Perfume Review: Moschino Funny!

I have had bad luck with citrusy-rose fragrances, notably with Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (yes, I know that’s really “Pink Grapefruit,” but there’s rose in there all the same), Cerruti 1881, Yuzu Rouge, Parfums de Rosine Zeste de Rose, and Clarins Par Amour Toujours. So I was hesitant to try Funny!, which Tania Sanchez Luca Turin (why do I keep ascribing these quotes incorrectly?  do I have a mental block or something?  also, the book is right there, easily consulted.  Thanks, Elisa)  describes in P:TG as being mostly tea, rose, and grapefruit.

Frequently a citrus floral can wind up in classic-cologne territory, which is great if you like that sort of thing. I don’t; it bores me silly. (Goodbye, Pamplemousse Rose! See ya, Cerruti 1881!) And sometimes it goes in the ditzy, frooty-rooty, ultra-pink direction. (Wave bye-bye, Baby Doll!) Sometimes it’s just pale pink lemonade, which I might want to drink on a hot day but not to wear. (Sayonara, Par Amour Toujours, Zeste de Rose, and Yuzu Rouge!)

But a couple of manufacturer’s samples of Funny! came my way in a sample swap, and I figured what the heck, I might as well watch this one crash and burn along with the other citrus-rose scents. I tried Funny! one steamy summer morning when we were driving home from a visit to my sister-in-law in Northern Virginia (which is the Unintentional Outdoor Sauna Capital of the US, in my opinion, beating out even the extra-humid summer air of Florida). Much to my surprise, it was nice. And it stayed nice for hours.

I shrugged and put the sample vial in the Limbo pile when I got home, still of the opinion that I did not need a citrusy floral. A few weeks later I found myself thinking about it, so I got it out again and used it up. It continued playing nice in muggy weather. I got out the other swap sample and took it with me on vacation last July to South Carolina, another state famous for its heat and humidity, and Funny not only lasted but kept me cool and relatively cheerful during the week long trip.

It’s funny (no, really) that I kept trying it, and saying “nice, but I don’t need any,” and “nice, but I don’t get the four-star review,” and “nice, but not exceptional,” and kept thinking about it until it won me over.  At that point I finally decided that I did indeed want a bottle, so I watched eBay and checked the online discounters, and finally, last fall, found a 50ml bottle for about $19. Whatta bargain, whatta bargain for me!! I have been using it to good effect already this summer.

Here’s the review in P:TG that prompted me to try Funny!:

What’s funny here is how talent can infuse even the trite with surreptitious joy: in structure, this could have been yet another squeaky-clean fruity floral. But one of the delightful properties of intelligence is its ability to counter dumb questions with smart answers. In response to what was no doubt a witless brief, Antoine Maisondieu has produced a small gem of humor, freshness, and transparency. The core accord is tea with rose, overlaid with grapefruit and blackcurrant. The woody notes of the former balance the sulfuraceous bloom of the latter, and the thing sings like a happy barbershop quartet.”

The notes for Funny!, according to Fragrantica, are redcurrant, pink pepper, orange, peony, jasmine, violet, green tea, cedar, amber, musk. I notice that rose and grapefruit are not on the official list, but I’ll tell you I’m fairly certain that rose is present. I suppose the orange note with the tang of currant and pink pepper could impersonate grapefruit, though I really don’t care what exactly causes the effect because it just smells good – fresh and bright and happy, in a way unlike the usual clenched-teeth grin effect I get out of the usual citrus notes.

Funny! does open up with that tangy-bitter citrus I just mentioned, and although it doesn’t have the holographic immediacy of the grapefruit in Guerlain’s (wonderful) grapefruit-bomb Pamplelune, it is very pleasant. Also, this bitter citrus note lasts about twenty minutes on me, which is a pretty good long run for a citrus note on my skin, before the florals come up underneath it. I can’t pick out the violet, but the typically-neon peony note is soft here and combines with the rose and jasmine to create a transparent glow. The effect is like sunshine glowing through pink gauze curtains over beach cottage windows open to the breeze. The green tea note (familiar from the ubiquitous Bvlgari Au Te Verte, which fell very flat and heavy on my skin) is discernible too. There is an airy spaciousness to Funny!, and I especially love wearing it in muggy weather, when it seems to clear the air for a little bubble of freshness around me. The basenotes are muted, but the cedar is almost astringent in its dryness, and if you are very sensitive to the “hamster cage” cedar effect you might have trouble with this scent. I like it.

Sillage is mild unless I employ the Spray-until-wet technique, in which case it’s moderate. Like most eaux des toilettes and other light scents, it doesn’t last all that long, but it does stick around for about three hours with a normal quick spritz, and for nearly five hours with the Spray-until-wet, which is stunning longevity for me personally.

Funny!, which was released in 2007, is available, as I mentioned above, at online discounters at a very good price, with various bath and body products (bath gel, lotion) available as well. The bottle, by the way, is on the plain side, a pale turquoise blue glass rectangle with a raised frame on the front and a silver puffed-heart cap, but I think it’s nicer than Moschino’s plastic Olive Oyl bottles. I ditched the pink ribbon collar right away because it kept coming off when I took off the cap, so now the bottle is less interesting to look at but easier to use. “Ease of Use” and “Feels Nice in the Hand” being my top bottle preferences, I’m satisfied. I like a pretty bottle, but it’s not necessary to my overall enjoyment of fragrance.

Only one other blog review that I could find: Brian at ISTIA.  Reviews at the fragrance forums tend to say things like, “Smells like Light Blue, but nicer,” and “Young, cheerful, flirty.” I don’t know about Funny!’s flirtation factor, but I will admit that it is somewhat in the Light Blue vein, but more natural-smelling, far less alien-metallic baby-wipe citrus, and also that it is definitely one of the most cheerful and airy scents I’ve ever smelled.

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Perfume Review: Moschino L’Eau Cheap and Chic

I had had a vague impression that Moschino’s fragrances fared pretty well in Perfumes: The Guide, having been moved to try a couple of them on the basis of their reviews. However, I went back through the updated paperback version, which is actually titled Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, and found that three Moschino fragrances (Cheap & Chic, L’Eau C&C, Friends Men) received three stars, two (Funny!, Moschino) received four stars, and three more (Glamour, Hippy Fizz, and Uomo?) received only two. So, not as consistently good as I had remembered, but still, the brand’s overall grade is a solid, if undistinguished, C.

The review of L’Eau Cheap and Chic (“aldehydic resinous”), by Tania Sanchez, compared it to one of my dear loves, La Myrrhe:

This sleek little number uses a big dose of some funny salty-anisic herb, like sage or tarragon, plus a smooth, translucent pine-resin smell and vetiver background to give its soap-powder floral a haunting twist, which for a while does a pretty good likeness of Serge Lutens’s insanely wonderful (and not sold outside of Paris) La Myrrhe. A nice surprise.

The “pretty good likeness of… La Myrrhe” reference completely overwhelmed my natural resistance to “soap-powder floral,” “pine-resin and vetiver,” and “salty-anisic herb” references, the more fool I, and I bought a mini bottle on ebay late last summer. I was thrilled to open the little green-and-orange box and pull out the bulbous little bottle, hoping against hope for something that approximated the rosy, calm, shot-with-gold-light peacefulness of La Myrrhe, at a price less than Firstborn Child.

I was disappointed pretty quickly. I knew the review had said L’Eau C&C resembles La Myrrhe “for a while,” but honestly? It’s not even close. Sorry, but it’s Just Not. Not even the aldehydic start has much in common with La Myrrhe, much less the overall impression. I realize that LM is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it surely is mine: the sparkly aldehydes, the florals that don’t nominally include rose but somehow add up to a glowing deep pink color, the sharp, nearly medicinal aspect, the almost metallic tang. I love it. I find it comforting.

L’E C&C starts off with some dry aldehydes that make me think of talcum powder, and I suspect that if you hate aldehydes this is not going to be your kind of fragrance at all. Aldehydes can sometimes come off like powdered sugar, as in Chanel No. 22, but here they’re not sweet. The aldehydic start is followed by something vaguely herbal – it’s a little like opening up your spice cabinet and getting a whiff of all your tightly-closed herb jars, but less foody-savory. There may be some lavender in there, too, and definitely a pine note. I cannot pick out any florals at all, unless there be just a bare hint of some miscellaneous “fresh” note like freesia, or (a very bad) orange blossom; there is definitely a soapy quality to the fragrance that I don’t care much for. I don’t smell any anise, either. The thing is just so dry, it’s like unbuttered toast. After the almost-savory middle, there’s a salty, thin vetiver to end, and L’E C&C tails off rather gracefully into nothing. The whole ride is over in about three hours on me, if sprayed, and in about two if I dab, even generously. I certainly think it’s unisex (not that I’ll be able to talk The CEO into wearing it).

L’Eau Cheap & Chic is not all that bad, really. It’s certainly more interesting than a lot of middle-of-the-road fragrances that I’ve smelled: dry, outdoorsy, restrained by choice, sober, yet quirky. It reminds me a little bit of L’Artisan’s Passage d’Enfer (the pine), a little bit of Santa Maria Novello’s bizarre-yet-compelling Melograno (the dry, powdery aldehydes, the herbal and woody aspects), and a little bit of Cacharel’s Noa (the soapy floral), but does not remind me at all of La Myrrhe. And of course, Moschino is very reasonably priced, so it’s easy to pick up a mini here or there. But if I’m being honest, I have to say that I don’t like it.

Notes for L’Eau Cheap & Chic: Lily, rose, freesia, grapes, anise, orange, vetiver, heliotrope, amber. It was composed by Ilias Ermenidis and released in 2001. Oddly, the aldehydes – which are most definitely present, are not listed. Vetiver is the only listed note that really stands out to me, and I would not even call this thing a floral, as it doesn’t smell in any way floral to me. As for the grapes and orange, I don’t smell them either. Could be they’re buried under snowy aldehydes, but typically I like fruity-aldehydic florals (witness my love for Iris Poudre and Ferre 20), and I don’t get even a hint of fruit in L’Eau C & C.

I can only find reviews at the fragrance forums – Basenotes, Fragrantica, Makeup Alley – and they seem singularly unhelpful in this instance, being mostly made up of descriptors like “clean,” “young,” “powdery,” “musky,” “stinky,” “boring,” or “sexy.” (Yes, apparently some people have a fetish for soap.)   Image from Fragrantica.

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