Another Cheap Thrill/Blast from the Past! I’ve got quite a history with Sand & Sable. It’s not a long history – I didn’t own a bottle until recently – but a history nonetheless. (I’ve told this story before, so if you’ve read it, skip down a couple of paragraphs.) Two or three good high school friends of mine wore it, and I’d smell it on them and sigh with pleasure. I had a perfectly good bottle of original Chloe, and a boyfriend of mine had given me a tiny bottle of Emeraude cologne, which I loved, so I had no excuse to buy any more perfume. But about the time that my Chloe began to give out, I had some birthday money, so I hopped down to the drugstore and picked up a little bottle of Sand & Sable cologne. I spritzed lightly with the tester, paid for my bottle, and took it home, happy.
My mother made me take it back, insisting that it was “too old for me.” I was seventeen, mind you. I honestly don’t think it was the putative maturity of the scent that bothered her so much as the scent itself, because Mom hates gardenias, and I imagine she was thinking how much she’d hate smelling that perfume repeatedly. Then, too, White Floral has frequently signified Bombshell, which would have been an image she’d have wanted to prevent her little girl from adopting. (Mom claims that she doesn’t remember this incident, twenty-five years later. Well, she also admits that her memory isn’t what it used to be.)
Perfume Review: Coty Sand and Sable
Date released: 1981
Perfumer: None listed
Sample provenance: my own half-ounce bottle of cologne, purchased for the princely sum of $5 in 2005.
Sub-category: Loud dressed-up party tuberose composition.
Notes: green notes, peach, tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, rose.
This thing is technically supposedly a gardenia, but in actuality, it’s a mix of natural and synthetic tuberose (mostly synthetic) with a few dollops of synthetic miscellaneous florals, and maybe a hint of coconut. There are no top notes and no basenotes to speak of; it’s pretty linear.
Here’s Tania Sanchez of P:TG on Sand and Sable:
*** Peachy lilac… If you like Carolina Herrera, you’ll like Sand and Sable. This floral is a lot cheaper, however, starting with a Fracas-like tuberose but diminishing fast to a bare lilac. Stays likable a long time, but in a pushy way. We all have friends like that.
The first time I read that, several months ago, I thought, “Lilac? What lilac? And what peach? It just smells like tuberose to me.” Then I went back to smell S&S again… and darned if she isn’t right. There is a peachy sort of cast to it (for the record, I don’t smell peach on Bookworm when she wears it – it smells less chemical on her), and eventually the tuberose wears thin and you identify that air-freshener-like lilac and the beachy smell of suntan lotion. Then it’s gone. S&S doesn’t hold on to that swoony gardenia-tuberose focus very long, and these days it doesn’t come anywhere near smelling as good to me as it used to, but I admit to having a sneaking fondness for it.
The other thing about S&S is that, like many of those 80’s tuberose things, it’s pretty loud. Okay, it’s really loud. I hardly ever do the spray-and-walk-through trick, since it’s such a waste of scent, but I do it for S&S. Light applications seem to keep it more pleasant. And it was so cheap, I don’t mind using it as a room spray (um, best in the summer when tropical-flowers-and-suntan-lotion doesn’t seem odd).
For such a cheap fragrance, it’s not bad. I’m not sayin’ it’s comparable to Beyond Love in terms of quality. I’m not sayin’ it’s Fracas. But if you only have five bucks, you could do a lot worse. And honestly, I’d rather wear Sand & Sable than, for example, L’Artisan Tubereuse, which might be made of better stuff but which I found lacking in the “fun” department.
Quality: D+ Really cheap materials.
Grab-scale score: 4.
Short description: Cheap and cheerful tuberose.
Earns compliments: Surprisingly, yes.
Scent presence: Big. Loud. Would probably be better dabbed. Moderate to big sillage. Lasts 6-8 hours.