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sábado, 17 de outubro de 2015

Bargain Fragrances: Hot by Bill Blass (1991)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. 
Summary: A classic scent from the American designer Bill Blass that capitalizes on fragrance trends of the late 70's and early 80's, Hot is a surprising meditation oncinnamon and honey.
Perfumer: N/A; tell us in a comment below.
Try this if you like: Cologne strength fragrances that linger only subtly; spicy orientals; honey; unsweetened cinnamon; classic florals like carnation and rose; bitter greens such as patchouli and oakmoss. 
Reminds me of: A less complex Chanel Coco, a less fruity Fendi Asja or Giorgio Red, a less floral (original) Bijan, a sweeter and less waxy Rabanne Tenere,  a less woody Romeo Gigli Uomo, and a toned down Obsession for Men.
Pros & Cons: Hot is a bargain winner for lovers of the spicy oriental genre and completely unisex as it shares a number of similarities with other popular scents labeled for men and women. The current formulation of Hot is a Cologne (just as the original was) and as such, this one just doesn't stick around all that long (or it does and it's simply so powerful that I quickly grow anosmic to it); as soon as it develops, it starts to disappear and so I find myself needing to reapply often and use a heavy hand when I do. I'd love to seek out vintage bottles and the pure parfum to compare this reformulation with the original.
Hot is an excellent example of honey without the urine, as honey notes can sometimes start warm and comforting but morph to something disagreeable. Moreover, the cinnamon here is tempered by the floral midnotes (nearly unidentifiable but for the clove-like edges of carnation) and woody, herbal basenotes and avoids being overly sweet.
Due to its age, Hot might remind a few of us of aunts, teachers and co-workers of yesteryear. But it's hard to believe that it launched in the era of Angel and White DiamondsHot seems to reach all the way back into the days of Studio 54 whenOpium ruled the roost with all of its spicy goodness.
Notes: “Top notes are bergamot, aldehydes and green notes; middle notes are carnation, jasmine, tuberose, cinnamon, orris root, rose, lily-of-the-valley, bay leaf and white honey; base notes are musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, virginia cedar, amber, incense and vanille.” Fragrantica
Designer’s Description: N/A
Number of times tested: 10 times over the last 2 months.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 2 sprays to the back of my hand from a 100ml bottle I purchased online (ca. 2015).
Fragrance strength: Cologne
Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): Hot is a curious little beast. At first spray there seems to be so much going on that one would imagine numerous phases of unfolding. However, Hot curiously starts as Coco but ends as Obsession for Men; it is uncanny. The florals open at the start with a nearly there rose (gone in 60 seconds) and a classic clove-tinged carnation powder. I was worried at first that the aldehydic accents might take over along with the carnation but never fear, this lasts but a few minutes as the cinnamon and honey dominate. As the fragrance relaxes, the lower herbal notes of oakmoss and patchouli come out to play while the woods and sweeter oriental notes are a mere stage for Hot's main players to perform on. 
Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) Hot lasts about 2-3 hours on my skin and lingers longer on clothing.
Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) I am constantly wondering where this one disappears to. When I press my hand to my nose I can detect it, but otherwise, after the first hour, Hot is rather meek. I have to reapply constantly  in order to enjoy the scent. At this price, I'll happily be bothered. But note that the scent is rather large upon first spray.
Note about the packaging: Launched along with Nude and Basic BlackHot is presented in the same curved, transparent, glass bottle wth gold ringed top and red plastic sphere cap.The fragrance is housed in a simple, red and gold paper box.
Where can I buy it? A 100ml EDC spray is as low as $10 USD at discount sites.
The Bottom Line: I'm amazed I snobbishly resisted trying these Bill Blass scents for so long. After the iconic designer's passing from throat cancer in 2002, a flurry of fragrant releases launched that I pretty much ignored while the classic 90's color trio of NudeBasic Black, and Hot disappeared from the market. I had encountered the still popular 1978 Bill Blass aroma time and time again at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's and after testing it on my skin decided that I quite liked the bright floral. Read my take on this bargain Bill Blass offering by clicking here.
Having recently learned that the nearly bankrupt brand was back in business, I was excited to see the return of the color trio on discount shelves; had the new Blass regained their fragrance label? Nope. While the fashion house is under new ownership and creative direction, and about to launch a whole new phase of the label in the coming weeks, the licenses for these three are now owned by First American Brands, the folks who brought you such aromatic masterpieces for lines like The Smurfs, Penthouse and Betty Boop. I know, snobbery. They might actually be enjoyable aromas!?
So there I was at TJ Maxx spying Hot and Basic Black for next to nothing - $4.99 US for 50ml sprays. I quickly opened the paper boxes, gave a quick spritz and was shocked to find a cinnamon burst and incense waft, respectively. I'm still wrapping my head around Basic Black as despite reviews by some of Fragrantica's best claiming it to be a powerhouse, I can rarely smell it. When it did register, I didn't at all find the chypre I had worried it might be, rather it came across as a soft incense.
But Hot, wow! I am addicted to this stuff and just can't get enough of it. Truly the lovechild of many other scents I enjoy but dialed way down in overall effect, I greatly appreciate how it starts in one genre and finishes in another; I only wish it lasted longer and offered greater sillage. While the opening impresses with its 80's chype-esque edges, the basenotes comfort with shades of ambery oriental. I was amazed to sniff my hand a few days ago and wonder where the heck the Calvin Klein Obsession  was coming from! 

I'd love to read your thoughts about Hot - was it stronger in the 90's? Ever try the pure parfum version? Is it really strong and my nose is just shut down in response? How do you feel about other Bill Blass scents?

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