Notes: Grapefruit Zest, Black Pepper, Sage, Atlas Cedar, Patchouli, Ginger Lily, Pistachio, Olibanum, Massoia Wood, Vetiver and Musk
I first met my friend Anna Maria on holiday with Portia in Venice a couple of years ago, then in Paris, and in her home town of Austral, Sydney last July. She very generously gave me a bag of beauty products and jewellery, plus a bottle of her latest fragrant discovery, Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker. Anna Maria said she was really impressed by it and was interested in my thoughts – so here we are.
I had been curious about Stash partly because I like SJP but also because I had heard good things about it when it was released in late 2016. I had also thoroughly enjoyed reading The Perfect Scent in which Chandler Burr charts the development of Sarah Jessica Parker’s first fragrance. What we learn during the book is that while Lovely is the first perfume that was released, she actually wanted what we find in Stash: something decidedly darker.
It couldn’t be much further from the pink ballet slippers of Lovely, coming across as positively niche in character. I had tried Stash on paper once but the difference on skin is considerable. It’s grimy and musky in the best way but wears close, like a greasy leather glove. I was happy to discover that despite the connotation of its name, Stash smells nothing like weed.
I’ve occasionally found grapefruit reminiscent of body odour but here in the opening it’s perfectly pulpy and zesty. Stash‘s heart is cedar of the dense variety found in Tam Dao by Diptyque, but there are also the nutty, milky woods of massoia and a nice base of mineralised vetiver. The incense of olibanum is what marks this fragrance out for me. That spike of burning joss sticks gives it a twist and saves it from smelling like a run-of-the-mill masculine.
The musks make it feel a little oily rather than skanky. It’s attractive in an undone, dirt-smeared kind of way. Stash is much more intimate than I expected and I like the fact it feels slick. If you prefer more throw, you’ll have to lean heavy on the sprayer. Now we’ve reached the depths of autumn, it feels just right for “sweater weather” and ideal for spritzing on a scarf.
While it’s much better than I imagined, I still need to layer something floral over the top to make it suit my style. The incense-flecked orange blossom of Seville a L’Aube by L’Artisan Parfumeur works fantastically well.
It’s pleasing that there is a niche-style perfume like Stash on the high street for a bargain price. It may be unlikely to revive the fortunes of celebrity fragrances but at the very least it offers an alternative to the candy dross that passes for a lot of mainstream output these days.
SJP may have had to wait just over 10 years to launch her dream perfume but I have no doubt she feels it was worth the wait.
Do you admire Stash or do you prefer another SJP fragrance? Are celebrity perfumes really over?
Photo © Alex Buts/Alamy