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Fragrance Review: Perfumes to GO! part 2

February 10, 2012

Oh, Lola! by Marc Jacobs is not a small thing by any means. I daresay I was shocked by it's 'purse size', which is more like a large Italian sausage- the kind with cheese inside. The scent, sorry to disappoint, is not- but rather strawberry jam (see full review below)

I’m pausing to sniff my wrists as I wonder how to launch into today’s second part of our Perfumes-to-GO! fragrance reviews. Yesterday, Vanessa, our experienced and knowledgeable Fragrance Columnist, reviewed the rose gold-bottled Love, Chloé.

This morning it’s my turn. I sprayed on Marc Jacobs’  Oh, Lola! purse spray ($45 exclusively at The Bay in Canada) and I even made notes about what it smells like from first mist to current aura. I hope that Vanessa will be proud.

Johanne’s Oh, Lola! scent notes:

Reviewing a fragrance is like detective work: making notes while sniffing out the trail of flowers and fruits.

To be perfectly honest, I first tried the fragrance last week and my first impressions were, Hm, too bad about the packaging; Oh, Wow! that’s a powerful and broad spray; and hm, it smells fruity (not a bad thing). I also noticed that the scent didn’t last very long (the reason why you’d need a to-go touch-up?).

Today I set out to do right with this review and play detective: is that ripe peaches I detect? How long will the scent really last? And, what about that size- will it actually fit into any purse I own?

Searching for answers when you have a nose that’s sensitive sounds like an easy enough task. I’ve been lucky to have a naturally keen sense of smell, but let me tell you that figuring out what a fragrance smells like is a whole other bag of chips. As some of you know, I’m a bit of a foodie, so finding matches with food items is right up my alley. But flowers- well, avid gardener or not, I can’t remember ever lifting my nose and exclaiming, Gosh those cyclamen smell divine!

Oh, Lola! first smells to me like delicious home made strawberry jam- not your Smuckers, although that probably has more strawberry “essence” than my mom’s simmering sauce pan in June gently reducing local strawberries.

Smuckers captures the strawberry, but my mom's home made version's got my heart

Aside from strawberry jam, I found myself rather baffled at identifying other fruits or flowers. I thought, When in doubt, spray twice.

The spray area is glossy when wet- just like all liquids (right hand not shown)

And so on my right wrist boomed out the spray (more on size later) and I was hit with the powerful smell of alcohol, which took a moment to dissipate, and then, again- strawberry jam, then I thought, Oh come on- you can do this, dammit!!!- oh- is that peaches? ripe summer peaches? Okay that sounds right.

And so that’s pretty much how my morning went- just another internal dialogue/fight that ended with some sort of interruption. I completely failed to identify flowers, although I knew they were there since I know my food smells (and tastes) rather well, and the rest didn’t smell edible- or so I thought.

The official Oh, Lola! scent notes are as follows: 

Top: effervescent raspberry, fraise des bois, pear

Heart: peony, magnolia, cyclamen

Base: vanilla, sandalwood, Tonka bean

Effervescent raspberry!!? Fraise des bois!!? I’m so there! Pear– well, close enough to a peach, no? As for the flowers- well, even as I sniff myself here like a chronic weirdo, I’m better at picking up the faint whiff of sandalwood from the base notes. As for Tonka bean- oh sure, I totally smell that (does the average gal who will purchase this scent know what that is? I think not).

Tonka beans make up the base notes to Oh, Lola!

Well it wouldn’t be a learning opportunity for all of us without dropping into Wikipedia.

Dipteryx odorata, also known as camuru or kumuru, and is a flowering tree belonging to the pea family native  to the Orinoco region of northern South America. The seeds are known as Tonka beans and are black, withered and boast a smooth brown interior in addition to a fragrance reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon and cloves. How delightful, indeed! (This is exactly why I love working on new projects.)

So- does it all smell great when it comes together? I’d say yes, definitely. And to use proper terminology, I completely agree that the front notes are berries and the dry down is beans, nuts and wood. I actually really like this scent but alas, it really doesn’t last a long time.

Now for the practical matters surrounding this scent: mist size, packaging, and the purse issue.

Oh, Lola!, how you do spray like you mean business. Maybe I’m used to wimpy squirts- maybe, but seriously- this spray comes out not only with significant force but with a ball of mist the size of a tangerine. I’m not exaggerating here and if I had laser vision, I’d probably see the spray ball more like the size of a pomello.

I also wanted to mention that the packaging for this scent is rather disappointing: the black plastic insert that holds the bottle inside the box is that flimsy cheap stuff. I don’t even know if I can recycle it. Cardboard inserts are so much nicer- would that really add much to the production cost?

The black plastic insert really cheapened the experience. I know it's just packaging but R&D goes into this!

As for the bottle itself: I like the gold hardware, the pinks and purple colours and the stylized flower petal swirl, but can you believe that the colour swirl ‘wrap’ of my bottle appears to be just a sticker that’s already coming off?

The sticker wrap that is the bottle's exterior finish is already coming off. Yes, when I smoothed it over it went down. But still!

I was also mystified at first as to who to access the scent. When you first look at the bottle, it’s unclear as to what to do: pull apart the two halves where that horizontal line appears? press the bottom? shake it out? I feel really inept when I’m sampling new fragrances since I never know how to get the thing started. This time, it turned out that you actually have to turn the halves, much like a lipstick mechanism. I know. I should have thought of that.

Action shots of how to turn it ‘on’ (I’m doing these pics for my friend Sue at Cheese and Toast– she’s always posting the best action shots):

The more you twist, the higher the spray head rises. *Like* magic, it's all in the wrist

And there we are- ready to launch spray balls

Now what I really wanted to know was how this is a purse size when in fact it feels so large? With all the “essential” stuff that’s crowding my hobo bag (may the trend never die) I wonder if I can really haul around yet another thing since I already begrudge a heavy sac filled with bulky items.

I did a little sizing analysis with a few of my clutches (below). You’ll notice that the Oh, Lola! bottle is rather wide in diametre, which means that it’s not necessarily the best evening bag tag-along:

Sizing up the soirée accountrements: will it fit?

Like a snake fat with a giant gulped meal, my black clutch prevails. Barely. I would never take this out

So this is a large satchel kind of purse size, not a clutch size, and that’s rather disappointing to me since I’d want it to be compact and lithe for my midnight touch-ups.

Given that it’s not a strong lasting scent, I would want to touch up as I go. I like the residual smell of Tonka beans (!) & co., but I also want to sink into the sweet lull of my mom’s strawberry jam.

Oh, Lola! purse spray launches this month and is available exclusively at The Bay across Canada.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2012 9:58 pm

    You are so funny, Johanne. Great review and I love the action shots.

    • February 13, 2012 1:28 pm

      Thanks Vanessa! I’m so glad you like the review- phew!

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