Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Twilight - The Perfume

I have a new scent obsession and its name is Twilight. Yes, I'm talking about the perfume inspired by the book series (by Stephanie Meyer) and movie. I have neither read the books nor seen the film but I have a feeling I will now have to pick up a book and at least skim through the parts that describe the scent of the characters in detail. My review is for the perfume being sold at Borders. I had first heard about this new perfume through an online friend who was kind enough to go smell it before I had the chance to, and let me know it smelled very pretty and of good quality, worthy of the trek to go sniff in person. We both thought the bottle was a blatant knockoff of Nina Ricci's perfume called Nina, an apple-shaped bottle with silver leaves - tacky to be so unoriginal but the contents of this copycat bottle (cheaper made than Nina but in a darker shade of red to give it the goth look) took me by surprise because it actually is a well composed scent. The inscription on the bottle reading "the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest" is laughable jailbait material, but the perfume inside is not your average teenybopper body spray. Twilight is gifted with a mature charm called subtlety, unfolding in layers at that.

The notes given are lavender and freesia but we smell white musk (I wouldn't say it's like Amazing Grace but it's a white musk, just less musky, less obvious than most) and woods (I would say there's a trace of cedar and patchouli) - my friend also smells in it cool incense and moss (she has a terrific nose). Overall, it's a cool, aromatic scent that starts out bracing and ends on a beautiful floral note. The lavender is of fine quality, and as my friend noted, the perfume has a deep, chypre-like richness, although it is a light and ethereal scent. Very surprisingly, I'm reminded of the cool wooded tones in vintage Givenchy III...briefly, and without all the leather-gardenia. I think if you don't like lavender, it would be hard to like, because that is the predominant note until the final dry down. I'd always adored lavender in Guerlain Jicky and Serge Lutens Gris Clair, and just as I'd hoped, the freesia note gave the lavender in Twilight the desired amount of underlying sweetness.

I also sense in this blend a very subtle honeylike musky (baby product-ish) base, almost reminiscent of DK Cashmere Mist or Avon Sweet Honesty except Twilight isn't nearly as powdery sweet and heavy. (Edited to add) I'm also reminded of Burberry The Beat, especially the woody-musky and slightly spicy part. These perfumes I compared to Twilight are Oriental whereas Twilight is definitely more of a fougere-Floral. The dry down of Twilight is a bit aqueous and floral-green, even a touch fruity, like how Herbal Essence shampoo once smelled: clean, light and evanescent, all with a pleasant, cool lavendery herbaceous spiciness. I think of The Cloisters, or more accurately, their medieval garden in which herbs from the time period are grown. I think of wet stones and echoing Gregorian chants. However, it's not as classic-smelling as you might imagine, either. I think if Clinique Happy turned into a high-pitched aromatic floral, it could smell like Twilight. Lavender to some noses, especially young ones, might be a bit bracing like aftershave, but underneath the spiky herbs, Twilight is a delicious, youthfully light, perfectly retro-modern floral for our time. I wonder if the Borders bottles are selling for half the price at Hot Topic - does anyone know if this is so, and why?

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Added on 1/14/09 - Nina Ricci to sue makers of Twilight, Posted by Robin on 14 January 2009, Now Smell This