Here comes Part 4 of the fondly received Mainstream series. (Read up on Parts 1, 2 and 3 here.) My sample box has been replenished somewhat in the past months, somehow I never have trouble at all procuring the latest and greatest of the department store treasures flung at us every two weeks, without even trying. Okay, brace yourselves, dear readers, here we go…
CK One Shock for her: Is certainly aptly named… Coming out of my initial shock, I ask myself, isn’t it kind of beside the point to make his’n hers versions out of the first official unisex fragrance??? The idea of these flankers alone, incenses me (word used in a decidedly unfragrant context here). But the recipe is easy: Take a bottle of One and add a generous dollop of vanilla, et voilá, CK Shock for her. (Do the same with a bracingly masculine marine and leather accord and you get “for him”.)
CK One Shock for him: Packaged in fetching black and acid green green graffiti style (Man, I am getting way too old to even be in the demographic any more, is 35 the new senior? Or is this a retro 80s packaging and I am just to dense to get it?), this gem was long overdue on the market. It fills a hole of customer’s needs as vast, as its marketing strategy is thought through.
Marc Jacobs Bang Bang: An incredibly creative name for Bang’s first flanker, isn’t it? I might wait for Bang Bang Bang, but until this comes out in six weeks, I am perfectly happy with Bang Bang to deliver all my non-descript blah-perfume needs. Wait, that is a bit harsh, Bang Bang is actually an acceptably nice pepper heavy, wood scent, I just don’t quite see where the difference to singular Bang comes in, besides the repetition. It is too harsh a review, I seem to be taking my cue from all the pepper pepper.
Diesel Loverdose: My, my we are on a roll namewise… Loverdose clearly has a very witty godfather and like the very same, it makes an offer you cannot refuse: the promise to keep you perfectly blended with the masses, one of a legion of clean and fresh and foody smelling jeans afficionados (nothing against jeans, mind you). Notes include mandarin, star anise, gardenia, jasmine, licorice, vanilla, amber and wood. Loverdose promises to “ignite a passion like never before”. Does it do that? Sure! Why not? It certainly does so loudly and clearly and relentlessly. (L)overdose, alright.
Roberto Cavalli: I won’t even go there. I can’t. Just can’t.
Narciso Rodriguez For Her Musc Edition Intense:I liked this one a lot, less screechy top, more musky bottom (that last doesn’t sound so good, when I put it like that 😉 ) than the original and a beautiful shimmery bottle. Might seek out another sample.
Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau Delicate Eau de Parfum: A limited edition flanker to the classic For Her, this is as the name aptly states, more delicate. The emphasis is on florals, and not the screechy orange blossom of old, but rather a spring-like bouquet of something or other. It is a tad un-inventive and I have already forgotten what I wanted to say next.
Kenzo Ki Beneficial Water Sensual Rice: This is officially no perfume but a water based skin care spray. Well, the ingredient list states alcohol as it first ingredient. Not so skin caring, but rather lovely smelling. Sensual Rice smells of sweet, steamed rice and holds up for a lot longer than I would have thought. It puts some of the Chanel Exclusifs to shame when it comes to wear time. I am sucker for rice notes in perfume, so this is a lovely discovery.
Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche: I have a hard time giving this a fair chance. (Pun fully intended.) It is to the rest of Chanel, like the round bottle is to the square ones – it does not match. Aside from that, it is a vague, greenish, fresh musky something, I would expect in a shampoo. I would not mind my shampoo to smell like that actually, and I would probably find one that does without searching for very long.
Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: A more floral, pinker, more girly version of the above, this is even worse. Hard to believe, I know…
Agent Provocateur L’Agent: I like this. Davana, pink pepper, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood and amber – sounds good, smells good too. Although I perceive L’Agent in two distinct parts, top and base. Both are very nice though. I would wear this if a bottle fell into my lap. There might be a full review of this coming.
Dior Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle: a flanker – one of the 37 (or thereabouts) in existence – to Hypnotic Poison, itself a flanker, Eau Sensuelle is a more wearable, softer version of a grand white floral on an almost-gourmand oriental base. Not my thing, but not off-putting either, I get the feeling it has been made for those too intimidated to wear the original these days, as it has a less intrusive sillage and a less challenging personality. Compared to the girly-fruity perfumes for the 12-14 set, it is a roaring, raring to go diva though.
So, another round of mainstream perfumes down. I do not intend to make fun of mainstream perfumes per se, but then I start smelling in earnest and there is nothing I can do… out comes the snark. I don’t want to incense anyone, it is just my personal opinion after all, and your own is just as valid.
But I see how it is hard to make a decent perfume, when most of the budget goes into marketing and the launch party costs more than the perfumer gets, in all probability.
But of course there are some very decent fragrances in the mainstream to be found as well. If you are willing to look long and hard, that is.
Image source: Galerie Lafayette via absolut-paris.com