Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Standard perfumista wisdom warns against wearing one of your favorite perfumes on first dates. That way, if the date goes badly, you don’t risk tainting one of your tried and trues with a negative association. (I still can’t touch Lush Tuca Tuca after a particularly rough OKCupid date at a Lord of the Rings-themed restaurant, during which I was lectured about the Singularity for longer than Return of the King. EXTENDED EDITION.)


In keeping with this principle, I decided on Baccarat Rouge, a scent I had spent very little time with, for the first date with my now-boyfriend Garrett. (This is the first time I’ve mentioned a boyfriend on the blog since college. I will be so mad if he dumps me tomorrow.)

No turning back now- meet Garrett, everyone!

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has described Baccarat Rouge as “burnt strawberry jam”, and that’s wonderfully accurate. Baccarat Rouge opens with a mouthwatering caramelized effect, candied with just a touch of savory. Fascinatingly, Baccarat Rouge is based around a very common ingredient, ethyl maltol, the sweet core of mainstream blockbusters like Thierry Mugler Angel and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. But where Angel and Flowerbomb are massive, hulking fragrances, Baccarat’s sweetness is airy, streamlined. It’s candy, but it’s polished, subtle candy, like a delicate toile of sugar on a Michelin-rated dessert. The burnt strawberry jam never fades away, but it’s gradually given depth by a quiet, fresh jasmine note, which just so happens to be the only kind of jasmine I can tolerate.

The ultimate proof of Baccarat Rouge’s allure? After a few months, Garrett ordered his own bottle.

What are your go-to date fragrances? Any scents you’ve had to banish after bad first dates?

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. 

Lancôme La Vie Est Belle


Lancôme is calling La Vie Est Belle “the first ever iris gourmand.” (Nobody tell Guerlain Iris Ganache. Or Parfumerie Generale Iris Taizo.) Questionable claims aside, an iris gourmand sounds great! Too bad La Vie Est Belle isn’t one.

I don’t know what I was expecting from a brand crazy enough to discontinue Cuir de Lancôme, but this is a positively typical fruitchouli. That is to say, indistinguishable fruits (the notes say blackcurrant- I hate blackcurrant), a chocolate note straight out of Thierry Mugler Angel, and a sanitized patchouli drydown. When compared to the current fruitchouli standard, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, La Vie Est Belle is less sparkling and somewhat deeper. I happen to prefer Flowerbomb.

One thing that I will say for La Vie Est Belle is that the materials don’t feel cheap. The fragrance never becomes thin or weak. Still, I wish that La Vie Est Belle was the potentially interesting iris gourmand we were promised instead of this utterly unnecessarily fruitchouli.

Thierry Mugler Womanity


Fabrice Pellegrin, the head perfumer for the team behind Womanity, says of his creation: “I’m very proud of it… I hope it’s going to have the same success as Angel.” Chandler Burr, professional grump and perfume writer, declares, “Doesn’t disappoint.” Geza Schoen, head perfumer for Ormonde Jayne, calls Womanity “the worst fragrance I have ever smelt.” I agree with all of them. Womanity is bizarre and borderline unpleasant. I have only worn it outside of the house once, and three people complained.

Womanity smells like unripe figs and salt water. Robin at Now Smell This speculates that “[the] human is rare” that does not smell caviar in here, but I have never tried caviar and therefore cannot comment. I have no idea what Womanity’s notes are supposed to have to do with Womanity as a concept. That’s what I like about this perfume, actually. Thierry Mugler didn’t choose an insipid fruity-floral or some bimbo sugary scent to represent women. He apparently believes that womankind is worthy of something more interesting, something clever, something that isn’t always pretty or sexy. I probably won’t be wearing Womanity outside of the house again, but I do very much appreciate what it’s trying to say.