MITT, now you GIT on down to New Orleans right NOW and take out that MAN!!!!! I MEAN it!!!!!! (Senso, by Ungaro, 1991)












Today I expect there will be a good few Republican vixens despairing across America with something like the facial expressions above. Tearing their teased, well-groomed hair in their master suites at the mere mention of their taxes being increased, their wealth being siphoned off by those hordes, now with health care and no longer dying in the streets, edging ever closer, and blacker, to their white-gated paradises….







The first time I ever smelled Senso, I thought ‘Marietta’. Marietta: screeching, taloned harridan in her Texas satin dress, Lula’s hit-man devouring mother in Wild at Heart – David Lynch’s kaleidoscopic mash up of The Wizard of Oz and the classic road movie that mythologized the beauties and horrors of America,  all captured brilliantly in Diane Ladd’s interpretation of the gorgon, man-chewing  blonde: a matriarch who’d slit your throat at the flick of a switch, yet would be horrified at the mess. Come to think of it, this she wouldn’t do herself but instead would hire one of her ‘gentleman friends’ to do the job. The men love her; this dolly, come-thither old belle with her flaxen, Rapunzelesque hair; an uncurbed, materialistic witch who purses her rouge-caked mouth, smacks her lipsticked lips and immediately gets what she wants.

















You might be wondering what the connection could possibly be between evil ‘Tea Party’ crones, a wicked old witch of the west, and a long discontinued perfume by Ungaro. Well, leaving aside the fact that senso means ‘war’ in Japanese – Marietta Fortune’s war against Sailor (Nicolas Cage), the man who rejects her at some fundraiser in a public toilet – a humiliation that can only end in his death – there is the bottle, which is the most  exquisitely kitsch bottle I own, draped like a real Ungaro dress in the brightest shocking pink and hard enamelled baby blue. So belle of the ball, so…..Reagan.


To me it is a great flacon, and wouldn’t look out of place in Southfork, the poison dwarf weeping uncontrollably at her dresser, impetuously shattering her bottle of Senso against the mirror in some love and dollar-drenched tantrum.



And then you smell it – hit, blown away by the sheer voluptuous sweetness of the thing, a precarious tightrope balancing act of the glorious and the sickening; a perfume that aggregates rich domestic propriety with sex, just like Marietta, in her dream home: crawling, like a writhing, curvaceous beast under that glass coffee table; pursing and cooing and seducing the dumb, witless Johnnie Farragut.


We smell the newly washed carpets; the curtained, pink silken bedroom, the polish on the floor. And, especially, the laundry room, where the maid, off for the day, has left everything as a warm, puffed up refuge.



In Senso there’s a very comforting aura: the powerful sanctity of the washer and dryer –  the blithe reassurance of Downy – but, like Marietta, who ends up drooling, her face caked in blood-red lipstick, also an almost insanely sugared, libidinally ruinous bouquet of hysterical flowers, as though she has just fallen down and, watching her cocktail glass fall slowly to the shimmering tiles, wet herself desperately down among her tumble-dried whites: powderly, dirtily pink.
















Filed under Floriental, Perfume Reviews, Republican

50 responses to “MITT, now you GIT on down to New Orleans right NOW and take out that MAN!!!!! I MEAN it!!!!!! (Senso, by Ungaro, 1991)

  1. Hilarious…and scary (LOL).

  2. I salute you, Chapman! Funny as fook. Spot on. Brilliant, brilliant text & images.

  3. ginzaintherain

    Thank you. I was scrabbling about the house, from the videodrome to the kitchen where the computer is, laughing to myself as I did it. I think you can tell which party I would have voted for…

    Also it amused the idea of a ‘political perfume’ review!
    (Not that it really is; it’s just an excuse for me to watch Wild AT HEART again. Although seriously, this perfume is utterly PERFECT for that character. I really did smell it and think of her. And I think Laurie has a small decant of it, it impressed her that much….)

  4. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:


  5. Happy pride day! Wow, you bring back memories of my giddy relief the day after the election. And being overseas, you were probably spared the Republican primaries. Believe me, there were viler possibilities than Mitt.
    By the way, that flacon is not even in the running for most over-the-top bottle. There is a perfume bottle in the US, by Betsy Johnson I think, that is actually dressed up in a little gown.

    • brie

      Actually Feral the Nikki Manaj bottle takes the cake!

      • Brie, I found a picture of the Nicki Minaj bottle, and you aren’t kidding. Must say that I have never seen its like. Ginza and all, you really must google “Nicki Minaj perfume” and then marvel at the result. I think that it should have an implanted tracking chip, and anyone who buys it should lose their right to vote until they learn better.
        Totally off topic, but I’m soliciting input from anyone familiar with Agent Provocateur’s Maitresse. I got a sample recently when I bought something else, and was surprised that I liked it. No masterwork, certainly, but pleasant, wearable, and adult, and very very affordable. The little that I’ve found in the blogs so far seems negative, and I’m curious whether anyone else has any liking for it. I have a need at times for pleasant, non-startling perfumes that, once the open has calmed down, can be worn in close quarters without bothering others who aren’t into fragrances.

      • We all need those. Sniffed it once at Duty Free and so didn’t get to know it, but it seemed ok (if a little thin?)

        What is it like on you?

      • Thin, certainly. Pretty and pleasant, and after the first 15 minutes, nothing that would bother others in tight quarters such as planes, while giving me something to sniff at occasionally. I think about having scents like that around ever since I traveled next to someone wearing Angel. I dislike Angel a lot anyway,but by the end of the flight I despised it and all the people who wear major sillage of any kind on planes. So I have a tiny collection of light, unremarkable but pleasant “travel scents.”

      • Oh god, Angel (much as I like it) on a plane could be truly nightmarish. My sister has Angel-phobia, and becomes quite angry when the mere name is mentioned: being forced to sit next to someone on a plane with it would be hell. For me it would be something like Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger. I might just open the emergency exits and be done with it

      • Big pony, huge pony, “hey I’m an alpha male, really. Or I consort with an alpha male. Or I went to school with one. Something like that.” The lovely irony is that Ralph Lipschitz is somebody who wouldn’t be truly welcome at a Republican convention. Freud had a term for it: identification with the aggressor.

      • A most interesting observation…

    • Oh yes.. The Minaj Flacon – hilarious. But made all the better for those of us in London by the plastic perfume’s week long launch event in the grand hall of Selfridge’s scent department.
      Oh the tired, hired in promotional staff in their ill fitting pink wigs and their decidedly un-pneumatic bodies. Oh the confused clientele – when odelr Arab gentleman I overheard enquire ‘Is it for men or women or what?’.
      Oh the looks of disdain from the assistants on the Haute Dior counter opposite as they had to contend with La Minaj’s oeuvre pulsating forth from loudspeakers all day long.
      It was in its own way a collision of ‘love parade; and Republican Party Convention I guess…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • I would have LOVED to have been there.
        Where would we all have gone afterwards?

      • I believe it’s the best treatment for an overdose of Minaj!

      • Dandy, I would have bought tickets to that. By the way, what does the stuff smell like? Ginza, that particular solution to strong perfume on planes never occurred to me, so maybe I don’t dislike Angel as much as I thought. But I do have the Angelphobia, and I can’t even explain why. From the very first time I smelled it, I had the irrational cringe that doesn’t identify notes or think of balance but just curls up and whimpers “Please, don’t do this to me.” It defies rational analysis. There are lots of gourmands that I like. But to me Angel feels something like being brought the dessert tray in a restaurant and being told that you must eat the entire tray. Which, I think, is probably what attending a Republican convention would feel like. Actually, if you attend such a convention I’m pretty sure that you’re required to wear Tommy.

      • Surely Ralph Lauren is compulsory at Republican Conventions?

      • We were ogling his huge shop in Tokyo yesterday and thinking exactly the same thing…..his Safari scent is one of the vilest scents of all time.

        As for his ‘Huge Pony’ or whatever they are called….

  6. brie

    The scariest review you have written thus far! And I love it!
    Our favorite L.A. perfume store once sent me a sample of this one and I rather liked it so I went to their website …I could not get past the look of the bottle so I never purchased it despite the fact that it was unbelievably affordable.

      • You are by far the absolute best perfume friend a gal can have!!!!! I just could not get past that bottle….in a sample vial/small decant it would not be so bad.
        And may I say…today was a Diva day…..I am speechless with regard to the absolute gorgeousness (is that even a word???) of it…I literally could not stop sniffing my wrist!!!!!!! People in the supermarket were glancing at me as I was doing so! What do I care? I enjoy being a weirdo when it comes to perfume!

      • Wonderful to hear it! The resemblance to Coco is also interesting ( which I know you also wear). Jacques Polge made Diva, then two years later messed around with it a bit and came up with Coco, and the two have a lot of similarities I think. Coco is brighter and more multifaceted, while Diva has more depth I would say, but lacks the scintillation. I do love it though..

      • brie

        So funny that you should mention that for I was thinking the same thing…the uncanny resemblance to Coco (which I adore). I was sniffing the Coco in Sephora a few weeks ago and it smelled different from what I sniff from my vintage bottle…I assume it has been reformulated?

      • I would imagine so. It was once so ORNATE and BAROQUE….

  7. Lilybelle

    Dear Black Narcissus,

    Eww. I suppose if that’s all I can say then I should say nothing at all, but just…eww ^^^. Also, there are vile types on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, which is why I am an Independent voter: I’ve never been able to embrace either vile side. 😦 –Lilybelle

    • Totally with you ( I am British after all and couldn’t vote for either even if I wanted to), but this monstrous review arose spontaneously on the day after the defeat. I actually had to take a day off work the next day because I had a migraine, which I think came from the extreme relief I felt…and then in the afternoon I found myself scrabbling around the house taking pictures from the tv. It is poisonous, for sure, but I kind of like this review.

  8. Where are my smelling salts? That just knocked me flat out. WOW!

    • It WAS rather hysterical, so I can understand why!

      I can’t usually reach these heights (lows?), but on that day I was besides myself as I just hated Romney so much, and then I saw my Senso in the perfume cabinets and it all boiled up from there…… Nice to see you on here.

  9. Dearest Ginza
    Just absolutely the bees knees. Really a simply sumptuous review…
    “an almost insanely sugared, libidinally ruinous bouquet of hysterical flowers,”… it sounds like Chanel’s Coco on cocaine off for a night on the town with Arpege on amphetamines and a double magnum of demi-sec Lambrini for rocket fuel.
    I’m just glad I don;t have too be there the morning after to pick up the pieces.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  10. Perfect choice for Rainbow Pride day! Great to read this review again – it was spot-on that day, and did indeed express the relief felt by many when that vile man failed in his bid for world domination. Loving all the conversations above. On the subject of Ralph Lauren – I noticed he provided the wardrobe for Mr Allan on Manhattan when watching it the other day (as in Woody).

  11. Maggie M.

    Can you hear me running to my vintage perfume cabinet (the perfume is vintage, the cabinet is an antique secretary) and rifling through stacked bottles to find my tiny flacon of Senso parfum extrait? Brilliant. ps. Mastic tincture is on its way. Ended up mailing from Scottsdale, AZ another likely place where “Marietta” could be found.

  12. elenor

    This review is hilarious and I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the subject wasn’t my beloved Senso. Marietta? Wild at Heart? How on earth? What were you sniffing at? Senso is not loud, shrill or dramatic. It’s subtle, soft and warm, clean and harmonious. The movie that accompanies it in my book is Paris, Texas. Marietta could never be wearing Senso. Jane does. Marietta would wear Poison, the least.
    I was in Highschool when Paris, Texas came out in 1984. I went to see it several times. After graduating, I left my hometown Heidelberg, Germany, to study in Zagreb, a vibrant big city to me at the time. I went out a lot. I had a radio by my bedside and on returning home I would play it on sleep timer every night. The station I was tuned into was called Radio 101, then a creative madhouse run by students. Every night at close-down at 1.30 a.m., they would air Harry Dean Stantons legendary monologue to Nastassia Kinski, his estranged wife, at the Peep Show. I listened to it so many times dozing off at night that it’s now forever rooted in my memory. That was in 1986, 1987.
    Then, in 1987, a perfume ad appeared in magazines, showing Nastassia Kinski holding a sheer glass flacon, draped like fabric, filled with golden liquid, labelled “Senso”.
    Paris-Texas-Jane-indoctrinated as I was, I went to sniff it. Was blown away by it, bought it, used it up, bought it again, again, again, never got tired of it. No other scent has ever come so close to immersing in my sense of self. Then came the 1992 relaunch. The reformulation did not change my feelings nor my consumption of Senso, but that offensive new shrieking pink flacon made me hide it in my closet. I was able to secure supply until some time after the millenium, then ran out until last month, when I had 2 brand new (1992 pink) flacons of EdP shipped to me from the US.
    Oh, joy! It is sweeter than what I’m wearing these days. But what could be sweeter than the reunion with an old best friend? Besides (unobtrusively) sweet, it’s EVERYTHING. Fruity, spicy, warm, tender, slightly powdery, unique. More than anything, it smells of my best self and all those good memories. Obviously unable to objectively judge a scent this close to me, I am neutral enough to state that Kinski was the perfect embodiment of Senso. Not innocent, but pure, sensual, non-agressively sexual, soft, beautiful.
    You’ve got it all wrong with Marietta. Maybe your sample has gone bad. 😉

    That said, I really like your blog.

    • I love this story and seeing the perfume from a different angle. I know what you mean about the innocence of this scent – the laundry aspect (which I mentioned), but to me beneath it all there is something…..wild at heart.

      As for Wim Wenders, I personally prefer Wings of Desire, though I have only seen Paris, Texas once, as a teenager, and would love to see it again. Natassia Kinski is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

  13. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Anita Bryant came to mind, all in orange …. What would her perfume have been? I like your screaming queen images, very shUdderingly. The last ones are definitely Carrieish.
    Paris Texas IS the music for me, that low dark vibrant stream of notes. And Kinski as the golden lioness diva.
    Thanks for the associatons, historical and hysterical

  14. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    It takes a century to build and a year to destroy. In Holland we call these sayings tile wisdom. I digitally despair with you. Becoming very Dame Edna.
    I do miss the Dandy, though, reading his comments. Where can he have flown to in the perfumed universe?

  15. Neil, your post is “perfection”!

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