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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Experiscent Six: Arid Purple

For number six, I wanted to get feedback on a definitive unisex scent. Featuring lavender, which is a note that I love, this scent is, IMO, harder to wear than the notes would have you think. On some, it's an absolute love......the clean, bracing feel of the lavender opposes they smoky dry notes of the base. On others, it's overly linear and perhaps a bit grating.  The panel:

Alfredo:  Crisp and green with an herbal aspect...... possibly Chamomile.  I I also detect some anise wrapped in leather, an Aromatic Fougere that is Masculine and Assertive...I picture a Gent in the late 1970's or early 80's,  wearing this on a daily basis as his Signature to work and for his weekends going out.

Igor:  For me personally a very loud and resounding “NO”. The vial came broken and the contents were spilled inside the little bag. I tried them out straight on my wrist as I did not have enough to also do it on a blotter. The fragrance is so aggressively masculine. It is a blast of very acrid bergamot and strong musk. Maybe I’m imagining it, but I also get some dry English lavender. The scent wanes a bit on the drydown, transforms into a waxy vetiver scent . The longevity is very long, could not wash it off, it lasted until the next morning. The sillage is beastly; you could smell me from another room. It is very reminiscent of the fragrances of the late 80’s early 90’s, Aramis and Tsar, the choking, uber- masculine chypres. I personally did not like them back then and still have not warmed up to them. I cannot see myself wearing it. But on others they work a lot nicer. If I were to put an image to this, it would be Mickey Rourke in 9 ½ weeks. Overly masculine, freshly shaven guy in a high waisted Versace suite.

Emily:  Chypre? I get my chypres and my fougères mixed up, but I think this may be the former. No, wait, that might be lavender as the floral component, which would kick it back towards fougère. Anyway, I find it rather powdery and lightly mossy. The most interesting part is some animalic component which is just strong enough to be provocative, but nowhere near "yikes." It has good bone structure. Development is slow and subtle; many hours later it's a bit more mossy and woody. It is certainly classically inspired, if not an actual classic.

Alyssa:  Whoa nelly, this was an instant extreme like for me! As soon as I popped the vial open I said out loud, “this is an Alyssa scent”. I literally was inhaling this intoxicating scent on me and I kept getting mental images of what outfit I would be wearing this with as opposed to describing the scent itself. I saw it as a night out on the town with the ladies type of scent - either for some drinks or some dancing. I saw myself in a light pink silk cami with black lace trim, a pair of dark skinny jeans, black high heels, black leather jacket and some big silver hoop earrings to finish the look. This is a scent I’d be proud to wear and wear it well - she wouldn’t wear me.

Rina:   "Dad's Aftershave.." I don't know most notes, so I can't say this is vetiver or hedione or Hai Karate. It smells clean and masculine and freshly showered. Like Matthew McConaughy getting into his tux for the big poker game.. Alright, alright, alright! Alas, like Lady Luck, it was fleeting after a few hours but so good while it was there.

Trona:  It’s a gorgeous day, warm sunshine bathing old winter skin. Sequim is the destination today to frolic in the farms that made this town famous. Arriving at the Purple Haze Lavender farm, can’t help but be taken aback by the sea of purple waves and the heavenly scent of lavender, the powerful jolt of lavender mixing with the spearmint bushes that line the fields makes for a divine intervention in one’s attitude. Literally forcing a peaceful and joyous reunion of soul and body if only for the day, the effervescent aromas mingling gently among the intoxicating purple theme. Walking through the isles of aromatic bush, a hint of lemon pops in my nose, delighting my senses as I search the area to see what source I smelled. I turn to a rickety, old greenhouse with peeling white paint and a slightly leaning door, and spot the tender potted lemon tree with beautiful plump lemons as if on display at the tiny window. They steal the show, like a welcome friend amongst the endless sprays of purple and green, but only for a moment. Wandering off again, absorbing the scenery, the air is thick in lavender, but a sweet lavender, and a slight hint of mint now, even a tinge of tea and peppers, like English breakfast and pink pepper, most likely from the herb house on the property. Thoughts of relaxation and lazy days affect the mind and by days end the sweet scent remains ingrained in my mind and heart, as I drift off to sleep. This is a lavender powerhouse, sweet and minty, strong mint at first, turning mild throughout, pepper enters later on in the middle notes and leave a slightly powdery residue, the lemon brightens the lavender intoxication and breaks up the theme. Finally, a little tea (herbal) and maybe even spice come into the picture at the end, the scent is moderate sillage, long lasting and beautiful, it is relaxing and evokes feelings of peace and aromatherapy healing. Excellent scent for bedtime and any time of the year really. Unisex. All ages, but most likely to be used by mature adults.

This opens with lavender made sweet and soft by maybe a powdery vanilla? The sweetness dissipates fairly quickly though (so maybe not vanilla after all), and the lavender increases in strength and starts to smell a bit like fabric softener. …Not getting a lot of development from this one. It's still sweet soft lavender, maybe just a bit more herbaceous than it was to open. Pleasant enough, but not tremendously interesting. ...Now the fabric-softener quality is transitioning to a certain astringent soapiness. Maybe a bit of amber, with a very slight burning quality. I get tremendous longevity with this one, even though not much evolution—I can still smell plenty of soft lavender-vanilla a good 9 hours after applying. ...In fact, I can still can smell it (faintly) the next morning after almost 24 hours!

Second trial: The opening is all lavender, but soft and soapy instead of harsh, astringent, or "man"-fresh. Indeed, it strikes me as quite unisex. ...Now I'm getting a bit of pepper. Not as much sweetness as the other day. There is nothing too complex here—just a good, solid, soft lavender perfume that should be quite palatable and unobjectionable to most.

UPSHOT:  Good traditional fresh unisex scent with excellent longevity. I don’t know what Yardley’s English Lavender smells like off the top of my head, but my idea of the name and concept of the perfume tells me it should smell pretty much like this! This perfume could make a workhorse office scent for the man or woman who wants to smell Oxford-fresh all day without needing to reapply. It’s not for me, but I wouldn’t at all mind sitting next to a person wearing this—it would be almost a literal breath of fresh air.

Jen:  I want to start by saying I have come to firmly believe that any one can wear any scent that tickles their fancy, "feminine" and "masculine" labels be damned. It's still somewhat of a new concept for me, though, so it is hard for me to fight against my initial impression that #3 veers very hard towards the "Masculine" label. Be it on a man or woman, this scent has my heart going pitter-patter everytime I catch a whiff, and my 6 year old may have side eyed me nuzzling my own wrists. I have no idea what usually goes into a fragrance like this so I am at a loss here for notes, but to my untrained nose this one is incredibly well blended. It feels smooth and fresh and woody and clean and maybe mossy all at once in a beautifully understated but definitely noticable way. As it dries down I am getting a slightly sharper note, but it is still excellent. I am *dying* to find out what it is. I don't even want to take a shower because I want to keep sniffing! This is my number one favorite out of the six scents I have sampled so far in this experiment, even if it isn't something I'd necessarily wear myself. So good!

Erica:  My scent-loving dad joined in for this round of blind testing. 
My thoughts: A beautiful blast of sparkling lavender at the opening draws me in, but then the lavender fades too quickly. Left behind is a bland fougere that smells very generic, like shaving cream. I love the lavender at the opening, but I'm disappointed by the average fragrance that lingers after the lavender burns off. 
My dad was very dramatic about refusing to tell me what he thought until I said my piece. Once I shared my thoughts, he proclaimed it to be "bug spray" and we had a laugh. Um, it didn't appeal to him. 

Scent number 6 was Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande.  When you do a search for this one, the notes that are listed are simply "Lavender and Incense"........ok, we got that from the name :).  I've always found this to be a nice, herbal blast of notes to open.  The lavender is definitely present, I get a touch of clary sage again, and a bit of rosemary.  The incense shows up on me as a masculine spicy presence.  I believe I get frankincense, and perhaps a bit of tonka.  There's a bit of an ashtray vibe.....elegant lavender cologne worn in a dive bar.  I like the contrast of clean with comes across on me as a slightly sexy scent and feels good to wear with the basic of basics:  a white tank top and my favorite jeans.  I wouldn't say this is my favorite SL Lavender, that title goes to Fourreau Noir......but whereas Fourreau Noir are the dry, golden autumn evenings, Encens et Lavande is a cold December morning.  

I was really intrigued by the strong emotions......everyone seemed to have a resounding YES!  or NO! about it.  It got me to wonder how the additions of a few twists could turn a basic  perfumery note into something inducing such polarity.  I think many of us have strong associations with lavender which sets our expectations immediately upon sniffing it in the opening.  For some, it indicates cleanliness, in others peace, and for others it induces a medicinal or antiseptic memory.  For me, it invokes memories of cool breezes on warm, dry days.  Sometimes, the incense is this confuses me, and my nose isn't expecting it for some reason.  However, that is the element that I enjoy in this scent.  It keeps me guessing and I feel differently about it every time my mood and/or the weather changes. 


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