A Sephora Experience
I was in the Time Warner Center Sephora the other day (that store is small; what's more you have to walk over this precarious-looking high bridge made of translucent tiles to get to it. I would probably feel safer on a rope net), sniffing this and that Jil Sander Sun for Men*, Pasha... when I came across Vera Wang for Men. I'd never smelled it before, so I gave it a whiff. Wow, the peculiar freshness almost blew me away in a flurry of Breath Savers. At first I kind of liked it it smelled familiar, but I couldn't pinpoint what it reminded me of. Then it occurred to me. It smells almost just like this fake oil I got once of DKNY for women (which one person actually said smelled like shampoo). It was virtually identical, until the fragrance dried down just a bit, when I started to notice hints of that weird greenish note in Calvin Klein's Truth for women. At that point I decided that I do not like the fragrance. It just smells odd to me, and since it smells like a fake oil, it makes me think it smells cheap. (Although I don't necessarily mind smelling cheap; sometimes cheap perfumes smell perfectly fine. In fact, I once have worn Coty's infamous Wild Woods, partly cux I liked the fact that it smelled like Gucci's Envy, partly cux I just loved that 70s-looking bottle. And partly cux I like the idea of wearing a drugstore fragrance.) I'm sure plenty of people will love it, but to me, I just don't think it works. That's that. Just in case you're curious, though, here are the notes in Vera Wang for men, courtesy of basenotes.net:
Green Mandarin Leaf, Yuzu
Nutmeg, Leather, Anise
I also smelled Liz Claiborne's Spark for Men a couple days ago, and I'm really impressed! It got good reviews on basenotes, and I smelled a fake of it that was nice, so I thought I'd go to that store in Union Square (since I was in the area) and see what it smelled like. And it's really good basically a wintry, oriental with gourmand notes. Speaking of notes, here they are:
Rum, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper
Figs, Honey, Cognac
I didn't get a chance to see how it dried down, but my initial impression was wow, this is fantastic! So I think I'll have to get some for when the weather cools down. It will be nice for every day wearing, it and Déclaration by Cartier. But I do have to check how Spark dries down before buying it, though. However, it helps that it's only $20, putting it in the same price scale as, say, Arbre from the Body Shop. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting it to be up to much, being a Claiborne scent and all, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now, this is not to say that it's some really complex scent you could get lost in, like Individuel or even Déclaration, but it's very pleasant, nonetheless, and there is that fake oil you can use to layer it with. So I guess out of 5 noses I'd give it maybe a 3.8. (Déclaration is a 5.)
Speaking of gourmand notes, I love this lotion: Wild Banana Vanilla Lotion by Pure & Basic. You can find it at Whole Foods, and I've seen it at other health-food type stores. It smells GREAT you can smell the banana if you know it's there, and also a vanilla tone, but the overall impression of it is more like butterscotch. Or caramel. Although I've only tested it out at the store, it seems to be effusive with good staying power, for a lotion, I guess. And it seems like it would work well with other foody scents, like that Desserts line I was raving about, which appears to be the one by Jessica Simpson. Or, to a degree, with scents like Spark and Angel, which have gourmand notes in them. (NOT with the fragrances from the SmellThis line, which I think are cheap and terrible, as they only smell good right when you spray them, then they break down and smell like ick.) Of course, it could also be used alone, but it just seems natural to use it with another comparable food scent, like, say, pound cake, buttery vanilla, bay rum/spice or cassis. It might even be the perfect complement to Eau de Charlotte, by Annick Goutal, a great fragrance with a cassis-like top note reminiscent of rhubarb jam underlined by a cocoa-vanilla base (I don't smell the floral middle much).
And that's the fragrance beep for now! Beep!
Spark for Men: .8
Wild Banana Vanilla Lotion: .85 Ed Shepp