Friday, August 21, 2015

Reformulations of Contempt


KOUROS:

Kouros is still my favorite masculine on the market and, along with Yatagan, the best deal. If you love the smell, it becomes truly addictive, and the clean-dirty dichotomy present in all my favorites--Angel, Amouage Gold, Yatagan--is key to my continued fascination. 

After coming to terms with how excellent the "new" Opium actually is, I felt compelled to purchase a fresh bottle of Kouros. I was familiar with a post-2010 version from an ex-boyfriend who had it. It smelled like Kouros, sure, but had an almost bubblegum sweet quality to it and less complexity. I remember the bottle being plastic and cheap-looking. 
Maybe I'm crazy, but the new bottle I received from Amazon (dated 2014) seems leagues better than what I smelled last year. The packaging has changed, I assume to coincide with the launch of Kouros Silver. Regardless of the ho-humness of that flanker, I'm glad that they're giving more attention and a new advertising campaign to Kouros. This new bottle is white glass without silver shoulders, and it looks expensive and well designed, not like a cost-cutting measure as the first L'Oreal ones did. The logo has been slightly modernized and "Eau de Toilette" is gone. The box it came in is shiny navy and silver foil, different from the brighter blue ones I've purchased in the past. 
Most importantly, it smells excellent and lasts forever! The thin sweetness I detected with the plastic bottle my ex had is gone. It's not as strong as my first bottle, but it's gorgeous and smells exactly as Kouros should. It lasts through an entire work day, fading into a nice clean floral musk at the end. The shocking trademark Kouros sensation of a musky man wearing a soapy floral perfume is there--at times I was even reminded (positively) of Giorgio, like a dirty man had sprayed on Giorgio. 
I think YSL took customer complaints seriously and improved the formula for the launch of the flanker. Kouros Silver may have been a blessing in disguise.
OPIUM:

I can't say enough good things about post-2010 Opium. Yes, I went through bottles of the vintage, but the fact is this just smells wonderful on men and women, lasts forever, and retains the character of the original. When you smell it, there is no doubt it is Opium. If it were marketed under a different name it would be hailed as a glorious, baroque throwback oriental. You can achieve the effect of the original by just wearing more. My dirty laundry all smells of sandalwood incense weeks later. I get told I smell like leather and incense.The powder effect that got "old lady" comments is reduced and the myrrh and incense amped up. This is more wearable in 2015 but still strange enough that you will stand out from the aquatic and Iso E cedar crowd and people with dull minds and uninteresting taste will wish you wore something else. I actually admire YSL's honesty in changing the bottle, making it easier to discern between new and old. Treasure this while we have it.


POISON:

The drydown of the latest reformulation of Poison now smells like L'Air du Desert Marocain, and it's lovely--that same incense/wood/musk. The first few hours it is unmistakably Poison, but the 80s synth-fruit recedes more than it used to. Tania Sanchez noted this as an improvement in one of the updates to The Guide. As for tenacity--when you spray it on, you expect that it will be fleeting as modern reformulations of powerhouses go, but it just keeps coming back and sticks to everything. It can be headachey--strong florals all go headachey on me--but Poison is one of the best reformulations on the market. I love Poison and used to make myself sick with the Esprit de Parfum, which fans must experience for the full story, but I am really liking how this new one fades down. Additionally, it can be had for $45 at Walmart.


Edit 7/28: That headache! It smells wonderful but dutifully gives me a headache every time so I can't wear it. The same thing happened with a new bottle of Knowing.
DRAKKAR NOIR:

Drakkar Noir is wonderful! I used up a bottle without even thinking about it, cause it's just such a versatile fragrance, good for day, night, winter, summer, anytime. People always compliment it without recognizing it. No one wears it anymore since it's been a meme for try-hard male sleaziness via jokes on various television shows for 20+ years. I first smelled it on a gorgeous, smartly dressed young guy and couldn't believe it when he told me it was Drakkar Noir. It smells a lot like Paloma Picasso, with a dry mossy patchouli leather and a soapy character. There is a fun gourmand movie popcorn accord in there too. People will pay so much for these allegedly daring niche animalic leather chypres when this is around, everywhere, for no money and in great shape. Would be especially good on a woman.

PALOMA PICASSO:

Current formulation is fantastic and you basically can't get anything else like this, of this quality, for so little money. Don't bother hunting after the old stuff unless you just happen upon it, it's not necessary. As with the current Magie Noire, if this were packaged with a Serge Lutens label it would be acclaimed as a stunning animalic throwback. Paloma smells very much like itself and nothing else--sour soapy floral chypre over woody honeyed animalic base. Great on a guy, great sillage, great longevity. Go to TJ Maxx and get it.


ANGEL:

You don't want to know what's in the attractive new 3-D bottle. It's dark Windex blue and it smells like a thin, ambery body spray. No patchouli, just wan, faint, cheap, and thin, not to mention priced more expensively than ever. I've worn Angel since 2008 and this was truly shocking. I guess the latest wave of EU restrictions on vanilla killed it for good. I smelled what was in the bottle, baffled, for 20 minutes and then drove back to Ulta to return it. Though it's been getting progressively worse the last five years, I rationalized that Angel was so popular and expensive that it would be maintained in recognizable form. My first several bottles got me endless compliments, and it just got thinner and thinner over the years and ceased to amaze. Unless they fix this--and I don't know how they could--the bottles I have now will be my last. If perfume is really dead because of allergen restrictions, I guess I'll just go back to wearing patchouli oil. That was the best part of Angel, and it hasn't been there for half a decade. I'm surprised I haven't seen anything about this anywhere but in a customer review on the Mugler website. One of the greats is gone.


Apocalypse Culture 2015


I'm sure you're dying to know my take on certain recent events. Here are a few:

Mad Max: I avoided this as soon as I saw that "FEMINISM" a la Beyonce was the chosen marketing angle and that doughy mealymouthed beta males without effective father figures were working themselves into a lather over its socially responsible greatness. I knew my boyfriend was a keeper when he said it was awful.

Confederate flags: My love of Confederate flags and Gone with the Wind is well documented. The left-wing moral panic over them was on par with the Satanic ritual abuse panic of the 1980s and the post-Columbine Marilyn Manson/Doom panic of the 1990s in terms of arbitrarily blaming symbols and pop culture elements for murder. Erasure of Southern identity by sneering nanny-state carpetbaggers isn't funny. Because Millennials on whole are the brainless, castrated end result of the self-esteem experiments of the 90s, free speech is seen as a dated, unattractive value, code for "hate speech." Why would you need free speech if you're doing the right thing, which is being an obedient Democrat voter that keeps up with the latest rules of PC? You can bury me clutching my copy of GWTW with the rebel flag on the spine, thanks.

Trump: Trump swooped in and broke all the rules. I've watched in delight as the media pronounces him finished over and over and it does nothing to his popularity. It's like watching a stuttering, awkward Eula Sharp school matron utterly fail to discipline an unruly class clown. The 1980s are my favorite decade so I'd be thrilled beyond measure at an 80s-style Trump presidency that reverses the smug, ineffective nightmare of Obama. Even if you hate Trump, wouldn't it be refreshing to see the media be honest or (gasp) negative about the president again rather than rolling him out like the latest starlet?

Planned Parenthood: The left-wing media refusal to report on this was astonishing. It was a total blackout. It's a curious feeling to be scolded by news articles for finding dismembered humans and organ harvesting unsettling. "Nothing to see here! Perfectly normal! Clumps of gestational tissue!" Abortion should be safe and legal but its proponents should acknowledge that it's murder. See: director's cut of Nymphomaniac.

Gay marriage: Cool! I want my boyfriend legally bound to me because he's perfect. A quick perusal of Tumblr on the date of the Supreme Court ruling reveals that socialist Tumblr trannies are all against gay marriage for some reason, which is only slightly less puzzling than a few weeks ago when celebrity feminists were all revealed to be against the legalization of sex work. Who writes these people's opinions for them? Remember four years ago when Obama and Hillary were totes against gay marriage cause of their Christian beliefs? Is that just, like, something you're supposed to ignore? I saw some meme with some fat fag comedian going "My black president turned the White House rainbow, that's how drunk I got" and wanted to die.

Caitlyn Jenner: I love Caitlyn Jenner.

Downfall of Gawker: This was, to me, a bigger deal than gay marriage. Gawker Media (along with Jon Stewart) is in large part responsible for the popularization of the mean-spirited snarky Stalinist Ellsworth Toohey leftism that has afflicted my generation like a plague. My delight when they were excoriated and ruined for doing exactly what they've done all along was immeasurable. They're destroyed. No one reads them. Their new posts don't even make any sense. 45% of their content is 500 Days of Kristen. Good riddance.

The Lena Dunham piece is now at Thought Catalog.