Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Valentine's Day Top 10 Fragrance List

I've never smelled the original Vivara perfume by Emilio Pucci, but this vintage, somewhat space-age-looking ad makes me wish I could. The newer (but I believe already discontinued) Vivara is a fresh and pretty, albeit quirky aquatic Chypre (a bit like Lanvin Rumeur for comparison), so I'm guessing the original was a Chypre of a similar motif but of a classically mossy type (unless it was more leathery / patchouli-based than mossy). Recently, I fell in love hard with a flanker called Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330. To even my own surprise, it's an aquatic Floral, probably the most practical, boring, casual-sporty scent I've ever loved. Maybe this marks a new age in perfuming for me.

My top favorite perfumes of early 2013 are mostly centered around Water, with the central motif being aqueous notes on the greener part of the olfactory spectrum such as green tea, apple, melon and sea notes (taking the liberty to say these ozonics smell green to me--like seaweed, maybe?). Also, cliché but my taste is leaning towards roses this month. With the exception of one or two scents on my list, I believe the rose blends I currently prefer are less about smelling rosy per se, more abstract than not (though it doesn't have to be 'Chanel' abstract). There are certain notes I want to be able to discern in a blend, but with roses, I like them felt, not smelled, like I want my musical chords not entirely spelled out because I don't need them to be.

I've realized that although visually I find roses the most beautiful of all flowers, the essence leaves me lukewarm. I prefer rose with at least one other note. The scent itself for me doesn't ignite the kind of addictive passion that other sweeter flowers do. Still, the rose is integral to many of my favorite perfume compositions. You can't have a romantic (and fresh) fragrance like Creed Spring Flower without the classical heart of rose and jasmine forever married to each other like in the heart of every traditional perfume since the beginning of time. Even a sharp and soapy aquatic Green Floral like MPG Eau de Camelia Chinois couldn't communicate Old World elegance without the ever-popular and timelessly beautiful rose. Without it (and its faithful white floral partner), it would be a bitter sourpuss of an herbal tea essence. A good perfume needs to deliver the sweetness of life, even in the subtlest form. When all is said and done, the rose is only mildly sweet.

Yet I've come to appreciate the rosy soprano greens, and learned few scents are as resonantly high-pitched as my Chinese camellia. Of course, I'm not limiting myself to these spring/summery green, minty or powdery light, elegant or sporty scents; I'm quite taken with the new popular Angel on the scene, the Fruity Floral gourmand-chouli a la Lancome La Vie est Belle, and a pleasant peach-hued composition based on a lighter interpretation of the decadent style, Ivanka Trump's debut fragrance. I've found my chocolaty patchouli addictions, and they will be mine forever like my passion for the French pâtisserie.

Scent or packaging-wise, I don't think of any of these as being stereotypically feminine, save for Spring Flower with its over-the-top frou frou yet somehow sporty (nice angular bottle combined with pink) rose and gold flacon, with a crisp, green-white-and-pink floral-print ribbon adorning the neck like a scarf, as Audrey Hepburn or Vent Vert-loving Brigitte Bardot might have worn. The posh perfume is complete with a garden-(English roses?) theme girly girl packaging, good enough for a real life Barbie with a pink Bentley. That said, I also love the more androgynous offerings in plain packaging, fresh and clean, not the least bit threatening nor demanding, for just going about the day-to-day or to vacay in casual- or, heck, loungewear. What I'd like to see more of are fragrances for women that won't make us choose between being 'attractive', 'active', 'passionate', 'capable' and all that. That way, we won't be limited by our scent preferences as to who we're supposed to be, and we can enjoy being who we are, comfortable in our own skin. Now that's sexy.

2013 Valentine's Day Top 10 Fragrance List

1. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Camélia Chinois
2. Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330
3. Lancôme La Vie est Belle
4. Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose
5. Ivanka Trump by Ivanka Trump
6. Creed Spring Flower
7. Montale Aoud Rose Petals
8. Chanel N°22
9. Chanel Chance Eau Tendre
10. Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua

Happy Valentine's Day! <3