Monday, October 29, 2007

Tried and Tested : Pierre de Lune by Armani Prive

The Armani Prive perfume collection evokes ambivalent feelings in me: half of the fragrances in the line excite me, while the other half leave me cold and unmoved. To illustrate this antithesis I would like to use Cuir Amethyste and Pierre de Lune as examples. I view the two as antipodes of each other in terms of the feelings they elicit in me, with Cuir Amethyst being a zenith to Pierre de Lune’s nadir. I am completely in love with Cuir Amethyste, its deep and intricately nuanced scent haunting my mind, the memory of our first meeting re-experienced over and over again, in blindingly saturated colors. I would gladly pay its rather extravagant price tag without once complaining, for in my mind, the quality, the luxury of this scent justifies its cost. And then there is Pierre de Lune, proper and demure, effortlessly sophisticated yet, at least in my eyes, doubtlessly lackluster. Now, I realize this is entirely subjective. What I find lackluster and boring, surely has a place in someone else’s heart. Yet, whenever I smell it, I cannot shake the feeling that the price tag is, in this case, rather exorbitant. I cannot shake the feeling that this scent is neither luxurious, nor special enough to warrant the cost. With these thoughts in mind, I decided to take Pierre de Lune out for a test drive and see how others perceived it. Considering that the average shopper is neither a collector nor likely to be a perfume enthusiast or devotee, it was clear to me from the beginning that it was unlikely that I would find anyone who wouldn’t in fact find the price exorbitant, yet I still thought it would be both fun and interesting to see how exclusive this fragrance is perceived as just by its smell in general.

A few things to keep in mind before reading this month’s little interviews:
- As is always the case when there is a post about a harder to find fragrance here on Fragrance Bouquet, there will be a random draw for a sample of it. Please comment if you would like to be entered in the draw!
- The people that were interviewed were not told beforehand which fragrance they were smelling nor how much it costs. They were debriefed only after the interview was concluded.
- Two interviews had to be omitted because the subjects did not wish to have their picture taken. Even though their interviews are not going to be posted, I find it worthwhile to mention that both subjects commented on how soapy the fragrance smelled to them. They both compared it with soap they have smelled in the past and one of the two even identified the soap that Pierre de Lune reminded her of – Maja soap! It is quite sad that I had to omit these interviews because it is rather telling that three out five people found it very soapy.
- Pierre de Lune costs 185$ for 50ml and the official description characterizes it as “a sensual, floral fragrance designed around the penetrating scent of cassia. Fresh woody notes and soft violet harmonize with iris from Florence—an ingredient so precious it costs more than gold. An intense fragrance that awakens the senses.”

Katerina, Highschool Student
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- Ooh, I do not like it. It smells very strongly of soap.
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- I think it is probably an expensive fragrance. Maybe around 60 euro?
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- No and no! I do not like it at all, so it wouldn’t be right for me and I wouldn’t buy something I don’t like for a friend of mine!

Anneke, Pensioner
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- Mmm, it is feminine, but it is also rather oppressing and heavy. Sultry perhaps and ...exotic! That’s a good word for it. I do not like it myself... This is for some sort of dark type, do you know what I mean?
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- Probably around 25 euro?
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- No, I wouldn’t buy it for myself and I would certainly not buy it for a friend of mine. It’s too heavy.

Martin, University Student - Biopharmacy
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- The first thing that pops into my mind is that I am not convinced by it! Oh, it is alright I guess – it smells like a rather light unisex fragrance.
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- I really have no idea.
- Oh, go ahead and guess, it’s fun!
- I can’t say! Must I?...Well alright, 25 euro?
- Funnily enough you are the second person that guesses this!
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- I don’t think so... It’s not that I find it disgusting or anything – it’s more what I said in the beginning. It just doesn’t do anything to ‘convince’ me. I have to be crazy about a perfume to buy it, and this, well, it’s just mediocre.

I hope you enjoyed this month's Tried and Tested and don't forget to let me know if you want to be entered in a draw for a sample of Pierre de Lune! The winner will be announced in a week's time.

Images: Author's own.
Official Quote on Pierre de Lune:


Linda said...

Dear Divina,
First of all, I really hope that your exams went well last week and you're now relaxing! Secondly, I really missed you and looked twice at work today to see if you'd posted yet - as you can see, I'm totally hooked. Your review and vox pop were fascinating: I don't know what Pierre de Lune smells like (but what a lovely name) but to merit such a high price it would indeed need to be special. The adjective "soapy" is very evocative, and conjures up an image of the free bath products I've collected from hotels! Oh dear... Anyway, welcome back, and thank you for your lovely writing,
Best wishes,

helg said...

Did youre exams go well? I hope so.

Schizo reactions on the PdL. One finds it sultry and exotic, others soapy, one finds it unisex...Nothing extraordinary, I concur.

Anonymous said...

Hope you did well on your exams - glad you are back posting!
I 've only tried Ambre Soie and Cuir Amethyste. They are both very, very nice but not love at first sniff. At that price, I'm purchasing something else.

Divina said...

Linda, dearest, thank you! I am so glad you found the post worthy of the anticipation! I have a strange relationship with soapy...There can be soapy-generic, like the collection of soaps you mentioned, and then there can be those that are wonderfully clean and comforting or soapy florals like some datura fragrances or soapy aldehydic fragrances.. There is a lot of loveliness there along with the generic. It can be a misleading adjective to use sometimes in a review, because it is so often used to describe something in a negative way. In the case of Pierre de Lune though, the soapy characterization belongs to the generic kind, at least to my nose and from the reactions of the people asked about it for the purpose of this post as well. I found the comparison to Maja soap particularly poignant. It was really fun talking to everyone by the way - I knew the Maja perfume but not the soaps and the lady described remembering them as being wrapped in black paper. When I was looking for a link for them for this post today I found them being just as she described, wrapped in black paper. (they look rather fetching actually, lol!)

Divina said...

Oh, I forgot! Thank you everyone for asking about my exams and for being so lovely! My exams went great, I passed them both.

Divina said...

Hey E. :) That is why I included at least part of the comments from the omitted interviews as well, because actually the common theme was soap. 3 out of 5 people found it soapy and the 5th one describing it as light and unisex is certainly not contradicting this theme. (at least to me, light and unisex does not seem far off the mark) So we are left with only one person who gave a completely different opinion..the sultry/dark one. How surprising! That's why I love doing this though, it is such fun to see how others perceive these perfumes. I also love it when T. from For the Love of Perfume and I do the Forget me Not feature and review the same frag (every other month - the rest we review different classics) and see the differences and similarities in the way we perceive them too, but in a much more detailed manner.

Divina said...

Hi Kim! I loooove Cuir Amethyste but I definitely have to agree with you on Ambre Soie. (even though Ambre Soie it is one of my 3 faves of the line along with Cuir Amethyste and Bois d'Encense) Ambre Soie though is the most generic one of the 3 faves and it reminds me of a couple of other perfumes - so I am certainly not going to feel like paying 185$ for something which is not unique enough... I'll speak more of the specific perfume comparisons when I finally review Ambre Soie...Been planning to review that one and Bois d'Encense for a while now.

Gaia, The non-blonde said...

Good to see you back with such a fascinating post (and congrats on passing your exams!).
I have to shamefully admit that I have yet to try any of the Armani Prive scents. Somehow, I always manage to skip them.

I'm amazed at the reactions. 25 EU? Can it smell that simple? Then again, the comparison to Maja soap is telling. That one really smells cheap and early 70s (though I think it's a lot older). Takes me back to sark corners of my childhood.

PinstripedZebra said...

Dear Divina,

I really enjoy this feature of taking the interviews of 'normal' people on the street. It gives a good impression of the perfume and other peoples reactions on it. Very important offcourse since, well, who do you wear perfume for; For other people to smell!

Always nice to hear your very informed opinion!


chayaruchama said...

How were exams ?
You survived them, I see !
Hope all went swimmingly.

This 'man on the street' is a HOOT !

Although Patty of Perfume Posse adores PdL, I have to differ politely.

It simply doesn't sing to me.
Not that it isn't pretty- it just doesn't feel interesting, or lasting enough, to justify a purchase , for me.
Someone else may be enraptured !

Cuir Amethyste I love, and bought-
And Ambre Soie, too- because the anise note seemed so haunting with the amber, and made it different from any other I own.

Once is enough, though.
I would not re-purchase.

What a great post...

Jenavira13 said...

Sadly I have never smelled this one but have always rather loved the name and rather hoped because it was based on moonstone (my favorite stone) that it would be beautiful, unfortunately I have never heard good reviews about it. As for soapy well there is good soapy fragrances: Sicily comes to mind and Ivoire.

tmp00 said...

Glad you survived the exams!

Interesting- 24EU tops? Hmmm. I'd like to try it just to see..

edwardian said...

This is funny and entertaining and I won't be satisfied until you put a "difficult" one under some strangers' nose. The price tag question is pure genius (did you have the heart to tell them the real price?) because I think it's a very important matter, when we speak of perfume, to consider how much we are influenced by marginal facts like the name of the designer or the exclusiveness of the line.
Can anybody keep up with the unbelievable number of new releases this fall?

Divina said...

Goodmorning, Gaia! - I know - even I did not expect an estimate of 25! I mean, hell, what perfume DOES cost 25 nowadays? What were they comparing it to? ...But does smell simple to me too.

Divina said...

Hey Z :) Well...I do wear perfume for both myself and others actually. Sometimes it's all about the impression I want to give (gawd that sounds awful, but all I mean is that in the same way I coordinate and choose my outfit, I do my perfume as well..), yet sometimes it's all about how I need to feel and which perfume can help me achieve that, so it is very personal. I wore perfume in the house for example, while studying for exams. I just needed to be centered or relaxed..or reminded of a good moment.. :)

Thanks for commenting and I am really glad you love this feature!

Divina said...

My dearest Chaya! I survived...but only barely! I still feel constantly tired because I did not get enough sleep due to studying the last 2 and a half weeks. But I am not complaining! It was all worth it, since the results were good :) And I'll slowly repay my sleep-debt.

I am waiting to buy Cuir Amethyste next time I go to Antwerp - I can't find it here, I fear. Why not repurchase though? I am curious, especially in the case of Cuir Amethyste, which obviously I sound obsessed with since apparently I treat it like it can do no wrong! LOL! It just seemed so unique to me when I tried it, so deep and longlasting, so layered..

Divina said...

Hey Jen :) Moonstone suits you so much :) Who knows though, maybe you DO end up liking it when you try it. My fave soapies at the moment are Prada pour Homme and the musky Skin2 by Ava Luxe btw.. I find myself craving their comforting scent very often lately.

Divina said...

Tom thank you :) Yeah, I know, it sounds weird! It makes me wonder what I would have said were I to blind test this 'fume for the first time!

Divina said...

Edwardian, thank you for your always insightful, wonderful comments! Yes, I indeed told them what the real cost of the perfume was after the little interviews were concluded. Most of them laughed out loud, shaking their heads in dismay, a couple of them felt quite strongly that this price tag was SO wrong they outright told me they are glad I am "exposing" it...

So, what kind of difficult do you have in mind then? You got me all giggling because I started contemplating the reactions I'd get were I to put something really awful under their nose, or even worse, on their skin. :P


chayaruchama said...

Re-purchasing has more to do with my excessive 40 years' collection, dear one- not the scents themselves !

I suffer from "perfume promiscuity", lol.

edwardian said...

Divina, I am thinking, for example, "Eau du Fier"(the last s.a. I asked to let me try it seemed almost ashamed and a little embarassed they actually carried something that smells like that, and gently tried to turn my attention towards Villoresi Alamut :"people will stop you and ask what perfume you're wearing").

Divina said...

Oh, my word... I looooove Eau du Fier! Its intense smokiness drives me wild.. so sexy. I'd gladly take it and let others smell it, but I do not currently have a sample of it. If I manage to get one, I promise to do so. You are right, the comments would likely be very interesting.