What’s in a bottle? If you look at the case of Mochino Cheap and Chic’s So Real, it says a lot. Look to the left and you either are enamored by it, or think it’s the ugliest thing out there. I don’t mind it – it’s certainly kitsch and I have similar looking bottles, and I think I have the solid colored one from the same line.
But how does it smell? Well, in line with its name, it smells cheap – your generic synthetic smelling floral, the sugary kind. I don’t get any floral here, really, but the notes say pink peony and white petals. I get generic citrus, which could be anything and everything…amounting to nothing. It’s gone in an instant, too. But then again, it is literally cheap – you can get a bottle at discount sites for almost nothing. So should this exist?
Century City Mall is near my house and right by the entrance I use is the Jo Malone store, so the brand is always in my consciousness. In all honesty, I think the brand is too popular for a perfume snob like myself, but at times I cannot help it – they sure do bring out crowd-pleasing perfume, and even I am not immune. Over the Holidays, they brought our ‘Myrrh and Tonka’ as part of their Cologne Intense collection. They are always very generous with me sample-wise (they are not idiots) and I have test-run the scent a couple of times.
I like it – it’s on the heavier side if you compare it to other Jo Malone releases, so it’s right up my alley. The myrrh in the beginning is mixed with lavender so it’s a smoky spicy sweet mixture. Then the scent gives way to some almond and vanilla and tonka bean. The vanilla is not the gourmand kind – it’s dry and resinous, and the tonka bean provides just the right amount of sweetness here. It’s pretty cloying and perfect for sweet weather, and I would imagine it might give people headaches if worn during warmer temperatures. I don’t know if I would rush to get this, and if I did get it, I would probably be fine with a 50 ml bottle of it. It’s like a ‘friendlier’ version of Tobaco Vanille, and definitely skews more masculine.
Nowadays I have this love-hate relationship with the House of Frederic Malle. They have done (and still do) beautiful perfumes, of course, but the brand has gotten so mainstream and everyone knows about it now that it has lost its niche status for me. It used to be just available at certain stores (only Barney’s) but now everywhere you turn it’s there – Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, you name it. It’s as ubiquitous as Jo Malone, and its exclusivity is long gone. So it took me a while to sample ‘Music For A While.’ But I have been reading a lot of best of lists from 2018 and this has been showing up a lot, so I had to see for myself.
It’s very nice. It has a lavender base, so it skews masculine, but it has a pineapple note. It’s a mixture of a generic barbershop scent but with a modern ‘Aventus’ twist. There’s a roughness to it – a lot of patchouli shows up on my skin, and if you ask me, it really does skew more masculine. It’s also very crowd-pleasing – there’s no edge to it, and with the Malle price points, I want something that will make it more unique. I think what is missing is the ‘wow’ factor. I enjoyed it, but it failed the ‘hyperventilation’ test for me. I wasn’t craving it afterwards.
But then again, I know that the house has started doing 1 oz ‘travel bottles’ recently, so perhaps I might be tempted, but nah, I can think of other Malle releases I would get first.
(Update – I am writing this now hours later and there is this beautiful pineapple drydown that is just wonderful. Plus, about 7 hours after, it is still going strong – this scent is tenacious! And now I want this!)
Does one dare citrus in the winter? I love citrusy scents, but probably, like everyone else, use it mostly in the summertime. But I am always looking for ones with a little heft in them, and Heeley (in collab with Maison Kitsune) has released ‘Note de Yuzu,’ which fits the bill.
This is a grapefruit and orange blast on me, with just hints of the Asian fruit yuzu. It’s a nice and crisp opening, and it doesn’t fade just right away,a s most citrus cologne type of fragrances do. I get a bit of tea in the heart of the scent and it gives it a dryness that makes the scent stick. I like that juxtaposition. There is some clean vetiver that shows up, and some kind of flower there (I detect some orange blossom, perhaps) and that’s it. This is not some complicated perfume that gives you a fragrant journey. It is a nice citrus that lingers, and yes, on a dreary cold winter day, it can give you a burst of freshness.
Oh, how I had forgotten about Bambolina. And how I sometimes forget about Hilde Soliani’s scents – they are always fun, quirky, unique and easy to wear. Bambolina means ‘small doll’ in Italian and what do you know, this perfume has that ‘plastic doll’ note – I don’t really know what it is called, and how to really describe it, but it is here, and it sits there on top of the cherry and cherry blossom and apricot accord. This perfume is playful and evokes a nice summer day full of fruits and is the perfect scent for a cloudy dreary day like today.
I was kind of excited about Jo Malone’s Holiday limited-edition release, ‘Whote Moss and Snowdrop,’ because it jus t*sounds* alluring. I imagine it as a snow-frosted scent, perfect for Holiday wear, and I imagine Elsa from Frozen wearing it to match her blue gown. And yes, look at gorgeous bottle, which could match the tinsels on any Christmas tree.
But…blah. I was thoroughly disappointed by it – a generic ‘cold citrus’ scent that’s characterless – clementine is the listed note I think but it’s so bland that I couldn’t get anything. Then a white-musky drydown comes in, and it has that generic Jo Malone base that really puts me to sleep. There is no ‘moss’ or ‘snow’ that I get here. On my skin, it becomes a white musky basic scent, kind of like plain yogurt before you put the fruit in it. I wanted to like it. Hell, I wanted to own it. Pass.
With the holidays coming up, I was searching for a scent that was Christmas-y. And then I realized I had Tiziana Terenzi’s ‘Ecstasy.’ For some reason, this perfume was one of the ones I brought with me when I moved, and was not packed for storage, and I remember wearing this earlier during the warmer weather and thought, well, this is not really working.
Ecstasy is pine on top. It smells like a Christmas tree. But it is a very warm scent – it is smoky, and woodsy, like the pine tree that’s next to a fire place. In its heart, on my skin, is incense. And it is the smoky kind. I like this a lot, and in this colder weather it’s nice, soothing, and comforting. It is also very Christmassy. I can see wearing this at church and feeling the mood of the Holidays instantly. This is Christmas in a bottle, my style.