I expected to like this, as Rykiel Woman is often compared favorably with Barbara Bui. Honestly I like Bui about 4x better. Still Bui is only a slightly above average fragrance in my book, sort of one I might wear during nose fatigue to stay inoffensively scented but still close to classic-perfumey.
Similarly to the wannabe-vintage Love, Chloe, this scent also is hyper-feminine, just loud enough to be unsubtle and just quiet enough to be tame and dull, but while Love, Chloe at least has a novel rice note to save its femmebot face powder nostalgia, Rykiel Woman doesn't deliver on any of its promised idiosyncrasies, at least not on my skin. No leather emerges. A sour and musky lotion scent cradles a slightly-sugared banal violet that hasn't even the decency to shrink in the drydown. The real ruiner here is that overused and hardly ever well-executed pink pepper note, made worse by including the other dumb-trend ingredient oud. Sunflower and dates are also not great perfume ingredients as they both smack of health food stores. A more imaginative usage might make them work, but here they're kind of chapsticky or medicinal.
Plenty of perfumistas with taste I respect say they like this one or that it grew on them as a quieter-occasion fragrance, but they also report more leather and incense. I got not a trace of either, which was a total disappointment as those are two of my favorite notes. Stick with the Bui! It's not a super exciting fragrance, but it smells more expensive and relevant than this one and avoids the excessive trend notes.
Overall rating: so bland and wrong on me than I can barely say: 1/10 on my skin but 4/10 on the sprayer and on paper. It could work on you, so who knows!?
Longevity: fair. a half-the-day skin scent.
Gender: It is stereotypically feminine, but despite that and the "not for men" tagline, I'd say this is also not for women only--fairly gender neutral because of its quietude, though the pink pepper makes it a little tawdry and teenish.
Occasion: that whole trend of wearing a floral maxi with a fitted biker jacket that was so huge six years ago and still won't go away (hey, some look great in it still). Precious leather moments??? Little altars everywhere on the prairie.
I'm having a hard time coming up with a good description of Rykiel Woman. It's got a LOT of vanilla, so it's really sweet. There's a big suede smell in there, as well as a subtle almond/cherry undertone. But the weirdest and most appealing thing is that it has a weird fuzzy quality to it, like the way a cashmere scarf tickles your nose. I don't know what's giving that effect, but it's quite genius.
Unfortunately, the vanilla (technically, it smells to me like isobutavan, that cheap-smelling marshmallowy frosting vanilla that's the backbone of Pink Sugar) just swallows everything whole over the course of the day, until the fuzzy cleverness that attracted me at first is eaten alive in a slow, horrific death by cheap vanilla drowning. Worth a sniff? Maybe, but you'd better love your perfumes extra sweet...
Perhaps it is partly due to the Bedrock-inspired packaging, but RYKIEL WOMAN strikes me as eccentric enough to have been a bespoke perfume commissioned by either Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble. It really is both odd and rough-hewn. One thing is clear: it smells like no other perfume familiar to me.
The combination of dates--which smell more like burnt sugar here--and leather, produces a serious source of discord in this composition. It may be an acquired taste, so I'll have to wear this perfume some more in order to decide whether it is ingenious or just a mistake, better suited to the wife of a troglodyte than to someone like me.
Anne Flipo created RYKIEL WOMAN, which provides me with some motivation not to simply give up, and I'm certainly not going to be parting with this wild box and bottle anytime soon. I especially like the pseudo-gold-pebble-encrusted cap, the pattern of which is reproduced on the front and the back of the box as well. Pebbles, lest we forget, was the daughter of Barney and Betty Rubble! Moreover, a version of this very landscape-inspired pebbled pattern may well have used by some of Bedrock's haute couture dressmakers, who, as we know, were frequented by both Betty and Wilma.
Other reviewers, now apparently devoted to RYKIEL WOMAN (one reports having bought out the 13 bottles of remaining stock at a store where it was being discontinued!), have expressed confusion with their early experiences of this perfume as well. Perhaps, then, there really is some method to the neanderthalic madness--the apparent cacophony of what seems to me even after a few wearings to be a fairly random assortment of heavy-handed notes.
I bought a few bottles of this blind, based on reviews. I must say, at first I did not like it. I sprayed about four good pumps of it and it killed me all day long. Eight hours later, I could still smell it! Lesson learned, I used it again, this time only spraying once on my wrists and rubbing it on my neck. WOW! Much better without the overkill. I can immediately smell something that reminds me of YSL's Paris. I think it is maybe the dates. But about ten minutes later, the incense and leather come out to play and take over, pushing all the other kids off the swings. The dates still try to show up though, along with some violets, keeping this fragrance ever changing. I really like this, it is feminine without smelling like candy and flowers. Too bad it is getting harder to find. I got enough to last me a long time though.
In addition to this, I have also fallen in love with Barbara Bui. Had a truly difficult time finding it anywhere, but found a retailer who had 13 bottles of them and grabbed them all up. I will smell good forever!
Pink Pepper Violet Dates
Jasmine Rose Pepper Sunflower
Leather amber Musk
This is a wonderful gem if you like violets,pepper and leather notes!Spicy woody lasting with so unique blend!
Rykiel Woman starts out as a floral fruity leather very similar to Cuir de Lancome (2007). I was surprised and checked the notes, nope not the same but they sure present like close cousins. Rykiel Woman than morphs into a drydown related to Lorenzo Villoresi’s Musk. I’d summarize RW as a powdered violet musk with a hint of dry leather and LV’s Musk as a powdered rose musk with a hint of sweet vanilla. I like all three.
11th February, 2010 (last edited: 12th February, 2010)