Ten Chicks & A Guy: Quick Impressions of Some Current Fragrances

Gucci Première - All The Fun and None of the Guilt

Gucci Première – All The Fun and None of the Guilt

OK, people – listen up.  I have no idea why, but I was in a great mood today.  In fact, when I went to Macy’s and poked around, while my wife was browsing the Ralph Lauren threads, I got very busy sniffing a bunch of feminines that normally get trashed from one end of the web to the other.

WELL – today I’m just plain negasnarky.  Read it again, people.  I didn’t say megasnarky.  I said negasnarky.  I simply can’t rave enough about these new feminine releases.   Ahhhhh – OK.  You may hear some qualifications.  But still.  I feel like hugging a whole bunch of perfumers today.  So here we go.  Fasten those seatbelts, or you’re getting a ticket from the smile police!

Gucci Première - Note the half-mirrored bottle, that looks even cooler in real life.

Gucci Première – Note the half-mirrored bottle, that looks even cooler in real life.

Gucci Première.  Great, or what?  NO, people I’m not talking about Gwyneth Paltrow.  (J/K – LYB).  I’m talking about the absolutely fabulous bottle!  Yes, people – it is THAT COOL in real life.  You can almost see through it, but not quite, so you can just barely see the liquid inside.  Otherwise, mega-homage on the shape, to the *great* Gucci by Gucci EDP, which I personally think is just dead sexy in a very slinky, luxurious, modern way.

But what about the juice?  OH.  YEAH.  Again, we’re talking mega-homage, and in *PERFECT* step with the bottle.  It’s all about transparency, while retaining the beautiful shape of the original.  The first time I smelled this stuff, I was doing a total WTF because of the HUGE difference, but this time, I totally got what they did here, and I just want to hug somebody.  They took beautiful, heavy, and dark-dark-dark, and brightened it to a mirror sheen that almost isn’t there, yet reflects strongly.  And they even managed to capture the one thing – the beautiful but metal-thin sharpness of the modern chypre – that made mom so brilliant.  Yes, as soon as I smelled this very transparent juice, I knew that the perfumers were definitely going to get jumped and beaten up badly by the Mitsouko For President Club.  And if there had never been a thick, rich, sinfully delicious Gucci by Gucci EDP, I might be joining in with them.  But take this to the bank for what it is – respectful for its elders – and it’s a profoundly enjoyable experience.  Thank goodness my wife loves this, because I refuse to live without it in my our her collection.  I am also considering a sex-change operation so that I can wear it all the time.

OMG - I liked Lady Gaga Fame today!

OMG – I loved Lady Gaga Fame today!

Yes, people – the depth of today’s mania can be measured by the fact that the infamous “Black Fluide” – sprayed onto a Lady Gaga Fame blotter – actually smelled pretty damn good.  Even drying down, a couple of hours later, it’s still not bad.  But when it went on paper in the store, and after I watched the blackness actually fade before my eyes, that evil synthetic jasmine and incense combination caught just the right level of candy, and I was transfixed.  This scent has never smelled better.  All is forgiven.

Quick!  Somebody wake me up.  I’m either inside that damn Inception movie, or I’m turning into a bath salts zombie.  Either way, I need to be…..

Wonderstruck.  I *finally* smelled the stuff.

OK, I gotta be honest.  This was perfect for Taylor Swift at the time she launched it, but smelling it now, I somehow think it needs to be put into a time vault and saved for her firstborn daughter.  Too sweet, too candy, and too……. celebrity.  Just a bit kiddie-show.  Yeah, I can understand doing a first-time fragrance for a young star with fangrls, that would have this much fruit and candy.  But I gotta say.  When my wife smelled this one along with the next fragrance, she looked at me like “OK.  Are you seriously asking me which one is better?”

Yeah.  But the good news for Taylor and her Swifties is that the other scent was….

Yes.  Wonderstruck Enchanted.  (Or Enchanted Wonderstruck.  Or Whatever.)  Much less candy.  Much more grown up.  Not bad at all.  LOTS of homage.  Definitely sister frags.  Finely balanced.  Totally suitable for a woman – with kids, even.  But somehow……

All grown up.  OMG – Taylor is all grown up!  Once again, I need to hug the perfumers, because this time, I think I’m gonna cry.  Kinda like that first time I heard her on the tube.  That song.  Her boyfriend.  Oh, no, how could he do that to her?  Tears. *cry*

OK.  Moving on…..

To show you just how little my wife thinks of this fragrance, she just put my bottle of Ale 8 on top of my DOT blotter, thinking that it was some kind of cheap coaster, suitable for the hillbilly version of ginger ale.

The nerve!

Alas, she didn’t love it, but I certainly did.  I mean, just on the bottle alone, this thing is amazing.  In fact, I would go further than just saying that it’s a great release.  I’d say that the fragrance concept and the fragrance are perfectly matched, because…. well, that’s just what Marc Jacobs does.  The guy who’s daring enough to wear a dress with a stubble beard, and actually make it look good, is daring enough to make a fragrance with a frigging toddler theme, that’s actually good.

It’s hard to say what – exactly – I like about this.  Just as it’s hard to say why all these images of ladies wearing Marc Jacobs “Dot” dresses look so damn good.  I mean it’s ridiculous, when you think about it.  And this fragrance, too.  Linear, fruity, sweet-‘n’-girly.  Why, oh why, should I like this?

Maybe it’s best just to let this fragrance remain inscrutably “Marc Jacobs”.

Of course, not everybody respects this fragrance.


Marc Jacobs Dot blotter subjected to indignities by my wife. Avert thine eyes!

Marc Jacobs Dot blotter subjected to certain indignities by my wife. Avert thine eyes!

Well, we’re half-way through, so it’s time to take stock.  Because the best is yet to come!


Bottle Tip:  The spirit of Salvador Dali is being channeled by Justin Bieber’s GF. You are not dreaming.

I had hoped to like the Selena Gomez fragrance.  I had even thought that it might actually show a bit of Latin flair, should the creatives and perfumers be doing their jobs.

Imagine my disappointment when I heard that it was a horrible, redundant, fruity floral nightmare – the unholy intersection of a tween frag and a celebrity frag.

Now imagine my delight to discover that it is actually a rather unique fruity floral celebrity scent – one with a pleasant, subtly Latin flair!  Something that is – in its own way – perfect for its audience, while at the same time challenging members of that audience to grow just a little.  Yes, it starts off like grape soda.  Yes, it’s way too sweet for grown-up ladies who prefer their Guerlains dribbled, not sprayed.  But once it gets started, a wonderful layer of spice kicks in, and never goes away.  Perfectly balanced, it’s clean, fresh, and peppery, but never so much as to break the spell of innocence.  In order of spice-seriousness of celebrity scents, I’m now calling the order Queen Latifah > Beyoncé > Selena.  Ms. Selena’s self-titled fragrance is not Beyoncé’s icy-cool Heat, nor is it Latifah’s ruby-red, glitzy-sparkly-spicy Queen.  But it shouldn’t be – not for a teen idol. I know that people love to jump ALL OVER these youth and celebrity scents, but I really wish that people would try judging them for what they are – genres that many people out there actually LIKE.

Yes, this fragrance lies at the intersection of tween frags and celebrity frags.  But it’s hardly a car wreck.

The bottle – well, that’s interesting.  I did crack up a bit, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.  It’s just – well, it’s different.  It’s not a crime.  It’s no worse than the Salvador Dali bottle, and that scent gets raves primarily because it’s so bad-ass, nobody wears it.

Ya know?  Maybe we should be a little more even-handed.  A little more realistic.

I guess I feel like Selena’s fragrance actually helped me grow a little bit.

Just……. thanks.

Justin Bieber's Girlfriend. No, not THAT ONE. THIS ONE.

Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend. No, not that one. THIS ONE.

Kinda interesting.  I liked the previous Bieber scent – Someday – because it was rather UNLIKE “his” new offering, GirlfriendSomeday was clean.  Girlfriend is messy.  Someday was pure, clean, and all straight lines and gentle curves.  Girlfriend has discontinuities, complications, and STUFF.  And yet that messiness, and all those complications, and all that STUFF – are interesting.

Some people consider the bottle horror-show, but in person, it’s pretty neat.  Old farts like me may love playing with the magnetic tops on our Bleu de Chanel and Les Exclusifs, but we can do so without looking young and foolish.  Not here.  You cannot open the bottle of Girlfriend without looking like you’re playing with a Slinky.  But it’s magnetic!  And you can almost see the bottle’s odd basket as something trying to represent the attractions of magnetism – and other things – if you just allow yourself to be a bit too playful.

When I pick up the blotter from Girlfriend, hours later, I can almost smell a bit of Original Santal and Joop! Homme.  A touch of Celine Barel’s Graffiti.  Scents that are – well – complicated.  And good.

You know – there is no way I’m going to convince my fellow fragrance snobs that this stuff is any good.  So let’s just keep it our little secret, shall we?

OK – what’s next?

Lady Million. WOO-HOO!

Lady Million. WOO-HOO!

Oh, yeah.  Now we’re talkin’.  Lady Million.  Boys and girls – I totally did not see this coming.

Time for the kids to roll their eyes and make the jokes.  Yup – look at those adults just making fools out of themselves!

Who ARE these people? Paco Rabanne 1 Million and Lady Million

Who ARE these people?

1 Million is an interesting fragrance.  I came damn close to buying it.  I think the only reason I didn’t, is that I somehow can’t rationalize the overt love of gold that the bottle represents.  Call me weirdo, but I just feel like Black Elk disapproves.  Somewhere, somehow, that damn gold bar represents not a highly conductive and beautiful transition element, but the metal that makes men crazy.

Nevertheless, I think it’s going to be a classic.  I think it may already BE classic.  But I sure didn’t expect Lady Million to be much of anything, despite the fact that I think there is something terribly and oddly attractive about this woman with the totally wronged-out hair.

You can smell 1 Million in Lady Million.  The signature accord is there – and not in a small way.  But – damn it – I think that Lady Million may even be better than 1 Million.  Freak my ass out.  The restrained edges of florals, the increased brightness, and the toned-down fougère really work for me.

But I’m saving the best for last.  My Creed-worshiping wife?  She LOVES it.

Huh?  Yup.  Did not expect that, either.  But it really shouldn’t be a surprise, because my wife loved 1 Million when she smelled it in Sephora.  Go figure.

Nicole Richie's fragrance. The Chococat celebrity/reality fragrance comes to life!

Nicole Richie’s fragrance. The Chococat celebrity/reality fragrance comes to life!

OK – I gotta be careful here.  I’m in impossible territory with the Nicole Richie fragrance.  There is no way I can possibly convince anybody that this fragrance is any good, but I could easily convince people that I’m a complete lunatic.

Ahhh – what the hell.  Sanity is overrated.

The surprising thing about this is that it’s decent.  Not too out there, not too fancy.  Very adult.  It has some nice herbal tones that jump out, and yet it has a very pure, wet, clean smell.  The bottle is fabulous, as you can clearly see.  Not crystal, but sometimes it’s what you did with the not-crystal, that’s more important than what you not-did with the crystal.

Guys have talked about the various Paris Hilton scents being good.  In a world where there are so many epic fails – at least according to the zeitgeist of the blogosphere – that certainly counts for something.  But like I said, this is a Chococat fragrance to Paris Hilton’s Hello Kitty.  What we’re talking here is somebody who is famous for being the friend of somebody who is famous for being famous.  Does that make sense?  In any kind of reasonable world, it shouldn’t, but in this world it does.

The mind boggles.

Anyway, this fragrance isn’t bad.  No fruity floral.  Just a regular designer feminine with a bit more interesting stuff than usual.  Nice.  And the bottle is great.  I felt guilty just trying it, but I’m glad I did.  If I ever see this on a woman’s vanity, I’m going to compliment her heavily for her great taste.

And now – the piece de resistance…..

Ed Hardy Villain for Women

Ed Hardy Villain for Women – OMG – it be one o’ them SY-REENS!

This one was actually a bit of a cheat.  I already knew that the men’s version of Villain, by Ed Hardy, and composed by Adriana Medina-Baez, is an excellent fragrance.  And this one, created at the same time, was authored by Marypierre Julien, who has done some very nice stuff already.  I’m sure there was a lot of cross-pollination going on.

ANY-WHO – this one is wonderful.  Take the sexy, powdery men’s Villain, and add some more spices and florals to make it even more interesting.  As soon as this hit paper, I was a happy camper.  Lovely fragrance, and I’ll seriously consider getting this one at some point.

So, are we done?  OH NO – WAIT ONE MINUTE, BUSTER!

What about “a guy”, as in, ten chicks and a guy?  Not a problem!


Intuition For Men – One of the best fragrances you’ve never talked about.

You have never talked about this fragrance, so I’m going to talk about it now.  I’m a bit of a sucker for weak but catchy orientals – Juicy Couture Dirty English, D&G the one For Men, and all the rest.  What impressed me about Intuition For Men is the precision.  There are plenty of small embellishments in the spice that are instantly apparent upon sniffing this.  I came very close to buying it the first time I smelled it.  I’m just waiting for the right moment now.  But it will happen.  This is totally a hidden gem.

I would not have even looked at this fragrance – which always hangs out on the women’s side, but squirreled away, along with the rest of the somewhat embarrassed Lauder men’s collection – were it not for having met its author, Yves Cassar.  When I researched his list of fragrant works before meeting him, I found this one, and swore to myself that I would find it and sniff it.  Glad that I did.  Yves is something of a master of naturals, and it was very apparent that he has some kind of amazing small-scale precision in working with them.  Totally reflected in the fine craftsmanship here.  After wearing the cool, clean, and soapy Pleasures for Men for quite a while, due to my wife buying me a bottle, it was really nice to experience the warm, sensual side of Lauder fragrances.

OK – are we done yet?  Good.  Because I don’t know if this side of me is going to last.  I have work tomorrow, and work is a bitch.  I’ve got programs to fix, managers to convince, and fires to put out.  And if you think I’m gonna feel like getting all smoochy with a celebrity fragrance after a day of that stuff……

Well, let’s just put it this way….

Mr. Nice Guy?  Ha!  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Now.  Where were we with celebrity fragrances?

Nicki Minaj celebrity fragrance. Are words really necessary?

Nicki Minaj celebrity fragrance. Are words even necessary?

Yeah.  Give me Bleu any day.


Sorry – I  have a thing for beautiful women with blue hair. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Now – can she somehow give us THIS in a bottle?

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