New Perfume Review Ariana Grande REM- Still Topping the Charts

Pop music is full of artists who find their style and thrive within it. Perfume brands do the same thing. I write about brand aesthetic as an important part of success in fragrance. One of the most interesting emerging brands comes from a pop star. Ariana Grande REM is the third excellent release in a row.

Two years ago I was impressed with the great transparent floral gourmand of Cloud. To prove it wasn’t a fluke Thank U, Next followed a year later further expanding on the genre. REM proves that someone on the creative side is intent on making this the kind of fragrance this brand becomes known for. I would really like to know who those people are. For the past two I found out the perfumers. For REM I don’t know that. (Update: Perfumer is Alexis Grugeon) What I do know is this is another great transparent gourmand.

REM was inspired by Ms. Grande’s ideas of what space should smell like. She wasn’t after the burnt circuits and metal of sci-fi. REM is the dreamscape of flying through the stars trailing rainbows behind you. The perfume based on this captures that exuberance.

The gourmand aspect is apparent from the start as caramel is the keynote. It is given lift through the twin fruits of fig and pear. It is a creamy caramel accord with a fruity center. The fig’s inherent creaminess works particularly well. Lavender is the floral and it is a backseat driver to the caramel accord. The creamy quality is amplified through sandalwood and tonka bean before some white musks provide lift off into orbit.

REM has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is the third release in a row from Ariana Grande perfumes which has stuck to its established groove. I expect it will top the best-seller lists wherever it is sold.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Ulta.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nautica Midnight Voyage- An Imaginary Pirate Looks at 60

If you’ve been interested in the boats that ride on the ocean you’ve probably visited a historical exhibit containing a large wooden sailing ship. One of the things which always struck me when I would be on one of those ships was the way it smelled below deck. Once you got down there the scent profile would shift from airy sea spray to wood keeping out the ocean. It was a more claustrophobic effect.

There was a roadside attraction “authentic pirate ship” close to where I grew up in South Florida. While I am pretty sure that it wasn’t ever a pirate ship the staff sold it. When you went below decks there it was plunder over comfort. They told us the pirate’s life was sleeping in a hammock swinging over what you stole. I spent time imagining snoozing on my hammock above the spices we just stole from that merchant ship. My sample of Nautica Midnight Voyage gave me a connection to that dream.

Nautica is a brand which represents the beach life. That extends to their fragrances which are all aquatics of one kind or another. Midnight Voyage doesn’t break away from that. What is slightly different is it is that below deck juxtaposition I mentioned as Midnight Voyage is more woods than ocean. This is what perfumer Alexis Grugeon produces.

It opens with baie rose given some support with pineapple and bergamot. This is much more that fresh herbal-ness baie rose imparts. The fruit is here to keep it tilted to that side of its nature. There is a compact sea spray accord as we head to our hammock. Below us are sacks of spices. The chill of fresh mint and the cool swoosh of cardamom provide a reminder of what we took. This is a very pleasant top accord. It gives way to a deeper woodiness through the synthetic Woodleather and Ambrox. The former is an oud equivalent. In Midnight Voyage it reminded me of the treated timbers of the hull of the ship. Ambrox does its typical dry woody thing.

Midnight Voyage has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Midnight Voyage is another well executed aquatic from Nautica. They could do these in their sleep by now. I am appreciative that they seem to be trying a little harder. It helps this imaginary pirate still think of being on the high seas at my age.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nautica.

Mark Behnke