We all know better by now than to expect celebrities who have done original or exciting work in their "areas of expertise" to carry that spirit of innovation over into fragrance. For most celebrities, perfume is a easy way to make money, plain and simple, and making a scent that appeals to as many consumers as possible is the logical outcome.
Still, many celebrity scents seem like reasonable olfactory representations of the stars in question, or at least, of their public personas. Despite their respective troubles, it seems fitting that Britney Spears Fantasy smells like cupcakes and musk, and that Paris Hilton gives us fruity bubble gum. Sometimes, of course, the concept is more of a stretch. Carlos Santana for women told me nothing about Carlos Santana except that he needed a few more dollars, and I'd say the same about Danielle by Danielle Steel (although she at least admitted she had nothing much to do with the fragrance itself).
So I wasn't sure what to expect from Prince's debut fragrance, 3121, but a white floral wouldn't have been my first guess if you'd asked me before I saw the notes (bergamot, jasmine, gardenia, orange blossom, muguet, tuberose, ylang ylang, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar and musk). I have no idea what kind of demographic they are reaching for, but maybe Prince just likes white florals; according to representatives from Revelations, the Pennsylvania-based company that produced 3121, Prince was "...involved at every step of the way of the evaluation of the fragrance...He loves fragrance; he burns candles at every meeting. He burns candles in his suite, his home, so he's a very fragrant person." (via myfoxphilly link no longer active, sorry!)
Prince 3121 opens on fruity-citrusy floral notes, heavy on the jasmine, and for a few minutes it is both sweet and sharp. The dry down is softer, and while the tropical florals (gardenia, tuberose, ylang ylang) are prominent, the lily of the valley and orange blossom stand out as well, especially in the early stages. It does not have the creamy tropical (or watery) feel of Marc Jacobs Perfume for women, nor is it nearly as creamy sweet as Michael Kors for women. The base is pale musky woods with just a hint of earthiness, and it gets warmer and muskier the longer it is on skin. The lasting power is excellent, but the white florals are eventually rather subtle and the musk takes center stage.
I don't like it as well as either the Marc Jacobs or the Micheal Kors (and white floral fans will want to try the new Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, which I'll review soon) and I wouldn't go so far as "Xquisite, Mysterious, Xotic", but it is a nice enough white floral. I rather doubt it is destined to inspire strong feelings either way among perfumistas, and I couldn't even begin to guess what Prince fans will think of it (although it is rare that I post a celebrity fragrance review and don't have at least one fan show up to ask why I am hating on their beloved). To my mind, it is oddly conventional, both for Prince and for its own packaging — that bottle does not look like it holds a conventionally pretty white floral, and there is nothing in the least purple-ish about the smell. I suppose it is unusual in that it is not a fruity floral laden with sugar-coated purple berries, so I'll give it that.
Prince 3121 is scheduled to launch officially on 7/7/07, but you can find it on counter now at Macys. The Eau de Parfum is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml. If you're going to buy it, you might consider purchasing the 30 ml online for $31.21 at the fragrance's website on 7/7, when 7% of the proceeds will go to charity.