For about a decade, serious perfume aficionados had to endure bombardment with celebrity scents that were churned out by the dozens. Most of them were insipid fruity- florals with no imagination that were meant to appeal to teeny-boppers, and anyone into smelling like a combination of fruit cocktail and cotton candy. “Celebuscents” are still out there, but they now seem to be relegated to the shelves of WalMart and Target, and on discount e-tailer websites.
When Sarah Jessica Parker introduced Lovely, her first scent, you could tell she was serious about fragrance. She had a hand in its development, unlike most celebrities who gave their eponymous scents a cursory sniff or two before embarking on ad campaigns and personal appearances. I read reams about how SJP was along for the ride every step of the way, and it showed. I liked Lovely, and her second scent, Covet, and even her third one, SJP NYC, which was released in conjunction with the second Sex and the City movie. That one was mostly strawberry, but it was a well-done strawberry.
Now, she’s come out with her new scent, Stash, which is closer to what she herself loves to wear, not what focus groups and marketing companies think everyone should smell like. I remember reading that she used to concoct her own scent, which consisted of Bonne Bell Skin Musk (a trip down memory lane for me, SJP, and other people our age), Comme des Garçons Avignon incense, and something else. I found as much Skin Musk as I could get my hands on and mixed it with Avignon, and anything else I thought was complimentary. Turns out, SJP was no fly-by-night marketing whore – the woman knows her shit when it comes to what smells good.
As for Stash, it isn’t going to break any rules or rock anyone’s world, especially if you’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to fragrance. It reminds my nose of two scents I wore when I was younger: Donna Karan Black Cashmere, and Donna Karan Chaos. Both are warm, dark, woodsy scents that stay close to the skin, and can be exceedingly masculine depending on your skin chemistry. Ms. Karan has since stopped designing clothes, but her more mainstream Cashmere Mist scent and all its flankers are still going strong. Black Cashmere and Chaos are still out there, but not that easy to get a hold of. The scents, like Ms. Karan’s eponymous label, were way ahead of their time.
I’m actually quite pleased that SJP is paying homage to Donna Karan with her newest scent. I’m not sure if the average Ulta shopper (the chain is the only other place you can get it, besides SJP’s website) is going to go in for a scent described as that of an unwashed European male on the Eurorail (sic). I’ve smelled body odor on the Eurostar, and it didn’t smell this good.
Stash’s notes consist of grapefruit zest, black pepper, sage, Atlas cedar, patchouli, ginger lily, pistachio, olibanum (frankincense) Massoia wood, vetiver and musk. My nose doesn’t detect any ginger lily or pistachio, but the opening is quite sharp with peppery grapefruit. The drydown reminds me of cold, snowy winter days back east, when Black Cashmere would keep me warm, even if I was wearing only a t-shirt.