Friday, January 16, 2009

Chaos by Donna Karan : Perfume Review

Back in August, Fragrance Bouquet reported the re-launch of several classic discontinued Donna Karan scents, with understandable excitement. I have to admit that even as I was writing about the re-launch, I feared that we might never actually see these scents “in the flesh” so to speak here in Europe, but thankfully, my fears were unfounded. A few months ago, the collection made its way to select beauty stores here in the Netherlands. It is high time these beauties get some more attention from me (as they so rightly deserve), so starting today and going into the next week, I’ll be exploring Chaos, Black Cashmere and Signature.

Having tested Chaos a number of times, I still cannot decide whether the name is deceptive or spot on. It starts out with the unquestionably calming scent of chamomile, which gives the skin a lovely kiss and cuddle and then disappears, fleetingly, as the beautiful blend of ever so slightly camphorous lavender and spicy coriander close in on it, eating it up with the satisfying sound of velvet rubbing against velvet. The slightly iodine, bitter-sweet aroma of saffron, mingles with delightfully pleasurable, tingling hints of clove and cardamom. It feels like the spicy mélange is rising over a spiky bed of waxy, deep smelling resins and smoke. I find the use of clove especially striking: moderation and care has been exercised, to keep what can be a very dominant note complimentary, never actually overshadowing the beauty of the other notes. The big surprise is that the undercurrent of very dark, thistly resinous edges gradually subsides and softens up over time , instead of intensifying. The scent goes from being compellingly mysterious and borderline esoteric in nature, to a sweet woody scent that aches for the scent of skin. Through darkness comes light, in the form of a soapy note that is inherently masculine, like a well scrubbed (albeit subtly virile) hairy chest. The spices become ever more unobtrusive but still manage to cast a bluish-red shadow over the cleanliness that tries so hard to emerge. Beautifully, everything is rounded off by a very smooth sandalwood note that persists and carries the scent into the drydown with hints of musk and soft balsamic nuances.

Chaos feels very personal despite all its heady ingredients. It starts with a cuddle, roars wildly at the heart, but quickly quiets down into a beautiful, enfolding purr that remains rather close to the skin as the day wears on. But when I refer to it as a personal scent I do not only allude to its moderate to low sillage: Chaos is also a scent that seems to blend very well with the wearer, allowing itself to be worn like a second skin, instead of like an extravagant, attention grabbing accessory. A very warm, comforting scent, I would definitely reserve for the colder days of the year and retire it as spring approaches. It has an addictive quality that will appeal to both sexes, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I detect a definite masculine edge to it.

Image: Image of saffron, www.sxc.hu


10 comments:

tmp00 said...

You are totally seducing me into retrying this one!

ScentScelf said...

Uh-oh. I don't know why, but I'd managed to hold off even a test spritz of this one for a while...maybe because I distracted myself with my Black Cashmere, and put my head in the sand over the fact that Chaos really WAS back, and really WAS affordable, and I really COULD reasonably dare to try it without risk of heartbreak.

Methinks I'll be out on a little adventure tomorrow...

+Q Perfume said...

chaos must be chaotic in this hot weather we are having right now...
maybe one day in the future when it is cold and windy...

Divina said...

Tom, I really like it! I do agree with other reviewers that there are distinct similarities between Chaos and Black Cashmere, so if you like one, you will like the other. They are like siblings - different, but carrying their lineage proudly.

Divina said...

ScentScelf can't wait to see what you think! As I was just writing to Tom, their similarities are very obvious and I do wonder whether you will like Chaos better? Personally, I think Black Cashmere is more interesting and more edgy...

Divina said...

LOL Simone! Trying to make me jealous eh? *tickles* :) It's cold and dreary here, just perfect for both Chaos and Black Cashmere ;)

(But not perfect for..say...anything else...like going out...UGH........!)

Anonymous said...

I am in tears..... Ive been waiting years for this I LOVE CHAOS!!!!! I have an empty bottle on my dresser Im going crazy !!!!! I have a buy at least 2 bottles.Ladies put all your other perfumes aside this is the ONE!!!!

Anonymous said...

Please do tell, where in the Netherlands can I find this Chaos gem?
Thanx!

Divina said...

Dear Anon, you can find it at the Douglas in Den Haag and also at the Kalverstraat Douglas in Amsterdam. Hope this helps!!

Divina said...

Sorry, in case you are not Dutch, "Den Haag" = The Hague :)