Well, I did my bit for All Mankind recently. I was standing in Sephora perusing the men´s section, next to a nice-looking 30-something guy wearing a suit and a baffled expression. He was clutching what was probably his umpteenth bottle of Davidoff Cool Water (inoffensive, considering the alternatives) and muttering to himself as he looked at the other options. He finally said, à¢â‚¬Å“I have no idea.à¢â‚¬? Well, I had some ideas. So I strapped on my sidearms, put on my Perfume Posse badge and my cutest cowgirl hat, and went to work on him. He left 20 minutes later with a big smile on his face and two new bottles: Guerlain L´Instant Pour Homme and Terre d´Hermes. Sephora should start paying me a commission.
My job done, I smelled: Clean Men. We have the complete girly Clean line courtesy of Patty, which my tween girls just lurve. I smelled this out of curiosity à¢â‚¬” what would the guy version be like? Well, it´s just like the original Clean (which smells like laundry detergent to me) with a very pleasant overlay of citrus, which, sadly, melts away after the first 30 minutes, leaving you smelling like the original, which is one hundred times better than…
Hummer. The red one and the yellow one. No, I am not going to look up the notes. They were both nasty and tasteless, and March the Maleficent decrees to any man reading this: if you show up at your date´s door wearing this dreck, she (or he) will shut that door right in your face. You Were Warned.
Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison à¢â‚¬” Robin at Now Smell This reviewed the entire Poison oeuvre recently, prompting me to try Hypnotic, which I´d skipped (by the way, her comments section on Pure Poison contains some funny responses to her solicitations for suggestions for their next set of Poisons.) I was wowed by the original and worked through a bottle Back in the Day, but it´s just too much for me now, although I still appreciate how ground-breaking it was. Hypnotic smells not particularly Poison-ous, and I´m reviewing it here precisely because I was sure I´d hate it à¢â‚¬” it´s a gourmand fragrance à¢â‚¬” and I was soooo wrong. It´s lovely and eminently wearable, in my opinion the most wearable of them all. It has an almond-nutty-caraway edible richness without overt sweetness that is oddly addicting. Someone commented that it´s a man-magnet, and I can sure see why.
Hermes 24, Faubourg Eau Delicate à¢â‚¬” I have grown to appreciate the beauty of the original 24, Faubourg, but somehow I never seem quite up to its haughty splendor, which to me smells like Evening-wear Perfume in the most ornamental sense (orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, vanilla, musk, oakmoss, amber, and patchouli). Eau Delicate is clearly a cousin of the original, but the heady amber perfume is replaced by a light citrus woodiness that is stunning and closer to the skin. This would smell wonderful on a woman or a man.
I am far behind in my Candy Box sampling, due to recent events (I have some vintage Guerlains that are crying for attention), but I dug around and came up with:
L´Artisan Tilleuls au Vent which is so lovely it made me tear up a little. My new favorite linden, I like it even more than the Pre de Provence (which I like a lot) à¢â‚¬” less focused on the flower (which many would argue is a good thing, even I admit linden is a little funky). To me it smells like linden, tea, and honey in the sun, and does that not sound like perfume heaven? It is. FYI this is a room spray. Go ahead. Put it on, your arm won´t fall off. You´ll smile all day.
Serpentine EDP by Roberto Cavalli à¢â‚¬” à¢â‚¬Å“Gives you a lush feel of freshness & comfort à¢â‚¬¦ notes of mango flower combined with mandarin, tiare flower & amberà¢â‚¬? à¢â‚¬” strawberrynet.com You — the Cavalli! You of the astonishingly sexy clothing — you design the super-sexy bottle and fill it with fragrance that would be perfect for the Maxi-Pad scent strip! Feh! Note to all you clothing designers: release one more insipid feminine-hygiene-fresh fragrance and, in the words of Colombina the Terrible, heads will fly!
Marina keeps patiently sending me the finest vetiver scents, thinking that with enough exposure I´ll finally see the light. I am sorry to report that I am still unable to appreciate the glories of Sel de Vetiver, which has garnered many positive reviews but to me smells à¢â‚¬¦ uh, like salt and vetiver, which is different than the Guerlain Vetiver, Vetiver Pour Elle, or Vetiver Frozen, all of which smells like varying degrees of living green hell on me, and thank you so much for your generosity and patience. The Miller Harris Vetiver Bourbon goes wrong in a completely different direction à¢â‚¬” on me it becomes your basic head-shop patchouli-smell that makes me think of hamster cages. One of my life´s sorrows is how bad such a ubiquitous note as vetiver is on me à¢â‚¬” Wickle Chestnut & Vetiver´s nutty glory seems to be a rare exception. I promise I will keep trotting them out to see if my feelings change. Oh, speaking of which, it must be time for my semi-monthly re-test to see if I´m able to finally appreciate the glory that isà¢â‚¬¦
Bandit by Robert Piguet. To me this one is like a backbend in yoga à¢â‚¬” I don´t think I´ll ever get there, but that doesn´t stop me from trying. Hah, two months of smelling my skank-nasty-love Le Labo Vetiver has opened my mind a bit more to this one. A supremely butch leather with a hint of green. However, I still can´t quite imagine the circumstances that would lead to me reaching for this one. There is nothing that whispers à¢â‚¬Å“wear meà¢â‚¬? in here.
Donna Karan Labdanum à¢â‚¬” I think the blogger consensus was that these were fine, but probably not worth the money, especially since you´re supposed to buy all four (wenge, lavender, jasmine and labdanum) for $165 a pop and layer them. I can easily live without the lavender and the jasmine, but the sweet-smoky woody wenge was a no-brainer for an incense-lover like yours truly (okay, I bought a large decant). Colombina the Terrible is now reminding me how much I really need a larger decant of the labdanum, a resin-y smell that makes a perfect partner with the wenge and is a wonderful smell on its own when I´m looking for something straightforward and beautiful and meditative.
Guerlain Derby à¢â‚¬” Oh à¢â‚¬¦ my à¢â‚¬¦ God. I believe this is marketed (or, sadly, as is the case with so many great Guerlains, not really marketed) as a men´s fragrance and is only available at Guerlain´s flagship store in Paris, which is a crying shame. (Bergamot, Lemon, Artemisia, Peppermint, Pimento, Rose, Pepper, Mace, Jasmine,Leather, Vetiver, Sandal, Patchouli, Moss à¢â‚¬” basenotes.net) A weepingly gorgeous unisex scent with a strong green-floral opening and a peppery, leather-Guerlinade drydown. I think any reasonable person who likes the Guerlain base and/or leather (which is just killer in this one) would love it. It manages the rare feat of being extremely refined and, simultaneously, wildly sexy. Guys à¢â‚¬” total chick-magnet territory. Ladies — if you´re not afraid of leather and a little skank, it´s a stunner.
Well, it´s time for this week´s free sample giveaway à¢â‚¬” Festival of Weirdness! Yep, these are things I´ve collected because they´re a little unusual. Etro Messe de Minuit à¢â‚¬” be the first one on your block to smell like Midnight Mass (or possibly moldy books!!) POTL Luctor et Emergo à¢â‚¬” will it be floral incense, or Play-Doh, on your skin? Waft some Iso E-Super compliments of Molecule! My beloved Versace Dreamer à¢â‚¬” caramel-leather heaven or auto-parts-Tootsie-roll hell?! And several others that will be surprises. Note: just cuz I think they´re weird doesn´t mean they´ll be weird to/on you. But they won´t smell like an Escada LE, either. And that´s a good thing. If you want to be entered in the drawing, use the word à¢â‚¬Å“weirdà¢â‚¬? in your comment below à¢â‚¬” as in, à¢â‚¬Å“I think linden smells weird,à¢â‚¬? or à¢â‚¬Å“you must be weird for spending that kind of dough on such nonessential fripperies as these,à¢â‚¬? or à¢â‚¬Å“Bandit should be sprayed as punishment on weird, manipulative people like Tom Cruise.à¢â‚¬? You get the idea. I´ll have First or Second Daughter do the drawing and announce à¢â‚¬” soon.