As I went to the local MAC store with the intent to purchase everything in the Style Black collection for my goth self, I was more smitten by the Fall/Winter 09 Trends collection. I’ll be sure to share all of that soon. I came across this limited edition Asphalt Flower fragrance roll-on. I loved both of the limited edition honey fragrances this past summer and to my surprise, I am now in love with another MAC fragrance. They have really been stepping up their game with these limited edition, low price point fragrances.

If you are a violet lover, then give this one a try. I absolutely adore violet fragrances. I live off of Choward’s Violet Mints. I love “green” morning dew violet scents but I really, really love those “candied” ones because I am such a fan of candied violets. Asphalt Flower reminds me of a glammed up interpretation of the bottom of my huge Hobo International messenger bag. The top notes remind me of the runaway Choward’s Violet Mints that hang around in their gang in the bottom of my purse abyss. They get crushed up weekly into a fine, sugary dust and get all over my wallet. It’s leather and candied violets. Asphalt Flower’s top notes are a sugary sweet violet with rainy, tsunami drenched tropical flowers like soft and humid ylang-ylang and powdery heliotrope. This is grounded by old-fashioned iris. I love this phase it wears this way for about an hour. It reminds me of being in an Industrial Revolution era green house, in the midst of lovely white and purple flowers drenched in mist, outside the coal clouds swarm in winter rain. It’s so pretty, powdery, feminine, and old-fashioned. It’s sweet with a bit of gloomy, rainy humidity mixed with oil. It’s very gothic with an Edwardian flair. The complete dry-down is very moody and extremely sexy with Tom Ford White Patchouli type of patchouli, that synthetic “clean” patchouli that works so well with these modern blends, smoky olbanum, and lots and lots of that MAC vanilla that is used in their other blends. I’m usually not a fan of vanilla but it really works in this mix. It adds a certain sexiness. It’s not a candy or vanilla bean vanilla but more of a dirty, musky, leathery vanilla. MAC describes this fragrance as “a deep, dark erotic fragrance that takes place in our Trend F/W ’09 Collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look.” It is a very “alt-fashion” fragrance. The entire collection strikes me as my personal fashion color collection dream come true. It is dark, rich and sooo Edwardian, turn of the century goth, that look that unfortunately Tim Burton brought mainstream. This fragrance is so dark, gloomy, intoxicating with a hint of the old-fashioned. It seriously reminds me of the Industrial Revolution. It’s romantic with violet and iris but a bit animalic and sooty. It’s that time because it is urban, industrial with artistic Romanticism, upper class stuffiness, lower class rawness mixed with a  desire for the occult. I find it very “me” and exactly what I wanted for the fall/winter rainy season in Seattle. This is great because the roll-on retails for $20. The bummer is that it is a limited edition. And if I want to replace it I am going to have to get something like Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet. I will be picking up another one of these roll-ons. Also, this fragrance is very long-wearing. It lasts at the same intensity on my skin for 8+ hours. There may only be .2 fl.oz. in this roll-on but this container will last much longer than MAC’s spray on fragrances.

I’d say to give this one a try if you are fan of candied violets, the closest I can compare it to include: Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet, Tokyo Milk Parfum Le Petit or Dead Sexy, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Guerlain Insolence, Penghalion’s Ellenisia, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Borsari Violetta di Parma, and/or Armani Pierre de Lune.

The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

If you are a fan of vanilla, then you should love Hypnôse (please do not confuse with Lancôme’s original Hypnôse 1950, confusing, huh?). Hypnôse is an oriental fragrance heavy on 3 notes: passion flower, vetiver, and vanilla. That’s really all there is to it, maybe a dash of other “flowers”.  I am not a huge fan of vanilla but I don’t dislike vanilla either. I like vanilla when there is just a hint to round and balance things out. This is a “sexy” fragrance I suppose. I’ve had ladies tell me their man loves this one, my hubby could care less (he’s no vanilla lover either). It is a bit heavy. It’s a vanilla blend, slightly sweet, with romantic a touch of florals with crisp almost masculine edge of vetiver. ( I would say the vetiver is what makes this one bearable). It’s not very me (needs more “wood” or more vetiver), but I could see others really liking this one. Also, I think it could wear nicely on a man, especially if you are a guy that likes Fresh Cannabis Santal or Boucheron Jaïpur, just a thought. It is a long wearing fragrance and mainly wears of that “spiral” of vanilla, passion flower, and vetiver. If you get this on a scarf of something, it will smell like Hypnôse until you wash it. So you are getting your money’s worth 🙂  For a Lancôme scent it isn’t too bad (shame for a company that started as a fragrance house), but for a scent in this price range it isn’t the greatest. This is my opinion, like I’ve said, I am not a vanilla lover.

I would say that you would like this if you are a fan of vanilla based oriental fragrances, Guerlain L’Instant or Insolence, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Burberry Brit EDP, Dior Pure Poison, Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance, Strange Invisible Perfumes Magazine Street and/or Fresh Cannabis Santal. Since this is a heavier scent, I would say that it would wear the best during cooler months/seasons. The bottle is based on the original. It is sturdy glass, spiral, “evocative of a woman’s silhouette, with facets that shimmer in the light”. It has violet colored juice. It’s a pretty bottle, it feels expensive because it is hefty.

It is available in 3 sizes from 1 ounce to 2.5 ounces with prices ranging from $45 to $72.50. Do pick it up with a GWP, I love those things. * Currently it is available at fragrancenet.com.

This fragrance was difficult for Guerlain. It didn’t attract the “typical” Guerlain customer, you know the person that swears by Jicky or Eau du Coq, and it didn’t attract the mainstream consumer (the person that purchases every new release at Macy’s) because it is just too “odd” for their tastes. I am in the middle ground consumer. I love all Guerlain fragrances. I wear Jicky, but I also wear fragrances like Benefit Maybe Baby.

This fragrance is like a “young old lady fragrance” if that makes any sense. (I hate describing fragrance by age groups, its just wrong just like putting age equivalents on standardized tests). It is a super powdery fragrance. It’s kind of sweet like a dusting powder but it is very powdery from orris root and something that resembles candied violets (my ultimate weakness). It has a sweet rose, like a rose lozenge or pastille. Sweet, but only foody if you are a floral food fan like myself. It’s musky and clean while being powdery and floral.Guerlain’s website states that “olfactory pyramid has been ‘deconstructed’ to reveal three faucets of INSOLENT femininity that suits everyone’s taste and mood…sparkling violets, glints of red berries, and rays of iris.” Well, maybe not suited for everyone’s taste and mood, but definitely my own. Some of my favorite memories included last summer, my 1st summer in the Northwest. I would pick berries with a Choward’s violet candy in my mouth and I wore a cheap no label Italian iris/orris root EDT in the late days of summer. It was nice, happy times. So Insolence has nailed what I’m looking for. It is much more feminine than me sweating and ignoring bloody berry scratches. This is so feminine, soft, powdery. It is an “olfactory spiral”, this is just a gimmick that means that top note, middle, and base are all together and it pretty much stays the same throughout the wear. This is somewhat true. It smells much like initial spritz even a few hours down the road. I mean it is a little different but the idea is still the same. It isn’t like violet, berries, and musk. It is more all of these things in a blender once the alcoholic top note dries down. It is a sweet fragrance with candied violet, rose, vanilla, sandalwood but note overly sweet like cotton candy fragrances. It does appear fruity, but for some reason this just doesn’t linger with me (slightly like a red currant).  It is just sweet but not too sweet to wear for summer. I find that I wear this throughout the year.

I like Insolence much better than L’Instant which I find too vanilla-y and overwhelming. It is “young”, I guess but I found that many people under 30 are completely turned off by this fragrance that many ladies over 30 find this too “young”. I was working the launch of this fragrance and you wouldn’t believe how many people were offended by this one. I just didn’t get it but I am sure many of them would find Shalimar offensive and SJP Lovely not. I don’t find this one offensive at all, if anything it is too tame and pretty. Also, the use of Hilary Swank as the “face” of the fragrance was a bad idea. You don’t realize that the public is so sensitive to that kind of stuff until you see it in action. Many people do not find her glamorous (or attractive really!); people really do use her name and “horse face” together alot. Anyways…

It wears for many hours, extremely well for an EDT. I smell it on my jackets and scarves days after wear. My husband loves this one. It just smells “girly” so I am sure it will attract the opposite sex. My husband always says that he hates vanilla in fragrance because it smells “cheap” but he seems to like it in this. It adds a sweetness and softness to the floral notes. It also helps the violet stick around (I still haven’t found a violet fragrance that loves to be with me!)

The bottle is OK. It’s a bit chunky and the plastic top is a bit oversized. The 1 ounce bottle goes for $55. It is getting harder and harder to find! Please don’t tell me that it is being discontinued like I predicted it would be since it’s launch. I still have a 3.4 ounce bottle left and maybe I need to get my hands on another.