Cello, thanks for the Sushi Imperial comparison - that helps a lot...
I went shopping today and smelled quite a few things. A few stand-outs:Nasomatto Nuda
: Jasmine on top with something odd - like a plasticky component I couldn't place. Dried down on the card after a couple of hours, it smells like spicy hot peppers, but with a powdery "pinkness". Really interesting, but certainly not "normal."Serge Lutens Bas de Soie
: Iris. Reminded me of Iris Bleu Gris, with its cheesy undertones, but with the addition of a green leafy element I think may be ivy?Amouage Gold
: Like a classic feminine aldehyde with a dirty undercurrent, but nowhere near the powdery civet nightmare I was expecting from the reviews.Parfums Regence Santal
: Another old-world feminine aldehyde marketed to men. Actually quite similar to Gold, based only on the topnotes on paper, but Santal felt darker and lacked some of the creamy depth. I ended up picking up a bottle.Parfums Regence Oak Moss
: I really don't have the vocabulary to describe this scent. It's lush and green, with a dirty undertone (the same way that patchouli can have a dirt quality to it, though it didn't smell like patchouli). There's also a chemical aldehyde brightness on top. Odd, but mesmerizing, like clay mixed with dirt and soapy grasses and strange warm plastic, but that doesn't even come close to actually describing it. Thank goodness I got a sample, so I can take a proper day to try to figure it out sometime...
The three new Honore de Pres
scents: Vamp a NY
smelled like tuberose at first but opened up into a mixed floral. Love Coco
was pure Thai food, with coconut, coconut milk, and even Thai purple basil. I Love les Carottes
was quite simply the most carroty iris I've ever smelled. They gave me a sample and I have to admit that I'm completely intrigued... Any of these three could pass for Giocabetti L'Artisans - don't let the novelty packaging and the silly names scare you away!
For my actual pick to wear for the day, I tried on Guerlain Arsene Lupin Dandy
from a tester at the boutique.
It's been quite a while since I've smelled a new Guerlain that so artfully respected and yet completely remixed the Guerlain history. Thankfully, they put away the cherry syrup and the marshmallow fluff, dusted off the old L'Heure Blue
ingredient box, and set about making a really difficult masculine version of them.
One thing I love about Guerlain at their most full-on is that they have the power to leave me at a complete and utter loss to describe what I'm smelling. They can use such intricate mixes of unusual ingredients that I honestly have no idea what I'm experiencing. With that in mind, I'll do my best to put into words my day in Dandy
It started off with really noticeable fennel seed. It was the fennel seed from L'Instant Pour Homme
, but mixed with something I couldn't figure out that reminded me of L'Heure Bleue
. It wasn't iris or vanilla or whatever makes LHB so doughy - it was more some kind of boozy spice. If you can imagine L'Heure Bleue
with the Guerlinade stripped out, leaving just the moody greens and the spice mix, and then replace the iris and dough and vanilla and everything else with a mix of birch tar leather and the butterscotchy benzoin of Bois d'Armenie
, you'd be close, but it's still way more nuanced than that.
As the day has gone by, Dandy
has smelled different every time I've smelled my arm. Sometimes, it's boozy butterscotch or a burnt caramel mixing with benzoin. Other times, it's really dirty leather, complete with that old-man sweat smell. Sometimes, these mix with the fennel seed and the boozy herbal element, but sometimes they don't.
Part of me thinks that the unknown herbal element may actually be a dirty chypre base and it's the galbanum doing something strange with the other elements that's confusing me. There was also a point in the heart where I thought I smelled the boozy Jagermeister accord from Quand Vient La Pluie. Other times, I could smell licorice.
On a purely intellectual level, I'm finding Arsene Lupin Dandy
to be utterly fascinating, but nothing about it is really making my toes curl. I was really expecting a proper Guerlinade base, but there's not vanilla/orris/rum/spices to be had here. I do enjoy interesting leather scents, but the old man funk is a little off-puting (just like it was in the L'Eau du Navagateur
I sampled last week). If Guerlains are your thing, you've probably been waiting a while for one to come along like this. Also, in terms of niche scents, there's no reason a woman couldn't wear this. The herbal butterscotchy sweetness is pretty strong, so it shouldn't scare you if you can handle some animalic leather with it.