Helena Rubinstein's new Wanted fragrance was built around an abstract accord of magnolia wood, and is meant to be a "a vibrant woody floral filled with sensual and carnal tension".1 Sounds good, no? And while I have no particular feelings about Demi Moore either way, it's always nice to see someone over the age of 40 (or let's face it, even 25) fronting a new perfume.
Wanted doesn't quite live up to its steamy advertising, but it's not bad. The opening is a fruity-lemony blend of ylang ylang and magnolia (other notes include iris, cedar, sandalwood and vanilla). It's rather high pitched — yes, even vibrant — in the early stages. The dry down falls squarely into the modern "fresh floral" mode: it's airy and clean, slightly watery, and very smooth. The later stages have a creamy finish, and it's sweet, but not overly so. There's a bit of darkish wood in the base, which presumably stands in for the "carnal tension" in these days of über-clean office friendly fragrances.
Wanted is pleasant and wearable, and smells very much like what it is: a mid-priced department store fragrance — if you act now, you can get a 50 ml bottle and a 30 ml bottle in a coffret at Macy's for $65. That's less than what you'd pay for a single 50 ml bottle of the niche magnolia entry for the year, Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile, which retails for $105. Do you get what you pay for? It's hard to say. The Aqua di Parma has a considerably more elegant feel — I'd be the last person to accurately judge the cost of materials, but Magnolia Nobile smells like more money (and possibly some real flowers) went into the formula, whereas Wanted smells like most of the budget went to Demi Moore — but Magnolia Nobile isn't massively more interesting, and if you're after carnal tension, well, it's a toss-up: they're both more pretty than sexy. Is there such a thing as a sexy magnolia perfume? There ought to be.
1. quote via the Helena Rubinstein website.