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  1. #1

    Default Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Two Basenoters were astonished to learn that they both live in Lincoln, Nebraska. With great celebration, they met for the first time, crammed as much perfume talk as anyone could possibly manage into an hour, and crashed the mall for a mini-review of the 2006 Banana Republic fragrances. Purplebird7 and Kumquat entered the store, equipped with vials and a notepad, and proceeded like doctors at surgery to extract the specimens.
    "Got one."
    The salespeople were treated to the sight of their backsides while their hands moved deftly to dispense the three feminine and two masculine fragrances. Having accomplished the operation, they retreated to Von Mauer to garner yet more (unrelated) samples. Later, the following diagnosis was made:

    Rosewood (f.) - bergamot, champagne, white tea, white amber.

    Purplebird7: Kumquat and I agree that, initially, this is the one that attracts us most. Furthermore, the initial notes are the most attractive. The bergamot top note is lovely and (sadly) the only note remniscent of rosewood. After it makes its exit, the rest is all sweetness.

    Kumquat: This one left me puzzled. I was left at dry-down with nothing but cotton candy. I'm not sure what causes that. A faint vanillic note, perhaps it's the synthetic "white amber". Sweet candy. It brings to mind the color pink.

    Purplebird7: I got that, too. The tea and amber merge to create an almost white chocolate blend. It's like those pastel after-dinner chocolates. Angel pioneered this sweet + earthy accord that you can smell in so many perfumes nowadays. Here it is again, minus the mint and patchouli.

    Kumquat: Rosewood is about as far from woods as possible, certainly not rose or flower-like, and what is champagne supposed to smell like?

    Purplebird7: Near the end I think I imagined somthing fizzy and sour momentarily. Only because they said it was in there. O.K, so, I'm impressionable.

    Recommendation? If you want to smell real rosewood, try Tam Dao.

    Alabaster (f.)- lotus, wild rose, musk.

    Purplebird7: Lotus was the star of the show here, eclipsing the rose almost completely.

    Kumquat: I agree, the lotus is the standout but I use the term loosely. I would have to use a bucket of this to get anything to last. It dissipates almost immediately into thin air. All that's left is a faint scent of Johnson's baby powder.

    Purplebird7: It's light--and light-hearted. I could see some people liking this. The lotus is fresh and slightly fruity, almost mango-like, with the clean characteristics of freesia. The tartness masks the sweetness of the musk, which emerges slowly and softly. Together, you get that baby powder scent. Lasting power was negligible on me, too.

    Recommendation: Lotus can be explored further in Hermes Un Jardin Sur le Nil. It is also featured beautifully in L'Ecume des Jours, an all-natural fragrance by Ayala Moriel.

    Jade (f.)- tropical grenade, musky cotton flower, kashmir wood.

    Purplebird7: Fanciful notes make for big expectations. I don't know what these ingredients are, let alone what they should smell like. Will any of our members from the Southern states tell us how cotton flowers smell? Do any of our members from tropical countries know what a grenade fruit is?

    Kumquat: The green note which predominates here is decidedly artificial. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Also zero longevity.

    Recommendation: This fruity, slighty woody fragrance is unremarkable. For a better "strange fruit," go with Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Grosellina. The red currents are delightfully offbeat.

    Slate (m.) - glacier citrus water, silver sage, ginger root.

    Kumquat: Quite pleasant, slightly peppery. I'm definitely getting a soft sage. It put me in mind of Creed's Silver Mountain Water but not nearly as noticeable. These are the wimpiest scents ever!

    Purplebird7: The sage is the best part, but it should be more well-defined, more daring. There does seem to be some peppery fresh ginger root, and the combination is pleasant but not groundbreaking. Again, it is the fanciful note--glacier citrus water--which disappoints me. It masks the herbs and spices far too long. Maybe that is why it they name it glaciar--it moves too slowly.

    Recommendation: For a fresh, bracing fragrance, try Creed Silver Mountain Water or Caron Pour Un Homme.

    Black Walnut (m.)- cognac, tobacco, cedar

    Kumquat: This is the only scent of note. Although, again, if I wanted to smell like this for any amount of time I'd need at least two bottles. There's that Creed accord again, a bit of cedar to give it some spice and it does seem to be clinging to the tobacco note rather tenaciously, unable to really come out in full force.

    Purplebird7: My surprise favorite of the bunch, too. Gently sweet tobacco that starts off well-defined and lightly smoky for a brief time. I cannot honestly say that I smell cognac unless you want to count the alcohol at the opening (which hardly counts as a note.) The cedar never presents itself distinctly, merely hanging back and providing a dry counterpoint to the tobacco's sweetness.

    Kumquat: Black Walnut though? Odd choice of appelation. I think they had a meeting to come up with the names and randomly assigned them to the fragrances.

    Purplebird7: My biggest wish? A fragrance that actually smells like black walnuts. Now, that would be unique.

    Recommendation: While it doesn't come close to Fumerie Turque or Tabac Blonde, for people who will never know Serge Lutens or Caron, it is a step in the right direction toward interesting.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Nice reviews, Nebraskans! I did the BR thing a few weekends ago too (I reviewed Rosewood; see my link in sig if you'd like to read my review) and I couldn't agree more with you. The bottom line: BR frags are completely underwhelming. Black Walnut is the best of the bunch.
    Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
    Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.
    -George Bancroft {1800-1891 American Historian}


    current favorites:
    Balmain Jolie Madame, Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan

  3. #3
    Basenotes Institution

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Wow! Congratulations, dear ladies, on finding each other, enjoying your sniffa-rama and sharing it with us. I love reading sniffalogues of all sorts, and yours was veddi veddi interesting.

    Bottom line: more to come, please! :bounce:
    Currently wearing: Omnia Paraiba by Bulgari

  4. #4

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Thanks a lot for the mini-reviews! I enjoyed them a lot.
    I specially liked how you seem to agree and disagree on certain aspects yet at the same time you had a good grasp of what they smelled like -or tried to smell like.
    I will take into consideration your recommendations as well.
    I think one of the nicest but very "under the radar" Lotus scents is Roger&Gallet's Eau de Lotus Bleu.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    That was really interesting, thanks for the reviews .

    May I ask how you found out about each other ?

    Inquiring minds want to know .

  6. #6

    Shycat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    How nice! A match made in heaven--sounds like a deightful time. Thanks very much for the reviews, I like this format----do more!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Cool reviews, Ladies! And isn't fun to find a fellow BNer nearby? Goddess_Dreams :wave: and I did the same thing around Christmas time, but unfortunately didn't have time to do any sniffing.
    I gave my brother Black Walnut for Christmas, though I agree (at least in part) with your review. On paper it was boring after about half an hour, and on my friends skin, the same thing. On me, however, the cognac was definitely present throughout, and delicious. Since my brother and I seem to have very similar chemistry (and taste) I figured it was a good bet for him. And he loves it! More importantly his significant other loves it on him, which pleases him even more.
    Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.

    Margaret Atwood

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    montreal, quebec, canada

    Thumbs up Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    loved alabaster. not too sure about the other two. the name and packaging is also something that i would love... clean, understated and unadorned.

    congrats on finding each other... siniffing with a bunch of friends is so much fun
    "she may be called miss, but she prefers mademoiselle." <3 ines

  9. #9

    CologneJunkie's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Overland Park, KS
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    That was a CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved it!!!! Did you two sniff any of the older Banana Republic frags at all?? I personally love Banana Republic W and Banana Republic Classic.
    " David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia

  10. #10
    The power of bleu

    shadesofbleu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Jayhawk country!

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Loved the reviews! Did you two find anything interesting at Von Mauer?
    I've trademarked the color bleu
    Currently wearing: Coney Island by Bond No. 9

  11. #11
    Tovah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing. This is great.

    PS - Is there anyone in Orange County on Basenotes? I want to share sniffs, too!
    Last edited by Tovah; 25th January 2007 at 01:30 AM.

  12. #12
    Artisankey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Coastal Maine, USA

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Great job gals- fun to read too! Too bad the fragrances weren't really anything fabulous, but now I don't have to try 'em out. Will be looking forward to more in the future- you could turn it into a monthly feature...just a thought!
    Scent is such a lovely, simple pleasure!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Thanks, everyone, for enjoying our little foray into sniffalogue. We had a great time doing it. We didn't know how it would be received; when we committed to doing the reviews, we didn't know how positive/negative they would be. At one point, kumquat said, "We're so catty." *laughing to self*

    In answer to some of your questions/comments:

    So, there was patchouli in rosewood? Ah hah! Thought so.

    Thanks for the suggestion for Roger & Gallet Eau de Lotus Bleu. Lotus seems to be an up-and-coming note in perfumery.

    The way we found eachother was this: kumquat saw my location on my posts and PMd me. Lincoln is not very big, under a quarter of a million, and each of us thought surely the other person would be from Omaha. What a longshot. What a stroke of luck. Everyone needs a Basenotes friend.

    I never smelled Banana Republic Classic before, but I understand that it has a strong following. I did smell W in the past, and I liked that one.

    The bottles were pretty, I must say.

    At Von Mauer, I strangely fell for Versace Crystal Noir. Versace doesn't support its fragrances very well. They don't even list them on their website anymore. That one used to say, notes: Gardenia and Oxygen. It was so un-natural, so light, there's only one reason why I would like it so much--some extremely diffusive sandalwood or musk base. Lightly floral with a tropical undertone, and then a powerful skin scent, sexy like the old-fashioned musks.

    Kumquat thought we should do a Discovery Tour of eachother's collections, slowly review them, and post the results. That would be fun. And maybe the fur would fly after all. Meow.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Great reviews, I remember one of the men's reminding me of Armani Code (I think it was Black Walnut?).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Quote Originally Posted by purplebird7

    Thanks for the suggestion for Roger & Gallet Eau de Lotus Bleu. Lotus seems to be an up-and-coming note in perfumery.
    You're welcome!
    I have to add though that this one smells nothing like Un Jardin sur le Nil, so it's a very different interpretation of the lotus flower i have to say.
    I still like it a lot, i even got one 200ml bottle!

  16. #16
    If not now, when?

    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    I smelled Alabaster today for the 1st time. So, that's what lotus smells like. It smells...oily. I think I prefer the lotus in Un Jardin sur le Nil. Plus the drydown in Alabaster was just as the original post described: Johnson's Baby Powder. Ick!

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Los Angeles, U.S.A.

    Cool Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Very well done!

    I had Black Walnut in my ' to test ' list. No more . . .


    My Wardrobe


    Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

    My Antaeus can beat up your Armani.

  18. #18
    ubuandibeme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Chesterton, Indiana

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Love a Basenotes get together!!! Thanks for the commentary on BR frags ~ very insightful!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    Excellent! More reviews, please! More, more,more!

    Having spent 6 years of my life in Omaha, I feel something of a Nebraskan, myself. Also, a good friend lived in Norfolk for years, so visited there frequently as well.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Two Nebraskans Do Banana Republic

    How ironic it is that this thread has risen to the top of the postings on the very day that I have returned from my prolonged absence from Basenotes. I'm glad to see it.

    Now that I have weathered more than a few "sample storms" and have progressed beyond the stage at which I wrote the Banana Republic reviews, may I add a posting in reply?

    According to NowSmellThis, three of the perfumers for Banana Republic are:
    Harry Fremont - Black Walnut
    Pascal Gaurin - Rosewood
    Honorine Blanc - Alabaster

    Harry Fremont has created a large number of fragrances for a variety of houses, among them Kenneth Cole Black, CK One, Sensi, Juicy Couture, Gwen Stefani L, Lancome Miracle, and Vera Wang Princess. He has multiple fragrances for Avon, Calvin Klein, Gwen Stefani, Lancome, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Victoria's Secret.

    Pascal Gaurin created several for Calvin Klein and Liz Claiborne, plus one for Gwen Stefani, Avon, Lagerfeld, and Givenchy. His Lucky Brand Lucky 6 was a mysteriously well-promoted scent that many Basenoters disliked.

    Honorine Blanc has a few additional listings consisting of Gwen Stefani Harajuku Lovers Music, Ralph Lauren Polo Explorer, and Marc Jacobs Splash Pear, none of which I have smelled.

    (I would like to smell the 2008 Marc Jacobs line, especially Grapefruit.)

    So, there you have it. A possible explanation of why I liked Banana Republic Black Walnut the best.

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