Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dueling Perfume Reviews

Two reviewers, about a year apart, had very strong opinions about the boldly-named "Breath of God" by a perfume company called B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful:

First, Hadley Freeman writing in the Guardian in October 2007
"So what, you cry, does The Breath of God smell like? Hellfire? Benevolence? Aquafresh?

"Well, rather like religion, everyone seems to take something different from the Breath of God. One guinea pig detects the scent of nail polish remover. Another suggests the gentle bouquet of cheap booze. Personally, it is exactly how I always imagined those vials of liquid used in period dramas to bring pale heroines round after a fainting spell would smell. Almost like -- yes -- a wake-up call. To what, I'm not sure (to have a shower, probably, to scrub it off) but truly, I have felt the breath of God on my neck."
And then Tania Sanchez, co-author of the superb Perfumes: The Guide, writing in this month's quarterly supplement to the Guide
"Such an experiment should be a hot mess. But it’s a triumph, a walk through an autumnal landscape in shades of pencil gray instead of painterly gold, with the sweet biological rot of compost below and dry air touched with woodsmoke above. In structure it is reminiscent of the best of Serge Lutens’s scents, straddling the dark cedar-violet of the Bois fragrances and epic florals such as Sarrasins and El Attarine, and it has a herbal air of archaic medicine, or potions to ward off malice. Surreal combinations—lemon ham, grape leather, bubblegum tobacco, loquat vetiver—rise from its depths each time it comes to attention, hour after hour. Wearing it, I feel a sense of wonder that so late in the perfume game there still can be such profound invention."
Sanchez gave it a rare five stars.

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