One Thousand Scents

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hot: Spellbound by Estee Lauder


Well, let's play the game of Read The Fragrance Notes and see what happens.

Top: fruit notes, coriander, pimento, orange blossom.
Middle: rosewood, rose, carnation, muguet, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, heliotrope.
Base: amber, musk, opoponax, civet, cedar, vanilla.


You read the list of ingredients for Spellbound and you think you know what you're going to be smelling. You think it actually sounds a lot like Chanel Coco (mandarin, pimento and coriander: rose, carnation, orange blossom and cinnamon: amber, vanilla, opoponax and honey) or a little like Dior Poison (orange blossom, pimento, fruit notes: coriander, tuberose, ylang-ylang: ambergris, opoponax, labdanum) and there are resemblances, to be sure. You're thinking sultry floral-oriental. And you are right, and wrong.

The opening of Spellbound is fresh and spicy, with a note lasting well into the middle which reminds me of a dry cleaner's shop, in the best possible way--that zingy, modern smell of solvents and cleanliness.

The middle is dark: it's an oriental, no doubt about it. It ought to smell of flowers, but it doesn't, not in any concrete way. It's not a bouquet; there aren't wafting notes of rose and carnation and lily. It's not prettified. It certainly isn't feminine.

In fact, from the middle through the drydown, the primary scent of Spellbound is, intoxicatingly, hot skin. It smells as if you've been sitting by a fireplace. Let me spell that out so I can emphasize just how amazing it is: Spellbound doesn't smell like plants, food, ozone, or animal secretions, it smells like you after you've been doing something for a while.

It's hypnotizing.

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2 Comments:

  • I was leaving a review about Spellbound on another site and I almost wrote the words 'it smells a bit like your natural scent but intensely so' (well it does on me, anyway) but then, looking at the other reviews, I thought - no one's going to believe that so I removed the line but obviously I'm not the only one who thinks this. So here it is in b&w- Spellbound smells like hot, damp, clean skin - is there anything sexier?

    By Blogger SheHen23, at 5:53 PM  

  • There's nothing sexier. I tried Spellbound shortly after its launch — I bought a bottle immediately — and right away I knew it smelled like fireplace-hot skin, a wonderful thing to smell like. Imagine my surprise when I read Tania Sanchez' deprecating one-star review in "Perfumes: The Guide", calling it "medicated treacle" and "powerfully cloying and nauseating", which literally makes no sense to me. Unless Lauder has reformulated it (and they're very good about keeping their formulae intact), Spellbound remains one of the peaks of late-eighties perfumery.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 8:46 AM  

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