The other day I was lucky enough to have the morning to myself, totally child free, thanks to my Mother in law. That was a perfect moment to go through my mainstream sample box for once. This box is a separate entity from my big tea box that holds niche and classic samples. These are the mostly disregarded and quickly forgotten samples I get at the department store, those samples the SA’s part with out of their own free will (an indicator in itself that there may be something wrong with them, the least of which is that they are heavily marketed and pushed since they are the newest of the new).
Estée Lauder Sensuous: Wow! Who would have thought? (Well, those who can read, would have thought, since Sensuous has very positive reviews all over Perfumeland, but it somehow never crossed my path.) Instant love! Estée Lauder does very good perfumes, so this shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, but still. Sensuous, a warm, creamy and woody fragrance is full-bottle worthy for me. This is a so-called “duty-free in waiting”!
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: this one is familiar, I have worn Coco Mademoiselle along with everybody and their Grandmother in my twenties, I remember getting many compliments for it too, but I didn’t remember how it smelled. It is way bolder and in your face than I remembered it, a combination of masculine and gourmand that is well made, but holds no more attraction for me. Intimidating sillage!
Issey Miyake A Scent: no doubt something called A Scent is minimalistic, the name and the bottle do not exactly suggest opulence of any kind and neither does the aesthetic of a Japanese creator, but A Scent is really just that. A good smell, a vaguely woody, sexless affair that leaves me with the need for a Lutens to counteract the feeling of “not enough” that A Scent invokes. It smells fine, and it is even quite tenacious for its kind, mind you, but it is just a scent after all, best for people who do not like perfume. But to be fair it does not pretend to be anything else.
Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One: sharp, harsh opening, faint heart, thin drydown. No need to bother with a rose this close to utter cheapness.
Oscar De La Renta: the Eau de Toilette. I don’t know how I came to be in possession of this one. It is a rather heavy floral-aldehydic blend. It is not on the Oscar de la Renta website anymore, and I think that is no great loss. I’d like to try the new Esprit d’Oscar though…
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist: I was glad to find this. It is such an iconic fragrance, especially in the US. In Europe, especially the German speaking countries, this took a while to be accepted because of its name. Mist means garbage in German, nothing you want associatd with perfume unless you are Etat Libre d’Orange. Cashmere Mist is a woody oriental with a little bouquet of lily of the valley thrown in for good measure. Despite heavy notes, it is transparent and does right by its name.
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Luxe Edition: this flanker of the above amps the floral part up with jasmine and orange blossom, it still retains its light, gauzy “mist” character though.
Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Where have I smelled this before? Answer: everywhere! The quintessential Eau de Generic, a fruity-floral for the ages, no doubt.
Narciso Rodriguez Essence: I love Narciso Rodriguez For Her and have worn it for years, my husband has been known to walk into perfume stores asking for Felipe Hernandez and still coming out with the right perfume. But Essence is somehow lacking. Lacking in substance, lacking in style, lacking in concept. It seems too close to the essence of cleaning liquids for comfort.
Flower By Kenzo: no flower smells like that, I believe (although I am no botanist, so feel free to correct me). It is a powdery, cuddly totally artificial scent, not bad, and much warmer and less happy go lucky than I imagined, but ultimately not for me. Reminds me a bit of Villoresi Teint de Neige, which is much richer though.
Dior Miss Dior Chèrie: aside from the cute bottle I have a hard time finding anything good about this perfume. It takes its name from something entirely different and it is not deserving of that grand name. A fruity-floral with a vengeance, it clamors the be the loudest of them all and may even win.
Jean-Paul Gaultier MaDame: is a -wait for it – fresh floral and it smells like everything and nothing. A very synthetic mélange of floral and musk. Do I like it? *shrugs* Is it good? *shrugs* As hard as I try, I cannot form an opinion about it, whatever that means…in any case this is more of a non-review than a mini-review. Sorry.
Stay tuned for the next three parts of this series over the next weeks.
What are your department store surprises?