his bombastic 80s was another favorite of my mother’s back in the day, and although I tend not to appreciate strong florals from this highly scented decade, and never owned this scent myself (until now) I have must admit that I snuck in a spritz of this flacon from the family bathroom dresser once in a while.
Sung was launched in 1986, and here are the notes:
- bergamot, orange, lemon, mandarin orange, hiacynth, ylang-ylang, galbanum
- jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, carnation, osmanthus, iris, orchid, rose
- orange blossom, orange blossom, oakmoss, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, musk,vanilla
This is indeed another meaty 80s floral, a much more assertive and traditional composition when compared with fragrances of today. The scent is sold in a small parfum extrait, but more commonly in an ETD in 50 and 100 ml sizes. Don’t be mislead by the EDT, this perfumes more like an EDP. This is the bigger size, and thank goodness – yes, you can still find it today, and often for super cheap, too. I consider this to be one of the greatest floral compositions of the century. I’m serious – this fragrance it to perfumery as Beethoven’s 5th is to music. Sadly, just as I don’t often listen to Beethoven, 80s florals are generally not my forte.
Sung is a heady, strong, complicated white floral power scent, and you have to be into that sort of thing to appreciate it. For me, it is another one of those incredible fragrances that reminds me of my fabulous mother, and in fact it was my mom who first discovered it.
The key to enjoying this fragrance is exercising restraint when spraying, and giving it some time to evolve. If you don’t, the heavy-handed excess of this composition will blow you away, and that might not be a good thing. You might end saturating the walls of the room you’re in as well as those adjacent. Yes, overdo it, and you will suffocate all life in the immediate surroundings. But hold back a bit, and you may just find exquisite beauty. There is a watery greeness to all the fruit-laced petals that adds perfect balance and refinement here, if you spray your cards right.
With such a long list of notes, I find you typically have to make efforts to seek out the components, but once you twist past the citrus outer weave, hyacinth and jasmine do indeed bust through the opening with some indolic accords. Then you get some soapy sweetness with lily of the valley with miles and miles of osmanthus and bitter galbanum – very green. It’s all tied down with a quirky counterweight of vetiver oakmoss, and musk… although bits of ylang ylang, iris, and carnation are suspended in the surrounding space.
I’m not a fan of lily of the valley-infused soapiness, but am happy to report that the base notes drown that quality out after a while. The whole concoction does calm a bit as as it dries down, though, making it most appropriate, I feel, for formal spring and summer evening events. I imagine the person wearing it stepping out of a limousine dressed in white dress with ruching – a Krystal Carrington type character. It’s a highly feminine, romantic fragrance. It’s also very classy, like dry champaign, but not light; it’s think and humid. I think it’s the watery green quality that gives you all the romance. The jasmine is mossy and woody and tea-like.
Although there’s quite a bit of longevity with this perfume, it does live closer to the skin with time. I suspect this might be a good thing for people surrounding the wearer that are sensitive to perfume. Sadly, I feel that this massively heady piece de resistance might send some people running towards fresher air, an aspirin, or a glass of water. At least its sweetness comes from all the flowers, and not sugar.
I am definitely here for the drydown of this fragrance. Once the bitterness has softened and the soapiness has dissipated, you’re left with light, white florals veiled in lots of woodiness. Spray it on your PJs so you can enjoy the remaining musky jasmine and lily-of-the-valley the next morning.