Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blogging: Identity confusion and stinky cats

I need to change my blog name.


It would be different if the blog were about fried chicken. The first post was indeed about fried chicken, and while I anticipated more than one topic ("obsessions", after all), I expected chicken to have a larger presence.

The world certainly has room for a blog about fried chicken. And a database. Proper "twenty minute wait" pan-fried chicken is harder and harder to find, and even deep-fried chicken worth eating is increasingly scarce. Someone on a layover from the airport in Medford, Oregon, for example, should be able to connect to a website, select "bone in" and "deep fried OK" and learn that the fried chicken at Food4Less is startlingly good. Eliminating "bone in" and expanding the driving distance to include Ashland would let them know that Taroko's Pattaya chicken has a very high-quality crunch, especially if ordered with the sauce on the side. That Lark's fried chicken breast, while it sadly isn't bone-in, has a glorious crust that even stands up to gravy. And so on. The world needs that website.

But I haven't created it, and odds are I'm not going to. So that returns me, to: I need to change my blog name.


But what to call it? I'm hampered by my reluctance to lose the weird altogether. Most of my ideas are sort of...pretty. I thought of names like "Fragrant Trifles" or "Savory Trifles" or names with the word "whimsy" in them. But those names make me feel that they belong to someone who wears high-heeled shoes more than twice in a decade. On the other side, I thought of things like The Stinky Typist, but, well, I dunno.

While searching for deeply-out-of-copyright quotes about perfume, I kept running into the following:

I cannot talk with civet in the room
  A fine puss gentleman that's all perfume.
      - William Cowper, Conversation

I rather like that, in a contrary sort of way--I'm talking not only with perfume in the room, but in large part talking about perfume. And I love civet as a note, and they don't actually torment cats for it any more, right?

A blog named Civet in the Room? I already nabbed the domain name, but that's not a commitment, that's just for security while I dither; I could always release it.


Chicken Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Perfume: A basket of quick sniffs

I've been wearing perfume without reporting back. Shocking. I'll probably review these properly someday, but as I laze around on holiday vacation, I'm going to record my first impressions.

Sylvia Grojsman 100% Love didn't quite hit the right note for me. The vanilla and chocolate were lovely, but the roses and berries seemed to clash with them, rather like... like... OK, I don't know what like. To quote Buffy, "un-mixy things." I did enjoy the drydown, but I don't like having to wait for a clashing note to go away.

Parfumerie Generale Gardenia Grand Soir was just as lovely as it was the day I tried it in the shop--before I broke all rules and bought it the same day. But I didn't have any new thoughts about it.

I ordered a tiny 2ml decant of Mary Greenwell Plum because I remembered it being mentioned fondly more than once by Mals over at Muse in Wooden Shoes. The initial fruit note was exactly what I wanted--an idealized plum, or perhaps plum jam. Dark and intense but not sweet. But then the aldehydes came out, simultaneous with the thought, "Doesn't Mals refer to herself as an Aldeho?" and indeed she does, and Plum lost me for the next hour or so. The drydown turned likable again, but I think that this one is too grownup for me.

Montale Chocolate Greedy was a nice enough vanilla with just a dusting of chocolate. It brings to mind chocolate meringues or other chocolate creations that depend on cocoa rather than melted chocoalte for their flavor. Perfectly nice, but not what I had in mind. Is chocolate always either a fleeting note (Cacao and Guilt) or a dusty background presence (Greedy)?

Lady Stetson was pretty nice, and that's all I remember.

Sung by Alfred Sung was not what I expected. I expected green; I got only the faintest hint of galbanum trapped behind prickly thorny flowers, followed a good while later by knee-deep powder. Meh.

That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Group Blogging Project: The Ghosts of Perfume Past, Present, and Future

Christmas--the secular festival, rather than the religious one--is about fantasy. Elves and sugarplum fairies, and a jolly old grandfather climbing down the chimney to give you sparkly things, never forgetting the batteries.

So as I thought about ghosts of past, present and future for this group blogging project (thanks to Natalie for organizing and Undina for the theme!), I found myself interpreting "ghosts" not as the dead, but as all those fictional spirits of Christmas. Santa Claus. Charlie Brown and Linus. Mr. Scrooge and Bob Cratchitt. Rudolph and Yukon Cornelius. Harry Bailey and Zuzu. Frank Cross.

"Frank who?"

Frank Cross! You know, the gleefully evil work-driven television executive played by Bill Murray in the movie Scrooged. ("When you don't work late, I can't work late. When I can't work late, I CAN'T WORK LATE!") When people of taste debate the best version of A Christmas Carol--the old-fashioned charm of the early Alistair Simms film, the drama of the George C. Scott version, blah de blah de blah, I hold firm to my favorite*. Scrooged. So there.

So... what fragrances would the Scrooged ghosts wear?

The Ghost of Christmas Past is a madly cheerful and cheerfully mad cigar-chewing cabbie who forces Frank to relive his early years. This ghost enjoys life--or would enjoy it if he had one any more. The office party, the young lady handing out portraits of her anatomy at said office party, the love of Frank's life (Claire, played by Karen Allan at her most incandescently adorable)--he enjoys them all, and lectures Frank on his lack of appreciation.

Ghost of Christmas Past: Let's face it, Frank. Garden slugs got more out of life than you. 
Frank: Yeah? Name one!

What does the Ghost of Christmas Past smell like? To look at him, you wouldn't imagine him wearing any sort of fragrance, but we'd all argue that perfume is a part of enjoying life, right? Right? Don't laugh; just humor me here. When I  conjure him up in imagination, in his cab, I smell a tiny thread of artificial pine, one of those hanging car fresheners, in a desperate losing battle with an ocean of stale cheap cigar. But if we imagine him on a date after a hard day of reforming the living, what fragrance does he wear? I struggled with this, until Himself presented me with the only and obvious answer: Hai Karate. Of course.

What about the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Carol Kane? This spirit is playful, charming, ruffly-pink--and intermittently violent. ("The bitch hit me with a toaster!") She sings, she dances, she plays Trivial Pursuit along with mortals that can't see or hear her. She covers Frank's ears to keep him from hearing about his Christmas gifts. And then she hits him some more. ("The truth is painful.")

This one was a struggle--what fragrance is playful and loving, vain ("Oooh, a Christmas party! I’m so glad I wore my pretty dress!") and occasionally vicious? It occurs to me that that's a personality profile of a cat, but that doesn't give me the answer. After long deliberation, I'm going to go with Chanel Cristalle. It's beautiful, feminine, even swirls-and-ruffles feminine. But that galbanum sharpness hints at claws, perhaps as sharp as those of No. 19, even though they're better-concealed.

And the Ghost of Christmas Future? Dark. Cloaked. A skull for a face. Screaming creatures hiding in the folds of its robes. (Frank: "Did our people do that? We're gonna get letters.") For this ghost, I choose the most frightening, most soulless, most despair-filled fragrance that I know, so horrible that it has no name known to the general public, despite sharing our lives from cradle to grave...

White laundry musk.


That's the end for my scented ghosts. But don't forget to visit the other bloggers in the project!


*(Our household is not unanimous on this--Himself argues for the WKRP in Cincinnatti version as the very best, but he does give Scrooged second place.)

**(A side note: You may recall my Postal Regulation Phobia. I have a similar level of Copyright Regulation Phobia. Therefore, I will be linking you to images of the characters of Scrooged, rather than pulling them into the post.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

SOTD/Review: Byredo Pulp


I almost left the review at that one word, but then I started having thoughts. For example, Pulp is indeed fruity. It's a little abstract; it doesn't conjure up completely realistic three-dimensional fruit. But it makes me imagine warm, overripe, crushed pulp with bees just starting to investigate, rather than candy or sorbet or Torani syrup, as so many other fruity fragrances do.

It also announces "perfume" in the topnotes (Aldehydes? Something else?), as if to assure me, with a wink, that it has read its job description, and that it knows I'm a grownup. But that fades; within perhaps ten minutes it's just squashed fruit. And that's fine.

What fruit? The notes list has a lot of fruit and a few flowers. (Bergamot, cardamom, black currant, fig, red apple, tiare flower, cedar, praline, peach blossom.) But it all blends, so that it smells to me like a single unknown fruit, rather than an orchard or a salad. A stone fruit, I think, related to but very different from peaches or plums. Bigger and wetter and more brightly colored; the kind of fruit that you carry outside to eat over the grass, because it's going to drip that much.

But there's a gesture toward melon--it has a fair bit of that note that can make cataloupe smell just a little bit sickly. I'm guessing that's what makes some people smell decay in this, but it stops before it goes over the edge, and in fact I might like just a little more of it. It's this note that makes Pulp work for me on a winter day; it provides just enough sun and warmth without any risk of seasonal jetlag.

FTC Disclosure: I got the sample for free (bwahaha!) but in my role as a sniffsniffsniffing customer roaming the wilds of the Holt Renfrew perfume floor, not in my role as a blogger.

Review Roundup: MakeupAlley and Basenotes and Now Smell This and Perfume-Smellin' Things and Katie Puckrick Smells and Fragrance Bouquet and Perfume Posse and No Dissasemble Charlie No. 5 and WAFT.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

SOTD: Fracas Parfum

I've been establishing a foothold in some of the classics that are still considered worth owning. A high-quality but small foothold, which to me means a minimum-sized bottle of parfum. Or extrait. You know, that strong stuff. In a stopper bottle, because spraying parfum just seems wrong. And sometimes suicidal.

For a past birthday, Himself gifted me with three-quarters of an ounce of No. 19 parfum--a glorious excess above "minimum-sized." Some months ago, I acquired half an ounce of No. 5 parfum. I'm looking for the smallest possible Shalimar parfum--irritatingly, the only source that I've found selling a small stopper bottle online is out of stock, and another source only had those refill sprayer things. And I just received a quarter ounce of Fracas.  (That tiiiiny little bottle is so dang cute! (Did I say cute? No, of course not.))

I wore it today, and was a bit surprised--not disappointed, just surprised. I expected something stronger, dirtier, and less well behaved. What I got was distinctly...well, pretty. Certainly not a weak and watery kind of pretty, but it wasn't the indole bomb that I expected. I remember, somewhere, discussing whether some people's skins amplify weird notes while others mask them; I suspect that mine masks them. I'm going to have to try that Secretions thing and that Koublai Khan thing and see if they turn all prim and giggly.

Also, it had very little projection and it didn't really last long--or I quickly go anosmic to it. I realize that sometimes parfums blow up a room, and sometimes they are indeed quieter and closer to the skin, but it shouldn't fade so fast, should it? I'm confident in the source that I bought it from, so...well, puzzlement. I'll apply more next time, to see if that amps it up. Maybe I'm just parfum-phobic from my Shalimar trauma.

But it's beautiful. No whining from me there. Better-groomed and sleeker than I expected, but that's just fine.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Free-Association Friday: A glance at Arpege, and then it's just babbling

Lanvin Arpege was one of the first classic scents that I considered. I finally bought a bottle earlier this year, and wore it for the first time today. Aside from quailing at this evidence that I have too many bottles (it took me, what, three months to wear it?),  I'm not sure what I think. I remember my sampling as rich and dark; today's wearing is more aldehydic, prickly rather than silky-powdery, thin rather than rich. I'll try it again soon, and see if I can reconcile what's going on.

I find myself craving more perfume and less stuff. I want to buy bottle after bottle, and I want to sweep through the house and declutter sixty percent (or maybe eighty) (how about ninety?) (do we really need furniture?) of practically everything else. Both urges seem to be increasing as daylight and temperatures decrease.

Come to think of it, I also have an urge to buy teacups. I'm resisting that one entirely, because I rarely drink hot tea when I don't have a cold. But, what? I want the teacup that Giles used in the Buffy episode Inca Mummy Girl. Now, please.

Oh, and books. I want books. I finished The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman and got halfway through The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik and just started Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. I don't, at least yet, seems to have a strong opinion about any of them. But I want more books. I should haul myself to the library, except I can't safely read library books in the bathtub.

A sample-sized decant of Montale Chocolate Greedy is on its way. And 100% Love. I suppose it's logical to crave foody perfumes in the winter.

Speaking of chocolate, I've been thinking of reviewing chocolate bars in the same way that I review perfumes. Is that weird? Somehow it seems weirder than reviewing tea, which many perfume bloggers seem to do.

We're watching Mad Men. The scene where Joan tells Peggy, "You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl." It makes me consider that I've never dressed like a grownup. I might like to give it a try. I think that those vintage perfumes are having an influence on me.

Speaking again of chocolate, I want some.

That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Sniff: Slumberhouse Vikt

Vikt started out somewhere between medicinal and Cola-scented, leaning more toward the medicinal. And deep and dark. Not a lonely-wild-forest deep and dark, but citified and complex. My view at that point was that it was interesting, but that I was just going to enjoy it once as a novelty. Especially since I was getting a note that was just a little bit like cinnamon, and I don't like cinnamon.

Then it got sweeter and tangier (I keep using the word "tangy" lately; what's with that?), while remaining dark and resinous. People mention licorice and anise; I don't actually get those notes, but I get their mood. Now it's a comfort scent, while remaining deep and dark. I like it.

Review Roundup: Basenotes and Smellythoughts and Fragrantica and Memory of Scent and Confessions of a Perfume Nerd and Feminine Things.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

SOTD: Thymes Agave Nectar Body Lotion

It's about the grapefruit.

See, I don't usually use lotion. When I do use lotion, it's usually unscented lotion, and only on my hands.

But I was out sniffing last Saturday, and this stuff had the best grapefruit note that I've smelled since...well, since I last ate a grapefruit. But only in the body lotion. The hand cream had only a faint ghost of the scent. The fragrance had almost none at all. And my hands were chapped. And I love grapefruit, especially in the winter.

So I got a bottle of the body lotion and I'm using it on my hands. Gasp! And I'm loving the scent so much that I'm tempted to buy backup bottles, but I seem to recall that scented lotions don't last the way perfume does. So I'll try to enjoy this stuff for the fleeing pleasure that it is.

But, yum.

Image: Wikimedia Commons. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SOTD: Providence Perfume Co. Lei Flower


Starts out gentle spice cookie, shifts to comfort scent, ends in a lovely tangy floral.

The website says it's being discontinued. Dagnabbit. I hate hurried decisions.

Image: By Janet Hudson. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Sniff: Slumberhouse Pear + Olive

OK, I'm very confused by this one. It starts out fruity, a nice fruit, the brightness dimmed a little by... Well, not by olive. Not to my nose. It's a nice smell; I like it. But it doesn't make me think of bowls of pears or dishes of olives, it makes me think of one of my favorite places: The office supply aisle.

Paper? Envelopes? Expensive envelopes with expensive envelope glue? Yeah, I think that's it, plus a little bit of gum eraser. I like it, I really do, but my nose definitely doesn't read the note-that-isn't-pear as olive. Or as food, for that matter. Over time the fruit gets a little juicier, and the paper and glue get, well, a little fruitier. When I was a child, I used to have dreams where I'd fly around my grade school and eat the construction-paper decorative displays, and this smells roughly the way that I imagined that edible paper would smell like.

A while after that, it transforms into a very nice comfort scent, something with a vibe that makes me think of vanilla, despite a complete lack of any specific resemblance to vanilla. It's soft and warm and very nice.

And now, about nine hours later, it's a powdery white smell that reminds me of Douce Amere or baby powder.

I like it. But I very much doubt that Slumberhouse really put out a scent dedicated to fruit and office supplies. Therefore, I'm guessing that I'm anosmic to something in this scent, something that would make the olives fall into place.

Interestingly, I've often found that some scents with an "ambergris" note do smell very distinctly and specifically of green olives to me, and to no one else. I feel as if I should be able to form a theory from these two facts, but I'm not sure what it is.

So, I like it very much. But go smell it yourself, because I doubt that what I smell is what you will.

Image: By Peter Milosovec. Wikimedia Commons.

Perfume: The Sample Herd

I've been acquiring a lot of samples. A whole lot. Well, at least by my standards. And a couple of bottles. I can't decide what to write about first. So, anything below that you want an opinion about, from my admittedly-not-so-expert nose? Any that you've sniffed and you think I'd love or hate? Let's talk!

The candidates are:
  • Aftelier Tango, Fig, Candide, Honey Blossom, and Wild Roses
  • Ayala Moriel samples, some of which have been waiting for just about a year: Treazon, Fetish, Cabaret, Espionage, l'Herbe Rouge, Song of Songs, White Potion, Rebellius, Vetiver Racinettes, Viola, Autumn, and Megumi
  • Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Gelsomino
  • Dior vintage parfum vials: Diorama, Diorella, Dioressence, Diorissimo, Diorling, Dolce Vita, Miss Dior
  • Montale Dark Purple
  • Parfumerie Generale Gardenia Grand Soir
  • Providence Perfume Co. Moonflower, Osmanthus Oolong, Lei Flower, Divine, Divine Noir, Moss Gown, and possibly Cocoa Tuberose and Hindu Honeysuckle (The package is in the mail.)
  • Puredistance Opardu, I, M, and Antonia
  • Serge Lutens Santal Majascule
  • Slumberhouse norne, rume, jeke, grev, vikt, sova, and Pear & Olive.
  • Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie, Forest Wak, Winter Woods, Incense Pure, Tabac Aurea, Fireside Intense, and Jour Ensoleille
  • TokyoMilk Garden State Mix N' Match Eau de Parfum
  • Guerlain Vol de Nuit, vintage parfum vial.
And some non-perfume oddments:
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Citron honey & coriander lotion
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy. Not about the scent, but, well, my hands are going into winter dryness, so I'll be curious about how this is.
  • Thymes Agave Nectar body lotion
  • Thymes Eucalyptus body lotion
That's ignoring the preexisting sample backlog, and a few things that salesfolk tucked into bags along with bottles, that are now sloshing around in Ziplocs

FTC Disclosure: The Puredistance samples were kindly provided by the company, to me in my role as a blogger. The last three lotion samples were acquired for free in my role as an Ordinary Customer. I paid actual money for everything else, except for a couple of perfume samples that were kindly added to the ones that I ordered.

Image: By Joy Schoenbeger. Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rambling: FEED ME!

I skipped dinner, and now at eleven at night, I'm watching Julie & Julia. You know, the movie with all the food. So I'm making Pea Goop.  With cream. Ha!

Friday is Treat Day, when I decree that I'm allowed to have a serving of sugar. I skipped it, so I'll probably go get a cupcake tomorrow. Yellow cake, chocolate frosting. The correct cupcake for all thinking people.

We had a tree dropped off on our driveway. Well, OK, we had a cord of firewood dropped off on our driveway. We stacked about three-quarters of it, and the rest is still sharing the driveway with the car. We'll stack it somewhere tomorrow. Probably. I figure the maximum time that you can leave a heap of wood on the driveway without the neighbors looking at you funny is three days.

Actually, I've declared that stacking all the firewood entitles me to another serving of sugar, specifically an ice cream bar. Vanilla. With dark chocolate. Julie's. (Hey! Julie again!) Not that I've had it yet; I plan to go get it tomorrow. In addition to the cupcake. I really have to go strictly back on the low sugar thing. The beverage next to me is unsweetened tea, anyway. And I've resumed the discipline of always always having the availability of turkey sandwiches on crispbread, to reduce the chance of going on a cookie rampage.

I ate the Pea Goop. Now I want fried chicken. Promptly.

I'm ordering a lot of perfume samples. I finally started testing my Ayala Moriel samples, and then I ordered some from Sonoma Scent Studio, and then I declared a need to sniff more Aftelier scents, and then I read about Slumberhouse, and then there was Providence Perfume Co.

At least those are all artisan or small perfumers, which is supposed to be my new spending focus. I was going so far as to think that when I spend money on a perfume from some Evil Empire, I should put the same amount of money into a Good Cause, like NaNoWriMo or Wikipedia or some fine high-quality charity or something really crazy on Kickstarter. If Evil Empire perfumes cost me twice as much, maybe I'll cut it out. (And, no, the good cause can't be artisan perfume, because that just means I get twice as much perfume. No demotivator there.)

That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick Sniffs: Aftelier Honey Blossom, Fig, and Wild Roses

I was going to wait until I'd tried these thoroughly, done a Review Roundup, written and edited and edited my impressions, chosen just the right cat picture--you know, review stuff. But when I do that, I tend to forget, and I don't want to forget these. So:

Honey Blossom: The top is very tangy wrestling with very very sweet, honey-syrupy flower, which was a little too much for me on the first try, but I suspect that I'm going to learn to love it, because I adore the softer, grainer drydown and I'll need to smell it many more times.

Fig: This one struck me as startlingly similar to Tea for Two--it has a similar comforting foody but not too foody vibe. A similar odd combination of spicy and quenching. That doesn't match any of the reviews, but the reviews don't match each other, so I suspect that this is one of those chameleon scents.

Wild Roses: I rarely like rose perfumes. I love real roses. I love this perfume. I agree with the "candied rose", but it requires a redefinition. "Candied" usually means that any bite has been eliminated from the thing in question, and then the resulting blandness is brought back up to acceptability with sugar. That's not what's going on here. The rose still has its bite; it's tangy-orange-peel-bitter tangled with rose-soaked candied sweetness. And there I run out of words. But in case you had any doubts, I love it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perfume: My Favorites

I love Hostess Ding Dongs. (I'd better run out and find some before they're gone forever. If they aren't already.) I'm not under any illusion that they're a high-quaity example of the pastry-maker's art, but I love the things anyway.

I mention this because I've been thinking about the difference between the perfumes that I hold in the highest regard, and the perfumes that I love the most. If I were required to come up with a list of the ten finest perfumes, I'd spend a long time fussing and researching and come up with a list of mostly well-regarded creations. If I were required to come up with the ten perfumes that I'd limit myself to for the rest of my life, I'd come up with a different list, after just as much fussing and researching.

When I want to come up with the perfumes that I love best, there's really not much fussing and researching; they just come forward and announce themselves. I'm slightly relieved to see that there are no real guilty pleasures in the lot, but that's just how it turned out, not evidence of any good taste on my part. 

So here they are, with links to the relevant Review Roundup. They're not presented in any particular order, except for their leader.

Chanel No. 19 ParfumWhen the call comes for the favorites to come on stage, most of them gather together, chatting and giggling. They hang back and wait for No. 19 to calmly, coolly, push her way through the curtain and stand--arms folded; why am I wasting her time on this?--before the audience. No. 19 isn't easy, or friendly, or affable; she won her position on grounds of sheer beauty. Clear, knife-sharp green softened with just enough floral sweetness to barely--barely--keep her from drawing blood. I'm a little afraid of her, and so I should be.

Shiseido White Rose: I've been struggling to explain White Rose, and I finally realized what I was recognizing but failing to put into words: Her personality. See, White Rose is utterly beautiful; I can imagine falling down and drowning in the rose and being perfectly happy to die that way. But beauty, however glorious, can be dull without context, some dominant aspect beyond the beauty--without personality. For Chanel No. 19, that personality is the abstractness, the other-worldliness, the razor edge of the green, the fact that I can see her standing on that stage, impassively watching me and daring me to declare White Rose to be her equal.

White Rose has enough beauty to spare for caricature; when I smell her I get a vibe that's exaggeratedly classic. I see debutante balls--not the debutantes, but the still-beautiful mothers in their ball gowns. I see The Shop Around The Corner, the well-dressed lady settled comfortably by the counter, tended by deferential shop assistants scurrying with perfume bottles. I see black and white photos of ladies lunching, and lengths of pink taffeta, and those little hats called fascinators. White Rose is classic, gorgeously so, but she's laughing about it.

Aftelier Cepes and Tuberose: I sniffed this one quite early in my perfume obsession, after reading about it in 100 Fragrances every Perfumista Should Try. It was beautiful then, before I developed my craving for the weird, and it's still beautiful as that craving grows. Tuberose is a wonderful inseparable mix of clean and dirty, bright, clear sweet floral beauty and warm, close, unwashed animalic notes. Cepes & Tuberose adds earthiness and forest floor and fungus as another contrast with the clean and bright, and in time it also introduces an oddly edible browned butter note. The result is deeply strange, faintly repellent, and therefore glorious. 

Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale: Fire; brilliant cold flying sparks. Ginger tapdancing on a shining marble floor. That gulp of ice-cold root beer quenching a thirst that was created just for root beer to quench. An ice-coated winter tree with the sun blazing through it. This is winter joy, but a comfortable joy, not the almost-too-deep kind that nudges up to sorrow and sometimes makes you cry.

Balmain Ivoire: I mean the fairly recent version in the ugly square-column bottle, not the earlier versions, or the newer version in the nicer bottle, neither of which I've ever smelled. It's odd to love this one, knowing, as I do, that it's probably a sad travesty of the original. Odder, given that trumpeting aldehyde blast at the top, when I'm still not sure that I like aldehydes. But I don't care. I love that aldehyde blast, and the dry now floral/now green top that's tippety-tap-heels ladylike, a lady with old-fashioned manners but feminine power. My favorite part is the drydown scent of expensive soap, one of the most luxurious smells of any perfume. 

Serge Lutens Daim Blond: And here's more luxury, a warm silk-and-fur pool of it. Daim Blond smells of suede and fur, but the apricot and heliotrope merge with those smells, making them almost edible. Sushi Imperiale is a dancing scent, one of movement and freedom; Daim Blond is a long nap, wrapped in scented fur.

That's only six perfumes. What happened to Cristalle? Serge Noire? Tea for Two? Cuir de Russie?  don't know; I still love them, but at least today they didn't step forward with the crowd of favorites.