Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lost Scrolls

Going through some old papers, I came across notes that I made for a post back in January. As some of you may remember, Misanthropster, my sister Ella, and I reviewed all the deodorants that Wal-Mart carried. For those of you who weren't around yet, here's the post on men's deodorants, and here's the post on women's deodorants.

Having had so much fun "taste-testing" the mass-market deodorants, we decided to check out the more rarified scents that one of the local department stores carry. Luckily, Misanthropster worked at the department store, so she knew how the scents were organized. Unluckily, the cologne counter was manned by 'Nette, a half-crazed cologne Nazi who ran her little spot with an iron hand. Oddly enough, she had absolutely no personal odor (those of you who have read Perfume by Patrick Suskind will understand how creepy that is), and was very stingy when it came to sharing the scents.

Faced with an exciting goal and a formidable foe, our strategic planning went into overdrive. About a week before D-day, I reconnoitered the counter, taking note of all the brands. I then prepared a form that we could use to make comments. My wife checked the schedule, noting the few hours in which 'Nette wouldn't be around. We compared these to Ella's schedule and set the date.

The fact that all of us were doing this together meant that there wasn't anyone to watch George, so she had to come along. On the bright side, the kid loves colognes and perfumes and was happy to join in. The only problems ocurred when we forgot to let her sniff a particular deodorant or testing strip and she went ballistic. She saved all the strips, hiding them around the house. I'm still catching phantom whiffs of "Phat Farm" and "Boss."

The other downside was that we had to do this fairly late in the evening, which meant that we had to rush to make it before closing. Because of this, we weren't all able to test all the scents. We planned to return to the scene of the crime, but Ella had to go to Pennsylvania, where she got a job offer to work in an Art department at a small college, and Misanthropster moved to New York. Perhaps we will one day be able to take advantage of the extensive fragrance counters in Bloomies or Macy's.

Although this list is by no means complete, it does offer some clear tasting notes on a few of the mass-market men's fragrances. We limited our study to the fragrances that featured deodorant sticks for sale at this particular department store. Consequently, I cannot make any claim to completeness!

Looking at this, I can see our distinct personalities emerging. Misanthropster has a very educated nose, and makes numerous connections to other perfumes and colognes. I, on the other hand, am somewhat old fashioned. I like what Misanthropster calls "1940's colognes": woodsy, assertive scents. My sister lands somewhere in the middle, although her tastes revolve around anything that covers up the smell of hemp and paint.

Without further ado, here are our findings:

Crankster: Sweet and ice-creamy.
Misanthropster: Like old-timey women's perfume. Smells like a men's version of Estee Lauder's "Youth Dew."
Ella: Like "Teen Spirit." The women's deodorant, not the song.

Atman by Phat Farm
Crankster: Cheap musk mixed with pencil shavings.
Misanthropster: Basil.
Ella: Pine.

Azzaro Chrome
Crankster: Soapy, industrial, and toilet-pucky.
Misanthropster: Like grass.
Ella: Like a women's deodorant.

Boss Selection
Crankster: Like licorice and sugar.
Misanthropster: Like licorice.

Burberry Brit
Crankster: Powdery, like baby oil.
Misanthropster: Warm. A lot like the women's version.
Ella: Musty and complex, with notes of frankincense. Like a Catholic Church.

Burberry Touch
Crankster: Like musk and bananas.
Misanthropster: Very floral.
Ella: Soapy baby powder.

Calvin Klein Eternity
Crankster: Like Ivory soap.
Misanthropster: Soapy.
Ella: Ivory soap crossed with autumn.

Calvin Klein Euphoria
Crankster: Soapy, with a touch of spices and leather.
Misanthropster: Fruity.
Ella: Soapy and sweet, with clover undertones.

Carlos Santana
Crankster: Like soap and vinegar.
Misanthropster: Like Burberry Brit for men.
Ella: I can't smell anything.

Claiborne Curve Soul
Crankster: Leathery, with soap tones.
Misanthropster: Freshly cut grass.
Ella: Grassy and light.

Davidoff Cool Water
Crankster: Soapy.
Misanthropster: Soapy and ocean-y.
Ella: Sweet.

Davidoff Silver Shadow
Crankster: Like vanilla and sugar.
Misanthropster: Like Sweet Tarts.
Ella: Like cotton candy.

Drakkar Noir
Crankster: A LOT of alcohol. It's difficult to decipher anything else.
Misanthropster: Like my high school band director, Mr. Rayford.
Ella:Too much alcohol. It smells like toned-down Old Spice.

Crankster: Cloying and sweet.
Misanthropster: Ginger.
Ella: Flowery and soapy.

Hugo by Hugo Boss
Crankster: Smells like Bactine.
Misanthropster: Nothing.
Ella: Antibiotic ointment.

Kenneth Cole Black
Crankster: Pepper. Specifically, it smells like lemon pepper.
Misanthropster: Lemony and soapy.
Ella: I refuse to respond.

Kenneth Cole Reaction
Crankster: Smells like cucumbers, looks like nuclear waste.
Misanthropster: Standard men's cologne.
Ella: Subtle. Like cucumbers.

Kenneth Cole RSVP
Crankster: Smells industrial, like cheap, fake musk.
Misanthropster: Like leather and cigars.
Ella: Like musk and frankincense.

Crankster: Ball sweat with floral tones.
Misanthropster: Like Gene Simmons' armpits after a long concert and a lot of pot.
Ella: Plastic-y, like a new Barbie.

Ralph Lauren Polo Blue
Crankster: Smells like pears.
Misanthropster: Like apples.
Ella: Smells like apples.

Tommy Bahama
Crankster: Smells like pee.
Misanthropster: Like my grandfather's cigar boxes.
Ella: Cinnamon-y.

Tommy Bahama Very Cool
Crankster: Sweetish. Very herb-y, vegetable-y.
Misanthropster: Standard men's cologne.
Ella: Smells like my ex-boyfriend.

Tommy Hilfiger
Crankster: Strong notes of menthol.
Misanthropster: Smells like bug spray.
Ella: Minty and blue.

Unforgiveable by Sean John
Crankster: Perfectly named. Nasty mix of citrus and cheap musk.
Misanthropster: Smells like rotten fruit.
Ella: Like rubbing alcohol. Overtly.

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  • Somehow Im not suprised at the KISS one smelling like sweaty balls and floral tones - in hindsight they should have called it tour bus or groupie nights. When it comes to mens scents you cant beat chanel or armani - I should know I prefer them over most womens perfumes.

    By Blogger Judith, At April 16, 2007 at 8:47 AM  

  • Carlos Santana has a perfume? You're kidding me...

    Men's cologne - has to be YSL Pour Homme. It does funny things to me. And most women I know. Mmmm.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At April 16, 2007 at 10:51 AM  

  • I'm sticking to my old classics, although I am glad to see you're OK. I would definitely hire either your wife or sister to help me make any switch of deodorants though. They seem consistent.

    By Blogger The CEO, At April 16, 2007 at 2:15 PM  

  • Ok..Now that I know you're ok ..I can laugh and comment....phew...

    I can't believe you went about this so scientifically, with the forms and all...that's hysterical.
    Now when I'm on the subway and smell all those odors...I'll be wondering if it's really urine, shit and armpit smells or is it cologne???????ahahahaha.

    By Blogger Odat, At April 16, 2007 at 3:05 PM  

  • Judith-
    A little rich for the local department store. I'll have to check them out when I can visit one of them highfalutin' big city stores!

    You and Judith are suggesting all these wonderful scents that we can't get here in the land of pickup trucks and firearms. I feel deprived (and a little depraved, if truth be told).

    The wife has quite the nose, although the sister really has a lot of fun with the descriptions. And, by the way, thanks for your call today.

    "Now when I'm on the subway and smell all those odors...I'll be wondering if it's really urine, shit and armpit smells or is it cologne?"

    Or, in the case of Tommy Bahama, is it both? By the way, thanks again for checking in!

    By Blogger Crankster, At April 16, 2007 at 7:35 PM  

  • I was especially taken with your description of "Kiss," ball sweat with floral tones.

    And I would be curious to know how Misanthropster knows what Gene Simmons' armpits smell like after a concert. I'm just saying.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At April 17, 2007 at 10:59 PM  

  • Hearts-
    I've learned not to ask. My wife has some hidden depths.

    By Blogger Crankster, At April 17, 2007 at 11:46 PM  

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