There are some people out there who think that Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho is superior to Hitchcock's original. Even though they fully understand that the newer version is pretty much a shot-by-shot reconstruction, they insist it brings something better to the story. As someone who spent several years immersed in the world of film studies - and therefore knows that there are all sorts of clever ways of rationalising personal preferences - my response to that is: "Fair enough... but I'm sticking with Hitch."
A similar problem is raised by the three perfumes released by Icelandic artist, Andrea Maack. I'm willing to skirt around the issue that they were originally designed not to be worn, but to scent the air at an art installation, or, as Maack would have us believe, to become an integral, olfactory component of an art installation. After all, there have been other times in the past when perfumes have been relocated from their original contexts, occasionally with great success. What I'm less willing to do is ignore the fact that they're derivative.
After a brief candle-smoke opening, Smart enters woody, rubbery, spicy territory that immediately evokes Annick Ménardo's Bulgari Black, minus the depth and complexity. Craft is essentially the smell of Badedas soap: a refreshing chestnuts-and-pine combo which, unless I'm mistaken, is achieved predominantly by bornyl acetate. And Sharp basically conveys the same sweet/fuzzy, citrus/musky oddness to be found in ELDO's Divin'Enfant.
Of the three, the one that's least like its 'original' is probably Sharp, in the sense that it doesn't feature all the layers to be found in ELDO's creation. It comes across like little more than one-third of its progenitor, stripping away Divin'Enfant's sugary floral aspect to leave the weirdness reminiscent of the synthetically scented erasers collected by thousands of primary school kids in the early 80s. But Craft is perhaps the most enjoyable, because I'm pretty sure it marks the first time that the heavenly aroma of Badedas has been bottled as a wearable perfume. And if you were to buy it, just think how little you'd have to spend on a matching shower gel!
It goes without saying that there are countless perfumes I have never tried. You can't keep up with everything, right? This means that there will inevitably be occasions in the future when a fragrance that's a copy of an earlier release will seem original to me. Indeed, if it hadn't been for @archmemory, one of my Twitter followers, I wouldn't have seen the link between Sharp and ELDO. So I'll leave you with this little conundrum:
i) The Coen Brothers' latest film is a remake of True Grit.
ii) I haven't seen the original, which is, by most accounts, a masterpiece.
iii) I found the Coens' version quite wonderful.
Does this mean I'm being too hard on Gus and Andrea?
[Review based on samples of eau de parfum obtained in 2011; fragrances tested on skin.]