Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ralph Lauren, the Yellow One

So I'm at Åhléns tonight, and I see the new Ralph Lauren garish number thingies are out for women now. In pink, yellow, purple and something else. And they have descriptions! The yellow is Radiant Floral. The purple something like Delicious Oriental (maybe luscious oriental). I don't feel like doing a whole clinical trial, so I pick one to try out, and it's the yellow. It helps that it's a "radiant floral." I don't expect much, because the ones for men were a disappointment. At least they looked better, however, with their bold colors and bottle in the same shape as the original Polo. And the sporty number thing worked better with those. But with these women's ones, the bottles are longer and the whole thing is just hideous. Just hideous. Makes me think of the word 'chav.' Anyway, here's how the yellow smelled:

Ghastly. Just ghastly.

Actually, at first sniff, it smelled pretty much just like Ralph. At subsequent sniffs, like Ralph with a grotesque peach note grafted on. To understand the peach note, you have to understand how I smell aromachemicals.

I'm not terribly organized with my smell collection or my approach to it. All the chems are sitting in a wooden box in the closet (it used to be a paper box), and a most unfortunate thing has happened in that since they've been in this small box, they all smell exactly the same straight from the bottle--like some funk made from a bunch of aromachemicals stored in a small box. So if I want to really get their character, I have to put them on paper. But that's not important. What is important is that I don't bother to dilute them to what I really should if I'm going to evaluate their odors. I just smell them 100%, which means I don't get a good idea of what they can do. Until I mix them into something. The 'toilet smell'--the ongoing perfume experiment in a bottle which we spray when the bathroom stinks--is one of those somethings. This means that Florhydral smells like something harsh and phenolic, much the same as Florosa, cyclamen aldehyde and Lyral, more or less. Dimethyl hydroquinone smells a bit leathery. And Exaltolide smells like nothing at all (until it's blended, when it does something. I can't explain it yet, but it just does something really good). And peachy lactonic things smell like dry, awful, horrible, sour, cheap peach.

This is what I smell in The Yellow Thing. That cheap, sour peachy thing. With a melon kind of nuance. And Ralph. Which kinda always smelled like a base with an apple modification. A base like Ultrazur or Dossinia, which smells kinda like every perfume smelled at a particular point in time (Ultrazur the 'seashore' things of the 90s; Dossinia those 'eau fraiches' of today and yesterday). The mixture of these notes reminds me of something horrible I once mixed up with those fre-fab fragrance oils you can usually find at some cheapish soap/potpourri/oil store. I think I mixed up a peach with a watermelon, and maybe with some geranium. Factor in that powdery smell that you get 5 minutes after putting on any of those really low-priced single-note fragrance oils (what is that? Is it the solvent?), and you get what I made for my friend Mark, who said he liked the combination of watermelon and baby powder, something I still can't get my mind around.

A bit later the peachy note is really prominent, and still unpleasant. I wonder if I'm correct in thinking it's a peach/apricot thing. A bit later it seems to have a touch of melon, but it does not improve things.

A bit later when I hold the strips right up to my nose and concentrate, there's almost a hint of those candy cigarettes that Mom dubiously bought us when we were kids. And maybe, if my nose doesn't deceive me, a faint, faint hint of a mild clove-carnation thing that I hope will get stronger. It doesn't, and I assume my nose deceived me. And while I hoped the candy cigarette smell would take over, it doesn't. I think about what a perfume composed entirely of candy cigarette smell, maybe with a bit of Smarteez mixed in (I sometimes smell this in tuberose scents). Would I like it?

EDIT: (How could I have forgotten this?) After thinking about candy cigarettes, I tried inhaling the aroma through my mouth to see if I could get another dimension from it. I saw this in a book once and have tried it multiple times. It's never been pleasant. But I figure it will help me deduce whether there is indeed some kind of candy cig thing going on here. But I try it and am gettin nothin. So I tear off a small piece of the end of the blotter and put it on my tongue, like you'd do with a quite different type of blotter. Immediately I get a taste, which is kinda bitter and metallic, but not much of a flavor. And I keep hoping that maybe flavor will come to me, that it will be like some kind of flowery fruit punch, but it doesn't. Maybe I need to adjust the technique.

Later on it just smells like the base. With watermelon. And this reminds me of that perfume Lancaster. You could put it on for free in the bathroom at the Roxy in NYC. How appropriate.

A couple hours after the initial spray it's still that thin, base-y, watermelony smell. Horrid. Too thin. Smells like it's made entirely of synthetics. Nils says it smells like watermelon, kind of like detergent. He finds it unoffensive, summery. Yes, it's summery, but you can get summery done a million times better elsewhere.

One good thing about it: Smelling the strip and then smelling my hand, on which I've sprayed That Thing I'm Always Working On now (spicy floral coumarin thing, because those are my favorite notes, with a toosh of castoreum and wood), makes what's on my hand smell rich and complex and huge, like purple velvet curtains that go on for miles and miles.

My verdict, for what it's worth: I hate this shit. I probably won't smell the others. This smells like what one of those all-pink teenage girl bedrooms in a Mcmansion in suburban Florida looks like. Avoid it. If you want to smell like hair conditioner with peaches, just get the fake Ralph that I have--it's a roll-on called Aqua that I got at Duane Reade, a drug store in NYC--and put on some of that Claire Burke peach potpourri oil. Actually, you might smell better.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Golden Delicious

What does everyone think about the Delicious line of fragrances by Donna Karan? I smelled Golden Delicious today--I've prolly smelled it before, but who can remember with all the clones on the market today?--and I have to say that I quite like it. Is it new? It smells like a 4-star hair product. (If I hadn't had that one wash that one time in that place where it felt like a magical leafy green floral hologram appeared in the air as the girl put conditioner in, I would've called GD a 5-star.) I remember that I liked the Blossom versions from the line when I first smelled them, also thinking of them as smelling like really good hair care products, but Golden is even better. The Fresh Blossom is around a 3-star hair product. Probably the green apple one too, which smells thin. I never really liked the others, because I always hoped they'd smell more appley. More literal apple. Or Jolly Rancher kind of apple. I would have loved that. And the bottles are fantastic, but they look like they would be hard to use, like they're impossible to spray after the third use. Like Bulgari Black.

But you know what? I can't think of the perfect occasion for one of those Delicious things. Maybe at the office? Is there a perfect time to smell like a great conditioner if you don't work in a salon? And if you did work in a salon, would you spray it into the air ducts? (I probably would.) Maybe it's a good scent to spray on the walls before taking a shower--but then that wouldn't really make it a perfume per se. Hmmmmmm....

All that gnork, I would love to try Golden Delicious and see if I can find the perfect occasion for it, but not for 450 Swedish crowns. If I find it in the .5 oz size (165SEK), I'll totally get it unless I'm in a different mood, but not for the full price. It's not worth it. But for the price of, say, a Gap fragrance, I would definitely buy it. This is what Gap fragrances SHOULD smell like...

...But they don't. They smell like aromachemicals. Which is redundant to say when talking about perfume, so I'll put it differently: They smell screechy, chemical, overbright and not fleshed out enough. They smell like how you would expect 100% synthetic scents on a budget to smell. (I'm sure 100% synthy budget scents can probably smell great if done well, though. And aren't most commercial scents practically 100% synthetic anyway? If done with a huge budget, they can turn out great.) And this isn't to say that they always smell very offensive, because I kinda like some Gap fragrances, but I feel like they're better suited for the kiddies.

I saw two new(ish) Gap scents today, companions for Close (do I have the name right). They've prolly been around for years in nyc, but I just noticed them today in Sweden. Not that I've been looking. One was called Near, which I got all excited when I saw because I thought it said Pear, and I love that pear note! That pear note!!!!! The other was called, um..... Hmmmmm.... Stay! That's right. Like the Madonna song. Now, I'd been smelling something or other before I came to them, so maybe I had nose fatigue, but I could barely smell Near at all. it felt like a very faint rehash of Heaven, that sharp, synthy white flower(?) thing Gap does. No improvement, though, just fainter. Maybe I have to smell it again. As for Stay, my first impression of it was that it was salty and kind of aquatic. Then I think the saltiness started to become a Calone like thing, and it was over for me. So in short, they were disappointing. I don't expect much from Gap, though. I think their scents are composed by an app.

So I'm reading the Jean-Claude Ellena book, and it's good so far. If it sells, maybe they'll get an editor AND a proofreader for the next printing. (Seriously. Maybe have another translator look at it. I'm assuming it was written originally in French, since there's a sentence that ticks off a list of things, most of which are spelled out as A of B, except one. Which is spelled A de B.) And hopefully a new design for the cover. I have to admit, Ellena doesn't come off as much a writer--the book isn't as engaging as something by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez or Chandler Burr. Maybe it's the material--sometimes it feels like he's writing something because it was in an outline someone put together, as in "let's have a chapter on the history of perfume, since this book is about perfume." Here it can get a little textbooky. But at other times you sorta get this spark that he's talking about something meaningful to him, and talking is a good word for it, because you could kind of imagine having a conversation with him over coffee about some things. I'm thinking partly of the moments where he gets unexpectedly metaphorical and sounds like how I think a Perfumer would sound. Antyganoo, I'm only about halfway through it, but overall I'm pleased. It's cool to read a book by someone like him. It's cool that a book like this is out there. I can't wait for the next book, especially since the Frederic Malle book is, what--$300 for 32 pages? I'd read it for free if we had Barnes and Noble here in the frozen North. Hint, hint, Mr. King Man.....