Ten years ago, Missoni released a daring, excellent fragrance by the immensely talented Maurice Roucel. It was a pretty drastic flop, discontinued by 2011. Missoni has clearly learned their lesson: no good perfumes ever again! Instead, we get Escada summer release rejects. Missoni Eau de Toilette is a juicy, more-than-a-little-plastic-y pear-based fruity floral. It smells fine, if very Bath and Body Works, but it feels a little like wearing a full Juicy Couture tracksuit in 2016. Like, oh, are we still doing that? Are we still doing cash-grab fruity florals? I thought we were doing cash-grab gourmands now.
Maybe that’s too harsh. If an interesting and quality fragrance didn’t succeed, I gueeeeeess I can see how going in the complete opposite direction could seem like the right answer. But forgettable perfume is never the answer. Not in the age of 1,620 annual fragrance releases. (And that’s just 2014’s number.)
Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored (clearly!) and does not contain affiliate links. I tested Missoni Eau de Toilette at my local Bloomingdale’s.
I snapped this baby up for $3 at the Bath and Body Works Semi-Annual sale. B&BW has a nasty habit of discontinuing its classic fragrances in favor of its illustrious newer scents. You know, the generically fruity ones with names like Dark Kiss Fresh Berry Twilight Edward Bella Cherry Blossom. Rice Flower and Shea is a creamy, sweet scent without much sugar, if that makes sense. It is sedate rather than sparkling. Rice Flower and Shea does indeed smell something like sweetened shea butter, complete with the plasticky undertones that can sometimes be detected in shea butter. If I had to guess, I would say that Rice Flower and Shea was discontinued because it was rendered superfluous by B&BW Warm Vanilla Sugar. They are very similar to each other (and, suspiciously, to Kenzo Amour), but the perkier Warm Vanilla Sugar is more in line with the current trend for fragrances sugary enough to induce diabetes.
Aquolina Pink Sugar may be the official fragrance of middle schools these days, but back when I was a young whippersnapper, our lockers were scented with Warm Vanilla Sugar. Although my middle school days were harrowing in many other ways (you didn’t really expect a four-eyed Star Trek fan to say “I loved middle school!”, did you?), I think that I got the better end of the bargain in terms of the perfume. You see, unlike Pink Sugar, WVS actually smells very nice. In fact, with its vanilla and basmati rice notes, WVS smells almost exactly like Kenzo Amour. Amour wasn’t released until 2006, so it is very clear who was copying whom. WVS is actually a smoother experience than Amour, because it lacks the green floral notes that always make Amour feel “off” to me. Luca Turin writes of Amour, “The irresolution between ‘Eat me’ and ‘Don’t eat me’ is what makes this fragrance great”. Call me unsophisticated, but to me that “irresolution” sometimes makes Amour smell uncomfortably dissonant, not “great”.
In keeping with the “warm” part of its name, WVS is a likable, agreeable scent, so much so that it is actually difficult for me to reconcile its friendliness with the often dreadful girls who wore it. I have very much enjoyed wearing WVS for this review, and fully intend to start saving $50 by buying this instead of Kenzo Amour. I’ll miss the pretty bottle, but I can comfort myself with the humongous range of WVS lotions, body washes, and even bubble baths.
Thank you for recommending this, Dee!
So here at Johns Hopkins, there’s an area we call “the beach”. Excitable freshmen are often very disappointed to learn that the closest beach is an hour and a half away, and “the beach” is essentially a large plot of grass. It’s sort of like how you can always find a few tourists wandering around D.C. in search of the National Mall. Do not try to explain to these tourists that the Mall is not actually some sort of massive shopping center: they generally will not believe you, and are often offended at your attempted trickery.
“No, really, where’s the mall?”
At the beginning of the school year, the more daring Hopkins students subscribe to a literal understanding of “the beach”, sunbathing and throwing around a frisbee in their bathing suits. Two weeks later and 20 degrees lower, “the beach” is mostly deserted and my daily opportunities to see a shirtless lax bro have decreased dramatically.
To recapture that fast-fading feel of summer, I turn to Lemon Vanilla. This is by far the best of the three limited edition “summer vanillas” released by B&BW this year. Lemon Vanilla smells like frozen lemonade, that summer delight whose natural habitat is the boardwalk of a beach town. I cannot imagine smelling Lemon Vanilla without immediately craving some funnel cake to go with it.
In keeping with its summery nature, Lemon Vanilla is a fleeting pleasure. That sparkling lemon topnote fades fairly quickly, leaving behind a flatter, predominately vanilla scent. At $12.50 for 8 ounces, however, one can easily afford to remain in denial about the changing of seasons long after the leaves have begun to fall.
Why are you still at this computer?? Get thyself to the Bath and Body Works Yellow Sale! There you’ll find the Signature Classics (some of BBW’s best scents, which were bizarrely discontinued) on sale for $5. Yesterday I finally found a bottle of White Tea and Ginger body splash, which is always (understandably) sold out by the time I get myself over to BBW. A few years ago (right around the time it was discontinued), a very generous friend gifted me with the WT&G bubble bath. I’ve been obsessed with the fantastic combination of lemon and earl grey notes ever since.
Bath and Body Works lists the notes as: Yuzu, Lemon, Green Tea, Bergamot, Geranium, Nutmeg, Rose, Earl Grey Tea, Musk, Woods, Berries. Bergamot lends its usual citrusy charm, and the lemon note keeps everything bright and cheerful. While it might be a bit happy-go-lucky, White Tea and Ginger is far more sophisticated than BBW’s current, fruitier offerings. This might just be my personal association due to the bubble bath, but I also find it to be a very comforting scent. I fully recommend hitting up BBW and stocking up.
Will you be seeking out any of the Classics? Night Blooming Jasmine and Strawberry Lemonade both look mighty intriguing to me.
Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of White Tea and Ginger from Bath and Body Works. White Tea and Ginger can be found on the Bath and Body Works website and in stores.