DKNY Be Delicious (Donna Karan)

It's hard to hear the name of this fragrance and not think of Scarlett Johansson, at least for this red-blooded American male blogger. To my female readers, I apologize, but I've been an admirer of my country's cutest and least-talented actress for some time now. She embodies the fantastical notion of anyone literally being delicious. The dilemma for Donna Karan is that she would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that any perfume, no matter how wonderful, could add anything to someone who looks like Scar Jo. The argument is plausible because if Scar Jo smelled like sweaty b.o. on the red carpet, even with her hair and makeup undone, she'd still be the hottest person within a three-thousand mile radius, or to wherever Emmanuelle Béart is standing.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me address DKNY Be Delicious, the name of which plays on two themes: cutesy-pie sex appeal, and Golden Delicious apples. Hard to connect the two, isn't it? What, exactly, makes smelling like apples sexy? Is it sexy? Is it carnally "delicious", or just attractive and pleasant? The postmodernist, Frank Gehry-esque bottle suggests that apple is indeed the core focus of the fragrance pyramid, and it does not disappoint. One spritz, and presto! We've got apples. Barrels and barrels of sweet, acidic, somewhat-green apples. Well that, and aldehydes, along with watery floral notes in the manner of Ivoire, Pleasures, Tommy Girl, and Cool Water. There's magnolia, freesia, jasmine, and white musk, all woven into a snow-blinded gauze of floral freshness, and tied together by an unbreakable strap of sweet apple.

When it comes to this sort of fragrance, I'm usually turned-off by its "samey" and somewhat linear characteristics. Smelling Be Delicious makes me think of all the aforementioned perfumes, and also Ralph, which is equally pomaceous. As Be Delicious' apple note gets sweeter and breezier, I start to think of apple Jolly Ranchers, and that's never a good thing. If I want musky fruit, I'll try to stay on the "mens" side of the aisle, and reach for Pinaud's much-maligned Lime Sec (review pending). It's a toughie for guys to wear something like this (apple is a unisex note), because its combination of sweetness, fluorescent florals, and girlish packaging feels like an ensemble of pure crass. For straight-up manly crassness, it doesn't take much (again, Pinaud Lime Sec), and spending $25 is completely unnecessary. There's also the fact that Be Delicious is a baldly cheap formula, which is fine, except that it follows in the steps of Tommy Girl as being an apple-floral that only works as long as the girl wearing it actually benefits from it.

If you're a naturally beautiful woman between the ages of twenty-one and forty, and you were offered modeling gigs as a teenager, Be Delicious is automatically wrong for you - it really is just plain cutesy, and aims to complement plucky, freckle-faced girls, and make them more desirable to men who drive Audis and buy their luggage from Victorinox. Beautiful women don't need fragrances like this. On their skin, the candied apple-floral-musk effect is best if done expensively, or not at all - perhaps a total departure into the land of languid, Shalimar-inspired orientals is more fitting. Now I don't mean to stereotype or pigeonhole fragrances as being specifically for small subsets of people, especially women, but it's a precarious order of business with a fragrance like Be Delicious, because by nature it is stunning on only the right women, and downright sad on the wrong ones.

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