Sunday, October 15, 2006

pretty bottles with bad, bad contents

Let me begin by saying that I am very proud of myself that I have never bought one of these beauties. I have been tempted. Just the other day I saw Live at a give-away price, the big wonderful bottle, and I didn't even stop for another spray to try and convince myself. After all it's not like I don't have perfectly lovely bottles I could display who's contents I also enjoy. And it's also not like I actually display any of them. No, they live in boxes in a closet. In the dark. Unseen other than for a few moments. All of which would make succumbing to the pretty bottle temptation particularly stupid.

Calvin Klein's Euphoria Blossom

EB is a delicate frosted rendition of the original, very charming. A trend for summer versions, Stella has produced two in this vein. Plummy pink frosted glass is incredibly attractive in the heat; someone should try making a drink bottle in this, it would sell. The contrast with the silver solidity of Euphoria adds to its charm. The fragrance itself is almost non-existant, stagnant water with petals floating on the bottom. Very light, it evaporates almost immediately. There is really nothing else to say about it, though if you are after a non-offensive gift at least it looks nice.

Alexander McQueen's Kingdom

Ohh.. Kingdom. Who designed this beautiful bottle, a ruby red geode? The summer editions are are also geodes, pink crystal wonders. The first time I saw Kingdom I was gaga over the design, I had to have it! My dad's rockhound phase had imprinted big on my young mind and anything cool and geological attracts me. One of the most fun things we ever did was pick out our own geode at a dusty shack somewhere in the midwest, pay for it by weight and eagerly watch it being sawn open--anything could be in there! Ours was dark with tiny dusky crystals. We were the first people ever to see it. It was beautiful. And so is the artistic representation of treasure within an egg of stone that is Kingdom. This ad for Kingdom makes me wonder if McQueen had something other than geodes in mind with the bottle design--Judy Chicago anybody?

When I first skin tested Kingdom it was so awful, so truly repulsive that I wondered if I had brushed up against some fetid curry while at the food court and this was mixing powerfully with the perfume alcohol. I expressed shock at what I was smelling. The sales assistant lowered her voice, "It's not very nice, is it." No. It's not.

Guerlain's Insolence

The Insolence bottle is one of the loveliest I've seen. It's a glass spinning top, roundly satisfying to hold, intrigueing to spray. You see it and you want to scoop it up and enjoy it. Had this fragrance been only bland and not horrid to me I think I would have been unable to stop myself from acquireing this bottle. Sadly the scent itself is not something I can ever see wearing other than for five minutes before a shower to remind myself what it smelled like.

J.Lo's Live

A lyrical vase with a touch of carnival glass the Live bottle has me sighing "ah.. perfume". Unmistakably a celebration of fragrance just writing about it makes me want it. Only the largest size has this appeal. While the 100ml could be a blown glass creation the 30ml looks like a stunted globule of a craft project gone wrong. Some things are cuter in miniature and.. some are not.

If Live was your basic floral fruity, I would like it enough to take the bottle home. The drydown which appears some three minutes after the topnotes kills it for me. Touted as "caramel" the same flat note is dressed up as "praline" "cupcake" and other terms of gourmandology in fragrances aimed at the young. When accompanied by whipped tonka, a patchouli filling and dusted with vanilla sandlewood the note does a good job if you like that kind of thing. In a fruity floral it is stale, stale, stale. What is it even doing there? If you want to sweeten the fruity floral mix in some pineapple juice, it works for Live Luxe. Unfortunately for Live Luxe the bottle colours are horribley garish, though the design is the same. If only there could be a mixup at the factory..

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