As you know, we do a great disservice to art when we judge it not by what it is but by what we want it to be. Putting that aside, I've decided I want my next fragrance to make me feel like Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless (minus the murder), something reckless and unrefined, but lately all my samples are delicate, meticulous things, intentionally lacking in boldness. And, surprisingly, they're mostly from very small niche brands.
Remember when I used to complain about all the thick, leaden offerings from one-person perfume houses? (Come back Neil Morris, all is forgiven.) Now it seems like many indie perfumers have just discovered L'eau d'Issey. I wonder if they're watching Beverly Hills 90210 and wearing high-waisted jeans, too.
My latest batch is from Ys Uzac, a Swiss line with four perfumes of undeniable quality, all of them lovely and balanced and wearable. But how do they serve my needs?
Metaboles comes closest to something I might like: licorice, tomato leaves and clove, but all delivered with a very light hand. It's a cool, modern fragrance, handsome but without any real depth.
Jean-Paul Belmondo meter: 5/10 (Luke Perry)
Monodie is a charming citrus backed by a light rose, bright and feminine and also redundant.
Jean-Paul Belmondo meter: 2/10 (Jennie Garth)
Lale is a warm, slightly sweet osmanthus, optimistic and almost fruity, an interesting variation but not quite as good as a few others in this category.
Jean-Paul Belmondo meter: 3/10 (Jason Priestley)
Pohadka initially holds the greatest promise for me, jasmine and tobacco, but not at all like the blunt, amusing Jasmin et Cigarette. This one doesn't smile and instead of smelling like a grand old dame going on her second pack of the night, Pohadka is the lightly perfumed girl in the next cabana who snuck a cigarette a couple hours ago.
Jean-Paul Belmondo meter: 6/10 (Shannen Doherty)
I'd recommend each one of these to one person or another, but for me it's another disappointing discrepancy between what I'm smelling and what I want to be smelling. It's not you, Ys Uzac, it's me/Jean-Paul.