In case you´ve been worried that, based on recent posts, I´ve grown a little too disciplined and refined in my fragrance sampling, don´t worry – I´ve been slutting around in the candy. In fact, the last week or two brought a shameful number of samples. Not that I´m ashamed …
Tocca – three fragrances: Touch, Stella, and Florence. I´m not a candle queen, and my research is a little … half-assed, but I gather that two of these EDPs (Stella and Florence) were based on Tocca candle scents. Stella is my favorite at the outset; notes are blood orange, aquatic notes, lily, orchid, freesia, sandalwood, musk. Stella makes me think of a creamsicle – but one from your favorite nouvelle cuisine spot, made by the dessert chef using a simple syrup of blood oranges and her grandmother´s closely-guarded recipe for vanilla gelato. I get nothing aquatic (thankfully). It´s a very nice fragrance, but I´m not sure I like it any more than the new one from L´Occitane, although the Tocca bottle has an appealing, old-fashioned charm. My drydown favorite ended up being Touch (Pomegranate, Peach flower, Tiare Flower, Jasmine, Gardenia, Egyptian Balsam, Sandalwood), with the tart opening giving way to the sweetness of the jasmine and gardenia. Looking at that list of notes doesn´t excite me, but somehow on me Touch ends up being better than it sounds – I get quite a bit of resin-y sandalwood in the drydown, which turns out to be a great foil for its white-floral headiness. Finally, Florence sounded interesting (Bergamot, Drenched Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Jasmine Petals, Tuberose, Iris, White Musk, Spiced Woods); I expected it to be rather green. I knew something was wrong as soon as it hit my skin; while it was morphing into a scrubber I did some further online research and discovered the following at La Crà¨me: “Florence is the sophisticated essence of the old European garden rose known as Centifolias or cabbage´ rose. Bred in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Dutch, Centifolias are noted for their highly fragrant blooms as well as their one hundred (cento) petals…” In other words, despite the notes listed, Florence is pretty much a rose fragrance. Ugh. Yes, I know that´s completely unfair and useless. You rose fans will have to do your own research.
Les Nez – I tackled L´Antimatiere on Monday. Today I´ll cover the other two. Let Me Play the Lion – I´m pretty sure I´m the last person to review this, and I want to say one word: cedar. Les Nez doesn´t publish their fragrance notes, and I know everyone else was over the moon on this one. But mostly what I smell is cedar, and I am sad to say that, like the princess with the pea, cedar is a note I don´t love in quantity. Any normal person would be entranced by its woods, its smoke and its warmth, like being wrapped inside a thick wool blanket. But instead I am left with the brutal B.O. of the locker room after a grueling session at my hot yoga studio. I am still mourning my loss.
Les Nez The Unicorn Spell starts off, as Legerdenez described so well, with a perfect green bean note, and then slowly unfolds into an early spring violet. Unicorn has been described with the words frosty, chilled, cold, dark; but to me it has the vegetal warmth of damp earth, like CB Black March. It also bears some resemblance to Annick Goutal Violette, a sharp, earthy spring violet which (for all I know) might also have been created by Doyen, since she´s done a lot of work for AG. Anyone who´s looking for a violet but can´t stand the candied aspect should consider Unicorn, my favorite of the line.
Next, we have Nemo by Cacharel, a men´s cologne with lots of positive feedback on the fragrance boards. It´s been discontinued; it was also recommended to me by a regular commenter who shares the same tastes (not naming any names, Dusan). Notes are: Hinoki, betel leaf, incense, cedarwood, cardamom. I bought it unsniffed when I ran across a discounted bottle at a local retailer and – hey, look – there´s cedarwood in there! And this is a fatal flaw (see Let Me Play the Lion above), morphing the fragrance from an Incense/Woods dream into the daft but terrifying nightmare of the Grim Reaper, post work-out and pre-shower, carrying one of those little bags of cedar shavings for your gerbil cage. On you, however, it probably smells lovely.
Finally, let us all bow our heads in prayer for Andy Tauer´s soul, which he must have sold to the Devil in exchange for the ability to create one gratifyingly quixotic scent after another. I spent two days sniffing the unnamed lavender mod he´s fiddling with right now, on the heels of the spectacular Orris. I like lavender – I grow it all over my garden – but I tend to shy away from wearing anything that smells strongly of lavender. It´s too much like a sachet or laundry spray, and lavender has been sadly overworked in that department. Anyhow, if Serge Lutens´ masterful Encens et Lavande captures the exquisite mournfulness of the blooms perfuming a gentle rain in the cathedral graveyard, Andy´s lavender renders a dusty country lane in the shimmering heat of midsummer, the shade of oak trees, and the smell of the lavender field over the next ancient hill. By the way, I accidentally layered it with Lonestar Memories (you know how these things happen), a mistake well worth repeating.
Today´s giveaway: My Loss, Your Gain! Yes, believe it or not, I have one barely-used, boxed bottle of Cacharel Nemo! If you like woodsy incense, and men´s fragrances (and cedar) don´t scare you – really, it is quite nice. If you´d like to be included in the drawing, say so in the comments below.
tocca bottles: sephora.com