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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sampling New Releases. Part 1.

Samples are taking over the house. They multiply what seems like overnight. The List of Samples To Be Seriously Tested and Reviewed is so long, it could easily be stretched from here to Champs-Elysées. (There is also a longer List Of Samples To Be Obtained, Seriously Tested and Reviewed, but that's a subject for a whole different post.) To help the “queue” move along, I decided, in the course of the next two days, to review several scents at once. Today is Part 1.

Bond No 9 Fire Island. Described as the smell of “freshly bathed skin, doused with a coating of premium Euro-sunscreen then warmed up by a midday siesta on the beach”, on me this is a fresh tuberose scent with lots and lots of clean musk, a tiny hint of orange blossom and even tinier one of cardamom. It is lovely, elegantly understated, easy to wear, but it is not “me”. To be “me” it would have had to have much more cardamom, sweeter tuberose and a different, not so clean, kind of musk. I must applaud the creators for not using the ubiquitous coconut note to evoke the beachy smell and feel and for not going over the top and making the scent too obviously "summery". As a result, this could be an everyday and every-season kind of scent, for men and women alike.

Ebba By Sand. Very pretty, very fruity, very edible, and, despite the fact that it is not called Miss Anything, very Ebba. Fun little scent, bright, sweet with gardenia, piquant with ginger, freshened up by lime. By Sand is an exotic Thai dessert of some sort, it is simple and lovely but the kind of thing that I crave very seldom, so I don’t need a bottle.

Badgley Mischka Fragrance. For no good reason whatsoever, apart from the fact that I love their designs, I was really interested in this new release. I am so glad now I did not give in to this irrational lemming and buy a bottle unsniffed. Because it could not be farther from what I like and find wearable. This scent should be called When Fruits and Berries Attack. I don’t know which fruits and berries exactly, there are lots of them and they are all jumping up at me at once so I cannot even think straight…I know for sure that there is the same kind of strawberry that grew on the pink, Barbie-esque fields of Miss Dior Cherie. As for other notes, jasmine did not stand much chance against The Evil Fruits; all I can smell underneath the pink mishmash is some amber and musk. I am sure it smells incredibly lovely on other people, but on me it was a scrubber.

Kenzo Amour. Even bigger disappointment than Badgley Mischka. Although I hated its fruity guts, The Mischka at least had some character and sparkle. Amour is yawn-inducingly dull. Pretty, I’ll give it that, very pretty. But so dull…Not only that, but it is remarkably similar to Lancôme’s a little less boring Hypnôse, especially in the beginning. Lots of sweet flowers (frangipane and cherry blossom), lots of vanilla, some wood with a fun name (thanaka!) , none of the promised rice steam and quite a lot of heliotrope-almond in the drydown …Quiet, fluffy and understated, I suppose Amour would be rather comforting and comfortable on a person with a better skin chemistry than mine. As far as I am concerned, those incredible bottles are wasted on this bland juice.

Jill Stuart Vanilla Lust. I must be going soft in my old age, because I quite liked this simple, smooth vanilla with a subtly fruity (peachy) undertone. There is not much to say about it, it is very linear, very straightforward, quite delectable. I might even be tempted to buy a bottle, because I imagine that Vanilla Lust would be great for bed time and for general lazing around the house. But the thing is, I know very well, that this is the kind of scent that starts boring me to tears within weeks of purchase.

To sum up, of these five, Fire Island most definitely stands out as the best-composed and the most interesting. Vanilla Lust, simple as it is, is another favorite simply because of its unselfconscious deliciousness.

Where to find these scents: Fire Island at, Saks and wherever Bond No 9 scents are sold, $110.00-$178.00; By Sand at, $42.00-$45.00; Badgley Mischka at Neiman Marcus, $65.00-$225.00; Kenzo Amour at Nordstrom, $48.00-$85.00; Vanilla Lust at Nordstrom, $62.00-$145.00.

Tomorrow, Reminiscence Jammin, Esteban Sensuelle Russie, Lalique Perles de Lalique and Givenchy Ange ou Demon.


Blogger tmp00 said...

Bond Fire Island totally missed it for me, perhaps because I wanted it to be the Fire Island of my youth (dirty musk, civet, skin and poppers) rather than the other-side-of-the-island scent that it is, that is perhaps more in line with my real life. I may no longer be a 20 year old with 6% body fat, but I am damned well willing to spend a lot to smell like one.

Badgley Mischka Fragrance boring? They should be ashamed! They had what, about 300 years of of history to mine, and they came up with fruit? So sad.

A dull Kenzo? A boring Kenzo? Are designers just handing the scents off to mid-level marketers? I'm wearing a cologne that apparently was made about 300 years ago (Kolnisch Juchten) that has more depth and olfactory length and layering of telling it's story than "Gone With the Wind" and all that these designers can give us is average? I guess it'll sell, but don't any of you want to do for scent what you do for fashion? If you'd mined and faceted the hop diamond, would you present it in a setting of corn flakes?

12:19 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Fire Island didn't work on my skin. At all. Have yet to try the others, but I know that Ebba scents, although objectively nice (killer word), are never FBW for me. I keep praying my skin will magically bring out the rice notes in the Kenzo Amour because I'm so taken by the bottles, but I'm afraid I will almost certainly agree w/ you that they are dull (the worst word of all). "When Fruit and Berries Attack" - that totally cracked me up. Could be used for quite a few fragrances in dept. store land. I am now imagining them training the troops and planning battle strategies after the stores close down at night.

7:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who bought Vanilla Lust I must agree with the fact that you will get bored after two weeks. That's what happened to me. It is sweet and nice for bedtime. But lacks that certain oomph for day. But if you really want to smell something fabulous you have to mix it with the Jill Stuart Jasmine. It really makes the straight up vanilla even better. It's amazing! And I'm not a huge jasmine lover. They're designed to be layered and they are 2 of the very few(think Jo Malone) that truly work and make beautiful music together. A must try.

7:33 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Tom -- you are a naughty, naughty boy.

Marina -- Laughing about the BM (heh). Everyone kept saying, wait for the drydown, it is so lovely!!! It was like waiting for Godot. Ugh. The bottle's pretty, though.

8:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree on kenzo amour. so dull it's almost funny. it's been released here a week ago but it's already a HUGE success :-/
I'm surprised that badgley mischka is a fruity scent. from their designs and the bottle, I expected something sophisticated, to have an oriental-chypre quality, with maybe a bit of dry flowers and fruits... ah well, another lemming burried.
I forgot to comment in time, but your yesterday's review must have been one of my favourites ever. you should seriously consider writing a book, be it perfume-oriented or a novel of some kind. you really have talent :-).

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yay! A whole review full of scents that don't interest me! Fire Island smells like Bain de Soleil suntan gel to me(I think this is what they were going for, but why bother?), and the rest I am not even tempted to try (despite the Vanilla Lust craze on MUA). I did, however, find my Colony sample, and I like it very much (which is not what I would expect from a scent that contains pineapple). But I still don't know if I need a bottle, even with scarf (I know, the Sector29 have disappeared, and the others are going fast); I am trying to conserve money (hah!!). Now, if you found a cheap bottle of Adieu Sagesse . . . (I guess I'm more of a carnation freak than I would have imagined--witness Golconda).

Tom--KJ is one of the best fragrances ever! I love it. As Marina's reviews have noted, the new one does not seem to be identical to older ones (which seem to differ among themselves:) BUT--for once this is not a bad thing!! I like the Regence (new) one the best (though I like my older bottle too), and Marina seems to like them equally. So lets hear it for good, respectful reformulations (are you listening to me Lanvin?)!

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Now, the dirty musk-civet-skin-poppers formula would have been to my taste too :-)
As for Kenzo, I must say to me all their creations seem nice, quiet, understated, and, if I am honest, dull. But I truly suspect that it is not them, it's me. For some reason Kenzo and I just don't click. Ergo, Amour might be super-lovely, and I wouldn't be able to realize it.

PS. Kolnisch Juchten rocks!

9:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I actually hopped I won't get any rice, and I did not...but it didn't help much. I still have designs on that orange bottle...maybe I'll buy an empty one. I want it! :-)

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
That sounds like a great combination! I don't have that particular jasmine, but perhaps I could try layering VL with another one.

9:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The drydown wasn't nearly great enough to compencate for being tortured by The Evil Fruits. I survived through a bottle of Miss Dior Cherie, which I used because it was a present from someone very dear. I only hope no close relative or friend ever thinks of giving me BM as a present.

9:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Firstly, thank you so much, you say the nicest things!!!

Secondly, I am not surprised at all that Amour is popular. I think it will be as or more popular as Flower. Which to me proves my theory (told in the comment to Tom) that there is something wrong with me for being unable to appreciate a single Kenzo scent. D'you know I actually cannot smell Flower by Kenzo? I mean, literally, it has no smell to my nose.

9:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not familiar with the smell of Bain de Soleil, that might the reason why I did not find Fire Island to be over the top summery and beachy (a good thing!).

If I see reasonably priced Adieu Sagesse (love the name!), I will immediately let you know. Did you see, the owner of Sector29 actually replied to yesterday's comments? That is the first and very nice of him.

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yes, I saw that! And he looking into Anon's problem. Makes me feel good about his site!

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

I liked Fire Island, but I didn't get much tuberose. It was very musky ozone on me...very clean and good in the heat, but not my favorite. So far, West Broadway has that honor!

"When Fruits and Berries Attack"--LOL! I was curious about that fragrance, but now I think I might have to stay away. I'm intrigued by the Jil Sander, though, as I've learned I have a bit of a thing for vanilla. Never thought that would happen. :) But then just because I want something simple doesn't mean I want something dull. Hm.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

yeah, shows the person cares about the image of his business unlike some sites I won't mention, but oen of them starts with a number :-)

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love West Broadway too! Evn more than I love Chinatown. What an underrated gem WB is!

I wouldn't call Vanilla Lust dull. Although I wouldn't call it exciting either. It is very simple, but there is also something "joyful" about it, something lively.

10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be your evil twin just for today and proclaim Badgley Mischka the best of the batch. ;D Yes, it's high on fruits but it's almost dried fruits which I can tolerate. Vanilla Lust had the most horrendous drydown on my skin. At first it smelled like cream soda, though. Totally agree on KenzoAmour.

12:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

*grumbles* Dried fruits indeed! If they were dried I'd have loved BM so much. They were very much alive, fresh and kicking me in the nose. :-)

1:14 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

That just about killed my wish to try Vanilla Lust, thank you, as I've given up on ever finding the stuff!

1:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Was it the "peachy" part in the description that turned you off? :-)

1:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't smell Kenzo Flower? You lucky thing, you. It smells of baby powder and laundry detergent to me. Yuck. Actually, I actively hate all the Kenzos I've tried.

Love your reviews!

2:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Could not agree more with the dullness that is Kenzo Amour and a cheaper solution to the scent is the BBW's Japanese Cherry Blossom

2:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

Couldn't agree more on Kenzo perfumes - meh. BUT -- what about Kenzo Jungle Men, dry woods and spices with delicious orangey opening? Have you received the tiny pkg I sent you?

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

I need to play catch up, too. I still have some of last year's releases I haven't gotten around to trying. Sigh. Too many releases for one mere human to keep track of these days.

I'm just not enthused anymore about Fire Island. Once I found CB's At the Beach, I frankly feel uninspired to try any other beach scent. It's just so... it just really hits the nail on the head in such a way that even the promise of cardamom in a beach scent is not enough to lure me. Or maybe I'm subconciously trying to lessen the amount of new things I want to try, hehe!

So you didn't like the Badgley, huh? Maybe we should form a small "Enough with the Fruits, Already!" Club. Not that fruity scents can't be nice, it does get tiresome though, and I guess for you, EVIL fruits certainly must get tiresome!

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Ange ou Demon! This ought to be interesting, since everyone else seems to be a little half-hearted about it!

6:45 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

Wow. Do you think I used enough exclamation marks? Sheesh, I'm sorry about that.

6:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

"baby powder and laundry detergent"...ah, that makes me nostalgic :-)

7:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Japanese Cherry Blossom, eh? Sounds lovely, I am going to give it a try next time I am near BBW!

7:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No maybe about it, we must form such a club and start picketing the headquarters of various perfume houses.
And, well, I wasn't haff-hearted about Ange ou Demon at all, no ma'am. I hated it, no half hearts about it :-D

7:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I might have to take back my words about Kenzo, if it turns out that Jungle is All That...:-)
I haven't received a pckage yet, but the post office is being evil these days, more evil than usual. And by evil I mean sloooooooow.

7:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since opinions seem to be divided on the *NICE*ness or otherwise of Fire Island, I still feel I'd like to try it somehow. However, I totally agree on Kenzo Amour and BBW's Japanese Cherry Blossom; but have to tell you that, being somewhat dim, I was completely lost as to why you were all discussing Bowel Movements - until I realized that it was, of course, an abbreviation for the despised Badgely Mischka. Duh.

2:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I did not realise that's what the abbreviation was actually for. Heh. :-)

4:20 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, dear...
Just as well that I'm a poor slob at present, nothing here rings my chimes...sigh...

11:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Sometimes it's nice to not want anything, isn't it? Doesn't happen to me often though *sigh*

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Sexy Sadie said...

I hated the Kenzo scent.

1:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Haven't see you in ages! Welcome back. I didn't like kenoz either.

5:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever posted the tip on layering Vanilla Lust with Jasmine Fleur, thank you!!! They go great together

3:11 PM EST  

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