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Always Red Femme is a flanker of Always Red is a flanker of Red Door. The word 'door' was dropped from the names, but you can tell they're connected because the bottles they come in are made with the same door-shaped mold. It's good that they aren't called Always Red Door and Always Red Door Femme, because Red Door was named after the Red Door spa and that got permanently shut down. This was foreshadowed in the bottles. Always Red is half black, and Always Red Femme is all black with some funereal flowers on a decal. You could say that Elizabeth Arden saw Red Door and wanted to paint it black. As for the femme part, that's probably just a weak attempt at roping in francophiles. I wouldn't get lipstick lesbians' hopes up by suggesting they were the target market.

I like Always Red Femme well enough. It's blackcurrant. I love blackcurrant. It starts out bittersweet and a little mossy, which is partly because there really is an independent moss note and partly because blackcurrant has that effect. About half an hour in, it suddenly runs stronger and hotter, almost spicy. This is great! It conveys redness where the bottle doesn't. Then it tapers down to a blackcurrant and vanilla ice cream scent that's very pleasant. I wonder if blackcurrant perfume ice cream would be good. Perfumery blackcurrant is derived from the buds, not the fruit. Maybe the buds have a weird flavor.

It would be nice if Always Red Femme was genius. Some early 20th century aldehydes would have given it a shimmery complexity. One time when I was wearing it, I was suddenly in awe of this rich incense base note I hadn't appreciated before. Then I realized I had laid my arm down on some of my incense. Of course I can layer Always Red Femme with an incense perfume or with Arp├Ęge or whatever, but I wish Elizabeth Arden's creative team had thought of either of these things first. Still, it's good, and I will probably even use up the bottle.