Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal has just landed on my desk and I’m excited! My thoughts are racing……. don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what’s inside that counts. Beauty is only skin deep. Great advice for choosing carrots at Sainsburys, but absolute rubbish when choosing a perfume. Technically speaking of course, I’m wrong. After all, Chanel No5 smells exactly the same when sprayed from a sample vial as it does from its iconic flacon. But it just doesn’t feel the same. My own grandmother wore Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu every day for sixty years. The memory of her perfume is not only the scent itself, but entwined with my memory of the black capped eau de toilette bottle that sat on her dressing table, in front of the jar of cotton balls and just to the left of her signature Revlon nail varnish. A beautifully designed object, however frivolous, brings moments of joy and pure pleasure into the most mundane of daily routines. And a bottle of perfume is just that – pure pleasure, completely non-essential to the survival of the human race. It’s only job is to make us happy. It is therefore absolutely correct that we should allow ourselves to be seduced by the bottle on the shelf.
Scandal is a bottle demands to be seen. Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature tin can rendered in blush suede is eye-catching on its own, but wait! There’s more! This one comes out kicking – literally. The silver legs topping off the bottle aren’t exactly subtle, but they raise the slyest of grins. Forget about the slow burn, Scandal’s just here for a good time. Who else is ready to party?
The fragrance itself matches the bottle, which is to say it’s got no hidden agenda. The official notes are honey, blood orange, gardenia and patchouli, although I detect hints of sun-warmed strawberries as well. When I first smelled it on my wrist, I had the overwhelming impression of ambrosial stickiness – honey dripping down the side of a jar, hand-squeezed orange juice running down a wrist and fingers stained bright red with ripe berries. A cool breeze of white gardenia means it’s not a total sugar rush, but it’s too little, too late. Out of interest, I put Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique on one wrist to compare. Next to Scandal, Classique can barely fill its cone bra. The stays on that famous corset make it seem positively prim next to the Wonder Bra and Jessica Rabbit curves of its little sister. I mean no disrespect. These two just have different ideas of a great night out. Is it dinner and drinks, or dancing on the table?
Taken out of context, Scandal is Fine. It’s nice Enough. The perfumer here is Daphne Bugey, creator of Le Labo’s Rose 31 and Mugler’s latest, Aura. It has none of the shock value of the former or shapeshifting eeriness of the latter. Scandal is what it is – pretty, sweet and flirty, take it or leave it. Honestly? I probably wouldn’t buy it for myself, but I’d be delighted to find it beneath the Christmas tree.
You should absolutely ignore the ridiculous marketing campaign, starring some character known only as “Madam Minister”. She is, we are told, a respectable lady by day and a party animal by night. Don’t be fooled. If Scandal were a person, she’d be Karen Smith from Mean Girls – a walking, talking blonde moment. You wouldn’t ask her for help with your chemistry homework, but she’s always great for a laugh. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need. Now get in, loser, we’re going shopping.
Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal is priced £63.50, for a 50 ml from House of Fraser