We here at Now Smell This have our seasonal lists of “Top 10” fragrances and each December we release a list of best scents of the year. We are a positive bunch for the most part. But if we were to release a “Worst of 2011” list, I have a nominee: Yves Saint Laurent Saharienne.
Saharienne illustrates what happens when a jacket* is the inspiration for a perfume (talk about a dearth of ideas). After smelling Saharienne, I can only imagine the “creative”-team sessions in Paris before the fragrance went into development:
“What about the scent of a freshly dry cleaned Saharienne jacket?”
“Or a Saharienne jacket hand washed with baby shampoo?”
“I’m smelling a ‘stuffed’ Saharienne jacket — ALL its pockets crammed with scented bathroom tissue.”
“I like the idea of a Saharienne jacket after an encounter with hairspray.”
“…the scent of a woman wearing her Saharienne as she gets a permanent wave in a Fez beauty parlor…?”
Any of those ideas could have produced the current Saharienne “perfume” but I’m betting the ‘idea’ that won was:
“Let’s make the cheapest fragrance possible and name it ‘Saharienne.’ Why not? It’s vintage! It’s French! It’s African! All rolled into one! Put ‘YSL’ on the bottle and people will buy it.”
(Don’t even get me started on the ugly bottle.)
Though Saharienne lists notes of citron, bergamot, mandarin, white petals, orange leaves, galbanum, blackcurrant buds, pink pepper and ginger — I don’t believe it. Saharienne smells like the dregs of a perfume; it smells like it’s made from one bargain-basement “scent mix,” or accord, sold by the gallon for pennies and watered down till only a hint of the still-harsh “aroma” remains.
What’s Saharienne’s progression on skin? Top notes: “white petals” with some blackcurrant and ginger. Heart notes: “white petals” with some blackcurrant and ginger. Base notes: “white petals” with some blackcurrant and ginger. Thankfully, this weak/sheer fragrance fades fast. Good riddance! (and may the rest of Yves Saint Laurent’s design innovations be spared their own ‘perfumes’ by the people who brought us this catastrophe.)
Yves Saint Laurent Saharienne is available in 50, 75 and 125 ml Eau de Toilette.
* Yves Saint Laurent’s stylish take on the classic safari jacket; 1968.