There are several unsolved mysteries regarding Dolce & Gabbana By, a 1998 fragrance (some say 1997 and others claim 1999, but I'll let Michael Edwards have the last word and that's 1998). Why was it named "By"? Who was the perfumer who composed it for Dolce & Gabbana? And last, why was it discontinued in the mid-2000s?
The name "By" says very little. Dolce & Gabbana used it for both male and female versions of the perfume (the masculine had a black/white zebra print). It doesn't tell us that By (Woman) is a sensual musky wood perfume that starts bright and fresh with an exaggerated synthetic-industrial citrus note that morphs into a surprisingly refined floral. Various note lists mention muguet, cyclamen, lily and orchid; others also include lavender, and I tend to agree. I always thought about the (mostly) abstract floral heart of By as a collision of a prim lavender and a mysterious sensual orchid. The result is aloof at times and quite elegant, which works well as By descents into its dry-down.
The base notes of By sound quite rich and leaning gourmand. In reality, the vanilla is only a ghost note and the coffee is light and milky. For the most part, By is a silky smooth wood-- a blend of cedar and truly beautiful sandalwood, and so musky that envelops and caresses the skin, hovers just above it, and has a sexy tactile quality that lingers for very long hours. I can't call By a skin scent, because it has quite a bit of sillage, but it really is at its best in that skin-not-skin phase that is both a little dirty and almost clean.
Notes: clementine, bergamot, muguet, cyclamen, lily, orchid, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, coffee, and musk.
Top image from Dolce & Gabbana 1998 Spring/Summer campaign.