May 21st, 2013

Mitsouko Review

Hi, my name is Jude and I'm an addict.

Seriously, I am completely addicted to Mitsouko, and it's only taken 28 hours for this fragrance to be promoted to the coveted position of signature scent.

It's taken some time to find a comprehensive list of the genuine ingredients, as most websites seem to go by what the consumers say what makes up this perfume, but find them I did. There are notes of bergamot, neroli, peach, lemon, mandarin, rose, clove, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, benzoin, vetiver, and cinnamon. So Mitsouko is not just woodsy or fruity or spicy, it's all of them combined, and the scent is very difficult to explain indeed.

Mitsouko 2

As you can see by the huge image above, that the bottle is everything one expects from a company such as Guerlain. The bottle is simple in its design, no embellished ridges or patterns or anything that could make one think of the word flawed. The edges are rounded and curved, much like how a woman, not girl, is meant to be. Beautiful the way nature intended, with lovely smooth skin and a joy to hold, no sharp angles or hints of trendy diets that flash the bones for all the world to see, and oh how I adore that... that...

What's the word I'm looking for?

This is not the time to go on vacation, brain!

If anyone knows the word I'm trying unsuccessfully to find, please do let me know, and let me know sooner rather than later, as I happen to like my hair where it is!

What I love the most about this bottle is the heart shaped top. The word heart taken into the context of a perfume says so, so much, doesn't it? Your perfume, especially your signature scent, should spell you, and who you truly are at heart. Your personality should emanate from you in subtle waves of flora or fruit, aquatic or anise, sweet or spice. Choosing a Signature Scent is an arduous task to undertake, and I know many women who simply go to a counter, and pick up the first fragrance that catches their eye.

If that perfume doesn't sit, they scan the rows until another catches their eye, and if it suits, then that's what they wear. Oh, if only it were that simple for me.

I once spent an entire hour and 40 some minutes at the Guerlain counter in Fenwick, trying sample after sample in an effort for something to jump out waving its arms and shouting "Here I am!" That was the day I began to grow from mid-late teens to early 20's and Versace Red Jeans didn't work for me anymore, which I was genuinely gutted about as I was heavily in love with that fragrance.

Three whole weeks went by where I was not smelly good. My mum, bless her heart, offered me her bottle of Poison that she had recent received from my dad for Christmas. She was relieved when I declined and then she became somewhat incredulous when I told her that I was going to stay with one company, and that was Guerlain. After all, I had been using Red Jeans for around seven years, so why take my custom to a company I'd never looked twice at?

That's actually a question I still ask myself and have yet to find a well thought out, reasonable answer. Maybe I simply outgrew Red Jeans, that I wanted something more complex as opposed to youthful simplicity, perhaps I wished for a fragrance that was a little more defined and polished, one that had some true substance to it.

As you can see, I place quite a lot of importance on a signature scent. I know there are a lot more important things going on these days and smelling nice should be the last thing on the list of priorities, but to me it isn't. I feel better in myself if I'm washed clean, with skin buffed and polished, hair shiny and conditioned, and with a gorgeous fragrance enveloping me.

I don't like 'letting myself go'. If I let myself go, I honestly feel like my entire life has become one great, big room cluttered with rubbish and junk, and all out badness. When I'm neat and tidy, I feel like I can take on the world, my Signature Scent only add to that feeling because that scent is me. Each and every time I get a hint of that fruity chypre, I'm reminded of myself. My strengths and weaknesses, my ideals and morals, and my innermost desires to be all that I can be in spite of the limitations Life has chosen to bestow.


Just noticed how completely off topic I've gone!

I ended up with Mitsouko after an order from Black Phoenix brought very few perfumes that suited me, and since I'm attending Collectormania 19, which is a signing event, on the 25th and 26th of this month, I was in dire need of a perfume. I haven't had a Signature Scent since I outgrew Insolence many moons ago. The day I went to pick a new fragrance was the day Black Phoenix was recommended to me by a lady at the Guerlain counter in House Of Fraser.

So for the last several years, I've gone from one perfume oil to another, without really finding The One. It's loads of fun to go through those perfume oils and trying four at once on different parts of your arm, and that fun is greatly enhanced by the names. Harlot's House, Come To Me, Follow Me Boy, Aunt Caroline's Joy Mojo, Enbalming Fluid, Whip, and those are some of the tamer ones! As much fun as I have with Bpal, I still needed a fragrance.

Thursday last week brought with it the final straw, and I forced myself back into the world of perfume. Naturally, I went directly to Guerlain for a good bit of online window shopping, which brought with it some serious change. I'd outgrown most of the lighter, younger fragrances, so I had to step into the deep end with the true classics. I ended up with Champs Elysees at first and that stuff is also made of win, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to once more have a Signature Scent.

An accidental click of the wrong link took me to a perfume site that is currently having a sale with varying degrees of reductions, and right there in all its glory, was Mitsouko and with 25% off! 75ml for £28, free next-day delivery and free gift wrap. A bargain I could not in good conscious ignore that sort of bargain, so I added to cart, and bought it.

I eagerly anticipated the arrival, even as I sat petting my bottle of Champs Elysees, which is equally elegant in design to Mitsouko, and when it did arrive, I turned into a 5-year-old on Christmas Day! I tore into it, and oohed and ahhed over the bottle, then almost reverently took the top off, and thought What The Hell Have I Just Spent £28 On?

It smelled absolutely terrible, like a mix of cheap cologne and stale bitter lemon, and there was quite a bit of recoiling on my behalf. There was nothing good whatsoever about Mitsouko in the bottle, not a single thing I can think of. I had to double check where I bought it from just to see if I had been conned into buying a third rate copy, but I hadn't.

The horrid, sharp, bitter liquid was the genuine article, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I could have kicked myself, if it were possible, for spending an entire weeks' worth of groceries on a perfume I had not even tried. I felt very, very stupid for falling for every "OMG! It's gorgeous!" review I stumbled across.

Since I bought it, and no matter how horrid it smelled when in the bottle, I thought that since I paid for it, I may as well give it a go. I literally held the bottle away as far as my skinny yet well toned arm could go, closed my eyes, and spritzed.

Do you want to know how glad I am that I spritzed?

For five minutes straight, I held my wrist to my nose, and chanted oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

I've just sprayed some on my wrist so I can give a true, albeit biased, review of Mitsouko.

When it's first on and still wet, it smells like spice and flowers to me, like a beautiful cocktail of feminine and female. Yes there is a difference, at least to me there is. Feminine are the women who act how men expect/secretly want/joke about. You know, the type of women who hide behind cushions at scary movies, and who watch movies like Titanic and Eat, Pray, Love or whatever.

That is what being feminine is in my eyes, but being female is entirely different.

Being female, and thus a woman, is about sensuality, sexuality, and confidence in those things. It's about wearing clothes that are not too tight nor a size too small. It's about loving your body, from the wobbly bits to the not so wobbly bits. It's about being a woman, and all that comes with being a fully grown, level headed, strong woman.

The flower is there, all rosy and red, but that rose petal scent is combined with peach, and because of that, the rose is subdued and becomes almost submissive to the oakmoss and the neroli. Even those two are subtle, which allows the spices of cinnamon and clove to come into their own, but what is amazing is how all of those blend perfectly with the ylang-ylang, benzoin, and the other ingredients.

On my skin at the dry down, which is where the perfume begins to settle, Mitsouko becomes almost like a peach infused violet that's been bathing in ylang-ylang oil, and yet it's more than just that. It is so damn complicated as there are so many ingredients strutting out and arching eyebrows as if to say "Well, what do you think of me?"

The cinnamon fades into the background when the peach starts to rear its fruity goodness, and the ylang-ylang reaches its full capacity as it waltzes with the mandarin, lemon, and benzoin. It becomes so clear that this perfume is not one for the youth of today, for it is far too complex, and to misunderstand Mitsouko would be an unforgivable sin.

I can only explain it as a love story and by love story, I don't mean one of the current fads of a vampire falling in love with a girl who does not understand herself, I mean it as a love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

I would like you to ignore that dreadful movie starring Keira Knightly, as that did not do the book justice in any way whatsoever. So if you wouldn't mind blocking that out for now, I would greatly appreciate it.

Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic, in which the love story is formed by two people from two entirely different worlds learning about one another through their misunderstandings and grievances. Mr. Darcy was proud and arrogant, and Miss Elizabeth Bennet was prejudiced and judgmental. They both learned and grew as characters, and they built upon a mutual respect the path of a true, adult relationship.

What does Jane Austin have to do with a perfume you may ask, and of course, I shall tell you.

I started off worried about how it would smell on me after just one single sniff, just as Mr. Darcy waved off Miss Elizabeth Bennet at first glance. Then I tried it and began to learn about it, as does Mr. Darcy when the conversations begin at Netherfield. He learns that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is more than a mere tolerably acceptable country girl, he more than acknowledges her intellect and wit, he encourages it, and it's the same as my encouraging this perfume to speak in a firmer voice.

Another point about the comparison is what I mentioned earlier about the differences between women and girls.

Jane Bennet was written to be the perfect women for the time during the reign of King George and Queen Charlotte. She was soft spoken, kind, and genteel. She also did not see badness in people. Instead, Jane Bennet tried to make both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham good, as surely there must have been some misunderstanding between them.

Jane Bennet is naive, and in my opinion, very shallow. So to me, she is a very young woman when it comes to mental maturity. This is shown when she does nothing more than jump at the chance when Mr. Bingley proposes to her. The same Mr. Charles Bingley who listened to his friends and sisters over his own self. They told him Jane Bennet showed no signs of a romantic attachment, and he readily believed them, so off he went to London.

Several months go by before he turns up at Longbourn with The Question, and Jane Bennet does not hesitate to say yes. Forgive me if the romantic couple of Jane and Charles happens to be favoured by you, but I cannot reconcile myself to a man weak enough to be talked into ignoring his own sense of judgement.

That is why Jane Bennet is a girl, and thus not someone Mitsouko was intended for.

Elizabeth Bennet was defiant, witty, prejudiced, vain, and very smart for a lady in that day and age. She was not the most beautiful, she was not the tallest, but she was woman enough to stick to her guns when it mattered.

It is women like Elizabeth Bennet that Mitsouko was made for.

It's incredible that a perfume can inspire so many musings in me, and I think that is the best thing about it. You smell your wrist, then the scent takes you wherever it takes you, be it a meadow full of roses and violets, or a mystical place where the air is full of exotic spices and herbs. You catch a breeze of it each time you move, and it makes you take a moment where you breathe it in.

This perfume makes you want people to stop and ask what you're wearing, but you don't need the reassurance that it smells nice because you just know in your hear that it is exactly what you want it to be, and that is yours. You want other people to buy it after you tell them and yet you want Mitsouko for your very own.

And that is what makes it a timeless classic.

All these 'celebrity' perfumes are nothing but fads, phases, and a way for them to make money out of ingredients that smell like anesthetic or industrial strength hospital cleanser. They are not going to last one year, let alone an entire century, which Mitsouko almost has.

This perfume is unique in a way that can never, ever be replicated, and I feel so damned lucky that I have bottle, and luckier still that it describes me in every way that matters, and I feel honoured to have this fragrance as my identity.

I know this hasn't been the best review I have done, but it's the best I can do when it comes to explaining Mitsouko. I do hope that you will treat yourselves to a sample of this, because it is something all women need to have in their corner.

As for me, I'm going to sign off now before I babble anymore!!

Much love and many hugs, Jude xxx

P.S. Hannah and Vick, expect a sample each some time soon *smiles*