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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Chopped" Champion: Womanity by Thierry Mugler

By Marina

Do you watch Chopped? The Food Network show "challenges four up-and-coming chefs to turn a selection of everyday ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal." The selection of ingredients in a basket for each round is always unexpected: mint liqueur, canned chicken, raspberries and edamame for an appetizer round...frankfurters, chocolate, arugula and uni for get the idea. The seemingly incongruous mix of notes in Womanity made me think of the show..."For a dessert round, in your baskets, you have strawberries, figs, black pepper, caviar and rye bread...

Figs and caviar are the "official" ingredients, the rest are just what my nose smells in Womanity, so don't quote me on that. To be honest, I could not make myself page through the elaborate PR materials looking for more details. PR materials had passages like:

"Beyond mirrors, beyond that reassuring glance at our own image,
What if femininity meant feminine solidarity?
What if women spoke out about the pleasures of femininity – of being women, together, in the world today?
And what if women built for themselves the community that unites them?"

What if we skip that and go straight to the juice, it's interesting enough on it's own. Here is how it goes on my skin: the smell of strawberry jam, brightened by citrus, then the ripe, sweet, chalky scent of figs, then suddenly a very distinct aroma of warm, freshly baked rye bread...then lots and lots of black pepper...then a salty-woody accord, within which, way towards the drydown I can intuit rather than really smell something ...very subtly animalic, which, when taken in the context of the saline accord, allows me to conclude without feeling too foolish that it must be the "caviar"...

Basically, Womanity had me at rye bread, I am a sucker for doughy notes in perfume. I am intrigued by a savoury take on a gourmand (On Chopped, Womanity as a dessert entry might be criticized for not being sweet enough, it would fare better in an appetizer round). I like the way all ingredients stand out, as if afraid to truly mix and mingle with each other and yet somehow seamlessly flow. I like that, despite much brouhaha about women power and such, the scent is actually unisex. I like how the fragrance is possibly even stranger than Angel, but is a little bit more low key. I like how its bizarreness doesn't make it unwearable. But most of all I like the rye bread...

To sum up...very strange, very Mugler, very well done despite or perhaps thanks to the odd selection of ingredients... Available at Nordstrom and Bloomigdales, $58.00-$98.00.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have avoided this so far, as I cannot get over the horrible bottle and the accompanying marketing babble. This is a case for a nice anonymous decant ;)
The combination of all these notes sounds very interesting, but I´m not sure if I should even try it, because what if I like it? I would have to change my entire world view ;)

7:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The bottle is indeed somewhat out there :) I dare you to risk it and try it :)

7:26 AM EST  
Blogger rosarita said...

I still haven't tried this and your review lets me know that it's time. The reviews in the blogosphere are so wildly diverse that it's impossible to know what to think. It took me a long time to come around to liking Angel; years, in fact. Now I really like it, as a single drop applied to cleavage. I really like the idea of sweet/savory, but the bottle is truly awful, imo. I've managed to avoid the marketing codswallop.

7:48 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It wouldn't be a Mugler if it wasn't so polarizing a scent. Do try and let me know what you think, is it love or hate :)

7:50 AM EST  
Blogger Karin said...

I'm on the Love side of the fence with this one. Weird - yes! But I like it. (I'm also an Angel fan, BTW!)

8:04 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Same here :)

8:05 AM EST  
Blogger Katy Josephine said...

'Chopped' is one of the only shows I watch! Love the analogy. As of yet, haven't tried this perfume. Honestly, it's not on the top of my 'must try' list. But I'll get there. Thanks for the fun review!

8:21 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

it's one very few shows of that kind that my husband would actually volunteer to watch with me :)

8:40 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you got chorny khleb, too? I thought I was halucinating.... Overall, though, Womanity was too sweet for me, I amplify sweet notes. Too bad, I really wanted to like it.

9:04 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, you got it too? Now I know it IS there :)

9:06 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Oh, slay me...though thank goodness for Marla's comment on the sweet: I, too, am a sweet amplifyer, and if weren't for her mentioning her experience, I might have been at "anxious alert" for Womanity!

As it is, the radar continues to track it, as it has since it was first released and I heard the words "salty fig from the sea." To tell the truth, it will be nice to experience it, when I finally do, away from the brouhaha.

Chuckling at "Chopped." I do not watch it, but was once a fan of Iron Chef (the original, dubbed version), which I discovered while having to pass some time in a motel room in the Northwoods. Surreal on so many levels, that experience...but it led to a regular viewing habit and a decade of running "Today's Mystery Ingredient Is....!!!!" jokes with my son.

9:43 AM EST  
Blogger Carol said...

I'm ordering a sample now - HAVE to try this (I too am a big Angel fan!)

11:37 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

“So America, with an open heart and an empty stomach, I say unto you in the words of my uncle: Allez Cuisine! ” :))
Since Womanity testing is not that urgent for you, I'll be happy to enable it with a sample!

11:42 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Bloody Frida,
I think fans of Angel would at the very least appreciate the concept and structure of this, so to say. Definitely worth a try!

11:42 AM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

The analogy is awesome. I think most people with a nose for perfume, given a list of ingredients would have a certain expectation of what the combination would yield. But what 'Chopped' shows us is that it is the creative if not arbitrary combination, proportion and emphasis of one ingredient over another that matters. The sum being greater than the parts. Same is true for fragrance.

11:55 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Very true! It is also important to adhere to no red onions or cheese with fish :)

11:57 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I liked Womanity a lot. On the other hand, I cannot stand neither the name nor the marketing explanations of the fragrance. The PR stuff makes Serge Lutens quite down to earth in comparison.

3:13 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

yeah, and being less obscure than SL is no small feat...

3:17 PM EST  
Blogger Charna said...

I loved this post. I've been curious about Womanity; after reading this I must get to the perfume counter and try it out. Strawberry jam and Rye bread? I love the Chopped comparison! Is it just me or is judge Scott Conant ridiculous? Each time a poor chef starts creating a dish with raw onions (the horror) or pasta . . . or anything Italian, I cringe for them knowing he will verbally slay them. Great review, thank you.

7:21 PM EST  
Blogger EauMG said...

I really like Womanity and feel that it hasn't gotten the love that it deserves, maybe with time?
I found the ingredients odd, just like your description, but all very wearable. It does have some of that Mugler power behind it. I think it's stronger than Angel!
I let a male friend try this fragrance and he really likes it. It wears very differently on him. However, the name throws him off. He doesn't mind the bottle, but the name is a bit too much. (I hate the name, love the bottle, I dislike when scents are so obviously "gendered")

7:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Claudia0219 said...

This is a great fragrance.....TM's fragrances are all a bit strange.....check out the Miroir line, but yet they are so wearable and different and personally i love that bottle, so cool.

12:03 AM EST  
Blogger Tama said...

I just tried this a couple of weeks ago and think I have to get one of the mini-sized ones. It si definitely strange and quite wearable on me. Am I the only one who likes the bottle? It's so baroque sci-fi.

2:56 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

omg, right? red onions, bell peppers and fish with cheese :)))

9:47 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it is totally unisex, and the name really doesn't fit

9:48 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

you right, I actually forgot about that line of theirs, quite interesting too

9:49 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

baroque sci-fi! what a great way to describe it! I think I'd liked it more were it not for the pink

9:50 AM EST  
Anonymous sturdette said...

If I'm going to smell like bread it's going to be chocolate cherry, not rye!

5:09 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

How indulgent and decadent and extravagant! Chocolate cherry bread...:)

8:25 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like this one, too. i wore it yesterday, and surprised a fellow perfume lover with it - she had written it off and even asked me if i was sure that i was wearing womanity because it smelled so good! really don't get the negative reactions it's been getting, except that maybe it's a question of chemistry. it works on my skin, and i find it both odd and comforting. one reviewer said it reminded him of boudoir, but that's not the westwood juice that comes to mind for me - rather, it's libertine - because of womanity's (unmentioned) grapefruit and musk - although the musk in this is different. i think if you don't go into this with some preconceived notions of what fig and caviar should smell like, you might surprise yourself and like it, too.


9:38 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

odd and comforting= exactly! they did the scent disservice by focusing on fig so much, when it's so much more than a fig

7:15 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please recommend some scents with dough-y notes! I am crazy for this note in Womanity, love it in Bois Farine, and am dying to try En passant. I know there must be more, but they are hard to track, because as with womanity, perfumers seem to avoid listing it as a note/effect.

5:47 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Liquid Carl, Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau

5:50 PM EST  

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