Do you remember 1986? OK, do you remember what it smelled like? I do, because as soon as Sung for women hit the market everyone from teenagers to pensioners moved about in vast clouds of it. Some perfumes encourage generous application-Sung is not one of them. Carefully applied it can be pleasant-but beware! This is not a perfume for dousing, even if it is as cheap as water.
By 1986, I was settled with wearing Mitsouko and Shalimar exclusively. I mean, you find what works for you, why mess with perfection? That sort of thinking in 1986 made sense too- people had their, "Signature" perfume that they wore most days. Sung never appealed to me, and if I'm honest, I probably had a bit of a bias towards Canadian perfume. I know better now, but my younger self was...younger.
I'm not going to lie-Sung still smells like a cheap perfume to me. That isn't always a bad thing, and heaven knows I can enjoy a bottle of Emeraude or Sophia as much as anything on the high end. It has to be the hyacinths ruining Sung for me. I like just about everything else in it (oakmoss, vetiver, bergamot) so I'm blaming the one note that seems to dominate Sung from start to finish, and makes me think it is being used to hide something-the stench of a dead body, perhaps.
I never did smell the oakmoss or vetiver, and had only the briefest whiff of the bergamot. Lily of the valley is there, which I typically like but here it isn't fresh so much as sterile. It smells freshly cleaned. Scoured, even. Maybe the lily of the valley knows where the body's hidden.
I found the body! It's the orchids and musk. I knew it. Someone ring Angela Lansbury, this perfume has Murder She Wrote all over it. It smells like something a middle class woman from Maine would wear. With loafers, and a nice polo neck.
I must note that Sung for women smells exactly as I remember it on other people (I shared a small office with someone that wore it) which is interesting as I often can't trust my scent memories. I can't vouch for the newer formulations (I'd guess the oakmoss is either gone or replaced with something inferior) but this old bottle of the original formulation is as monstrously floral as I remember. It aged well, though when I first opened it I thought something was very wrong. It does take a few moments to burn off the chemical/nail polish smell, but after that it is good, old, Sung. If you loved it, it will still love you back.
I seem to be on a quest to prove I really don't like this sort of thing. Last week, it was Bill Blass, this morning it was Eau de Givenchy. Why not buy a big bottle of Anais Anais and get it the hell over with? I understand what people see in Sung, and why they enjoy wearing it. Me? No. It took willpower to keep from scrubbing it off in the first five minutes (and every hour after that because Sung lacks nothing in longevity).
OK, so here's the official list though all you really need to know is, Hyacinths and lily of the valley.
Orange, mandarin, galbanum, HYACINTHS, ylang ylang, bergamot, lemon, osmanthus, jasmine, lily of the valley, iris, carnation, orchid, rose, amber, sandalwood, orange blossom, musk, vetiver, oakmoss, vanilla, HYACINTHS, HYACINTHS, and HYACINTHS. You get the idea. Near the end it does get sweeter (the amber, perhaps?) but basically this is a bright fragrance.
The strange thing about Sung is that everyone around me likes it. Not just generally, but on me. It makes sense because we all have an idea of what we think we smell like, naturally and with fragrance. I know that when I select a fragrance to wear it is much more than how it smells driving my decisions. Someone smelling a fragrance on another person is relieved of all that intellectual wrangling and can just approach it from, "You smell good."
Is Sung a bad perfume? No, in fact for the money it is a really good perfume, it just doesn't happen to be my style. If you like heavy-hitting white florals, Sung might be the best ten bucks you can spend at Marshalls.