One Thousand Scents

Monday, August 22, 2011

Memory Lane: Field Notes from Paris by Ineke

"Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."Not Dr. Johnson, apparently

That's the second thing I thought of after smelling Field Notes from Paris, which is not entirely fair of me, because it is actually good. Really good. Certainly the best of the first six, and by a considerable margin.

But the first thing I thought of is that it's mostly a simplified and stripped-down copy of another scent: Escada's Casual Friday. I don't think it's a deliberate copy — there is after all a finite number of possible aromachemicals and combinations, however large that number is — but so many of the elements are the same that it's impossible not to compare them if you know both scents.

They're both spicy, masculine floral orientals. Their similarity is obvious from the first instant: they both start with a big shock wave of bergamot and coriander, though Casual Friday ups the ante with cardamom and anise as well. They diverge in the middle, with the bite of Casual Friday's clovey carnation replaced by a creamy orange blossom, but reconverge an hour or so later, sharing a base of soft, woody patchouli, vanilla, and tonka bean with plenty of the earlier spice still evident.

Since Casual Friday is long discontinued, if you've been looking for a replacement, here you have it. I prefer the snarl of carnation to the refinement of orange blossom, and I much prefer the complexity of the Escada scent (modern fragrances on the whole are just too minimalist for my taste), but Field Notes from Paris is beautiful for all that, and I think it finally shows what Ineke Ruhland is capable of.

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