Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Bath & Body Works

I gotta admit, since I live in Sweden now I do occasionally think of places like BBW.  So I had a gander on their website to see what they're offering now. So I checked out the holiday offerings: eh.  Then I clicked on View All Fragrances. And as I scrolled down, I was like, "Hey! Their fragrances have started to get sophisticated!" But then my brain corrected me: It's doubtful whether the actual fragrances have, especially considering how meh most of them usually are.  But certainly the NAMES of the fragrances, and maybe the concepts, have.  Here are some I would love to smell:

-Bonfire Maplewood (Would it smell like barbeque potato chip flavor or maple syrup? Probably the latter)

-Cranberry Pear Bellini (What's a bellini, by the by? I thought it was a potato pancake.)

-Cranberry Woods

-French Baguette----this one is really intriguing to me.  Because who hasn't wanted to find the smell of fresh bread available at your fingertips??!  I can't imagine it's photorealistic, though. And my thought is: Why bother doing it if it's not? That's the whole idea of a fresh-baked bread accord--recreate a simple, beautiful smell that everyone thought couldn't be accurately reproduced. And if it reproduces the smell of the bread and the bakery (realistically), so much the better! But having gotten excited about cheap (and expensive) scents before only to end up disappointed (too often), I won't even dare thing that this scent lives up to the hype. But if it does, I would LOVE to get my hands on it! I would put it around the house, mix up experiments with it..... If there were a BBW here and this scent was good (like the Body Shop's Steamed Milk oil a few years ago was), I would buy as much as I could.

-Mahogany Teakwood---What what?!?!  Really?? That SOUNDS great. I wonder if it smells as good as it sounds. This seems like the kind of scent I would HOPE would smell a really good interpretation of wood, complex and deep, with notes heading in directions like tobacco and incense and sap---of course the reality would probably be a thin little 'fresh wood' thing, a one-note woodamber or a re-used amber-as-in-Youth Dew thing. Basically my expectations would be very low. You'd think they would exceed them, but it doesn't usually happen.

-Marshmallow Fireside--This seems like a really good concept. But when I think about how it would be executed, I'm not sure if it could be done well. It's probably more marshmallow than fireside. In fact, I would venture to guess that the 'fireside' part of it probably is just some burnt sugar nuances, maybe even from that most ubiquitous of molecules, ethyl maltol. Speaking of which, someone by now must have named her daughter Ethyl Maltol, right? It just seems like the kind of thing someone should have done by now, someone who loves loves LOVES Angel (and a lot of people love Angel). Of course there are other caramellic notes out there, one in particular that I quite love called Homofuranol, if I have the spelling right. I think it can also be called shoyu furanone. Nice, caramel, a bit maple, bready, a little burnt. I think I prefer it to ethyl maltol, and I wonder if it's as versatile. There's also a caramellic material I've smelled called Levistamel, which I think has a pine facet (or was it celery?). I would guess you could use it (or any of them) for the sappy note that Florida pine trees have. Anyone care to comment?         Oh, and since this is called Marshmallow Fireside, I guess I should mention that I quite loved the original Fireside. It didn't smell like a fire or like smoke to me--more just like dry woods with a bit of a suede quality if I recall--but it was very, very nice. I would've worn it as a personal fragrance! (I probably did, actually--I'm prone to that sort of behavior.)

-Snowed In---I love the concepts of these types of scents. The execution almost never fails to disappoint me, however.

-Winter Night--more of the fireplace with clove and conifer and incense. Could it be as good as it sounds?

And over in the home section they have something called Cashmere Glow, which I would like to smell purely out of curiosity. See, every time I see Cashmere in the name of a scent I think "Cashmeran! It must have Cashmeran!" I don't think that's necessarily true, however. But I've heard people say that the phrase 'cashmere woods' usually refers to Cashmeran as a note, and I've smelled some cashmerical things that seemed to be about Cashmeran-----On the other hand, I'm sure there are other ways to get a 'soft' feeling in a scent, if that's what cashmere should imply. Velvione, I would presume. and Iso-E Super is famous for the 'velvety' texture it can impart, but then it's probably already in everything, even your breast milk. I would think that someone would want to do a 'cashmere without Cashmeran.' Then again, maybe people have come to expect that anything with Cashmere in the title would smell of Cashmeran.  After all, cashmere wool doesn't have a smell of its own, does it? I'm too poor to know these things. Maybe it smells like lanolin?      But antyganoo... I still think it's a little strange that this musk called Cashmeran got so associated with, well, cashmere. Because if you smell it, it's so strange---I smell something piney, clean, chemical and bright, and I get the musk aspect of it but I still haven't really gotten the cashmere aspect or the red-fruit nuance. It's also supposed to support floral notes well and have what's been described as a musty aspect that people liken to wet concrete, blood and mushroom. Are these things you think of when you think of cashmere?  I just think it's funny.  I'm sure the people who branded the molecule knew what they were doing.    And now back to the scent.  The copy says something about vanilla and peach "wrapped in the softest cashmere musk." So what say you, peeps? Is it Cashmeran?

And that's pretty much it for the scents. The only thing left to mention is the design of everything. I must say I'm impressed. I love the way the packaging looks now--has it come a long way or did I just learn to expect too little?  Even the website design is good, with a section on "exploring -their- world of fragrance."  Well done.

And I know this is a post about BBW, but I wanna mention The Body Shop briefly (and whoever accused me of being coherent in my posts anyway?!). When I was in college I expected a lot from them, probably because I still had naff, crappy taste, considering I think I still owned a bottle of Passion for Men, which may have been perfectly OK in terms of smell, but otherwise is too humiliating to contemplate. At least I always thought the bottle was ghastly. I loved Leap and the Strawberry oil that smelled like strawberry ice cream. And Satsuma, with its citrus candy, none-of-the-off-notes-of-real-citrus blaze. and later I loved some of their limited edition oils like Steamed Milk and the Almond they did, which to me smelled like the most amazing coumarin note ever and just went on and on.  That one I'm sure I wore as a fragrance, although I probably put it on my clothes.  Anyway, you get the point--I used to like them. But then something happened a few years ago, before I moved across the pond. They stopped making the cool home scent oils and came out with 3 (or is it 4?) that have never changed. One is vanilla-tonka, which sounds amazing but smells nothing like either vanilla OR tonka to me. If I had to conjecture, I'd say it smelled like a marketing meeting. And, of course, they come out with 3 Christmas scents every year: their Cranberry (which I LOVE but seldom buy--it's like cranberry but deeper, with what I've always perceived as rich, grape-like notes), something with a lemony ginger that is supposed to feel like gingerbread but is more like the spice alone (maybe whoever they get their stuff from had a lot of some ginger accord left over from when ginger was everywhere and NOT exiled to the Christmas season), and something they call Vanilla packaged in a yellowy cream color. This year it's the same. The ginger is OK--it smells like all the other gingers they've put out, and probably is. The vanilla this year is odd. I like it in the body products, where it smells rich and creamy. But in the oil (and for some reason this never comes out right with their vanillas--they've never smelled as good as a simple dilution of vanillin, or even Isobutavan, would; maybe this is due to discoloration issues) it's horrid. At least out of the bottle. Maybe diluted in the air it smells fine, but out of the bottle it's very fatty and dry, a bit coconut too but more of the fatty dryness which is unpleasant. If I were highfalutin I might say that it smells 'lactonic'--that is, of lactones (obviously), but more specifically, fatty, buttery, fruity often with a coconut angle. I kinda want to buy a bottle to see what I can do with it--experiment with blending it with other stuff and seeing what happens.  But then I smell it and I can't bring myself to buy it, because it's just not pretty. And I also remember when I've bought things like that before and it didn't end in some great mind-expanding whatever, but just with a difficult scent that I can't do anything with. Also, I much prefer mixing up things that I'm certain of what they are, so if I want to mix up a lactonic thing, I could just get some Aldehyde C-18 ("so-called," for the terminology nazis out there) and play with that, even though I'm not totally crazy about the smell of it either (but it smells better than this Body Shop thing). Because with the C18, at least you know other people are blending it too, and you can google their experiences or just ask people on basenotes about them. Whereas if you're blending up Body Shop oils, well, people might just think you're a Silly Person!  So there!

And that's the gzornk for the moment.  Flerp!

1 comment:

mandaryn said...

I get woody and mildew from Cashmeran...a very sexy mildew, right after a forbidden tryst, but yeah....mildew. Another disappointing has been of a fragranceur for the people is The Body Shop. In the 80's we wore their Woody Sandalwood when real sandalwood would've still been cheap enough to wear neat. By the time they screwed it up real Sandal cost more than gold, and only Tam Dao could save me from my sense of loss.