Given my posting hiatus last week, it occurred to me that Bonkers is in danger of grinding to a complete halt if I neither manage to blog while I am away nor when I am at home in between my trips. So I thought I would have a go at writing at least one post this week - which is less hectic overall than the next fortnight in terms of the number of interviews, if not the amount of driving involved!
Three days (and three countries) in, I am struck by the fact that an extraordinary number of things seem to have gone right, contrary to the norm. For starters, Birmingham airport’s duty free shop has mushroomed beyond recognition since my last visit, and the fragrance section is well on its way to rivalling Harrods’ perfume hall. Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly, but...get this...the Chanel counter now carries Les Exclusifs – the only UK airport to do so, apparently. I clapped eyes for the first time on the new, more humane 75ml bottles. These were at “better than high street” prices, according to the sales assistant, by which I presume she means the prices in the Chanel boutiques, as you won’t find Les Exclusifs on any high street near me. There’s a clue in the name, in fact. Now as it happens I am not in the market for even the 75ml size of my favourites from this range, but for anyone who is, and who might be passing through Birmingham airport, that could be good to know.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of Miller Harrises in the “New” fixture: Figue Amère and Fleur Oriental. Yes I know, those scents have been around for a while, but they will surely be new as far as the airport is concerned! I spotted my lemming du jour, Elie Saab, and then my eye lit on the new Prada Candy. What between the sweetie shop name and the rather twee packaging, which reminded me of that gimmicky range from Benefit with the silly girls’ names, I very nearly walked on by. However, it just so happened that I had seen Candy listed on a split site recently, so I figured it must have something about it, and so it proved.
I have since caught up with Robin’s review of Prada Candy on Now Smell This: she liked it more than she expected to, and her description chimes with my fuzzier reading of the scent. I found it sweet, but not too sweet – a gourmand woody oriental with a hefty dollop of benzoin apparently, though it isn’t all that obvious to my nose.
My initial impression is of a scent in similar vein to Kenzo Amour Indian Holi (which is a sweetish, powdery, peppery floral with darker undertones from the woods and incense in the base). However, the vanilla is more pronounced in Prada Candy, and segues into a caramel accord in the drydown. Yes, cross Indian Holi with Ava Luxe Love’s True Bluish Light in a two thirds one third ratio and you might get something in the right ball park. Or there again maybe not(!), but I would sum this up as an edible yet edgy scent…
Although my nose kept nuzzling the spot where I had sprayed Candy, I also tried Narciso Rodriguez for Her In Color on skin for the second time:
Notes: rose, peach, amber, musk, sandalwood and patchouli
It struck me once again as a deeper version of pink NR for her, NR for her given a sort of Stella spin if you will, as in the original Stella McCartney. Still powdery and super musky, but with a pronounced rosy-amber thing going on. Does the world need yet another Narciso flanker any more than it does another Stella flanker, most of them just a slightly nuanced variation on their predecessor, in a different coloured bottle, or the same coloured bottle with squiggly flowers climbing up it? I think not.
I also tried Lalique Encre Noir on skin because it is such an out and out cult classic, but sadly, it just smelt of ink on me, and rightly or wrongly I couldn’t get images of squid out of my mind.
Then I had a snifter of Guerlain Jasminora (straight up, knock ‘em dead jasmine), and Bouquet Numéro 2 (a watery and rather indeterminate floral scent I couldn’t quite put my finger on, which turns out to have only litchi, rose and iris in it. What's with the "litchi"? I take it that is a more botanically correct word for "lychee"...)
So I have set myself the challenge of acquiring a sample of Prada Candy by hook or by crook on this trip. I failed dismally to secure another Elie Saab sample this morning (the cheek of me for even trying, given my existing stockpile!), but that story belongs in the next perfume "bit"...
Photo of Chanel Les Exclusifs range from thedollonfashion.blogspot.com, photo of Guerlain and Chanel counters from moodiereport.com, photo of Prada Candy from gizmodiva.com, photo of Narciso For Her In Color from fragrantica.com