Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perfume reviews

Diorella by Dior: A lady I met on the boards sent me a sample of vintage Diorella and Jesus, how gorgeous is that?

Some perfume uses indoles from musk or jasmine, those slightly overripe, almost fecal-like or dirty-skin-like notes that add depth and roundness. It's like how you add fish sauce to thai dishes. Try smelling fish sauce on its own sometime. It's pretty nasty. But try to make pad thai without it sometime. It's just not right. Indoles are used like this in perfume.

But Diorella doesn't utilize that typical dirty jasmine. Instead, it has this overripe, warm melon skin scent to it. Just slightly sweet, musky and fleshy. It's got that ripe-girl thing going on, but Diorella isn't trying to hide that behind spice or greenery, Diorella is ALL about the unwashed girl. I feel sort of self-conscious, like if I wore this out, people would be like "wtfff, she smells like a sweaty quickie in a dirty bed! Awkward!" Which is a pretty evocative scent but uh, I don't know if I can WEAR that. Anyway. Your grandma probably wore this. Hahaha, compared to our overly saccharine or polite fruity-florals of today, our grandma's were some serious skanks. How great is that?

Classic Zen by Shiseido: I was in Nordstroms the other day, skulking around, yearning for another sample of Chanel 22 (incense? YES PLEASE) when I passed the tiny Shiseido counter and noticed a long, floral-patterned black bottle behind register. It was the only one amongst the new, cubist bottles of modern (2007?) Zen. I was like "HEY, Shiseido lady!" And she was like "Mnnnn, can I help you?" with that 'I-am-stooping-pretty-low-to-talk-to-you,
Plebe' tone (oh Nordstrom's SAs, why so snobby?). So I made her shuffle the bottles around and pull out the black one.

So Shiseido discontinued its old Zen years ago, but I guess not very long after, people were still asking for it so they reformulated (I'm sure the new formulation is a bit watered down) their famous Zen recipe and put it out in limited distribution as "Classic: Zen", not to be mistaken with their MODERN, cube-bottled Zen (which is a completely different perfume all together) nor with their late 90s/early 2000s release of Zen: White...which I don't know anything about other than the bottle was white and looked like an alien space craft. (Dear perfume houses: reusing the same name over and over makes for a lot of confusion).

Anyway, Classic Zen! I asked to smell it and the lady made a face and said "It um...smells like something else on the skin." In the bottle it's all murky-depth, resinous and perfumey. So I asked her how much it was and was expecting like, a $60 price tag, or even $80. She checked and it was 30 dollars. THIRTY DOLLARS. I made a shocked face and was like "GIVE IT TO ME SLOWLY, OR I MAY NIP YOUR FINGERTIPS."

Anyway, Zen. What a great scent. You should all buy it because it's cheap as hell. But it's a very soft, balsamic scent with an odd, light sweetness and an interesting note that I think of as...when you're baking with bitter chocolate and afterward smell your hands and they're still softly, fragrantly chocolatey? That's what Zen smells like to me. Not a big powdery cocoa mess or overly sweet or even overly chocolatey, but like that. It's surprisingly modern and wearable for a scent that a 97-year-old woman friend of mine admitted to wearing when she was younger and "on the prowl".