Actually, I DO like mainstream perfume 2: Electric boogaloo

In my last post (dated 8/2022), I mentioned some mainstream perfumes I’d been enjoying. (Spoiler alert: Dolce & Gabbana’s The Only One, By Kilian Angel’s Share x French Montana, Moschino Toy Boy, Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 62, Lolita Lempicka Sweet and Carolina Herrera Good Girl).

Well I’m here to talk about some more!

BDK Gris Charnel

I was fully influenced by PerfumeTok to give this a try… and I was not led astray. I ordered a sample back from BDK and Gris Charnel was exactly as lovely as described. Translated roughly to “Carnal Grey,” this perfume feels sexy and comforting at the same time. The notes include fig, black tea, cardamom, iris, Bourbon vetiver, sandalwood and tonka bean. The result is sultry and enveloping, like wearing a lover’s flannel shirt – and only that. Most of FragTok has dubbed this the ultimate fall/winter scent, but I’ll be wearing this in your nightmares year-round. This is my first major fragrance purchase – I still think $190 for 100mL of fluid is outrageous – but I am so glad I splurged.

You may be tempted by the Extrait (30% higher concentration) – a full $90 more than the OG. I ordered a sample when everyone said this was an even more seductive version of Gris Charnel. It adds a few woody notes, but from a few wears, I just don’t think it justifies the extra expense. (Note: Is this a “mainstream” perfume? BDK definitely leans toward niche, but they’ve become popular enough that I think they count. What even are words?)

BDK Pas Ce Soir

I haven’t tried the rest of my most recent round of BDK samples, but this one stopped me dead in my tracks. I got it expecting to be disappointed – the notes are black pepper, ginger, mandarin, pear, jasmine, quince, orange blossom, Cashmeran, patchouli and amber, and I tend to find that floral notes always overpower everything else unless the fruit notes are absolutely cloying. That’s… not the case here. This is equally warm and citrusy. The amber reads a bit like vanilla, making it almost a baked good – almost! I did not expect to be so thoroughly seduced by it. It’s sultry yet yummy.

YSL Black Opium

I confess: I had pigeonholed YvesSaintLaurent as an “old lady” house in my mind. And when I heard the name of this fragrance, I expected a heavy “floriental” perfume. Classy, yes, but not for me – thirty, flirty and thriving! I was wrong on both counts. This house has really gone to the mat to create some interesting scents for this century, and I am here for it. Black Opium is black coffee, white florals and vanilla, according to the website (Fragrantica’s noses add pear, pink pepper, bitter almond, licorice, patchouli, Cashmeran and cedar to that list.) Again, I was afraid of those white florals, but I barely detect them. Instead, it’s just a warm, spicy gourmand that’s not sweet, like the older sister to The Only One. This scent also has the benefit of being one that people can occasionally name when they smell it on you, which is not an experience I’ve ever had. haha

Britney Spears Prerogative

Oooh, a Britney perfume?! I was a huge, huge fan of Curious when it first came out; the magnolia was so realistic… but that unfortunately meant I had to pass it on to my mom, as it gave me a headache. I had less luck with the Fantasy scents, but I had no problem giving this one a try. The notes read: pink pepper, goji berries, apricot, red calla lily, latex petals (???), espresso foam, santal, amberwood, saffron cream. Again, this is a scent where the florals are almost nonexistent for me. A lot of people were recommending this a lactonic scent, but I don’t really see it. That said… this wears incredibly intimate for me, so none of the notes really take the forefront and any nuance the perfumer might’ve intended just gets lost. Instead, it’s just a warm, spicy haze. I love this as a layering note for sweeter scents that need a little grounding. And for any other perfume, that would not be a compliment. But I was able to get a full-sized bottle for like $14. Spray away!

Pure Instinct Pheromone Oil

Is pheromone oil bullshit? Absolutely (the placebo effect seems to be real, but that’s all it is). Did I buy this anyway and end up adding into my regular rotation? You betcha! The notes are mango, mandarin, honey, cinnamon and white musk. There is definitely some sweetness on the top, almost sort of peachy. But it wears out to this musky scent that’s a little odd, if I’m honest – it borders on animalistic to my nose, which might just be my imagination, but whatevs. That said, I think this is another perfume that works best as a layering note. It adds some oomph to scents that are a little superficial.

Maison Margiela Replica TBH all of them?

Okay, maybe it’s not fair to blanket recommend a line of fragrances. Some definitely are better than others. That said, which ones are better seems to be extremely subjective. But just about everyone agrees that at least one of these scents is magical. Some are very literal – By the Fireplace and Coffee Break more or less smell how you’d expect. Others are an invented impression; At the Barber’s gives you an aromatic scent that… yeah, I guess I kinda see what they were going for here. Being fair, I don’t think most people are going to want 100mL of any of these scents. Fortunately, there are sample versions out there, as well as rollerballs and candles.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange

How could I forget about this little gem? Blood orange, strawberry, raspberry, mandarin and Italian sweet orange. It’s not complex or flashy, it just smells exactly like what it promises. Since it is a bit simple, it would be a great option for experimenting with scent layering. Now, normally I don’t recommend perfumes without smelling (and judging) them. But I’ve been told that their French Lilac is incredibly realistic. Big if true. (Even though I can’t tolerate wearing floral perfumes, I might try this so I can gift it to a few people I know.)

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