So I'm at Åhléns tonight, and I see the new Ralph Lauren garish number thingies are out for women now. In pink, yellow, purple and something else. And they have descriptions! The yellow is Radiant Floral. The purple something like Delicious Oriental (maybe luscious oriental). I don't feel like doing a whole clinical trial, so I pick one to try out, and it's the yellow. It helps that it's a "radiant floral." I don't expect much, because the ones for men were a disappointment. At least they looked better, however, with their bold colors and bottle in the same shape as the original Polo. And the sporty number thing worked better with those. But with these women's ones, the bottles are longer and the whole thing is just hideous. Just hideous. Makes me think of the word 'chav.' Anyway, here's how the yellow smelled:
Ghastly. Just ghastly.
Actually, at first sniff, it smelled pretty much just like Ralph. At subsequent sniffs, like Ralph with a grotesque peach note grafted on. To understand the peach note, you have to understand how I smell aromachemicals.
I'm not terribly organized with my smell collection or my approach to it. All the chems are sitting in a wooden box in the closet (it used to be a paper box), and a most unfortunate thing has happened in that since they've been in this small box, they all smell exactly the same straight from the bottle--like some funk made from a bunch of aromachemicals stored in a small box. So if I want to really get their character, I have to put them on paper. But that's not important. What is important is that I don't bother to dilute them to what I really should if I'm going to evaluate their odors. I just smell them 100%, which means I don't get a good idea of what they can do. Until I mix them into something. The 'toilet smell'--the ongoing perfume experiment in a bottle which we spray when the bathroom stinks--is one of those somethings. This means that Florhydral smells like something harsh and phenolic, much the same as Florosa, cyclamen aldehyde and Lyral, more or less. Dimethyl hydroquinone smells a bit leathery. And Exaltolide smells like nothing at all (until it's blended, when it does something. I can't explain it yet, but it just does something really good). And peachy lactonic things smell like dry, awful, horrible, sour, cheap peach.
This is what I smell in The Yellow Thing. That cheap, sour peachy thing. With a melon kind of nuance. And Ralph. Which kinda always smelled like a base with an apple modification. A base like Ultrazur or Dossinia, which smells kinda like every perfume smelled at a particular point in time (Ultrazur the 'seashore' things of the 90s; Dossinia those 'eau fraiches' of today and yesterday). The mixture of these notes reminds me of something horrible I once mixed up with those fre-fab fragrance oils you can usually find at some cheapish soap/potpourri/oil store. I think I mixed up a peach with a watermelon, and maybe with some geranium. Factor in that powdery smell that you get 5 minutes after putting on any of those really low-priced single-note fragrance oils (what is that? Is it the solvent?), and you get what I made for my friend Mark, who said he liked the combination of watermelon and baby powder, something I still can't get my mind around.
A bit later the peachy note is really prominent, and still unpleasant. I wonder if I'm correct in thinking it's a peach/apricot thing. A bit later it seems to have a touch of melon, but it does not improve things.
A bit later when I hold the strips right up to my nose and concentrate, there's almost a hint of those candy cigarettes that Mom dubiously bought us when we were kids. And maybe, if my nose doesn't deceive me, a faint, faint hint of a mild clove-carnation thing that I hope will get stronger. It doesn't, and I assume my nose deceived me. And while I hoped the candy cigarette smell would take over, it doesn't. I think about what a perfume composed entirely of candy cigarette smell, maybe with a bit of Smarteez mixed in (I sometimes smell this in tuberose scents). Would I like it?
EDIT: (How could I have forgotten this?) After thinking about candy cigarettes, I tried inhaling the aroma through my mouth to see if I could get another dimension from it. I saw this in a book once and have tried it multiple times. It's never been pleasant. But I figure it will help me deduce whether there is indeed some kind of candy cig thing going on here. But I try it and am gettin nothin. So I tear off a small piece of the end of the blotter and put it on my tongue, like you'd do with a quite different type of blotter. Immediately I get a taste, which is kinda bitter and metallic, but not much of a flavor. And I keep hoping that maybe flavor will come to me, that it will be like some kind of flowery fruit punch, but it doesn't. Maybe I need to adjust the technique.
Later on it just smells like the base. With watermelon. And this reminds me of that perfume Lancaster. You could put it on for free in the bathroom at the Roxy in NYC. How appropriate.
A couple hours after the initial spray it's still that thin, base-y, watermelony smell. Horrid. Too thin. Smells like it's made entirely of synthetics. Nils says it smells like watermelon, kind of like detergent. He finds it unoffensive, summery. Yes, it's summery, but you can get summery done a million times better elsewhere.
One good thing about it: Smelling the strip and then smelling my hand, on which I've sprayed That Thing I'm Always Working On now (spicy floral coumarin thing, because those are my favorite notes, with a toosh of castoreum and wood), makes what's on my hand smell rich and complex and huge, like purple velvet curtains that go on for miles and miles.
My verdict, for what it's worth: I hate this shit. I probably won't smell the others. This smells like what one of those all-pink teenage girl bedrooms in a Mcmansion in suburban Florida looks like. Avoid it. If you want to smell like hair conditioner with peaches, just get the fake Ralph that I have--it's a roll-on called Aqua that I got at Duane Reade, a drug store in NYC--and put on some of that Claire Burke peach potpourri oil. Actually, you might smell better.