Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sung by Alfred Sung : Perfume Review

Launched in 1986, Sung was the first fragrance release by Canadian designer Alfred Sung. From what I understand, Sung is not only widely available in North America, but also very popular. Not so in these parts! I’ve only seen Sung actually sold around here once, many years ago. This was at the “Glamour Shop”, a little boutique in Amsterdam’s Magna Plaza. My recollection of the boutique is quite hazy – I only visited it once or twice before it closed down – but the regret I felt when I discovered the shop no longer existed is still palpable. That place was lovely – filled with perfume collector items, bottles I’d never seen before, feathers and dusts, beautiful presentations and wonderful service. Sung captured me at first sniff – it was one of those rare occasions I did not have to think much before making my purchase. For a while, it was all I wore, then slowly, I begun circulating my other perfumes again until I begun reaching for it on progressively rarer occasions. Years later, I still own the same bottle I bought at the Glamour Shop. I have perhaps used up 40ml of its 100ml contents. It is not that I no longer like it; I do, very much so in fact. The reasons why my bottle is still more than half-full are much more benign than dislike. Firstly, Sung is a truly strong fragrance – one or two sprays are more than enough. It is not dynamite – it is not an aggressive padded shoulders and big hair ‘80s fragrance, but it is still, however, a child of its time: Big sillage, big flowers, big everything. Secondly, keeping my applications rare, means that whenever I wear it, I get to enjoy a little time-travel action... A little trip back to that month (a dreary April), years ago, when I first bought it. A trip back to a period when I was discovering what it is like to be truly independent for the first time.

Sung’s opening is very green and fruity at once. There is the citrusy bite of hesperidic fruit, like tiny, sharp explosions on a bed of green, sappy vines and green, slightly bitter, resinous and subtly musky galbanum. Quite soon, those little explosions settle down, giving a more uniform impression of tart freshness. Slowly, as the fragrance warms on the skin, most of the citrusy tartness flies off and the scent itself at once appears warmer too. The heart is an explosion of (mostly) white florals, with jasmine, muguet and orange blossom combining to create almost a paroxysm of delirious, narcotic redolence. Hyacinth brings a semblance of balance to this maddeningly seductive dance by adding a touch of sober greenness. Lastly, even though I’ve not seen it mentioned as an official note, now and again I get the impression of gardenias, large and creamy. Sung’s drydown is full of intense, mossy greenness, balsamic, with hints of pine and closes with earthy, dry vetiver.

Sung’s personality does not echo French sensibilities – this is a very obviously North American fragrance, very 80’s Lauder-like in feel. It is extremely feminine, and by that I certainly do not mean stereotypically soft or gently romantic. It is instead, strong, capable, beautiful and seductive all at once. I did mean it when I said that one or two sprays are enough though! The Sung Essential Body Lotion is a very good alternative if you are worried about over-applying. It is very true to the scent, only softer. Unfortunately though, it is not very emollient. What is your own impression of Sung? Is it available where you live? As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Alfred Sung fragrances are not (to my knowledge) available here. I have been curious about the rest of the line ever since I fell in love with Sung, so if you have impressions about the rest, please do share. I am especially interested in the newest, Jewel, whose bottle is just breathtaking!


Image of Magna Plaza from http://p.vtourist.com, Images of Sung and Jewel from http://alfredsung.com


14 comments:

italian girl said...

Yes, Sung is all over the place where I live.. I live in Chicago. He has another scent that is really popular right now over here.. Shi...waterlily, fresh.. I like it.. But, I cannot put into words the way it smells like you are able to do... really a talent. From our past chats.. we have very similar likes and dislikes, I would guess you would enjoy it.. totally disimilar from Sung, though. Yikes, I think I have even seen Sung's fragrances at the TJ MAXX stores over here a few months ago.. (they sell designer fragrances at a fraction of the department store price).. and I know they have them on the internet web sites.. like www.scentedmonkey.com,fragranceNet.com, etc.. MY FAVORITE SUNG IS PURE.. Really smells..Good.. . sandalwood, pineapple, lily, cinnamon, and musk... Sungs fragrances are all really popular over here.. he has a few others--Jewel, Foverver, Paradise that I am not familiar with.
If all our readers had a chance, they should try PURE.. really a great scent for the office.. but, not a carbon copy PINK scent...

I now have to take out my favorite memory maker and put that on again.. Jean n'ate'.. Hah..

TMH256 said...

Hi Dear D.,

Oh, your words take me back! I wore Sung when I lived in Chicago in my twenties and got many compliments on the scent. I can still see it sitting on my dresser. I emptied that bottle! Italian Girl is right. It is EVERYWHERE here so if you need or want a refill just ask. :-) I like Sha, which is an ode to lilacs, the flower of my childhood. Although I don't own Sha, I've always admired it from afar.

italian girl said...

Hi tmh-I now have to check out Sha..Thanks.. I love lilac scents.
I find it interesting that unique scents can bring you back to a certain place or time in your past.

Obsession will always mean high school to me.. Yes, the 80's power scents were STRONG, but they all smelled different.. New mainstream releases seems to smell similar to me these days. Sung definitely originality in his scents...

Linda said...

Dear Divina,
What a lot I have learned from this latest post - first of all, what a beautiful place Amsterdam's Magna Plaza is! I very much enjoyed Sung, and yes, it does remind me of the earlier Estee Lauder fragrances like Estee and Private Collection (due to its green notes.) The newest, Jewel, has a stunning bottle and I'm most intrigued by it - I haven't seen it here, unfortunately, but will investigate when next in London.

By the way, thank you Leopoldo for the information about Les Senteurs: I have an enormous wish list building up already this year!

Lovely nostalgia in your writing, as ever,
Linda

Mikeperez23 said...

Agree with the above comment - your descriptions make it sound a lot like Private Collection by Estee Lauder (which I love ever so often, even if it is the most feminine scent i own).

And the Sung Pure recommendation sounds great. I love me so cinnamon notes!

perfumeshrine said...

Shi is supposed to be a very realistic lilac (a flower I love), but I have never tried it
:-(

Divina said...

Ooooooh, Italian Girl!! Thank you soo much for sharing! Pure sounds amazing! I love pineapple in fragrances and I imagine it will be so delicious with cinammon and sandalwood! I *really* wanna try it!

Divina said...

Dear T, I am so glad you like this one too! It also garners me compliments when I wear it. The fact that you can't find it here any longer means I end up feeling really unique wearing it: I've never smelled it on anyone else. As for lilacs..oh my! I didn't know Sha was a lilac scent. You say it is the scent of your childhood... For me it is the scent of Easters in my childhood! Our whole fence was covered with an outrageously blooming Lilac, whose smell would waft over to the balcony and enter the house through the open french doors... I haven't found a lilac plant that smells as strong here..I see them sometimes, but even up close, they do not smell :(

Divina said...

Oh Linda girl, we are gonna totally hit Magna Plaza if you come visit the Netherlands ;) And please do tell me if you see Jewel over there! I am most curious about it!

Divina said...

Mike I agree completely, cinnamon is one of my favorites :) And yes, Sung is very close to the old Lauders in feel.. just as unabashed, just as intense, just as seductively feminine! Thank you for posting!

Divina said...

Hey Helg - are the Sung perfumes at all sold in Greece? I have looked in Thessaloniki, but not in Athens.

perfumeshrine said...

Nope :-(
Otherwise I would be happy to send you some of your beloved Sung. But not meant to be....

chayaruchama said...

It certainly does have shoulder pads !

I never wore it- but I smelled it on a LOT of women [ it was very popular !] who wore it well.

Divina said...

Hahaaha, well ok...Maybe just little ones? Or have I been completely blinded by my love for the '80s and can't recognize big massive padding when I see it?

Hugs to you!