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Archive for the ‘Fruity floral’ Category

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I went looking for these in the first place because of Iris Poudre. I had read in comments on a ‘fume blog that Ferre by Ferre was a close cousin of Iris Poudre, which I love. Then there’s a review of Gianfranco Ferre in Perfumes: The Guide stating that it is a more-polished, fully-developed version of Iris Poudre. However, I’m still not absolutely convinced that the confusingly similar names of the Ferre fragrances haven’t caused a mixup in at least one case. Here are my thoughts on the matter, developed through multiple wearings and side-by-side comparisons over several months, as well as some good old-fashioned internet research. I confess that I’m still puzzled by the P:TG review.

(In case you are wondering, “old-fashioned internet research” was a joke. A terrible joke, but nonetheless.)

Both fragrances tested are minis acquired on ebay, with Ferre by Ferre in the black hand-grenade bottle (also produced as a goldtone mesh hand-grenade) and Gianfranco Ferre in the rectangular Ferre bottle, the same shape as my golden Ferre 20 bottle except clear glass with gold top. (see pix) This was the other blog comment that kicked up my interest in these Ferre fragrances: Commenter Melissa on Perfume Posse: “I am also amassing bottles of a few of the entirely underrated discontinued Ferres. Specifically, the older Ferre by Ferre (“classic”) in the round grenade shaped bottle, a modern floral aldehyde. And Ferre 20, a floral with a rich, woody-vanillic base. The latter has become crazy expensive, if you can find it at all.” That was the reason I was so happy to snag that bottle of Ferre 20 in Rome – well, that recommendation, and the fact that I think it smells great.

I warn you now – if you hate aldehydes, these two are not going to change your mind. But if you like them, these are both enjoyable and attractive fragrances, and the 2005 version is still available at a reasonable price at discounters (currently selling at FragranceX at about $37 for a 50ml bottle).

Ferre by Ferre from Fragrantica

Notes for Ferre by Ferre: Top Aldehydes, orange, green notes, peach, neroli, bergamot, lemon. Heart Mimosa, passionfruit, carnation, violet, orange blossom, ivy, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, oakmoss. Base Spices, orris root, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver, styrax.

It reminds me more of Le Labo Aldehydes 44 than of Iris Poudre, but I can see the IP reference. It never develops IP’s delicious, angora-fluff benzoin drydown, though.

In fact, nothing does, so far as I have been able to find out. My opinion is that Iris Poudre got robbed in Luca Turin’s three-star P:TG review, which states, in part, “Simply stated, the problem with iris-root smell is this: everyone loves its gray, nostalgic, romantic powderiness, but the stuff is, truth be told, as funereal as it gets… [Pierre Bourdon’s] expertise in making resolutely sunny, fruity compositions very quickly dries iris’ tears. After a restrained initial gravitas appropriate to the occasion, Iris Poudre veers toward a happier disposition reminiscent of Bourdon’s Dolce Vita… A good fragrance, but not true to its name or material.

I’ll concur, Iris Poudre isn’t all that iris-y. Which is fine with me, for to be honest I am not the World’s Biggest Iris Fan. And true, it’s sunny and fruity; this is also fine with me because I like Dolce Vita very much. I would, however, quibble with the assertion that IP is “powdery.” It isn’t all that powdery; rather, it is as fluffy as a marabou stole.

Okay, true: I admit that I got pretty snarky about Elizabeth Taylor’s Violet Eyes having violet in the packaging, violet in the name, but no violet in the fragrance – but it is after all a very attractive floral that I might have bought if it had been just a little more distinctive. Dr. Turin gets similarly snarky when a fragrance name references either gardenia or iris, and turns out to not have much of whatever’s advertised, so I can’t blame him all that much. All the same, here I am looking for an Iris Poudre clone because I love it so much and it’s so expensive, and I still haven’t found one. Various fragrances replicate pieces of it – Ferre by Ferre and Ulric de Varens pour Elle mimic the sweet aldehydic top, Dolce Vita and Ferre 20 do the fruity bit, and Mariella Burani does something close to IP’s wonderful drydown. An all-of-a-piece replica? Doesn’t exist.

As a matter of fact, Ferre by Ferre happens to be discontinued and very difficult to find. Minis still float around on ebay, and I know of at least one fragrance seller on ebay that has a bottle or two of it, at approximately $100 for a 100ml bottle.   However, it’s still not all that much less expensive than a bottle of IP, so I’m still totally stuck on that “find a replacement for Iris Poudre” quest.

Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (edp) from Fragrantica

After the fun start, GF turns into floral soap for some time, prim and opaque, flat as a piece of Sheetrock. The contrast with the sparkly topnotes is drastic. I don’t get a lot of iris in it, nor much rose. What does pop out, to my nose, is the lemony-creamy note of magnolia, and a sullen pouty jasmine, with just a hint of sugared violets. The drydown – primarily woody-musky-vanilla – is very comfortable, and easy to wear, though sweetened with amber.  It lasts well, about four hours on me (dabbed).  In my opinion, GF seems very little like Iris Poudre, despite the same perfumer and what is claimed to be a similar structure.

Notes for Gianfranco Ferre: Top Pineapple, melon, iris leaf, bergamot, [aldehydes]. Heart Magnolia, iris, freesia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, violet, rose. Base sandalwood, amber, basmati rice, musk, vanilla, orris root.

Now here’s Tania Sanchez, reviewing this fragrance (referred to as Ferre from the house of Gianfranco Ferre) and giving it four stars where Iris Poudre received three: “Five years after doing Iris Poudre… Bourdon polished the idea for Ferre. Slightly more vegetal than the Malle fragrance, Ferre is nevertheless a close match: powdery, woody-sweet in a violet way, and slightly too bright, like overexposed flash photographs.”

I admit here that I am not at all sure that I’m smelling the same fragrance that TS was reviewing. The notes list for this scent seems congruent with what I’m smelling – the fruit in particular, which TS doesn’t even mention, is prominent. “Powdery” is not at all a phrase I’d use to describe what I’m smelling here. Neither does “too bright.” This thing seems sort of dense to me, and, yes, sweet. It’s a fruity sweetness, but it’s true that sometimes violets (ionones) can seem fruity and sweet.  I am totally Not Getting the Iris Poudre reference, not in the least bit.  I noticed, too late, that my miniature bottle is Eau de Toilette, while the larger bottles are Eau de Parfum, and that may be the  issue.  Please weigh in if you’ve tried both the EdT and the EdP – and if you think I have the wrong one!

Over on Fragrantica, I notice that people keep putting reviews on the wrong Ferre fragrances. Someone has done a long, thoughtful review of the original 1984 Ferre fragrance, a rich floral oriental, on the 2005 Gianfranco Ferre scent. (FAIL!) Someone else has posted a lovely review of GF on Ferre by Ferre; I know it’s GF because it mentions a strong presence of fruit. Aargh. I think we have to blame Gianfranco Ferre himself for that. Was there ever another designer so enamored of his own name?! (Well, maybe. But nobody else has committed the marketing mistake of confusing potential customers with similar-sounding fragrances.)

A few other blog reviews of the Gianfranco Ferre fragrance: Bois de Jasmin and Legerdenez.  Enjoy.

Once again, we have a Throwdown where the winner is decided on points: While I think the 2005 Bourdon fragrance is a good one, a lighthearted sweet fruity floral with aldehydes and vanilla, I prefer the older fragrance, the hand-grenade bottle one, much more. It’s much softer, a pleasant powdery veil.  I might actually prefer Ferre 20 to either one of these, but they’re both lovely.

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I have had bad luck with citrusy-rose fragrances, notably with Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (yes, I know that’s really “Pink Grapefruit,” but there’s rose in there all the same), Cerruti 1881, Yuzu Rouge, Parfums de Rosine Zeste de Rose, and Clarins Par Amour Toujours. So I was hesitant to try Funny!, which Tania Sanchez Luca Turin (why do I keep ascribing these quotes incorrectly?  do I have a mental block or something?  also, the book is right there, easily consulted.  Thanks, Elisa)  describes in P:TG as being mostly tea, rose, and grapefruit.

Frequently a citrus floral can wind up in classic-cologne territory, which is great if you like that sort of thing. I don’t; it bores me silly. (Goodbye, Pamplemousse Rose! See ya, Cerruti 1881!) And sometimes it goes in the ditzy, frooty-rooty, ultra-pink direction. (Wave bye-bye, Baby Doll!) Sometimes it’s just pale pink lemonade, which I might want to drink on a hot day but not to wear. (Sayonara, Par Amour Toujours, Zeste de Rose, and Yuzu Rouge!)

But a couple of manufacturer’s samples of Funny! came my way in a sample swap, and I figured what the heck, I might as well watch this one crash and burn along with the other citrus-rose scents. I tried Funny! one steamy summer morning when we were driving home from a visit to my sister-in-law in Northern Virginia (which is the Unintentional Outdoor Sauna Capital of the US, in my opinion, beating out even the extra-humid summer air of Florida). Much to my surprise, it was nice. And it stayed nice for hours.

I shrugged and put the sample vial in the Limbo pile when I got home, still of the opinion that I did not need a citrusy floral. A few weeks later I found myself thinking about it, so I got it out again and used it up. It continued playing nice in muggy weather. I got out the other swap sample and took it with me on vacation last July to South Carolina, another state famous for its heat and humidity, and Funny not only lasted but kept me cool and relatively cheerful during the week long trip.

It’s funny (no, really) that I kept trying it, and saying “nice, but I don’t need any,” and “nice, but I don’t get the four-star review,” and “nice, but not exceptional,” and kept thinking about it until it won me over.  At that point I finally decided that I did indeed want a bottle, so I watched eBay and checked the online discounters, and finally, last fall, found a 50ml bottle for about $19. Whatta bargain, whatta bargain for me!! I have been using it to good effect already this summer.

Here’s the review in P:TG that prompted me to try Funny!:

What’s funny here is how talent can infuse even the trite with surreptitious joy: in structure, this could have been yet another squeaky-clean fruity floral. But one of the delightful properties of intelligence is its ability to counter dumb questions with smart answers. In response to what was no doubt a witless brief, Antoine Maisondieu has produced a small gem of humor, freshness, and transparency. The core accord is tea with rose, overlaid with grapefruit and blackcurrant. The woody notes of the former balance the sulfuraceous bloom of the latter, and the thing sings like a happy barbershop quartet.”

The notes for Funny!, according to Fragrantica, are redcurrant, pink pepper, orange, peony, jasmine, violet, green tea, cedar, amber, musk. I notice that rose and grapefruit are not on the official list, but I’ll tell you I’m fairly certain that rose is present. I suppose the orange note with the tang of currant and pink pepper could impersonate grapefruit, though I really don’t care what exactly causes the effect because it just smells good – fresh and bright and happy, in a way unlike the usual clenched-teeth grin effect I get out of the usual citrus notes.

Funny! does open up with that tangy-bitter citrus I just mentioned, and although it doesn’t have the holographic immediacy of the grapefruit in Guerlain’s (wonderful) grapefruit-bomb Pamplelune, it is very pleasant. Also, this bitter citrus note lasts about twenty minutes on me, which is a pretty good long run for a citrus note on my skin, before the florals come up underneath it. I can’t pick out the violet, but the typically-neon peony note is soft here and combines with the rose and jasmine to create a transparent glow. The effect is like sunshine glowing through pink gauze curtains over beach cottage windows open to the breeze. The green tea note (familiar from the ubiquitous Bvlgari Au Te Verte, which fell very flat and heavy on my skin) is discernible too. There is an airy spaciousness to Funny!, and I especially love wearing it in muggy weather, when it seems to clear the air for a little bubble of freshness around me. The basenotes are muted, but the cedar is almost astringent in its dryness, and if you are very sensitive to the “hamster cage” cedar effect you might have trouble with this scent. I like it.

Sillage is mild unless I employ the Spray-until-wet technique, in which case it’s moderate. Like most eaux des toilettes and other light scents, it doesn’t last all that long, but it does stick around for about three hours with a normal quick spritz, and for nearly five hours with the Spray-until-wet, which is stunning longevity for me personally.

Funny!, which was released in 2007, is available, as I mentioned above, at online discounters at a very good price, with various bath and body products (bath gel, lotion) available as well. The bottle, by the way, is on the plain side, a pale turquoise blue glass rectangle with a raised frame on the front and a silver puffed-heart cap, but I think it’s nicer than Moschino’s plastic Olive Oyl bottles. I ditched the pink ribbon collar right away because it kept coming off when I took off the cap, so now the bottle is less interesting to look at but easier to use. “Ease of Use” and “Feels Nice in the Hand” being my top bottle preferences, I’m satisfied. I like a pretty bottle, but it’s not necessary to my overall enjoyment of fragrance.

Only one other blog review that I could find: Brian at ISTIA.  Reviews at the fragrance forums tend to say things like, “Smells like Light Blue, but nicer,” and “Young, cheerful, flirty.” I don’t know about Funny!’s flirtation factor, but I will admit that it is somewhat in the Light Blue vein, but more natural-smelling, far less alien-metallic baby-wipe citrus, and also that it is definitely one of the most cheerful and airy scents I’ve ever smelled.

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