The worst part of working in a fragrance department* is making perfume samples. I love the concept of making samples for customers, but the vast majority of perfume bottles just weren’t designed with samples in mind. So they leak. A lot. The unpleasantly wet reality ends up being perfume literally dripping off my hands, mutating into some unholy combination with the last perfume I made samples of. Our leakiest testers are Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Prada Candy, and goddamn Balenciaga Florabotanica. Nothing makes me grumpier than making a Florabotanica sample. Florabotanica is more than just another boring floral, as dull and sullen as Kristen Stewart when Robert Pattinson won’t return her calls. It’s a symbol of the perfume industry at its most superficial. Florabotanica is living proof that a cute bottle and a well-timed celebrity scandal are better for sales than the perfume itself could ever be.
Obviously, I’ve completely avoided Florabotanica’s flanker, Rosabotanica, which I assumed would be even worse. To my surprise and relief, Rosabotanica smells nothing like Florabotanica. Instead, Rosabotanica is a tart, green rose, in the style of Hermes Kelly Caleche or the recent Annick Goutal Vent de Folie. Rosabotanica is softer, less sharp, and less natural-smelling than either of those fragrances, but the quality is high enough that I probably would have guessed Hermes or Jo Malone if blindfolded. The lasting power is pretty good, but the best part? That strikingly gorgeous bottle doesn’t leak!
*Okay, the real worst part is being constantly outsmarted by fraudulent returns, but that’s not perfume department-specific. Last month I did a SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLAR return for a “Helmut Lang” jacket, which turned out to be a Forever 21 jacket with the original label removed and a Helmut Lang label sewn in. I can’t even be mad- homegirl is an entrepreneur!
Turns out the fastest way to bring a perfume blogger out of Salinger-esque reclusion is to release “the first perfume with an edamame note.” Let’s get this out of the way: B. sounds more interesting than it smells. It’s a perfectly pretty, nicer-than-most mainstream fragrance that does not smell like soybeans. At all. I guess the cool greenness of the top notes could evoke a pile of crisp edamame pods, but it’s definitely a power of suggestion situation.
Instead of soybeans, B. has a refreshing violet leaf opening before sweetening into a sparkling blue cotton candy fragrance. Think Philosophy Falling In Love or Trish McEvoy No. 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk. At $110 for 50 ml, B. is significantly more expensive than either, but it does come in a $25 rollerball. I suspect you’re mostly paying for the sillier-in-person bottle, which Fragantica assures me is “very elegant and artistic”. I think I still prefer the original Balenciaga Paris (currently 10% off at Nordstrom!) for my cool, green Balenciaga fix.
Disclaimer: This post does not contain affiliate links and is not sponsored by Nordstrom (I wish).
One of my stupider habits is my refusal to buy nail polish remover. I tell myself that I don’t paint my nails often enough to justify such an utter extravagance. This means that whenever I do paint my nails, I have to spend the next few weeks hiding my chipped, tacky toenails inside of equally tacky Uggs. Because just buying the damn nail polish remover at freaking CVS would be too reasonable, I have come up with an alternate solution: I use perfume samples that I’m not particularly fond of. (I used up both By Kilian Asian Tales samples this way.)
The point of this seemingly totally unnecessary story is that I’d relegated Florabotanica to nail polish remover status after reading several negative reviews. I’d never actually smelled it until recently, while I was desperately trying to scrub off the remains of weeks-old Essie Blue Aruba. The scent kept wafting up to me, and I eventually realized that I was kind of enjoying it! Florabotanica is a bright, clean rose fragrance. It reminds me strongly of the late, great Herbal Essences Rose Hips shampoo (yes, that was a roundabout way of saying that Florabotanica has a distinctly shampoo-ish vibe). Think Stella McCartney Stella without any of that amber base.
Florabotanica smells nice. In this crazy world of Snooki perfumes, “nice” counts for more than you’d think. Still, it’s a little shrill for me, and I really don’t think that it’s particularly unique or special (particularly considering its recent predecessor, the lovely Balenciaga Paris).