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.


Balmain – Ivoire

Balmain – Ivoire27115-pierre-balmain-perfumes-1988-ivoire-hprints-com

Elegant and polished like the keys of a piano, Balmain’s 1979 Ivoire perfectly captures the sensibility of its time and of the refined, luxurious fashions of its creator, Pierre Balmain. While the fragrance can go head to head with the big, bold and brash fragrances of the 1980s, it possesses an earthy quality characteristic of the 1970s. While the name Ivoire, French for ivory, conjures for many images of a big white velvety floral, Ivoire is positively green.

From the outset, Ivoire is dense and layered. On my skin, the fragrance does not unfold in the typical top-heart-base progression, rather it unleashes its depths all at once. Ivoire is green, herbal and floral, with a pungent, spicy warmth at its depth. And while the fragrance does take some twists and turns throughout the day, revealing bright citrus and hints of floral underpinned by galbanum, the warmth of oakmoss and musk is ever present. The drydown is a creamy, woodsy and slightly soapy pillow.

I have a small vintage bottle from the 1980s that I take out whenever I want to feel especially elegant in a confident, Chanel No 19-esque  manner, so I was thrilled to see that Balmain had re-issued the fragrance in 2012. While perfumers Michel Almairac and Jacques Flori are certainly talented in their own right, the beauty of the original was unfortunately lost in translation due to restrictions on perfume materials. The re-issued Ivoire leans more toward a straight floral, and feels sharp and unbalanced without the richness that only true oakmoss and musks can bring. And while it does not possess the elegance of the original 1970s ads, the new marketing photos are a knockout.

ivoiredebalmainvisuelpuNotes: green accord, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, aldehydes, lily of the valley, rose, hyacinth, jasmine, carnation, orris, orchid, geranium, cedar, musk, oakmoss, amber, raspberry and sandalwood.

Chloe by Chloe

Chloe Eau de Parfum by Chloe

clemence poesy

Sometimes, having a passion for perfume can present its challenges. While I abided by the “signature scent” credo as a young woman, these days I find myself struggling just to maintain a “signature house”. Perhaps what gets me into trouble is my enthusiasm. Whenever I am exploring a new scent, I approach it with the same mindset as I would when meeting a new person. I keep an open, positive frame of mind and look for the good, for one never knows if a simple encounter could result in a lifelong friendship.

Every once in a while, however, a fragrance leaves me stumped. Which brings us to Chloe.  This 2008 release was extremely successful and had achieved significant popularity. While this combination has not necessarily spelled perfume love for me in the past, I certainly had reason to hope. The notes certainly sounded promising: peony, lychee, freesia, rose, magnolia, muguet, amber and cedar. I was expecting a dense, intoxicating scent, with a burst of green, mellowing to warm sensual woods. Quite frankly, I thought it would smell as stunning as Clemence Poesy looked in the ads.

Chloe revealed itself to be a nondescript floral. Not bad per se, but then again, I set my fragrance bar a bit higher than that. Chloe wasn’t terrible, and I would rather wear this than La Vie Est Belle, but I would certainly not invest in it, aside from a trip to Nordstrom to retrieve samples.

There was a sense of familiarity which I initially could not place, but then it came to me. Chloe smelled a bit like bubble bath or perhaps shampoo, where the beauty and complexity of the scent is typically second to its efficacy as a product. About two hours later, just as I was having second thoughts about smelling like a bath product all day, I realized that I need not have worried, for Chloe had vanished. Given that Chloe was intended to be romantic, edgy, sexy and sensual, I can only imagine the brief that perfumers Michel Almairac and Amandine Marie were presented with. Perhaps someone gave them a shampoo brief by accident.


Notes: Peony, lychee, freesia rose, magnolia, muguet, amber and cedar.