Zzzing! Prada Infusion d’Iris Eau De Toilette Perfume Review

Prada is a house that hasn’t managed to impress me yet. Amber has come close to raise my interest, but I still found it to be just a slightly more sophisticated variation on the amber/patchouli theme. While the Eau de Parfum version of Prada Infusion d’Iris has some redeemable qualities, the Eau de Toilette version did not manage to impress me. Beyond the fact that baby-powder is not a scent I am particularly fond of, I don’t think this perfume is one that gives you the “perfume experience”. When I spray it on, I don’t feel chic or sophisticated… I feel like I am scented… but not perfumed. That in itself would be OK, if this was, say an atmospheric indie oil or a Demeter Fragrance Library scent, but I think it is reasonable to expect a designer perfume to smell appealing and to give you a certain allure.

Instead of a chic Milanese lady, what I picture when smell this perfume is a peacefully dozing, upper-class Italian baby, powdered and lotioned to perfection, burping up gentle puffs of aniseed cookies and fennel tea. I mean, it’s cute, but not really something I would want to smell like. After the herbal baby-powder opening, the scent turns into something more akin to the smell of the classic Nivea lotion, although the rose is missing. The iris and the soapy violet dominate the stage, some weird floral sweetness coming from the lily of the valley and some added powdery sugar from the heliotrope that is backed up by some licorice or anise. As the sweet notes quiet down the fragrance is all about babypowder, and smelling faintly like European sunscreen. While the sillage is better than for the EDP, the scent doesn’t last very long. You would probably use up a bottle pretty soon

 

Scent: 2/5

Sillage: 3/5

Longevity: 1/5

 

 

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The Declassee: Agent Provocateur L’Agent Perfume Review

L’Agent by Agent Provocateur is another Internet favourite that has the reputation of a dark femme fatale scent. I have a somewhat embarrassing weakness for the whole gothic/flapper/burlesque cliche so I have to get a sample of anything that is marketed to 19 year old Twilight fans or whatever the millenial correspodent of wannabe goth is. Sadly, these perfumes usually let me down, they are nice, but not quite as dark and gothy as I expect them to be. So far none of the designer perfumes I’ve tried came close to indies like Alkemia and Olympic Orchids, with the exception of John Galliano EDP, some Poisons and Erotique by Dita von Teese. So, I’ve been disappointed by L’Agent and reluctantly sprayed away the 5 mls I had, secretly relishing in its warmth and spiciness scoffed at by my goth superego.
Since then I have tried quite a few fragrances and in the process I have come to appreciate scents that I have dismissed for alleged lack of oomph. L’Agent is one of them. Compared to the sea of fruit- and candy-smelling “orientals” – I’m looking at you Belle d’Opium, and Sensuous Noir – it is refreshingly daring, dark and truly sensual. Sure, L’Agent is a modern, pop version of big bold orientals – no ragged edges, nothing over the top, no skank or aldehydes, the spices are tame and the floral notes are rounded off pleasantly – but it is a well-blended, intriguing scent that smells high-femme instead of hard-candy.

The opening is very powerful: a big blast of peppery myrrh, a black puff of sweet smoke, dry, oily floral essences and sweet drupes. This is definitely my favourite phase: the bitterness is intoxicating and the flowers are so heady and luscious, they evoke a scenery of Balkan decadence: oriental luxury mixed with well-contained European depravity and the bitter sadness so characteristic of the Carpathian basin. Mosques, bathhouses, dried fruits, sesame seeds and rosewater syrup juxtaposed with declassee aristocrats, Krasnaya Moskva perfume, cheap cigarettes and sweet liqueurs. The pepper and the myrrh calm down a bit with time and the incense comes forward along with the pungent floral oils: indolic ylang, jasmine, and geraniumy rose. The flowers are definitely there but they are overshadowed by the sweet resins, the labdanum, the clove and the incense. The spicy aspect is very refined and sweet, it blends smoothly with the resins, the sweet, smoky amber note that is at the core of the whole composition is very much reminiscent of Opium, although it has a bitter, dark fruity-floral edge that makes it somewhat more sinister and viscous. Eventually the light smoky incense, the labdanum and the sandalwood come forward swirling around in a sweet and sweaty, translucent whirlpool of smoke and amber.

It is a truly luxurious, comforting experience. A warm hug from a rich aunt, a bite of syrupy, Eastern candy, and a glimpse into an orientalistic boudoir right out of the 1920’s.

Longevity: 5/5 (lasts 9-10 hours)
Sillage: strong, although I experienced it being weak as well.

Alkemia Perfume Reviews I. – Variations on Rose

If there is a niche market for failed witches, ex-goths, French majors and, unhappy poets, then Alkemia definitely has that front covered. The marketing is a work of genius: the flowery descriptions of the scents are accompanied by carefully curated quotations of mystical poetry and esoteric art, promising to take you to an enchanted land of magic.  The scents themselves live up to the expectations created by the marketing: most ones I’ve tried have a magical, meditative quality transporting you to the physical or spiritual place of your choice.

On to more practical details, most Alkemia scents can be bought through their Etsy store. The webpage is well-organised, the oils have been grouped according to olfactory groups, so you don’t have to waste your time browsing stuff you’re not actually interested in. 5 ml oils start at $12 (USD), but there is a ‘3 for 30’ special , and you can get a a sampler pack of 1ml vials for  $10. The standard format of scents is perfume oil, so essential oils dissolved in a carrier oil, but you can request perfume sprays.

I’ve been ordering samples from them since 2014, with three orders I got a total of 30 scents. The shipping was pretty fast, and the communication excellent: all my queries had been answered in less than 24 hours. Another important thing I have learned is that you have to let the oils rest for about 2 weeks or even a month, before trying them. The ingredients can become unsettled during transportation, due to the lack of fixative in the oils. I have also discovered that the scents mature pretty quickly, my oils are one year old now, and they have changed quite a bit. Most of them have become smoother, but also weaker, and some of them have aquired a coconutty-melony smell, which I think must be the carrier oil peeking through the now weakened fragrance.

I haven’t ordered anything from Alkemia since fall 2014, however last December I was lucky enough to win another sampler pack (10 more scents) and while I thought I have seen Alkemia’s best, I was in for a wonderful treat. Out of those 10 I have already fallen in love with four… they might be some of the best Alkemias I’ve tried so far.

In this first post I’ll review seven rose-themed fragrances.

Burning Roses

“A hypnotic immolation of dark red roses and burning divinatory incenses -smouldering frankincense, champa, labdanum. Mesmerizing, deep, sensual.”*

The roses in this one complement nicely the other notes, they are themselves sweet, oily, geraniumy and dry, thus mixing well with the incense notes, among which Nag Champa is the most prominent (I don’t really get the frankincense in this one). There might also be a bit of dragon’s blood, because the incense is really sweet, but I don’t have this oil anymore, and I can’t really tell from memory only. The labdanum is present, but it’s kind of a mellow, ambery base, not really spicy as it can be sometimes. I also detect a syrupy honey note, which appeared only after a couple of months of maturing – the whole perfume seemed to have become sweeter and stickier with age. It’s a really warm, rich and comforting scent: oily, syrupy roses, made dry smoky and edgy by the nag champa and frankincense. Surprisingly enough, the smokey honey note reminds me of Angel by Thierry Mugler, although there is basically no overlap between the main notes.

Overall, Burning Roses is a nice winter scent, but not a love. I recommend it to those whole like their scents to be soothing and comfortable rather than edgy.

Scent: 3/5
Longevity: 3/5

Black Roses

“Voluptuous, midnight-black roses blended with precious black Arabian oud and black Indonesian musk…”

I ordered this scent at the beginning of my perfume obsession, that is before I’ve realized that oud is just not for me. Black Roses is a beautiful, unique and classy scent, but a bit too demure and oriental for my taste.

The opening:
Sweet, geraniumy roses with something dark in the background. Upon application, you get something dusty and medicinal as well as some pungent notes. The first couple of times I tried it, the oud was quite pronounced, although it was rather woody than medicinal. I have smelled some really strong ouds in the past in Arabian oils and some Montale scents, and that “oriental disinfectant” smell is certainly not for me. That said oud can also be nice, instead of pungent and that’s pretty much what we have in this scent. Besides the rose, the woody elements and the dust, there’s also a lot of incense going on. Dark and sweet.

It’s a very classic scent too, besides the oriental, Arabic tone. It also has a 40’s, Chanel No.5 vibe. It reminds me of my grandmother and the times she took me to see the Nutcracker at Christmas in the early nineties. She had all these little vials of rose oil that my dad brought her from Bulgaria. They had this geraniumy, woody scent (they were in little wooden cases) and this, mixed, with the musty, dusty smell of her handbag where she kept the rose oil, and the smell of the perfume of the ladies in the opera is very much like the vibe I get from Black Roses.

When I retested this a year after ordering a sample, I noticed that the scent has became much more rounded. There were no jagged oudy edges, just a woody, dry, sweet geraniumy rose, with a lot of dusty incense. It dries down to a woody, powdery dragon blood.

Sillage: soft
Longevity: 3-4 hours

Memoriam

“An olfactory ode to love and loss. Heirloom roses, memories wrapped in woodsmoke, a scattering of ashes.”

Another simple scent: nothing but smoke and roses. While the roses are the crisp, fresh variety that I like, the smoke accord ruins the whole scent for me. It’s way too strong and reminiscent of smoked meat products. You basically smell as if you sprayed yourself with a fresh rose perfume such as Atlas Mountain Rose or Rose Fraiche after having spent a whole night roasting bacon at a bonfire.

Scent:5/5

Longevity: 4/5

Fetish

Fetish is a really simple scent: nothing but rose and oily, pliant fresh leather. The roses are geraniumy, which is something I usually don’t like, but in this case the dried, oily, smell complements the soft, fresh leather very nicely. Fetish is a blood-red rose with thorns. The unforgiving simplicity of the scent reminds me of a minimalist Italian leather couch, or a strict, classy, middle aged dominatrix, whose red lips are lined with the same unforgiving precision as her whip bites into her lovers’ skin.

This is one of my favourite Alkemias, unfortunately discontinued, but you can still request it as a custom blend for $15.

Scent: 5/5

Longevity: 4/5

La Boheme

“An unorthodox union of earthy patchouli and dark, blood-red roses. Erotically radiant. Intoxicatingly free-spirited.”

This is my least favourite among the rose scents. The patchouli which is the real, nutty, chocolaty-earthy kind not the slightly piquant, tart patch of modern fruitchoulis, is just too much for me and the geraniumy rose does not tame the wild hippy in this scent. I’m sorry but I could not bear with this one.

Scent: 3/5 (because it’s me, not her)

Lux Aeternum

“Red, ripe pomegranates and dark red roses illuminated by a radiant trinity of golden ambers.”

This is really pretty, but the pomegranate ruined it for me. When I asked for this one, I already knew I dislike fruits and pomegranate, but I just had to try it, because this was the last rose scent by Alkemia that I haven’t tried. The roses are tart, but honeyed, their freshness sweetened by translucent the amber base. There is also a bit of pot-pourri going on, dried petals freshened up by a somewhat artificial floral  berry fragrance.

Besides the pomegranate, my other complaint is that the amber is a bit to sweet.

Scent: 2/5

Longevity: 4/5

*The quotes are from the product description of Alkemia Perfumes.

 

Zzzing! Montale Louban Perfume Review

 

So far I haven’t been impressed by Montales, although Louban is their only perfume I had the chance to spend a bit more time with. I’d say Louban is a characteristic Montale scent to the extent that the fragrance is heavy in oud, rose and incense, the company’s hallmark notes. The oud is very medicinal, so is the frankincense – the rose on the other hand is cloyingly sweet and oily.

This perfume reminds me of Camus’ The Plague. It smells like a hot mediterranean/arab city reeking of sickness and disinfectant. Or if you want another comparison, it smells like Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose would smell on a doctor, who also happened to be a zombie.

Surprisingly enough it dries down to a nice woody floral musk base. But the oud still lingers.

Scent: 2/5 (because some people might like this medicinal oud, and it’s not terribly blended)

Sillage and Longevity: 5/5 But again I had to scrub it off, so I’m only speculating about longevity based on the strength of the perfume.

Tom Ford Violet Blonde – Perfume Review

 

I love Tom Ford perfumes. They have this aura of decadent, badass glamour that I have always been drawn to: red lips, pearls, cigars, hot models, champagne, cognac, orchids and probably tons of coke.* Yes, as much as I hate to admit, I’m a sucker for marketing. Along with millions of mousy middle-class lemmings, I’m deluded to think that for 150 or 250 dollars I can buy myself a tiny sliver of the fun, mysterious and dangerous lives of celebrated artistis, cocaine-guzzling heiresses and rockstars… well that or a compliment on the bus ride home.**

Anyway, if there is a perfume that is going to make you feel like a 100 bucks (for a mere 150 bucks), that’s Violet Blonde by Tom Ford. That stuff smells like money, success, fame and glamour bottled in an art deco brandy decanter. It’s opulent, sultry, decadent, glamourous and bitchy. Something a ruthless film-star would wear. A glamourous blonde beauty, who envelops you in the embrace of her warm, musky furs, and then the next day, she crashes you under the heel of her stilletoes like the unfortunate cigarette butt you are.

While violets can be super glamourous as well, I don’t smell them much in this perfume, neither do I get the green aroma of violet leaves. Although there is a peppery-mossy-mushroomy affair going on when you first spray (something similar to the mushroominess in Black Orchid, For Men and some other Tom Ford scents) there is not much greenness present, the scent is more about suffocatingly silky accords of suede, musk, benzoin, buttery orris and sweet, creamy florals. It would all be sickeningly sweet and overpowering if it were not balanced with a hefty dose of Iso Super-E.The perfume evokes vintage pressed powder in a gold case, red lipstick, expensive white-leather upholstery, crispy-fresh money, warm skin and wafts of Chanel No5.

 

*Disclaimer: I don’t do drugs. But I have a weakness for vodka and white wine.

** If you’re a regular on Fragrantica messageboards you know that neither of these things are likely to happen.

Scent 4/5

Longevity: 8+ hours

Zzzing! Serge Lutens Miel de Bois Perfume Review

This smells like a porter potty at the end of a week-long rock festival. Liquor infused diarrhea, puke and the smell of that lavendery sanitizer fluid. I don’t know how to describe that smell, if you have smelled it, you know what I’m talking about. I mean there is a honey note, I but it’s so well incorporated in the porter potty smell that you wouldn’t be able to detect it, if you didn’t know what to look for.

Scent: 2/5 (cause it’s a realistic interpretation of something)

Longevity: I wouldn’t know, because I had to scrub it off

Sillage: moderate to strong

Zzzing! Couvent des Minimes – Cologne des Missions Perfume Review

While writing posts for this blog, I’ve realised that I can’t write a whole story or a 500 word post for each and every fragrance I’ve tested. I have hundreds of fragrances to test, and already a lot of notes written out, but sometimes all I can do is tell you about the smell in a couple of words. Some perfumes are pretty simple, so there’s not much to say and others just don’t evoke anything in my mind. So, I’ve decided to start a series of short reviews (you’ll find them under the tag is #zzzing! :)).

So here’s the first one about Cologne des Missions, one of the five scents by the house Le Couvent des Minimes, which is a fancier version of L’Occitane, claiming to use natural skincare recipes. (The name is derived from an actual place: the convent of the minimes in Mane, which functions as a hotel now.)

Cologne des Missions is one of the scents that have been hyped all over  Fragrantica. Everyone was raving about how amazing and delicious it is, the best vanilla/gourmand fragrance ever, rivaling expensive niche scents! (It’s supposed to be a dupe for Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille ) Since it is marketed as a unisex fragrance, men and women had been dousing themselves with it, and the hype got even bigger once rumours of discontinuation – frankly the best marketing tactique  –  were starting to spread.

 

Vanilla is a note I don’t generally like. With a few exceptions it smells cheap or nauseatingly foody to my nose. Nevertheless, I love some renditions of it, and I’m always on the hunt for a soft vanilla to cheer me up and calm me down before I go to sleep. I got Cologne des Missions in a swap because I expected a soft, boozy, slightly smoky vanilla that would just do the job. Unfortunately it doesn’t. It’s a really sharp foody scent, that wakes you up instead of lulling you to sleep, making you feel a little bit sick, as if you had overindulged on sweets just before going to bed. (Terrible idea if you have acid reflux.)

As to the hype, I just don’t get it.

It’s a very simple vanilla scent in my opinion. There’s nothing really special about it, there’s a nice touch of booziness and some wood, but I don’t get any other notes besides the bourbon vanilla and the sweet benzoin. It’s definitely a gourmand vanilla: syrupy sweet vanilla essence over a cloud of artificial brown sugar with just a hint of spiced whiskey. A slightly more grown up version of a vanilla scented body spray, I would say.

I was also surprised that it is marketed as a unisex scent. While personally I couldn’t give a rat’s bottom about what anyone wears I would not try to market this to men. Funnily enough, a lot of men went nuts and bought this little gourmand bodyspray. I’m pretty sure that most of these men would  have never gone near this fragrance if it had a pink packaging with “pour femme” written all over it.

Anyway, this little zzinger got way too long for what it was supposed to be, so I’ll wrap it up with some stats:

Scent:3/5

Longevity: Decent. (My skin loves vanilla, though).

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. EN: the story of a mousy victorian heroine (Lalique Encre Noire and Encre Noire Pour Elle perfume review)

I love Encre Noire. If I had a husband I would force him to have a collection consisting solely of vetivers: Guerlain for winter, Tom Ford for Summer and Encre Noire for all the effin time (oh and my new love Marc Jacobs Bang should be squeezed in there somewhere) Luckily, I don’t have a husband, so I wear Encre Noire myself, and that’s pretty much all I need for happiness. Except, I would have been even happier if there had been a rosy-floral flanker of it, as a brighter alternative to Encre Noire’s morose beauty. So when I saw that there is a Pour Elle version, I was beside myself with excitement and ordered some samples of it right on the spot. Rose, freesia, musk, plus the vetiver and cedar from EN sounded like an amazing combination, and I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! …But when I finally did, I was sorely disappointed.

 

Encre Noire pour Elle does not live up to her masculine partner in any way. While the sinister beauty of Encre Noire is a poem of unrequited love, full of hurt male pride and a dark tinge of aimless spite and spleen, Encre Noire pour Elle is pleasant, but painfully plain, shy and easily forgettable. If we are to go along with the analogy of poetry, EN pour Elle would be one of those cute little four-liners scribbled on a postcard. Nice, dull and aiming to please: the polite vetiver is suffocated in a sea of sweet, powdery musk and boring, nectary-fruity osmanthus, lightened up by the freshness of the freesia and some looming woodiness. No sharp edges here, no ruggedness, no mistery and most importantly: no inner turmoil.

To fellow lovers of BBC Victoriana I could illustrate the discrepancy with a similarly mismatched couple in period drama: Margaret Hale (played by Daniela Denby-Ashe) and John Thornton (played by and Richard Armitage) from the 2004 BBC rendition of  North and South.* While the novel is pretty great with interesting social commentary, the show has its own redeemable qualities: namely, Richard Armitage cast as Mr. Thornton. He is the par excellence impersonation of an impassioned, brooding lover with hurt pride, and plays the part perfectly.

On the other hand, Margaret,  played by Danby-Ashe, is a clumsy little mouse. She is pretty, but not attractive, and you can hardly picture anything going on in her mind let alone a war between her southern sensitivities and primal attraction to the beautiful –  but brutal – Mr. Thornton.

All in all, the BBC Margaret is no match to the BBC Thronton, just like EN pour Elle would be better of hanging out with Chanel Bleu than the sexiest of all male colognes, Encre Noire.

Scent: 2/5

Longevity: 3/5

Sillage 2/5

*The plot of novel and the show is basically that of Pride and Prejudice, except that Gaskell is a much better writer than Austen and the characters are more complex and loveable. It’s a story of two proud individuals, who are madly in love with each but are either to proud to admit it or too wounded by rejection, plus there’s also a lot of misunderstanding but in the end they live happily ever after…blah, blah, blah.

Fall/Autumn favourites

 

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Paul Ranson: The Clearing source: museumsyndicate.com

So,  today a truckload of snow got dropped on the city and the temperature went down from +10 to -5. Which means that maybe I’m a bit late with my fall/autumn fragrance roundup, but here you have it anyway.

Autumn is my favourite season by far, so maybe it’s not surprising that I had absolutely zero trouble compiling a list of fall-friendly fragrances. As a matter of fact, I have so many autumn loves that I can’t even rank them. So here’s an unordered list of beautiful scents that go well with crisp, dewy air, chilly winds, bonfires, colourful leaves and a steaming cup of tea.

1.Stella by Stella McCartney  – This is my signature. The formula I have is a bit too musky, but it’s still a beatiful, moody dark rose soliflore.

2.Thierry Mugler Les Exceptions Chyprissime – At first I didn’t like this one that much, thinking it’s just another chypre. But then I realized it’s actually pretty hard to find a good chypre these days. This one has a pretty decent oakmoss note – which is rare. Oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli, rose and bergamot. Pretty much all I need for happiness.

3.Mitsouko by Guerlain – I know it’s a terrible perfume sin, but I’m not really into Guerlain. However, I’ve really warmed up to Mitsouko. It’s a beautiful oakmoss-heavy, ambery peach jam. Just absolutely stunning and warm. A few drops of this before climbing into bed with a hot cup of tea or hot cider will make your evening infinitely better.

4. Alien by Thierry Mugler – I know. I know. Everyone and their grandmother wears Alien. But it’s a beautiful perfume. Perfectly witchy for balmy September nights and chilly November mornings.

5. Erotique by Dita von Teese – Smoky woods, leather and rose. What else do you need in a fall perfume? Hint: nothing.

6. Vivienne Westwood Boudoir – My second signature. A sweet, spicy floral bouquet with a good dose of aldehydes. Warm and sexy.

7. Deadly Nightshade by Alkemia – One of my favourite violets. Cold, purple flowers, with incense, bitter opium and dark, bitter leather. Awesome for a cool, foggy day.

8. Aromatics Elixir by Clinique – This is so beautiful and relaxing. Putting it on makes me feel like my whole body is rubbed with some magical herbal balm in a Finnish sauna. Chamomille has a slight urine note, which might be a reason why some people dislike this perfume, but it’s a wonderful balmy herbal chypre. Warm oakmoss, geraniumy rose, incense, patchouli and chamomille. Pure bliss, if you ask me.

9. Soir de Lune by Sisley – Again, oakmoss. Besides its foresty smell, it also has this warm, mellow, balsamic aura that makes it ideal for autumn scents. Soir de Lune has a stunning oakmoss note, with a tart rose and balsamic honey.

10. Agent Provocateur (the original EDP) – Old fashioned rose, dry vetiver and patchouli evoke the uncleaned boudoir of a succesful cocotte: rose perfume, cologne, the smell of sex, sweat and lingering cigarettes.

11. Wildwood by Alkemia – Smells like a witch’s hut in an enchanted forest. Bitter herbs mixed with smoke, decaying leaves and damp wood.

12. Samsara by Guerlain – This one is so hard to describe. It’s woody, but literally so: it smells like old furniture. Then you have a lot of ylang-ylang, very dark and masculine, just like ylang essential oil straight from the bottle. Also, bitter flowers and bergamot. Then there’s also a bunch of powdery iris, amber and vanilla a la Guerlain. It’s all very sinister, but also beautiful and sophisticated.

13. Coco by Chanel – The sophistaced sexy perfume: a very demure rose, on a spicy, sexy, animalic amber base. Smoky and clean, tart and sweet. Awesome!

14. Fetish by Alkemia – Dark rose and leather. As simple as that.

15. Arabesque by Alkemia – Pure, authentic-smelling sandalwood, with a touch of spice. Smells, like sweet, powdery, woody sweat. A cuddly warm blanket for a cold afternoon.

16. Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens – A breathtaking juxtaposition of spicy, steamed fruits and a vatful of Iso Super E/cedar. A par excellence fall scent. (Honorary mention to her mellow little sister, Dior Dolce Vita, which has less spice and more vanilla).

17. Midnight Poison by Dior – Bunch of citrusy patchouli with deep amber and tart rose. There’s also a weird grapey note.

 

 

Something fishy – Thierry Mugler Womanity perfume review

In 2010 I met my current spouse and through her I got introduced to the previously unknown realm of North American culture. A snobby Hungarian girl, who has never really left the old continent, I was suddenly surrounded by loud hip-hop music and reality show references. Also, I often found that the conversation turned to a discussion of sexual encounters and preferences as well as obscure practices of the declining West, such as supermanning.

It was during this excursion into broland that I’ve learned from my spouse’s male friend that vaginas taste foul and are supposed to smell like fish. Some of my North American readers might be surprised by this, but this was a complelety novel idea to my Eastern European ears. Where I come from, men are not ashamed to admit that they like p*ssy, including the smell and taste of it. Cunnilingus is an important and oft practised part of foreplay: if a young heterosexual man showed reluctance and distaste to perform such acts, then both his virility and heterosexuality would be called into doubt by my gruff homophobic countrymen. Before you would think that our devoted vulva enthusiasm is due to a culinary interest in seafood, I have to disappoint you. We are a land locked country primarily interested in sausages(wink wink nudge nudge). It’s just that healthy female genitalia don’t smell like fish!*

So, here you go, North American vulvophobia is a purely cultural phenomenon unknown in less refined parts of the world.

But what do these anthropological musings have to do with perfume? Those familiar with reviews of Womanity already know the answer: this infamous Mugler scent has been described as either smelling of decaying fish or vaginas. While I cannot smell any fishiness whatsoever, I have to agree with those reviewers who suggest that Womanity is reminiscent of the scent of slightly aroused feminine parts, which is hardly surprising given its name.

As to the perfume, it is a strange, atypical scent (as most Muglers are). It’s really soft and blunt and to my nose smells more like an expensive shampoo or a suntan lotion than a perfume. Not that it’s not a sophisticated smell, but it lacks the refined sharpness of mainstream perfumes. The opening is fresh, tart, sweet and creamy at the same time. There’s sparkly pink pepper, the crisp tartness of fig leaves, a fig fruit accord, as well as salty musk and a hint of translucent, sterile cedar. At this stage the whole scent is very soft and plush. The fig accord is a mixture of green coconuts and big, soft, marshmallowy plums lazily floating on the salty water (this phase reminds me of Wild Swans at Coole by Alkemia). Later on the tart fruitiness disappears and the scent becomes more of a sweet and savoury aquatic coconut, with some woods and greens in the background. It smells like a day at the pool: a mixture of fruity perfume, coconut sunscreen, water, chlorine, salty sweat and the musky smell of sunwarmed skin.

Overall, Womanity is a beautiful and unique summer scent, although too soft and sweet and for my taste. It’s refreshing without being too tart, sexy without trying too hard and definitely a perfume with character.

Scent:4/5

Sillage and longevity: Mugler

*A fishy odor is a sign of bacterial infection or Trimethylaminuria.