Continuing my (maybe interesting to no one but myself, but absolutely fascinating to me!) total n00bi journey into vintage green-floral-chypres, this is my next-favorite after Niki de Saint Phalle. I've also just tried Molinard de Molinard yesterday, and Paloma Picasso and Ivoire de Balmain recently. My nose isn't smart enough yet to describe the actual differences between these closely related frags, so I can only talk about them in terms of how they make me feel. (So if you want a comparison of notes, you're on your own. I have no idea what makes them do what they do.)
- To my mind, NdSP is basically perfect, and these others are variations on her theme. It's deep, fascinating, laughing, thoughtful, and everything I want to be. Everything I want to be perceived as.
- I don't love Paloma and while I wouldn't turn down a free bottle, I don't think I'll be buying one. It doesn't do anything . . . more. Or better. (Plus the bottle design is hard to open! At least in mini form. No way to get at the juice in the middle without scratching up that ominous barrier ring of blackness, which turns out to be just basic plastic, which kinda detracts from the glamour.) And the drydown is unsatisfying.
Ivoire de Balmain is more assertive and has absolutely monster sillage on me -- to the point that my husband can tell when I'm wearing even a dab (and he is actively bothered by it, so I try not to wear it at home). It has all of the interest and none of the kindness or joy I feel in some of these. I would wear it to impress and intimidate underlings, or middle-school students, or phone company employees, and make them not even THINK of defying me.
Molinard de Molinard, conversely, has all of the joy and less of the interest. It's all about the happy side. I will wear it to cheer up on gloomy days, or to make people want to be nice to me. No darkness here at all. Also no longevity! It's gone on my skin, except for a whisper, after two, maybe three hours.
Silences is lovely. It has that one delicious element in the drydown that I most crave from NdSP . . . but, somehow, not as much complexity. It gets to the drydown much faster, with fewer facets along the way. There's less there there. But I do want a full bottle, to wear it often over time, to figure it out -- and, by comparison, to figure Niki out. Right now, I have this sneaking, unfounded suspicion that what draws me to Niki above Silences is something odd, something off; something akin to a wild artistic streak that some might call mental illness. A personification of a hint of the "nervous breakdown" that the wildly talented, real life Niki de Saint Phalle had in her early adulthood, when the pressures and vile ridiculousnesses of her time and station (well-heeled but no longer well-off, brilliant, liberated in thought, conventional in practice) got to be too much for a while. Silences might make all too much sense. It might be too well balanced.
I know -- maybe it's the mythos of NdSP, of her life, of my associations with it, that make me prefer it slightly to Silences. I'm not sure yet. I am excited to figure it out. I'll come back and write more when I do. :)