Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Avon Timeless: Is it Soup Yet?

When I was at the Smithsonian seminar on the history of perfume last fall see post, Luca Turin interjected a point about perfumes that pretty much put a lot of elements into a perfume without them ever coming together as a whole, and/or cram in so many parts that it just goes over the top.  He said he refers to such perfumes as "soup."

The Avon Timeless recipe, per Basenotes:

Aldehyde, Lemon, Bergamot, Gardenia
Cedarwood, Patchouli, Rose, Orris
Olibanum, Opopanax, Amber, Musk, Vanilla, Tonka

Yes.  Those are there.  In the same way you can put flour and butter and eggs and vanilla and milk into a bowl and not have a cake, but have have the smells of flour and butter and eggs and vanilla and milk, all of those elements are there.

Actually, push down on the stuff a little bit.  There are times when some blend, at least in short bits.

Remember, I am a scent amplifier, and tend to run things in slow motion.  Even so, to see/hear/smell nearly every one of these notes pop out was both kind a Dick and Jane reader whose theme was "see perfume run" and Chinese water torture.  The worst part of the slow drip of the water torture was that there were times when I wanted to like it, and thought maybe it was going somewhere.  (Which never happened.)  And times when, a full day later, I caught a whiff of something that smelled good, and went in to huff with the eager hope that magic had happened.  (It didn't.)

I'm sorry.  I love cheap thrills.  I won't back off of admitting my fondness for things that aren't cool.   This one has its fans; you can find thrilled happy people partaking of the Timeless on Makeup Alley.  I've even met a few.

But initial runs tell me that, on me at least, it's not soup yet.

For opoponax soup that works, see March's review of Memo Manoa. That one also packed it in, but somehow pulls it off.  Also, for fellow opoponax fiends, I remind you of the cheap thrill Olfacta once shared:  L'Aromarine Opoponax.  I enjoy both, though the second in very light doses.  Manoa has gelled into a worthy soup.  The L'Aromarine is not a fully rounded something; it's more like cake batter, but the kind you like to eat off the spoon.

photo author's own. 


Ines said...

I somehow missed the soup idea until now but I'm glad it exists. :)
I do wonder how the Timeless soup smells like though. I can't recall at the moment if I ever smelled anything in that vein, I'm more likely to notice a perfume so well done that notes make a symphony out of it (not that that happens often either).

ScentScelf said...

Yup. Soup. Kinda handy label. Though apparently I felt it needed salting. ;)

Stay tuned; I've got way more Timeless than the sands of my hourglass require.

brian said...

My friend Jack promised to get me some of this at Avon where he lives. He likes hot and heavy and, I guess, soupy. I remember smelling a very old bottle of this at a flea market. It didn't seem subtle.

ScentScelf said...

Brian, it's not subtle, for sure. It's like a succession of this, and that, and the next thing, and while you get each of them, they are also accumulating on the shelf. While I am leery of some whompers, there are some perfumes that are by no means small that I love (Amouage Epic, Magie Noire immediately come to mind), and some notes that I can happily huff in a cloud (opoponax for example). But this...this is like...I dunno. Backstage at an American Idol audition, early round?

But that's me. You can wrap your arms around more of the Big Scents than I can. I'll be curious to hear what you -- and Jack -- think of this one.

brian said...

Did you get it on Avon's website?

ScentScelf said...

From the place affectionately referred to as FleaBay. Dirt cheap. Less than $5, s/h included. Gift sets (with deodorant and lotion and talc, too!) for @$12.

Joan said...

I don't necessarily think soup is a bad thing. IMO Tom Ford's Black Orchid could be construed as soup, because the ingredients are so random.

Vanessa said...

Interesting theory - I think we will all turn out to have different takes on scented soup. One that springs to mind for me is DSH Mahjoun (sp?), which is a sort of gingery cakey fragrance with way too many ingredients that ends up as a lumpen gingery foghorn on me.

The perfume equivalent no less of those childhood drawings we discussed where I tried to get a white deer's bottom and used all the crayons on top of each other to produce brown sludge instead!

ScentScelf said...

Joan, I see what you mean. I think the "soup" here -- as cribbed from the seminar-- meant that all those ingredients were in the pot, but never came together as a cohesive vision. So, you could be chock full of stuff (like in VCA First), or oddball/seemingly random in what was pulled together (your TF Black Orchid), but still have an overall picture, and not just parts.

I'm wanting to say something about being able to stand back from Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon..." and see the park and not just the dots, but don't want to suggest you have to pull your nose away from soup scents to get that they are coherent.

Now I'm going to dig out my sample of Black Orchid and spray; you've got me curious. I was paying attention to other things when I tried that (no shrinking violet, Black Orchid), and didn't have soup on my mind. Probably not even in it...that was a couple years ago. (Gasp! Really? Where did the time go??) Yup, time to say "hello" again. :)

ScentScelf said...

"Lumpen gingery foghorn." Now that's evocative...I take it it never helps you make it through the fog, erm, pea soup?

Vanessa, you reminding me of your (painful) memory of trying to create "brown" now reminds me of scratch art...did you ever do that? Put down random blobs of color, then color the whole thing over with a black crayon, then scratch out a line drawing which emerged in groovy random but colorful life? Somehow, that's like an inversion of pointillism. {gears slowly turn, go nowhere} Oh, dear; not sure where to take that, except not to the soup kettle.

Have you tried much DSH btw? I've focused on colors (and some other theme I concocted at ordering time; perhaps best summarized as "on sale/special"), but have really tried precious little of her impressive lineup.

Marina said...

Remember MPG Or des Iles? Also a great opoponax scent.
I just love the word, opoponax...:)

Marina said...

...des Indes, not des iles, sorry. Their Eau des Iles is great too though, but is not an opoponax. :)

ScentScelf said...

You said "Or des Indes" and I ran to my little carousel of MPG samps. (Oh, the joys of the occasional online auction score.)

You're right. Oh, I'll bet it is even opoponaxier when sprayed. Oooooh.

Heh. I, too, love the word "opoponax," in either spelling. And mutations such as I see fit to coin. ;)