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Telling twins apart

PetronasTwinTowersIs it just me or is it sometimes hard to tell a flanker apart from its original? I guess if it smelled exactly like the original, I wouldn’t buy it. But I’ve bought two flankers recently that other perfume reviewers (with much better noses) reported as having all these different notes; to me they just smell like lighter weight versions of their siblings.

One is Angel Aqua Chic, the summer flanker for Angel. Look, I’m not gonna lie: I’m wearing the hell out of that thing. I often like special editions or flankers of the Mugler scents; I wasn’t expecting to like this one this much. The Candy Boy was right to point out that there’s something a bit marshmallowy about it; but it is (weirdly, oddly, and I didn’t expect this) also sufficiently light and clean that it is absolutely HEAVEN to wear this in hotter, muggier weather. I’ve been sleeping in this. A musk marshmallow? If you can imagine a clean, light, fresh… marshmallow, with just a touch of Angel’s patchouli, well, you’ve got it. Angel Aqua Chic (If that sounds awful to you… well, I’d probably agree with you. But I bought the stupid thing anyway and, as I say, I’ve been wearing the hell out of it. I even love its ridiculous ombre frosted light blue bottle.) If I can’t think of anything else to put on these days, I put on this.

When if you’d asked me, I’d’ve said that my summer love affair would be with La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche, or as the Europeans style it, Petales. (I really like that name better and I wish they were using it here.) This is the lighter version of a different candied guilty pleasure of mine, La Petite Robe Noire. Yes, I have the EDP, I have the Couture, but I wanted this green Tinker Bell bottle and I got it for my birthday this spring. It hasn’t had as much love as it should – I presume because they put some sort of brain-altering chemical in the Muglers. (Really. They are SO addictive.) But it will get more.

marobepetale1These, with my also summer bottle of DSH Scent of Hope, Gucci Guilty, Adam Levine for Her, 4160Tuesdays Say Alice, Jul et Mad Amour de Palazzo, and some perennial favorites like the By Kilian In the City of Sin, constitute my go-tos these days. Interestingly affordable collection, isn’t it? With some interesting exceptions. (Why AdP and not Aqua Sextius, which I also have and which would be more season-appropriate? Why not any of the irises I geeked out over all last year, aside from Scent of Hope? I have no idea.)

ANYway. Flankers. See, the thing is I could tell you that these flankers are NOT the original juice. But I can’t really pick out what lightens them up. They still fire my brain along the original cylinders, though, and that’s partly why I like them, unlike flankers that bear NO relationship to the original. Balenciaga B Skin is very pretty, for instance, but totally different from B; and as much as everyone is raving about Bottega Veneta Knot on the boards, I don’t smell any relationship between it and Bottega Veneta proper, which is what I originally fell for. I’m not even going to SMELL the Prada Candy flankers; I don’t have the interest in being disappointed.

(There are a few flankers that are related but very different – I’m thinking of some of the Shalimar relatives here. Soufflé – just no. But really, they are in general very closely related. I couldn’t tell all the Ode a la Vanille flankers apart if you paid me, despite expressing preferences from time to time – and the hallowed, storied Légère, which I do own, does indeed strike me as something in the Shalimar category but, you guessed it, lighter.)

I suspect flankers exist for the unadventurous shopper. Top niche brands of course don’t do flankers. (There’s no “Amouage Memoir Légère” or “Diptyque Tam Dao Summer Chic”.) Flankers are meant to build on an existing market – and they do. There are only a few of them where I love the original enough to love their twin Johnny-come-lately sibling too. But when I do – whew, I have so little restraint.


Top image is Petronas Twin Towers by Daniel Hoherd, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved. Others are promo images swiped from the web.

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