There are 9 reviews of White Suede.
White suede starts out with a nose-hair singeing chemical suede scent that seems like a shoddy copy of Heeley's cool-to-the-touch Cuir Pleine Fleur. It’s not half-hearted, or ‘not-quite’, it smells defective. The jarring topnotes give me a bit of fight or flight reaction, and I have to make certain not to shit myself.
In perfumery the notion of suede is usually conjured with references to tea, dried leaves, birch, violet and the like. And, while true that ‘leather’ notes might more precisely be called ‘tannery’ notes, the chemistry involved in White Suede is undisguised. White Suede grows quieter, but never less shrill and gives the nerve-wracking sensation of a siren passing you, fading in the distance, but always sounding too sharp in pitch.
By chemical I mean unnatural. "Natural" is the verbal equivalent of zero in mathematics. Strictly defined, imaginary, entirely conceptual. In common usage "natural" is falsely fundamental. We use it with a wink and a nod and make a point of never defining it and hoping nobody else will either. It carries enormous significance, principally judgement--good and worthy--but has no meaning in fact. I find it hard to use the word in a sentence.
But 'unnatural' is another bird entirely. It’s campy but not blatantly humorous. It comes to have much more meaning than 'natural' because it's like saying, 'all that crap over there--the things you stuff inelegantly into that word "natural"? It's not that.' 'Natural' is a consensual fiction that we don't dare pry into. 'Unnatural' in perfumery means that you can’t hide the chemical origin with a botanical ‘note’. ("Watch out, girl. That chemical flower note will torch your ass!") Again, judgement is implied, but camp saves day because, though you use the word, the implicit irony means you don't believe the literal meaning of it.
So, White Suede is as unnatural and chemical as they come. It's a reminder that an imbalanced perfume made with mostly aromachemicals has a higher risk of flying out of control than one made of mostly botanicals. White Suede isn't the person humming a vague ditty out of tune. It's the forgotten, full, screaming tea kettle that you hope will soon run dry and burn the house down.
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