In some ways, I long for that blissful Eden of perfume ignorance again! Before I read perfume books, perfume blogs; before knew I could get free samples or purchase decants; and before I'd go perfume sniffing with an idea of what I wanted to try (and more importantly, with an arsenal of info on why I should try it), it was just my nose and my limbic system that made decisions.
The ultimate imprimatur? The wallet pulled out for a full-bottle purchase. ("Wait, really?" the contemporary perfumista asks. "Without first swapping with someone on Facebook or MakeupAlley? Or buying a decant on SurrenderToChance? Or checking to see if it was deep-discounted on eBay, Fragrance.net or Amazon?") Yes, dear reader, really. Kind of like how in the olden days, people just sniffed around each other at dances and mixers, deciding someone was The One from their sweat or the way they stood or cocked their head or smiled, instead of choosing people by looking at a static picture of them on OK Cupid or Tinder.
But I digress.
I was recently organizing my perfume (i.e., cramming things into various plastic boxes), when I came across a small bottle I've kept with me through various moves across the country. Over the years I'd sniff this curious little gold-capped thing, feel comforted by it and besotted with it, then confused about whether or not I "should" like it, become overwhelmed by too many conflicting feelings, and move on. Back to the plastic box for you, MV2.
But for some reason, I decided recently to pull it out and spray it on. Umm… wow. It is ridiculously sexy. Spicy. Dirty. Wrong. I realize now that although I'd say to myself, "mother's milk," every time I sprayed it, what kept me from fully embracing it back in the day it was all the confusing dirty elements: Its muskiness, booziness, how amplified the vanilla and piquant notes were. MV2 is almost oppressive.
What's been the same over the years is what overwhelmingly pulls me in every time: MAC Creations' MV2's milky quality.
It is not subtly milky or lactonic. It's a disturbing, unwholesome milky. It’s amped up, boozy and spicy. (This milky vanilla bomb is loaded with black pepper, and maybe even ginger.) It also has lemon, lavender and heliotrope (that note with a marzipan-like almondy chewiness to it), and all of that adds to its intensity. MV2 is effing amazing, you guys. It's mother's milk in a bottle, if the lactating woman sat around drinking a very fancy, aged, caramelized smooth vanillic bourbon while swallowing tablespoons-full of ground pepper and sucking on ginger candies.
PennyPencil on Makeup Alley provides a most evocative description from her boyfriend: "It's biscuits and butter up a civet tree," she tells us. "I have told him," she writes, that "civet comes from a civet cat, or made synthetically in a lab, but his inaccuracy tickles him. What he means though, is the fragrance has some skank about it. Something sexy and animalic. Sexy biscuits you might say. I think this fragrance appeals to me because of its skin-scent nature. It's milky and intimate. Quite pervy really. I'm picky about gourmands - they need something unique or mysterious about them. I think it's the lavender creme that gives it the unique spin."
Sexy biscuits? Yes, please.
I actually don’t smell civet in MV2 (doesn’t mean it’s not there). I do wonder if PennyPencil is just trying to figure out what gives MV2 its skanky quality, its disquieting eros, and she figured, "Might as well blame civet!" After all, outside of fetishist circles, we don't often think of milk as dirty or sexy. And that's exactly what MV2 does: it eroticizes milk. (Blood Concept Red MA does it, too: "A subtle game of blood and milk.")
As MV2 dries down, lemon, lavender, black pepper, booze, and vanilla, and (most likely) ginger, harmoniously spoon in an orgy of sumptuousness.
In a way, MV2 provides a few perfume lessons. We aren’t always consciously sympatico with the perfume choices our gut, our limbic system, or our Unconscious responds to. Lucy Raubertas of IndiePerfumes recently said on Facebook that she loved Carnal Flower by Frédéric Malle, but she wasn’t really sure if it was suited her. That’s another reason I’m wary of the whole “signature scent” thing. Maybe the mark of a signature scent is that it’s precisely the thing you should NOT wear, because you love it so much…
MAC Creations MV2 is going for almost $400 on eBay. So here's the other perfume lesson: Beautiful perfumes, like shooting stars, don’t always stick around. So if you love something — whether it’s from a high-end or a low-end brand — grab it now, and ask questions later.
I read somewhere (a rumor?) that Musc Ravageur's perfumer Maurice Roucel might have been the nose for MV2. (I would totally believe that.) A Symrise rep told me, however, that it was not listed as his fragrance. A subsequent MAC vanilla fragrance is officially his, though. Very interesting. If he didn't create this, who did?? Maybe someone from MAC will tell me...
According to Temptalia, these were MAC's 3 perfumes and their descriptions:
Light, clean, fresh and girly. A frolicky fusion of bergamot, lilies, white jasmine, vanilla, milk cream musk and sandalwood create a flirty, feminine green fragrance.
Cool, calm, and classic. Vanilla teased with lemon, melted with lavender creme, and then given a warming shot of vanilla bourbon mixed with vanilla mousse and heliotrope.
A deep dark velvety blend of bergamot, jasmine, vetiver, vanilla, whipped with leather, sparked up by amber crystals and tolu balsam wood. Exotically earthy, rich and ritualistic, totally addictive.