Two days ago was my birthday and the fragrance I chose to wear that day was "Sharp" by Andrea Maack. It turned out to be a very good choice. As I have two little kids I don't have to much time for pursuing my own interests (perfumes are an exception, thinking about how you smell is one of the few things you actually can do while taking care of small kids). But since it was my birthday I got a few hours to myself in order to bake a decent cake.
The cake I went for had had 2 chocolate cake layers and a filling consisting of vanilla/mascarpone cream and strawberries. I didn't manage to get a photo of itcake before it was gone, but I found a photo of a cake made from the same recipe ("Strawberry Celebration Cake" from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich, highly recommended btw) at the Mad Bakers blog, and this is what it looks like:
Sharp, my scent of the day, started out very much like the cream filling in the middle. Lots of soft, sweet, dreamy vanilla mixed with wild strawberries. The note that I interpret as strawberries is an interesting one. It's milky and a bit artificial, like those strawberry milkshakes that don't contain any real strawberries. It also reminds me of paper. This I find very intriguing, I've never thought of strawberries and paper smelling anything alike before. After a while the strawberries left and there was mostly vanilla left. I also got chocolate at times and that really made me really feel like my cake :)
The official sales texts talk about Sharp being a soft scent with a subtle poison note hiding behind all the lull, hence the name. First I thought this being just nonsense. I can imagine a sales person coming up with something like this in order to make a scent seem more interesting. I could also imagine people, wearing Sharp, going "Ehhh.....ummmm... yes, now I do get a little sharpness..... ehhh....ummmm....very interesting...hmmm", but really not feeling a thing at all. An "The Emperors New Clothes" type of practical joke.
But then, after spending some hours inside a cloud of vanilla, there is this tiny hint of something dirty. All of a sudden I'm getting sawdust left on stable floors to soak up the horses urine. Later during drydown there is sea water and musky sweat. And that paper again, but different now, not as sweet. What happened? This little darling of a scent went from a super sweet vanilla to a salty, dirty one. A birthday cake stumbling upon hard times? Or did she grow up into a pony girl?
All the scents in Andrea Maacks line are interpretations of her artwork. Above is the picture that goes with Sharp. I'm not sure I get the connection, but maybe it's about a facade breaking up and you get to see what is underneath? Or about how life moves in mysterious ways? Or maybe something completely different?
I'm rating Sharp a 4 out of 5. The start is way to sweet for me. I'm fine matching a birthday cake scentwise one day in a year but not more. Great for people who like sweet foody vanillas though. The drydown, however, I love it! I don't have a straightforward relationship with vanilla but with enough dirt and edge mixed in, then we're talking! I'm overall very impressed with both Andrea Maack fragrances I've tried. They are interesting and unique and longlivity is great.