Not-So-Mumsy Mother’s Day Edit
I love Mother’s Day. Because it’s my day, damn it.
Yup, I’m here to give you a fragrance guide to Mother’s Day, straight from the exhausted, devoted, exasperated source. These fragrances may seem safe enough. But especially for you, these are scents that will make you feel decidedly un-mumsy, just for a while…
Nasomatto Narcotic V.
So I guess the name’s a giveaway with this one. It’s such a tiny label though – no one’s going to look past that pretty pink juice and think: weapon of feminine mass destruction. But the jury’s pretty unanimous on this scent. Despite its almost architectural appearance, more at home amongst the samples for your bathroom renovation than, say, a bordello, this is soooooo incredibly sexy. Narcotic V. is all about tuberose, the most sultry flower on the planet in my opinion, but there’s a trick (and it’s one stolen from the flowers themselves). At first sniff, everything seems quite innocent. You release the perfume from its weighty, elegant box and spray the lovely Mother’s Day present you’ve requested. Your family members dutifully take a sniff: it’s very pretty, just like those flowers mummy buys sometimes.
A couple of hours go by. But that buttery, metallic tuberose beats on and on until you’re completely drunk on Narcotic V.
Slowly but surely this scent will go to your head, and you’ll need some quiet time in bed with the lights off and the door firmly closed. I wedge a cookbook behind mine just to be sure.
Nasomatto Narcotic V. Parfum Extrait, $264 from Saison
Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose
Looks proper, doesn’t she? And what could be more motherly than a rose fragrance from a classic English perfume house? This is indeed a beautiful rose in the heart of the scent, with both Centifolia oil and rose absolute creating a vibrant impression of a perfect deep pink bloom at her most majestic moment.
Yet, there’s something flirty about those pink folds, the ruffled collar so slightly gauzy. Because what Penhaligon’s perfumer has chosen to frame this rose is not matronly in the least. This rose rolls with a crowd you wouldn’t quite expect, an entourage of perfumery’s trendiest kids. In the opening, that means the crunchy fresh greenness of hazelnut leaf, with sweet almond oil and cinnamon adding a milky spice. And while you might expect a resinous, rich base to such a rose, instead we get the cool grassiness of masculine-leaning vetiver and soft, indiscernible woods.
A cool queen.
Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose EDP, $279 from Libertine Parfumerie
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum
I love this scent. It’s cashmere with a side of kook, a classy hotel pool deck but with a few juicy cocktails under the belt. So confess – did you wear L’Eau d’Issey once upon a time? I did, and so began an addiction to the funny aroma-chemical calone, overdosed in the original Issey Miyake and with the super-power to smell like a smooth tropical sea one day, and a pre-mixed watermelon daiquiri the next. The fragrance has evolved over progressive releases into something softer while still salty and aquatic, and the ambergris and cashmeran in Nectar certainly have that 90’s skin-like musky vibe that begs for a slow-motion, messy haired, sweater and bikini jog along a de-saturated beach. But what you get on top of that is a sweet and juicy, just plain yummy pear note to enjoy. I guess it’s supposed to represent a sweet drop of nectar but just between us, it’s more than just a drop. But L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum ultimately has that rich-person smell that I love, and who doesn’t want to be a little juicy at times?
Issey Miyake d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum, $130 from Myer
Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours
Ask for a clutch first, then graciously accept this as a compromise? There are worse strategies, I reckon. And while I certainly don’t want to smell like the inside of my own tardis-like handbag, crusty with biscuit crumbs, band-aid wrappers and My Little Ponies, I definitely want to smell like this and I’m betting so do you. Bottega Veneta’s range of fragrances are all as understatedly luxe as their leather goods, and you could be mistaken for simply wanting to smell as pure and clean as a brand new bag. But this particular interpretation of leather takes things to a far more luscious conclusion. From the very first spritz, Eau de Velours envelops you in the most incredible soft and juicy plum note that puts the rest of the leather accord in a whole different context. It does indeed have a seductively velvety texture achieved through the skillful balance of rose and patchouli against that leather, and the whole thing is like a high-end olfactory version of 50 Shades of Grey. Divine.
Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours EDP, $115 from Myer
Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori
On the surface, this is a fresh white floral designer scent. Safe. But thing is, Gucci’s current creative director Alessandro Michele is a guy with a vision. And it appears that vision involves some retro rose-coloured glasses and a bunch of bohemian nymphs sashaying around an artfully dilapidated mansion somewhere exotic. Following on from the highly successful tuberose-based Bloom, Acqua di Fiori has hit shelves as fast as dawn arrives at a party before you had kids (remember that?). And if Bloom is a drenching of slightly sweaty, exotic white florals in a far flung location, then this greener version is a dive into the mansion’s lily pond just as the sun comes up (OK maybe it’s only me with that particular memory). It’s creamy but greeny (like, a snapped lily stem green), and with just enough of that indolic spice to keep it from becoming too bosomy. The smooth sandalwood base does nothing to save you from the feeling you could be in, I don’t know, Luang Prabang. So good luck with that.
Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori, $129 from David Jones