By Woman requires patience: It is one of those perfumes you have to wait for until they bloom to perfection on the skin. The opening is fresh, very citrusy and slightly green. It has a rather masculine quality to it, in an expensive cologne sort of way. Fruity tangerine and bitter bergamot dance around something unidentifiable – something almost plastic, which is not altogether unpleasant, but is very misleading indeed. It gives away nothing of the true character of the fragrance, the feverish sensuality that is to inevitably follow. It still seems tame, while it is anything but. And so it begins, testing the patience of the wearer with its indifferent masculine freshness. Persistently sniffing the skin is of no use at the moment: like playing with a cat, looking at it straight in the eye will not bring it closer. Ignore it though, avert your eyes, and soon the silky fur will undoubtedly surprise you by creeping up against you, in the same manner that By will surprise the senses by suddenly wafting towards the nose in a completely different manifestation than the one detected close to the skin. This gentle, wafting cloud is a prelude of how the scent will evolve on the skin. Soon perhaps, but not yet. For now the heady, exotic smell of the Lilly is blooming, trying to outdo the pungent, ever so slightly soapy ginger. The inebriating scent of pittosporum, the gorgeous flowering shrub that drives humans and bees alike crazy come spring, is embracing both. It caresses the skin with its white, delicate fingers, bestowing upon it the promise of nectar, the same promise that makes swarms of bees gather to gorge on its flowers. Then suddenly, yes, realization finally dawns: By Woman fully arrives, strong and thirsty, like luscious, engorged lips seeking the gloss of water. It positively surrounds the body, like an inescapable, delirious presence. Lashings of bittersweet coffee-syrup are poured all over the delicate white flowers, infused with vanilla and musk. The result is sweet, but not overly so: just perfect. The coffee combines perfectly with the smooth creaminess of sandalwood and the cedar eagerly brings the wearer's own skin-scent to the fore, enhancing it, underscoring all of its seductive qualities.
Deconstructing By seems almost like a mistake to me – the notes by themselves do not reveal the full extent of the end result. By is more than the sum of its parts: the beautiful blend is mysterious – I feel unable to decode how something can have so much sensuality just by looking at the notes. By is voluptuous, a pair of breasts drawn by an artist crazy with desire. It is sexuality worn as a weapon, which is of course, now that I think of it, the quintessential D&G woman. I don’t understand why this is no longer in production when thinking how much it fits their collections. It is the most gorgeous creature, leaving men half-conscious at the wake of her curves as she passes by, flaunting her cat o’ nine tails. By is empowering, one of the most empowering fragrances I have ever worn in fact. It acts like a confidence booster, like only a killer pair of heels possibly could. (for completely inimitable effects, try both at the same time) There are more powerhouse fragrances that can make a woman feel as strong as fortress, as powerful as a canon. Paloma Picasso would be a good example. But whereas Paloma warns intruders by penalty of castration, By raises an eyebrow and grins, hinting that she might be penetrable after all.
I want to continue the little tradition I started when reviewing Miyako, so from now on whenever I am reviewing a hard-to-find fragrance I will also be offering a sample of it. Please comment if you would like to be entered in the drawing.
PS: I hope the last image can be taken with the humor with which it is intended. I probably should not worry, but finding out that it was banned in the UK made a couple of alarm bells ring in my head!
Images: Author’s Own, www.doyletics.com and www.worldopiniontest.com