And, there's been this advert on TV for a while.
I do watch movies. Admittedly, movies supplied by my friend, known under the nom de guerre Sadako, whose taste is pretty odd (1) and who sends me a pack of something from time to time. I also read Journals for Ladies that Have no Intellect (2), that's how I became aware that Ms. Witherspoon is an actress. I'd have to ask Sadako to ensure me in my strong suspicions that Ms. Witherspoon never appeared in any of the movies, although I might have seen something by accident, my parents have a TV and they even use it for something else than a flowerpot post (3). When I have the chance, though, I quite enjoy watching the adverts. They tell more about the state of humankind than fifteen award-winning documentaries. That's how I noticed the new Avon fragrance, In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon (4). I thought, what a crime on that satin, to dye it this colour that oscillates between very old cream (5) and, erm, diluted final products of digestion.
Today I had some travelling to do, and for three hours on the train, Journal for Ladies that Has no Intellect is a perfect thing. It contained a sample of the abovementioned fragrance so I thought it a divine sign to start a series on something mainstream.
I confess, I was ready to write a long rant about a boring crappy fragrance. I am prejudiced. To my surprise, it was not crappy. I dissected the blister that hid the sample vial, laid it aside and continued typing this post and then stopped and tried to find out what is this rather nice smell here. Not that easy task, since I am where I am, I organized an impromptu perfumista reunion and I have five ziploc bags full of samples on this very table. Ten seconds later, I got the point and tried the fragrance on my hand.
And then I went Damn, this thing has what I miss in Chanel's Gardenia, and there's none of that damn stickysweet coconut. It starts with magnolia, in fact, and as Ms. Witherspoon described, it was inspired by her childhood memory:
"In developing In Bloom, I found myself drawn to the scents of my childhood in Tennesse. We had a great big magnolia tree in the backyard and it’s that beautiful white blossom that inspired the perfume. In Bloom is indicative of where I am in my life today. I’m feeling very strong and independent, and so happy, so full of life. The fragrance truly captures that feeling – it’s very sensual, very romantic and alluring."
I cannot say anything about Tennessee, I have a friend there but I wouldn't say she'd want to share a house with anything romantic, alluring or, heavens forbid, sensual. She's a crazy cat lady with a thing for Murasaki, as far as I know, and if something is far from romantic and sensual, as well as from In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon.
That magnolia, along with whatever flowers may be there - various sources, from Avon themselves to gossip mags say 'fresh flowers' or 'magnolia and jasmine' (6) is fresh, crispy and adstringent, as if ground along with its leaves. Synthetic jasmine it may be, it is sort of less smooth than jasmine absolute. The freshness wanes and doesn't change into ambery sweetness as the Avon site would want us to think. It stays pleasantly tart - there's peaches and tea, the sample card says peach leaves tea (7), and that's what it is. Infusion of fresh and somewhat bitter leaves.
Alas, after a while, the freshness wanes and I'm left with rather sweet drydown. Not sticky sweet, just sort of indefinably fruity-sweet with a handful of cut grass thrown in, and, oddly enough, cucumber.
I would want a scent that reminds me of freshly crunched camellia leaves. I have a sort of synesthesia problem, Guet Apens is flesh-coloured chalk to me in colour, texture and taste, for example, so freshly crunched camellia leaves may be actually nearly anything. Une Fleur de Chanel gets pretty close, so does Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca (8), but from the other side.
Summed up and underlined: If I got this as a gift, I wouldn't be offended. It doesn't have any evocative power for me, though, which renders it rather bland... bland with cucumber.
I sense some affinity to Une Fleur de Chanel, dearly loved and cried upon her decease so someone may find very reasonable substitute - since this is a limited edition, Une Fleur lovers, check and get a lifetime supply soon, it may work for you. Without the excellent staying power, though.
One way or another, this is a celebrity fragrance, the hell! and it's not crap. The world isn't coming to an end anytime soon.
Notes for In Bloom by Reese Winterspoon:
Top notes: Peach, tea, aldehydes
Middle notes: gardenia, magnolia, jasmines
Base notes: cashmere wood, flowers, amber
(1) in movies she prefers, the venerable curse of I'll have your guts for garters won't stay in the realm of curses.
(2) the journals, not necessarily the ladies who read them
(3) for the slower of mind: I'm not a TV person
(4) there's a fragrance called simply In Bloom, also by Avon, and this Reese Witherspoon edition may be a flaner. Or not. But this is my blog and one of the unwritten rules says no celebrity names in the titles of the posts. Live with it
(5) think too long at the bottom of the fridge, no associations with old rose or old gold
(6) low prices, wide choice, apparently
(7) see note 6
(8) both reviews coming someday soon