This was given to me by a friend who had received it as a gift from a student's mother, and who hated it on the grounds that it "smelled like a funeral home." I would probably not give this fragrance as a gift, but I do wear it. I agree with previous comments about its coherence: somehow, all the notes don't seem to be working together--the florals in the heart are marching to a different drummer than the rest of the notes. But it's not offensive to me in any way: just a nice, warm fragrance to wear lightly on cold winter days.
As Shakespeare said, a Bulgari Black by any other name would smell as sweet...or was that Annick Menardo? There is an overwhelming similarity between Lolita Lempicka au Masculin and Bulgari Black! They have the same cedar-vanilla dynamic going on in the heart and base, and once those top notes are gone, that's what you're left with--a powdery gourmand, just daring you to get sick of it. I liked both BB and LLaM more the first time I sampled them, and now that I own bottles of both, I find them a little overwhelming and a little cloying in the drydown. If only that green ivy note could hang around for longer--it does a lot to balance the fragrance out, and makes it smell less like my grandma's baking supplies cupboard. I *do* think that LLaM can be worn by women, contrary to what some reviewers have said, even if the rum in the top notes gives it a masculine feel at first.
I bought this blind after reading THE PERFECT SCENT by Chandler Burr, and after owning and liking SJP's subsequent fragrance, Covet, so my expectations were shaped by two influences. (And yes, I may be 6 years late to the bandwagon, but what celebrity fragrance purchase doesn't benefit from an intervening 6 years to let the price come down a bit?) Based on what I knew about Covet, I'm pleasantly surprised by Lovely: it's a more coherent fragrance than its successor, if less daring. I now recognize that what I've been smelling ambiently on coworkers/friends/the general subway-riding public for about five years now is, in fact, Lovely, and so I don't feel entirely surprised by what I'm smelling. I don't get the "apple martini" accord at all, just an unobtrusive, musky floral with a slightly papery sense about it. It seems like a very versatile fragrance: I can imagine dressing it both up and down, like a summer dress that could go either way with the right accessories.
I like this fragrance for its coherence--it is, as Gblue said, "hard to break apart." It definitely has more personality than its sister fragrance, Omnia Crystalline--where OC is a bit clean and faceless, OA is softer, kinder, more floral. (Haven't sampled Jade, though, so I couldn't name the best among the three.) I smell this everywhere I go here in Seoul, and a bit of internet research reveals that it's a flanker designed specifically to cater to the tastes of the East Asian market. I love the opening of this--the pepper is wonderful, and I get the faintest reminder of the smell of a sassafras basket that was in my childhood home. The drydown is lovely and woody. The overall feeling of this fragrance is clean, soft, and warm. Too bad it doesn't have better projection or longevity!
I sampled this recently in the search for a Father's Day gift, and it is positively sinister. I am, admittedly, still something of a novice in the world of fragrance-lovers, but I will always remember this scent: it will go down in the history of my olfactory education as the first time that a sniff of something actually made reality slow down for a few seconds as my brain tried to recover from an unexpectedly unpleasant shock. Smelling this was like getting a smack across the face when you were expecting a kiss on the cheek. It's deadly sweet, syrupy, and heavy--qualities that I find excellent on a date (the fruit, of course--I would wear this with caution on a date of the appointment variety) but not in a fragrance. Gag-inducing.
I did a blind buy of this at a perfume kiosk in the back streets of the Myeong-dong shopping district in Seoul. (I stumbled on the kiosk by accident. They didn't have any samples of Black, so the owner gave me a discount for buying blind!) Based on the reviews I had read here and elsewhere, I was fully expecting to be knocked over the head with a rubber accord in the opening. But I was pleasantly surprised--the rubber is clean and glossy, and not acrid or tarry like I had feared. It plays a beautiful counterpoint to the amber, and though I've seen reviews that claim that this fragrance has no development over time, I did find that the rubber had significantly mellowed after about an hour.
There seems to be an ongoing debate with Black: for men, or for women? The kiosk where I bought it filed it on the women's side of things. Many of Black's reviewers/wearers here on BN seem to be men, and the bottle itself is clearly for a masculine. Its official designation is "unisex" but in fact, I don't think that really does it justice. Many unisex fragrances (I'm thinking of CK One as an example) seem to actually be *asexual*--neutral, in the sense that they're too clean and corporate to be one sex or the other, too busy thinking about when to renew their gym memberships to spend much time pondering the mysteries of human emotion. Black, on the other hand, would probably be better described as *transsexual* in its weirdly seductive defiance of gender categories, and willingness to raise a few questions.
My husband received a bottle of this as a gift from one of his students' families, and not being much for fragrance, he let it sit on the shelf in our bedroom until I figured out a use for it. Air-drying our laundry on the rooftop of our apartment, I would generously spray Blu all over the damp clothes on the drying rack to mask the smell of the urban air pollution in Seoul, where the laundry happened to be drying. Imagine my satisfaction when I read Tania Sanchez's review in PERFUMES: THE GUIDE, and realized that I had in fact divined the proper use for Blu: "Somebody has attempted to dress up a laundry-soap musk with gestures of sweet citrus and spice." Clean clothes, 1: Masculine perfumery, 0. Score!
Daisy didn't seem original or especially appealing to me. It really does deserve to join the ranks of drug-store fragrances aimed at the under-21 market, if it hasn't already done so. (Here in Korea, it's still sold alongside Bulgari and Lanvin products as a more upmarket scent.) It does go a bit play-doh in the drydown, which was nauseating. Fortunately, it has a very short life on the skin, and almost no projection, so I suppose those wishing to be Daisy-fresh can wear it without fear of causing sensitive souls such as myself to leave the room, clutching our stomachs, in search of the nearest ladies' room.
I used to wear this in my early twenties, but when I finished my bottle off, I never restocked, because at 25, I had decided that I was already too old for it. In a hot, claustrophobic nightclub, it is certainly a breath of fresh air, but it definitely has too adorable a personality for everyday usage. It's a gin and tonic with a double shot of almond syrup, and it's LOUD. Goes best with glittery liquid eyeliner, taxi rides home that are so late they're early, and your smallest purse. There are some fragrances that I can admire without liking; unquestionably, this is one that I like without admiring.
Omnia Crystalline is extremely popular here in Seoul, along with Omnia Jade and Omnia Amethyst. (Quick research reveals that these fragrances were designed for the Asian market specifically, and Crystalline was #1 in sales in South Korea and Japan.) I decided to try it out on a recent evening walk that took me past a cosmetics shop, and I spent the whole way home sniffing myself, seeing how the fragrance developed. I didn't like the opening particularly--the nashi pear smelled kind of foggy and funky in the beginning, reinforcing my dislike for anything pear (except actual pears.) In the drydown, Crystalline was extremely clean and sheer, a unisex watery floral, but--as other reviewers have noted--not an extremely full-bodied scent. It didn't captivate me, particularly. Though it wasn't offensive in any way, it was just so light and clean that it smelled more like it belonged in a shampoo or deodorant.
Like Nile_Etland, I also bought this blind after reading Luca Turin's five-star review in PERFUMES: THE GUIDE, which said (I'm paraphrasing) "It's tragic that such a great fragrance has suffered so much for being affordable." My bottle of TG arrived today, and I'm not disappointed. When I smelled this after it first came out, I was probably too young to appreciate the true feat of a tea well done. But after developing a better love of fragrances, and a massive obsession with tea, I LOVE this fragrance--I love its tangy, clean feeling, and the soft honeysuckle in the heart. This will be a regular for me in summertime--and I might even get my husband to try it out, since it would actually be quite nice as a masculine as well. (Clearly, I'll have to hide the bottle from him so he doesn't see the name--Tommy WHAT?!)
On a side note: I had this shipped to my office, and when I got it, a gaggle of my twenty-something coworkers gathered around my desk to test it with me. We all agreed that it took us straight back to middle school, listening to bad R&B blaring in dark gymnasiums during school dances. 1996/7 surely marked the high point in the teen fragrance market...
While I was working as a teacher, I received this as a gift from one of my students' mothers. I might never have chosen it for myself, because I would probably have judged it too old, or too wealthy for my then-broke 23-year-old self...though after wearing it once, I loved it, and decided it was worth getting in character for. I haven't worn many scents that were so suggestive of setting, but a spray of this in the springtime took me straight to a humid summer afternoon in the sunshine. It's warm, fruity, slightly floral, rich, woody...My EDP was, sadly, nicked out of the side pocket of a suitcase during travels in Southeast Asia, so I suppose the lesson here is that what fragrance fate giveth, fate also taketh away...
This is one of the first fragrances I remember really, really liking. When I was a young teenager, my mother had a bottle of the EDP that she would occasionally let me spray on during summer vacations. (Or at the very least, when I periodically nicked it from her vanity, she didn't protest.) That I can still remember the scent clearly suggests that it was well-put together and coherent--watery, soft, and just a little bit fruity, a wonderful choice for warm, sunny weather. Among the strangest of my fragrance-related memories is wearing this one Saturday afternoon, and going to confession. In the small, face-to-face confessional, the priest told me I smelled good--I still laugh when I think of how my mother teased me for flirting with a priest. Now that Lauder has come out with PURE White Linen Breeze, I wonder what has happened to this fragrance...
I received a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle EDP as a gift from my husband, who--the poor guy--was tricked by a salesperson into buying it (when I had hinted, oh, a THOUSAND times that I wanted Coco...the original. How was he to know?) So of course, having gotten this as a gift from the extremely well-meaning love of my life, I wanted to like it. But...sigh. It's no Coco. It's very sweet in the opening, and--again, I tried really hard to like it, so it kills me to say this--not terribly unique. (Though maybe I got to it after it had been copied so many times in cheaper frags that I misjudge Monsieur Polge's innovation.) I agree with blood-orange's review that it's a confusing fragrance: citrusy breathing in, powdery breathing out, and it's hard to remember, somehow. I wore it every day on a recent vacation with said LOML, and the more I wore it the more I liked it. But nonetheless, it did sort of make me feel like a 20-year-old trying to feel like Keira Knightley. (And in honesty, age 20 isn't even *that* distant of a memory for me, but this still felt too young on me.) Perhaps, if I had just gotten to this fragrance while the title 'mademoiselle' still applied...
I liked the florals in this at the opening, and about 5 minutes after I sprayed it on I got a heavenly whiff of lily-of-the-valley, though this sadly disappeared quite quickly. In the drydown, the amber overwhelmed me. If you're a serious fan of amber and can wear it well, perhaps you'll like this, but it always just smells like kool-aid on me. I should also add that Jil (new) is uncannily like an upmarket version of the Japanese Cherry Blossom fragrance at Bath and Body Works, which, according to B&BW's website, comes in a handy stackable bottle...so...I'd be at a loss if I had to choose...
After a trip to Japan a few years ago, I'm a sucker for anything yuzu--edible, sprayable, whatever. I bought this as a gift for a cousin when he turned 18, with the instructions to "wear it in health, because every time a teenage male converts from AXE to a better fragrance, an angel gets its wings." The low sillage and relatively short life make it the perfect scent for the 17 to 25-year-old male set, who tend to over-apply anyhow, so kudos to Clinique for understanding their target demographic.
Tragically, this is my mother's signature fragrance--a decision I'll never understand, leaving all psychoanalytical interpretations out of it. I recall sneaking up to her vanity around the age of 8, uncapping her EDP, and thinking--literally--"What...on earth...is this?" Up to that point, I had never encountered a perfume which I found downright unpleasant, and after smelling AE, my little 8-year-old brain had to invent a new category under the heading "strange things adults do." Even still, I place it in that counterintuitive quadrant of "sophisticated but offensive." Where some people get soft, clean, and earthy, I get spiky, soapy, and medicinal. I would rather rub my face in a box of powdered laundry detergent than wear AE. In my experience, this scent is definitive proof that genetics don't have complete control over all things olfactory.
I think The Body Shop may be following me around, tracking my purchasing habits, and promptly discontinuing any item in their fragrance line that I actually like. Aztique, you were my favorite fragrance for going out salsa dancing! Fruity, clean, a tad exotic, but light enough so as not to overwhelm a dance partner in a cloud of frag-pollution...I'm still looking for a replacement. Sigh.
I was really taken by this the first time I tried it--I had just gotten back from a trip to Southeast Asia, and was pining for a whiff of lemongrass in my chilly northern clime. The opening of this fragrance is nice, and it works better than you'd expect after just reading the composition. But then, by the time you get to the drydown, it's completely falling apart. Gone is the power that the initial burst of citrus has to hold everything together, and you're left with an incoherent mess--like grandma in lavender and grandpa in Old Spice (fragrances that my actual grandparents wore, in fact,) bickering over who gets the first piece of some freshly-baked brownies. (Though, to be accurate, G&G never bickered over baked goods.) I keep it around in my frag-wardrobe, but can't decide whether to wear it in summer for its cheerful, citrusy opening, or in winter for its high-calorie drydown...so it just decorates my shelf year-round.
I got a 4 oz. bottle of this in a discount shop somewhere in Manhattan, and it looked like it was being discontinued (which a quick check of the Demeter website confirms.) It's cheap and cheerful, and like all of Demeter's fragrances, evanescent to the point of non-existence. (Which is to say, it lasts for about 15 minutes before totally disappearing.) It's casual, fresh, watery, and nice to splash on after a shower on a hot summer day. Being named "Lettuce," it pretty much does what it says on the label. It's one of Demeter's less bizarre creations (mildew, anyone?) so it's a shame they discontinued it.