One Thousand Scents

Friday, September 08, 2006

Summer Splash

When I started this blog, I hoped to post three times a week, which I still try to do, but it's been three weeks. How can it have been three weeks?

Easy. Jim was on vacation for two and a half weeks, and he really, really hates commercial scents, so I suppose for him, living with me is like living with a smoker. I occasionally snuck a spritz on the way to work, or if he left early to go to the gym, but otherwise I was more or less scentless, and I just can''t write about them if I'm not wearing them.

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And during those two and a half weeks, it turned out that I lied to myself. I said I wasn't going to buy those two Demeters (Blue Hawaiian and Orange Cream Pop) and then I went and did. But they were so cheap! And I wanted them! And now I have to promise myself not to buy anything for a while. A couple months, at least. I'll let you know how that goes.

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Pineapple hasn't been used as a note in perfumery for long, perhaps twenty years. My first encounter with it was in the 1989 women's scent Only (by Julio Iglesias), which is also my first experience with a fragrance that apparently wasn't meant to be blended in the traditional sense: the pineapple note stuck out like a pushpin in a corkboard.

There have been plenty of other scents in the intervening years that use pineapple as a note, most famously CK One, but also Perry Ellis America for Men (which has it as kind of a shock wave in the top note) and Ferragamo's Incanto Dream. Lately--maybe because it's summer--I can't seem to get enough of that pineapple note, which is probably why I succumbed to two different pineapple-based scents in less than a month.

Demeter Blue Hawaiian is supposedly concocted to smell like the cocktail of the same name (composed of blue curaçao, pineapple juice, and rum), but what it smells of first and foremost is pineapple juice, and it's stunningly accurate--it smells like a freshly peeled and cored pineapple, ripely tropical. It's a happy scent, as perhaps something based on an alcoholic drink ought to be. (The orange-rind note of curaçao isn't strong, just a little knife cutting through the sweetness of the pineapple, and the rum isn't evident to me at all.) Unlike most Demeter scents, this one has some real lasting power: even after showering I can smell a soft Pacific glow on my skin.

CSP's Vanille Pineapple is a very different animal, but wonderful in its own way. Where the Demeter is bare, stripped-down, the CSP is rich and florid. The giddy freshness of the pineapple juice has been softened and warmed up with not only vanilla but also a shot of coconut milk, not enough to give it a cheap piña-colada smell but enough to intensify that tropical feeling. As is typical of the newer CSP formulations, the pineapple smell isn't long-lasting: it trails away after a couple of hours, and what remains on the skin is a slightly spicy, slightly musky vanilla--not quite the standard CSP vanilla, because it has a trace of cinnamon.

Now that summer's over, perhaps pineapple won't seem quite so necessary, but I'm glad to have stumbled across these two.

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