If you’ve grown up in the 80’s, you’d know that there were a lot of things worth forgetting (unless, of course, you need to remember things in order NOT to repeat them…) and only few to be proud of. The latter included purple, hoop earrings and Prince. Having suffered my teenage years in that era, these were perhaps the three things that managed to cheer me up despite the overall ugly fashion, dealing with the first (and unfortunately not last) zits that popped up as they wish threatening to destroy my life forever, and endless disagreements with parents that thought that just because they were teenagers in the 60’s and fought all the wars worth fighting for (for them at that time) and therefore their teenage children should just shut up and be happy and do what they’re told. And did I mention that the perfumes that signified the era for me were suffocating and overpowering, and were worn by the classroom slut (Poison) or Middle-School’s uprising pop star (Jovan’s Musk Oil). In that kind of environment (i.e.: visually disastrous, killer silage perfumes and mind-controlling parents) the mass-appeal of the shamelessly individualistic music of Prince won a large chunk of my heart for the rest of my life.
So it is not surprising that as soon as I learned that the artist formerly known as Prince - and now known more as a symbol that looks like this:
- has decided to delve into the realm of perfume, I immediately ordered it online from the website dedicated to 3121 perfume (also the name of his most recent album) – a website that has the underground look of an early website designed by the funky computer-nerd teenager next door, and that takes PayPal rather than swipe your plastic card.
The description seemed very appealing, being described as “Xquisite, Mysterious, Xotic - A kaleidoscope of rich florals”. a concoction of white flowers underlined with patchouli, sandalwood and musk. This could have gone bad in two possible ways, being either:
a. Just another fruity-floral or insipid clean floral like the ones released every other day by celebrities and mass-market perfume companies alike
b. Punch-in-the-nose 80’s style fragrance, a-la Poison or Giorgio.
The bottle arrived three weeks later, and looked like a new size of a Prince CD with its kaleidoscope of cut amethysts on a yellow background and large gold & purple label right in the middle. The perfume starts with florals and a citrus sparkle of bergamot, yet you can already smell the underlining patchouli and sandalwood creep up and mingle with the top and heart notes. The top is mostly gardenia, the heart (once the orange blossom and lily of the valley fade a bit) is mostly soft but voluptuous tuberose. And while the initial warmth offered the premise of a warm, sweet and sensual base or dry out phase – what we get in the end is more of a clean interpretation of these notes – patchouli, sandalwood, cedar and musk.
I don’t feel I can say anything bad about this perfume, but I am not as enthusiastic about it as I was hoping I would be. Primarily because, while it does not smell like many other cookie-cutter celebrity and mass market scents, it is not particularly original either. From the moment I smelled it, I felt I was already familiar with it. It reminded me of quite a few fragrances, all of which I like to some extent but don’t love. Such as the opening notes for Sira des Indes, the floral bouquet of Pure Poison (only richer), Carnal Flower (less full-bodied though) and Allure (yet less powdery) and the clean patchouli and musk base of Lovely and Pure Turquoise plus hints of the incense and musk that is in Pure Poison. Prince’s music is original and cutting edge. His perfume isn’t. All the same, it is very wearable, and I’m sure I will be using up my 30ml bottle pretty fast. It’s just that kind of a fun fragrance that can be worn nearly anywhere and anytime. I’m curious to try the perfume concentration (it’s called “Xquisite Perfume” and comes in 15ml), as white florals usually smell better (creamier and richer) in higher concentrations, and in hopes they will also last longer before the cleaner and flatter base notes arrive.
If you order online from the 3121 Perfume website, 7% of the each sale will be donated to one of the 7 charities listed on the website:
Jazz Foundation of America
Helping and Loving Orphans (H.A.L.O.)
Elevate Hope Foundation
The Bridge, Minneapolis, MN
Edith Couey Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund
Top notes: Bergamot, Jasmine, Gardenia
Heart notes: Orange Flower, Muguet, Tuberose, Ylang Ylang
Base notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk
* Cell of Prince in the Simpsons is from an unaired episode, and was found by Blushy McHuffypants.