Caru (Fragrances of Ireland)

Every once in a while, my friend Toni visits me at work, bearing gifts of perfume from her collection. Some, like Avon Ariane, are wonderful. Others, like anything made by Tova Borgnine, are horrible. This one, I regret to say, qualifies for the Tova category.

Fragrances of Ireland is one of those touristy outfits beloved by armchair travelers yearning for their own square of Emerald Astroturf but lacking the means or wherewithal to get it at the source. Caru is not the first Fragrance of Ireland I've encountered; Toni has wafted both Inis and Inisfree under my nose, and a coworker once palmed off a carded sample of Inis Moonlight on me as a dirty rotten trick. All struck me by the unrelieved cheapness of their aromachemicals-- proof of corporate unwillingness to spend a little to get a little. Or, in the local parlance, an lámh a bheir 'si a gheibh.

According to FoI's website, caru is an ancient Gaelic word meaning "to love". This is true, if you're Welsh. In Irish Gaelic it's grá, which is understandably no name for a perfume. FoI goes on to tell us: When creating CARU our minds were filled with thoughts of the last days of summer; rich aromas of harvests and the last blooms of summer scenting the breeze... Copy like this convinces me that the gift of blarney is real; otherwise, how could those Irish ad men sleep at night? Maybe they never actually smelled this stuff, and in that, I'd say they had their heads on straight.

For Caru is bad-- so bad that words can't do it justice. It clung to the surface of my wrist like an oil slick, sending up a ghastly chemical odor that I suppose was meant to read "raspberry clafoutis" but only succeeded in evoking Perth Amboy in high summer. Having no illusions that Caru would "develop" -- and at the same time fearing that it would -- I scrubbed immediately and without a particle of regret.

I do wonder about Toni, however. If she'd liked Caru, wouldn't she have kept it? And if she didn't like Caru, why on earth did she give it to me? For the sake of our friendship, I won't ask her. Má tá tú ag lorg cara gan locht, béidh tú gan cara go deo.

Scent Elements: Lychee, raspberry, rose, freesia, muguet, vetiver, cedar, patchouli, amber, vanilla