Feminine, masculine. Floral, leather. Sweet, bitter. Rich, dry. Light, intense. It's hard to believe Jil Sander Woman 2 came out in the 80s, the decade that brought us "Perfume With Shoulder Pads" (TM by Ashleigh from ScentRebel), i.e. scent bombs I love like Poison and Loulou.
Jil Sander Woman 2 is a stunning, enigmatic floral-chypre animalic perfume that comes closest to Piguet's iconic Bandit than any modern-ish perfume I've come across so far. If you've been curious about the oft-cited Germaine Cellier butch beauty but can't get your hands on the original, forego the one-dimensional reformulation and get Jil Sander Woman 2 instead.
Top notes: Aldehydes, fruit note, neroli, green note, bergamot
Heart notes: Tuberose, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, orris, orchid, carnation
Base notes: Amber, cedarwood, castoreum, patchouli, civet, sandalwood, olibanum, benzoin, moss
JS Woman 2 opens with a burst of juicy-sweet green fruit and bergamot reminiscent of Miss Balmain's mouth-watering intro. (And Sikkim, Aramis and Azurée's.) It's one of my favorite accords because it's the prelude to a base that would seem its opposite: leathery, woody, bitter, dry, austere. The combo is just impossibly chic.
The mirage of juicy fruit and lush florals in the top and heart notes ushers us in to the Mojave desert that is Woman 2's base. The true character of Woman 2, to me, is in the gorgeous base that provides an animalic, caramel-tinged warmth/creaminess from castoreum, amber and benzoin; incense, spice and dryness from olibanum (frankincense), sandalwood, moss and patchouli; and the stinky lurker who adds a flicker of drama, civet.
Woman 2 may have a touch of IBQ (isobutyl quinoline).* IBQ is a love-it-or-hate-it arochemical Cellier so famously overdosed Bandit with. It creates a rubbery-tobacco ash-and-leather scent that sent some scared Bandit sniffers running for the hills. I'm sniffing my wrists now and get IBQ plus patchouli, sandalwood, moss and incense combined with the faintness of the green fruit/floral top and heart. This stage — about an hour into it? — is beyond sexy, if you love that kind of stuff.
If you haven't noticed, I highly recommend Jil Sander Woman 2. A Huffer for sure.
* Here's IFF's description of Iso Butyl Quinoline: "Herbal, Animal, Green. Intense, earthy, rooty, nutty odor. Character resembles certain facets of oakmoss and vetivert and blends very well with them. Also ambery, woody, tobacco-like and leathery."
I love random finds like this one. I was just sniffing around my Haarmann & Reimer Duftatlas in the Floral-Chypre Animalic section (the wrong side of the tracks in the City of Perfume) and read the notes breakdown for Jil Sander Woman 2. They sounded too good to pass up. I loved the idea that something amazing could reside in a boring bottle, in a boring box, with a ridiculously boring and non-descript name. (Jil Sander Woman 2 sounds like the title of an abstract painting.)
Jil Sander is known for her minimalist fashions, separates in black, white and cream that can be mixed and matched and worn in Berlin to your gallery job as an art dealer who traffics in similarly stripped-down art. (So minimalist is Jill, she got rid of a superfluous "L" in her name! Just kidding.) Her perfumes smell anything but minimalist, but they withhold the fruit, sweetness and nuclear sillage of other 80s scents. In any case, I'm going to try to get my hands on as many as I can. There's Pure Woman. Woman 3. Woman 4, etc. So stay tuned.