Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lancome Hypnose Senses: fragrance review

There comes a time when something pleasant is mercilessly called out for what it is: a derivative! This is one such time and I have no regrets for calling a spade a spade. The newest Hypnôse Senses by Lancôme is a perfectly all right fragrance in every respect: From the dusty pink tones of the advertising images fronted by Daria Werbowy, to the actual juice, which smells lighter and pleasantly woodier than the standard sugary Hypnôse of 2005 to which it is a flanker. But what possessed them to replicate the formula of Coco Mademoiselle, one of Chanel's greatest best-sellers? Probably that last bit...

It was during my lazy strolling through Sephora the other day aiming for a tube of Yves Saint Laurent's exquisite mascara Faux Cils in some shade other than black (was hoping to locate Prune which is subtler than black, but more interesting than brown) that I literally bumbed into the new displays of the just-launched fragrance, up on a pedestral for casual shoppers to spritz and (hopefully) buy. My suprise must have been evident on my face as a young sales assistrant accosted me thinking I was inspired into a purchase. Sadly for her, no... It was the surprise of déjà vu!

The official blurb talks about "sensorial femininity", "a perfume with a playful sensuality, a hymn to the lightness of being" which would produce a ‘second skin’ feel, thanks to a spare and luminous interpretation of the chypre accord; a message that is well communicated through the visual cues given, both in the flesh-coloured liquid within the diaphanous bottle reprising the classic design of Magie, as well as the soft-focus advertising images; something tells me that the chromatic choice was primarily focused on an already mapped out advertising that would be anchored in "nude" colours. After all Hypnôse Senses just debuted and if the make-up and fashions directions for the hot summer are anything to go by, then this could be the only explanation. The structure is of chypre floral (register this as a "nouveau chypre", click the link for more information, which usually means a floral woody in fact with patchouli and/or vetiver base), composed by perfumers Christine Nagel, Ursula Wandel and Nathalie Feisthauer.

Hypnôse Senses opens on a richly citrusy and fruity note which immediately takes sweeter and powdery hues thanks to the swift repurcusions of vanillic and coumarinic balsams from the echoeing bottom (benzoin and tonka)with what I perceive as a hint of blond tobacco. The chord throughout is competently made with the usual feel of modern chypres, a perfumey composition that has a vague earthiness beneath the floral accents, like the reminder of warm clothes taken off at the end of the day; a honeyed silkiness over more austere elements. Like I said, it's well made, no doubt, but since Coco Mademoiselle is already successfully positioned and with no fear of discontinuation, what's the point besides repetition for repetition's sake?Lancôme have some older treasures in their hands, such as the fabulastically and most elegantly named Kypre, they could have exploited them. My sympathies to the renowned perfumers...

Notes for Lancôme Hypnôse Senses :
mandarin orange, pink pepper, osmanthus blossom, rose, honey, patchouli, cistus labdanum/rockrose, benzoin and tonka bean

Hypnôse Senses is available in 30, 50 and 75 ml bottles of Eau de Parfum in major department stores.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Lancome scents news & reviews, Chypre series

Pic via, Painting Deja vuBy Ramaz Razmadze via


  1. Alexandra13:29

    It is quite obvious that some top brands have a huge problem with finding new ideas. Recent Idylle issue, YSL Parisienne (Flowerbomb meets Paris flacon + Brit Kate as *Parisienne*), this...

  2. I am going to to smell this still if only to review the osmanthus part of it, but buying it, hah! I am so sick of the fragrance copying and I am also sick of the fact when something new is tried it gets the most ridiculous price tag most of the time. Call me bitter.

  3. Alexandra,

    there's certainly a tsunami of new releases, so I am certain that not much originality is even statistically possible. Yet when something is so obvious it's more than a little disappointing...even when the juice is nice in itself.

  4. Jenn,

    it's rather infuriating, isn't it? I think you might like it, but I am certain you will pick the similarities right away.

  5. Thanks for review, Helg.
    Indeed it's a lovely fragrance. I don't remember Coco Madmoiselle and don't have a sample right now to compare, but will do it ASAP. What I do like in this fragrance is a drunk patchouli note topped with honeyed plum-like rose. A combination I recognize in Rose Barbare, L'Arte and Coromandel (or with much more distinguished contrast in Voleur de Rose). Probably it's even an evolution of Knowing (The Rosy Chypre) :o) What I don't like there is a bubble gum note coming in between (may be on my skin only) - it's tasty, but does it belong to a perfume? Is there a new interpretation on Rosy Chyopre nouveau possible that is not a clone of known perfumes? I guess Andy has given us an answer with his Rose Chyprée.

  6. It's me again, Helg after comparing Hypnose Senses and Coco Madmoiselle. First I thought there were more patchouli and less toffee in Chanel. Plus Hypnose Senses had a different kind of rose - more sharp and very plumy (that makes the patchouli drunk to me). But there came a stadium when those two fragrances started smelling almost exactly the same...

  7. I love this fragrance. It reminds me a lot of COCO Mademoiselle. It smells like Christmas according to my hubby :)

  8. Max, extremely late most probably, but thanks for your commentary and going to all the trouble of comparing side by side.
    It is as you say: a slight twist on the top, then they dry down to the same thing. I kinda think this isn't accidental.
    Chypre roses have been done and done, I agree with you that there is not much leeway left and Andy filled that admirably.

  9. Kasia,

    missed the Xmas part myself, but glad you find the connection with CMlle as well.

  10. While I find both Coco Mad and Hypnose Senses boring nd utterly unfeminine, I have long fallen head over hills for the regular Hypnose, which I think qualifies for the most delicious passionflower-vanilla-white floral combo. I love it that much that so far I have used at least 4 bottles. I could never understand why some consider it sweet, it is nothing of the sort, at least not for my taste/nose.

  11. Thank you Michaela,

    noting down to retry Hypnose. I don't think I gave it much leeway when I tried it at its launch. But you make me reconsider.



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