Cacharel is a fantastic perfume house of which I am very fond. For around 15GBP, you can buy a decent 30ml bottle of scent in attractive packaging, with a good variety to suit all tastes. I have had a bottle of LouLou on the go, off and on, since 1988 (used sparingly!). I discovered the lovely Noa this year: and even Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez only have good words to say about it. My sister in law loves Amor Amor (original) and always smells lovely in it (note to Cacharel– HOW many flankers? Whoa there!). In fact the only ones I haven’t tried are Scarlett, and Promesse, and the only one I didn’t like was Eden (although check out the Perfumed Dandy’s take on it, marvellous!). Cacharel longevity is usually good and you always get quality in a pretty bottle.
I am wearing Anais Anais today and now that it’s settled down, it’s rather lovely. However, as you may know, I am no fan of Iris and when I first tried Anais Anais earlier today, Iris is all I got. Oh yes, and Lily, of which I am also not a fan. The combination of carroty Iris and vegetable like Lily was nearly a deal breaker for me and this greengrocer effect lasted a good two hours. Just my luck.
However, the basenotes are extraordinary. This is not only because it is a very pleasant, almost ethereal take on Lily of the Valley, Soap flakes and White Musk, but because it’s one of those scents that is so familiar that you almost don’t notice it. It is as ubiquitous as red brick houses and Heinz and Mars Bars and the Queen on coins. Icons which are so familiar you almost can’t see them any more.
I was born in 1970 (but look younger, we decided) and Anais Anais was created in 1978. Rumour has it that it has not been reformulated, which means we are getting an authentic 1970s fragrance here. It took a while for Iris and her annoying friend Lily to leave the room, but once they did, all was clear. As soon as the basenotes kicked in I thought “so THAT’s what it is!” It’s the scent of my Primary School teachers, my Mums’ friends, my Mum, several colleagues, my Secondary School teachers, fellow train passengers, and people I’ve stood behind in queues.
It is harmless and pleasant and rather lovely, but to coin a phrase: it’s bloody everywhere. Do I want to smell of perfume that is so widely spread that it is almost government issue? Or do I want to revive a clean, floral classic among the fruity vanilla miasma of modern life?
I am genuinely torn. You hardly need me to tell you that Anais Anais is widely available everywhere. Despite that, it’s still good value and it’s still a classic. It’s just a matter of personal taste as to whether you want to run with the pack or be a lone wolf.