Based on the bottle, I cannot think of a more appropriate Valentine’s Day perfume than Tom Ford’s ‘Rose Prick.’ The matte pink opaque design just screams Valentine’s gift – and I am sure that is not accidental. Since i love anything rose, I was of course more than excited to try this. And the notes looked interesting as well: three types of roses, schezuan pepper, tonka bean. I mean, even if it turns out not for me, it’s going to be at least interesting, right?
Too bad it’s not. The promised opening of pepper and turmeric kind of scared me, but on my skin it was just plain old musk. It didn’t even wake me up, just boring white musk. I do admit that the rose that came after it was gorgeous. It is a rose in full bloom, though if I must admit, a little on the synthetic side. Then I do get the tonka bean, which rounds out the base on the woodsy side. And then the patchouli, which gives this a very dry base. And frankly, nothing unique. Rose Prick smells like a hundred different things I have smelled before.
I was very disappointed in this. It’s so generic smelling, and at $335 for a 50 ml, I expected more. I can think of a hundred other choices for my Valentine’s scent before this one.
This, from the Dior website, is Francois Demachy’s explanation why this scent is called, ‘Lucky.’
Christian Dior was very superstitious and would stitch a stem of lily of the valley into the seam of his dresses for good luck. I wanted to represent the perfume of this hidden lily of the valley, sewn into meters of silk, with a profusion of white flowers and freshness. The scent of his favorite flower gradually reveals itself. Lucky is a good luck charm and the perfume to wear whenever you want to cross your fingers.”
As you may have guessed, Lucky is a lily of the valley scent. It is a nice rendering of the flower, as it is able to capture its sweetness and its slight sour qualities. Lucky is also an aquatic scent – there’s a lot of ozone in it, and some green aquatics there too. It is very nice and elegant, and very versatile as well: it would match a business suit and a sequined gown both. But you feel like you have smelled it before (I hear comparison to the classic L’air du Temps) and I just think, this is from the Dior Private Collection? I guess I wanted something more bold, more imaginative. I won’t turn away a bottle, but I don’t think I will be actively seeking one.
Believe it or not, about two years after, I am still opening packed boxes of perfume. And I still am discovering some unopened bottles, like Miller Harris’ Geranium Bourbon. I don’t even know now how I acquired this, but here we are.
This is a wonderful floral perfume – a mixture of geranium and rose in my skin. The rose is fresh and zesty, the geranium is a bit fizzy and pepperry. Together it gives a very perfume feel – this scent isn’t a shrinking violet. It smells a bit on the ‘older’ side – the freshness is more freshly cut flowers than shower-fresh. And there’s a dusty powdery feel to it, probably aldehydes. The dry down is more woodsy, but never really leaves the floral phase.
I like it – it’s a bit hefty but not too much, and still wearable in Southern California weather. I am glad now I ‘rediscovered’ my bottle.
Since I was talking about chypres – Eau Capitale inspired me – I realized I had a sample of one I have been meaning to try. It’s from the Japanese niche brand J-Scent and it is called ‘Shaft of Light.’ I thought it was a very interesting name, and this is the brand’s explanation:
This scent symbolizes the power of life that comes from a shaft of light from the heavens onto the trees.
The light showers down upon grapefruit and lemon trees, and creamy white ﬂowers like magnolias and gardenias. This perfume’s warm tones of sandalwood, patchouli, and oakmoss remind us of nature’s power of life.
That’s kind of cool, and very different from the rest of J-Scent’s line, which are mostly inspired by things in Japanese culture. Simply put, this is a great well-blended floral. There isn’t a major player in the flowers, but I do get hints of jasmine, orange flower and magnolia. There’s something citrus in there – the notes say lemon – that rounds up the bouquet which gives the scent a ‘fresh’ feeling before going to the woodsy dry down that is also well-blended. It is a somewhat quiet scent, although only in the idea not in presence. I quite like it, and int he colder temperature gives a warm fuzzy feel. Plus, at $80, it’s about one hundred dollars less than Eau Capitale. (though for sure we are comparing apples and oranges between the two)
I was at Nordstrom’s with a friend of mine when, out of the blue, the perfume SA started to spritz Atelier Cologne’s ‘Grand Neroli’ to us and said ‘Doesn’t this perfume remind you of your youth?’ It startled me. First off, what does this person know about me, much more my ‘youth,’ and secondly, let me smell that and see if it does. Well, Grand Neroli, at first blast smells just like any ‘cologne’ type perfume I have ever smelled – so I was at a loss as to what to answer. And then he said ‘De Ne Nes,’ which is a Spanish baby cologne. I remember every child’s mother would swathe it on their children and that lemony cologne smell would be a nice cold blast. Since I grew up in a tropical country, it was most welcome and made each child smell ‘fresh.’
Well, Grand Neroli certainly evokes that smell, though it is not exact Grand Neroli is more sophisticated, with its initial blast of neroli and orange blossom. At times it smells slightly green, then sweet the next minute,. And it is certainly ‘heftier’ than most colognes (it stayed with me the whole day!) and is not just wafting. The base is pretty solid, and warm but not hot, which is a great contrast to that initial blast. I am sampling this in cold weather, but I am sure this works much much better on a nice hot summer day. Summer, get here if you can.
They honestly do not make chypres anymore. But once in a while, one comes through. Diptyuqe just launched its new scent “Eau Capitale,’ and it is a certified chypre. Oakmoss – the cornerstone of most chypres – have essentially been banned and they have to make do with alternatives that are available. But make no mistake, one spritz of this perfume and it will suddenly feel familiar. “It smells so 80s,’ I told myself. There is a big splash of bergamot in the beginning, with some pepper, and of course, the rose. This is a big big bouquet of roses, and it is glorious. It settles huge, and it makes itself known instantly. Ang then as it starts to dry down, it smells like an unmistakable chypre – the combination of woods make it smell velvety – decadent. The opening burst smells very modern, then it goes very ‘old-fashioned’ quite quickly. ‘You smell like a mommy,’ my friend says to me. Your appreciation of this may vary – for me, it smells instantly classical, like a more modern Diva by Ungaro, or a more complicated ‘Marni.’ A lot of people have compared this to Malle’s ‘Portrait Of A Lady,’ but ‘Eau Capital’ feels so much more down-to-earth. I am instantly in love with this and for sure I will add this to my wardrobe.
P.S. – Diptyque’s new sample packaging can be commended for its anti-plastic stand, but it is hard to use. I tried so hard to squeeze something out of its paper and foil structure but eventually got more frustrated. Surely there is a better way?
Ex Idolo’s ‘Love and Crime’ has the most dramatic inspiration. In 1905 a woman named May Coyle helped her boyfriend escape prison by baking a cake. How did a cake help him escape ? Well, she just happened to have baked a chainsaw inside the cake. This perfume, of course, smells cake-ish. I was a little scared to try it. I am not the biggest fans of gourmand scents. If I have to be honest, I try to avoid them because some of the real sweet ones give me a headache. And maybe it’s psychological. I am struggling to control my blood sugar and maybe in my mind wearing sweet scents do not help that.
Upon spritz, I realize my fear is realized – this smells very sweet on me. The vanilla floats above, and it is sugary sweet. The florals that are supposed to show up do not arrive. There is supposed to be rose and some kind of white floral here but they stay very much in the background. The base note has some kind of ‘sponge cake’ and that, along with some coco resonate in the end. I have to say, though, that this is much quieter in the end, and it is kind of pleasant, but on my skin, it’s just a whole lot of sweetness. It’s not for me, though I did get a couple of compliments from people. Isn’t that a crime?