Today’s Full Review Friday post is another Fragrance Throwdown. I’m glad to see these wrestler guys again – I had missed them!
I had owned a small bottle of Organza Indécence for three years or so and enjoyed it before smelling Anné Pliska. AP seemed to me to be a darker, thicker rendition of Organza Indécence – OI on steroids, if you will – and I thought it would be interesting to test them wrist-to-wrist.
Notes for Organza Indécence, from Fragrantica: Cinnamon, tangerine, jacaranda wood, plum, patchouli, amber, vanilla. With all those weighty notes, you’d think this would be a heavy oriental behemoth, a 400-pound gorilla plopping himself on your couch with a bag of chips and the TV remote, but it isn’t. Instead, OI is warm but lightweight, a nice slubby silk sweater that has texture and warmth but doesn’t smother. I never seem to notice the plum, and I can’t pick out jacaranda as opposed to other wood. I do also pick up on a few notes that aren’t listed; perhaps I’m imagining them, but possibly they’re there in smaller quantities; I think I smell a bit of rose, and I’m almost certain that there’s cedar in the base as well as a light touch of skin-type musk.
OI lasts on my skin for about 4-6 hours, depending on how heavily it’s applied – that’s quite good lasting power for me. It’s a very comfortable fragrance.
I have tested both the original version in its Bene Gesserit headdress bottle (as someone on Perfume Posse put it) and the Les Parfums Mythiques version. To me, there are very few differences, and although I’ve read several comments that the new version is too vanillic, not as deep, I’m wondering if the aging of this woody oriental fragrance has exaggerated the differences. Base notes tend to age pretty well, often getting deeper and more nuanced, especially compared to top notes like citrus, which rarely survives the passing of years. The original seems to be a little more woody and ambery, and compared to the new, I start wondering if there might be some benzoin in it – its sweet base notes are deeper and slightly less edible than the new scent’s. The Mythiques version has a brighter citrus (or is that because it’s new?), and its vanilla is creamy and sweet, though it’s still not a Creamsicle-esque edible delight. There are still plenty of woods in there. I myself prefer the new version for its sunnier disposition, though if you especially love the basenotes of original OI you might be slightly disappointed. It’s by no means a shadow of its former self, but it is a little lighter; to my mind, the increased sunniness of the new keeps it just as warm as the old.
I first tried Anné Pliska a few weeks ago, from a sample of eau de parfum, and from the beginning, it reminded me of Organza Indécence: the orange, the spice, the vanilla-patchouli. But AP is OI on steroids – bigger, heavier, warmer, louder, more persistent. The notes for Anné Pliska, also from Fragrantica: Orange, bergamot, geranium, patchouli, amber, vanilla, musk.
AP starts out with a gorgeous orange note, round and full and concentrated, bittersweet like marmalade. There’s also a spicy note, but I can’t identify which spice. It may be a mixture, but all I can say for certain is that it doesn’t seem to be clove. Very quickly it moves into a rich, labdanum-heavy thing, warm as a wool sweater, with a chewy texture that makes me think nervously about my teeth. AP is not noticeably floral but I do register the aromatic geranium note. It’s not what I’d call a complex fragrance, but it is rich and full and solid. It does go through about half an hour when I largely smell heliotrope, and it is truly a big orangey-pink 400-pound Play-Doh gorilla camped out on my couch with the remote. I like it a lot better when the heliotrope finally goes away (or gets trumped by the amber). The patchouli is quite noticeable to me though not offensively so. AP lasts for a long time, about 6-8 hours on me, and radiates from clothing for at least a week or so. I have not tried the parfum; I’ve heard that it is even richer and smoother than the edp.
From the beginning, these two smell like variations on a theme. OI is a little spicier and its citrus note lighter, while AP’s orange is thick like candied peel. I’d call OI a woody-vanilla fragrance, and AP is really a labdanum-amber fragrance decorated with that lovely orange topnote. OI is lighter overall, and does well in warm fall weather, though it would seem out of place to me in spring and summer. I can’t imagine wearing AP in any weather other than winter, it’s such a warm blanket of a smell.
I’ve recently had an epiphany, as well: I’ve come to realize that a certain quality of labdanum – the linseed putty/old rubberized tarpaulin bit, not the sweet rich amber bit – really, really bothers me; it’s that aspect of labdanum that puts me off Youth Dew and Opium. That’s what it is – it’s not opoponax or tolu balsam, it’s labdanum, either in heavy concentration or a certain grade of raw material. I’m learning to be careful with fragrances that list notes of either amber or labdanum, because they may or may not contain that “ghost of Youth Dew” thing that I hate so much. Quite a few fragrances that purport to contain labdanum, I do like. I’m not sure what the difference is between the ones I like and the ones I can’t stand, or how to identify the offensive element other than trying it on skin.
Anné Pliska is a good fragrance – solid, well-crafted, with a strong identity. But I declare Organza Indécence the winner of the Throwdown, at least for me. Organza Indécence is more versatile, and in my opinion, more interesting. Out of curiosity, I tossed out a poll to my Facebook perfume friends, asking whether they preferred OI, AP, both, or neither. The results: 6 votes for OI, 4 votes for AP, two for both and one for neither. What do you say?