Monday, January 18, 2010
SOTD: Hugo Boss Boss Woman
I used up another plastic atomizer, so that I could test this sprayed. And the sample was generous, so I was able to put on a full wearing's worth. Why all this detail? Because this perfume is skating on the edge between worth owning, and not worth owning, so I want to offer any details that might have influenced my impressions. I should also note that the card refers to this as "the new fragrance by Hugo Boss", while Basenotes says that this has been out since 2000. Hmm.
The most extensive notes documentation that I can locate lists top notes of kiwi, mango, pineapple, kumquat, and orange, heart notes of freesia, orris, violet root, cananga flower, and passiflore, and base notes of vanilla, musk, sandalwood and cedar. While I can accept that those notes are there, that list definitely doesn't predict the experience. In fact, it's enough of a puzzle that I did some extra searching to reassure myself that there's no Flanker Identity Crisis going on. I was reasonably reassured, so, on to the experience:
The first few seconds had a nail polish remover feel, but that faded so fast that the momentary chemical flash was enjoyable.
Immediately following that, I got a very masculine vibe, and a basket of "reminds me ofs". The background is a bit like the satisfying background of some Jo Malone fragrances, like Sweet Lime & Cedar - something solid and "chewy", probably the woods plus something sweet, as a base for the fresher, more volatile notes.
Above that, there was something that reminded me of Douce Amere. That means absinthe to me, and a reviewer on Amazon refers to a vermouth scent. So I guess that averages out to wormwood - which is definitely not in the notes list.
That was gone within minutes, and then it was rather citrusy, but a somewhat bitter and unfamiliar citrus, like the rind of a sour fruit that I haven't smelled before. Then that shifted into something more herbal. Lavender? Sage? Both? Neither? Are we in fougere territory here? More searching of my memory, and I realized that it reminded me of the cypress and citrus combination in Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien.
Then most of that went away, and within half an hour of application I was down to the pleasant, chewy, slightly sweet, slightly powdery, fractionally-too-synthetic main show, with some of the vanished notes back in minor roles. It reminded me even more of Sweet Lime & Cedar - not just the Jo Malone base now, but the citrus and wood also had a similar feel, though they were far less aggressive than in the Jo Malone. And there was still just a little of Eau d'Hadrien and just a little of Serge Lutens Douce Amere.
At this point, I got my first hint of floral, presumably the freesia. This, plus the sweet and powdery elements (orris?) finally made it smell like a woman's fragrance. Not ruffles and frills, and nicely low-pitched, but the aggressively masculine aspect was gone.
Edited to clarify, in case you're asking, "What do you mean, half an hour? That's not enough time for development!" I did give it more time than that, and I don't mean that it was finished developing after half an hour. Several hours in, the above description still fit, but it was very gently developing, almost imperceptibly growing less sweet and chewy and more dry and powdery. About nine hours in, it's mostly soft, dry powder, reminding me very much of Douce Amere.
It's starting to grow on me. I've always been a person who doesn't like "things" in my ice cream, or my bread pudding, or my cream soups. I sometimes have a similar reaction to Jo Malone perfumes - I like that comfy satisfying base, and I find myself wishing that I could have it without so many "things" in it. Boss Woman may be the perfume to fulfill that craving. Or the lurking "generic synthetic" note may bloom and knock it right out of the running.
For those who don't share my specific weird craving, this might serve for those occasions when the strange and unusual could be a problem. It's an inoffensive, mannerly, buttoned-down fragrance, but it's neither stupid or cringing.
Review Roundup: Why is it that the non-niche perfumes seem to have fewer reviews? Fragrantica and Basenotes, and if I find more, I'll return to add them.
(Edited to add information on the later stages.)
Image: Wikimedia Commons.