There's a lesson there for all of us in the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker didn't give up on perfume. The 2005 Lovely didn't resemble the very precise vision SJP had originally as documented in Chandler Burr's book, "The Perfect Scent". It was packaged and marketed to a different audience, that of young(ish) women who were most likely taking "Which Sex & the City character are you? online quizzes, hoping to be a Carrie and feeling a certain disappointment when the algorithm declared them a Miranda. The inoffensive clean musk of Lovely (I am, or was, mostly anosmic to whatever's in there) was followed by the commercial flop of Covet, a perfume that was too weird for the Charlottes and Mirandas with its prickly green chocolate notes, and was probably a half-baked rush job to capitalize on Lovely's (and Sarah's) mega success. Then there were various bastardized flankers (The Lovely Collection, Cove Pure Bloom, and SJP NYC, all of which have probably never been in the same room with Sarah Jessica Parker herself). To add insult to injury, the stuff currently sold at the drugstores under the name Lovely smells to me like it bears little resemblance to the 2005 original.
A couple of months ago I had some Ulta points to use and enough interest in SJP's recent endeavours to use them on a 1/3 oz rollerball of Stash. Of course, the notes sounded intriguing (various woods, vetiver, incense) and SJP's love of masculine perfumes was also an incentive, but Sarah is still under contract with Coty, and that's rarely a good thing. The gamble ended up being the best use of my Ulta rewards in a very long time. Earthy, gritty, musky in that fabulous human warmth way--- Stash covered me in a soft and beloved afghan that invites people and cats for a snuggle. The husband was first intrigued, then quite taken with the perfume, and ended up relocating the rollerball to one of his shelves.
What is it about Stash that makes me want to wear it several days a week lately? Part of it is how it cushions that morning transition from the warm bed into an unfriendly and aggravating world. I've been rediscovering my love for black pepper recently. Last night the Blond and I had dinner at Kajitsu in NYC, where one of the delectable courses was flavored with a thin sheet of black pepper pressed into a bark shape. It was exquisitely paired with panko-fried cauliflower and taro. My point is that the aroma of black pepper is awesome, with or without vegan food. Then there's the particular composition of incense and wood that could have easily come from any over-hyped niche perfume line, and in this case boasts an impressive achievement: if my memory serves me right, the wonderful creamy massoia oil was among the first natural ingredients to be heavily restricted by IFRA, as it can be a major skin irritant. the perfumer behind Stash have managed to recreate the comforting aroma of massoia bark oil with whatever it is that exists today, and blended it beautifully with the bracing notes of cedarwood and vetiver (lots and lots of vetiver, actually, multifaceted to show off both its dry and leathery sides).
The result is one of the best releases of this miserable year (perfumery has certainly followed suit with all the other calamities). The fact that there's also a dry oil in this scent means that some Stash will make its way into my side of the cabinet.
Sarah Jessica Parker- Stash (eau de parfum, $25 to $85, depending on size) is currently exclusive to Ulta. There are also various gift sets that seem like an excellent deal.