I wrote almost two years ago about Stash Unspoken, the first flanker to 2016’s Stash SJP, by Sarah Jessica Parker, but I realized I hadn’t yet devoted a post to the original, so here it is! And I have a good reason for writing about it now, because Portia solved a problem I had been having — what to do with that bottle of “elixir oil” that came in the gift set? Undina had the same issue when she wrote about Stash back in 2017. In response to a comment somewhere, Portia suggested using a few drops of the oil in one’s bath. Eureka! I exclaimed, like Archimedes, that’s the answer!
I use bath oil more regularly now, because my skin has become so dry, especially in the winter when the house is heated. Most of the time, I use an unscented oil like Neutrogena’s sesame body oil; I just squirt some in the bath water. After Portia’s comment, I’ve added less than a dropperful of the Stash elixir oil, and it is wonderful — it scents the whole bathroom. Sillage is not a problem with this fragrance — it carries quite a way.
As I’ve written before, I developed a strange liking for the original Stash SJP when it came out — strange, because it really is not my usual vibe. I didn’t like it much when I first tried it in store, but I sprayed some on a paper slip on a later visit to Ulta, and took that home. Lo and behold, every time I found myself sniffing the air, thinking “what is that alluring scent?”, it was the slip with Stash on it. And this went on for a week! At the end of that week, I caved and went and bought one of the gift sets Ulta had on sale.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s website describes Stash as having “notes of fresh grapefruit, black pepper and aromatic sage. Its heart notes include Atlas cedar, patchouli, ginger lily and pistachios, laid on the warm woody base of olibanum, massoia wood, vetiver and musk.” I’m usually drawn to floral fragrances, but Stash has only one floral in the whole pyramid: ginger lily. That is a beautiful and fragrant flower, and I do pick up on it a bit, but it is not a dominant note at all. I think it lends Stash an indolic, slightly narcotic air — just a soupcon, but enough to make Stash more than a woody/spicy scent.
In descriptions of massoia, it is said to be a milky wood note, and I agree. In Stash, the massoia adds a creamy smoothness to the earthier notes of patchouli and vetiver. I’m not a big fan of patchouli, and that note is probably why I initially resisted Stash, although I didn’t know what the notes were at the time. I don’t dislike it, though, and it works really well in Stash, even to my nose. Stash is a very woody, aromatic scent, with the massoia wood and cedar playing leading roles. I find that the pepper, patchouli, vetiver, olibanum, and musk are also strong presences. “Warm” and “woody” are apt descriptors, because one does get a real sense of warmth — which makes it ideal to add to a hot bath while soaking.
Stash is truly a unisex fragrance; it smells great on women and I think it would smell just as great on a man. I recommend applying it with a light hand, as it carries for quite a distance and has excellent staying power. Many commenters have noted before me that Stash can hold its own with many a niche fragrance that costs many times more. I hardly have any celebrity scents, and I never watched Sarah Jessica Parker’s TV hit series “Sex and the City”. I did, however, read Chandler Burr’s book The Perfect Scent, which followed in parallel the development of Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermes, and Ms. Parker’s work with Coty to develop her first scent, Lovely. So I was aware of how seriously she takes her fragrances, and of the thought processes she shared with Mr. Burr.
I’m used to thinking of Stash as a “bargain beauty”, and it certainly was when I bought it at Ulta (and later found another gift set for even less at a discount store). However, it isn’t nearly as much of a bargain as it used to be. If you can’t find it at a reasonable discount, I do recommend buying it from the brand’s own website, though, where you can still find 100 ml of the EDP for $85 instead of the ridiculous prices I’ve seen elsewhere online.
Have you tried Stash SJP or any of its flankers? Do you recommend any other celebrity fragrances? Some of you know I’m very partial to Adam Levine For Her, which is still a bargain beauty.