Sunday, August 8, 2010


So what would the ladies of Inception wear? What perfume was Mal wearing in her hotel room? Or what did Ariadne dash on before class?


Oh, also. If you could make (my tv boyfriend) Joe-Gordon Levitt wear anything, what would it be?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

new favorite

I am loving Regina Harris's Frankincense, Myrrh, Rose oil. But it's just too expensive for me. In the heat, it blooms into this softly-sweet, fruity rose with a kind of medicinal greenery underneath. I layer it with Lutens MKK sometimes for something truly medieval.

I am milking my sample. If anyone knows of a good dupe, I'd love to hear about it!

Also, what uncommon, non-cologne scents do you wear in the summer??

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I keep walking into my bedroom and smelling something particularly civet-ty.

There's something leaking somewhere, but what is it??

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ohh, sigh

If I could only wear one line for the rest of my life, and it was Sonoma Scent Studio, I'd be perfectly content. Forever.

I have never felt this fannish about a perfume house. I am looking forward to seasonal releases like a baseball fanatic waiting for spring training. If I had to have a signature scent, it would be Wood Violet. I'm a little scared that I can't wear Wood Violet into my twilight years. What if it's discontinued? What kind of old grandma will I be if I can't smell like a suffocating blanket of over-sprayed Wood Violet everywhere I go??

If you haven't tried Erickson's line, shame on you. Shame!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Perfume: texture

Perfume texture. I'm not sure how to talk about this, but to me, texture is a huge part of why or how a perfume is successful (or not). Instead of trying to explain how perfume can have texture (because I have no idea how to do that), I'll just write up some textural impressions I've had while wearing certain scents.

Wazamba: By all accounts, Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire should work for me. I should love the resiny-sweetness of the apple/frankincense mix. But there's something off about this perfume, something that makes it less successful than it should be.

The texture of Wazamba is chewy, caramelly but not in smell, in feel. And it's like when you heat up sugar for candy. Its texture is similar to the feel of heated sugar coating the back of a spoon. It's an odd texture, because in my experience, incense in real life is dry or only slightly resiny, smoking and/or burning. Giving an incense scent a chewy quality creates a cognitive dissonance. They don't completely go together. The way it feels affects my enjoyment of the smell. It seems too cloying, too chewy.

Le Baiser du Dragon: by Cartier is very feline. It wears like a sleek, living fur coat. It's totally smothering to me sometimes, and other times it's gorgeous.

Shaal Nur: I gravitate towards Etro perfumes, but I wonder if it's an aesthetic thing (do I like their perfumes?) or a generational thing (does the house just speak to my age group?). I don't wear Shaal Nur often, but I think what Shaal Nur does with vetiver is genuinely unique and refreshing. Vetiver can be dark, medicinal, sour, minerally, dirty. Shaal Nur's vetiver is light, airy. It's like vetiver that's been aerated into bright, sunny light. I don't think anyone would ever have described vetiver as sunny before Shaal Nur.

Le Temps d'une Fete: by Parfums de Nicolai. I love so many from this house. It took me a day to really get Le Temps. Probably because I'm not a galbanum fan (unless it's paired hand-in-hand with labdanum). Galbanum's sappy, bitter quality isn't my favorite thing ever. But balanced with a round, warming narcissus and drying down to a milky sandalwood, Le Temps reminds me of dandelion milk. Dandelion milk is sticky-viscous like green sap but still milky. This is exactly how Le Temps feels on my skin, in my nose.

What are some of your impressions of perfume texture?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Purge

This is a stage we all go through, right?

For two years, I've been amassing a ridiculous collection. Not over 70 but. There was a time when I was close. I owned things I'd never wear, for comparison's sake only (like the modern Mitsouko, Opium, vintage Poison, etc). I bought impulsively from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, the perfume discounters, ebay (shudder). I had bags and bags of samples I'd barely tested, just collected and brought out to sniff once in a while, pleased with owning even these little treasures of scent in such mass quantities.

Recently, I've started to feel overwhelmed by my collection. I'm never going to wear Paloma Picasso. Why was it taking up space in my room? So I started sending my friends and family stuff. The wonderful daughter of a friend of mine got my early Tocca purchases. Another friend got the Opium. Another, the 24, Faubourg and more.

And when the culling began, I couldn't stop. Was I ever going to finish a 100 ml bottle of Narciso Rodriguez for Her? I like it, I really like it? Well, I always have Lovely, if I need some white musk. Do I need Shaal Nur? It's a little too vetiver-sour on me. What about the Mitsouko? Will I ever wear it just because I feel guilty that I don't adore it? What about the vintage L'Air du Temps parfum? Just because it was such a fantastic find, does that mean I should horde it away when I don't enjoy the deep, milky woodiness of it on my skin?

So I've begun. Just giving/selling/trading it all away. My cupboard is startlingly bare now. And what's left isn't much of a fragrance wardrobe. I'm keeping the slew of Shalimars: old, new, Eau de, Light, cologne, parfum, etc etc. And the tiny vials of vintage Fracas parfum and Bandit parfum, which were hardwon and seem precious now. And the bottle of Sacrebleu, which gives me almost hallucinatory associations of my grandmother's house in the 80s. For some reason I can't pinpoint. And the Nombril Immense, which sometimes gets caught on my sweaters days later and adds so much more charm to whatever else I'm wearing. And then the Jubilation 25, which smells like girl-sex and a light powdering of cinnamon, mmmmm. I only have a 16 ml decant, but someday I'll own a whole bottle. /dreams

It's not a very well-rounded collection now, but it's well-loved. And wearable. I might become one of those signature scent types, but with like, 15 signature scents. Which probably still seems crazy to scent-outsiders, but is, let's face it, pretty chill by our standards.

Segue: Sometimes I like to look at the Rochas Man bottle and laugh. What were they thinking?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I very rarely get a chance to go to my local Nordstrom's perfume counter because I'm usually wrangling a 15-month-old and 7-year-old full time. When I do get a chance, it's with baby in tow or for a few, breathless seconds to myself. I don't often go to buy right away, but to try new releases, smell old favorites, plan my next purchase. I very seldom ask for anything in return. I don't request samples from the SAs, ever. I just like to smell perfume! It's pretty casual.

But the SAs are like sharks there, and that has really turned me off of the whole fragrance counter experience. It's completely awkward and uncomfortable for me to see them power-playing each other for my attention. And when they get it, it's not usually to drop any real knowledge on me about scent, so I end up having to politely wave off whatever they're trying to sell me. (Today was my favorite: "Oh, you like Shalimar? You'd LOVE She-Wood then!" ???)

Anyway, one of the ladies gave me her card a long time ago and I've just happened to purchase things while she was manning the counter. Now, she seems to assume we have some kind of partnership or relationship. And whenever she 'catches' me talking to other SA's in the odd half-hour I get to swing by, she seems frustrated with my disloyalty and gives me this passive-aggressive talking to, about how she was there yesterday, why didn't I come in when she didn't have a meeting? or Jeez, I've been wondering what happened to you. You don't come in here anymore! Or maybe you just come in when I'm not around.

It's completely irritating to me because this is my free time! To do something totally frivolous and fun, when I don't have to be on anyone's schedule. And it's something I can only work in here or there. It's such a cliche, but being a mom is a 24/7 job. I don't get like, a regular break where I can schedule time with this SA. I get stolen hours. I get frantic, last minute rush-throughs. I spend all day considering the every need of two people, I do not feel like being responsible to the woman who sells me perfume. Maybe that's selfish! But that's just it, that's my selfish time. And when someone is trying to mess with it, I get really frustrated and defensive.


This whole rant is totally a oppressed mother rant, isn't it? SIGH. Lame.

Friday, April 9, 2010

White Privilege and Perfume

So first I want to clear up, I'm a white girl. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable when they approach race discussions, asking "Why does it matter if you're white or not?" and I think it always matters. Acknowledging I'm white in this discussion is a way of admitting that there are things I don't know, everyday experiences I am ignorant of, a point where my own knowledge will come up seriously lacking.

I've been involved in other online communities that have been critiqued for unexamined white privilege issues. Last year (or the year before) the scifi community offered a wealth of thoughts and discourse on cultural appropriation and the unfortunate ways white authors co-opt and/or stereotype minority experience, etc. It was a mind-opening, incredibly educative moment in the community.

Since then, I've moved into the perfume community, mostly as a silent reader (though I've just started this blog for my own thoughts). I want to say that, by pointing out problematic quotes here, I'm not trying to offend anyone or pass judgment on anyone's moral character. I quote only to say, look. These are problematic. And there are a few of these problems. Making the community accessible to anyone should be everyone's concern and goal. By quoting, I'm trying to open a discourse on the ways we might be failing to do that. Unexamined white privilege is insidious. Talking about it could never be more offensive than ignoring it.

Recently, while reading through a blogger's perfume reviews, I came across this passage comparing two scents: they both possess that most coveted of feminine real estate: acres of creamy white flesh that they use to their advantage in manipulating men. This is not the first time in the community that I've seen 'white skin' being admired as the most coveted real estate. Who can forget the release of Banana Republic's Alabaster, the ad campaign of the pale-white model that left no wiggle room for what 'alabaster' was meant to evoke and the subsequent outpouring of criticism? Well, a lot of people probably don't remember that, because it was isolated to a few journals and articles, and most of the criticism I found was angry criticism against the critics for 'being too sensitive' or for 'looking for offense where there was none' or, more offensively, for having 'white-fright'.

In his ad-copy for Serge Noire, Serge Luten's wrote "Pour vous belles éthérées! Peaux blanches et serge noire...", which Perfumeshrine pointed out was a visual contrast between white skin and black cloth, evoking 'ethereal beauty'. Pink Manhattan was one of the only bloggers to criticize the inherent white privilege of this ad-copy. Her comments in other blogs about it were erased, though they were not offensive, and she was ridiculed for being too 'PC'.

And then there's always Elizabeth Arden's White Shoulders, with every pale-pink bottle decorated with a woman's back and shoulders.

So the problem here is that when white shoulders are coveted or desirable or beautiful, then by implication, non-white shoulders are lacking, unwanted, not beautiful. This isn't a problem without historical precedent or context, but by admitting so should not lessen our community responsibility to talk about these prejudices when they come up and are before us.

Another example of white privilege I've noticed is the continual legitimacy afforded to the theory that scent smells different on different people sometimes because of their skin color. I've seen this discussed more than a handful of times in threads, and have each time been surprised by the honest belief people have in this theory. Here is one example I saved, from a Victoria's Secret perfume review: I first smelled this on a black woman who shared my dormitory. It smelled marvelous on her, and I bought some for myself. Somehow on my Asian skin, it changed to a quite different smell -- sour and totally annoying. I never wore it again! I've notice some white women wearing it, and it doesn't smell the same either. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with body chemistry.

I'm not arguing that individual skin chemistry doesn't play a role in our perfume aesthetics and experiences, but by making that phenomenon about skin color is another way of exoticizing 'the other'. There is nothing mysterious or different or weird about other people who have different skin color than you. They have no magical way of changing their perfume based on their skin color. The ongoing rehash of this theory only promotes ignorance. It's white privilege that allows us to bandy these thoughts about with no real concern or awareness of how they affect people or isolate them from engaging with the community, that lets us do these things with no real consequences.

Another thing I've found was the use of problematic, privileged language, like when in a perfume review for a Le Labo scent, a perfume blogger compared the charry smoke of Patchouli 24 to the heart of a tar-baby. I call this 'privileged language' because it is utilizing a term that carries a lot of weight and historical meaning for a group of people, but isn't acknowledging that or contextualizing it. You can't use the word 'tar-baby' without evoking a certain response. It is then irresponsible of the reviewer to use it in this fashion, without acknowledgment of the ways tar-baby is problematic and hurtful.

So what can the average blogger/person in the community do about white privilege? We can't make Serge Lutens change his ad-copy. That's probably not going to happen easily. I think what we can do is talk about these issues when they come up, make it a subject that we all realize is necessary and ok to discuss. I think people are afraid to approach race subjects because they don't want to 'get it wrong' or be 'ignorant'. But to not discuss them is much more hurtful. One of my favorite critical reviews was Legendez's review of Idole de Lubin. Not only does she critique the scent on its own merit, she also examines race issues with Lubin's marketing campaign and the way it exoticized African culture and experience to give the perfume a 'story' for predominately anglo-western consumers. It was not only a great perfume review, it was an interesting and informative read.

So white privilege is a universal problem that needs to be approached where ever it's found, even in our online perfumes blogs and communities. There is no example of white privilege that is too small or seemingly petty, even if it's 'just about' perfume ad-copy. By dismissing these criticisms or discussions as being 'too fussily PC,' we're reprimanding others for their desire to be heard or for their frustrations to be recognized. These are legitimate problems. If we want a community that is open to all people, we need to be ok with addressing white privilege and how it affects our perception and the people around us. We need to be ok about being called out sometimes or being the ones responsible for calling out. We need to be honest and air out our dirty laundry for anyone to see.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Perfume is weird

I will never buy perfume because Men love it! How many times have you heard that?

Most of the men I grew up with could barely dress themselves without their wives laying out their clothes for them. I can't imagine letting those guys choose what perfume I wear.

My husband is a most-excellent fellow, yet he has strange ideas about perfume that make me think, phew! Glad I don't buy based on his likes/dislikes. The only time I put on D&G's The One for Men, he walked into the room and said "Ugh, you smell like an old lady!"


And then, the only one he's EVER complimented, even stuck his face my elbow crook and sniffed extravagantly, was Tabu. Ahaha, of course. (It WAS vintage Tabu, which I think is wonderful, but really. Tabu. So predictable.)

I will also never get is the perfume is so transformative! thing. Perfume becoming part of dreamy, wishful identity-making makes me uncomfortable. I don't spritz on Vol de Nuit and lapse into a daydream about being mysterious and interesting and angular, a film noir femme fatale. I'm 29, I live in the suburbs. I've got two kids. I got all kinds of identity: natural birth advocate/feminist/writer/art student/frazzled mom/baker/wife. I don't really need to bring perfume into that. I don't become anything altered when I wear it. I pick perfume based on my moods/whims, but I don't need it to stand in for the way I feel about myself on a certain day. I don't need it for that.

Neither of these are great sins to me or anything, but they're the things that throw me off in perfume blogosphere. There's another one, but it's all tied up in race and white privilege, and that seems like it might need a whole post for itself. So another time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I'm a perfume everyday kind of person. I can't understand 'unscented'. Even when I was recovering from the stomach flu, I sprayed a little something on to comfort me. Just a little, just for me. I wish I remembered which perfume it was now. Maybe it's better not to remember. That means I didn't develop any bad associations with the scent.

Today I dabbed a little vintage Michelle by Balenciaga parfum on my hand. Just to see how buttery the gardenia was. I want all my gardenias to smell like they've been macerated into melty, unsalted Kerrygold. Mmmmmm. I want them to go on creamy and almost edible. Michelle isn't as voluptuous as I'd like, but she's spiced with something cinnamon-y, so she's that much more gourmand. I want to eat ice cream that tastes as good as this smells.

But I'm taking everyone to the movies today and need to wear something that won't bother any other patrons. White flowers seem to bother people, so I'll go for a soft, comforting layer of Nombril Immense again. Woot! I woke up with Nombril Immense in the crook of my elbow and it smelled so lovely. I want to wear it ALL THE DAYS.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Summer Scents

A lot of people reach for a citrus or fresh splash when summer comes, but I hate the way these scents can wither under the oppressive LA heat or take on a metallic bite. I like perfumes that can melt with me.


It's been so hot in LA, which means I get to dig out all my summer favorites. I love Shalimar in the summer, when it blooms all smoky and hay-sweet and vanillic. It takes a good sheen of sweat to make Shalimar go all golden and buttery on my skin. I love smelling it later when I get undressed for bed, the dry-down all salt-tinged suede at my throat. It's amazing to me that I used to find Shalimar old ladyish. Now it seems like a young, wild-child scent. Like something I might want to wear when I drive down to Chatsworth to go two-stepping.


All winter, I bypassed my musk scents. When it's too smoggy-overcast outside, I don't really want the skin-cling of musk on me, making me feel that much more weighed down and dirtied. It's only when the weather spikes above 70 that I start looking at my favorite musks again. I love the nutty-leather jacket scent of Annick Goutal's Musc Nomade. Its earthy-herbal musk is such an easy wear compared to animalic, skanky musks. I think I'm a bit anosmic to ambrette. I can't smell it at all in Le Labo's Ambrette 9. So perhaps the barely-there nuttiness of Musc Nomade is an anosmia thing.

I also love Narciso Rodriguez for Her, the edt and the body lotion. The lotion is especially warm and salty-skin smelling. Just thinking about wearing it during the winter made me a little queasy. But now, when it's hot and it'll haze there, all humid and girl-smelling, I love it. I can't wait until high summer to really sink into it.


I've had so much luck with antique malls lately (just this morning I grabbed up an unopened, boxed vial of vintage Tabu parfum) that suddenly I'm one of those vintage perfume people. You know the ones, who are like "Oh, this? It's vintage [insert obscure frag here]. You can't buy it anymore." I don't know what to do with all this stuff, I just put it in a shoebox that I open sometimes to ogle. It seems like a too serious responsibility for me, to own vintage frags. Who is this perfume collector I've become? I barely feel like an adult woman! What am I thinking? What if there's an earthquake! /anxiety attack!

But I wear them anyway. I'm not going to keep a box of unused old perfume in my closet so that they can all be shipped back to the antique malls when I pass away. I'm glad I wear them too. They really don't make them like this anymore.

Vintage Emeraude. I don't even know how to start. It's probably the most gorgeous perfume in my collection. Who would have thought, this drugstore standby would end up being my favorite thing? From my splash bottle, it starts off like you've powdered it on, a soft puff of scent on your wrist. But as it goes, it deepens, becomes rich and sunny. It's powdery but not in a powder-bomb way. It's smoky, but not barbecue. It's a gorgeous Shalimar-type scent that's much more grown up. Not ladylike exactly, but for a lady. It lays close to the skin, but I never feel naked in it. A few dabs here and there with a skirt and blouse and I'm halfway to put-together, even in the summer. Especially in the summer. Gorgeous.

Another new favorite is vintage Diorissimo. I read that one should never buy Diorissimo that has turned from golden/hay-colored to deep auburn or whiskey-dark. But I recently grabbed a bottle of a turned-looking Diorissimo cologne (in the houndstooth), and though it is a bit lighter wearing than my unturned vintage bottle, it is still Diorissimo.

I wonder if this is one I should try reformulated? I don't see how you can go wrong. To me, Diorissimo is just green, reedy lily-of-the-valley over girlish musk. I guess they've banned the aromachemical that makes up Diorissimo's lily? I don't know the details. But what a shame, because it's a perfectly simple, understated recipe. I don't usually like lily-of-the-valley, which can be sharp like a cold spike right to my frontal lobe, but the fresh greenery on top of Diorissimo and then the musky dry down that smells like girl-knickers is just so well-rounded and pretty. I sometimes like to dab a tiny bit on my wrist just for my own enjoyment while I make dinner or write. Anyway, this is a green scent I can get behind for the summer. It's got that refreshing dewy quality and squeaky-clean lily, but then an undertone of girl arousal. That's really what it smells like! I won't pull any punches.

For a modern take on the same idea, I'd go for Parfums DelRae's Debut. The lily there is almost cloying, but it goes musky quickly and is audaciously evocative of sexual arousal, I sometimes feel like I should pearl-clutch while wearing it.


People on basenotes are always saying things about patchouli that I don't get. One of my friends says "Patchouli is the spicest thing I can take, I guess," and I say "Patchouli is spicy?" And another girl: "Patchouli smells like a headshop to me," and I'm like "Patchouli is headshoppy?" All the headshops I grew up skulking around in smelled like Nag Champa. And the only hippie I knew who wore scent wore an essential oil called Rain (I think Neil Morris's Rainflower is of a similar style). So I don't have these kinds of bad associations with patchouli. But whatever, I have sandalwood problems. Does anyone else think sandalwood smells like peanut butter? No? Nobody?

So right now I've fallen for Etat Libre d'Orange's Nombril Immense. The ELDO scents I've tried (Fat Electrician, Charogne, Jasmin et Cigarette) were too indolic for me. The jasmine they use wavers between cleaning solution and the stinky halitosis breath. Fat Electrician left me reeling a little. I was worried when I traded Storer's Monk (too much civet!) for Nombril Immense-unsniffed-that I'd be disappointed.

Not so! Nombril Immense is strange and perfect and loamy. It smells like dirt and resin, but it's not heavy or sticky. The patchouli is earthy and fragrant. It's not a completely linear scent, but it starts out earthy and just gets deeper, richer, aromatic. I'd love to smell it on a man. My husband won't wear anything, I'd have to attack!scent him to get it on him. Sigh. This is exactly how I want my tv boyfriend to smell (who is Richard Alpert on Lost, ok?). For me, it's a light-wearing, cologne-type scent of the summer. I adore it.

That's my perfume post for now! I'll be back with stories about weird perfume compliments and exclamations.

Friday, March 19, 2010

L'heure Bleue

The citrus topnotes must have faded on this, because it's just the base now, all camphor-cream smelling aniseseed, musty flowers and a dry down that gets woodier and sweeter as it goes.

People say L'Heure Bleue is powdery, but it's not like the giant powder-bomb that Habanita is. I think they mean more that L'Heure Bleue smells like old-fashioned perfumed powder, and has a texture like wearing powder. It lays close to the skin, like the finish of a powder, and just barely kicks up this soft scent. It has the effect of smelling like it might be your own skin, the way it lays so close and subtle. But it doesn't smell like skin at all. It's very beautiful, delicate.


They still make Fracas and you can easily get a small eau de parfum roll-on for under 20 dollars at Sephora, which is kind of excellent. I've always liked this massive white floral (mostly tuberose) scent, but I only wear it once in a while because it has a screechy, in your face quality that is hard for me to pull off.

I saw this same little vial of the parfum at the antique mall for a song so I bought it and thought I'd give the vintage, pre-reformulation scent a chance. What a huge difference, holy shit.

Vintage Fracas is well-rounded, goes DEEP. I've noticed that most vintages have this quality, using now-banned aromachemicals to create depth and roundness. It's the difference between grape juice and red wine. They both come from grapes, but you're not mistaking one for the other. Fracas was made by the famous gender-bending perfumer Germaine Cellier, who was notorious for using 'bases' in her creations. A lot of houses have a House base. Guerlain has its vanilla-bergamot-lilac Guerlinade, old Caron's have their dark Mousse de Saxe, etc, but Germaine Cellier used handfuls of pre-made bases in each of her perfumes. This was seen as a sort of cheap cheat used by amateurs, but the effect was deep, round, multi-layered perfumes. Modern reproductions of her perfumes are shallow at best, because her ingredients lists were pages long, and a lot of these bases either don't exist anymore, contain banned aromachemicals or were just plain forgotten. It's a pity.

New Fracas has this knifing-your-brain accord that kills me, reminds me of the way cleaning chemicals smell sharp and dangerous, bleachy. The whole scent starts off with this BUTTERY, heavy cream Gardenia and Orange Blossom, and then knife-knife! The dry down gets a little woody, but it doesn't develop much past the knifing and the woodiness.

Vintage Fracas starts out with that same buttery white florals accord and just keeps GOING. Like the thick, soft thighs of a girl parting, it just keeps getting creamier and richer and muskier and deeper and sweeter. After a while, it's like eating too much of a good, rich dessert, though it's not a gourmand in any way. Finally, there IS a steel-blade of an accord that cuts through the richness. It's like the sea salt on a buttery caramel, just enough of something to make the sweetness bearable. In vintage Fracas, the note is a clean, bright lily-of-the-valley. Sharp and sleek like being cut by a thin metal wire, it saves the whole scent from turning into a creamy, oversweet melt-down.

It's gorgeous and sultry and voluptuous and I'm already looking at my little parfum and mourning the fact that it can't last forever. SAD.

I'll be back with vintage Emeraude and others later.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perfume reviews

Diorella by Dior: A lady I met on the boards sent me a sample of vintage Diorella and Jesus, how gorgeous is that?

Some perfume uses indoles from musk or jasmine, those slightly overripe, almost fecal-like or dirty-skin-like notes that add depth and roundness. It's like how you add fish sauce to thai dishes. Try smelling fish sauce on its own sometime. It's pretty nasty. But try to make pad thai without it sometime. It's just not right. Indoles are used like this in perfume.

But Diorella doesn't utilize that typical dirty jasmine. Instead, it has this overripe, warm melon skin scent to it. Just slightly sweet, musky and fleshy. It's got that ripe-girl thing going on, but Diorella isn't trying to hide that behind spice or greenery, Diorella is ALL about the unwashed girl. I feel sort of self-conscious, like if I wore this out, people would be like "wtfff, she smells like a sweaty quickie in a dirty bed! Awkward!" Which is a pretty evocative scent but uh, I don't know if I can WEAR that. Anyway. Your grandma probably wore this. Hahaha, compared to our overly saccharine or polite fruity-florals of today, our grandma's were some serious skanks. How great is that?

Classic Zen by Shiseido: I was in Nordstroms the other day, skulking around, yearning for another sample of Chanel 22 (incense? YES PLEASE) when I passed the tiny Shiseido counter and noticed a long, floral-patterned black bottle behind register. It was the only one amongst the new, cubist bottles of modern (2007?) Zen. I was like "HEY, Shiseido lady!" And she was like "Mnnnn, can I help you?" with that 'I-am-stooping-pretty-low-to-talk-to-you,
Plebe' tone (oh Nordstrom's SAs, why so snobby?). So I made her shuffle the bottles around and pull out the black one.

So Shiseido discontinued its old Zen years ago, but I guess not very long after, people were still asking for it so they reformulated (I'm sure the new formulation is a bit watered down) their famous Zen recipe and put it out in limited distribution as "Classic: Zen", not to be mistaken with their MODERN, cube-bottled Zen (which is a completely different perfume all together) nor with their late 90s/early 2000s release of Zen: White...which I don't know anything about other than the bottle was white and looked like an alien space craft. (Dear perfume houses: reusing the same name over and over makes for a lot of confusion).

Anyway, Classic Zen! I asked to smell it and the lady made a face and said "It um...smells like something else on the skin." In the bottle it's all murky-depth, resinous and perfumey. So I asked her how much it was and was expecting like, a $60 price tag, or even $80. She checked and it was 30 dollars. THIRTY DOLLARS. I made a shocked face and was like "GIVE IT TO ME SLOWLY, OR I MAY NIP YOUR FINGERTIPS."

Anyway, Zen. What a great scent. You should all buy it because it's cheap as hell. But it's a very soft, balsamic scent with an odd, light sweetness and an interesting note that I think of as...when you're baking with bitter chocolate and afterward smell your hands and they're still softly, fragrantly chocolatey? That's what Zen smells like to me. Not a big powdery cocoa mess or overly sweet or even overly chocolatey, but like that. It's surprisingly modern and wearable for a scent that a 97-year-old woman friend of mine admitted to wearing when she was younger and "on the prowl".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Perfume Excursion

I sniffed Miss Balmain for the first time today. I get that charred-wood/stiff leather out of it. It's a little bit of a mindfuck that Miss Balmain is a feminine, when masculines like Narciso Rodriguez for Him are built on the same kind of burnt woods. But Miss Balmain has a rutty-animalic undertone to it. Very dry, butch, intense. The pink juice in the little beribboned bottle make for some cognitive dissonance.

Then I went and had the Estee Lauder woman at Nordstroms spray several cards for me...Knowing, Estee, Aliage, Private Collection, Spellbound...And then I fumbled them all up and was like "Uhhhh?"

Knowing was very lovely, soft, somewhat sweetly floral. I can't remember Aliage. Spellbound was a bit thick and unpleasant to me...I always think of that kind of unpleasantness as 'cheap jasmine-smell', but I don't really know. I'm probably making that up. Private Collection struck me as bitter, and I already have enough bitter perfumes to last me my whole snobby life. So I took the Estee. Estee might be better as a linen spray, because it smells very lovely out of the bottle, but a little bit intensely soapy on the skin. It's like trying to rush a shower and then finding Ivory Soap scum leftover on your elbow where you didn't quite rinse it off. If you're washing your elbows in the shower. I don't think I ever actually meticulously get at my elbows.

But I like the Estee the best.

Then I went and fiddled with a mini Cabochard. I'll have to sample it soon.

Also, the little perfume shop in the mall had one bottle of Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir that I've been eying for weeks, and then some lady came in and asked for it. She was probably in her mid-60s, had a look to her like she could have been a truck driver with a handle like Ramblin' Rose. Pretty red hair and a leather coat. I liked her right away, especially because she came right in, said "I want the Boudoir." There's a woman who knows her stuff. And wants to smell like post-coital bed sheets.

SIGH. They still have the giftbox of YSL's Nu...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Hi, my name is Weston and this is my first post on this blog.

Here's a list about me! I tried to write these all out in paragraphs, but it was snoozy.

I think...
-the 'olfactory arts' should be accessible to everyone
-perfume isn't always about identity-making, it's often about 'smelling nice'
-it's ok to laugh at perfume fanaticism. It's a little funny

On this blog you'll find...
-amateur, slightly bumbling perfume reviews with unrealistic comparisons and contrasts

And that's it for my introductory post. We'll see what happens from here.