Suzanne's Perfume Journal

July 4, 2008:

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It takes me forever to get around to smelling samples—I’ll admit I’m not a dedicated perfumista in that regard.  I’d rather take a week with a new perfume, study it from every angle and at various times of the day, like an impressionist painter; psychoanalyze it like Freud, determining what associations to my life I can draw to it; and follow those associations down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland.  And most of the time, I would prefer to jump through those analytical hoops with the perfumes already in my collection, because I feel I don’t have time enough to spend with each of those lovelies as it is.  This might sound crazy to the perfume newbie, but it’s true: once you start collecting a good many fragrances, you’ll find yourself feeling a bit guilty towards that part of your collection you’re neglecting simply because there are not enough days in the month to give them equal face-time. 

There is the additional problem that, for every sample of something wonderful I receive, there are the samples I can almost predict will be truly awful, even before opening them.  I’m not referring to the niche-fragrance samples that come from Lucky Scent or Aedes, but rather the mainstream-fragrance samples that are included with purchases from some of the online discounters or department stores.  And I don’t mean to sound so cranky, because I do love the perfume discounters (where else would I find the original Donna Karan Black Cashmere these days?) and I do love the fact that they appreciate my business enough to include samples. I suppose I’m just cranky with myself for not having had the common sense to throw away or swap away my ginormous sample of Sun Moon Stars.  Especially when I already know it’s a mass-market fragrance formulated by perfumer Sophia Grosjman, who, talented and lovely as she is, with legions of perfume fans who will no doubt hate me after this post, creates perfumes that are polar opposite my tastes.  (My idea of perfume hell is to be stuck in an elevator with someone wearing Lancôme Trésor, which has to be Ms. Grosjman’s best-selling perfume ever, because I have smelled it in every single office building I’ve ever worked in.  Ditto for many of her other mainstream scents. On the other hand, I do very much enjoy the fragrance 100% Love {More} which she created for the über-niche S-Perfume label.) 

Sun Moon Stars was launched in 1994 for parfums Karl Lagerfeld, but is now discontinued.  A floral-oriental, it has top notes of freesia, water lily and rose; heart notes of heliotrope, jasmine, orange blossom and narcissus; and base notes of sandalwood, amber and musk.  If I had to describe it in one sentence, I’d say it reminds me of Jean Patou Joy perfume combined with a heavy dose of either Final Net hairspray or DEET bug spray.  In other words, the aroma of heavy florals mixed with something that is decidedly chemical or synthetic smelling.  For me, the only association I can make between the fragrance and its name is that it does have a very inky smell that could represent the night sky, but it’s a sky devoid of any heavenly constellations.  I waited for the heliotrope, jasmine, and orange flower notes to appear out of the black and add a twinkle of their normal warmth and sweetness, but alas, the black hole swallowed and rendered them practically unrecognizable.  After an hour, I couldn’t take it any more and decided to dive into my bathtub and scrub this scent—no easy feat.  About the only thing that Sun Moon Stars has going for it that reminds me of celestial bodies is the gravitational force that binds its molecules to my skin.

Now if you happen to be a fan of this scent, that’s awesome.  May it rock your world.  And if I’ve offended you with this grumpy review, well, feel free to thumb your nose at me and say, “What does she know?  She wears Chanel Chance!”   Which is true.  Aren’t you glad I’m not in an elevator with you, but in my own little galaxy, far, far away?

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars can be found from various online perfume discounting sites, as well as eBay, and the prices are literally all over the place, from very low to very high. Despite my cranky review of it, this fragrance actually does have many fans in the online perfume community (and in the real world, too).

Image, top of page, is an illusion created with Photoshop (by whom, I don't know), using a photo of Hawaii's crescent moon-shaped volcanic crater, Molokini.  In other words, a photo of a real island juxtaposed next to a fake one.

Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars perfume bottle photo is from

​​Sun Moon Stars ... Best Left to Nature