One Thousand Scents

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Light My Fire: Spark and Spark for Men

I kind of like Liz Claiborne scents. They're generally affordable--some would say "cheap", I know--and approachable--some would say "obvious" or "rip-offs". But I like inexpensive scents sometimes, because it means I can have more of them, and I like strange and interesting fragrances, but sometimes, really a lot of the time, I want something that smells good and is easy to love, which is certainly the case with both Spark and Spark for Men.

Spark for Men opens with a shot of spiced rum with a hint of a dry fig note and the sweetness of honey. It smells like an exotic tropical drink, probably not one I'd down--I'm a gin-and-tonic man--but one I wouldn't mind smelling like. Spark supposedly opens with a champagne note, which I don't get at all (it's probably just a little fizz of aldehydes, nothing particularly strong), but it does have a brief honeyed-rose smell that quickly fades and isn't particularly rosy anyway. In both scents, the spicy oriental middle notes are already blooming up from under the top notes within minutes.

After the top notes die down, Spark smells very much like Organza Indecence, with a tinge of orchids and some of the sharper edges buffed down, while Spark for Men smells very much like Halston Catalyst for Men, with somewhat less clove.

Except for a distinct, very lovely honey note, the two scents don't smell much alike until the drydown, when they become nearly identical clouds of sandalwood, vanilla, and ambergris, not surprising for oriental scents. However, right out of the bottle, they complement one another beautifully--more so than I've ever experienced in his-and-hers scents. (Obsession and Obsession for Men side by side aren't altogether pleasant.) So I usually wear the two Sparks together, one spritz on each hand.

Liz Claiborne does lots of brand extension--the original Curve was soon joined by Curve Crush, Soul by Curve, and Curve Wave--and that's true of Spark, too: the following year saw Spark Seduction, which struck me as possibly the most pointless name imaginable, because the original Sparks, both of them, are already as seductive as they need to be.


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