Sun-Ripened Raspberry Fine Fragrance Mist by Bath & Body Works ≈ Perfume Review & Musings
I have been setting my nose to the incandescent Tabu by Dana whose presence is so strong it feels afterwards as if its mossy, dark and sexual base is lurking everywhere. It's part phantom impression and part fact. This base of its - or a similar aura - is reproduced in many fragrance products albeit in much smaller doses. What is the link between Sun-Ripened Raspberry by Bath and Body Works (1996) and Tabu by Dana (1932) ? A priori none, except that there, in Raspberry ripened under the sun, lurks much of the same idea about odoriferous femininity: it smells borderline foul, not because the scent is overloaded with raspberry fruit or jam, but because it was made in such a way as to contain its own paradox : the scent of decay, the scent of garbage and good-byes - in a good way...
My attention turned to this fragrance mist when I heard that it was an olfactory icon of the 1990s for many Americans. So much so that the brand re-issued it recently along a collection of 90s hits in the Flashback Fragrances; but Raspberry under the sun is special; it's almost universally lauded.
If I occasionally visited the chain in the 1990s, I certainly never really lingered there very seriously. It was too novelty-oriented and far too sweet for my taste - exciting enough however to pique my curiosity. I do remember being won over by one Freesia scent which smelled more subtle than the orchard scents of apples, pumpkins and strawberry that had come tumbling down in baskets. I also think that some of the later BBW fragrances - when I came to explore the chain on occasion more thoroughly - are really good; Black Raspberry Vanilla among them.
In 2016, as I inhale this redder throwback rendition of a raspberry, I am struck by its invisible complexity. Yes, that fruit is front and center but all the while, there is also a web of innuendos, allusions, and even a metaphysical acknowledgement of death - if we agree that the scent of overripe fruit on the verge of fermentation and rot is actually the scent of death to come, inevitable and sure; the fragrance is borderline stinky.
A bigger cloud of indoles has been added to fight the platitude of a simple fruit which might end up smelling at the end of the day like a door creaking repeatedly - obnoxious and one-dimensional. No here, Sun-Ripened Raspberry has been made to smell as if that door's wooden pannels were decaying overtime and were battered by the elements and life, evolving in their scent form.
As a fruit, it smells waxy, indolic, even a bit incensey. As a fragrance mist, it fades away rather quickly leaving a tart, snuffy impression of fruity musk heated by solar light. In the end, you can say that Sun-Ripened Raspberry burns a candle to perfume rather than to fruit; and it makes all the difference in the world. That distinction, apparently, is what makes it unforgettable, in spite of its scotch-tape scented long drydown.
Fragrance notes from the BBW website in 2016 :
- Top Notes: Sparkling Red Apple, Garden Strawberry, Sun Ripened Raspberry, Juicy Orange
- Mid Notes: Sheer Muguet, White Jasmine, Cyclamen, Pink Rose Petals
- Dry Notes: Sugar Crystals, Creamy Vanilla