Perfume reviews by The New York Times Officially Designated Perfume Critic® have become less frequent and ever briefer. So brief we had to boost the gain control on the FirstNerve BurrOmeter to even get a reading. TNYTODPC’s most recent effort didn’t even crack 1 milliburr. (We could say it hit 900 microburrs, but that would only impress the gullible.)
Now a new Twitter feed transforms brevity from a bug to a feature. @fragrantreviews offers perfume reviews of up to 140 characters, including a maximum of five rating stars. (Perhaps due to budget cutbacks at the Gray Lady, TNYTODPC’s reviews no longer feature stars.)
@fragrantreviews, with 315 followers, is the brainchild of England’s Nick Gilbert. (No relation—our branch of the family bailed from the old country a few hundred years ago.) His first tweet went out on July 29, 2010.
Gorilla Perfume Tuca Tuca/Dusty warm sandalwood & benzoin, violet drydown with hint of vanilla, jasmine & ylang ylang. Bright & radiant/****Pretty pithy.
A couple of weeks later, our enhanced BurrOmeter detected the last known signals from TNYTODPC. How do they stack up against @fragrantreviews? See for yourself.
[TNYTODPC] Infusion d’Iris EDT, by Prada Whereas Chanel No. 19 maximizes the deep, voluminous luxury of iris root, Infusion presents it in minimalist form, the scent’s depth derived from its purity.There’s a consistent difference here—the @fragrantreviews entries are stripped down and punchier, more informative. This makes them more haiku-like. Why? Because
[@FR] Prada Infusion d’Iris EdT Slightly bitter galbanum with powdery violet. Soft, clear. Similar feel to the EdP but different entirely ***
[TNYTODPC] Essence, by Narciso Rodriguez. For Her smelled like a sweet midnight in summer. Essence is still summer — warm dry skin, talcum powder and irises. But here we are drenched in bright day.
[@FR] Narcisso Rodriguez Essence Powdery, lightly floral & intensely musky in the same way that washing powder is. Hot, white, metallic, painful *
[TNYTODPC] Womanity, by Thierry Mugler. Like Angel, Womanity surprises no one in its defiance. Its power is clear; its character — opium smoke, heated granite, crushed flowers, the ozone before a storm — is not.
[@FR] Thierry Mugler Womanity Bright citrus leads to milky fig and brine, the use of caviar is subtle and dry down is nondescript woods. ****
[TNYTODPC] Beauty, by Calvin Klein. Obsession was a woman wearing her strength on the outside; cK One startled with its crystal-clear ambiguity. Beauty is Calvin’s velvet revolution, a feminine feminine: unblended flowers, soft curves and a straightforward golden glow.
[@FR] Calvin Klein Beauty
A pretty lily note, with light jasmine and sweet musky synthetic cedar drydown. “Beauty” is an overstatement though ***
haiku should use objective sensory images, and avoid subjective commentary.
Or, as we’ve said before, a reviewer ought to say what the fragrance smells like. Nick Gilbert shows that it can be done in a high-tech haiku.
In his honor we titled this post using 17 syllables and fewer than 140 characters. Domo arigato!