Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fragrance Fragments: Dahlia Noir, Prada Candy, and Bottega Veneta

Since I was showered with fragrance samples for Neiman Marcus Beauty Week, I thought it might be fun to give you a quick description of three that are among the samples in the Beauty Week tote.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum

A fantasy flower - the first fragrance developed under the creative direction of Riccardo Tisci, Dahlia Noir embodies the mysterious, singular radiance of a woman's graceful power. Dahlia Noir is both feminine and sensual thanks to its floral and powdery facets, but also powerful and captivating with its woody base notes. A couture fragrance all in pure lines, a return to supreme luxury. The quintessence of the Givenchy style.

By most accounts, I should like Givenchy's Dahlia Noir ($90 to $110). I'm not smitten. It's a powdery, dusty, chypre floral. With top notes of mandarin, pink pepper, and mimosa, heart notes of rose, iris, and patchouli, and base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, and tonka bean, it had potential. I had strolled by a free-standing exhibit at the store a few weeks ago, smelled a lovely floral, and asked for a sample. At that point, I should have realized that if I could smell the display that vividly, it might be a strong scent.

To my nose, it opens heavy and stays heavy for hours. I can smell the rose. I can smell the vanilla on dry-down. The patchouli isn't obnoxious, and the pepper makes it lively. What I don't "get" from Dahlia Noir is the opening of citrus/fruit notes. The mandarin and mimosa are missing in action for me.

It's too heavy for my tastes during its first two hours. It smells like an old-fashioned, heavy floral. In its third hour, it becomes rather pleasant, but I can't get past the first few acts of the production. All in all, it's nice enough, but I don't feel any need to buy it.

Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

Prada Candy ($80 to $108) is a different story! I wasn't expecting to like Prada Candy, but I do.

Prada Candy, the new feminine fragrance of Prada, enriches the Prada brand's fragrance universe with another vision: colorful, pop, and explosive. Prada Candy incarnates the new Prada woman: she's daring, sensual, full of life, and implosive. The perfume is named after this seductive and joyful girl who is running wild.

The top notes explode with caramel. Prada Candy is a gourmand delight. As it drys down, the heart, a powdery cocktail of musks delights with its softness. It smells like skin, only better. The base notes consist of vanilla and a "benzoin" overdose (if it's really a 12% concentration as reported, it's definitely a heavy dose).

Created by Daniela Andrier, Prada Candy is perfectly named. It opens with a flush of caramel candy. I envision a caramel chocolate (Fran's salted caramels to be specific), and I want to nibble on my arm. It's a luscious, edible fragrance. Who could resist? As it dries down, it becomes a soft, powdery, sensual fragrance - one that's extremely comfortable. Think hot chocolate. There's nothing particularly unique about it, but it's eminently likeable. That may read like a contradiction, but I can't detect anything about Prada Candy that's precedent-setting, as Prada's fashion often is. Despite that, I would purchase Prada Candy, if I had some extra money lying around.

Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum

I've already raved about Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum ($65 to $475). I adore it.

A complex and abstract mix of raw materials woven harmoniously. It is in the way of the weaving technique "intrecciato" associated with the brand Bottega Veneta, that master perfumers Michel Almairac and Amandine Marie have composed a singular, characterful fragrance.

From the very start, the olfactive identity of the brand appears through the original cross combination of plum and pink pepper, which brings brightness and depth. A strong and charismatic note of Sambac jasmine (variety of jasmine less animal and more floral), reflects in the heart the elegance of the "BV" woman. Harmonious contrast between modernity and tradition, this fragrance continues to radiate through its specific leather accord, symbol, and signature of Bottega Veneta fashion design.

I could live in Bottega Veneta's new fragrance. The scent is very feminine. Whether it's the association with fine leathers or by design, I smell a floral leather in the fragrance. It opens with a spicy note - the pepper, I'm sure - that departs the stage within seconds, leaving behind a soft floral. The floral notes dominate and remain with the fragrance until it fades into the skin. A leathery softness develops in the mid-notes and lasts for hours. I smell harmonious and pleasant memories. The scent is sensuous, soft, comfortable, and romantic. Never too assertive, just as Bottega Veneta's leather bags are conservatively elegant, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum is a scent I could wear to sleep, one that relaxes me and make me dream of life's simple pleasures.

It's nice that the Beauty Week tote offers three entirely different samples. I'll bet one of them will strike your fancy. Have you tried them? Did you get your tote with samples? What did you think?

Ph0tos courtesy of Neiman Marcus


Crystal said...

I really loved Prada Candy!

Charlestongirl said...

Buying, Crystal? I'm considering it, despite my overindulgence in fragrance lately.

lovethescents said...

Charlestongirl, I look forward to testing Bottega soon ;-)

I remember seeing the tester for Dahlia Noir at Barney's when we were in NYC, but I didn't bother trying it. I've become jaded, I think. Oh no! I haven't cared for a thing Givenchy's come out with since they reissued Le De. Very sad.

I LOVE Prada Candy! It's such a cozy gourmand without being too cloying! I'm so happy you like it too :-)

Charlestongirl said...

Lovethescents, BV is special. I really love it.

Last night, I went to sleep with my arm wearing Prada Candy planted next to my nose. I was out of my Fran's grey salt caramels, but the fragrance made up for it. :) Far fewer calories!

lovethescents said...

Wonderful! Isn't it great when you can get your "fix" without it leading to diabetes? :-)

Charlestongirl said...

LOL, I'm not sure I'd go that far. Eating an occasional piece of candy isn't going to cause diabetes! Fran's chocolates are so expensive that I meter them out to myself.

Soni said...

Oh boy! I've been looking for a new fragrance. I have "tested" so many that have fallen short. I love many scents in the bottle but once they mix with my chemistry, so often they "turn". (and it isn't pretty) I don't know what's wrong with me. Prada Candy sounds like one I definitely need to try. A Gourmand sounds perfect for the upcoming fall season. Especially since I already put up all my fall decorations. (hoping the weather will follow suit)

Thank you as always for the alluring, delicious descriptions.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Soni! I have that problem too. I think that's one of the reasons so many notes that others like go "bad" on me.

Prada Candy is available in samples. Ask for one. Explain you want to wear it for a day before you buy. Now's a great time to get one. :)

lovethescents said...

I'm happy to read that you know what retention and control means. Teach me? :-)

Alice said...

I was quite happy to receive a Prada Candy sample in my NM GWP tote...I'm not the usual sweet-scent lover, but I ADORE this fragrance! It's a definite must-buy for me. Oh and I recall seeing a photo of Lisa Corsino in one of your previous entries...I recently met her at the LMdB counter in NM and she was such a delight!

Sophia1105 said...

I have been eyeing up the Bottega and wearing the sample I received in my NM bag. I've really enjoyed reading your take on the fragrance and agree that it has an earthiness without smelling dirty. It doesn't come off as soft and floral as I'd have thought, it's more assertive (at least on my skin) and retains a balance that I have a hard time maintaining in a perfume. For now, it's what I've been looking for--up for debate if it will continue to deliver long enough to become a 'signature' scent (that I've been without for so long). I will be picking one up and look forward to seeing how it evolves as the weather continues to get colder.