Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cher- Uninhibited (vintage perfume)

Celebrity perfumes were not invented by Paris Hilton, though I hold whoever gave her the deal responsible for the downhill descent of the trend. Without the Paris Hilton fragrances we probably wouldn't have gems from Kim Kardashian, Jenna Jameson and Pamela Anderson (and we wouldn't be playing a "guess the next luminary to have a scent" game. Take your pick: Snooki, Shauna Sand or Mrs. Ice T).

Uninhibited by Cher (a 1989 release) has something in common with Catherine Deneuve's perfume. Not any olfactory similarity (Deneuve was a hardcore chypre), but a certain point of view regarding the concept of celebrity scents. These are fragrances that actually try to represent the actress without patronizing the target audience.

Like Cher herself, Uninhibited is a big bottle of contradictions. The opening is bright and floral, before it turns to the dark side of extra dirty ylang-ylang and orris. It's bold, loud and strong, but at least on my skin it doesn't cross the lines of vulgarity. I never cared for Cher's music* but loved her movies. It was always difficult to reconcile the talent and sensitivity of her performance as an actress with her red carpet appearances. The larger than life costumes were quite tasteless and made Cher look like she was trying way too hard. Didn't she know she was already gorgeous without the feathers and bellybutton? Did she want to be remembered for showing her pelvic bones at every opportunity?

Uninhibited dries down to a non-gourmand vanilla mixed with some serious animalic notes. I'm pretty sure there's quite a bit of tonka in the composition, and maybe also civet, though I can't find any verification. It's a bit too heavy handed to be considered a "fine perfume". Wearing it is fun, but requires a little self irony and some restraint in application, as it's an aggressive scent that can take up all the air in the room. Even the EDT has a phenomenal staying power (24 hours on my skin), and it might never leave your coats if you get a drop on them. The late drydown is my favorite part. By the time you can no longer smell me from across the street, Uninhibited becomes an elegant oriental, more Oscar winner than an obnoxious diva.

Uninhibited was discontinued years ago. According to the information on Basenotes, there was (is?) an LLP dupe from the late 90s, but the original Cher bottle is a big part of the fun. It can sometimes be found on eBay, but I bought my bottle at an antique store for far less than I'd have paid online.

*There was an episode in season 4 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where Buffy suspected her new roommate was an evil demon because she had a Celine Dion poster and had her Cher CD on repeat. You have to admit it makes perfect sense.


  1. Definitely, Snooki is next.

  2. There was a joke on "South Park" about "Believe" as well. The Army was using it for torture. I feel the same way about it.

    The perfume however reads like I'd enjoy it. I kind of like the big, brassy Bob Mackie aspect of Cher.

  3. That commercial is so beautiful--thanks for posting it! Love Patty's idea for a Snooki perfume (or maybe a self-tanner?)

  4. Long time reader, first time poster here :) Love your site. Just wanted to add that Unhibitied reminds me a bit of Habanita in the drydown - vanilla, tobacco,tonka I think -- and of course lots of powder!

  5. I have a vintage bottle of "Cher" at home. I do like this fragrance, it is really different and not for everyone. It's a far cry from the sweet, fruity perfumes or the light "watery" perfumes of today. When I wear it, I get lots of compliments.
    As far as celebrity fragrances, I think Elizabeth Taylor started the trend. She wasn't the first celebrity to have a fragrance line but I think hers was the first that really took off.


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