smell this: Clarins Eau Dynamisante



I made my way to a Clarins counter to smell Eau Dynamisante a few months ago after it was featured on Garance Doré’s site. This offering from the French skincare brand, launched in 1987,  is evidently something of a cult classic with men and women alike in France. I can see why.

It opens with a bright citrus note that my nose associates hopelessly with pez but, maybe 10 minutes later (be sure to wait at least this before making your judgment), settles into a light, delicate leather scent with herbal and citrus backup singers. There is, in fact, no leather. What I perceive as leather is (relatively) sweet midnotes of ginseng and white tea hitting a patchouli basenote, then petit grain (the oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange plant) for brightness and rosemary to make things interesting. Patchouli is persistent on the skin and this lingers on me for many hours. Fades over time into a creamy white tea and patchouli accord that is to me in every way pleasant. I got some for myself.

No surprise from a skincare brand, it’s meant to be good for your skin as well, and follows basics of aromatherapy in its selection of essential oils. I can’t tell if it is making good on these claims…but these would be a bonus anyway. I’m inclined to trust in the ingredients and imagine it does have some subtle effect.

It’s hard to imagine putting too much of this on, it is so inoffensive and so light in formulation. At the same time it isn’t, like so many inoffensive fragrances, unforgivably bland. This leans slightly masculine, at least for the American market, but just slightly. This feels like a modern Eau Sauvage (which, for the record, I do not much like), and I would especially recommend it for a no-fuss, post-shave morning spritz.

smell this: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

IMG_6115Well, it doesn’t smell as good on me as it did on the guy who made me want to buy it, though I was drunk at the time I decided I would buy, and he must have bathed in it. Lesson learned in testing on self [Always test on self!]. And inebriated scent assessment.

Pleasant vanilla, citruses and rose florals anchored with patchouli –  not too sweet, esp in the drydown, so it smells good (definitely good…not quite inspiring but solidly good, I can see why it sells so well) but rather boring to my nose. Would be a fitting scent for a particularly charming baby or nursery was my initial thought [though you aren’t meant to put perfume on babies, I know]. Can layer to sweeten or temper a masculine, is how I’ve been consoling myself about it. I find that it plays very well with others, after a couple of years of experimenting with it now and then. Especially like it over something musky, like the C.O. Bigelow musk oil. This also keeps it from being so recognizable, and helps with that ideal of having a unique scent for oneself.

Though it is not my favorite I often reach for it (alone or somehow layered) when I don’t want to think too hard about smelling nice–not only nice, but ‘pretty’, nice in a sense with feminine mass appeal–and I want to speak, inconspicuously, effortlessly, to a broad range of tastes. Perhaps if I know I will be meeting new people, for example, and I’m in a rush. I almost always get positive comments.