One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On The Road, Part 2

I forgot a Thing No Longer Available the other day; Guerlain's Anisia Bella, an evidently limited-edition scent in their Aqua Allegoria line. I really wanted to try it; I love anise notes, usually, and it sounded nice, but nobody in Montréal or Ottawa had it, not one single store: they all had stupid gift sets containing a bottle of Herba Fresca, Rosa Magnifica, or Pampelune, and some pointless lip gloss. Anisia Bella is discontinued, gone and gone for good. I'm sour-grapesing the situation by remembering that the also nice-sounding Mentafollia was a massive disappointment; it promised to be all about mint (as Herba Fresca is all about grass, and Pampelune is all about grapefruit), and instead was a mere breath of mint followed by a tedious round of floral notes. There are some floral ingredients in Anisia Bella, and I'm guessing, with no proof, that it was the same--a little anise and then some uninspired florals. That way I don't have to feel bad about never having had a chance to try it.


So: on to Chapter 2, Things That Disappointed Me.
Bottle is a yes. Contents are a no.

Speaking of anise, I sampled Kenzoair Intense in Montréal, and it wasn't any better than the original, a boring outdoor-fresh scent with hardly any of the promised anise. The bottle's spectacular, but the scent is blah at best. I want a licorice-y scent that isn't cloying like Lempicka Au Masculin or Rochas Man: I do have Yohji Homme, but I want something with much more licorice in it. I want something that's all about licorice without being confectionery. I'll have to keep looking.

I tried one of the Armani Privé scents, Eau de Jade, at Holt Renfrew in Montréal, and I couldn't imagine why anyone would pay $240+ for what amounts to nothing more than a clean fresh citrus scent.

I wanted to love Gaultier2, because it's an amber scent and I lovelovelove ambergris, plus the bottle is very clever--a pair of identical bottles that clank together with magnets on the back, as if they can't bear to be apart. How romantic! The scent is nice enough, but it's not a whole lot more than ambergris and vanilla, and frankly it's been done before (many times before) only better. Even the bottle, on reflection, is wrong; it would work if both halves of a couple who travelled a lot each took a bottle with them, but otherwise, why do you need to have two bottles of the stuff? A much smarter tack would have been to follow the lead of Must de Cartier, which had a perfume (a dark, sexy oriental scent) and an eau de toilette (a lighter floral) which were meant to be worn separately or together. If Gaultier2 had two completely different, but complementary and unisex, scents in that great bottle, it would be something special. In theory.

I got to try a few new things at the L'Artisan Parfumeur counter at Ogilvy in Montréal, but absolutely nothing grabbed me. Ananas Fizz was pleasant enough, but it's a pretty expensive pleasant-enough, and I don't know that I want to smell that much like pineapple. There was a set of 15-mL bottles of Timbuktu and Ambre Extreme that I might have been persuaded to buy, but I knew that Ambre Extreme was fairly close to MPG's Ambre Précieux--I believe they were created by the same person--and Timbuktu underwhelmed me entirely. (I didn't even bother trying Mandarine Tout Simplement: I knew I'd never buy it at that price, $180 or so, and my nose was starting to rebel at that point anyway.)

Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf was just a floral. Délices de Cartier was just a fruity-floral. Starwalker was yet another boring scent from Mont Blanc.

Beyond a doubt the biggest letdown of my sampling was Bulgari Blu Notte pour Homme. I sort of like Blu pour Homme, but that detergent note is just strange. I was expecting, from the list of notes, an entirely different scent in Blu Notte, something wonderful:

Top note: Galanga, Bergamote, Cardamome 
Middle note: Fleur de Tabac, Néroli 
Base note: Bois de Wengué, Chocolat Noir 

Chocolate! Tobacco-flower!

There is a dark chocolate note which is luscious, but right from the start, it resembles Blu pour Homme so much, right down to that corrosive laundry-detergent note, that I could feel my shoulders sagging in disappointment. Perhaps if I had worn it on my skin and let it live through its life cycle I'd have changed my tune, but it's a pretty good bet that it wouldn't be anything I'd want to buy.

But enough about awful things! Tomorrow: things I liked but would never, ever buy.


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