Sarah Jessica Parker's 2016 Stash is a blow to the solar plexus with a plank of cedar, a KO punch of Patchouli followed by some blunt force trauma in the form of vetiver, musk and incense. Like a battalion of Gurkhas, this takes no prisoners but what a way to go! Although there is grapefruit in the top notes, it is so quickly overcome by the dry black pepper and sage that it might as well not even have been there. This is all about a cedar so strong and realistic that you could put it in a pencil sharpener and write reams with it. Bolstered by a slightly dirty Patchouli and underpinned with more wood, incense, musk and dry vetiver, this seems snarlingly masculine to me and yet it was launched as a feminine fragrance. For a mainstream celebrity scent, Stash Eau de Parfum has astonishing performance and also comes in an intriguing hair oil format–almost like an extrait de parfum–which makes one of the best beard oils out there–one drop will do you. Despite the violent terms used earlier, the dry down is really soft–although tenacious–and sensual. Stash is a fiercely manly and funkily sexy scent probably best worn with jeans and a sweater although I like this with a tailored suit and tie; it is so far from being dandyish that you could wear this with a bloody ascot and still be the most macho man in the place. I would love to smell this on a woman–with its gender bending quality, it would have suited a young Bianca Jagger, the yin to Mick's Yang.
Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker (2016) is a huge glimmer of hope that inventive, unique perfume is not dead in the mid-tier realms, and the initial divided response to this was proof positive. Sarah Jessica Parker had been mostly a typical celebrity brand aimed at female fans of the actress, like so many celebrity perfumes released by larger corporations (in this case Coty) throughout the decades. For SJP, this meant fruitchoulis, fleeting floral nothings, and fruity florals, and the rare women's fougère in the form of Covet (2007), which may have been the first sign something unusual bubbled underneath the otherwise-typical perfume tastes of the actress. With Stash, she throws caution to the wind and seeks to create a niche-like woody aromatic focused on resinous notes overlaid with citrus. The result of this full-on aromatic experimentation is something very akin to Collection 34: 34 Boulevard Saint Germain by Diptyque (2011), which may have been part of the inspiration for Stash, as the scent literally feels like a "stash" of aromatic oils uncovered from an attic blended together in a found bottle with a piece of tape to mark it. The original marketing for this was feminine, but due to community reaction, this has long since been rebranded as unisex by Sarah Jessica Parker herself. Now if only Antonio Banderas or Katy Perry jumped on this train, we might actually be able to salvage the "celebuscent" segment before it totally collapses on itself under the weight of its own collective over-marketed and under-developed mediocrity (as sales figures show it has been).
The opening of Stash is extremely heavy on black pepper, grapefruit, sage, and pine. The pine here isn't the dry piquant kind found in older stuff like Pino Silvestre (1955) or Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet (1902), but rather is a very sticky sappy pine like you're shoving your nose into a tree. It's a bit shocking to my nose at first, but soon a more-moderated cedar note joins the fray to mull the top with a heart also consisting of patchouli and ginger. I don't get the pistachio as listed by the perfumer, but just wooden floors of an old head shop thanks to the sharp top and aromatic heart of Stash. This is a wonder cold weather treat from fall to early spring even before the final glow of the base hits, which itself is a grassy vetiver that gives me impressions of Terre d'Hermès (2006) mixed with musk, olibanum from frankincense, and a lactone derived from massoia which gives the finish a tiny drop of coconut and fig vibe. This is obviously nowhere near the level of something intentionally containing fig like Diptyque Philosykos (1996), but it is there right at the very end of the wear. You'll definitely smell like a cross between a hippie and hiker with Stash, and my only complaint is low longevity for an eau de parfum at just around 7 hours before reapplication. Considering the price this can be had for, I'll refrain from deducting much from my final analysis of it. I'd suggest weekends or casual gatherings for SJP Stash, as it feels too bohemian for office or romantic use, and definitely too backwoods for a nightclub. The best part about
Folks of any gender can get behind the old-school aromatic goodness of SJP Stash, but I feel this will appeal more to folks of a masculine persuasion considering there isn't a lick of florals to be found anywhere in Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker. There is nothing particularly feminine in the way Laurent le Guernec and Max Gavarry combine resinous base notes with citrus and vetiver, nor in the zesty, peppery top and olibanum incense glow. I could however, be extremely wrong when the chips fall, so I encourage everyone regardless of what I write to give Stash a sniff, especially if they appreciate the forests of the pacific northwest, or like old wooden storefronts, head shops, or anything of a counterculture nature in general. Apparently Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker had a bit of eBay flipper fever when it was briefly out of stock at the parent company (but not officially discontinued), so if you decide to avoid buying it at full retail price from SJP herself or at Ulta (which has exclusive retail distribution on it), don't let yourself get fooled with listings of "rare and discontinued". Certain sizes or combo gift sets might be technically discontinued, but as of this writing, the fragrance itself is not, but I'll come back and edit the review should that change. Overall, this is a great niche-like non-niche scent, and amazing considering it's coming from a celebrity brand, so with a little performance misgivings aside, I otherwise can't help but give Stash two huge thumbs up. Very well done indeed, just don't expect this to land you any sex in the city!