The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Scent

Nanette Lepore EDP is a fruity-floral fragrance launched in 2004. I’m not trying to be harsh but I find it dull. It’s a bummer because the bottle is adorable just like Nanette Lepore’s vintage inspired clothing. It isn’t that I dislike the fragrance. It’s pleasant enough. I just think life is too short for me to wear a fragrance that I don’t absolutely love.

The fragrance is fruity and slightly tart at first. I do pick up on the cranberry juice. It’s fruity but not in that typical fruity candy way. This is more like a white peach cranberry Ocean Spray product with musky blackberry. I think what makes this fragrance unlike other fruity-florals launched at the time is that it seems so musky like mûre et musc. It’s like a humid day in August. You smell overripe blackberries waiting and rotting in the sun. That berry musk is always there. Eventually I can “over sniff” it and I do get something fresher and juicier. It’s slightly floral and citrusy on the musky berries. This fades rather quickly. On me, it is more fruity than floral. I can’t really “tell” what the florals are but I pick them up. They are humid florals, greenhouse florals. Throughout the wear I mainly pick up on three things: blackberry musk, litchi, and creamy sandalwood. I think what I don’t love about this fragrance is the sweetness. If it was blackberry musk and litchi, I think I would like it if it had a strong woodsy dry-down such as a red cedar dry-down. That would be very elegant. This blend the way that it is, is very creamy sweet with very ripe fruits. I don’t think the flowers really help the blend. I really can’t pick up on the violet ( I think a candied violet would work in this). I get generic “bouquet” flowers and I swear I can smell the floral preservative. The dry-down is sweet, sweet, sweet. It’s a creamy sandalwood that I often sniff out in Victoria’s Secret perfumes.

This fruity floral is a bit more “grown up” than other fruity florals because of the muskiness. It doesn’t smell like a body spray marketed to tweens. It smells “sexier” than most fruity florals because of the heavy dose of creamy sandalwood and musks. (In college we called these type of fragrances “club”perfumes- warm, sweet, musky, “young” but not too young). I don’t think this is a bad fragrance it just isn’t a “me” fragrance. If I had a full-size bottle, I wouldn’t see myself ever picking it up. ( I see myself wearing Cacharel Amor Amor even though the bottle is uglier if I wanted a popular, “sexy” fruity floral). As far as wear, I think it wears OK for an EDP. I notice it hours after wear.

Notes listed include: moonstone rose, white peach, cranberry juice, blackcurrant, orange jasmine, lime juice, violet, amber, and Indian sandalwood.

Give this one a try if you like scents like Gucci II EDP, Cacharel Amor Amor EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc EDP, Victoria’s Secret Supermodel EDP, Victoria’s Secret Parfum Intimes Velvet Amber EDP, Mistral Wild Blackberry EDP, Trish McEvoy #9 Blackberry & Musk EDP, Hanae Mori Eau de Collection #1 EDP, The Different Company Sublime Balkiss EDP, Givenchy Hot Couture EDT, Escada Magnetism EDP, and/or DKNY Delicious Night EDT. (See I told you that there are many fragrances like it out there!)

The 1 oz. spray retails for $38. There is also a travel roll-on for $18. This fragrance is available at Sephora. It is also available at fragrancenet.com.

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Sometimes I run into a fragrance and wonder “why haven’t I had you in my life sooner”? This is one of those scents. Sometimes I smell something and it is so me. Despite my extensive fragrance collection, I see this (10 Corso Como)  is the kind of scent that I will keep going back to and using again and again and again. I flirt with many, many types of fragrances, but at heart my fragrance personality is “woods”. Especially, dry warm woods.

10 Corso Como doesn’t possess a certain in your face “wow” factor. It isn’t a chameleon. It doesn’t contain a collection of strange  “isn’t it ironic notes”. It’s just really pretty and a must have for the woodsy fragrance lover. It’s for those that love the richness and warmth of sandalwood, musk, oud, frankincense but don’t want to smell like hippies or like they stumbled upon a Grateful Dead tribute band concert when they were just trying to have a romantic picnic in the park. Don’t get me wrong. I adore a “headshop” fragrance oil, but I don’t want that from a $115 perfume. I want it to have some class, some beauty, some refinement.

10 Corso Como is one of those fragrances that you love or you hate. If you love sandalwood or oud, then you will most likely this one. In fact, you won’t find this very strong at all. You may find it too “weak” and “pretty”. The wearer that doesn’t reach for a woodsy scent may find this one too strong, too animalic, too smoky. I find it woodsy in a feminine way. It smells almost of a wood carved jewelry box where one would store their dainty perfume oils and aromatic elixirs. I can barely pick up the rosy elements. I get more a fresh, balsmy wood at first. It is a little strange. It’s very woodsy and balmsy. It smells like a clean, tidy recreation of an evergreen forest. When I say “clean”, I mean there isn’t any grit, moss, dirt, moisture. It’s the foresty perfume equivalent of those unadulterated “aquatic” based perfumes. It’s pure but it is not a synthetic forest scent that would remind someone of Irish Spring soap or a men’s cologne. I pick up on smooth woods and vetiver. It is very resinous and slightly “green”, but green like a mustard green or chicory (this I think is porcini raised in their pine needle beds, this aroma takes me on a mushroom hunt. I am an amateur mycologist, this does smell mushroomy). That’s the weird part of the fragrance. The strange forest, pine/vetiver, mushroom-ness. This stage quickly passes, about 5-15 minutes. It then becomes a turpentine-ish woodsy fragrance. It still smells like lady-like sweet woods such as sandalwood but with a bit of evergreen/turpentine edge. It really reminds me of the sap from an evergreen, mainly pine. A buttery sweetness is present among the woods and slight turpentine-ness (most likely the reason that I love it). This woodsy blend wears for some time. So to sum it up at this stage: Buttery sandalwood sap next to a a dried out piece of smooth evergreen wood. It’s much prettier than it sounds. I don’t really get the “smokiness” of this fragrance. I get an incense like aroma but no smoke. Frankincense provides an incense sans the smoke aroma. It smells rich and exotic but I feel it is there but in moderation. This is definitely more of a balsamy wood scent than it is a resiny oriental scent. The frankincense and musk is more apparent as the evergreen/porcini a.k.a turpentine fades. It becomes a sensual mix of sandalwood, frankincense, and musk. It becomes very elegant and almost too pretty. This happens after about 45 minutes of wear. It smells like a classic dry woods perfume. But, there is something a bit “off”, a certain strangeness that doesn’t scream at you but makes you realize that this isn’t your regular sandalwood obsessed fragrance. I think it is the oud wood/agarwood, one of my favorite notes in fragrance ever. I didn’t realize that I loved oud as much as do until about 2 years ago. It is such a weird note. It can smell like pretty dry woods, oil, floral, and even like porcini. Of course I love this wood for the fungal factor alone. It’s mesmerizing. I think why I like this fragrance so much is because the prized oud wood is there. In the beginning, I think this is what is making the top notes so strange. That spicy mustard/chicory must be the porcini like aroma of oud wood, it then gets a sandalwood warmth and really rounds out the sweetness of the buttery sandalwood present in this mix. It adds a bit of an unusual character that makes this scent glamorous and in my opinion worth the price.

Some people complain that this fragrance doesn’t last long. Yesterday when I wore it, it wore for 16 hours. Today it wore for over 14. It is the kind of fragrance that lasts a long time but just very closely to the skin. That is typical of woods heavy fragrances. They are there, you may not notice it, but others will. Woods make a fragrance last.

Notes listed include: rose, geranium, vetiver, frankincense, musk, sandalwood, and Malay oud-wood. Prices range from $85 to the 1.7 to $115 for the $3.4. Bath products are available in this line as well, oh, and a solid perfume. Have I mentioned that I love the 30’s vintage feel of this bottle? Since I have been renovating our 30’s home, I have been all about that era’s design. This bottle is right on and based on a flea-market find antique perfume bottle. It is available at beautyhabit.com.

So far, I am really loving Les Garçonnes fragrance collection. Pompon Gardenia is an amazing heady white floral blend with sweet lime. This is one of my favorite white florals ever. I love a super feminine white floral and this is a winner with its blend of gardenia, lilies, and lime.

I assume that the inspiration for Pompon Gardenia was François Pompon, a 20’s era sculptor and Rodin’s assistant. I’ve always remembered him for his sleek chouettes. But, it could just be pompon as a fashion accessory. I don’t know for sure and I really don’t care. I love the sleek and portable, ecological cardboard packaging. It’s a lovely poppy print with rich green and mauve. I peeled a bunch of ’36 era wallpaper in my rehab home that reminded me of this print and color scheme.

At first Pompon Gardenia is a lush, humid white gardenia. There is a faint aroma of watermelon and gardenia. This doesn’t smell like a Jolly Rancher watermelon hard candy or too fruity. It just adds a humid quality to the gardenia, something that is more a sweet aquatic quality than just “aquatic”. It’s more “watermelon rind”, a bit green and fresh, bitter and sweet,  and what is keeping it from being like a candy-esque body spray. The sweet lime is an amazing touch to this blend. I love limes for their tart fruitiness and slight sweetness. We always have them around the kitchen. I love the smell that they leave on my hands. It is very beautiful and I always thought it would be perfect with a heady floral. Pompon Gardenia has a very pleasant slightly bitter but mostly sweet type of lime. I’m talking you smell the entire little sweet lime, including zest and juicy pulp. It’s beautiful. All of these fruits mix with dainty white lily of the valley (very understated in comparison) and big, white gardenias. Gardenia works very well with these fruits because gardenia has a slightly fruity aroma anyways. Eventually, the fragrance becomes a strong gardenia fragrance with a sweet lime twist, the watermelon rind fades, so do the other dainty white flowers. After a bit of wear, you pick up on the faintest and mildest tobacco ever. In fact the 1st few weeks that I wore this, I could barely pick up on it. It has been many, many years since I smelled the warmness and hay like quality of dried, light tobacco. I ended up wearing this one day in the summer and my husband drug me to a cigar shop. There I smelled the lovely jars of various flavored and unflavored tobacco. I smelled some that the owner referred to as “mild” and “blonde”. I could then smell this ever so slightly in this solid fragrance blend. It is faint and definitely overshadowed by the white florals. It does add some much needed warmth to the blend. Don’t let the tobacco fool you. This is not a smoky blend, “dry”,  nor is it even close to being masculine. This is a pretty girl wearing an old-fashioned gardenia perfume oil and red lipstick in a quaint tobacco shop. That’s it.

This fragrance isn’t what I expected it to be. When I read the notes when it was launched, I was thinking of something much more dry, smokier with a  less fruity gardenia, and maybe the kind of sweet lime wedge that has been swimming in honey colored whiskey. I was thinking something to wear in cooler weather. I was thinking of a sexy but desperate 20’s lady at a smoky bar with messy, uneven pin-curls. This is much more feminine, alive, pretty, and almost coy. It’s much more 40’s cheesecake pin-up. It is glowing with a bright red lipstick smile exposing more than pearly whites. It’s perfect like a Vargas created girl. Like I said, it wasn’t what I expected but it is something that I really like. I am happy that I bought it. It’s fairly simple aquatic gardenia with lime with a very slight tobacco dry warmth.

It retails for about $16 and is available at b-glowing.com and beautyhabit.com. It’s a great price, cute vintage packaging, and wears for a few hours without any touch-ups. I’m touching up my red lipstick more frequently than this stuff.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love these little old school highly fragranced body lotions. I hope Avon realizes that this “retro” packaging is what sells these Perfumed Skin Softeners. Well, at least it does for me. I like to have them out, there isn’t a logo, a label. They are just in a “sphere”. They really look nice in a boudoir. They retail for about $5 and are frequently on sale for about 99¢ on Avon’s website.

Candid is a nice fragrance for those that like a classic late 70’s floral oriental type fragrance. I love a late 70’s oriental. It’s a dated blend of heady jasmine, red roses, woodsy but feminine sandalwood with vetiver. It manages to smell “fresh” and clean, I guess because of the vetiver. The scent isn’t very complex. It’s all blended together to make a feminine, fresh oriental scent. I find that it does mix well with pure fragrance oils of any of the scents mentioned above. I love to wear it with either jasmine or rose to bring out the feminine quality. I can make it more masculine and zesty fresh with a spritz of L’Aromarine Vetyver or Guerlain Vetiver. Since the product is heavily scented, I can still smell it wearing very closely to my skin after all day wear.

The lotion is thick but not buttery. I still find that at night I need to apply a heavier cream to keep from being ashy in the winter. I just use this skin softener for the nostaligic novelty. And it does wear nicely with fragrance oils and some of my more “classic” fragrances.

This is a decent “chapstick” styled lip balm that goes for $5.99. That’s kind of expensive in my opinion but the packaging was just too cute and that was what got me. Being from Nashville, I’m all about vintage country western. Dreaming of being country western rhinestoned darling but lacking real talent and considering that vintage country was dead many moons ago, no wonder I just fulfill my dreams with little products in cute packages.

Time to round ’em up, boys…it’s basic and not greasy. It doesn’t leave a shine on the lips, very natural looking. It contains SPF 18 which did not burn the heck out of my lips like most SPF lip products. The formula was pretty smooth until the last 15%-20% left. It then became a bit gritty, uneven, and too much would be distributed to my lips. I did have to reapply frequently but I’m a big mouth that is always sipping coffee or tea, so I have to reapply everything frequently. The fragrance was slightly sweet, not honeysuckle in my opinion, more honey with a bit of orange juice. But, the fragrance was very,very faint and didn’t taste gross/metallic/anything like that.

So, it’s a decent product. I’m not sad that I purchased it. I did use it up. Will I puchase again? Most likely no. I’m a flirt anyways and I didn’t fall in love with this product. Like most Blue Q products, it is all about the novelity, the cuteness, the packaging. It’s an OK product housed in Dale Evans-ish cuteness. I guess it just depends on what is important to you in a product. It can be purchased at www.blueq.com.

CrazyStick Cologne

I am loving the new Crazylibellule & The Poppies 26 Juin Île d’Yeu solid fragrance (it is now available not only in a cologne but a Crazystick that is equal to 1.7 oz of liquid perfume). It is a must have for summer. It’s the kind of scent I put on and then I can’t stop sniffing myself. I find it very refreshing and very pretty. The new formula is awesome. This product is a winner.

This scent is described as “An exuberant composition fruity aldehyde fragrances, harboring a diaphanous olfactive folly“. It is a fruity aldehyde fragrance that truly embodies summer with it’s productive fruit trees, greenness, and flowering rose bushes. If I had to remember my summer in one scent, this would be it. This is how I want to remember it. Fruiting, productive, lush, green, and romantic. Also, I love this blend because it is truly a modern French aldehyde. It has the class of a classic French aldehyde by Chanel or Rochas but it is truly modern, light, and wearable at any time. I don’t think this is an easy task to pull off but Crazylibellule has done it. This scent has a complexity and for a solid it wears like a spray.

First the fragrance is fruity but not in a typical fruity way. It isn’t like most of the “fruit” fragrances on the market. It doesn’t smell like a lollipop. It is more like fruit, unripe, but ripening on the tree. It is very green and effervescent thanks to the aldehydes. I can smell unripe plums, ripe peaches and oranges, a mix of mouth watering fuzziness and bitter orange peel. I can smell those like they are still on the trees. You get a leafy, green note. It’s a refreshing fruity fragrance, almost champagne like at times. I get the faintness of rose. The rose is not stealing the show and it doesn’t wear like an old-fashioned or heavy rose scent. Enough rose is there to make it romantic and feminine. The rose is accompanied by the faintest of citrus blossoms. The dry down after about 2 hours of wear is soft, slightly fruity but with more woods and musk. But, not heavy, still very appropriate for summer. Like leaves and tree bark and a hint of “skin”.

The formula is awesome. I bought a green tea and jasmine solid perfume in Germany with this base and I loved it and couldn’t find it in the U.S. It is a transparent formula, not waxy at all. It is ultra-smooth and wears for a long time. It is less “balmy” and more “glossy” but not a bit heavy or greasy. I love this new formula which is also paraben and alcohol free. The packaging ,like all the line’s other products, is adorable. Described as “a landscape garden scenery where words and flowers tangle.”The packaging has a bit of sheen unlike the other Crazysticks.

I love this scent. I’ve been getting compliments on it all week. It’s pleasant, light, effervescent. It’s perfect for summer. It reminds me of our backyard which has rose bushes filled with blooms, ripening plum and peach trees, and lots of foliage and bit of sea air. This is how I want to remember summer, plentiful. This is the kind of fragrance that I will take out in mid-winter to remind me of the pleasures of summer. It retails for under $20 and it is available at b-glowing.com.

jeannatecollection

One of my favorite things about summer (other than lots of time off and the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest) is that I get to use my entire bath line of Jean Naté. Busting out the Jean Naté means that summer is here. It’s fresh, clean, citrusy and not fussy, making it a perfect summer must have.

Jean Naté or Jean Nate as my grandmother would say (like blue “jeans” and “nate” rhymes with “late”) was launched in 1935 under Charles of the Ritz, now Revlon. This is a best selling bath line. It was a hit then and continues to be so. Every generation of women in my family has used this stuff. It’s timeless despite the lame 70’s ad campaigns that my mother was exposed to. The scent is one of my favorite scents ever. And to my benefit this product is inexpensive, available at drugstores all over the country, and has the cutest vintage packaging (got to love that font).

The trademark is “clean never felt so fresh”, OK, not very brilliant but I promise that the products are. Overall the fragrance is a super fresh blend of citrus, bergamot, and lavender. But, each item has its own “special” quality and scent that it plays up. It’s like if you use the body wash you have the top note, the lotion you have the middle note, and with the splash you have the base. They all work together wonderfully.The scent is light and refreshing and really reminds me of very, very expensive European EDT/colognes.

Moisturizing Body Wash: This is my favorite body wash of all time. It is so fresh. It leaves my body clean all day. It’s my girl version of Irish Spring, making it a summer must have, especially here in Washington with no a/c. This body wash is “sparkling” and almost effervescent and bubbly in fragrance. This reminds me of a “top” note used in fragrance. It is heavy on the lemon and bergamot. I love it. It seriously leaves a faint scent on my skin all day. It lathers nicely and is everything I want in a shower gel.Unfortunately this is a very hard product to find. When I find it I pick up a few bottles because it is my favorite shower gel of all time. It goes for $6-$10.

Hydrating Body Lotion: The texture of this lotion is lightweight and perfect for summer. It isn’t greasy or sticky. It is very fragrant but less effervescent than the shower gel. This has the lemon and bergamot but with more lavender making this is a very refreshing and soothing product at the same time. Plus, you can pick up a fresh, dewy floral such a geranium. It is lovely.This goes for about $6 and you can sometimes find a very large bottle for $10.

After Bath Splash: I would say this is the most popular product in the line. This hit it big in the 70’s and 80’s when “light” fragrances were all the rage. People were simplifying their routines. The After Bath Splash is now available in 3 sizes in a convenient spray bottle. I love the old school splash with the big black spherical top, but since I pretty much bathe myself in this stuff the spray bottle is much more functional. The scent is so refreshing and much more herbaceous than the other products. It is lemon rind, bergamot, and English lavender. It is simple and refreshing and has a slight almost patchouli dry down. This reminds me of a classic Guerlain EDT such as Mitsouko, refreshing herbaceous Provincial inspired colognes like Potter & Moore Lavender & Italian Lemon, Hierbas de Ibiza Agua de Colonia Fresca, Satellite Paris L’Ombre, and even Lubin L’Eau Neuve. I love this stuff. It’s what I want in the summer. It is light wearing, I mean it is a body splash with a high alcohol content. Sometimes in the summer this is all I want. But, if I want more I will layer it under the fragrances that I have mentioned above. Hint-Put it in the fridge for an extra refreshing, cooling spritz. The prices for this range from $6 to $10 depending on size.

Silkening Body Powder: I love a dusting powder because I am an old-fashioned kind of gal. The powder comes in a cute yellow container with a nice puff. I only wear body powder in the summer so I happy it is available in this scent. This is a floral herbaceous blend that smells like the after bath splash in powder form.It’s soft and easily mixes with other fragrances you may layer over it. It retails for $10. I love to use this after one of my very late evening summer strolls. Or to freshen up in the summer midday if I don’t have time to shower before going back out.

A cologne spray is available but I have not tried it but I hope to soon. Since this product is a classic you can find good deals on it. For example, limited edition jumbo sizes for summer where you get 30 fl. oz. of bath splash for $10. Many say that the formula has been tampered with in 2007 and that it isn’t close to the original. I’m sure the formula has been changed but I think it is all a matter of opinion. My family members declare that what they buy today is what they remember it being like. I’ve been using it pre-2007 and post-2007 and find it the same. But, with classic products it is a touchy game. Old customers tastes could of changed but they would never admit it. But, I’m not going there. I just bought a new batch of every item I mentioned for this summer and love them all. There is an old commercial on youtube here that further emphasizes the “exhilarating” aspect of the product. It’s funny but warning, video quality isn’t so hot.