Anne Pliska ~ perfume review

Anne Pliska perfume

Anné Pliska's eponymous perfume, launched in 1987, has long been a cult favorite among perfumistas. About Anné Pliska herself, I know virtually nothing except that she is based in California, and is apparently very good at maintaining her privacy in the internet age.

I tried Anné Pliska some years ago and didn't love it: it was too cold and amber-y to suit my tastes. Alyssa over at Perfume Smellin' Things suggested I ought to give it another try, figuring that if I loved Fendi Theorema, surely Anné Pliska ought to have a second chance. Her description: "Pliska is like Theorema's chic, stern Aunt, one with a scandalous past that her niece knows nothing about...".

Anné Pliska's affinity with Theorema is strongest in the top notes, which feature lots of juicy orange over a soft oriental blend of amber and vanilla (the notes: bergamot, mandarin, jasmine, amber, patchouli, geranium, musk and vanilla). The orange lasts through the heart notes, but gets drier and more like orange peel than juice, meanwhile, the amber heats up over a warm, woody-resinous base with a touch of patchouli and spice. The vanilla is used lavishly, but there is something cold about it, especially in the dry down, so that despite the gourmand notes it doesn't feel foody in the least.

Alyssa is right about the "chic, stern" part. Theorema's bright orange, deep spices and squishy-creamy undertones make it the perfect winter comfort scent; Anné Pliska is too chic to be comforting (for me, anyway). Theorema is expansive and welcoming, Anné Pliska is sober and sophisticated. Theorema calls for your softest cashmere sweater and a wood fire, Anné Pliska you might wear with a little black dress and high heels.

Anné Pliska is also frequently compared to Calvin Klein Obsession and Guerlain Shalimar, but it is a simpler, more restrained fragrance than either. Moreover, whereas Obsession and Shalimar (love them or hate them) feel firmly bound to their respective release dates, Anné Pliska's comparative austerity gives it a timeless feel — it could have been launched yesterday.

The verdict: lovely stuff, but not me. But do bear in mind that I'm such a philistine that I prefer Shalimar Light (e.g., Diet Shalimar) to the real thing.

By today's niche fragrance standards, Anné Pliska is a veritable bargain at $58 for 60 ml Eau de Parfum, although I should warn that the image above shows the Parfum (also reasonably priced at $68 for 7.5 ml) as the packaging for the Eau de Parfum is too hideously ugly to contemplate.

Anné Pliska is available in Eau de Parfum, Parfum, and Body Creme. For buying information, see the listing for Anné Pliska under Perfume Houses.

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24 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is beautiful juice, but not for me either. I'm not the little black dress type, and I got a tough too much geranium out of it. On others I know it's divine, and it gets way too few mentions. Kudos to you for bringing it back to everyones attention.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you ever feel that your nose emphasizes the notes you don't like, and de-emphasizes the ones you want? I can barely make out the geranium after the first 30 minutes have passed. I'd like more of it, I think. And I'm not the little black dress type either :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I remember Thisbe's review on makeupalley made me long to try this scent way back when :-) She too described it as cold. Strangely enough, it is a very warm scent on me. And just too ambery :-(

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can seriously see describing as either warm or cold, and will refuse to defend or explain that statement, LOL…but it isn't *warming* on me at all, or comforting, or whatever.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm fascinated by what apparently is the new color of the parfum. Mine is much darker and more in keeping w/ what I think the scent smells like. I used to really enjoy this scent, but ended up falling out of love w/ it when I exited my last vanilla appreciation stage. You're so right about the packaging of the edp – it is mystifyingly hideous. I've always wanted to know who chose it and why. Was someone thinking that any press is good press and that if they could get people talking about it being one of the (if not *the*) ugliest bottles in production, that that would be a good thing?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The color in that shot is alarmingly neon pink, and entirely out of keeping w/ what you'd expect from the smell. Perhaps it is just the lighting?

    I seriously think you could sell tons of this stuff in a better EdP bottle, and for that matter, an Eau de Toilette with the top notes livened up a bit would be a welcome addition.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Huh. I keep most of my bottles in their boxes — I'll have to dig it out and squint at the hideousness, I've never really noticed it before.
    : )
    Glad you gave it a go, Robin. I predicted the amber would defeat you, but that doesn't seem to be it, eh? More of an attitude problem (the perfume's of course, not yours!).
    I'm not the little black dress type at all–on me the amber is quite warm. The aunt lets her hair down somewhere along into the drydown. But then, I'm a big fan of Ambre Russe, too.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad I gave it a go too — I like it much better than I did the first time around, and while it isn't “total love”, it's a great scent, much more impressed this time. Thank you again!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I keep trying. I have a decant. I get: Playdoh playdoh playdoh (I would have sworn this had heliotrope) mber amber amber amberamberamberamberamber until I squirt something on top of it in a fit of pique.
    You are right — for something built around ostensibly warm, joyous amber it's oddly aloof. But I admire it, and it's infinitely preferable to all sorts of other choices.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My initial testing notes from a few years back say play doh. I wore it about 5 times over the past couple weeks, and got overt play doh only twice. So sometimes it has heliotrope, sometimes it doesn't ;-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Piping up for the little black dress and heels contingent.

    This really works for me. I get (thankfuly) no Play Doh at all. What I do get is what I'll call a reserved warmth. I liken it to one of those industry networking events. You go in not knowing anyone and are a bit formal and reserved at first, but as the evening wears on and you find someone comfortable to chat with, you relax and warm up considerably.

    The opening notes seems perfectly right when I'm dressing to go out, and the drydown is just right for relaxing in a comfy chair, kicking off those high heels and putting your feet up at the end of an evening.

    Definitely agree on the homely bottle. It isn't one that I keep out on my vanity.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sigh. I WISH I got something that suggested a little black dress and high heels. Instead, I get orange creamsicle. I have heard that others do, too, but mostly they seem to like it, and I. . . DON'T.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank HEAVENS you wrote that, L/J, because I just don't get this one *at all* – creamsicle all the way. This is just the most criminal thing on me.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Somuchwoman, I am cracking up at “industry networking events” — that is really funny!

  15. Anonymous says:

    J, I read the orange creamsicle description everywhere. Theorema is much closer to creamsicle to me (and might be why I love it).

  16. Anonymous says:

    Having trouble w/ the creamsicle=bad idea myself, LOL…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Because of various reviews, I thought I would love this scent. But I don't. I definitely smell playdough. The drydown is Shalimar-ish which I used to love but now find too sweet and cloying. Ah, my nose is changing. Once I started trying scents by LesNez, L'Artisan, and other niche perfumers (and discovered that I love the smell of leather, burning leaves, and cedar) I entered a new world. I'm turning into a fragrance snob I think. When I ask the SA at Macy's about Mechant Loup and she has never heard of it, I think “poor her”, when I can't afford a single bottle (not decant…I want the whole bottle now), and when all the fragrances I love are ones none of my friends own, I know that I have crossed some invisible line.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I'm a perfume snob too, but think of AP as firmly niche — almost nobody has heard of it. But I can't argue w/ Mechant Loup, it's lovely :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is a particularly aggressive brute of a creamsicle.

  20. Anonymous says:

    LOL — that must be it. I like the smell of creamsicle myself.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I must say, I was disappointed when I finally received a sample. I found the fragrance to be too sweet and sticky for my liking. I like heavy and floral fragrances but this one just smelled like synthetic candy to me. As they say: Different folks different strokes…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Really? I don't find it that candied at all, even w/ all the vanilla in the dry down. Were you trying the parfum or EdP?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Talk about instant gratification (almost): Read your review Thursday, immediately ordered a $5 sample online for kicks, and was dabbing the body creme on my wrist Saturday afternoon.

    This was a nice scent — after the sugary orange opening, I think it develops a lot of complexity in the drydown with the mingling of vanilla, amber and patchouli. I'm not a fan of vanilla, but it didn't bother me here. I can understand why this has fans.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I can see why it has fans too, even though it doesn't wow me personally. It is very nicely done. I hear the cream is nice? Actually, if the orange lasts longer in the cream than it does in the EdP, I might like it better.

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