Not so long ago I was writing about influential perfumes and one of the two names which landed on the top of the pile was Narciso For Her. The whole floral woody musk genre probably dates back to that perfume. Anyway, the musk and flowers and a little bit of wood recipe has proven so popular that nowadays several releases a year fall into the fuzzily soft fabric (or fabric softener) of the fwm. Everyone likes this plush toy formula, well everyone who does not require a little backbone in a perfume. Put it this way, floral woody musks are proof that in the perfume world the invertebrates can survive and thrive- even proliferate.
Of course the Narciso people could not let a success like Narciso For her go without progeny. There have been several scents by now, all in the beautifully designed minimalist bottles that the brand is justly famous for, modern, streamlined and an ornament to any vanity though the contents are Fluff.
The scents are pretty but seem a bit banal. To begin with you must like musk, and musk is just not my thing. I was okay with Frederic Malle’s Dries Van Noten which is the very woody end of the musk ox stuffie, say the tooter rather than the hooter, and although several people on Basenotes detected too much Cashmeran in that perfume, I don’t hate the stuff. Cashmeran takes me back to the good old days of Cacharel’s Eden, and of Parfums de Nicolai’s mango driven but Cashmeran powered Eau Exotique.
Eau de Cashmere seems to be one of Guerlain’s attempts to dumb down the L’Origan/L’Heure Bleue message along the lines of the floral woody musk. You get a bit of citrus and then lavender and heliotrope and a tiny amount of iris, vetiver and cedar. The whole thing smells rather synthetic to me and is not in any case much of a survivor on your wrist. E de C had breathed its last by the time I got to the car park. I suppose the scent’s not bad exactly but is not particularly inspiring for a Guerlain, and fairly or not I do tend to hold Guerlain to a high standard. It seems as though the myriad releases of the houses these days are undermining quality. Surely we don’t need ten releases a year, two will do. Even one.
Narciso is in this sense a slightly better worked out perfume than Eau de Cashmere. The idea here is the marriage of the fabled white floral of all perfume house’s dreams to irresistible Musk. This is bound to be a hit. I doubt that Narciso will be a monster hit because it smells too similar to a number of other things out there these days, but this is a perfume that marries the currently popular floral woody muskosity to the white floracy, and that will attract an audience, maybe the marriage will last.
Then again these nuptials could end on the same rocks as most celebrity marriages. Is Narciso’s musk going to stay faithful to its gardenia? Is this a partnership of theJennifer Anniston / Brad Pitt variety or is this gardenia really Angelina in disguise? We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll smell Narciso everywhere.