Wrong Scent, Wrong Time

We had a spate of 90-degree days recently, so I put down my bottle of Courtesan (still loving the Courtesan) and decided on a little experiment. I browsed my fragrances and randomly selected a few I would describe as totally wrong for me this time of year – either because they´re so heavy they´d kill me in the heat, or because something about them I associate very strongly with fall and/or winter (admittedly a subjective judgment.) I suppose this post should really be called “Right Scent, Wrong Time.” But it isn´t. Don´t forget I invited you to pick something “not you” or wrong-season to try out and comment on today. In no particular order, here are the results of my experiment:

Armani Prive Bois d´Encens – a supremely cold incense that I had to learn to love, and I only trot it out on the coldest of winter days, because on me it is a somber, strong fragrance, and I have to be in exactly the right frame of mind. For the first fifteen minutes in the summer heat I thought, this isn´t going to work. Then … I don´t know, it settled down. I got used to it? It was weirdly refreshing – just as strong, but something like carrying my own air-conditioning unit around with me. I would definitely do that again.

Fendi Theorema – one of the scents I wear in the dark teeth of winter when it´s sleeting and I´m depressed. It´s instant sunshine on me; how can you be unhappy with that radiant woody orange lighting everything around you like a solar system? In the summer, though, it´s just too much. Not a scrubber – I gritted my teeth and got through it – but it´s too syrupy and rich and thick and I felt like one of those bugs preserved in amber. No.

Caron Yatagan – in the winter, this is a lusty, dirty, leathery thing on me, and I can handle it. In the summer, it smells like I ran a marathon and then swam in the creek with the dog. And you know what? It worked. Okay, the people in the CVS were backing away politely, and I think I might have been attracting flies, but somehow I didn´t care. Kiss my boots and water my horses, sunburned tourists!

CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves (then layered with Gathering Apples) — As you might guess, this is a fall scent for me, and I wear it occasionally in the winter. I think it´s genius – an October lane in New England. In the summer? No. No, no, no. It didn´t smell bad. It was fine – not overwhelming or anything, but it was the fragrance equivalent of going insane – it was just all wrong.

Serge Lutens Fleurs d´Oranger – another fragrance I associate very strongly with fall, if for no other reason than I tend to wear it outdoors to the park in cool weather. Easily one of the biggest fragrances I wear (the sillage on me is immense, and it lasts two days on my skin) and I´ve even come to terms with the cumin. I thought it would be wretched. Instead, it morphed into something right for sultry summer. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, which only happens when something is really, really working for me. I think I was probably killing people around me with the sillage, and I wouldn´t wear it in the garden (bees) or in an elevator, but I loved it.

CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention – I consider this a winter comfort scent, affirming the fact that perfume folks have a pretty varied definition of “comfort.” I continue to feel there´s something primal and soothing about it; at the same time I totally understand those of you who find it appalling. Anyway. On it went, and I was running errands, feeling very smug about how well things were going, until I remembered: I´d bought the damn thing in New York with Patty last summer during a heat wave. I believe it was 103 degrees the day I purchased it. Thus proving that Skank Has No Season.

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice – This is, essentially, Christmas in a bottle. This is Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening. This is resiny, cool, pine-hugging love, with some incense thrown in. I can´t get enough of this thing in December. Well, for first three minutes in the heat it was great – like a refreshing walk through the cool, shady conifers… oh. Wait. Then it was like a beat-down at the hands of an angry mob wielding fir branches and large, heavy sacks full of mulling spices and lead weights. Total scrubber. Honestly, I hope I haven´t ruined this for myself. Trying to erase the memories.

Guerlain Mitsouko EDP or extrait – I stared hard at the bottles. Both of them. Really, really hard, out in my yard, in the sun. I just didn´t open them.

Bal a Versailles extrait – my punishment for wimping on the Mitsouko (which is sort of like choosing the firing squad over the electric chair.) Bal EDP I adore completely, its genius combination of almost candied top notes and dirty bottom issuing a siren call to everyone in smelling distance. The extrait is, to be honest, a little gamey even for me – with all that civet you might as well be carrying the cat around your neck. Anyway, I poured it on and went out to run errands. Wow. Maybe my nose broke from the onslaught, but I´d say it totally worked. Somehow my skin just ate it up in the heavy heat. The skank morphed into a peppered incense with a dusty-old-rug drydown that was quite appealing, and the candied note was much more muted than usual. In fact, after a minute or two it was extremely masculine. I´d do that again in a heartbeat.

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 – technically, I don´t associate Borneo with winter. I associate it with an eternity in hell. I got a decant eons ago, it leaked in the package, and I was so overcome with horror at the camphorous smell that I jammed it in a Zip-loc bag immediately and … can´t remember. Never could remember. My mind erased all the painful memories. Did I throw it away? Was it lurking in a drawer somewhere, waiting for Hecate to get her grubby mitts on it? Anyway, in the middle of my hot-weather experimentation I was cleaning random junk out of the cabinets in our laundry room, and I got this whiff, sort of a combo of putrefaction and mildew. I recognized the smell immediately: dead mouse. So I dug around, carefully pulling things out, looking for the carcass, but instead I came up with the Borneo! (The Big Cheese walked by the laundry room five hours later, made a face and said, what is that smell?) Anyway, for me Borneo has all the Fear-Factor appeal of chugging a quart of lumpy milk. I never make it past the opening. But maybe this time…I suffer for my art, and dressed in laundry-friendly clothing I went outside, sprayed it on in the afternoon heat and waited. And this time …

it was like sucking on mothballs while being strangled by a patchouli-soaked rag from the barn. Borneo infuriates me. Not only because I hate the fragrance itself, but somehow I feel like I’m failing the cool test — like I’m not “getting” the fragrance, like I’m too dim to really appreciate all Borneo has to offer if only I could pry my teeny mind open. Borneo defeats me every time. I took my rank, furious self to the gym for 45 minutes on the treadmill (take that, shirtless, sweaty male gym-goers!) and was easily the foulest-smelling person in the foul-smelling room, IMHO.

So … did you do any testing of your own?  Elle says she just dabs on microscopic dabs of her winter scents in the summer.  What do you do?  Are your scents seasonal?  Anybody go try White Diamonds?

PS Added to my Bangkok itinerary: this cool/weird-looking Art and Perfume exhibition in Siam Square where we´re staying, featuring pairings of artists and Givaudan perfumers creating fragrances and their flacons. How´s that for timing?

Image: bison in Yellowstone, www.maxwaugh.com

  • Amarie says:

    In my part of the world we are closest to Antartica and therefore in the second week of winter.You know, minus mornings, and crisp, cool days. So in honour of opposites ( I love warm comfort scents in this weather) I went for LOTL because for me it is a piercing cold sword that goes straight through me – too much to live with.
    I considered Diorissimo but no, my hand wandered to Muguet du Bonheur. I admire this one but it has been too sharp, too Caron dirty to ever enjoy when I tried it earlier this year.
    Have you guessed? It has become down right beautiful in this weather! That sharp sword has become sheathed: seamless LOTL overlaying dry and damp earth interleavened with dark greenness, adding a depth that made it pure soulfood. Wow. I might do a complete 180 on LOTL yet, -something worth exploring.

  • dawn says:

    Memoire Liquide sounds great! Love the prices. CB always comes up with new lemmings. His Grass accord is one of my faves.

  • CH says:

    I wore 10 Corso Como to work. Now mind you…I work in a hospital. No complaints from the anti-scentites, fortunately! 😉

  • Robin says:

    LOL — I’m failing the cool test with Borneo too. But you get double cool for finding that perfume exhibit in Bangkok — how perfect is that?

    • March says:

      Can you believe that? How great is that? (And I recall that you share my non-love for Borneo.) The prose is a little vague, but I assume I’ll be allowed to smell these creations — wonder if I’ll be able to put them on?

  • Louise says:

    I just got my Crime, too-and found it very nice on a sweaty day-it goes where won’t on me.

  • carmencanada says:

    Evilpeony, Bandit is perfect in hot weather, no, really. Most chypres are: the dryness of aromatics and oakmoss comes out like in those sun-heated fields. And the slight scuzziness of Bandit matches that of the skin. As for your boss, ;))

    • March says:

      Careful, you’ll be drawing out the Perfume Police and their tame-fragrance rules!:-j

    • evilpeony says:

      coming to think of it… yes… it did dry-down to a slightly butch and strange skin scent. like salty-skin-slept-over-whisky strange… anyway… Bandit did come out nicely in the heat… and was certainly tame compared to Cuir Ottoman, which i am wearing today in the spirit of this homework. ok… now this is becoming way too heady even for me.

  • evilpeony says:

    hi all, back in the foray after a long hiber-lurk-nation…

    i missed out on the assignment! but my (perfumed) budget-piggy sense told me that something interesting was going to happen today, thus i wore…. Bandit EDP…. :@):@)… regardless of the 90 degree california bake with nither a cloud in the blue blue sky…

    needless to say i have not yet killed anyone yet today at work… although my boss refused to talk to me in private unless the door to the office was left open… b-(

    sorry to hear about the borneo. i love borneo, but like you, it turns into mildew encrusted bathroom on my BF. and if it makes you feel better, i just wanna say i’m so envious on anyone who can wear BaV in the summer… on me, it turns into distilled armpit.

    • tmp00 says:

      oooh Bandit- I wish I had you in my office 😡

      • March says:

        OMG. Bandit. I am laughing. That would be a wonder in the heat, wouldn’t it?

        Mildew encrusted bathroom is a pretty apt description of Borneo on my skin. But it sounds like my consolation is the Bal. I am sick, sick in love with that silly thing.

  • sybil says:

    Hmmmm…I think FdO is great in summer…makes me smell like a sweaty bride, but it’s festive, you know? It has the bonus of the biggest sillage of anything I can stand, so far. And Maria’s right about the Theorema Esprit de Ete, or whatever. It was way blah in February, though. And I decided to go w/ MKK for my against the grain perfume, before I read Tom’s warning, and he’s right, too! And I am way behind the cool curve on Borneo–never tried it.

    • March says:

      REally, about MKK? I couldn’t find my decant, natch. Because I was very, very tempted. I think it would be perfect. Perhaps not.:d And I will have to hunt down that Theorema.

      • tmp00 says:

        Oooooh honey, do it for part two: we need to know if you’re clearing out the place..

        LA just doesn’t get the humidity necessary to really unleash that fecal note, it’s too dry.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, I somehow missed the memo on this (must have been distracted by something shiny) so I will have to report from memory. Keep in mind that I work in an office that could keep meat and the Metro buses are practically rolling Sub-Zeroes:

    Really should not work in heat but does:

    SL Fumerie Turque. Somehow that smokiness doesn’t overwhelm, even on the ghastly humid 100 degree day I bought it.

    Kolnisch Juchten. You would think that this would be murder in the heat, but somehow it isn’t: heat seems to speed the drydown to the creamy patchouli which manages not to be overpowering.

    Really could kill you in the heat:

    SL Ambre Sultan. Feels like slowly frowning in Amber. Like you will be found years later in made into jewellry.

    Agent Provacateur. I know this from bitter experience (A friend doused herself in it and I made her stand at least 8 feet away from me). Like being beaten to death with flowers wrapped in day old underwear. Of course it’s pretty much the same in cold, but you’re only being pelted, not killed.

    Works in heat, but you’d better have AC imminent:

    MKK. Can last about a half an hour before the note that everyone is driven crazy by starts getting a bit heady.

    Yatagan. Lasts longer, but if you do anything that would make you sweat (which in a New York summer would be, I don’t know, exist?) will have people wondering who’s the homeless guy carrying the celery.

    march- sorry you aren’t in the cool club. But I think it’s just chemistry: I barely get camphor at all, I get delicious bitter cocoa and the bone-dry patch with the barest whiff of the dreaded “c”. If I got what you got I would run from it like plague.

    • March says:

      KJ!!! I should have given that a go. I bet it would be great.

      You all keep talking about chocolate, but I never get chocolate. Just dead mouse. And camphor.

      I think those amber scents in summer are ghastly. Also tons of vanilla.

      • tmp00 says:

        oy, I need to edit before I hit send. That of couse should be “drowning”

        I haven’t smelled the new Bandit. I’m curious how it stacks up against the original.

        Not that the Piguet people should send me a bottle. No. Not at all. Hello?

  • Justine says:

    Yesterday was nearly 90 here, a perfect day for this experiment. I wear my perfumes by season, and never mix. The thought of incense on a hot day makes me want to gag, the thought of anything the slightest bit heady or with patchouli makes me feel like I’m suffocating.

    But, for you, I lightly dabbed on my latest cool weather love, Crime Exotique. This goes on like Rousse, all red hots, then settles down into a cinammon musk with a little skank that reminds me of MKK so it’s no wonder I love it. 90 degree weather and MKK, hmmmmm, sounds scary. I actually liked it. It was not all refreshing, but stayed close to my skin and had a sexy vibe that my summer scents usually lack. I’m surprised to say I’d do it again.

  • Christen says:

    March, I could not agree more on the Burning Leaves being just wrong, wrong, wrong for summer. I put it on the other day and thought, “I smell like I’m manning the grill.” DH took a sniff and said, “Mmmm, that smells just like hot dogs on the grill!” Egads! Was there ever a more appropriate moment for the :@) icon? Tee hee hee…

    (But in the fall, *swoons* – BL is another story entirely…)

    • March says:

      That is so funny, I could totally see your grill association. Instead of conjuring up a shuffle through those fabulous falling leaves. I felt like I was hallucinating.

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh, that perfume exhibit looks weirdly unique and amazing, March. Please let us know what it was like.

    Anyway, Mitsouko in June is pretty interesting actually. I wore it, albeit once, to our daughter’s jr. high graduation in June 2003. I gotta tell you that I was the best smelling parent in the audience. :d


    • March says:




      Well, it’s back to being cold (I’m wearing a sweater today) so I’ll have to wear it when it heats back up.

      I was afraid of being bitten. Mitsouko has bitten me before.

      • CH says:

        You’re wearing a sweater and it’s 100 degrees here! Dry…sunny…you could fry eggs on the cement weather. #:-s

        I tried another scent today, Ormonde Jayne’s Taif, and it blared about as loud as a rock concert. Somehow the heat morphed it into J-Lo Glow, but luckily the drydown ended with the Ormonde base.

  • Patty says:

    Oh, and Theorema loves me any time of day, any time of year, it’s one of the few scents, along with First, Jil Sander No. 4 and Gucci EDP that are in my designer frags that flippin rock satchel.

    • March says:

      How can you detest Opium? To me it’d fit in nicely with your skankfest/floriental list right here. Anyone who can wear the original Goochy isn’t afeard of no stank.;)

      • Patty says:

        Well, not Opium itself, just the OD of everyone wearing it. Yes, I know it’s been a decade or two ago, but the nose remembers that Opium overload.

        BTW, what’s with the rutting buffaloes? I intended to note that earlier…. 🙂

        • March says:

          P, I finished up with the Borneo and put the post up, and my mind said to me: …. and you need an illustration of bison mating, so that’s what I googled. No understanding the way my mind works./:)

          That’s a really TASTEFUL picture, I want you to know.

  • Patty says:

    I think you just don’t get the chocolate in Borneo. How can you miss that? It is a mess without it. I need to put it on tomorrow.

    Bois d’Encens is perfect summer. I bought it in Phoenix in July, and I happily wore it the few days I was there, it was magnificent. While we don’t get to that 120 degrees here, I’ve never had it bloom quite as beautifully as it did there. Incense and heat go together, it’s so cooling.

    Okay, I put on Opium parfum, and I’m sort of cheating because today is not hot at all, it’s cool, has been all week, so I can’t do it the way I should, but while I detest Opium generally, this is totally working for me. It’s either the heat or the concentration, which stays closer.

    • March says:

      I don’t get the chocolate. No. Seriously, I am totally not joking about the dead mouse smell. Still, lingering days later in there, it smells like dead mouse where the Borneo was stashed.


      OTOH maybe there IS a dead mouse in there…

  • carmencanada says:

    Count me in the I love Bornéo club… Although it’s been snatched by BF, and we don’t share.
    I’m like my scent-sister Marina : big white indolic florals in the summer are just my thing. Un Lys, Fleurs d’Oranger, Tubéreuse Criminelle just open up their sexy corollas in the heat. Santal de Mysore is also perfectly perfect in searing heat.
    Today I tried to push the envelope with a true white floral bitchfest: Amoureuse. Nope, still happy. Maybe I’ve developed a sort of skank immunity.

    • March says:

      Amoreuse — isn’t that the really skanky one? Or am I confusing it with another? I think it’s Amoreuse. Very ripe on me.

      • March says:

        Lord, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I learned to spell? I could go in the control panel and fix that, but you know what I mean.:-w

      • carmencanada says:

        Amoureuse is a crescendo from tuberose-lily catfight to cat pee –it’s the heavy honey base, not my favorite part of the scent although I like it in a perverse way. Of course, that’s the part that lasts 8 hours.

  • Jennifer says:

    Wish I could join today but I have an exam and well on exam days I go with what I know to work and is comforting.

  • Louise says:

    Ah-I forgot to mention how much I like Sheer Obsession-goes on a light (really) amber/musk on me-very pleasant in hot weather. Now discontinued, I keep several bottles of the stuff.

    • rosarita says:

      Just tried this recently and I liked it too. Always room for another mini:)

      • March says:

        Louise — what was that funky dept store thing that smells so great on you? G’wan, admit it — you put it on in the mall.

        • Louise says:

          Me, mall? Hmmm-drawing a blank on it…oh-maybe Guess Gold? I do like it, and the longevity and sillage kick derriere.

  • Arhianrad says:

    You know, the thing is that I’ve never tried to drugstore ‘if you like…” dupes…do they REALLY not smell anything like the originals? Not even close? I wonder whether they just put random stuff in bottles and say it smells like something and people can’t tell…?

    I’ve never smelled S&S too, so I think I’ll go do that during lunchtime today. 😀

    • March says:

      Well … I’ve smelled a couple of dupes. I’d say that, based on my limited experience, they smell like — well — dupes. Like copies of the original rather than the original. My issue is that the dupes I’ve smelled are of fragrances (like Giorgio) that I don’t love in the first place. The only dupes that make any sense at all to me are things like Long Lost Perfumes, if you really want to re-smell a rendition of something you can’t get any other way (unless it’s a vintage bottle on eBay.) I’ve always wondered how close their Chaos dupe (can’t remember what it’s called) smells like Chaos.

  • Arhianrad says:

    BTW, I forgot to mention: I’ve heard that FB Extreme is a LOT better and more wearable than the original, too…

    • March says:

      Well, I like it better. It’s got more ooomph. But judging from your blog comments, you probably aren’t going to be loving it at any concentration.

  • rosarita says:

    Well, I am hoping not to be kicked off all the cool perfume blogs, but here it is:

    In the winter, my default fragrance is Obsession, by Calvin Klein.

    I bought a mini of this last fall on impulse, ’cause I remember my best friend wore it, back in the day. And I found that two light sprays are a lovely, confident, citrus/spicy/creamy thing wafting up around my neck in very cold weather, esp. at work. So, as per your assignment, I tried it in 90+ heat.
    Verdict: At first I thought the citrus opening smelled even better, but by the time I got to the extremely heavy vanilla, I was :-&. Had to scrub. But hey, this qualifies as both a drugstore scent (that’s where I bought it, after all), and a winter scent, so assignment accomplished. o:-)
    (Forgot to try Asja, which I love in very cold weather. May test that this afternoon. If you smell Christmas fruitcake rotting in the sun, it’ll probably be me.)

  • Marina says:

    I did try yesterday (accidentally, I must confess) something that I thought was not me at all. It turned out to be me. I can’t tell you what it is till tomorrow 🙂
    I agree with your choices, all except for Fleurs d’Oranger, which spell the heat of summer for me. To me, the heady/sweat/opulent (white) florals smell absolutely the best in the hot, hot weather.

    • March says:

      Oh — can’t wait to read about your discovery!

      And based on my results I’m readjusting my thoughts about FdO — like Bois d’Encens, it does open up in a different way in the heat. It’s lush. May be my only heady scent in hot weather.:x

  • Nina says:

    Vindicated! A couple of years ago, during a pretty sultry period for the UK, I experimented with some of the scents I find heavy even in the winter – and Bois d’Encens astonished me with what it did in the heat. I get exactly what you mean by air-conditioning; all those big heavy black molecules simply unfold in the heat and become darkly chilling. Some scents fall apart under heat, and some open up and show their real beauty. Bois d’Encens is kind of wasted on a cool day.

    • March says:

      Hah — ANOTHER confirmation about BdE!!! You all are amazing, I had no idea. I think part of what makes it work (for me, anyway) is its pure incense value. There’s nothing sweet in there (like there is in, say, Chinatown) that might be too much in the heat. Your phrase about its opening up is perfect.

  • Elle says:

    Bois d’Encens really is heaven in summer. Actually, I love incense in summer. Always makes me feel like I’m in a cool Gothic cathedral somewhere in France. And Yatagan – there’s never a time it doesn’t make me smile.
    OK. I did do my homework. Went to Sephora and sampled the whining imprisoned one’s Just Me to find out exactly what “multifaceted skin musk” might be. I tried *very* hard to keep an open mind and block out all thoughts of her recent claims of spiritual awakening and desire to “use her power for good”…cough, choke. Basically, it’s perfectly named. Vapid, uninspiring, run of the mill floral w/ a soapy, musky base. “Multifaceted skin musk” is apparently marketing speak for “white musk we hope to make sound more interesting.”

    • March says:

      The Big House has changed her life! Didn’t she say she wants to … trying to remember … get out and help babies or something? I’m pretty sure she didn’t offer to donate the proceeds from her new frag to charity, though … I also think it’s wrong that she got to keep her hair extensions, which nobody else going in there gets to, and clearly I need to shut up now before I reveal further how closely I’ve been following this dreck.

      So. Nice to hear from my FT about Bois d’Encens! I’ll try mentally to convert it to a summer scent, now that you’ve put it that way. And another confirmation about Yatagan!

  • Dusan says:

    March isn’t cool
    *neener neener*
    She doesn’t get Borneo
    *neener neener*
    Actually, I once had an embarassing overapplication faux-pas with Borneo that culminated on a bus ride to work. Even I knew it was too much coz I was sure people were piercing my brain with their horrified looks. Ugh, he smells like a rancid-buttered gym-sweated t-shirt dumped into a crammed damp laundry basket to molder away with other mildewy clothes I stared at my shoes the whole ride and scrubbed the darn thing off the minute I clocked in.
    On the other hand, Habit Rouge has never failed me, not even in the scorchios. Only a Perfume Phreak can understand the buzz I got from realizing that on a hot afternoon on my skin HR zips through its earthy citrus stage and morphs into Shalimar. Ah, the bliss!
    Chergui nearly suffocated me this Monday, Eau Noire worked wonders for me on Tuesday but not for a couple of grumbling lads on the bus. It was a slap on the face waiting to happen; thankfully I got off before them (Lee, do not snigger!). The things I will do for science and you, March… 🙂

    • March says:

      That is the consummate description of Borneo, my friend. (By the way, I’ve been mentally pronouncing your name incorrectly with the accent on the second syllable — duZAN — and thanks for the correction.):”>

      Chergui in the heat: totally wrong. I’m glad I didn’t run across my decant looking for idea. The thought of that heavy sweet tobacco is making my stomach lurch.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Oh, Judith, maydele !
    I’m so sorry that you feel crappy. Hope you feel better soon !

    I’ve been on a skankfest for the last week.
    Don’t ask- don’t tell.

    Thank GOD B is in Dallas [yup, he saw the’grassy knoll’ last night… I kid thee not.
    Mr . Paranoia enjoyed himself IMMENSELY, lol !], so Mama can go to bed reeking of Miss Balmain, L de Lempicka, and Musc Ravageur all at once…

    Maybe, I’ll make you proud, and wear something REALLY stinky.
    I’ve GOT IT…
    Patchouli Leaves, with Inochka’s vintage Miss Balmain extrait [ she sent it to me a year ago, because it made her sick !] !
    Will that do ?

    • March says:

      What is it with men and the Grassy Knoll and the paranoia? Huh? Huh?

      And I am laughing at your fragrance combo — you were the Queen of Stink, weren’t you? Good luck with that Miss Balmain extrait.:-&

  • Judith says:

    Arrrgh! I forgot this–and I’m afraid I must beg off. I have been feeling crummy for the past few days and have an annoying headache, so I’m really not up to the wrong perfume.:) Anyway, the weather has gone all gloomy and yucky here, so it doesn’t really feel like summer right now. :(( Maybe later!

    • March says:

      No, no, no, you’re totally excused! On those crummy, overhung weather days I stay far away from fragrance, the quickest way to a migraine.

      We’ve had heavy weather the last two days, lots of storm warnings. Weird.

  • arhianrad says:


    You know, I think I’ve gone and put on the ‘wrong’ winter super-heavy scents often enough to be excused from this assignment 8-|

    To me, though, the WORST offender when it’s too hot is Chinatown. It’s simply too BIG for the summer. There’s not enough air to go around for it. I feel like I’m being suffocated by the biggest cloud of five-spice powder imaginable.

    And there was that day I tested Flowerbomb…BIG mistake. HUGE. (reviewed it on-blog). Felt like being buried alive in bad patchouli.

    But maybe today, just for you, I’ll try on the new Versace. (shudder).

    • March says:

      Chinatown! That’s very funny — I made that mistake a couple months ago, when it was warm (but not hot.) I thought, ew. I’d forgotten about it. Yes, reserved for cooler weather.

      I’m sort of ashamed to admit … after being accosted by one of those fragrance ladies … FBomb is kinda growing on me. I like F-Bomb extreme better, though.:”> I read your review of it unfolding on your skin, which was very funny! you have a beautiful blog.

      • Arhianrad says:

        March, lol, no :”> needed. Hey, if ya like it, ya like it. More for YOU, less for me!!!

        I’ve definitely decided to try on Versace this afternoon, too.

        Thanks for reading the blog! :d

        PS: Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the Posse’s smileys?

        • March says:

          I love those emoticons. My goal is to have eventually used all of them once.


          What is that, talk to the hand? Hmmmmm. Never noticed it before.

          • March says:

            Oh, look — now it’s moving! It’s beckoning me c’mere! I don’t know why sometimes they move and (mostly for me) they don’t. I like the one that sticks his tongue out.

  • Louise says:

    Oh March, you are losing the cool factor. Borneo is the bomb-at least Maria and I are cool enough to love it. In fact, I got a large decant just yesterday from our lovely Nancy, of Fishbone.

    A “heavier” scent, sometime described as Christmas-y that I am enjoying is Spezie de Medici-just enough orange to be a little fresh, and the spices play light on me (Maria-it lasts long on me!).

    Some days I sneak a little head shop incense oil on, mostly to annoy a colleague who hates patch, but also because this one has light honey in it, and really isn’t overbearing (or only for that special colleague).

    And-while I like the summer Opiums a lot (‘cept this years stinker), I ignore all conventions and dab a little of the EdP on with great pleasure in any weather.

    • March says:

      Spezie de Medici? NOW?!?!?


      (Backs away, making sign of the cross.) Of course, you have the fragrance-eating skin, so I suppose you can get away with it.

      Is the new Opium here? So you agree? It’s awful, isn’t it? What were they thinking? And I share your guilty pleasure about Opium. That’s actually one reason it’s not on this list.:d A little Opium in summer never killed nobody (well, not me, anyway.)

      • Louise says:

        If you find Spezie shocking, how about the MdM I put on last night??? Make a huge cross for that one!

        • March says:

          My sister-in-law wears MdM almost every day, summer and winter. It smells like roses on her. She ordered her most recent bottle directly from Tom at Etro in NY after I told her no more decants. Go figure.

  • Lee says:

    I want to try that summer Theorema (I’ve never even sniffed the main one *hangs head in shame*)…

    I tried three non summer scents – Habit Rouge turned sour and suffocating, when it should be comforting bliss; Yatagan did in fact work (March, I haven’t told you about my conversion beyond the celery, have I?)amazingly; Ungaro III – a Basenotes faverave – smelled like man in too much Axe.

    And Borneo doesn’t really work on me either. I admire it, but I feel odd in it. Though I actually love the camphor quality the most….

    • March says:

      Axe!!! Wow, there’s a burst of bad memories. I’m too old to have had the pleasure of personally gettin’ busy with an Axe-wearing dude, thank goodness, but I’ve smelled it hugging my nephew’s neck a time or two (which is how he wound up with a high school graduation bottle of … something … that Lacoste thing all the 18YO girls seem to go all weak at the knees over.)

      … where were we? No, what about celery? It’s nice to have confirmation about Yatagan. And you can sit next to Louise and Maria in your Borneo./:)

  • Maria says:

    March, when I read your post on Wed. 10:00 p.m. PDT, I panicked. I’d forgotten we had an assignment. 😮 I still have nightmares of this happening in school. My mind feverishly ran through the possibilities and finally it stumbled upon the fact that I had some department store type samples in the closet. I had stored them away in a well-sealed sandwich bag without trying them. I generally do not like department store scents.

    Thinking “Only for March do I do this,” I put some Versace Jeans Couture Woman on my left arm. I was expecting a toxic cloud. Instead I got an opening *very* reminiscent of Michael Kors. Yep, it’s a tuberose scent. After a couple of minutes, I smelled something softer, like linden. Linden can be a deal-killer for me, but not this time because tuberose sometimes needs a little calming. After about fifteen minutes the tuberose started getting too sharp, but, all in all, the experience was not terrible. However, I don’t see why anyone would need to own both Michael Kors and Versace Jeans Couture.

    Thinking I was pushing my luck, I put some Trussardi Jeans on my right arm. It turned out to be soft and comforting. There’s enough woodiness in the base to interest me. I put some more on after my shower because it’s a very good bedtime scent. My DH agrees it’s “snuggly.” Very pleasantly surprised. However, already I can tell it’s not going to last long.

    There’s a summer version of Theorema: Theorema Esprit d’Ete. It’s very pleasant. It reminds me a bit of Jil by Jil Sander but with a nicer, smoother drydown.

    I’m sorry Borneo doesn’t work on you. I enjoy it. I believe it works on Louise too.

    • March says:

      You also get a (*) for your commitment, putting that stuff on in the late evening before bedtime!

      The Versace Jeans Couture I’ve not tried, in part because I want to throttle anyone encouraging “jeans couture” — it’s a lie, people. If it’s dress-up time, like the opera, take the Versace jeans off and put on a decent dress, for the love of Pete! But tuberose and linden sound rather appealing.

      I think the Trussardi Ina reviewed last week, and made it sound worth trying.

      You and Louise and your Borneo. Yes, she confirms it — you’re in the cool kids’ club and I’m not.

      Definitely will hunt down the Theorema Summer! I had no idea:”>

      • Maria says:

        Warning about Theorema Esprit d’Ete: It is not Theorema Lite. The top notes, which quickly vanish, are similar to those of regular Theorema, but the rest of the composition is quite different, though still in the semi-oriental frame, but soft, with no gourmandishness.

        The more I wear Trussardi Jeans the more I like it. It’s not like Cristiano Fissori Cashmere for Women in notes, but in effect on me it’s similar and much, much cheaper.

        BTW, March, I forgot to commend you on your courage in trying on Bal a Versailles extrait on a hot day. ^:)^ And you think you’re not cool because you don’t like Borneo? Lady, you’re hot!

  • Flora says:

    Correction – sorry I meant to say SONIA Kashuk.:”>

    • March says:

      I knew what you meant, honey. And when it comes to spelling, I never rush to judgment (which I misspelled a couple days ago as judgement.)

  • Flora says:

    LOL – now I am almost glad I have never had a chance to try the Borneo 1834! Sounds pretty scary.

    I went with the not-me in a big way. I did the drugstore thing. As you may be aware, I am a big fan of the classics, and nothing makes me happier than a nice Caron or Patou vintage frag. So my ultimate “not-me” is cheap knock-offs of ho-hum department store fragrances. I set out to try things I had never thoughtI would allow to touch my skin.

    I started at Target with the Sonai Kashuk line. The Ginseng Blossom & Tuberose was surprisingly subtle, and I actually liked the White Gardenia & Black Vetiver. I might even buy some, for summer! The gardenia is quite understated, and it stayed true, with minimal sillage. The dud of the Kashuk trio is the Citrus & Pink Mandarin; you can already tell how it smells by the name, can’t you? Nawt Agin would like it. After a blast of “fresh” citrus, it falls flat and becomes a generic and VERY cheap fruity-floral. Still, these were not diametrically opposed to what I usually like.

    Target did not have much in the way of testers, so on to Walgreens, where I found the Holy Grail of cheap – In Style Fragrances’ “impressions” of famous names. They are still doing fake Giorgio and White Diamonds; I dared not go there. I looked for something more current Aha! An “impression” of Angel! Now the real thing is not something I would wear anyway, but these were only $1.99 for a small vial! I took the tester and sprayed it on. Oh dear. A blast of Play-doh and latex, mixed with very acid passion fruit and cheap head shop patchouli. However, it did not take very long to subside into you guessed it, generic fruity-floral, with only the patchouli catching in the back of my throat to remind me what it was. I still have it on as as I write this so I can recall its qualities. I am scrubbing as soon as I post this. It has settled down to a bearable murmur, but now it smells like those colognes made for pre-teens and based on a cartoon character, the kind where absolutely no effort went into their inception or creation. It’s not totally awful, but it’s so UNNECESSARY when the world is full of things that do smell good. (Even drugstore perfumes CAN smell good; Sand & Sable comes to mind. Why these horrid imitations?)

    There was one more: I stared into the Void, the very Abyss. There was also an “impression” of my most hated enemy, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue! Dare I do it? Yes, anything for the cause! I sprayed it on the other arm. To say it was VILE is to insult that which is only ordinarily vile, and not wretchedly so. I choked on its suffocating acrid fumes. This is the kind of stuff that causes perfume bans in workplaces. The kind that make me angry that they even exist, since they can drive people away from what should be an enjoyable experience, the wearing of a quality fragrance that suits one’s personality and skin chemistry. The only person whose skin chemistry this crap goes with is the Wicked Witch of the West, or maybe Cruella de Vil. Now there’s a cartoon character begging for her own celebrity perfume! (This stuff could certainly kill puppies if they were exposed to it. Cruella would be proud.) 8-x

    • March says:

      Wow, Flora! You really went out there and worked it, didn’t you! You get a (*) for your efforts (isn’t that the perfect emoticon? I think it’s the first time I used it.)

      The Sonia Kashuk line I’ve heard good things about, her makeup is supposed to be good for the price (I think she’s a makeup artist?) The fragrance thing was fun to read — proving you can find something decent in the most unlikely places.

      Wow, can’t believe you went the full distance — the drugstore dupes.:-ss The Giorgio one is the one that terrifies me most, always has. Love your descriptions of Angel and Light Blue!

      Ahhhh, Sand & Sable! What a great, underrated drugstore scent. Summer in a bottle, assuming summer includes a trip to the boardwalk and some hairspray, although I have to be careful not to overapply. Always nice to meet another S&S fan.