Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Givenchy Ysatis

     Ahh, Christmas. A time for giving. A time for getting. A time for getting really tired and smelling like L'il Smokies in barbecue sauce.

     Thank goodness my darlin' husband listens to me. I asked for Givenchy Ysatis for Christmas, and I got Givenchy Ysatis EDT* for Christmas. Yay for people who stick to wish lists! (I also got some Fiestaware from my husband of almost 26 years, but since this is a perfume review, I figured y'all didn't need to know about the lovely tangerine platter I've added to my growing Fiesta collection.)

     My sister sent me perfume samples; my husband got me a gigantic bottle of Givenchy Ysatis, even though I thought it was so expensive, I warned him, "You can get partly used bottles on eBay for really cheap." He must have found a bargain, because my bottle of Givenchy Ysatis arrived at the office the second day I was wearing Chanel No. 19, and it was a *brand* new bottle. Mint in box!

     The reviews from my family are mixed. My husband likes it. My son likes it. My daughter hates it and says, "Whoa. Strong." Then she makes a face. Hmph.

     Me? I like it a lot. It's a lot more powdery than Chanel No. 19, and not as acidic and terrifying as Private Collection. If you go to and look for "if you like Private Collection, you might like....," then you will not get Givenchy Ysatis as a recommendation. People who like Private Collection generally *don't* think of Ysatis as a replacement scent. Hmm. I like this. I am not part of the crowd.

     On the other hand, both Private Collection and Ysatis are ranked by Fragrantica users as "heavy" and "long-lasting." So they have that in common.

     [Side note: I am new to this fragrance obsession, but I joined and am starting to vote in the polls about whether I love something or not. I figure the more information they have, the more informative the site is.]

     There's a strange thing about it, though: I don't like it when it's fresh. I like the dry-down effect. At first, Ysatis is cloying and moldy to me, then it dries down to a more mellow version of itself. On me. I have no idea what it does on other people.

    And it reminds me, somehow, of Anais Anais, which I have not worn nor smelled in more than 25 years. I had a bottle of it when I was in high school. These two scents share top notes of orange blossom and galbanum, so perhaps that explains the sense memory I get.

     One thing I definitely like is that Ysatis is a strong, long-lasting scent that almost makes it through my entire workday without disappearing. I spritz one stinky, wet spray on in the morning, and by the time I get to work an hour later, it isn't stinky any more. And it smells great all day without overpowering my co-workers or causing clients to cover their faces and run away.

     I'm trying to decide what scent to try next. I have so many samples! I've loved the first two. I think tomorrow I'm going to try a sample that made me say, "Whoa, strong!" And I made a face. Who wants to join me for Arpege?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chanel No. 19

     It doesn't seem very long ago, but I last seriously shopped for perfume when I was a teenager. I chose my signature fragrance -- Estée Lauder Private Collection -- when I was 16 years old. I was reading lots of fashion magazines in those days, and they said I was supposed to have a signature fragrance. And since I was in the business of attracting boys, I took that advice seriously. I tried on a lot of perfume. And something about Private Collection just spoke to me.

     I remember distinctly the occasion when a real estate agent brought a buyer to my mother's house on Walcon Lane in the winter of 1983, sniffed the air around me, and asked, "Are you getting into your mother's toiletries, dearie?" Apparently she thought the fragrance a bit mature for me.

     Years have passed, and I no longer want to attract boys. However, I do like things that smell good, and I discovered recently that I just wanted something new to smell. Private Collection is great -- it's just not new.

     So I mentioned this to my entire family while I made forays into department stores that aren't necessarily on the way to or from work to smell perfumes. And I realized that I just don't like perfume counters in department stores. They're so crowded. And I complained about the smelliness around the perfume counter. How is one supposed to know what one scent smells like if the air is full of whatever Taylor Swift eau de toilette came out this week?

     On Christmas -- yesterday -- a precious, precious gift arrived from afar. (Really, it arrived from my sister Amy by way of Yay, Amy!)

     Amy sent me several -- I think thirteen -- samples of perfumes. She typed "if you like Private Collection, you may like...." into the search engine, and she just sent me a ton of samples. I had a wonderful time going through them Christmas morning after breakfast, and then I realized -- oh, my goodness, such a great gob of goodies deserves to be savored, one at a time. Especially since I hope to like one or two of them enough to get big bottles of perfume and wear them as I like.

     After smelling each and every sample, I decided to try Chanel No. 19 first. I had read about it in November, and I had read a different review that compared Chanel No. 19 to Private Collection. But the department store I stopped at to search for just that scent was one of the smaller satellite stores, and the perfume counter barely had 20 designer fragrances outside the piles of celebrity-endorsed crap - er, I mean, perfume.

     Furthermore, I do not know exactly how much this elixir costs, and I'm a little afraid of looking. I ran into a very expensive Chanel fragrance that was a bit sour as it ran into its last notes.

     I put on Chanel No. 19 for Christmas day, and then I put it on again this morning.

     I am not an expert perfume blogger; I am a rank newbie to the idea of blogging about fragrance. But I do know that I like things that smell good, and I don't want a scent that is heavy, cloying, or strong enough to offend co-workers.

     Chanel No. 19 is doing quite well, in my honest opinion. It's light to me -- and green and springy. "Galbanum," other reviewers say, is bitter, but I can't detect a bitter note. Maybe I'm handicapped by all these years of wearing Private Collection, which more than one critic has called "toxic, like chemicals that are bad for you."

     I just like this one really, really well.

     I'm looking forward to trying out the other samples -- and I may order more just for me. Today my last Christmas present from my husband arrived -- a big bottle of Ysatis by Givenchy. It smells bitter compared to the light, airy whiff of springtime on my wrists. I can't wait to wash off this Chanel No. 19 and see if I like Ysatis by comparison. The reason Wesley knew to get me this Givenchy scent was because I tried it on at a store, and the next day when the scent was gone, I missed it. I did! I missed it! Let's see if I miss Chanel No. 19 as much.