Times Square sets out to capture the cacophony of smells that defined Times Square during the 1990’s, before Giuliani cleaned it all up – the red lipstick of streetwalkers mingling with cigarette smoke, car exhaust, the squeal of tires, street food, neon lights, and the garbagey smell of fruit left to rot on hot pavements. That might sound like a terrifying collection of smells, but Times Square is anything but a freak show. It’s actually kind of freakishly beautiful.
Right off the bat, there’s a childlike sense of pleasure and wonder to be had in the slick of cherry chapstick that dominates the opening accord, complete with its underlying wodge of Turkish delight and strawberry laces liquefying on hot tarmac. Feel your resistance melt even further as the smoky, leathery styrax resin locks onto the tuberose to create a faintly rubbery edge that recalls the squeal of car tires on the street. From there on in, it’s a slow fall from innocence to decrepitude, with an overripe osmanthus note exhaling its last breath like an apricot collapsing in a brown paper bag. The strange mix of innocence and decay is very beguiling, much like Times Square itself in the 90’s, when there was fun still to be had. Times Square will speak directly to anyone nostalgic for the seedy glamor of the bad old good old days.
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