You know it's the 8th of March or International Women's Day today. In honor of this date, I decided to turn to the myth of Eve hiding behind the ensemble cast of Desperate Housewives to see what kind of perfume they might have inspired. Perfumer Richard Herpin of Firmenich created the scent in 2006 together with Coty, Inc. The company saw it at the time as a conceptually innovative celebrity fragrance because it did not correspond to just one personality but to a whole TV show. Efforts were made to include representative perfume notes of the characters "spicy black pepper for Gabrielle, apples for Bree the baker, romantic jasmine for Susan, sexy sandalwood for Edie and wisteria for their street" (Cosmopolitan, Sept 1, 2006. ) What Forbidden Fruit is officially is a fruity-floriental. The inner workings of the fragrance composition reveal more than that, that it is also study on impressions of femininity, sensuality and more to the point and more originally, on lust...
Fragrance Notes: Crisp Rome apples, orange flowers and ripe, juicy peaches, with a heart of wisteria (naturally, given the fact that the characters live on Wisteria Lane), jasmine, ylang-ylang and passion lily. The drydown is of cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla and tonka bean.
The perfume opens on an ambery fruity and floral impression with a sugary undertone plus a little excess of raspy white musk. Soon, behind this cohort of perfume notes which smell good but nothing particularly distinctive, appears a more pronounced, head-turning note of indolic jasmine.The three most apparent nuances of the perfume initially are watery, sugary and indolic accenting indistinct florals which come together binded by a medium-bodied amber (I tend to think of maple syrup when trying to convey the grade of amber I am referring to.)
When you thought that Desperate Housewives Forbidden Fruit had said all it had to say, seemingly stuck in a fruity-floral rut, the composition gets a new lift and life from the tart scent of apple. Listed in the head notes as a rendition of "crisp Rome apple" popular for their red color and cooking virtues since the early 19th century as their scent gets enhanced when they are baked, the sour-apple accord actually makes its presence better felt in the heart notes. The fragrance then takes on a very pleasing verjuice quality while the sensual, slightly carnal and solar jasmine, sweetened by amber, seems to be the warm bed on which the Rome Beauties rest, like in a basket.
As the Eau de Parfum further develops, its personality as a sensual, feminine perfume gets confirmed; one can detect in the progression of the composition something of the dynamic of a relationship which gets more intimate, up-close and intense. If Forbidden Fruit starts with the easy allure of polite charm, it becomes more and more frankly sexual. The latter sensation is conveyed by the indolic accord which becomes much more animalistic as you wait patiently for the perfume to unveil its full personality.
The Adam-and-Eve icon on the outer packaging now makes sense as the fragrance composition literally heats up finally revealing what the meaning of "forbidden fruit" is. This has not just to do with the scent of Rome apples getting hot (and bothered) in the oven. It has everything to do with an interpretation of lust. The base notes reveal an accord of hot skin, which seems to be literally on fire. The spot on my skin where the drops of Forbidden Fruit are telling their story seems to have risen by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. The sweetness of the scent at the same time has become more subtle and honeyed. After this rush, the composition abates while remaining warm and inviting. The tone is now woodier, a bit sticky sweet and still jasmine-y. The perfume in the drydown tries to be suggestive of a sex potion of sorts: it smells of fruity woods with a hint of corrupted flesh.
The reason I initially purchased the fragrance blind was because of the mention of a wisteria note as I adore the scent of wisterias. I had the hope that the symboliscism of "Wisteria Lane" would push the perfumer to underscore that facet. In reality, jasmine is more prominent and the wisteria note more suggestive.
This is one of those perfumes meant to espouse the contours of a woman's persona and skin: it keeps on improving overtime; It gets sexier and sexier. It's probably a good reminder of how to get the best out of life.