Parfums Intimes Collection (Victoria's Secret)

"Luxurious fabrics for lingerie. Exquisite inspiration for fragrance." And only one dollar for the whole collection at a recent town-wide yard sale! Lucky me!

Normally, Victoria's Secret couldn't tempt me if they paid ME the dollar, but this unused set of 1.5 ml. sprays came snuggled in its own naughty black-stretch-lace carry bag-- a detail adorable enough to make me lower my guard. To my surprise, I did not end up with a hot-pink migraine. True, this quartet is 100% conventional and not especially original, but they do seem better-constructed (and more refined) than the rest of VS's shock-and-awe catalog. If, as I did, you happen to stumble across them at a yard sale, think twice before you pass them by.

Silk: Mandarin Santal
Back in adolescence, it was a terrible disappointment for a girl to be considered "handsome" rather than "pretty". Not so in adulthood, and not so in perfume. The combination of sweet mandarin peel and robust, buttery sandalwood startled me with its innate logic (of course these two make the perfect couple!) but 'pretty' it's not-- and it's all the better for it. Of all the four Parfums Intimes, this is the one I feel compelled to spray the most; I love its juicy citrus opening and its long-lasting smoulder thereafter. After one smells it, 'pretty' seems so half-baked a notion.

Scent Elements: Mandarin, mimosa, sandalwood, whitewood, "honeyed musk"

Cashmere: Vanilla Jasmine
I won't lie: this smells perilously close to Febreze's Lavender Vanilla & Comfort™ line. Yet who could call wearing a room spray a new idea? You hear about it all the time, mostly on the high end of the price spectrum, where the sheer cost of the thing seems to justify a slight aberration from "use as directed". But cheap products can smell as good as costly, and Vanilla Jasmine fits the bill, so stop worrying that people will think you're cutting corners in the home goods aisle and just spray it on. Lasts long, stays sweet, makes you and others happy.

Scent Elements: Jasmine absolute, "Mediterranean purple orchid", heliotrope, cedarwood

Lace: Orange Flower
This neroli-osmanthus blend is every bit as bridal as the lace deputized to act as its mascot... but no one said the bride had to be married in white. Wearing Orange Flower, I envision the lady in question draped in hues of blushing apricot or lusty vermilion, smiling a secret smile and thinking ahead to the bridal bed.

Scent Elements: Orangeflower absolute, osmanthus, pink grapefruit, "watery dewdrops"

Satin: Rose de Mai
My least favorite of the set, Rose de Mai gets off about ten seconds of true and thrilling rose-on-the-bush bouquet before collapsing into the usual mealy supermarket-tomato-out-of-season scent, helped along by an acidic pink grapefruit note. Still, it could be worse: you could pay hundreds of dollars for it, in which case it would be called Nahéma.

Scent Elements: Rose de mai, honeysuckle, pink grapefruit, mandarin flower