Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two or Three Scents I've Put in Heavy Rotation Lately

Jil Sander: Scent 79 Woman/Man

Not so distantly related to Chanel No. 19, Scent 79 Woman is a marvel on the skin, balancing fruit (cranberry, peach) and what smells like galbanum against may rose, jasmine, and iris in perfect proportion.  The fragrance lasts forever, not just on the skin but in the 4.2 oz, Noguchi-like bottle, a white, bifurcated block of glass.  Everything about Scent 79 Woman is
 great.  Even the box is unusual, oversized and imposing, a real treat to open up.  The bottle rests inside like a Matryoshka doll.  Scent 79 is quite different, but recalls, for me, Krizia Moods, too.  Moods seems to use linden against fruity elements in a similar way, though animalic notes weigh it down, anchoring it in darker territory, whereas Scent 79 Woman is bright and cheerful, on the surface at least.  It has an interesting, edgy tension.

Scent 79 Man stays much closer to the skin but lasts just as impressively as its sister.  Again, there's a wonderfully unlikely balance, from bottom to top.  The literature on Scent 79 Man implies much development.  I don't experience it, but the balance itself is plenty complicated.  It's an unusual structure, closest I think to Chanel Antaeus, though, again, not animalic in the slightest.  Tobacco, faint hints of leather, angelika, clary sage and frankincense are the things I notice first.  Spending more time with the fragrance, I get the jasmine, violet and iris.  The perfumer behind Man is Marc Buxton. 79 Man is EDP and also 4.2 oz, the bottle black to Woman's white.  Both are available at Neiman Marcus and well worth the 90 bucks. 

Paloma Picasso: Tentations

Months back, I took home a 5 ml sample of Tentations from the local Korean-owned discount fragrance store.  They had many discontinued items but Tentations wasn't one of them.  The sample smelled somewhat off to me and at first I didn't like it.  I felt I should have it, because it's discontinued and it's Sophia Grojsman, whom I love, but doubted I'd buy a full bottle even if one were available.  I couldn't really see any similarities between Tentations and Grojsman's more widely known work, like Paris, or even her more relatively obscure scents, like, say, Yvresse.  A few days ago, I visited the Russian-owned perfume kiosk at the mall and discovered two bottles of Tentations.  Smelling it, I knew instantly that I'd been right about the sample, but it wasn't as far off as I'd imagined it must be.  Truth is, Tentations opens on a weird little medley of notes including peach, pepper, and orange blossom.  Under that you can smell, most immediately, carnation and cinnamon.  The combination of peach and pepper is odd and intriguing, lovelier than you think it could be.  The addition of cinnamon is weirder still.  Carnation only makes things more peppery.  I love Tentations, its rich but subtle spices and the way it plays out quietly on the skin, and I'm baffled why it didn't thrive, where other Grojsman scents, much louder, have demonstrated remarkable longevity in the marketplace.  Tentations, I also realized, is distinctly in keeping with Grosjman's other work.  The peach recalls Yvresse.  The carnation, Elizabeth Taylor's Diamonds and Rubies.  The spices put it right alongside Spellbound, which seems in some ways like Tentations jacked up on steroids.  Like the majority of Grojsman's scents, Tentations lasts well.


Flora said...

I have never even HEARD of Tentations, was it ever released in the U.S.? With all the new releases coming at us all the time it would be easy to miss, but I would think that a Paloma Picasso scent would at least cause a blip on the radar.

It sounds just weird enough that I am intrigued, I will have to watch the discounters for it.

The Jil Sander 79 Woman sounds like a real winner, I really must try it. I am a big fan of galbanum and all the other notes you mentioned as well. And the size of the bottle - wow!

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Absolutely! I reaaallly like 79 Man, and have been thinking I need to do a review of it. Now if I can just get a sample off the Neiman's ladies...
I like 79 Woman, too, but the Man is more distinctive to me, somehow.

Brian said...

What is UP with me? Why has it taken me two months to respond to these comments? I apologize. I'd never heard of Tentations, either, Flora. I first read about it on nowsmellthis, where perfumers and their creations are listed in a general "perfumer glossary". I generally look up perfumers there as they hit my radar. Sophia was one of the first, as I grew up with her fragrances, probably more so than any other perfumer. I'm always curious about the perfumes which don't make it. Not every perfumer puts out one hit after another, but rare perfumers like Sophia G seem to hit the mark more often than seems humanly possible. This makes their commercial "failures" that much more intriguing to me, indicating they must have something not just original but odd. Tentations delivers on that promise. Strangely, it's both more subtle and more jarring than other SG perfumes. Spellbound is to me her most intense fragrance, with all the dials turned up to ten. Tentations has a bass to treble ratio which produces a pretty curious effect, similar to Chinatown. At times you hear the bottom without the top; other times, vice versa.

The scents 79 are worth your effort, Flora. I continue to love them, several months later, and almost had the Man stolen out from under me, a good friend liked it so much. The tobacco note in it is really pretty remarkable. Did you ever review it, Aimee? I'll have to go check now.

Sands Murray-Wassink said...

very helpful review brian, thank you so much!