Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne

Parisienne is a weird fragrance. Weird because it’s very famous, sometimes maligned, vinyl accord note is a deal breaker for a lot of people. And can you really blame them? The vinyl has been accused of smelling like, “cat pee”, “vomit”, “rubber”, “plastic”, and the ever popular, “yuck!”

Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne

In Bottle: Bright berry note with a really nice sweet rose up front. This reminds me a bit of Paris, it’s the rose doing most of it though and the shape of the bottle.

Applied: Starts off on a good sweet berry and pink rose note but the rose is gone in an instant. Replacing it is the vinyl accord. They were pretty upfront about this, I guess. Now vinyl accord is–well, I’m not sure what YSL was intending for this fragrance and this vinyl note but it makes the whole thing smell like fruity plastic. This smells like I rubbed a bowl of berries on a tire. The vinyl is a trickster too. It’ll fade out upon midstage where the fruitiness is toned down and you’re left with a faintly plastic smelling rosy floral concoction of confusion and wariness. Then when you think you’ve made it past Parisienne, vinyl comes roaring back in the end stage though it is more behaved there, playing rather nicely with the patchouli and woods waiting there.

Extra: Parisienne echoes the design sensibility of Paris but aside from a fleeting rose note, the two are different monsters. Paris is a light, fun-filled floral on a sunny day. Parisienne is paint fumes and fruit arrangements.

Design: Parisienne’s bottle is similar to that of Paris. It’s an egg-shaped glass that reminds me a bit of the bottle for Flowerbomb–only girlier, with more glam. The bottle’s kind of a miss for me, not because it’s ugly or anything. I just don’t think it looks like anything special.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Damascus rose, violet, peony, vinyl accord, lacquer, cranberry, patchouli, vetiver, musk, sandalwood.

I’m not going wild over Parisienne here. There’s moments where going full on synthetic is forgivable and fun. But this perfume just doesn’t smell right to me.

Reviewed in This Post: Parisienne, 2009, Eau de  Parfum.

Points for Gaga

Props going out to Lady Gaga for requesting her perfume signed to  Coty smell like blood and semen. We know Secretions Magnifiques (the answer to everything) already beat her to the punch but good on her for trying anyway. I would be surprised if Coty took back its old house roots and Monster (the rumored fragrance’s name) actually smelled anything at all like blood and semen. Or hell, surprise me, Coty, make it smell like one of those timeless classics you used to do and I will overlook every single celebuscent tragedy you’ve made in the recent years. I am looking forward to smelling this thing more and more.

Bless your mess, Gaga.

Thanking Now Smell This for the head’s up.

Fruits and Passion Mango Evasion

Mango Evasion is one of three (Fruits and Passion seems to enjoy doling out things in threes) scents from their apple/peach/mango line.

Fruits & Passion Mango Evasion

In Bottle: Fresh, slightly sweet mango and green leaves.

Applied: Mango Evasion isn’t high on the complex radar but it is a lovely smelling fragrance if you are looking to get your mango fix on. It’s a crisp, clean mango scent to start that evolves into a slightly floral mango in the mid-stage where it slowly loses the fruitiness from the opening and starts to smell like really good shampoo. There is a sweetness to this fragrance that starts off noticeable but slowly disappears as the scent ages. This reminds me of Lola by Marc Jacobs in the mid-stage, in that it’s clean, floral, light and very wearable. The fragrance heads into the dry down with a very nice smooth vanilla and clean white musk.

Extra: In addition to Mango Evasion, Fruits and Passion also has Apple Illusion and Peach Obsession for those of you who would prefer other fruits. I quite like the Peach Obsession scent.

Design: Mango Evasion comes in a flat square bottle with rounded corners and a metal sprayer. It’s one of those “no frills” metal sprayer mechanisms that are pressed onto the glass bottle. There’s nothing really fancy about this packaging but it is nicely done and subtle.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Mango, green notes, jasmine, rose, vanilla, musk.

I quite like this and the scent is just right for the price of admission. At $28.00 for 1.6oz. this is actually a fairly reasonably priced perfume for how pleasant and easygoing it is.

Reviewed in This Post: Mango Evasion, 2010, Eau de Toilette.

Lollipop Bling Ribbon

Ribbon’s last in this line of Lollipop-related perfumery. It’s supposedly the one that smells the most like candy. And I gotta say, judging by the notes and the wear on me, it pretty much delivers. Ribbon

In Bottle: Sweet, sugary, clean, a touch of sweet raspberry note to give this some sort of smell. It’s pretty much like smelling a lollipop, I’ll attest to that.

Applied: Sweet raspberry lollipop smells hangs out for about five minutes before it ebbs and goes into an equally sweet berry dominated white floral fragrance. Smells very generic but not unpleasant, more pleasant than Mine Again as I can imagine Ribbon being an easier wearing scent. It’s got its notes in the right place but there is absolutely nothing grabbing me in the mid-stage for this stuff. The dry down is equally uninteresting as I’d like to note all three Lollipop Bling scents had disappointing dry downs . The end stage for Ribbon, for example, is barely even there with a sugary fruity floral fade that smells pretty much the same as it did in the mid-stage.

Extra: So there you go, all three Lollipop Bling offers and they were all kind of disappointing. Ribbon’s the second place winner here, Honey is first, Mine Again I wish I could forget.

Design: Ribbon is bottled in a pink glass that gradients upward into blue. The shape and style is similar to its sisters, Honey and Mine Again in that they all base their shape off of M by Mariah Carey.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Sugar, raspberries, white florals.

Ribbon, like its sisters just sin’t worth it. You are better off getting more complex scents t hat did these genres of fragrance better. For Honey, I recommend G by Harajuku Lovers. For Mine Again try Fantasy by Britney Spears or even Vera Wang Princess if you liked the chocolate. For Ribbon? Well, you might as well go for any celebrity fruity floral as this one is hardly remarkable.

Reviewed in This Post: Ribbon, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Lollipop Bling Mine Again

Every time I see the name of this perfume, my mind does a mental rearrangement of its comprehension closet so that I read it as, “Lollipop Bling Me Again”. Hey, who blinged me the first time? Mine Again

In Bottle: Wow, this is one of the sharpest sweet fragrances I’ve ever smelled. It reminds me a bit of Fantasy by Britney Spears except the sugar had its volume turned down to medium.

Applied: Mine Again is immediately sweet, roams into cloying almost right away and gathers in this tart berry note in an attempt to lower its levels of sugar. But the berries don’t do much but sharpen the scent. I almost feel bad for the chocolate note in this, it’s hovering at the bottom of the sweet pyramid, trying to get some stage time and it does. Just very little of it because the sugar and the berries are too busy vying for control. There’s something quite synthetic about this giving it that, “Something’s not right” scent. I know what this reminds me of aside from Fantasy–you know those boxes of chocolates? And inside are assorted flavors like nougat, coconut, truffle, caramel, and so on? You know how everybody leaves the fruit filled ones for last? That’s Mine Again. It’s those fruit filled chocolates that most people leave in the box after everything else is done.

Extra: Now I don’t necessarily like Mine Again and in terms of whether or not its worth a buy is dubious. There’s this stuff and then there’s Fantasy, and if you were going to go with a chocolate, berry, sugar concoction, Fantasy does it better and with less of a synthetic overtone. So really, between choosing two heavily synthetic scents, I give the win to Fantasy on this.

Design: Mine Again is bottled in red and much the same way was Honey with its bottle style modeled after M by Mariah Carey. I still don’t like it, even in red.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Chocolate, Carribbean magnolia, raspberry.

The magnolia is a lie. Or at least, to my nose, I couldn’t pick up any hint of floral in this. Lollipop Bling’s got one more entry to impress me with Ribbon because so far, I am underwhelmed.

Reviewed in This Post: Mine Again, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Lollipop Bling Honey

Reviewing Lollipop Bling after last week’s classic perfume review-a-thon is like attending an opera then going home and watching reality TV. There’s really no graceful way to segue from one to the other but I review what I have in my notes as I smell things. Some days I might go through five or six perfumes. Some days none. Then there are weeks like this and the Chanel week earlier this month where I yaw between the sensual, dirty romance of Jicky and Mariah Carey sitting on a pink cloud. Lollipop Bling Honey

In Bottle: I don’t know why they called this “Honey” because it smells like pineapples. Maybe it’s Honey as in, “Honey, why does your arm smell like pineapples?”

Applied: After the pineapple hello, Honey evolves into a warmed up honey pineapple treat that makes me think of the tropics. The tropics being an interesting muse for recent perfume releases. I’m happy to see there is actually honey in this but I find myself having to focus on finding it as it is buried under the giant fruity  balloon that rubbed itself onto a field of unsuspecting flowers before it floated off. I don’t think much of Honey. I don’t like it much. It’s far too simple, lacking in imagination and I can’t even enjoy it for its sheer fun factor because this has been done before and so much better. If you were going to go for Honey, go for the better version of this concept in G from Harajuku Lovers. Unless you hate coconut, then you might as well go Independent and score yourself a bottle of Rangoon Riptide from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I know it was a limited edition but at least you get more than this. This is just too simple to be any good. It makes me beg the question why I should care about it when there’s better stuff out there for the same price point. I smell three notes (pineapple, honey, flowers) for a period of an hour and then it devolves into that watered down, miasma of florals, “something sweet used to be here but died”, perfume scent that I hate so much.

Extra: Honey is a part of Mariah Carey’s (read: Elizabeth Arden’s) Lollipop Bling perfume collection. The collection is notably styled after M by Mariah Carey, only simplified to the barest essentials.

Design: There are three perfumes right now in the Lollipop Bling collection and Honey is identified as the yellow one. It’s a yellow glass bottle with a butterfly cap on top. Reminds me a bit of the butterfly bottles from Annick Goutal, only much clunkier and obviously designed to appeal to a much younger audience.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Pineapple, white florals, honey.

I can’t say Honey brings anything new to the table when it comes to tropical scents as we already had Desire Me by Baby Phat, G from the Harajuku Lovers collection, and Bath and Body Works’ Pineapple Orchid that doesn’t come in perfume form but if it did, I’m sure it’d be popular. After all that, do you really need another perfume that makes you smell like pineapples?

Reviewed in This Post: Honey, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Jean Patou Joy

Joy by Jean Patou, released in 1930, was busy being the most expensive perfume in the world during a time when a lot of people didn’t have much. It intrigued individuals for years who wondered what was in this magical juice that made it cost so much. These days, Joy is still pricey but no where even close to the most expensive perfume in the world anymore. Thank goodness. Joy

In Bottle: Roses. ROSES in all caps even. Joy starts out with a huge blend of roses layered heavily on top so that barely anything else can be discerned past this rose force field.

Applied: Roses still in the forefront but let it age a bit and I can smell the jasmine. It’s a gorgeous, full, heady jasmine that intermingles so well with Joy’s rose bouquet that the entire mixture has this bright, happy, scent to it. As the rose continues to calm down tuberose comes up to join the party. The florals remind me of a big bouquet, resting in a vase on a sunny day. Joy is what a perfectly paced perfume smells like as it evolves and morphs into this pretty flowery thing. This smells like optimism. Glorious, well-blended and well-made optimism that dries down eventually into a dusty sandalwood with a surprising presence of indole (our friend civet!) at the very end.

Extra: A part of me still wishes Joy held its title as the most expensive perfume in the world. It’s name is Joy after all. Instead, if you ask someone what the most expensive perfume in the world is, they’ll tell you it’s Clive Christian’s Imperial Majesty. A baccarat cased perfume that’s supposed to push for $215,000.  I doubt that’s worth the price of admission.

Design: Classic, elegant, simple bottle design. Joy has a nice weight to it and its simple, clear glass, plain label look reminds me of Chanel’s bottle design, but no where near as minimalist. It works and it will continue to work for many years. You simply can’t go out of style with a bottle that looks this classic.

Fragrance Family: Floral Classic

Notes: Rose, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, pear,  tuberose, jasmine, orris root, musk,  sandalwood, civet.

I think the question that remains is whether or not Joy was worth the hefty price tag it once sported. My answer? Well, not the juice, certainly the novelty of owning and using the most expensive fragrance in the world would be worth it for some people but I’m a bit more practical and think Joy’s present price point suits it well for the kind of scent that it is. As for that $215,000 thing we’ve got now? I’m curious but mostly apathetic. What juice could possibly be that good? Besides, most of the price tag has to do with packaging the thing.

Reviewed in This Post: Joy, ~1980, Eau de  Parfum.

Credit for Celebrity Perfumes

I’m always surprised whenever I meet someone who believes Britney Spears (Or insert other celebrity name here) composed her perfumes herself. It’s an understandable misconception though. After all, her name’s on it and if you wanted to figure out who really made Midnight Fantasy, you have to do a little digging.

Celebrity perfumes are composed and created by educated professionals. If making perfume was as easy as being famous, I think a great deal of us would be making a lot more perfume. Still, I can’t help but quirk a brow every time I hear someone praise Britney for her fantastic sense of smell.

Molinard Habanita

You may have heard of Habanita’s original purpose by now. Yes, it was a product introduced initially for people to scent their cigarette smoke. Yeah, you heard that right. Scenting cigarette smoke in 1921 was probably not as weird or as novel a notion as it is now. Habanita evolved into a regular perfume just three years after its introduction in 1924. Habanita

In Bottle: Dry green and woodsy fragrance. Like leaves clinging to a branch and scorching in the sun.

Applied: Initial flare of dry woods that doesn’t evolve much for a little while and by the time the flowers hit you, you were probably wondering when that happened and why no one gave you the memo. Habanita is a dusty, woodsy, mildly floral fragrance with a slightly grassy note in between its opening and middle stages. It’s strange–but very interesting when compared to most other recent perfume offerings. One of the best things about this fragrance for me is the dry down that reaches a warm, leathery, amber note at the bottom with a hint of sweetness and a lingering dusting of the dry woods. It’s fascinating to smell. Even more fascinating to contemplate cigarette smoke that was supposed to smell like this.

Extra: I imagine with its initial purpose, Habanita might have mingled a bit with the smoke which would have altered the fragrance just a little bit possibly tempering or at least masking how dry this scent can be.

Design: Black bottle with Molinard’s signature water nymph design on the glass. The nymph design is very reminiscent of the 1920s’ sensibilities in design. The bottle features a gold metal cap and sprayer nozzle.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Classic

Notes: Bergamot, peach, orange blossom, galbanum, oakmoss, jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, heliotrope, patchouli, amber, leather, vetiver, cedar, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla.

Habanita is surprisingly cheap for a fragrance that’s been around for so long and is, by all accounts and purposes, a rather pleasant and unique take (well, unique when you consider the other stuff being put out these days). Online discounters often carry Habanita’s  Eau de Toilette version for $20-40.

Reviewed in This Post: Habanita, ~2000, Eau de Toilette.

Discontinuations: BPAL Jan 18

Effective as of January 18, 2011, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs has discontinued the following scents:

  • The Unicorn
  • Melancholia
  • Pannychis
  • The Macabray
  • Cottonmouth
  • Little Sparrow
  • I Died for Beauty
  • Ether
  • The High Priest Not to be Described

In that list, The Unicorn is particularly devastating to me. It was my favorite scent from their line.