I had this big project planned for the entire month of August and possibly beyond, even bigger than the month of Demeters, and, well, it's not ready, because, as it turns out (who knew?), I have a life beyond blogging. Maybe September. If not, then next August. (It has to be one of those months. You'll know why when it happens.)
According to Perfumeshrine, Miel de Bois
is about to be discontinued. Apparently, mastermind Serge Lutens and perfumer Christopher Sheldrake didn't even like it. But I did!
I don't perceive that supposed urinous quality at all
; I just smell a dense, thick, riveting complexity. If it really is being discontinued, and if I can find a bottle for a good price, I'll be buying.
In my first year of university, the mandatory English course used a textbook containing a chapter called "Varieties of Badness", detailing the various ways in which literature can run off the rails; I enjoyed this so much that I began actively searching out literary badness, going so far as to read a biography of dreadful novelist Amanda McKittrick Ros
and hunting down a copy of The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse
, a disintegrating paperback which I still own.
Just as there are varieties of literary badness, there are varieties of olfactory badness. Here are two.
For years now, Escada has been cranking out interchangeable, silly fruit-punch scents aimed at young women. Last year, they added Sunset Heat to the line, and broke the mold by making one for men, too; Sunset Heat for Men
The most recent women's scent was called Moon Sparkle, and I couldn't quite believe it, but they called their men's version Moon Sparkle for Men, as if someone had dared them to. The fragrance is shockingly
bad, entirely worthless from start to finish, a blot on the anonymous perfumer's name. Sunset Heat for Men wasn't any good, either, but at least it was just another pointless entry in the overcrowded fresh-scent-for-young-men market. This one is atrocious.
Once again, it consists of a load of synthetic fruit perched atop a load of glaring, synthetic wet on a base of harsh, synthetic wood. This time around, the aquatic notes in the middle are peculiarly aggressive; they jam themselves into your nose, hammer their way in, and will not be ignored or avoided. There seems to be some attempt at complexity, but rather than being a carefully constructed unity or a succession of identifiable notes, it's just a slurry. I am assuming that you couldn't possibly care about the list of notes, but if there's one person out there who does, here they are:bergamot, mandarin, pepper, ginger, violet, green grape, floral aquatic notes, georgywood, cedarwood, marine amber, vetiver.
You couldn't pick out any of them if you tried. And what the hell is "georgywood"? Some rare wood that grows only on the African savannah, or beside an Italian lake? No, it's a woody-amber synthetic. I'm sorry I asked.
Even the bottle is bad, a duplicate of last year's Sunset Heat without the ridges which might have given it a modicum of graphical interest. Even the name
is bad. The scent is aimed at young, hip men, judging from the ludicrous packaging (block-jawed hipster in candy-striped jacket before a silver moon), and yet it's been given a name that suggests an animated Japanese cartoon aimed at eleven-year-old girls, and adding "for men" at the end doesn't make it any more masculine. Moon Sparkle for Men? Why not Pretty Sequined Pony for Men, or Unicorns Daisies and Rainbows for Men?
There's only one explanation that makes any sense. Trying to get out of the men's fragrance line altogether, Escada deliberately sabotaged their latest launch in an attempt to lose as much money as possible. It wouldn't surprise me if legions of young women bought the women's version and then the men's version for their boyfriends, but if guys are buying this scent, then I don't want to know about it. At least, being a yearly limited edition, it won't be around much longer. The bad news is that in a few months there'll be another limited-edition Escada for women, and, if we're unlucky, another one for men, too, and this whole miserable cycle will start all over again.
The One for Men, the men's version of Dolce and Gabbana's successful women's scent, isn't shameful or horrifying. It's merely bad in a dull, depressing, garden-variety way. An oriental scent, it starts with the usual shot of citrus, married to the usual warm-bright spices, which gradually give way to the usual vanilla-wood-amber drydown with a little tobacco, and not much of that. There is not one thing in this sad little fragrance that is remotely interesting or offbeat, nothing that could make it stand out, nothing that anybody who's been paying attention hasn't smelled a dozen times before.
The bottle's nice, though.