Thursday, September 30, 2010

SOTD: L'Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc Extreme (The decluttering continues.)

I love blackberry. And black currant. And black cherry. And black raspberry. All of those fruits and fruit flavors with that extra, dark, slightly winy edge that isn't sour, isn't bitter, but still balances syrupy sweetness as if it were. I often dump extra water into over-sweet lemonade and other fruit drinks; I never think that a good blackberry drink is too sweet. I suspect that I could sip the syrup straight.

So I had big hopes for Mure et Musc. So I, once again, didn't finish a decant before buying a bottle. And now I'm considering a declutter.

This is a relatively new bottle - perhaps two years old. It's adequate.  Today I sprayed it on lavishly by my standards - five or six sprays, well away from my nose to avoid temporary anosmia - and once in a while throughout the day I could get a faint hint of it. A little blackberry, a little fizz, a little of something vaguely fresh. It's like a blackberry Italian soda purchased from that alarmingly health-sensitive lunch place that's stingy with the syrup - mostly mineral freshness, barely any fruit. I once tried a sample of the non-Extreme version, and was even less impressed.

I'm told that the vintage Mure et Musc with the fruity musk is the real stuff, though I still have trouble using the word "vintage" for something produced in the seventies and eighties. Luca Turin refers to the original as having "tremendous radiance and transparency", and laments the later reformulation. So I feel vindicated in being unimpressed with the current versions.

I think that I'm going to give it away and give Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte a try.

Review Roundup (I'm including reviews of all versions, not just the Extreme): Bois de Jasmin and Bois de Jasmin again (a brief mention about the musk) and Now Smell This and Sweet Diva and Grain de Musc and Aromascope (brief mention) and Aromascope again (another brief mention) and Perfume Posse and PeredePierre and Fragrantica and Basenotes and Pink Manhattan.

Image: By De-Okin. Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SOTE: Parfumerie Generale L'Eau Rare Matale

A day of paperwork and no perfume. An evening of Babylon 5 and L'Eau Rare Matale. So, improvement.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: By Tom Ventura. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

SOTD: None

No perfume today. I kept wandering by the perfume shelf, but I never stopped long enough to spray.

Will I get up from blogging to put something on now? No, probably not. I'll nap soon, unscented.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SOTD: Creed Love In Black

Apparently I'm doing Fall Cleaning, because yet again I wore a scent with the intention of confirming that I don't like it. And, yep, it's confirmed. I once liked Love In Black - I bought a bottle, and I didn't buy it unsniffed. But I did buy it without working my way through even a small decant, and therefore the regret is predictable.

I thought that my occasional halfhearted reaction post-purchase was due to the iris. Since I've learned to love iris in several forms since the last time I wore Love In Black, I was hoping for a turnaround on this fragrance. But the reverse happened - I learned to love iris in concert with incense and leather and galbanum and generally dark or threatening things. Violets? Nooooo. I could tolerate violets with the scent of pencil erasers - that was pleasantly amusing. Now that I know that those pencil erasers are iris, it's all over.

Yes, I realize that it's love in black, and therefore maybe it thinks it's dark, but I don't. It's bright and sweet and the fact that it's a little sad doesn't help. Reference decant, bottle leaving.

Review Roundup: Perfume Posse and Fragrance Bouquet and MakeupAlley and Perfume-Smellin' Things and Basenotes and Sniffapalooza and The Scented Salamander and I Smell Therefore I Am and Fragrantica and PeredePierre and Scent of the Day.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SOTD: Diptyque Philosykos

Everybody likes Philosykos. Except for me.  It's been described as smelling like the whole fig grove, with green or leafy or woody or forest-floor notes in addition to the smell of the fruit. Nearly everyone makes a point of its lack of excess sweetness. Some say that it's challenging or a little sharp, but they always say it in a positive way.

My experience is  "Sweet. Oh, and there's some coconut. There might be fig in there, too. And did I mention, sweet?" I get absolutely no green, no sharpness, no wood. To me, it smells as if I had scooped out a slightly overripe fig (to avoid the slightly greener taste of the outer flesh), doused  the inner flesh with coconut milk, and sprinkled it with sugar. Nice for one bite, but not something that you'd want to smell all day.

It's unlikely that I'm right and everyone else is wrong. I must assume, then, that I'm anosmic to something essential in this fragrance. I wore it this one last time to confirm that my feelings hadn't changed; they haven't, so I'll be taking a small reference decant, and the bottle will be leaving.

Review Roundup: Now Smell This and Now Smell This again and The Non-Blonde and Sweet Diva and Perfume Posse and MakeupAlley and My Perfume Life and Basenotes and Fragrantica and A Rose Beyond The Thames and Badger & Blade and sakecat and EauMG and The Left Coast Nose (scroll down) and hesmellsshesmells and Polish, Platforms, Perfume and MossyLoomings (for the solid) and MossyLoomings again and I Smell Therefore I Am and parfumieren and Scent Of The Day  and Undina's Looking Glass.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, September 24, 2010

SOTD: Fendi Theorema

I continue to pull out the fall scents. Today, sadly, Fendi Theorema didn't quite work. I got almost no orange, and the spices were too dusty-dry. I did get a note rather like fresh bread - an interesting oddity.

In fact, judging from my blog, this may not be a fall scent at all. I see that I loved it in December, January, July, and August, and was dubious in May. So I'm concluding that it needs temperature extremes in either direction.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: By Figiu. Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SOTD: Daim Blond, and Assumed Names

I seem to have a fondness for scents that aren't what they think they are.

I adore Le Labo Patchouli 24, for example. The common wisdom is that it doesn't smell like patchouli, it smells like birch tar. And to add another level of complication, to me it smells like tea.

Art of Shaving Sandalwood is said to smell mostly of eucalyptus. I can't judge, because Art of Shaving Sandalwood is what defined sandalwood for me, but the word comes from authorities that I trust.

I love Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia for the beeswax, and have limited use for it when it does smell like gardenia.

Comme des Garcons Leaves: Tea? Dry cleaning fluid. Yum.

And while Daim Blond does have a little suede, today it's dominated by the apricot pit and fruity heliotrope, and that's just fine.

I like contrariness.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SOTD: Creed Original Vetiver

I have a four (four) ounce bottle of Creed Original Vetiver.

I only wanted one ounce - or, really half an ounce - but several months ago the trustworthy seller offering both a coupon and a sale only had the big bottle, so I paid less for four ounces with box and cap than I would have paid for a small tester without either. So there it is, looming threateningly over the nice little bottle of Love In Black, sneering at me and holding more perfume than I will ever use.

It bothers me. It's that whole anti-hoarding thing. It feels like a slippery slope. I want the smallest possible bottle.

So today I'm wearing Original Vetiver, frankly in the hope that I'll find that I no longer like it, so I can give it away. That's going fairly well so far - it's pleasant and green, but I'm finding it too one-dimensional and too masculine, and wishing that I were wearing Vetiver Tonka instead. And my Vetiver Tonka is properly anti-hoarding - it's one of the tiny Discovery Set bottles.

So what to do? Give away three one-ounce decants and keep the original bottle? Keep a one-ounce decant and give away the bottle? Give the whole thing away and make Vetiver Tonka my chosen vetiver?

Decisions, decisions.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: Julien Bertrand. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SOTD: L'Artisan Tea for Two

Tea fragrances seldom smell like tea to me - they generally smell like "perfume tea note". But when I sprayed L'Artisan's Tea for Two today to celebrate the continuing cool weather, it really did smell like a handful of nice dry tea leaves. Then it turned into its usual sweet spice-cookieish self, also a good thing.

I'm enjoying this shift to winter fragrances. But I'm told that the temperature will be in the eighties this weekend, so the experiment may be cut short.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: By Azzuro. Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SOTDays: Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint, and Serge Lutens Chergui

The weather is changing. It's getting cooler, wetter, and cloudier. Summer might be over - or it might just be another funny joke. It's been that kind of weather year.

But yesterday was lacking in summer, so I put on Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint, out of a longing for the sweet and leafy, and it was perfect. The rather dense base that can be too solid in sticky summer was just right in the cooler weather, and the sweet and leafy was amply supplied. It was perfect.

Today I went the other way, with an ample dose of Serge Lutens Chergui - a wintery tobacco smoke honey spice cookie scent. I've always been a bit doubtful about this. The spices generally skate a middle ground between comfy-sweet and overdone, and I rarely like middle grounds. But today it's just perfect, and I'm fairly confident that this isn't a quirk. I think that I've finally acquired the taste.

Review Roundup: For White Jasmine & Mint is here.
Review Roundup: For Chergui is here.

Image: By Muller. Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SOTD: The Malignant Dreams of Cthulhu in Love by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Himself and I used to play the roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu, based on the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. We're very fond of Cthulhu, even if he is an incomprehensibly evil monster bent on the destruction of all life. (And doesn't he make a cute puppet?) So when Himself found a perfume dedicated to him, he got me a bottle.

The picture on the bottle depicts Cthulhu's tentacles offering a heart-shaped box to... well, whoever Cthulhu's in love with. Accordingly, the notes are described as "an amorphous mix of oppressive, piceous ritual incense, macerated kelp, sea salt, sticky dark ocean plants, and… mixed chocolates." (More details are found here.)

That's pretty accurate. It starts out heavy on sticky aquatic goo and chocolates, and ends up more like incense and cocoa, but still with a good dose of eldritch slime. Yum.

Image: By Bastique. Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, September 17, 2010

SOTD: Shiseido White Rose

Remember that vial of Shiseido White Rose that Himself gave me, in spite of his Perfume Disapproval? He went a good deal further this time. See photo. Oh, my goodness.

After opening, and boggling, and photographing, and ever so carefully cutting the little silver cord and extracting the stopper (actually, Himself did those last three things, at my request; I was afraid I'd destroy the bottle somehow), I applied White Rose lavishly, and wandered around in the resulting fog for several hours. And then I applied it all over again.

Oh, my. Traveling rose bliss.

I can't help analyzing. I want a notes list. Are there notes other than the multilayered, fresh, peppery rose? Pink Manhattan smells jasmine; I can't decide. In the base I get a bitterness that makes me think of galbanum; Pink Manhattan mentions a green tea nuance there. Is it the same note?

Whatever it is, the combination of very fine rose and that wonderful green bitterness makes me think of this as a cousin of Chanel No. 19. Don't misunderstand me - they're quite different from one another, but they're both classic, both uncompromising, both uninterested in sweetening the experience with sugar or vanilla. If they were women, both would be dangerous. No. 19's claws are apparent from the top notes on through; White Rose's appear near the end.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Photo of Greta Garbo: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of bottle: Himself.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SOTD: None. And, weeeeeekend!

A busy day today, and I forgot the perfume.

But I have tomorrow off. A three day weekend and a freshly reorganized sample box. There will be a lot of fragrance fumes around here.

Image: By Mila Zinkova. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SOTD: Serge Lutens Santal Blanc

Serge Lutens Santal Blanc apparently believes in moderation in all things. But I don't.

It's not weird enough to make me happy. It's not friendly enough to make me forgive the lack of weird. It's not foody enough to feel like a gourmand. It's too foody to feel like anything else. It's neither thoroughly dry or thoroughly sweet. Neither oily or astringent.

It's tasteful. It's polite. It's sophisticated. It's complex. It's well-behaved.

It is what it is, and I can easily see that a person might love what it is. But not me. I've owned my decant for over a year, and worn it perhaps twice in that time. It's time to give it away.

Review Roundup: All I Am - A Redhead and Now Smell This and Perfume Posse and Perfume-Smellin' Things and I Smell Therefore I Am and PereDePierre and One Thousand Scents.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, September 13, 2010

SOTD: Bubbles.

Cranky Baby and White Jasmine & Mint in a bedtime bubble bath, that is. I didn't get around to anything perfumed until then.

Image: By Nevit. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

SOTW: Varied


Saturday night, I dressed like a girl - trumpet skirt, an actual blouse, those girly sandals, and a purse in two different patterns of jacquard fabric, one of which actually coordinated with the skirt. (From these guys. I'm pointing to fashion-related sites. Am I unwell?) Saturday afternoon garb more than Saturday night, but still. I'm supposed to be pulling on a black-washed-until-it's almost-gray cotton skirt and the nearest clean shirt. This isn't normal.

Serge Lutens Un Lys seemed like the perfect scent for that mood, but much to my surprise, it wasn't. I still enjoyed it, but in the summer the grainy almost-edible candylike note outweighs the drop-dead feminine floral. It may only be a fully feminine scent in winter, when I'm wearing soft wooly things instead of linen or silk.

Sunday, I wore Art of Shaving Sandalwood as a layering experiment, because the scent of Un Lys was still lurking, defying the intervening bubble bath. (You can't accidentally perfume your glasses, can you?) The layering failed; both are on the edge of too sweet, and they drowned each other's sharper notes, with a result that fell over that edge.

Later, I reorganized the perfume stash, identifying about eight bottles and perhaps sixty samples to give away. This is relevant because my sample of Carthusia Capri(?) chose to leak all over my hands, so that's what I wore Sunday night. It was surprisingly enjoyable; I'll be wearing it on purpose soon, to see if it was nice on its own merits or only because it was refreshingly sour against all that sweetness.

Image: By Grey Wulf. Wikimedia Commons. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

SOTD: None.

So, we went to Portland and didn't make it to the Perfume House. Also, if I remember correctly, two or three Last Saturdays have gone by with no perfume purchases. I'm feeling Perfume Greed.

I can control it. Really.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SOTD: Shiseido Feminite du Bois

I love cedar. Cedar chests, or pencil shavings, or even those fake-cedar-scented dry cleaner bags.

I haven't yet found the perfect emphatic cedar scent. Dzongkha and Fire and Cream read, to me, as celery seed instead of cedar. Navegar has a perfect dry cedar, but it's very faint; sometimes I can't smell it at all. Angeliques Sous La Pluie is nice, and I can smell it, but it doesn't come to life on my skin.

Feminite du Bois is lovely, with lots of cedar. It changes at every wearing, and I'm inclined to consider that a good thing. Sometimes it's a nice new freshly sharpened pencil - a childhood smell, just right for September. Sometimes the fruit drowns the cedar; then it seems oddly jumbled and unsatisfactory.

Today, I suspect that it's behaving as intended, the cedar and plum blending together and finding common notes that I never would have suspected were there. Cedar and plum are somehow producing silk - heavy, thick silk. It's making me think of the "curious wadded silk robe" in A Little Princess - always an image that I loved. The theme, for me, seems to be childhood luxury. I approve.

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SOTD: None. Oh, and we're back.

So we're back from Portland, relaxed and fatter.

We enjoyed ourselves. Portland is a walking city. It's packed with vintage and used stores. It has lots of food for the glutton. Our timing was great - the weather was lovely, and a manga convention was being hosted not even a block away from our hotel, so we got to admire the costumes of the passers-by.  Sadly, the Perfume House was closed, but that left us with more money to spend on books and weird household hardware and food. Oh, and that's the zoo train. Cool, huh?

We'll be back.

Photo: Mine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

SOTD: Caron Alpona

We were checking out of the hotel, and I realized that I was on the verge of another scentless day! 

So I sprayed on Caron Alpona.

I like this one.


That's all.

(The duck? Well, see, I put him in the post before I went away. I sort of promised him. See? So, a duck. Quack.)

Image: By kauan. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SOTD: None. Except for food.

The gluttony continues, along with the traditional remarks (between bites) of "we have to stop eating like this."

For one more day, we're going to keep eating like this.

Image: By Meanos. Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SOTD: Scentless Saturday. And travelling bacon.

We're spending the holiday weekend in pursuit of bacon.

OK, not really. Bacon is available in most cities; we didn't have to get on a plane to find some. But we are trying out Portland for the very first time, and we ate bacon with every meal on Saturday.

Fried chicken and cheese and bacon on a biscuit at the Saturday farmer's market at the university. Plus a crepe with cheese and bacon and onions. Plus a Nutella crepe.

No, the Nutella crepe didn't involve bacon, though that wouldn't be all that unthinkable, considering "lunch" - a maple bacon doughnut from Voodoo doughnuts.

At dinner at Park Kitchen the bacon was tempura-fried and served along with tempura green beans. Then many very good non- bacon things followed, but that would be Off Topic.

Mm, bacon.

(Also, a disclaimer: I'm blogging from my phone. (OK, I chose the pictures and set up the empty draft post before I left. A bacon encounter seemed likely. The other two pictures are of butter and a duck. Where was I? Oh, yeah.) So please forgive any deficiencies in editing.)

Updated to add Himself's take on our bacon adventures. And on the whole trip.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, September 3, 2010

SOTD: ElizabethW Sweet Tea. And nonthreatening old friends.

Today I was going to wear the reigning tea fragrance, Parfumerie Generale L'Eau Rare Matale, but at the last minute I decided on ElizabethW Sweet Tea.

This was once my favorite. It's a simple, fundamentally pleasing fragrance. But as I expanded my perfume freakery, simple and pleasing stopped being enough. I need weird. I need mothballs and gasoline and indoles and leather from undiscovered animals.

But I am enjoying Sweet Tea today, and so my thoughts are turning to other neglected old favorites. Should I wear them again?

ElizabethW Rose, for example, has always been in the bath oil repertoire, but I haven't worn the perfume even once since I started this blog. This is in spite of my incessant whining about not having the right rose. Surely it's worth at least one try?

Fresh Lemon Sugar is candy lemon verbena. It's silly. It's goofy. I like goofy. I have trouble actually respecting it, but why should that stop me from wearing it?

Fresh Hesperides, sadly, has lost me forever. Between one day and the next, it shifted away from being the perfect sparkling grapefruit fragrance, to being a vehemently synthetic citrus. It's not that the fragrance changed - it's the same bottle, and the storage conditions were just fine, and anyway, the change was too sudden for that explanation. It's my nose.

There are others that are similarly simple and pleasing, but never had a chance to become favorites, because I first tried them after I had established my taste for weird. Rochas Tocade is a nice nonthreatening rose. Modern Vent Vert is a declawed nonthreatening green. Most of the Pacifica fragrances and many of those from Jo Malone are Perfectly Nice.

I can't decide if a need to pursue the strange and threatening is a good or a bad thing. But it seems to be permanent.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SOTD: None. And then more none.

My brain is full.

Or maybe empty, and sealed up against new thoughts. Or maybe the OS underwent one of those regrettable upgrades when I wasn't looking. Whatever it is, I don't seem to be able to operate it.

Maybe the holiday weekend will help.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.