Gucci – Rush

Gucci Rush

Gucci Rush

Like many dedicated perfumistas, my fragrance collection spans a wide variety of genres: from the ultra-rare and “très cher” to the timeless and chic, without discrimination for cost, high or low as it may be. After all there are still bargain fragrances out there, and while the folks at Chanel would have us forget, there was a time when Chanel No 5 could be found in drugstores.

All of this by way of introduction. While some fragrances are no doubt contemplative à la Serge Lutens or intellectual (here’s looking at you Guerlain), we must all leave a bit of room for pure, unadultered joy.

No fragrance lends itself better to this category in my opinion than Gucci Rush. Though it has references to some of the great classics, like Mitsouko and Diorella, they are delivered with the tongue in cheek, larger-than-could-possibly-be-tasteful style of Gucci under Tom Ford’s reign.

Gucci Rush starts off with a blast reminiscent of hairspray and fruit – in fact it feels like poking your head into a young woman’s room as she is preparing for a fun night out with friends: scented bath gel, fruity shampoo, hairspray, perfume and body lotion. Rush is like a cacophony of scents that should not work together but absolutely do, as evidenced by the number of suitors this young woman has attracted after a night of dancing.

Rush’s white florals are sparkling and playful, leaving the heavier indoles to its more serious floral sisters. A hint of coriander lends dry spice and drama to the fragrance and keeps it from veering into a traditional fruity floral. The drydown is pure, if not strange, olfactory heaven.

Rush morphs into a synthetic milky peach which lacks Mitsouko’s solemnity but is nevertheless beautiful. Similar to Dior’s Diorella, Rush’s peach is warmed and mellowed by patchouli, but Rush manages to maintain a modern, slightly plasticky edge.

Rush is a terrific fragrance for going out, or for those days when the gravity of life is too much to handle. Despite the beauty and elegance of its composition, Rush does not take itself too seriously (as evidenced by it’s plastic, cassette-like flacon) and maintains a joyful edge.

While with most posts I search for an image to convey the visual equivalent of the olfactory sensation, Rush couldn’t be contained to a two-dimensional image. Embedded then is a link to a remix of French singer Yelle’s “A Cause de Garçons” – the perfect combination of fun, trash, brash and the simple joy of movement. What a genius Michel Almairac has proven to be.

Notes: Gardenia, Freesia, Jasmine, Rose, Coriander, Vanilla, Patchouli, Vetiver.


Cartier – Eau de Cartier Concentree

Cartier – Eau de Cartier Concentree

Cartier Eau de Cartier Concentree_100ml_EdT

Following its launch of Eau de Cartier in 2001, Cartier followed up with a related fragrance, not so much a flanker as a reinforced version of the original. Released in 2002, perfumer Christine Nagel amplified certain of the aspects of the original with the addition of spice notes and, as the name implies, intensifying the concentration. While the original Eau de Cartier was an excellent fragrance, there was some disappointment surrounding its lasting power. In fact, perhaps the only criticism I had of the original was its sillage and longevity, both of which are fairly minimal, but then again it is marketed as an “Eau”.

While Eau de Cartier Concentree comes off as slightly more intense than its predecessor, the general structure of the original remains intact. Eau de Cartier Concentree starts off with a burst of yuzu, a citrus fruit somewhere between a grapefruit and a mandarine. Concentree is enhanced with coriander, giving the opening a bit more “oomph” than the original. At its heart, the fragrance takes on an aqueous floral scent, with a subtle green, medicinal tang from the violet leaves and lavender.

The drydown takes on a considerably more intimate feel, with a deliciously warm, slightly salty, woodsy finish. Concentree feels like a master of disguise, as the fragrance maintains a fresh aspect despite the introduction of patchouli and warm amber.  I have seen the fragrance marketed in different stores as a men’s and women’s fragrance. Needless to say, Eau de Cartier makes an excellent unisex fragrance.


Notes: yuzu, coriander, bergamot, violet notes, musk, lavender, cedarwood, patchouli and amber

Chanel – Égoïste

Chanel – Égoïste


One of my all-time favorite fragrances from Chanel is not even a woman’s fragrance, though according to an interview with its creator Jacques Polge, Égoïste was inspired by one of Chanel’s most iconic women’s fragrances, Bois des Iles. Polge reportedly stumbled upon Ernest Beaux’s original formula for Bois des Iles, which was released in 1926 and adapted it to a male sensibility.  Égoïste, not to be confused with Égoïste Platinum which debuted in 1994, was released in 1990 and despite an almost cult-like following among its admirers, failed miserably outside of the European market. As a side note, Égoïste Platinum which was created in keeping with a more American olfactory aesthetic of clean, sporty fragrances flourished, in the travesty of what my friend at Chanel refers to as “the baby killing the father”.

Égoïste was originally released under the name Bois Noir, a nod at the source of Polge’s inpiration, and only available at Chanel boutiques similar to the way Les Exclusifs are marketed now. The fragrance was intended to accompany a line of men’s clothing, although this idea was later axed by Chanel, leaving Bois Noir orphaned. When the fragrance was finally made available for wider distribution, it was done so under the name Égoïste, perhaps another reason for its lack of popularity in the United States.  Égoïste roughly translates into “selfish person”, one who is self-centered and overly preoccupied with their individual needs. Without getting into a debate over why it is healthy for a person to be concerned with their own needs and desires, let’s just say that while this name was perfectly acceptable abroad, it was not well-received state-side.egoiste3

I will never forget the first time I saw the commercial for Égoïste, probably one of the most brilliant and bizarre marketing campaigns I had ever witnessed – beautiful women dressed in magnificent couture gowns, throwing open the doors of a French apartment building, shouting impassioned cries at the offending Égoïste, their lines loosely based on Pierre Corneille’s “Le Cid”, while Prokofiev’s dramatic “Dance of the Knights” plays in the background.

“Égoiste. Où es-tu ? Montre-toi misérable! Prends garde à mon courroux, je serai implacable. Ô rage ! Ô désespoir ! Ô pourquoi m’as-tu donc trahi ? N’ai-je donc tant vécu que pour cette infâmie ? Montre-toi égoiste ! Égoiste…!”.*

The only glimpse we get of the cause of such calamity is the masculine hand of the Égoïste himself as he sets a bottle of the fragrance on the balcony of the apartment building he shares with all of the women has apparently seduced and forgotten. In an instant, without being bombarded with images of virile male models, we understand at once that Égoïste is about seduction. And while it is evident that our invisible Don Juan and his fragrance have moved on from these various women, they have left their indelible mark on these women, a scented memory of seduction.


The fragrance itself is gorgeous, a hybrid of Bois des Iles and Chanel No 18, the latter created around the scent of ambrette seed, one of the components of Égoïste. From the first opening notes, one is immediately aware that Égoïste was a new creation in men’s fragrances, one that left the classical fougere and chypres behind. In the opening we are greeted with a spicy mix of flowers and fruit, that comes across as rich and slightly plummy.

As the fragrance warms on the skin, the seduction continues. Égoïste deepens into a beautiful, slightly creamy woods softened by vanilla and traces of ambrette. The effect is stunning, and equally delicious on a man or a woman.

Woody Oriental

Notes: Tangerine, lavender, rose, coriander, Bourbon vanilla, sandalwood, rosewood and ambrette seed.

*Where are you? Show yourself, you wretch! Beware my wrath. I will be implacable. O rage! O despair! O why have you betrayed me? Have I lived only for this insult? Reveal yourself, egotist!