After last weeks calone-misery, I decided it was time for something completely different, namely Poppy Red 17-1664, a bright pure red. A color I associate with big emotions, like love, anger and passion.
When I look at this color my first thoughts are red flowers. There are roses, carnations and geraniums. Then, fruits, berries and vegetables like strawberries, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates and tomatoes. Also spices sometimes feel red to me and the sting of chili. Oud can be applied to any insipid floral to make it fuller and sexier, leaning into red territory, so there is no shortage of ingredients to craft great scents!
Now, THIS is my perfume comfort zone, or at last I though so (we’ll come to that later). Before I’d even started I’d listed about 20 ”red” shades I was looking forward to wearing, so the challenge this week was not finding scents, it was in limiting myself. I could easily have gone on for months!
The scent I tried that felt most Poppy Red 17-1664 is Comme des Garcons Series 2 Red: Carnation. Carnations, with their spiciness and clove facets, are the most red smelling flowers I know of and this perfume is the reddest of them all. The composition is truly intriguing. There is a lot of ”floralness” in there, the carnation is paired with a mellow rose and a ”florist refrigerator” accord so real that I can actually see the cut stems in their vases the moment the fridge is opened and cool air spills out. But the spiciness is also played up, boosted by warm, slightly numbing cloves and red peppers. At the very same time I inhale the cool florist air I get a hot chilli tinge in my nose as well. It’s a very intense scent and I tend love it for about an hour, then it gets slightly nauseating. Even though I can’t stomach it – it is well made and as red as it gets.
A carnation scent I find much more pleasurable to wear is Le Labo Baie Rose 26. Carnation is not an official note, but it does have roses and cloves, so that’s the vibe you get. Initially, there is quite spicy bite (pink peppers, allspice and cloves) that is kept in shape by a velvety rose. As the hours pass, the spices give place to a powerful ambery base. The rose is the same though, smoothing things out, making sure everybody is happy and having a good time. It’s funny, I wore it a lot last summer and I remembered it as dark red, but when I wore it now, in winter, it felt much darker and leaning towards purple, I’d call it either blackened plum or dark blackberry – like Mrs O’Learys BBQ shade in the pic.
Another ”red” scent that I’ve reviewed before is 1889 Moulin Rouge Histoires de Parfum. When I wore it this summer I got mostly candy. It was a pleasant scent, but a bit simplistic. Now, in the dry winter air, it’s a very different animal. There is a lot of powder in it that becomes more prominent and I also get more musk. Imagine lightly clad dancing girls, all flushed and steamy hot after doing their acts on stage. When passing through their dressing room, on their way to meet the patrons they quickly grab a handful of powder and smear it all over, a super quick fresh-me-up, at a time when daily showers were frowned upon. The colour is a jaded dark red, slightly dusty and leaning toward rose.
Despite my earlier rantings I just couldn’t help myself straying past those mainstream displays. Shouldn’t Miss Dior EdP (the one formerly known as Miss Dior Chérie) be a red scent, when those strawberries, popcorn and patchouli are added up? I hadn’t tried it before so I gave it a go. It starts with sickly sweet jammy strawberries…sooooo sweet. I sat there and thinking that if I didn’t wash it off soon, it would turn me permanently diabetic. After an hour I couldn’t take it no more, I headed for the shower. When I was about to take my clothes off, something happened. Up until than it had been all massive fruitcholi, now those famous popcorns, buttery greasy, suddenly appeared as out of nowhere. And the patchouli, it smelled ….so good. It was as all those questionable parts, at the same time, had turned and suddenly fit together from their best angles! It was love. Not the red kind, more of a shrilly warm pink, but love it was.
Lessons learned from a week of Poppy Red 17-1664:
- Anyone that has ever bought a pot of nail polish knows there are MANY shades of red. I had such a big list of red feeling scents and it turned out when I wore them hardly any were red at all. Take Malles Portrait of a Lady, it’s about rose, patchouli and incense. I thought that one would be dark red but in fact it felt nearly black, like a black nail polish showing red reflexes sometimes when the sun shines it certain angles. Malles Geranium pour Homme was even more confusing, at first it alters between feeling a very bright geranium red and lush leaf green, only to move on toward a Chinese 5-spice flavoured soup kind or brown. I’m not doing these scents properly in this post as I’ve got SO much to say about them. Especially PoaL, that one is like all the relationship dramas of the world have been poured into a bottle. So, this is a small post about a very big world.
- Very randomly, I overheard a conversation where a woman said that everybody seemed to pay much more attention to what she said when she wore red lipstick. I’m now determined to wear more red lipstick!
- My original plan was to paint my own nails to do the illustrations to this post. It turned out that my camera couldn’t catch the differences between the shades well enough, so that idea went in the trash. The pics I got are all borrowed from the OPI site, where they have this service where you can choose any one of their nail polish shades and see how it looks on your hand. Go check in out at OPI
- I very much enjoyed this week! I love red. After black it’s the most common color of my clothes. Out of my 5 last bought garments, 2 were red. I’m not a very outward behavioured person. When stuff happens, I take it in, think about it, sometimes for days, before I react. I think red helps me counterbalance that kind of behaviour. Adds a little energy just where I need it the most.