Perfume: on smelling your age

Yves Saint Laurent Paris advert

Are certain perfumes better for people of certain ages? Short answer: no. Aside from toddlers smelling like they’ve emerged from a bordello (and I believe Pampers has avoided this faux pas so far), no.

That said, some fragrances definitely ring the bell of a particular time in life, and it pays to be aware of the vibe your fragrance puts out. Since trends have buffeted perfume just as they have hairstyles and hemlines, women who hit their stride during a certain era might still cling to a scent that was fashionable then, even if they’re otherwise up to date on style.

For instance, aquatic fragrances were all the rage in the early 1990s. Women who still wear Issey Miyake Eau d’Issey smell squarely middle-aged to me. A waft of Yves Saint Laurent Paris is a tip-off, too, that its wearer came of age in the late 1980s, early 1990s…

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Tim McGraw Silver ~ fragrance review

McGraw Silver cologne for men

Yesterday we reviewed Faith Hill True, and now it’s time to move on to her husband and Tim McGraw Silver. I liked McGraw by TimMcGraw and thought Silver was worth a try.

Silver is our only masculine offering of the week. What makes a particular fragrance “masculine” to you? For the most part, I ignore the distinction between feminine and masculine fragrances — except in the case of a fougère.1 Something about their in-your-face quality, how they’re so often over-applied, the short leap between many and Drakkar Noir moves a fougère far, far from a woman’s dressing room. Silver is an aromatic fougère…

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Faith Hill True ~ fragrance review

Faith Hill True

What does a “clean” fragrance mean to you? Answers usually fall into one of three categories: citrus, aquatic or laundry musk. Faith Hill True combines all three of these types, and, surprisingly, the result is a fresh, easy perfume that isn’t as Cleaning Lady as it sounds.

True was launched in 2010, and was the second Faith Hill fragrance. Its notes include yuzu, mimosa, lily, gardenia, woods, sandalwood and musk. I thought the original Faith Hill was a pretty, nicely made floral — a great find in the drugstore. Since I reviewed the very first celebrity fragrance, Elizabeth Taylor Passion, yesterday, it seemed fitting to review a more recent celebrity fragrance today…

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Elizabeth Taylor Passion ~ fragrance review

Elizabeth Taylor Passion

Here we have it, folks, the first celebrity fragrance: Elizabeth Taylor Passion. That’s right. In 1987, Elizabeth Taylor was the first big name, besides a couturier, to brand a perfume. And she went big. Unlike some celebrities who curiously say, “I don’t really like perfume, but I like this one” about their eponymous “clean smelling” scents, Taylor put together a glamorous whopper of a perfume.1

Passion’s notes include gardenia, jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, amber musk, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, incense, and moss. In 1988, the fragrance won a FiFi as the Women’s Fragrance of the Year, Nouveau Niche (Fendi won Fragrance of the Year, Luxe).

Jan Moran in Fabulous Fragrances quotes Taylor as saying about Passion, “It has a scent of mystery, slightly effusive, kind of smoky and sweet.” As to why she named the fragrance Passion…

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Avon Femme ~ fragrance review

Avon Femme

As long as Rochas Femme is still on the market, it takes a lot of moxie to name another fragrance “Femme.” When I think of Femme, I envision Edmond Roudnitska’s creation and an elegant yet curiously raunchy perfume that suits a woman of singular character. This Femme ignores focus groups and cleaves to an artist’s imagination. The Femme woman stands out today for her sure — if unfashionable — presence, and although opinions might be mixed, you don’t forget her. What’s Avon going to do with that?

“All eyes will be on you in this glamorous silhouette of rich jasmine petals and stunning magnolia touched with radiant amberwoods,” the copy on the Avon Femme sample’s folder reads. Additional notes include pink grapefruit, violet, plum, wild orchid, peach skin, musk, and woody notes. Hmm. Peach skin and plum. Jasmine. The wood and musk that some perfume houses use to simulate oakmoss. Could Avon possibly….?

Nope. Avon Femme is worlds away from Rochas Femme…

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