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Group: Oriental woody
~ INTRODUCTION ~
A long time ago I got a sample of Mystery with a purchase on Ebay and took it with me when I went to Corsica last week as I don't take perfume bottles when I'm away. Being discontinued and described as an oriental woody fragrance, it sounded right up my alley though of course I had a reservation or two about it - mass produced and celebrity marketed fragrances rarely hit the high quality button as they are made up of cheap, synthetic raw materials.
~ THE PACKAGING ~
My sample shows a slender, cylindric bottle with a bluish tint, very standard and isn't particularly decorative, it's more like a body spray type bottle that's made of glass. Mystery possibly comes in the simplest packaging compared to the other 12 fragrances released under the Naomi Campbell label since 1999.
~ THE FRAGRANCE ~
Top notes: galbanum, bergamot, bitter orange
Galbanum? Are you having a laugh? Not a bit to my nose, luckily, as it would have been an insult to those classic green chypre fragrances that actually have real galbanum used as a top note to impart a complex, layered, grassy and dark 'green' feel to the fragrance.
Completely ignoring the description, Mystery opens with a fruity, sweet and somewhat woody and peachy Mirabelle note, a yellow plum that's actually in season now so that may be where my association is coming from. There's also a darker, patchouli-like note that adds a darker, more oriental feel, only a hint of it though.
Middle notes: plum, hibiscus
The compostion gradually sweetens and after about 10 minutes it becomes almost ridiculously sweet to be called an oriental. Sugar syrup would be more apt for this phase with a tiny kick of fruit.
I didn't get a lot of in the way of the supposedly there hibiscus and I love its tangy, wild-rose like odour in Chopard Madness, here there were absolutely no florals present for me.
I also detected a light and soapy - woody note that I identified as sandalwood, but oh no, it's not the actual, rich and natural extract but a cheap, synthetic one buried in the sugar feast. This second phase altogether lasted for an hour.
Base notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, benjoin, cedar
As it disappeared so quickly, I re-applied a couple of more drops from the vial and let it settle again. Well, this time the base notes did come through. The drydown smelled of bitter almond, like a deep, insense-like but sweet woody substance which stayed on my skin for about two hours. Then it became a more vanillic, nutty-ambery sweet oriental base that was pleasant but generic, lifeless and quite banal to be honest.
~ CONCLUSION ~
Mystery isn't a perfume; it's a mixture of aromachemicals hastily thrown together in some perumer's alcohol ready to be shipped to the masses. It's dominated by an ingredient called Iso E Super, an aromachemical that seems to be doing the rounds in a number of modern and especially celecbrity marketed woody oriental fragrances like Halle Berry Halle, Hilary Duff With Love and Mystery.
Iso E Super is a synthetic fixative that has a sweet, creamy and woody cedar-like scent and is meant to act as a skeleton to give structure and deepness to oriental compositions. It's surely useful in moderation and I don't mind its presence in round and complex fragrances e.g. Feminité du Bois or the more modern Trussardi Inside, but it becomes quite tedious when it's used as a joker note and substitutes everything else that's meant to be in the fragrance but isn't.
To sum up, Mystery is another modern sweet woody-oriental with an artificial and synthetic dark edge to it if you spray enough to suffocate on. No danger of it causing serious harm though: it's gone in two hours tops. It's utterly forgettable and unwearable due its appalling staying power which doesn't surprise me. You can't make a fragrance with fillers alone and no substance. May Mystery rest in peace and never resurrected.
~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~
Being discontinued Mystery is only available occasionally from eBay UK sellers. You can currently buy 4 x 1.2ml samples for £2.99 + postage or get it from ebay US where it's more readily available from fragrance discounters.
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk