Monday, January 21, 2008

Lunch Hour Sniffa (Or, Scents I Would Most Like to Date)

On Friday I had to run to the post office at lunch, so I decided to stop by Ulta, which is right across the parking lot, for a little sniff-fest. I was interested in trying out some of the Estée Lauder flanker scents (Youth Dew Amber Nude, Azurée Soleil, Pure White Linen), and also just checking their inventory.

The thing about a trip to Ulta is that it's all about paper-strip-based testing, which is sort of the perfume equivalent of speed dating. You get an initial idea of a scent that in the long run could be completely off the mark. Still, initial impressions are the most important. So many people buy fragrances based on top notes, perfumers have to get it right from the get-go.

Did I find love? Read on...

Estée Lauder Youth Dew Amber Nude. We hit it off right away. This is Tom Ford's refreshing take on the original Youth Dew, and he builds on a sophisticated base by bringing to bear a bit of a gourmand heart. It's a warm floral, not as spicy as the original. Would you call this scent for a real date? Yes! I picture nights by the fire, a nice glass of wine, cuddling. I just hope it won't be too clingy.

Estée Lauder Dazzling Gold. Meh. $8.99 a bottle sparkling wine. Bubbly, not overly sweet. Really, not overly anything. Would you call this scent for a real date? Probably not. I have a feeling it would want to go to Applebee's. On a Tuesday, like at 5:00. So it could get home early and watch television.

Estée Lauder Dazzling Silver. I tried both Dazzling fragrances because Divina suggested I give them a shot. This was her favorite between the two, and I have to agree. It was effervescent and crisp, reminiscent of a winter sky at twilight. Would you call this scent for a real date? Maybe not for a “real” date, but it would be fun to hang out with at a party, sort of like a friend you only see a few times a year who always leaves you thinking, “We really should try to get together more often.”

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Coco (the original) was one of those fragrances I had to have the minute it was released. I love, love, loved it beyond reason, even though the reaction I generally got from other people was that it wasn't really me. I haven't worn Coco in many years, and my mania for Oriental perfumes has lessened somewhat, so that I am happy to say this wonderful floral was delightfully surprising. Because this fragrance is marketed toward a younger demographic, I expected it to be no more than a sophisticated take on a fruity floral. I'm happy to say this scent is less pink than its juice appears. Would you call this scent for a real date? Yes. I'm not afraid to say I even had several daydreams about the two of us in a long-term committed relationship.

Christian Dior Miss Dior Cherie. This one scares the pants off me. Why? Well, when I hear notes like “caramel popcorn” and “strawberry sorbet,” I die a little inside. On a positive note, I found this less girlish than I expected. On a not-so-positive note, I found it rather generic. Would you call this scent for a real date? I just don't think we have anything in common. If it called me first and asked me out, I might be willing to give it a shot.

Michael Kors. I thought I'd try this after reading Robin's review of Michael Kors's latest perfume, Michael Kors Island Capri. I liked the original Island well enough (Bob really liked it), and in that review she mentioned that this scent was rather well-done. I found it warm and slightly tropical, like a more refined, lighter Monyette Paris. Would you call this scent for a real date? I would. I think it would be a terrific companion for an impromptu weekend getaway, on the beach or poolside in Vegas.

Ralph Lauren Romance. Maybe I just hadn't sniffed enough coffee beans, or maybe I had sniffed too many. Honest to god, I really couldn't smell much of anything with this one. It was floral, in a bland, pretty, inoffensive way. I think. Would you call this scent for a date? Would I call who? Did...was there somebody there?

Alfred Sung, Sung. Having just read about this on Divina's blog, I was happy to see it offered at Ulta. Until I read her review, this was one of those scents I'd constantly dismissed on the discount sites. Something about it makes me think it must be generic and dull (see Lauren, Ralph—Romance). How wrong I was! I must say, Sung did not disappoint this (very picky) white-floral lover. Sniffing it on the test strip, I found it rather clean and slightly bold, a surprising grand dame. Would you call this scent for a real date? Definitely. I'd take it to a rather fine restaurant, or a museum opening. I'd wear my pearls.

Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy. Okay. This is on Robin's Top 100 fragrances everyone should try list, and I've also seen Chandler Burr describe it as “well done,” so I'm not going to be a snob. Except that I am. On a test strip, at least, this was awful. I won't dismiss it entirely until I have tried it on my skin. One thing I can say for it—it wasn't blah. Would you call this scent for a real date? Probably, because I felt sort of sorry for it. Hopefully it wouldn't smack its gum the whole time and eat with its fingers. Maybe it would turn out to be a little fragrance with big dreams, and I sort of like that.

Kenzo Flower. On the test strip this practically comes across as a heliotrope soliflore. I'm not sure what the big deal is. It's a generic powdery floral in the way Russell Crowe is a generic manly man. Yawn. Would you call this scent for a real date? No. I'm already seeing Etro Heliotrope.

*image from Yahoo