I’m about to break the rules of Eau My Soul. Or maybe not. It all depends on how you look at it.
Perfume opinions are subjective. So are the opinions of those opinions. And maybe this review can bring about a polite discussion of what is and isn’t “negative”.
Jungle Jezebel. The perfume with either an adorable or over the top tacky bottle, depending on your personal tastes. Again, subjective. I was in the “yikes!” camp from the time I first saw it. I found it shockingly....bad. And because of the bottle I had no interest in trying the perfume. I tuned out all the reviews, I literally had zero interest. Then about a week or two ago, I learned it was inspired by Divine, the famous drag queen who died in the 80s. Hmm. This changes things a tad. I googled Divine and read a bit, then looked at pics of the bottle again. It was strangely starting to appeal to me. Even starting to look kinda cute. I watched videos of Divine. And googled more. And read some VERY mixed reviews. Some wonderful. Some downright frightening.
Okay, I HAVE to smell this thing.
I searched sample sites and had no luck. I didn’t see how to buy one sample from Sarah’s site. So, I reached out to a generous fragrance friend who had told me previously to let him know if he ever had anything I wanted to try.
The sample arrived last night but I had to go meet a client and there was NO WAY I was putting this on before going to meet him after reading those reviews. So, I had to wait until today. I can’t recall being quite so curious to smell anything in a while. I literally woke up thinking “oh boy I get to try it today!! ”. Almost a Christmas morning sort of feeling. I’m excited but also a little scared, because let me tell you, some of the reviews are NOT flattering. A few semi-traumatized me. But this feeling of excitement was thrilling.
Okay, so here goes. I go to the little taped up box with the sample, lift the lid off...heart semi pounding, there it is...“Jungle Jezebel”. I really don’t know what to expect but I’m feeling pretty positive and brave, so I go ahead and spray on plenty on the back of my hands and wrists, and bravely dab some on my neck. Okay, okay, not so bad! It’s sweet...bubblegum and banana. Not so scary! What is so scary about this?! I’m happily sniffing this banana Bubble Yum scent and something else starts happening. Something that’s not so yummy. Ah boy, it’s the civet. And it’s the type I have issues with. While I love vintage civet immensely, there is a synthetic type used in modern perfumery that can send me for the hills. I just can’t abide. It smells too butt-like, too funky and it’s just not the good kind of funk. It’s just funk. For me at least. So, I’m like okay, I see what they mean, this stuff is just not wearable. Like how could I get around people smelling like this? Musty butt and banana. I mean....just no.
So, while I’m sniffing it, I decide to listen to the Divine song, Jungle Jezebel, her trademark song, so I can experience it fully before scrubbing it off. See if I’m missing something somehow. I sat there watching this 300 pound actor, dressed in drag, sweating up a storm, spewing profanity, just generally acting vulgar....and it hit me, this perfume “is” Divine. It’s vulgar. It’s trashy. It flashy. It’s over the top.
It’s a work of art.
It tells a story. It describes a human. The good and the bad. The sweet and the sweaty. It’s not exactly “pretty”. Neither was Divine. But he thought he was. And “she” convinced us she was. Right up until she dropped dead of a heart attack at age 42. That’s what Jungle Jezebel does. She’s not pretty...but she bats her eyelashes and makes you believe she is and she won’t give up until she’s gone. So...I’m left trying to decide if Jungle Jezebel is an absolute disaster or some sort of masterpiece. I wonder the same thing about Divine. And I think the answer is the same for both:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Harris Glenn Milstead aka Divine (1945-1988)
Oh my! This perfume is like a sexed up White Shoulders! It’s got this vintage vibe with the tuberose, iris, jasmine and aldehydes...but this fruity modern side. It’s musky and a bit animalic, sort of that civety tuberose vintage vibe but it also has this fruity grapefruit which gives it this fresh modern feel. The iris here is pretty dominant but there is also a lot of white florals. The entire fragrance is potent. Rules of Attraction is fun and flirty and almost has a split personality of sorts. Imagine Courtney Love during the Celebrity Skin years. She’s trying to be a lady but she can’t hide the rocker. Definitely a night on the town kind of scent! This is daring and loud but at the same time it has a sophistication. I haven’t smelled anything quite like this, while at the same time there is a familiar aspect to it. Very original scent and my very favorite creation by Miguel Matos so far!
I love when you’re surprised by a perfume you’re not expecting much from. I haven’t really heard much about Charade, and I believe it has been out since 2018. Not a single review for it on Fragrantica either, so I assumed there must not be much to get excited about. I’ve been trying my sample set that Sarah Baker was kind enough to send me, and I just kept passing Charade and moving it to the back of the line.
So, today I finally decided to go ahead and pull it out from the line up and give it a try...and Charade came kicking out like a Rockette. Do any of you remember Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent? She is a rather homely looking woman who came out on the stage to sing and you didn’t expect much at all and she ended up having the voice of an angel. Smelling Charade is a similar feeling but in perfume form. For some reason I just wasn’t expecting much from Charade but she came out singing like Ella Fitzgerald.
Charade is a retro green floral chypre, coated in drops of honey. It’s ultra mossy, just the way I like ‘em, but sweetened up with a plush honeyed tuberose dancing & singing in a choir of amber, patchouli, leather, resins and ylang ylang. It’s glamorous and green over a bed of white florals and it belts out sophistication. It’s for the impeccably dressed, whether a woman in her best Jackie O, or a man in his custom made suit. (But I would totally wear it with my jeans and sneakers.) It’s old Hollywood glamour that somehow still feels modern. This is one sleeper of a fragrance that has somehow gone under the radar. When it should actually be ticketed for driving under the influence of fabulousness.