Readers may be familiar with Mitchum, a personal care brand within the Revlon stable. It is the AK 47 of anti-perspirants, famous for its 48 hour protection and accompanying advertising slogan: "So effective you can skip a day". I always take a roll-on of Mitchum on my work trips, as it is guaranteed to keep you dry, however hot, bothersome and nerve-wracking your day. Once I risked taking the new and very fetching Marks & Spencer Magnolia anti-perspirant away on business, and instantly regretted it. Yes, given the lack of air conditioning in my car, and the many other stress factors involved in business travel, when it comes to personal hygiene products you need a heavy hitter.
Today, however, I am wearing Mitchum Powder Fresh on my wrist, strange as that may sound. For though there are sweat glands all over the body, most are of the "eccrine" type - it's the "apocrine" variety found in armpits and other unsavoury locations which produce body odour. (I learnt these names today!)
Powder Fresh is the latest "flanker" in the Mitchum stable, and its extreme powderiness prompted me on a whim to conduct a side-by-side comparison with Lady Caron, the notes of which are as follows:
Magnolia, jasmine, neroli, tuberose, raspberry, peach, rose, sandalwood, oakmoss.
The "notes" in the Mitchum roll-on are undisclosed(!), but the following aromachemicals are listed towards the bottom of the label, after a whole bunch of other things which look resolutely non-fragrant in nature. If any technically minded readers care to decode these fragrance ingredients, I would be most interested to know how this particular combination is meant to smell:
ALPHA ISOMETHYL IONONE
Sadly, my blunt instrument of a nose cannot pick up on any individual notes, and I just get a soft, subtle, vaguely feminine, powdery blend.
Going back to Lady Caron, I'd have sworn there was a touch of "imperious carnation" in there, but apparently not. I chose LC because I happen to have a sample of it, but from memory most of the women's scents in the line are powdery to some degree, some extremely so: Aimez-Moi, N'Aimez Que Moi, Fleur(s) de Rocaille, Nocturnes, Nuit de Noel, Parfum Sacre, Bellodgia and Montaigne all spring to mind as sharing the Caron counterpart of "guerlinade". Tabac Blond not so much, and as for Narcisse Noir....my nemesis scent....well, suffice to say that the testing of that one two years ago was so traumatic that my left frontal cortex suppressed the memory, including the key fact about whether it was particularly powdery or not.
So, sniffing the Mitchum versus the Lady Caron, they are both powdery for sure, but the latter is more angular and retro and spicy, while the Mitchum is gentle and soft, and to my mind, more wearable. It is like comparing the austere beauty of Katharine Hepburn to the contemporary good looks of Sophie Dahl. I haven't got these samples to hand, but I think the Mitchum could actually hold a candle to the likes of Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige and Micallef Note Poudree, both of which I find a little too "up your nose" sneezy-powdery, whereas the Mitchum pitches the powder about right.
So really I guess I am coming round to the controversial notion that for the modest outlay of £1.50 you can stay dry for two days straight AND smell better than a Caron - well, this particular one in my view, which has great bones and a classic beauty, but is ultimately too "spiky" for my taste. Mitchum Powder Fresh, meanwhile, is approachable, without tipping over into full blown "cuddly-toy-sitting-on-the bed-clutching-a-red-satin-heart" "fluffy". Plus Mitchum could knock a few other niche scents out of the water.
That said, I don't suppose we will see a wholesale trend to using anti-perspirants as fine fragrance unless this turns out to be a double dip recession after all - OR we start to develop apocrine glands on our neck and wrists.