Aquolina Pink Sugar

So yesterday I was doing my thing at the gym (and by “doing my thing”, I mean walking leisurely on the treadmill while watching Star Trek) when I was struck with a sudden wave of nausea. This puzzled me, as the only way my workout could be less rigorous would be if I were literally standing still. Eventually I identified the culprit- the girl on the machine next to me was wearing Pink Sugar.

I then realized that for all of my snide remarks about Pink Sugar, I have never actually given it a proper review. In some ways, Pink Sugar strikes me as a reinterpretation of Thierry Mugler’s Angel. Both are over-the-top, is-this-a-joke? gourmands. There is, however, a significant difference between the two. Although occasionally alarming, Angel can smell gorgeous on the right woman. In contrast, I have never once encountered a person that Pink Sugar smelled good on, and I have smelled it on pretty much every female between the ages of 11 and 20.

Pink Sugar’s main offense is an issue of proportions. I was expecting a lot of cotton candy and just a hint of licorice. What you get instead is more licorice than even the most hardcore licorice aficionado could handle. I often sing the praises of Lolita Lempicka, another sweet scent with a licorice note, but I can’t stomach Pink Sugar at all. For me, Pink Sugar evokes the YouTube video “Charlie the Unicorn”. In this video, Charlie goes into Candy Mountain expecting sugary goodness, only to be mugged and have his kidney stolen.

In conclusion, Pink Sugar is an extremely distinctive scent. It is also, to my nose, extremely unpleasant. Please do not buy it for your children. And please, for the love of Joan Collins, do not wear it to the gym.

Do it for Joan, y’all.

Aquolina Chocolovers

Chocolovers was released by Aquolina in 2006, then inexplicably discontinued only a year or two later. I am still puzzled as to why Chocolovers was axed and Pink Sugar allowed to continue its reign of terror, as I find Chocolovers to be undeniably superior to its predecessor. I suspect it may have had something to do with the embarrassing name. If Aquolina had changed the damn name (and probably the bottle, too), I see no reason that Chocolovers couldn’t have done just as well as Pink Sugar. If you come across a bottle at the discounters, I suggest stocking up.

Chocolovers opens with a brief, synthetic blast of orange (nothing remotely juicy, of course, more Fruity Pebbles-esque) before settling into a surprisingly enjoyable Nutella-like combination of chocolate and hazelnut. This is a fun, good-natured gourmand that occupies the same space in my heart as does L de Lolita Lempicka. In fact, Aquolina seems to be following the Lolita Lempicka model of success: start with a licorice-filled blockbuster, follow it up with a cheap-and-cheerful gourmand. That being said, there’s no excuse for buying Pink Sugar while Lolita Lempicka is still on the market.

Aquolina Pink Sugar Sensual

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way: this perfume represents everything that’s currently wrong with America. And by everything, I mean “the incredible pressure for girls to be sexual beings at an increasingly younger age.”

Despite that klassy ad above, featuring a scantily clad woman and a bottle of champagne, Pink Sugar’s demographic is middle school-aged girls. Older women might indeed wear Pink Sugar, but Aquolina’s low prices suggest that they are angling for young girls looking to spend their allowance. So now I ask you: do we really want a 12, 13, 14 year old girl to be “sensual”? Because I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this movie, it’s called Lolita, and it’s all fun and games before your mother dies and Humbert Humbert tries to roofie you.

Oh, and then you die giving birth to a stillborn child on Christmas Day at the age of 17. Merry Christmas!

“But Ari,” I hear you asking, “What about young girls who are naturally sexually precocious?” Well, I believe that many of the things that we consider to be “natural” are actually the result of rather insidious societal socialization. Things don’t happen in a vacuum these days. Why would such a young girl behave in a sexual manner? Perhaps it is indeed “natural”, or perhaps she caught on early that our society generally values a woman’s sexuality more than her intellect or character. It’s far easier, and often more rewarding, to be a Kim Kardashian than a Gloria Steinem.

Remember when Jessica Simpson kept trying to tell us that the whole dumb blonde shtick was just an act, and she was actually very intelligent? Maybe she is! But we’ll never know, because our society simply does not care. We’re much more concerned with how poor Jessica is becoming a Fatty McChub-Chub, because GOD FORBID that she be anything less than sizzlingly sexy 24/7. If she ceases to be a sex symbol, then we might have to define her by something other than how hot she is! THE HORROR!!!!!

Also, y’all are smoking some prescription-strength crack. THERE IS NO FAT ON THIS WOMAN’S BODY. YOU ROCK THOSE MOM JEANS, J. SIMP.

So does Pink Sugar Sensual live up to the name? Well, it’s the same Pink Sugar that we all know and love, now featuring fruity notes! I guess it’s supposed to evoke that “be fruitful and multiply” school of sensuality? I don’t even know, y’all. We’ve got some tangerine up in here, a little bergamot, and that damn licorice again. It’s a generic little thing of little significance- much like women in our society! Zinnnnng! Well, time for me to go make my man a sandwich. Hey, how did this computer get in the kitchen?

Disclaimer: I sampled Pink Sugar Sensual at Nordstrom. Aquolina Pink Sugar Sensual is available at Nordstrom and Sephora.

Guerlain Jicky

My favorite book of all time, Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour, begins: “Why the hell wouldn’t you want to be one of the fabulous people, the life enhancers, the people who look interesting and smell luscious and dare to be gorgeously more fascinating than their neighbors?” Spray on a bit of Jicky, and you’ll find yourself instantly transformed into one of those luscious-smelling life enhancers. People will smile and laugh spontaneously as they pass you on the street (in a good way, I swear).

Jicky has been worn by the eccentrically glamorous since 1889, beloved by everyone from Sarah Bernhart to Sean Connery to the High Priestess of Divahood, Joan Collins. Not only is Joan Collins still as hot as all hell at age 77,

No, seriously, what unholy force is she in leagues with and HOW CAN I GET IN ON IT

but she’s also one of a select group of truly glamorous women (including Nichelle Nichols, Iman, Kim Catrall, and Vanessa Williams) who had cameos in Star Trek. Oh, Joan, why did your pacifist values have to contribute to American isolationism in World War II, contributing to German victory and ultimately condemning you to death??

BEST COUPLE EVER. Too bad you’re about to get hit by a car.

ANYWAY, Jicky opens with sparkling, vivacious topnotes of lemon and bergamot, and then deepens into a beautiful combination of lavender and that gorgeous, smoky Guerlain vanilla. Bergdorf Goodman lists the notes as: Lavender, rosemary, bergamot, rose, fern harmony, tonka bean, woody notes, vanilla, and opoponax. I loved Jicky from the moment I put it on. Despite being the oldest fragrance in continuous production in the world, Jicky feels shockingly modern. It could have been released just last week, if companies were still producing anything even vaguely resembling Jicky’s quality.

Jicky embodies both the joyful innocence of a child and the full-grown sensuality of a woman. Do not wear Jicky around those “men” (more like perpetual frat boys) who believe that a woman “goes downhill” after age 23; its charms will be lost on them. Jicky is for those who appreciate the Joan Collins of the world, who understand that a woman’s sex appeal only grows stronger with the passing of time. After all, Jicky just turned 121, and she’s still putting those nubile Escadas and Aquolinas to shame.

Disclaimer: I tested the EDT formulation of Jicky at Neiman Marcus. Jicky is available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Guerlain boutiques.

Fragrant Fiction: Perfume as Literature

Happy New Year, queridos! I hope that your New Years involved champagne and was more exciting than mine. I’m not really sure how that’s possible, considering that I went to a “pirate show” with my parents, little brother, grandparents, and cousins. Actually, the six packs on those pirates were so impressive that it might as well have been a Chippendale’s show. And from this point onward, that is how we are going to say that I spent New Year’s Eve.

Oh, Orlando. You can shiver my timbers anytime.

Anyway, y’all, although I know (desperately hope) that in the future there will be more of you, at the present time I have exactly one reader who is not my mother. I love this girl deeply, but it has also come to my attention that she does not wear perfume, and therefore she has trouble relating to many of the perfume related posts. I love perfume. I love the clever tricks that perfumers employ to create new and pleasing combinations of notes; I love the nuances. However, I fully understand that for many people, perfume has no nuances. A perfume either smells good or it doesn’t. It is for my beloved solitary reader that I will try to explain the world of perfume in terms of a field with which most people are much more familiar: literature.

For example, a perfume like Aquolina Pink Sugar is the olfactory equivalent of the Twilight series- insanely popular for absolutely no good reason.

Actually, I just thought of one VERY good reason.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (both of which have been bestsellers for over five years) have more in common with the Harry Potter series- just as popular, but more deserving of their success.

Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor quidditch coach. The actor who plays him is named Sean Biggerstaff. The joke here should write itself.

Along this vein, there are perfumes such as Robert Piguet Fracas, which has been worn by everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Martha Stewart. I can appreciate that Fracas is a great classic, but whenever I try to wear it I get the distinct feeling that I am being mugged by a gardenia. I got a very similar feeling when I had to read Jane Eyre in 10th grade, except instead of a gardenia my mugger was the stupidest book of all time.

Jane, that Mr. Rochester is nothing but trouble! Why don’t you marry that nice cousin of yours? You know, the priest. No? Okay then. Also, what is UP with those BROWS, lady???

Perfumes such as Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain Shalimar can be likened to “The Great Gatsby,” a book that is both widely beloved and a masterpiece (and one of my personal favorites, if you hadn’t figured it out yet). Those “Warm Vanilla Sugar” body splashes you can get at Bath and Body Works correspond to guilty pleasure reading, like trashy romance novels or (in my case) JHU Confessions, the Gossip Girl of Johns Hopkins. It is incredibly sad how addicted I am to this website, but how else would I know whether Hopkins students prefer “an Ugly who’s awesome in bed or a Cutie who’s totally lacking”? (General consensus is the Cutie, if there was ever any doubt in your mind.)

There are books, such as pretty much anything that Allen Ginsberg (author of the incredible but frankly depressing poems “Howl”, “Kaddish”, and many others) ever wrote, which I find fascinating but too disturbing to read all that often. Creed Love in Black is a good perfume match for these kinds of books. It evokes a patch of violets growing in a forest where dark things lurk.

Finally, we have the books that we read over and over again, our favorites, the ones that changed the way we see the world. A few of mine are: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisnernos, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and my absolute favorite of all time, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. These books correspond to the perfumes that we wear every day, with which we and others identify ourselves. Mine are Bond No. 9 New Haarlem and Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose. My hope is that even if perfume plays no role in your life now, reading this blog will help you to see it as a form of art just like a painting or a symphony.

By the way, y’all, I forgot to mention that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has guidelines concerning blogger endorsements. Basically, if a company sends me free samples or pays me money to write a good review, I have to let you know. All of the perfumes that I have reviewed thus far I have either bought from Sephora or tested in stores. But in the immortal words of Biggie, “I gotta let it show, I love the dough”. I am a college student who does not currently have any time to work and therefore has no source of income. If a company did send me free samples or something to review, I would not turn them down. However, I can promise you this: I will never write a review that a product does not deserve. Pink Sugar has no glowing reviews in its future no matter how much money Aquolina tries to throw at me. (Although they’re certainly welcome to try.)