Fragrance can be a heady force
It evokes memories, triggers longings
Conveys who you are
Why the reference to acrobatic manoeuvres, you ask?
Think of it this way. Finding a fragrance which speaks most accurately of your personality is, well, akin to walking a tightrope. It requires perfect balance. A slight misstep and it’s literally downhill from there. Spray too little and you’re nothing more than a barely-there wallflower of a scent, nondescript, forgettable, easily missed. Spray too much and you’ll give everyone within a 10 feet radius (1) a migraine; (2) nausea; and/or (3) a reason to strike you off their Christmas list, permanently.
No, I’m no expert in the language of scent literacy. Quite the contrary. You see, when I became pregnant in 1999, I developed the most violent aversion and reaction to all forms of smells ranging from perfumes to candles, potpourris to essential oils, and everything in between, including laundry detergents and creams. A mere whiff and I would gag. Turn green. And, inevitably, vomit.
You can, therefore, imagine my trepidation when I was very graciously offered a bottle of the HUGO Woman eau de parfum for review. The thing with gifted products is that I feel obliged to write about them but it isn’t a given that what I write will be positive. And when it comes to perfumes, it’s very much a game of roulette with me.
That it isn’t to say I don’t believe in the transformative power of scents. Despite my rocky relationship with fragrance, I remain a staunch evangelist of how profound the connection is between our sense of smell and the appetites that move us, give us pleasure, make us fully alive.
Which is why I’m grateful to have somewhat recovered my “nose“, so to speak, making this the perfect moment to conduct a sniff test of HUGO Woman.
Marketing sheets are waxing lyrical over the purported tomboyish composition of HUGO Woman. From its boundary-breaking blend of floral and fruity with musky and woody, to the clean, almost apothecary-sleek lines of the bottle, this is a sophisticated scent.
And while HUGO Woman is positioned as redefining the conventions of female-skewed fragrances (fusing what’s perceived as traditionally feminine with traditionally masculine), it smells all woman to me.
And that's not a bad thing.
A confident, sultry and intense woman with an enigmatic air about her. An independent, daring woman who experiments and explores. She is feminine with nary a hint of girlishness, alluring and voluptuous in the most contemporary fashion. A complex, desirable woman. Someone who isn’t afraid to show her softer side every now and again.
I can’t imagine a scent more right for this evolving time when women aren’t just making strides, they’re paving the way. Achieving milestones in every field.
The perfume itself is bold and opulent, it commands attention. If you fancy light scents that barely raise their voices but rather, converse in calm, collected cool tones, HUGO Woman is not for you. It has a very specific profile.
It’s also easy to see how it would be appealing to all age groups. It’s immensely accessible. All those velvety notes of Boysenberry with Black Tea and Amber don’t scream any particular audience, and that makes for a tremendous part of its marketing appeal.
Let’s also not forget the inclusion of Jasmine. Easily one of the most revered and intriguing materials in the perfumer’s palette, the small white flower may not possess the Hollywood glamour of roses or the regal elegance of irises but their scent is so luscious and complex (one moment, it’s the springlike freshness of white petals, the next, it’s a seductive, animalistic pulse), rivals are few and far between. In fact, the merest hint of Jasmine essence easily lends a voluptuous layer to any composition.
And while in my honest layman opinion, HUGO Woman isn’t a statement-making olfactory experience, who cares? It’s a smooth, perfectly composed scent which deserves a try. I say, give it a go. I know I am, and I don’t fall for new fragrances all that easily.
Incidentally, did you know that while most people can distinguish about 4,000 smells, a good perfumer has up to 10,000 elements in their smell memory?
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