One Thousand Scents

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mix and Match 1: Body Shop Invent Your Scent

The Body Shop isn't known for high-end scents, though they come up with some nice ones over the years: they had a perfume oil called Moss that was delightful (it smelled like green liquid soap) and still have one in production called Woody Sandalwood, for some reason, which is dark and spicy and delicious, if perhaps a bit overbearing.

More recently, they came up with Invent Your Scent, a line of nine scents and a pretty good idea: market them as mix-and-match pairs. Each scent is a fairly minimal sketch, and you're meant to buy a batch of them and layer them in twos to give you a complete and complex scent. Some of the scents are surprisingly nice: some of them, on the other hand, aren't. (I'm guessing that most of the 72 possible two-scent blends aren't going to work all that well, either.)

So let's have a look at them in alphabetical order over the next few days, shall we?

Altaro
Top: aldehydic, cinnamon. Heart: sandalwood, clove. Bottom: amber, vanilla, musk.

A basic, inoffensive, unisex oriental. The top and middle notes--they come at you all at once--greatly resemble that cheap brown-wrappered Indian sandalwood soap you still find in all the health-food stores, with a dusting of spices. The spices eventually burn away, leaving soft vanilla musk. Charming but lightweight: the opposite of the typical oriental scent, it stays very close to the skin.


Amorito
Top: chocolate. Heart: jasmine, chocolate. Bottom: vanilla, chocolate.

Top, heart, bottom: they certainly have all the bases covered, chocolate-wise. And like Altaro, this is very pleasant and entirely unisex--they even gave them both manly sorts of names. Sooner or later, every fragrance line nowadays includes a nod to Mugler's Angel, and this is the Body Shop version of it. The jasmine isn't overbearing--it's actually rather neutral, like that in Rochas Man--and there's nothing to scare the boys away, not even the bottle, which is a reassuring shade of brown.


Aztique
Top: aqua leaf accord, bosc pear accord, white peach, banana, lime peel. Heart: cyclamen, rose, lily of the valley. Bottom: sandalwood, amber, blonde woods, musk

I don't know what the name "Aztique" could even mean: it sounds like "Aztec", but wouldn't you expect a scent with that name to be spicy and bold? (Yves Rocher's discontinued Aztek certainly was.) This, however, is a light fruity floral fragrance. The fruit notes at the top are unexpectedly dry; this isn't a typical Escada fruit-punch scent. The floral notes at the heart--rose and lily-of-the-valley--are equally crisp. The whole thing, though, smells kind of cheap and obvious, certainly nothing new. Is The Body Shop looking for new? Probably not.

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