of the sun" (hat's off, March!) I was intrigued, in that 13-year-old-boy way that mose men (and a lot of women) never grow up out of. The one that reacts like "Ipecack will really make you puke? Let me try!"

Finding myself at Sephora, staring at the innocent looking blue bottle holding it like a cobra I knew I had to do it. Then the sales person swan-dove out of nowhere to make me a sample, "to try at home" (say it like a warning).

11:38 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't know what's in there, but I hope it never makes it into foodstuffs. That's a horror movie waiting to happen!

11:39 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I should have!

"Warning! The following post could be hazardous to your health. But not as much as one subject in it, which could kill you dead as smelt, ar at least make you wish you were"

11:40 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're welcome. No reason to go out of your way on this, especially since the French Sephora is apparently a wonderland of delights that we in the USA don't get. Grrrrr!

Maybe it's revenge for the "freedom fries" bit?

11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'll happily leave that one up to you!

Not too young though.

I've watched several eps of "Dirty Jobs" just for the dishy host. Well, he's dishy after you wash whatever dirty job he's been in off..

11:44 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You tried it too? After March warned you? Wanna be cohost on "Dirty Jobs, Perfume Editio"?

Did the tide work? I tried everything from Fairy Liquid (Lee knows what I'm referring to) Liguid Plumbr (almost) and I could still smell it the next day on my poor reddened overscrubbed wrist.

11:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

*you* would try Fairy Liquid! ;-)

11:50 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Did you actually try Pink Sugar? C'mon, let 'em have it!

CKone was very slightly industrial, but in that fresh-laundry way. A slight dryer-fresh scent to it. This ones not as nice.

11:50 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Your inner 13-year-old is showing!

If you do try it, post about it. This one deserves the beat-down.

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have seen those ads for CKin2u. I was less than impressed. All I could think of is that I'd bet that any apartment in that building would be really gross.

Maybe that's where CKin2u's industrial cleaner accord comes into play.

11:56 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


CKin2u was pretty meh.

Blue Sugar could stave off cravings for sweets, indeed, and that's a good thing. The bad thing is that it will also stave off cravings for breath.

11:58 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I amell class-action suit. A big ugly licorise scented class action suit.

11:59 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's as close as your local Sephora. I however recommend going to a Sephora a few towns over, not to pollute your own. Pasadena might be far enough away for you. But please, make sure there aren't any Santa Anas when you spritz, that's blow this crap my way.

12:02 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Of COURSE I've tried Pink Sugar! I have two tweener daughters! I can't get out of Sephora without those nice SAs in there practically chasing me down with a bottle ... FWIW both my girls think it's "gross." Too sweet.

(cue the music from Jaws) I left Nordstrom last time with a handful of samps tossed in with my purchase, and one of them was ... Pink Sugar! I'm now holding onto it to stick into a swap (as a joke) or to include with a givewaway of a bunch of samps I hate..

12:02 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I didn't try Fairy Liquid, That's my default dishwashing soap. The Continental Shop on Wilshire in Santa Monica stocks it, and British candy. I get my Flake bars and Fairy soap there.

And really, what would I use? Mr Clean? I have a Pansy for my icon for goodness sake.

12:09 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Wow- you kept it? I can't imagine. That Blue Sugar went straight out in the trash, and I am afraid that it will reappear like the Talking Tina doll in that Twilight Zone episode (shudders)

12:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

I admire you for saying so much about such boring scents. ;D

12:14 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"Tonstant Weader fwowed up" was already taken...

12:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Tom - you have class.

2:34 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Okay ... Fairy Liquid is a soap? Wah! I want some! Is there a fairy on the label? (Does he look like Anderson Cooper?)

You can use Mr. Clean! I think it's meant to be ironic or something. Like those dudes in the Village People.

PS I meant to say this the last time: your comment about googling Lotto Man *totally* cracked me up. Robin at NST has also lamented about how the namers of perfume are clearly not thinking of perfume bloggers' research needs...

6:08 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...



6:21 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Nope, it has a baby on it. It actually is a very good washing-up soap too. It cleans without stripping your hands raw. Which makes it ill-equipped te deal with tenacious reeks like Zombie venom, skunk spray or Blue Sugar

6:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

ROTFL is right - I have yet to try the Blue, but the Pink Sugar is just godawful, once was enough. Between this junk and Juicy Couture we are all going to need serious dental work indeed.

I never did like CKOne,it had no personality, just blah. I can't imagine how boring the new one must be. I guess you can say ONE good thing though - it's not too sweet!

1:24 AM EDT  
OpenID bambi-cilane said...

Hi, I am just lurking around here absorbing all the knowledge:D

so I would like to contribute back..

Lotto is an italian sports wear brand.. and I think I knwo because I am crazy about italian football and that Lotto sponsors a lot, so you see their logo everywhere :D

and thanks for all the fun:D i am a girl, but I am very into men's perfume too, because it is allowed to be more assertive than many women's parfumes!


10:42 AM EDT  
OpenID bambi-cilane said...

Google "lotto sport" or lotto italia!

haha.. and obviously there seems to be a womens fume too, same design only it is red-white!

football and perfumes is a rare combo, but there are many hot men in footy:D if you don't have a bf :D

10:47 AM EDT  

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