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They got me

brightwhiteOlfactif made their first sale to me. I cannot stop wearing White, by Undergreen.

Obviously I’ve demonstrated in the past a high tolerance for bullshit advertising. Probably it is more harmless to pretend that your perfume is some secret formula of Marie Antoinette’s than it is to claim, as Undergreen does, that all its ingredients are “all natural”. I’ve seen it reported elsewhere in the blogosphere that they use headspace ingredients (reproducing particular notes captured by chromatography); I don’t know how I would prove that and haven’t seen the company mention it anywhere, but this pretty clearly does not smell like any all-natural perfume.

What it is, though, is fairly captivating. I have a buttload of perfumes, friends; but this one doesn’t bore me. That is really an achievement. I’ve been wearing it nonstop for the last three days, as the end of the Olfactif coupon period approached and I had to make a decision, and I couldn’t stop thinking, “Oh, what smells so great?? Oh it’s me!”

I thought perhaps I didn’t need another edible white floral. Just off the top of my head I came up with the following list of edible florals in my collection:

Roja Dove Mischief
Donna Karan Gold
Boadicea the Victorious Divine
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere (delectable vanilla note in this)
Alien Aqua Chic
Lune de Miel (instead of Tresor – they’re very close, I just like this one.)
Il Bacio by Borghese
Champagne/Yvresse
biehl parfumkunstwerke al03

It’s a broad swath, you’ll agree, but no real gourmands in there; foody noted florals, including fruity florals. So why do I need White and its coconut seduction?

I don’t. I told you. It seduced me. Reason not the need; it wants me to want it, and so I do.

White’s gimmick is that it is all things white. I don’t know. The coconut is pretty omnipresent and yet not annoying like you’d think it would be. I also get some fairly lovely tuberose and underneath it all, oddly, something like spice. Where an older composition would be built on musk or something approximating civet, this one is built on spice; which is interesting if you think about it, because those notes are just as “deep” or “foundational” (“basey”?), and but somehow with a lot of air in it. Suitable as the base notes for something called “White”.

I wasn’t shopping for a summer perfume, or, God knows, a coconut. I like Deseo when I want to feel beachy; I have both Bronze Goddess and Azureé Soleil, but I’ve never really warmed to them like so many perfumistas do. Instead of those more traditional bases, this one is more surprising as it develops (and it does), and truly not like a dozen other perfumes. (BTW, eight hours of wear on a summer day – this is not an all-natural. Some reviews say it doesn’t last; if you get a little on your blouse as you apply, it will, but again, it’s really low-key.) This one just sucked me in, with its low-key beauty, its seductive coy come-and-go kind of dance. I simply could not resist how good I smelled.

If you wear perfume with sillage, you won’t like White. One review called it a “skin scent” and that I couldn’t deny. There is no trail, and I’m truly not even sure anyone else will know you’re wearing it unless their nose is right up against you. In summer, and especially at my house, that’s a plus, not a minus. I really don’t want to be distracted by a perfume right now, and I’m having a tough time (oh yeah, my life is tough!) choosing between more interesting but tougher-to-wear scents and the workhorses that never distract me but aren’t particularly interesting either. Yes, I presume once I wear White a lot more often, it too will become a workhorse that’s pretty familiar. But I’m ready to get familiar.


Image is “bright white hallway” by Hannes Ambrosch, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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7 comments to They got me

  • Congratulation on your new bottle! I think I saw this brand mentioned a couple of times but that’s it, it’s not on my radar.

    • Judith

      I got to smell their Gold and Pink at Twisted Lily – I must go back and smell them more. I quite liked Pink, if I were in the mood to wear something Pink. (It’s the same theory – something that contains all pink things, like White contains all white things). Gold didn’t strike me as all that Gold. But as I say, I will have to resniff. Also Black.

      I think Olfactif did the right thing in selecting White as their standout.

  • Not on my radar either, but it sounds like you love it. So yippee for that! Enjoy!

  • thehesbomb

    Just a “buyer beware” – it doesn’t matter how many months you initially purchase. The Olfactif company will keep charging your card until you actually e-mail them to cancel your “subscription”. Keep in mind users do not have an account on Olfactif so it is not so simple as hitting “cancel membership,” nor do they give you any impression when you place your order that you will be charged after your initial order (in my case, 3 months) ends.

    Despite it being a fun service I find their billing practices very deceptive and unethical.

    • Judith

      Sounds like you had a bad experience – I’m sorry to hear that. It wouldn’t surprise me, just because most of these subscription things work on the same model. Managing subscriptions is tougher than almost any company thinks and, since they turn out to be their primary revenue stream more often than not and thus a customer who’s canceling is a customer who’s leaving, they have little incentive to do it well.

      I find it less infuriating than Birchbox, whose website never once worked for a Mac user in any browser, so that I never was able to build up the points I was supposed to be able to build by submitting reviews or buying things. For me I’d much rather a company where they just make it easy to miss the small print (though I noticed that my subscription on Olfactif would auto-renew until I cancelled it when I signed up) than one which promises me all kinds of perks and capabilities they never deliver. Birchbox never once responded to my emails asking how I was supposed to participate on their site, either.

What do you think?