Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pure Purple by Hugo Boss : Perfume Review

I am finally feeling better (I finally managed to wear perfume last night after what seemed like an eon). Normally I am rather careful when my stomach feels as fragile as it still does, and only choose to wear things I am certain I can live with for the rest of the day, but curiosity got the better of me this morning. My little sample of Hugo Pure Purple has been staring at me for a couple of weeks now, willing me to try it. I am always attracted by the Boss advertising campaigns, but never have as much luck with the fragrances, I fear. I hoped that this time things would be different, I was prepared to love this – the notes seemed rather charming to me. I am gonna go ahead, kill the suspense, and tell you right away though, I didn’t. I don’t suppose you look surprised. Neither do I, I guess ... but hope is always nastily bruised when it tumbles down.

The opening of Pure Purple is very candied and fruity – it feels like a little party broke out at the confectionary department. The competition dies down fast: a hit of cherries and bitter almond triumphantly emerge. Not my cup of tea, but a good enough, respectable opening. After the initial gourmand kick, a floral bouquet opens up, slowly muting the almond, while the cherries die a quick and painless death. I cannot pick out any individual flowers – I almost don’t dare to say it, but this feels like a floral soup that is there to give a floral ambience, without quite committing to showcasing the nuances of any single bloom. Are they really there? It feels like an elusive strawberry food flavoring...There, recognizable, but not quite real. It doesn’t sparkle, it fails to bloom, it can’t escape its single-dimensionality. What I do manage to smell clearly though, is an underlying woody base with a hint of dangerous masculinity – which is just about the only interesting part of this perfume. The development is altogether too rapid and soon the floral bouquet finds itself overwhelmed by the woods. Still, this is not the type of woody blend I personally like: it is altogether too thick and not particularly evocative of anything. A hint of patch? A touch of sandal? A certain creaminess? Was all this thrown together and mixed with a stick? It feels like it. I, it turn, feel like shrugging... And that, possibly, says it all. This ain’t a scrubber...It doesn’t even have enough character to make me nauseous, it seems, even though the effort is admittedly valiant. I usually double over when assaulted by such a dense blend of woody notes and the peculiarity of the mild, bothersome sweetness throughout should have made this an even more likely reaction, but no, I still just shrugged it off. Unfortunately, my non-reaction is not the worst thing I can report about Pure Purple. No, the worst part is actually the fact that this does not even smell like a perfume to me... It smells like a shower gel! You know the ones: middle range drugstore shower gel, touted as using the qualities of this or that essential oil to relax you or help you reconnect with your sensual side. They usually do nothing of the sort, but they are pleasant enough and strong enough to have the feel of being infused with essential oils. In fact the closest reminder is Palmolive’s Aromatherapy Anti-Stress Shower Gel. So strongly I was reminded of it in fact, that I had to rush upstairs for a side-by-side comparison. Disappointingly, they are not as close as my initial instinct indicated, but close enough, at least in feel. There is a definite kinship there; they share the same feel, if that makes any sense. And that is what I get from Pure Purple in a few words: the scent of a powerfully scented shower gel in spray format. It feels hastily thrown together – a thoughtless composition that is rather murky and lacks any sophistication whatsoever. To be fair though, I’ll have to grudgingly admit that the drydown is surprisingly good. It is not stellar or unique, but it is intensely comforting: A very feminine, dusty oriental that has the feel of a skin-scent with a hint of powder. It is warm and alluring and the murkiness finally lifts, to reveal clean, sensual skin underneath. Very wintry and rather sexy, like something you’d wear when you know your lover is soon going to nuzzle your neck. (Not too soon though, give the damned soup some time to calm down, alright?)

Lastly...Can we deal with the bottle for a second? Why is it practically identical to Lancome’s Hypnose Eau Légère?



Anonymous said...

Divina, you have the best way with words-- love the pictures your descriptions conjure up in my head.. I would like to try this one... if i can get past the cherry and almond (hate that)beginning..
Question off of the topic: have you ever tried Byblos' Fuoco??? I read about it and have NEVER seen it the stores, but would be willing to buy it off the internet. How about any of the Byblos scents--Cielo, etc???? I would appreciate your or any of the readers review on them>>>

tmp00 said...

Palmolive? Gee. Sounds awful!

They might as well stop production now and get it over with....

Perfumeshrine said...

I am afraid I am with you on this one: I detested it and I am unlucky enough to have had to tolerate it on someone I worked with :-(

I do love the Hugo Boss ad campaigns though (I have even blogged about them, for Heaven's sake!), bit this one is disappointingly surupy. And yes, the bottle is very much like that of Hypnose. Only not as good.

I will have to sniff the Palmolive, now! (OK, I am torturing myself now).

@Italian Girl:

Cielo is rather nice, if inoffensive.
The best Byblos in my humble opinion was the original one by Elias Ermenidis, in the dark blue bottle with the little "flower" embosed on cap; weirdly unique.

Divina said...

Italian Girl - Thank you SO much for your sweet words! I was very excited to read your comment - until now I thought I was the only one curious about Fuoco! I *REALLY* want to smell it, but I have never bought anything unsniffed, I have a rule against it. Then again, the prices are very good..*sigh* I am extremely curious, not only about Fuoco, but about other Byblos scents as well, such as their Musk, Sandalo, Ghiaccio, Patchouly, Uragano, etc. Unfortunately, I have never seen these perfumes "in the flesh" so to speak. I emailed Byblos a couple of months ago inquiring about them, but I got no answer back.

I absolutely loved the original Byblos by Byblos Helg mentions. It was marvelously unique and attractive when it came out. If I close my eyes, I can remember exactly what it smelled like. At the same time that I mailed Byblos a couple of months ago, I was doing some research on their fragrances and found that this original gem has since been reformulated. I have not smelled the reformulated version, but I read that it is unrecognizable and veers towards generic. A great shame :(

Divina said...

Tom: I totally agree. Only.... It seems to have paid off for Davidoff's Cool Water for Men, hasn't it? :( Smells very much like a marine shower gel for men :(

Divina said...

Oh, E! Awful to have to work with someone who wears an unbearable perfume. I had to endure it too at some point. During meetings I would go all psychokiller privately in my head and avenge my poor, suffering nose. Of course, I never said a word about it to anyone - I definitely would never play perfume police to anyone. The perfume that provoked these strong reactions? I fear I might offend a few, since it is well loved! : Hypnotique Poison. I am lazy to check spelling..was it Hypnotique, or Hypnotic? In any case... Unbearable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for your great comments....I have to get my hands on one of Byblos.. if I do I will let you know what I think.
Sorry to hear about the original, why would a perfumer reformulate???
Also, I have to say..
I ABHOR HYPNOTIC POISON, I got it as a gift and I had to THROW IT AWAY!!! What a waste.

Divina said...

It's good to know I am not alone, Italian Girl! :)

Anonymous said...

I use Byblos Fuoco and I like it very much. Usually I don't like perfumes at all but I think this one is quite different.
It is difficult for me to describe the scent but it seems to me something near bergamot with a strong alchoolic base. On it is described as: "Olfactive family:Woody Oriental".
Now the bad news: I'm Italian and here it is very difficult to find it in shops. I think you should consider buying it on the net.