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Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
Witty and provocative reviews of 1,800+ perfumes
What the Nose Knows
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A cultural history of smell
The Emperor of Scent
Maverick Luca Turin's entertaining tussles with perfume and science
The Perfect Scent
An insider's look at the creation of two bestselling fragrances
A Natural History of the Senses
An aphrodisiac for all five senses
The Secret of ScentLuca Turin's scientific look at perfume
Essence and AlchemyThe voluptuous history of natural perfume.
Clear out your sock drawer. Womanity's moving in.
A couple of years back, Allure Magazine ran a funny "Beauty and the Beat" column where Barneys creative director Simon Doonan did a blind sniff test of celebrity perfumes -- and attempted to guess the famous faces behind the juice.
Struggling to match a star to what each scent was "saying", Simon attributed Derek Jeter's Driven Black to Rihanna: "very sensitive and girlie". And he was sure that Kanye West was the spokesmodel for Paris Hilton's Fairy Dust: "this is a very fashion-obsessed male with a certain flamboyance."
Hardy har har -- except that I'm having the same difficulty with Thierry Mugler Womanity. Okay, it's called "Womanity", the bottle is filled with pink liquid, and it has a female face on the cap. But Holy Hilary Swank, Batman: dude looks like a lady! Except it is a lady. That smells like a dude.
I'm talking sports cologne. For the most part, Womanity wears like a loud, thickly sweet sports spray. My favorite bit is the beginning: it starts off searingly fresh and fascinatingly vegetal, like sliced and salted bell peppers dressed in a squeeze of grapefruit. Pucker up, Missus!
Then the fig lets rip, and there's an odd, yet not unappealing, tension between the salty freshness and the increasing sweetness. But just when you're starting to enjoy hanging with this hip new crowd, the door slams open and in trudge the same old kids from high school: Amber, Musk and Woods.
Here's where Womanity loses its lilt and the whole composition sags. It becomes common. But like the country mouse who's relieved to see his old friends in a strange new environment, tenderfoot fume-lovers might relish Womanity's familiar drugstore sign-off.
I will say that the pewter-look Dungeons & Dragons packaging, with its cuffed cap chained to the Yellow Submarine lady, is impressively elaborate and luxurious. Womanity's sure to be a hit with the bottle collectors.