Saturday, January 31, 2009

Narciso Rodriguez For Her

Oooooh, I love this limited edition bottle! This is one I'd consider getting just for the bottle design - sleek and chic, it's almost up there with Pierre Dinand's Paco Rabanne Calandre for me. Let's talk about the scent: Narciso Rodriguez For Her (2003) is classified as Mossy Woods by Michael Edwards on Sephora's website. Mossy Woods = Chypre - did you know that? That's because a classical chypre accord consists of oakmoss, bergamot and labdanum (or sometimes patchouli) in the base. Likewise, the Tobacco-Leather-Animalic olfactive family is now referred to as Dry Woods. These are new classifications by Michael Edwards, replacing the H&R system of a few years back. I still use them both, because it's interesting to see the different classifications by different "systems analysts" in the fragrance field, so-to-speak.

It might be considered a Chypre but to me, it doesn't smell like a typical Chypre. Narciso Rodriguez For Her smells musky above all else. It has a deep yet linear, ultramodern ambery-woody base combined with the clear and soapy-dewy Egyptian musk (curiously listed as "solar musk" in the notes). Orange blossom is listed in the notes but again, I don't really smell it up front, which is fine because the fact that I like this perfume tells me my nose is picking up on some of my favorite sweet white floral notes in the Floral Oriental range (heart, or midrange). Overall, this is a subtly sexy, sensual blend, a very unique scent with a hint of something animalic but not enough to be labeled skanky. I consider it to be more of an evening scent because of the low notes, but it's an urbane, seasonless creation that could be worn in judicious amounts for daytime. It's a warm yet slightly bold (woods), clean body musk with an aura of perfuminess, the perfect first perfume (and already a new classic) by the hip New York-based designer.

However, being a Chypre, it is indeed a divisive scent that not everyone likes. On top of being a Chypre, it has animalic notes (honey), further making it complex and a bit risqué. I've had mixed comments while wearing it (of course it could also do with my particular chemistry and how I wear it), ranging from "sexy" to "do you have a cat?". Well, a touch of feline-animalic undertone (is there maybe a little synthetic civet or castoreum in here?) isn't a bad thing, especially if it intrigues. Even with the animalic edge, I think For Her remains a classy scent.

I think many fragrances have copied its style, from Stella by Stella McCartney to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. Still, Narciso Rodriguez could have borrowed from a lesser known but equally intriguing perfume, Cabaret by Grès, a rosier version of For Her, similar in style yet closer to the classic rose-patchouli Chypre style of Agent Provocateur (2000). I have long suspected Narciso Rodriguez For Her to contain some rose in the mix because of the similarities with these others, but perhaps I'm tuning into the ambery patchouli musk, or nouveau Chypre accord, in all of these millennial creations. Perfume Intelligence - the Encyclopaedia of Perfume lists these additional notes for the eau de parfum version: "A musky chypre edp with notes of rose and peach, being more floral than the edt with the accent on pink roses. Won the Fifi award for Women's Nouveau Niché fragrance in 2004".