“Perhaps” was a different kind of mainstream scent back in 1997. In 2012 it is still clumsily unique in its own way in context of its time. It somehow got trapped in the transition between the late 1980s powerhouse florientals and the soft fruity-floral “slacker” scents of the late 1990s. If this fragrance was personified it would be an Aquanetted, free-stylin’ pop tart of a girl making the strained attempt to embrace the grunge scene, lumbering around awkwardly in a pair of Doc Martens and sky-high bangs. It sounds cruel, and it is to a point, but it deserves a pat on the back, and a proper wearing, for at least trying.
It begins with a mentholated fruity slap. I don’t see mint listed but there is a bracingly cold blast of mint flying below the radar, underneath the scent of canned peaches. Oh, and those peaches that were everywhere in 1990s florientals. The peaches really date this fragrance like a vinyl copy of Screaming Trees’ “Sweet Oblivion”: classic, enjoyable, and forever stamped as a 1990s relic. The same peaches that graced Tresor, Tuscany Per Donna, and Liz Claiborne’s Liz made one last appearance here, subconsciously creating a time stamp that will forever read 1990s floriental. If one can find pleasure in the former listed fragrances’ peaches, then the latter’s peaches should present no problems.
Given a few minutes the peaches share space with freesia and mimosa, giving this a very bright, yellow-floral scent (for a very long time). The sunny yellow bouquet seems to be an attempt to mimic its more subdued contemporaries, such as Happy, Sunflowers, and CK One. It’s nice but it creates confusion—is this going the way of a bang or a whimper? At this point in particular Perhaps is a clumsy 1980s boy toy tripping on her own Doc Marten-bedecked feet.
The drydown turns to a typical 1990s floriental powderbomb. Again, nice but nothing new, if not downright confused. There are plenty of generic fruits, flowers, and amber. The juice’s duration is incredibly long-lasting, typical of that era’s fragrances (and a sorely missed characteristic in many fragrances produced nowadays). Sillage is tastefully strong enough and projection is just loud enough to let others you are wearing a bad-girl-gone-good.
So do I love it or hate it? I have been asking myself this all day. I got ahold of a (free) vintage bottle which smells exactly as I remember. I was not over-the-moon with this one back in 1997 and I am still not completely in love in 2012. However, I do have a greater appreciation for this one, looking at it through “graduation goggles,” where former stinkers and powderbomb offenders are at once forgiven for past transgressions. I do like it, but it is much like seeing a former crush sporting a beer gut and a bald spot at the high school reunion—I remember fondly why I liked him but there will not be a happily ever after at the night’s end.