Wednesday, January 14, 2009

When will Blogger include a smello-blogger application? A review of Magical Moon

I have always had a thing for fragrances, which isn't surprising given my sentimental tendencies and the connection between scent and memory.  For years, my mom and I have nurtured this obsession for scent, and I've amassed a burgeoning collection of bottles.   

As much as I love perfume, there's no denying the thrifty, hypochondriac in me, who makes her own laundry soap and examines labels of cosmetics for parabens.   It's a contradiction I readily admit, and the scent-loving Kirie sometimes wages war with the Kirie who fears the nasties that are inevitable ingredients of perfume.  

So--moderation.  For the past 10 years or so, I wear fragrance only a few times a month.   I was surprised to find that in this moderation I have found deeper enjoyment of the scents I wear and love.  The layers of top, middle, and base notes sing to me in a way they never did when I would wear the same scent for months at a time.   Now, putting on a perfume is like putting on a special piece of jewelry.  I admire it on myself all day, though each stage of its metamorphosis.   I especially enjoy noticing how the scent affects my mood, how it can start as one distinct thing in the morning, and by evening be a completely different scent.   

I have many favorites, which I keep on glass shelves in our guest room.   When my mom comes to visit, we enjoy opening the various bottles and trying the perfumes, sometimes attempting to name the components.  It's a silly pastime, but fun.  It's sort of like wine tasting, and occasionally equally numbing.  

Last year, through a great interview on NPR's On Point, I found a great book on perfume reviews.  Perfumes: The Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, is a fantastic compendium of scents, historical and new.   The reviews are perfect combinations of science, poetry, snark, and adulation.   Even if you don't like perfume, this book is great fun to read.    

After discovering it, I went on a little quest to create a birthday collection for my mom, the way you might assemble an assortment of chocolates or wine.  I got her the book, and made notes on the reviews of scents we like.  I also sought out new scents that sounded appealing based on the reviews of Turin and Sanchez.   It was a great project, and in the process, I found a lot of new perfumes that I just love.  Oh, collection, how you grow.  Fortunately, some of these are still just sample sizes.

One of the excellent new fragrances I found is called Magical Moon, and I wanted to share it with you.  Now, of course, I'm no Luca Turin when it comes to decoding the alchemy of a scent, but I'm like any pedestrian aficionado--I know what I like when I smell it.

Magical Moon is made by Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, who had a great hit in perfume in the mid 90s with her eponymous fragrance Hanae Mori.   That first fragrance was sweetness before perfume was sweet--think vanilla-flowers-and-fruit together in a breath, and that's it.  I wore it for a long time, though as I wear it though a day, now I sometimes find the sweetness mutate to something slightly disturbing, like the breath of a sick person.   Obviously, I'm not crazy for it anymore.  But at the right moment and on the right person--it's lovely.

Back to Magical Moon.  For a full description of the workings of the scent, you can read the review posted here by Mimi at the Scented Salamander. Here is my take on it, though.

I tried the scent in the store in the form of eau de parfum, which is what I usually buy (parfum itself being out of my range most of the time).   From the second I smelled the mist of it, I had to have it.   Unlike its sweeter cousin, it doesn't inspire thoughts of caramel. Rather, it's spicy, with sandalwood and other woody scents--maybe cypress? Midway through my day, as it dries out on my wrist, it smells like a much lighter version of Poison, but with an added "greenness" to it. By the end of the day, the smell remains at once clean and musky, which is something I don't find many perfumes do.

One thing that intrigued me especially about this perfume was the hype that surrounded it. I bought my bottle from Nordstrom's, from a woman called Darlene.  She was at the fragrance counter only for a few days, and only representing Magical Moon.  As such, she had an entire history to share with me about the fragrance, from its origin to its packaging.   She gave me the hard sell, and I bought.  But only because of the scent itself, I swear!

Some of the more bizarre selling points: 
  • The fragrance was blended in a vat lined with blue moonstones.
  • It was bottled under a full moon.
  • The paint on the bottle is made from chipped blue moonstones.
She also pointed out that the blue bottle itself is getting a lot of hype and rave reviews.  Bottles themselves don't do a lot for me, and while the blue glass is nice, and the globe-like stopper is pretty, I'm not "over the moon" for it (sorry, bad pun).   The hype is obvious, though.   If you like the scent, the additional marketing will simply seal the deal.   quod erat demonstrandum

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angela said...

Hi Kirie

I love your perfume collection and the book you got for us. It has been such fun! I really like the new one Rumeur by Lanvin you gave me for Christmas - I haven't worn it every day but love it when I do. It is sweet and sexy as well.
I want to try Magical Moon on my next visit to the nest. This has been great fun - when I retire I will spend more time learning about the perfumes and wine as well. Maybe we can do this together.

Love, Mom

Paula said...

I love perfume! It can encompass so much about a person's personality, hopes, and dreams. You have a beautiful collection! I will definitely have to try Magical Moon now- I am very intrigued by your description and information and really wish there was a smello-blogger application :)

Hilary said...

Well, that certainly opened me up to a world I haven't ever really been part of. When Bath & Body Works discontinued their "sea spray" or "sea-whatever" scented body spray, I bought three bottles. That was easily 12 years ago. I have one left, and I still spray it now and then. It's so fresh and UP and wakey. But I covet it like it's the last of its kind. Cuz I think it is.

Kirie said...

Mom, I think you are going to like Magical Moon, though maybe not as much as me--it's got that spicy note that you don't usually wear.
But I do love Rumeur, too. It's gotten panned by reviews, but who cares? I put some on a few weeks ago and Ada was calling around the house for "Grandme!" Clearly, she knows what sorts of scents you like.
Hope to see you soon in the nest!

Kirie said...

Paula, Isn't perfume fun? I does tell something about a person's personality, I think. One of my very favorites is Opium, because the dry down part at the end is so evocative of my first singing coach, Stevi (not Nicks!). She was my idol, and she embodied exotic to me.
Now it's got all sorts of other fun to wear.
You must try Magical Moon. If you like those spicy/greeny notes, you will like it.

Kirie said...

Hils, I told you I was full of contradictions. I love the Bath and Body works stuff, too. I have a great pumpkin spray, and one (I think its theirs) that's in a body oil--it's ylang-ylang and sandalwood, and WOW! I adore it. They discontinued it, and I bought two bottles that I secreted away so no little hands can accidentally play with it. I only wear it once in awhile, but I feel like a rockstar when I do. So crazy.
I bet your seaspray is lovely. I like that fresh kind of scent very much. Enjoy it--especially if it's the last of its kind!

La Belette Rouge said...

I have a lot of perfumes but I usually only have one favorite and all the others go unused. I had a Hanae Morae fragrance many years ago. I forget the name. I do remember it was very sweet. I wear L'Artisan Fig almost every day. I cannot get enough of the stuff.

shanna said...

i love perfumes too! i only started to wear it daily a year or so i even wear it to bed!

my current favs are:
coco mademmoiselle by chanel,
nina by nina ricci (love the apple bottle), and very irresitable by givenchy (the purple bottle is pretty)

Kirie said...

Belle, I need to find that one. I love fig scents--we had a lovely fig room spray by Calvin Klein in the late 1990s--it was luscious.

Kirie said...

Shanna! It's good to see you. Thanks for commenting. Aren't perfumes fun?

Anything by Chanel sends me swooning. Coco is one of the best. It changes so much in a day. Chanel's Cuir de Russie is interesting, too.
I enjoyed Nina a long time ago--I should try her again. I've never smelled Very Irresistable. Now I'm curious--I will be seeking it out. Thank you!

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