I pretty much forgot all the blurb about Womanity, what it's supposed to smell of etc, but saw it on the way back from Italy and thought "what the hell, if I don't like it I'll give it to my sister or someone, I mean it's not like any of my female friends and relatives tire of getting big bottles of perfume for free off me is it?".
Anyway the next day I put it on, having dumped the box and blurb that came with it in line with my now very strict policy of not keeping boxes and packaging anymore. So what was I confronted with? Well frankly all I could smell was Passion Fruit, like really perfectly recreated Passion fruit, gorgeous, sunny, fresh and astringent green passion fruit. And basically that was all I could smell for the next 6 hours, which is unusual enough for me I can tell you, especially with the synesthesia and the fact that my skin is dry naturally and perfumes tend to get to dry down stage and then burn off long before the 6 hour mark.
I was impressed with longevity, and with sillage but somewhat shocked that it was so one note, and had virtually no evolution from top-note down to dry-down and base-note. It was basically stonkingly Passion-fruity for hours followed by a sudden dip to something similar to the dry down of Alien for about half an hour.
Well I supposed the fruitiness made sense, fruity florals are the dominant trend atm, and most are sweet, nasty, and headachy, and as a entrant in that race Womanity would show itself head and shoulders above the rest, but the rest made no sense, the lack of evolution but the intense longevity, the seeming lack of any other note, and yet the evident high quality of it's materials.
I was inclined to write it off and give it to my sister, she's a young pretty girl upon whom the enduring smell of tropical passion fruit might be cute. I felt it didn't suit me.
But over the subsequent days I kept being drawn to it, mostly by the odd whiff from a coat I'd been wearing the time I'd worn it. And I have now worn it a handful of times, and have gradually become extremely seduced by it. This was a source of embarrassment for me, and I was preparing to have it be a dirty secret I would only wear at home. So I decided to go back and read about it and what it's made of.
And I was thunder struck when I read the fragrance notes it is supposed to be composed of. Fig, Caviar, Fig wood, Fig leaf, and woody notes.
Well you can imagine that I was second guessing myself and grabbed the bottle and as I was reading the words Fig and Caviar it was as though the simulacrum of Passion fruit was dissolving in my olfactory passages and turning back exactly into these components, like magic. I could smell the intense Ozonic smell of the sea, saltiness and cleanness which one gets in great wafts from plates of only the freshest Oysters and Caviar (minus any kind of fishiness I might add, as anyone who knows Caviar will attest) , and then I could smell the intensely green and fresh and astringent smell of green Figs, and the leaves of Fig trees which give off such a distinctively balmy and sweet green smell in the sun.
What I had discovered was firstly that it is true that in the smells of tropical fruits are contained peculiar notes such as rotting flesh, or rubber, or B.O. or as in this case the smell of Caviar, and secondly that the Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin whose Dis Moi Mirroir is the only other of his I am familiar with, had produced an piece of perfume magic, and a masterpiece.
Once or twice a decade we get a perfume which is this clever, and usually they are misunderstood and not commercially successful, my all time favourite perfume Feu d'Issey suffered the same fate despite being genius and infinitely better than l'Eau d'Issey which was a phenomenon. What he has done is analyse a naturally occuring smell, Passion fruit, and taken it apart to discover what actually makes it distinctive, and from those parts he has discerned the notes of Caviar and the greeness of elements of the Fig plant and fruit. With these not only has he recreated Passion fruit but he has created some new crystal clear version of it, which both recreates Passion fruit and dissolves backwards and forwards into its components in the olfactory equivalent of a fractal, more than this he has created something else and something not Passion fuity at all, not tropical, but salty and airy, sunny and clean, light and evanescent. It's utterly compelling and bewitching.
It's now hard for me not to smell the components drifting in and out of one another, and constantly giving me hints of the soft sweetness, damp aquaticness and tanginesss they concoct, and this explains the longevity and sillage I had noticed and the odd inability I had not to keep coming back for more, this ballet for the nose is so interesting and so unusual that subconsciously I couldn't stop trying to work it out, and the interplay explains the lack of evolution too since it's almost like a chain-reaction is constantly taking place instead.
Well needless to say that combined with the fact that it comes in one of the most theatrical and slightly kinky bottles, which are refillable, and that I have had such an odd but fascinating time with it, I more than highly recommend it, and not just as a woman's fragrance either, though I suspect many men would be too timid to wear it. I will probably wear it off and on for the foreseable future anyway, cycling it through all my other's whenever I want to be mentally stimulated as well as smell gorgeous.