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?
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.
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.