On the third day of Xtina-mas, Xtina gave to me a a powdery, fruity gourmand scent, an apple note that I’m going to have to learn how to live with, and a return to form in the form of her third fragrance, 2009’s Christina Aguilera By Night. All this during the year that she was recording her legendary (to me) sixth studio album, Bionic! But first, as always, let’s have a little context, shall we?
2009 was a helluva year to be alive if you were a savvy enough drag queen to get into Lady Gaga impersonations on the ground floor, because holy sh*t there was no escaping her, so I bet your tip buckets were stacked. Seriously, by the time Gaga had released “Bad Romance” and The Fame Monster that fall, she had ascended to the upper echelons of pop stardom with a speed and persistence that I’m hard pressed to recall when it was last seen. Britney Spears, perhaps, but even she had the added “It” factor of having an image that straight guys could easily sexualize, whereas the only thing more meteoric than Lady Gaga’s rise to fame was the rumor that she was a hermaphrodite, and that’s a decidedly more niche celebrity spank bank fantasy to sell. Meanwhile, Christina Aguilera is busy at work recording what will become Bionic, and she also begins filming Burlesque, and it’s her absence from the spotlight during Lady Gaga’s rise that I believe sets the stage for much of what is to come in her career. Thank goodness, then, for her perfumes, and speaking of, holy moly is Christina Aguilera By Night good.
By Night’s basically the pretty base at the core of Christina Aguilera with an amped-up, powdery vanilla that sweetens the ‘fume enough to give it character without becoming cloying. It’s very much a gourmand, the almond and vanilla notes combining with apple and a touch of spice to give you an apple pie à la mode vibe, but it’s also well blended and subtle enough that every note feels enhancing instead of distracting, and that’s great because I just don’t really care for apple notes. This one’s a little alcohol-y at the start, like a spilt two-for-one Appletini at TGI Fridays, but seeing as By Night could smell like a stale McDonald’s apple pie dropped in a vanilla shake, this is a gourmand equivalent of Midwestern fine dining, and I’ll cheers to that. Really, if there’s one thing I never thought I’d say during Xtina-mas, it’s that I’ve found Christina Aguilera’s scents to be surprisingly restrained, and Christina Aguilera By Night is by far and away the best example of this trait.
My only real problem, in fact, is that it’s occasionally so restrained that I found myself applying more than I would to really get a whiff. Added to that, the longevity is rather brief. Sure, the base is the prettiest part, and if you give it enough time you can even detect some sandalwood, but By Night feels like it’s here-and-gone within an hour or two. Maybe it’s just weak, or maybe it’s because if you’ve ever seen the music video for “Not Myself Tonight” you know how Xtina likes to perfume herself (VERY LIBERALLY). Don’t worry, I made a GIF if you haven’t:
I’m not about to tell XXXtina what to do when she’s not herself tonight, but you could gas a person with that many sprays, so maybe it’s no wonder subtlety is the unexpected name of the Christina Aguilera Perfume game.
ALSO, after I made this GIF, I also licked my arm after spritzing myself (FOR SCIENCE), and let me tell you: By Night might smell like a sexy dessert, but it tastes like a sexy antiseptic wipe, so maybe don’t spray it on your woohoo.