Covet promised to reveal more freely the "vixen" side of Sarah Jessica Parker and since we know that Lovely (2005) had a toned-down musk that smacked of marketing compromise for the actress who usually loves her musk straight-up and dirty, we were expectant and holding our breath metaphorically speaking, awaiting something like a modern-day Bal à Versailles, a gift from the fragrance developers to SJP after her resounding success with Lovely in 2006. Instead what we get is yet another perfume in shackles and Covet is not even as pretty smelling as Lovely, which does not make it necessarily more interesting smelling.......
Alas, when we released the air in our lungs to aspire in some of the olfactory impressions from the new scent, we were surprised to discover a perfume that is a bit unusual at the start, true, but mostly appears formulaic. It was advertised as a "fougere on estrogen" as the fougère family of perfumes is reserved in its vast majority to men. The perfume does have an intriguing "after-shave" facet to it, but upon pondering it further, the sensation of innovation is mostly due to one's intellectual apprenhension of a scent in which gender categories have been pushed around, rather than to a truly interesting olfactory impression. Does the displacement of the gender line suffice to create something worth seeking out? Not if you think that gender conventions in perfumes are just that, mere conventions in the first place. What about the much-vaunted sexiness factor? There is a vague boudoir personality to the perfume resting on an impression of powder/cocoa powder, but it would have to be qualified with the word "metallic". Covet is, for lack of a better expression, a metallic boudoir perfume, that is to say in other words that it is rather on the odd and cold sides.
It starts with a green vegetal impression that is reminiscent of the kind of effect one finds in absinth-y perfumes, a bit medicinal, minty, sweetish and unusual. Sarah Jessica Parker said that she loves the smell of geranium leaves and so this note was incorporated.
The body of the perfume is syrupy and the blend is such that no distinct facets emerge. Instead of conveying the idea that this is due to the masterful blending of contrasting elements, one finds the word "non-descript" to be appropriate in this case. The scent offers the impression of a vaguely fruity-floral concoction with a ribbon-like smooth unfurling texture and the weightiness of a fairly heavy syrup with cold metallic accents. The boudoir aspect derives from an impression of face-powder and a somewhat intimate feeling.
One way we have found that helps us appreciate the perfume better is to think of it at some point as being a "green ganache" (chocolate) as we made an association with Guerlain Iris Ganache. Then instead of feeling that the mix is a bit non-descript, it helps focus on a soft, unusual gourmand texture.
The dry-down is amber-y, musky, vanillic, warm, not unpleasant but very banal at the same time and lacking depth. It is cold to some extent too, as the amber reveals some metallic flashes being reminiscent of the "electrical amber" in CK IN2U. But where that facet appeared consistent with the futuristic imagery around the Calvin Klein scent, here it seems to clash with the persona of the actress as well as the promises offered by the ad copy. In fact the discrepancy between the perfume and the story is large enough to let the word "hype" find some room to settle comfortably in there. The flacon also does not look as beautifully designed and interesting in person as it appears on the ad and the juice is yellow rather than peridot-green as advertised.
In summary, Covet is a bit intriguing at first but rather conventional and disappointing in the end borrowing from several commercial trends all at once. It does not even smell particularly good. It smells best in the top notes and in the light citrus-y musky dry-down. In fact it is devoid of charm for us, something that we find is rare in quality perfumes (the ingredients are good quality) as even the least pretentious of commercial perfumes can harbor the charms of simplicity and comfort rather than suggest ugliness. It smells better as a sillage scent than up-close.
"top notes of wet greens, geranium leaves, Sicilian lemon, lavender and chocolate; a heart of honeysuckle, magnolia and muguet, and a drydown of musk, vetiver, bois de cashmere, teakwood and amber." The perfume was created with perfume consultant Ann Gottlieb and perfumer Frank Volkl of Firmenich.