Estee Lauder Knowing – I once owned a miniature bottle of Knowing parfum, and it was glorious for two hours: rosy-green chypre with plenty of moxie and plenty of waft. There is a ton of green stuff in here, with some sharp green bergamot, some rich patchouli, some galbanum and moss and woody notes, and there is a full delicious rose with some mimosa for depth. After two hours, though, Knowing begins to make me feel physically ill. (I traded away that mini, feeling really happy about getting it into some appreciative hands.) Resmelling it in EdP on my skin, I had much the same experience – gorgeous for two hours, and then immediately nauseating.
My aunt wears this, and she smells wonderful, both elegant and warm. This is the aunt who just retired from a 35-year career as a chemist, and I always thought she smelled the way I would expect a “career woman” to smell: like she has good taste and won’t put up with any nonsense, even-tempered, secure in herself. I’m beginning to realize that if I apply Estee Lauder scents to fabric, they smell whole and coherent, rather than the sickening mess they degenerate into on my skin. Dear Estee, it’s not you, it’s me.
Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude – This is really lovely, if quiet, for about ten minutes. I get a nice citrus and pink pepper opening, and some nice soft synthetic jasmine, and then it does that Lauder thing I just hate. I managed forty minutes and had to scrub. Still, it’s a perfectly pleasant quiet musk skin scent, and I see why it sells. (Jovan Musk for Women and, for that matter, J Lo Glow, are both nicer if you ask my personal preference for a quiet musk skin scent. Or DSH Special Factor X.) On clothing rather than skin, it doesn’t make me feel nauseous, but I still don’t like it.
Fan di Fendi – okay, can I just say? Eeewwwww. Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’ll go on with a (slightly more) serious review. I get lemon-and-rubbing-alcohol topnotes, a coconut note, and a freaking ton of patchouli over an astringent woody-amber that keeps trying to shiv me in the eyeball. It smells like a number of other currently-popular, so-called-sexy fragrances easily available now, except uglier. It’s the top half of Light Blue surgically joined to the bottom half of reformulated Rumour, walking around in slutty animal-print nylon underwear and a garish makeup job, packing a machete and a maniacal glint in her eye.
Why would anyone wear this? SA’s were pushing it, and nobody really gave it a good sniff before throwing their credit card down? Huh. I predict this one only has novelty value, and drops out of the Top 20 next year. However, I could be wrong. Victoria at Bois de Jasmin liked it, and a number of other bloggers found it pleasant but nothing special, “just another fruity floral.” Am I just grouchy? I don’t think so – I’m finding it completely awful, and I tend to have much higher tolerance for fruity florals than a lot of bloggers do.
Prada Candy – I already wrote a mini-review of this, which I will republish here because it remains my opinion. “This one I was prepared to savage because I still hate the idea of grown women smelling like dessert, but I just can’t. It smells like, duh, candy, specifically caramel candy, which despite my dislike of frooty candy like Nerds, remains with me. Caramel sauce, caramel apples, chocolate-covered caramels? Yum. And Prada Candy is just as delicious, the rare gourmand that I enjoy. After a while, the caramel sort of wears off and you’re left with benzoin and vanilla, which is less edible but still nice. I suspect that my IQ drops about twenty points when I wear Candy. It makes me giggle.” I still have a couple of applications’ worth in my store sample spray, and I’m planning on using them up. I understand why this sells well: it’s friendly and sweet and giggly, and yet somehow not totally inane.
Taylor Swift Wonderstruck – bleargh, froot salad in Jell-O with vanilla pudding, followed by boring laundry musk. I mean, you know me – I really like a good berry-vanilla gourmand like Tauer Une Rose Vermeille or Hanae Mori, but this only starts out as gourmand. -Ish. Seriously, this is just simply Frooty Vanilla Laundry Musk. Bookworm liked it for about ten minutes, after which she changed her mind and decided it was dull. It is, however, at least inoffensive. And the bottle is cute.
(Oh, Taylor, Taylor… sweetie, I know you’re young, but this is just all wrong. Barbie would scorn this. Darlin’, you know I’m a fan. Don’t take it personally, okay? Grow up a little and wear something that smells congruent with that lovely red lipstick you wear so well, and your polished appearance in public. I’m thinking… Cristalle, maybe. In the more-floral EdP.)
Thierry Mugler Angel – Good Lord, I hate this thing. Okay, okay, it’s groundbreaking and unusual and distinctive and all that, but it is truly hideous. I’ve already mentioned my fondness for berry-vanilla gourmands at least twice, and the topnotes here are toothsome. However, almost immediately they start a catfight with that patchouli-heavy fougere underneath them, and after about fourteen hours (one spritz! One! half a spritz, even!), the fight’s over and I’m the one lying bleeding in the alley, with a splitting headache.
I still can’t believe I managed to not scrub this off. Oh, the things I suffer for my Art! (Collapses onto chaise longue, raises back of hand to forehead. Sighs gustily. Peeks to see if anybody bought the act.)
I see why people buy Angel: it is distinctive, and its gender-bending tension is certainly dramatic. It gets attention. It has a big personality. Also, it is quite the bang for your buck – it radiates like nuclear waste and lasts for days. But I repeat my earlier comment: it is truly hideous, nauseating and dreadful. The sooner this one goes away, the happier I will be. (I know it won’t go away. Dang.)
Part III will appear some time next week, after I have time to go back to the mall and spritz and ponder awhile, and Part IV the week following… I was planning to have posted a Three-way Fragrance Throwdown today, but I haven’t finished it. Oops! Look for that next Friday.
All images from Fragrantica.