Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Review: Gucci Bamboo, and what I'm wearing instead

The fragrance I decided to sample this week is probably the most recent release in my embarrassingly huge stash of tiny vials in cardboard folders.

Gucci Bamboo is the first effort of a new person in charge of fragrances at the house of Gucci. It is a combination of bergamot and musk, supposedly both powerful and feminine.

The packaging is nice. No, more than that--to an amateur fashion historian like me, the name and packaging are genius, evoking Gucci's iconic use of bamboo handles on their bags.

It's available as Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, shower gel, lotion, and spray deodorant, which is nice for people who like it.

But let's discuss the contents of the bottle, or in the phraseology of perfume heads, the juice.

 I don't like it. It's both boring and strangely pungent. I spritzed on four spritzes, wrists, neck, and décolletage, and therefore had to live with it for a while. While I didn't run into the shower screaming and scrubbing at it to get it off, I didn't enjoy it.

Now when I'm sampling creams or makeup, I feel a duty to try them more than once, because sometimes the initial circumstances aren't really right, and don't give the product a fair shake. (For example: woe betide anyone who tries to get me to sample a matte liquid lipstick in Chicago in January. That won't go well, she said as she reached for the lip balm. Again.)

So anyway, I usually try to make a product work, at least a little bit. But I'm really picky about fragrances. I don't want to wear inoffensive fragrances; I want to wear fragrances that would make me want to ask myself out on a date. And this Gucci crap had that bland, millennial, unisex, inoffensive air-freshener-cum-Juicy-Fruit aroma that had me pitching it into the wastebasket within minutes of applying it.

Also, while I'm the last person to be able to pinpoint the various notes in a fragrance, there seems to be some confusion as to what we're actually smelling when we sniff Gucci Bamboo. OK, fine, I'm the idiot doesn't know anything about art, but knows what she likes. However, I found it interesting that nobody seems to be able to identify the individual notes in this perfume. Surely somewhere out there there will be a found a Snape to figure out this potion. Meanwhile, accounts differ.

Ulta and says it's

casablanca lily, orange blossom, ylang ylang, sandalwood, vanilla, and grey amber 

whereas Sephora claims it's made of

Italian bergamot, casablanca lily, ylang ylang, and sandalwood.

individual reviewers on Basenotes and Makeupalley describe it as an "aquatic floral" or a musk, and Poppy Buxom describes it as a mixture of

air freshener, plastic trash bag, tongue depressor, and Juicy Fruit gum

The best review I found was this, on

What Chance Eau Tendre is to Chanel.
What Daisy is to Marc Jacobs.
What Light Blue is to Dolce and Gabbana.
That's what Bamboo is to Gucci.

It's perfume for someone who doesn't really like perfume, but WANTS to put perfume on the dresser.

A la Angel of, I salute you. You nailed it, totally and completely.

So this week, instead of Gucci Bamboo, I'm wearing Yves St. Laurent Rive Gauche parfum, from a vintage bottle Mr. Buxom bought me in the 1990s, well before Rive Gauche's 2003 reformulation.
Now that, ladies and gentleman, is a real perfume.

Like Gucci Bamboo, it's supposed to contain bergamot and musk, but what I smell is yum. With maybe some sandalwood? And I love it.


  1. I do not like the Bamboo ..... the bottle was clever but the juice was not. Its "ordinary" and if I was a perfume I would prefer to be "awful" than "ordinary" .... you can pick a lot of scents in the department store that smells like this ..... I will give it a couple of years on the shelves and it will go "Poof!" - gone.

    Now .... as to the Rive Gauche .... you have the original??.... where do you live I want to steal it from you! LOL
    I know its been reformulated but its still rather good ... I must buy a bottle... love those white roses in there!

  2. Yes, I have the original, but if you come and try to steal it, I'll defend myself with squirts of Gucci Bamboo! You have been warned.

    I know what you mean about the roses in Rive Gauche.

  3. I had an old bottle of Rive Gauche that I threw away! I didn't know. I started wearing Paris and...well, I just threw that old bottle away too. I loved Rive Gauche and to me it smelled like cinnamon toast.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.