Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao

If you want an occasional switch from the deep, emotional intensity of my Persephone perfume (which to me is more like a dark chocolate berry truffle with a dainty edible flower attached, best eaten inside an imaginary incense-burning monastery...or a bar), this could be your swing scent. I'm pleased to know they're in the same family of fruity-chocolatey-floral Gourmands that I've been loving so much for the past year. That's right; I'm a Foodyfloral scent lover and no amount of evangelizing and ostracizing will force me to love green, sharp, soapy, powdery, musky, unsweet woods and/or animalic scents, and let vanilla be maligned. This is like saying composers shouldn't write with retro sounds or mix other musical styles in recordings, and people shouldn't listen to old albums. Besides, I don't care if vanilla becomes passe--I will continue to eat it and wear it. Anyway, there's a mass campaign to try to dissuade us from all scents vanillic now but remember: Guerlain simply wouldn't be Guerlain without their luscious vanilla. If for the time being we must continue loving our Gourmands through chocolate instead, I say let the new vanilla take over the shelves in relentless droves.

But what about skin scents? Don't we all want the elusive skin scent, and wouldn't foody be the antithesis of that? People ask what a skin scent is all the time. Well, a skin scent to me is an abstract, subjective term meaning a scent that my own skin smells good in, like my own preferred second skin, but it seems what it really means now is "the closest approximation to the animalic smell of one's own human flesh amplified" or, shall we say, deified. I don't know about you but I'm content smelling like something delicious and fresh, not like glorified BO but like things in life that bring me pleasure, whatever they may be. I perfume to please myself and dislike fashion that will dictate what's correct to wear now. "Perfumistadom" has gone too far if fashion dictates odor-flavor preference. Chocolate makes me happy, damn it, and so does vanilla. Let people smell like unwashed root vegetables and raw animal hide. Let *me* smell sweet in peace--yeah, I'm such a heathen that way.

I have another favorite new find, and what do you know: it's a chocolate scent! Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao is a fresh, fruity chocolate-woods scent that's sheer (Cologne-although it's like EDT strength) and relatively light for a low-pitched, sweet dessert-type scent. The chocolate note is thankfully obvious to me from the start. It's more like milk chocolate than dark but it's no ordinary chocolate as it's packed with unexpected flavor combinations that work. At first, it reminds me of Smarties candy or Ramune drink with a cool, fresh, slightly chalky-fruity aftertaste, but it's also a bit flowery in that soapy-powdery, linden or lime blossom-like way (if you've tried Jo Malone French Lime Blossom, you might imagine a similar kind of soft, powdery, floral dry down). OK, so instead of a vanillic sweet dry down, what we now have is a retro flowery powdery accord mixed with some nostalgic Ovaltine.

I'm not sure if I actually love this scent enough to buy yet but I feel like it grew on me really fast, and I can't stop spritzing my sample often (in part because it fades kind of fast--but again, it is Cologne, not EDT). If Guerlain Metallica is my evening Gourmand signature with spicy florals over sensual, creamy vanilla...like a heavenly dollop of fresh Devonshire cream...this one would be my simplified, more transparent Gourmand for daytime and perhaps, it's perfect for summer. In a way, it reminds me of Vera Wang Princess and Green Lady Soaps Vanilla Ice Cream, but it's definitely chocolatey, not vanillic, and it's such a unique, intriguing though well-mannered scent. It has one strange ozonic or industrial note in it and I can only imagine this is what gives it the non-vanillic "modern edge" because the rest is all about simple pleasures: the salty ocean air mingling with cool aloe, juicy guava or starfruit and a gourmet semi-sweet Swiss (or Dutch) chocolate muffin...all together as an experiential scent in my mind. I might call it a Spa Gourmand--it's really that serene. Must be endorphins or something in the experience, but don't let that persuade you to let me actually enjoy it.

Music: "Over My Head" -The Fray
"Writing Sins Not Tragedies" -Panic! At the Disco