Friday, November 12, 2004

Here's the Story

I came across the holiday disc for Febreze Scentstories the other day in KMart. What a disappointment. I'm no closer to wanting to buy one of those players than I ever was before. Here are the scents on it:

1. Mulling Cranberry Cider
2. Baking Holiday Pies
3. Lighting a Mulberry Candle
4. Making a Gingerbread House
5. Cookies Warm from the Oven

How lame. They should've listened to my suggestion for what to put into a holiday disc. What they've come up with is a big yawm. It starts out well--spiced cranberry is always a good idea for the holidays, and the holiday pies thing is also good, if unimaginative. But then they go to this 'lighting a mulberry candle.' If this were a real story, as in a written narrative, that would be the point at which I threw the book in the garbage. I mean, how is that supposed to fit into an interesting holiday narrative?! And do you light the candle for 30 minutes?!?! More importantly, however, mulberry is LAME. It's the ultimate cheap shizzly scent--that's the reason why you can find a mulberry candle in every Wal-Mart and discount store in the country. Personally I think most mulberry scents smell like a bathroom--they remind me of those urinal cakes with the unpleasant odor, for some reason. But furthermore, if you already have a cranberry-type fragance, why would you then do a mulberry-type one for the next 'movement'??! It's stupid. Then the disc moves to gingerbread and then cookies. It seems like this scent category should've been covered in the holiday pie part. In fact, there shouldn't have been a holiday pie one--maybe gingerbread should've been there. If they were going to put another gourmand type scent, why not spiced eggnog? As for the disc as a whole, WHERE is the pine?!?! You'd think that pine would be a necessity, right? Even if you're trying to appeal to people of every religious stripe, pine is still a benchmark of the holiday season--it's in all the stores; there's even a pine wreath in their marketing!! (And let's be serious here--who is possibly buying these Scentstories things, anyway? I really doubt that a huge part of the market for it is Jewish and Muslim families. Personally I think the people who are buying it are married women in middle America who wear those homemade holiday sweatshirts and vastly self-identify as Christian.) And while some might consider a pine scent hackneyed, I would argue that a really WELL DONE one (like Yankee Candle's Christmas Wreath) isn't trite, but rather, it's timeless. So the Febreze people really dropped the ball on this one. The job they did is especially pathetic considering the plethora of scents they could've chosen from for a holiday disc: clove-orange ("making a pomander"); peppermint ("making candy canes"); cocoa ("making holiday cocoa"); bayberry ("standing under the mistletoe"); 'hollyberry' ("making a holiday wreath"), etc.... All in all I'd give their holiday effort an F, because it lacks any semblance of imagination or even boldness (they could've put interesting, lush scents in there, but they played to what was safe). I can't see that I will ever buy one of those scentstories contraptions now; they're destined to be permanently lame--hopefully they'll be withdrawn from the market within the next 6 months.

In other news, I caught the commercial for Chanel's No 5 last night, the little mini-movie with Nicole Kidman. The 'movie' itself is quick-cut and attractively shot. I think it moves a little too quick to be understood--it comes off as a bit incoherent. I think it's supposed to be moving; it's not. Interestingly, Nicole Kidman doesn't look as pretty as she should in the commercial. You'd think that since it was produced by a beauty company, they would make her look even more luminescent, which is what usually happens when an actress does an ad campaign for a cosmetics company. Not this time. Part of it is that butter-yellow blond hair she has in it, which doesn't really look good on her. The rest, I guess, is the makeup. (Or maybe she's just too thin.) Does the commercial do a good job of selling No. 5? Well, it works about as well as their magazine ads, and if it intends to make younger people interested in wearing the perfume, then I suppose it's successful. Was it worth the $12 million they paid Nicole Kidman to do it? Probably not. But then if you're Chanel, I guess that kind of $ doesn't really matter, does it?

And that's the fragrance beep for today.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Blips from the Aside

This weekend I trekked out to Yankee Candle to get a bunch of Christmas scents--Christmas Wreath, Home for the Holidays, etc. I went to early because the only Yankee Candle I know of is out in New Jersey, and I hate making the trip, so I decided I'd get it over with (imagine my delight when they told me at the store that there's a Yankee Candle at South Street Seaport in Manhattan now). I ended up getting a bunch of the simmering tarts, in various flavors. It was a productive trip. However, I'll write about those scents later, as I want to post a survey of the different holiday scents out there. So for this entry, I'm just putting up some quick blips about other interesting stuff I found.

While I was at that mall with Yankee Candle in it, I popped into Bath & Body Works to look around. Mostly to smell the holiday scents again and see if I still had the same opinion on them as I did at first. Tree still smells just a bit too cedar-y, but it might work; also, I was right about Winterberry, in that it does have an evergreen note in it. I like that one best. After looking at the holiday scents, I moved on to the Henri Bendel collection. They had a greater variety of scents there than I've seen at the stores in Manhattan. Some scents I haven't seen before were Lavender Leaves, a nicely natural lavender smell; Birch, a really well done light woody and slightly earthy smell; and White Pepper, a pleasant scent. I don't recall if I've seen it before (I don't think I have), but there was also one called White Lily, a really wonderful scent reminiscent of certain floral oils I've smelled before (synthetic repros of orange blossom or pikake), but with a depth, fullness and softness that made it a truly wonderful scent.

The store didn't have the Jeff Leatham candles, which was disappointing. They also didn't have that food-scents line that I saw on their website the last time I visited. I know this because the person I asked about the Jeff Leatham line thought I meant the food-scent line. She mentioned a specific candle from said line that I wasn't aware of: Mashed Potatoes. She said that it really does smell like hot buttered mashed potatoes. Interesting.

The other little blip to mention is a candle I saw at a different store back in Manhattan. I was looking through the scents from The Thymes collection, and I smelled one called Agarwood Incense. I'm not sure if I've experienced this one before; maybe I did and it smells different to me this time around (it happens). Well, I wish I'd smelled it better before, because it had the right type of odor that I wanted to use for my Hallooweegan party. It struck me this time around as very cistus-labdanum, very deep, hay-like, with a hint of a certain leather kind of smell. It would have been nice to use. Alas!

And that's the fragrance beep for now.