Candy from Friends

If I could figure out how to make my digital camera talk to WordPress, I´d be treating you to my “organizational guide” of my perfumes, particularly the samples. I have large swatches of the guide (mentally) written, and I am telling you, if I ever figure out how to do it, you will be rolling in the aisles. Instead, today´s post was triggered by my recent sad discovery:  I´ll dig out a sample vial or atomizer and and discover that it´s … all gone. It´s evaporated, and there´s nothing left except the faint lingering smell and some memories.

My samples are organized alphabetically. The problem is my non-alphabetized samples, which at this point are all over the house. I have various “systems,” revolving around the samples I´m not done playing with yet, or the ones I haven´t gotten to, or the ones I´ve managed to group together by subspecies (the Patou Ma Collection samples, the vintage Lanvin), and – oddly—the fact that I like to keep sets of samples together when they´re sent by the same perfumista, so I can email him/her with feedback. Here´s a peek at my candy sample life, courtesy of a set sent by hausvonstone (unless it´s the set from dinazad?), so you will have a better understanding of why I am crazy.

Molinard Habanita – I hate these narrow-neck vials. I routinely accidentally snap them off at the narrow point. What is wrong with me? Habanita is (Robin, are you reading this?) the consummate “Old Lady” fragrance, to use a phrase that drives her (and me) up the wall. Old Lady Fragrances being, in general, something with character, interest, leather, and (frequently) skank. Doesn´t say, but I´m guessing the EDP. There´s an interesting note I hadn´t noticed before (this must be an EDP) that´s almost foody – a burnt-toast smell – and I mean that as a compliment. Mildly sweet florals, oakmoss, amber, dirty bits (leather, vetiver, sandalwood), with something sweet in the base.

S-Perfume Lust – What a difference a year makes. I believe I described this as “possibly the nastiest smell I have ever deliberately applied to my person” the last time I blogged on it, which amused the perfumer Nobi so much he started sending me samples. He might even have had my quote on his website. I love that guy. Well, I have applied way worse things than this. This I would actually wear without shame, in public (although probably not in summer.) Mental note: try this in extreme heat to see what happens. I´m guessing leather, metal, sweat, rubber, patchouli, vetiver. It smells great with Habanita.

Guerlain L´Instant Pour Homme Extreme – Wow. We are hitting the jackpot today. She sent this because she knows how much I love L´Instant PH, that intoxicating brew of citrus, patchouli, tea and musk. Unlike its shrill, awkward sister L´Instant for women, Homme is smooth – like a magnolia petal, like your hand rubbing oil across dark, warm skin. Extreme ramps up the vague chocolate/patch note in the drydown to a non-edible semi-gourmand. Having a moment here. I´m not sure it´s better than the original, though. Maybe I need both?

CDG Tea. Cripes. Did you mix this label up? This doesn´t smell like tea, unless it´s compost tea. Oh, wait – no – it´s lapsang. Smoke, smoke, smoke and tea. Sticking your nose in the tea box, maybe even with a tiny, nonscary hint of camphor? Cool.

Speziali Fiorentini Te Nero (Black Tea). Empty. Evaporated. A faint, very pretty floral-tea smell. Waaah. I´m going to cry, this smells like a potential winner, and there´s no such thing as too much tea in summer.

Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi – I never get incense from this, and I´m so gratified to read the notes at the Perfume Shoppe – sour apple, orange blossoms, myrrh, poppy, resinous woods. Those notes make total sense; I´ve always gotten sort of a sweet mess on my skin, and there it is – a spiced, baked-apple smell, a little myrrh and a resinous incense note rather than smoke, along with a vanilla-like base. I don´t hate it, it´s actually kind of pretty once you stop waiting for the cathedral-smoke to waft, and I can even see some people finding this very comforting, but I am not one of them.

Kenzo Jungle Elephant — Mandarin, Cardamom,Caraway, Clove, Heliotrope, Ylang-Ylang, Mango Juice, Licorice, Vanilla, Patchouli, and Casmerin, according to some random perfume website. I´d totally believe that list, because this thing is weird. Definitely the heliotrope (hah, I´ve got, like, 20% of you running away screaming right there, don´t I?) doing the cherry-syrup iteration, and the sweet-sour anise note (up to 40%!). This is like … a fragrance experiment? It´s repulsive and compelling at the same time. The mandarin is surprisingly strong throughout, and the “mango juice” gives it an overripe, gamey fug. Really, mango and heliotrope in unison should probably be illegal. Anyway, it´s hard to believe this freak-show came from the Sephora-shelf folks at Kenzo, most of which is (however else you might feel about it) fairly tame.

(One hour later) This – this is why I looooove this non-job. This is why I sniff! Because after 15 or 20 minutes I got bored with Kenzo Jungle Elephant´s shenanigans – all its attention-getting high-stepping and yodeling and jazz hands – and resolutely ignored it. And then forgot it. And then … I sniffed again. And I had two magical thoughts: a) aaaaaaugghhh, that´s beautiful – all cardamom/clove against some not-quite-of-this-earth floral backdrop, can ylang smell that rich?; and b) it´s Kenzo!!!! There it is, the Kenzo vibe!!! There´s a definite note that reminds me of the woody pitch in Flower Oriental, and another part of the florals that reminds me of the Flower By Kenzo in the parfum strength. It´s like a Kenzo Flower LE: On Acid. Although, please, don’t buy this unsniffed. It´s the sort of absurd-chic thing Jacqueline de Ribes might have worn with the dress in that photo up there, which I am pretty sure I first saw in 1983 (which actually predates the fragrance by more than a decade), the year she was voted The Most Stylish Woman In The World by Town & Country magazine. I must have stared at that photo for an hour that day; for awhile it was on my bedroom wall. How smokin’ hot is she? In the mirror, sure, I look like Betty Rubble, but in my soul, I´ve always tried to cultivate a little Jacqueline.

Vicomtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, Victor Skrebneski,

  • Tabac says:

    Lord, lord, I remember that photo, too. What it makes me remember is how great it was to see a non-Twiggy, model-y kind of woman. Now it’s better than ever since I’ve (ahem) aged, and to be reminded of the idea of beauty and style – that it has all to do with being one’s SELF. Which is what makes niche and out-of-the-way scents so much fun. Another way to explore “who I am”.

  • Masha says:

    I’m a Kenzo junkie (full disclosure). The Elephant is one of my all time favorites, specifically because it’s spicy and very weird, and very strong. If possible, try the Jungle Tigre also, it’s full of spice and davana and completely weird also. Though discontinued, you can find a little now and then on internet sites. I thought Amour quite bland at first, but after trying it several more times and using up several testers, I’m getting its subtle eccentricities and liking it. It’s very popular in Germany, I’m told by my perfume sources, and Jungle is available everywhere. But Germans sometimes go for weird….

    • March says:

      Germans definitely go for weird, I’ve heard rumors about the filthier scents and the rough-trade guys in particular …

      so nice to meet a Kenzo junkie!!! I’m getting myself more heavily involved with the line, having stupidly dismissed it as boring during my early months. Amour is my favorite, a comfort scent (and the first bottle I bought.) Oriental is next. The summer ones are just so light I have difficulty smelling them — maybe too subtle for me? Now that I’ve tried Elephant I’ll have to dig up Tigre, thanks!:)>-

  • Kyra says:

    Definitely vintage style, but I refuse to class Habanita as “old lady”. Considering it was first released in 1921, it has to have passed on to younger wearers since then (well- like all of us). Even in edt (all I’ve got and all I’ve tried) it sure has traction. And the limited edition edp is serious (and seriously priced) bottle porn.

    • March says:

      Kyra, you’ll have to forgive us — “old lady” is one of those red flag dismissive phrases we use to get ourselves all worked up, because it’s so … dim.x(

      I’m afraid to find out how much Habanita EDP cost, because I might need some.

  • Christine says:

    Wow that Kenzo sounds oddly fantastic. At first I read over the notes and poohpooed over the fruits because God cardamom and clove and a floral base I LOVE. Now I’ll definitely have to try. And weird is all the better to harassed loved ones with. 😉

    And are you in Thailand now? Because lord am I jealous.

    • March says:

      Well, honey, if you love “cardamom and clove and a floral base” then you will have to try it, for sure, maybe even unsniffed (I don’t think it cost that much online?) But be prepared for a wild ride the first 20 minutes or so. I wouldn’t spray it on on your way out the door. It’s not horrible — just very in-your-face.

      The drydown was not only those notes we love but lasted, easily, 14 hours on me.

      PS nope, leaving on Monday!!! I’m supposed to be packing. Hah. Hey, we can buy everything in BKK. At this rate, we’ll each show up with two pairs of underwear and some sunscreen.

    • bluegirl says:

      absolutely, you MUST try the Elephant lol…i have never smelled more cardamom, and i love this scent. i have a big bottle and it is about half gone…i do apply it EARLY on when getting ready to go out, one spritz behind the neck after the shower is PLENTY…i love it because my clothes smell like it, especially in winter.
      the Habanita is considered kind of a hip signature scent in France in my experience–something that won’t be readily identified except by you experts and maybe an old lady or two lol…i love it. some people find it very sexy

  • Tigs says:

    Oh, March, you un/lucky devil, I’ve been on the trail of that Te Nero for weeks now. I see mixed reviews above: “Very special” and “just nice”. As for the Kenzo, I’ve seen it at my discount perfume store and always been intrigued but there is no tester. Didn’t they also do that weird King Kong one? I think they do some freak-show stuff, actually, even though they have this reputation for pretty, bland office-wear. Perfumistas love Flower Oriental, but I have yet to encounter a “normal” person who doesn’t recoil in horror from those opium-den, vintage-smelling opening moments. And while the base is (purposely) bland, Kenzo Amour has some weird moments on me early on. Thinking about it, I’d actually say the the women’s line is one of my faves that is readily available here. But I’ve become hopelessly besotted with Courtesan – so right now I’m an all-Worth zone. I don’t know whether to curse or thank you. Somebody has decants for sale, right?!?!

    I have a (perfume) piggy nose. No button about it, unfortunately. :@) As my husband says, at least it is distinctive.

    • pitbull friend says:

      In dogs, some smush-faced ones (pugs, bulldogs) have problems breathing, esp. in weather extremes. They don’t have the external chamber for air to warm up/cool down in. The ones that have exceptional senses of smell tend to have longish noses & floppy ears & jowls that help direct the scent toward their sniffing area (vomerulonasal cavity).

      Wonder how this plays out in humans? And I wonder, too, whether those of us who are particularly into perfume tend to have noses that are big enough for the scents to swirl around in? Mine certainly is. But it fits OK. –Ellen

      • March says:

        Hey, watch it with those pug-nose comparisons. I am the original pug nose. All I ever wanted was a nose of distinction. I remember startling a friend once, years ago, by bursting into tears when she told me she was seriously contemplating a nose job to take the Roman bump out of her nose. I remember apologizing and saying, but it’s part of what makes you so beautiful!!! It’s funny, isn’t it, our perception of ourselves? Because she WAS beautiful, not just in my opinion, men found her gorgeous, but she had an exotic nose in an otherwise WASP-y face (which made it even more exotic) and she hated it.

    • March says:

      Tigs — actually, I’d say Kenzo in general doesn’t get a lot of love from the perfumistas on the blog. But I’ve come to believe the line is underappreciated, and I find myself actually wearing several of them. You are correct — Oriental and Amour are both a little odd, but in a sneaky, subversive way. (Those two are also my favorites, although I’m also partial to Flower in the parfum strength.)

      I keep trying and re-trying their beautiful summer leaf-shaped ones, but I just can’t get enough smell from them to justify any love. I do like Homme, though.

      • March says:

        PS — Sorry about the Courtesan!:d I didn’t realize you’d fallen in love, I thought you were still considering … anyway, I believe my lovely blogmate has a bottle coming, so I expect you’ll see it on the Frip.

  • Robin says:

    LOL — yes, Habanita might be THE old lady scent :d

    CdG Tea is way cool, and the Speziali Fiorentini is “just nice”, I wouldn’t waste any tears over it. Not enough oomph, although I do realize the CdG probably has too much oomph for most people. We need something in between!

    • CH says:

      Long live the “old lady scents”!!!!!!!!!! :d

    • March says:

      I couldn’t find the CdG to figure out what I was blogging about. I’m assuming it’s the one from the “leaves” series, none of which I believe I’ve tried. Hmmmm. The opening’s a bit odd, sort of mushroomy, but I quite like the rest of it.

      • pitbull friend says:

        Hey, Marchie, it certainly could be the CdG Leaves series Tea, whcih has black tea, zest of bergamot, rose petals, cedar wood, absolute maté. I’ve recently become a devotee. To me, it has that lovely smokiness but not as much as Tea for Two or Eau du Fier, both of which I don’t wear out of the house for fear that someone near me will call the fire department. –Ellen
        P.S. Yesterday, I was opening a package of tennis balls for the dogs & I thought “Ohhh! Bulgari Black!” And enjoyed it. Demento.

        • March says:

          That is perfect!!!! Opening the can of tennis balls IS the smell of Bvlgari Black!

          Fier is … all Fear on me. Tea for Two is fascinating — I either mitigate 50% of the lapsang or I just can’t smell it. I mean, it’s there, but never to the degree that many people obviously get. The CdG was MUCH smokier on me. I liked it. I want to try layering it with another lighter summer tea and sea what happens. I also think it would layer interestingly with a green note.

  • hausvonstone says:

    Hey! How exciting to drop by and see that wrote about my things! Now, I did send them a bazillion years ago, so you’ve only yourself to blame for the loss of the Very Special Speziali Fiorentini Te Nero. When I’m next in the same room with my perfumes, I’ll try to fix the situation. Or, just go to that drugstore with the funny name in Dupont Circle that’s very old- fashioned – that’s the first place I ran into it, believe it or not! Habanita I quite liked, but it made me sneeze, so I sent it to you! I believe it is the EDP – it was made as a sample from Sephora in Paris. Try mixing the Jungle Elephant and the Lust. Hehehehehe!!! (evil laughter)

    • CH says:

      Oh lordie, all we really need is a lusty jungle elephant! =))

    • March says:

      What place??!!? WHAT PLACE in Dupont Circle?!?!? I’m racking my brain, trying to think of what you mean…. is it a perfume place? A drugstore? I am drawing a total blank. The idea that tea is lurking so nearby is driving me wild.

      I’ve been in your package nibbling — I reviewed a couple before (like the Jolie Madame.) But it’s funny — I can’t be “done” with them and put them away. I’ve smelled JE several times. What a weird thing that is.

      • Maria says:

        CVS is the only pharmacy I remember being on Dupont circle. :-\

        • hausvonstone says:

          I finally remembered the name – Tschiffley Pharmacy on Conn. Ave near the hat store and I think there’s a Cosi’s. Listen, I haven’t lived there for 2 years (!) and so my memory is hazy and stores change a lot. There was a Tschiffley’s near M Street as well somewhere. Good luck!

          • March says:

            Tschiffley!!! Of COURSE!!! I’d forgotten all about it, it’s been years since I’ve been in there. I’ll have to schedule a little trip on the subway… thanks so much!>:d<

  • tmp00 says:


    all its attention-getting high-stepping and yodeling and jazz hands

    Best. Phrase. Ever! =))

    I really need to sniff that at some point. I actually kind of like heliotrope.. (ducks)

    Do you know, I’ve never smelled Habanita either? I happen to love that “old lady” accord- it can be so “come into my parlour, sonny”

    I’ve never smelled an LV that made me want to buy..

    I liked Lust, but that’s me I guess-

    Thanks for a good and much needed laugh!

    • March says:

      Tom — how did I miss your comment?!?!:o


      Hey, Lust has been d/c’d — which makes me sad.

      The phrase “jazz hands” makes me giggle.

  • Jennifer says:

    If only Habanita worked on me (I wanted it to so badly) and I gave it a fair chance in all forms.

    • March says:

      Well, you’ve given it your best shot, right? Maybe it’s skin chemistry. Maybe you’ll smell it in five years and think it’s great. In the meantime, there are plenty of other fish in the sea!

  • Flor says:

    Kenzo Jungle is actually quite popular here in Brazil. I have a friend who wears it exclusively. Every time I walk into a perfume store there is a full stock. The SA told me it sells out all the time so they’re always stocking up on it. Go figure!

    • March says:

      No. Way. In Brazil?!?! Well, it’s molto sexy. I guess I can see it. Does your average (let’s stereotype!) Brazilian woman like a bombastic fragrance, something with a lot of olfactory junk in the trunk, so to speak?

      How do you feel about it?

      • Flor says:

        Totally! In general the Brazilian women go for the loud, vava-voom fragrances. Of course, there are times of the year when you smell more Issey and Light Blue, but even then, they’re not shy fragrances. I get suffocated in elevators on a regular basis. I think it would be safe to say that in general the big perfumes, the very sexy perfumes, are the ones that really make it big here. When I say sexy, I mean the very stereotypically sexy perfumes, not say, No. 19 style sexy perfumes.

        • March says:

          Well, I’d love for a change to be surrounded by stereotypically sexy perfumes (I’m thinking a lot of Versace, maybe?), even though occasionally it would gag you, rather than the endless sea of women here who are more-or-less scent free. If I overhear one more woman in the fragrance dept. asking for “something really fresh” I’m going to burst into tears. I like sillage. I like the chance to smell a woman (or a man) in passing.

        • katia says:

          Hello Flor,
          I’m Brazilian too.
          What city are you from ?
          Nice to meet you here!

  • Patty says:

    You had to bring up that Incensi, which is just nasty, horribly, yucky perfume. It should be banned in the U.S., it’s so horrific.

    Bleah. :-w

    I would be mad if you weren’t so amusing.

    • March says:

      Come on, P — you didn’t hate Spezie more? I think you might have. Spezie was death in a bottle. And there might have been another … wasn’t that the one we sent to Marina and she looooved?

      Teint de Neige is my personal nemesis. Every time I hear it described as a “comfort scent” I want to be sick.

      • Lee says:

        I’m yet to even like a Villoresi. Sorry folks.

        • March says:

          Not even Garofano? I think Garofano is lovely. A perfect spicy carnation, I even prefer it a bit to Malmaison.

        • pitbull friend says:

          Hey, Lee: I doubt you’ll want to try it, since it’s 100 percent girlie, but do give Villoresi’s Donna a sniff, too. Notes are: : Bulgarian rose and rose de Mai; violet, carnation, coriander, clove, star anise, ylang ylang, iris root, cyclamen, lilac, geranium, narcissus, jasmine, violet leaves, black currant, spices, and aromatic woods. What’s not to like? –Ellen

          • March says:

            Hey, I forgot Donna!!! Did I do a candy sample review? I don’t think I did. I’m pretty sure Robin sent it to me — I’ll have to go dig it up.

      • Patty says:

        Lorenzo may be cute, but I have hated everything but his carnation one, which actually works. Teint de neige, peeeper neegroom (my pronunciation key), spezie, yes, I despised it more than incensi, but only marginally since they all remain locked in that one memory of ghastly perfumes that I hate with a passion.


        • March says:



          Hahahahahahaha……….. dang, that was something. The trauma caused me to delete it from my brain…

          You know, LV is probably not our line. But I’m gonna go see if I can find that Donna.

          • pitbull friend says:

            March, if you’re liking the CdG Tea, you might also like Villoresi’s Yerbamate. I don’t see it as a particular standout in the smoky tea crowd, but it’s a worthy member, says I. –Ellen

          • March says:

            Okay, okay …. I’ll try another LV. (sigh):-<

  • Julia says:

    Love Habanita in parfum strength. I get lots of opoponax in the drydown. Soft, sweet and balmy. Not for warmer days but it could easily mend a broken heart on any cold winter day.

    LV- Incensi was totally discusting on every application. I tried it three times and it never became more than a painful suffering. Just like inhaling dusty mummies with a little whiff of gangrene8-x

    • March says:

      Okay, CLEARLY I need to try the parfum version of Habanita (or, for all I know, that’s what I did try.) Will have to find out.

      Everyone hates incensi. 100%. Who knew? I didn’t get the gangrene note, though.8-x

      • pitbull friend says:

        My goodness, skin chemistry is an amazing thing!!! I just put on a dab of Incensi to make sure I still love it & I do, even though it’s an autumn scent. Soft woody wine with herbs, is how it sits on me — makes me want some mulled cider & my favorite sweater. Maybe a dab of CB Burning Leaves on the other arm to round out the picture. I’m running low on it, though — Incensi haters who have some should contact me & we’ll do some swapping. –Ellen

        • March says:

          Hmmmm. Well, first off, I dumped on a fair amount, because I wanted to get the Full Effect, and in Incensi’s case probably a little dab would have done. /:) Also, I can see what you’re saying — if I’d gotten, say, 1/3 the strength, and cut the sweetness a bit, it would be a fall mulled-wine type thing — still not my favorite smell, but a giant step in the right direction. I find the LVs mostly very, very VERY STRONG.

          😕 You know what? I should get Louise and Maria to weigh in, since they’ve got the fragrance-eating skin.

  • katia says:

    I simply love Kenzo Jungle. One of my favs.
    I think I’m really weird.
    Great post !

    • March says:

      I think you’re really weird, too. And I love you that way. Don’t ever change.:x

      Is it strong on you?

      • katia says:

        Yes, a little bit… hehehe.
        But I save it for the coldest nights.
        My husband doesn’t share my passion, anyway.
        Flor wrote that it’s popular here in Brazil, but I didn’t notice that. Anyway, good news ! Maybe I can find it near from home next time.
        Because all I can smell anywhere I go is J’Adore and Angel.

  • Marina says:

    I would comment, but I have to run away screaming from the description of Kenzo Jungle Elephant :d
    Love the post!!

    • March says:

      Hahahahaha — I thought of you, specifically, when I read those notes. I am not a fan of heliotrope or licorice, either (particularly the latter.) Eventually they go away, but not soon enough for you.:d

  • Elle says:

    Must try L’Instant PH Extreme. Incensi doesn’t work on my skin. I keep on trying, but it still has no magic. *Adore* Habanita, but it reminds me too much of an unfortunate place we lived and I can’t shake that association. Lust I rather liked, but S-Perfume’s 100% Love made my skin crawl – absolutely beyond disgusting. CdG Tea is a scent I admire. It’s got cojones and then some. I admire the people who can wear it. But I can’t. Definitely have to go retry Kenzo JE.

    • March says:

      Elle — FT :d — I’ve now decided (late update) that I prefer the original PH, although the other is worth smelling. It’s like … the difference between Merveilles and the stronger one? (not the chocolate one) I decided I missed something in the strange playfulness of the original.

      Looks like NOBODY likes Incensi, so feel free to give up.

      That tea … man, that was fierce. I need to go read about it, I ran out of time. Wasn’t what I was expecting, that’s for sure.

      JE is a scent I would probably never wear, but it was pretty sublime after a couple of hours. STRONG. Lasted a day.

      • pitbull friend says:

        Hey, March:
        I’m NOBODY! I like Incensi! LV’s Dilmun gives me an orange blossom headache and Spezie smells like envelope glue on me, but INCENSI LIKES ME AND I LIKE IT BACK. Just had to shout that because I felt so alone…. :* –Ellen

        • Maria says:

          Ellen, as someone who likes some fragrances unpopular with perfumistas (Angel, Shalimar), I say, you go girl! If it works for you, super! I haven’t tried any Villoresi fragrance, so, as far as I know, it could work on me too.

          • March says:

            Ellen and Maria — awhile back, I’m pretty sure I did a post on guilty pleasures, in which I got people to admit they liked to wear Old Spice, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, stuff from Avon, etc. (You should definitely try Old Spice.) I like several of the J Lo’s, Sand & Sable and Wind Song (both from CVS, laugh away), and Dolce’s Light Blue, so I am certainly not in a position to judge someone else’s taste.\:d/ In fact, I think it’s really fun reading about people’s varying likes and dislikes.

  • Judith says:

    I love Habanita (esp. parfum), and with Chaya, find that it has an, um, attractive effect on those around me.

    I hate Incensi. And isn’t there cinnamon in there? I am sure I was overcome by the fumes of of rotting cinnamon–something I had never even imagined before.

    I adore JdR. And I secretly pleased, whenever I see a picture of her, that I didn’t get a nose job with the rest of my junior-year high school class (not that mine is like hers, but. . . .).

    I suspect that the Kenzo JE is not my kind of weird, but i will make a point of smelling it anyway.:)

    • March says:

      I think I need more Habanita. Probably for fall, though.

      Definitely a TON of cinnamon in the Incensi — I should have added it to the notes, even though it’s not listed. That was the “spiced” part of the apple. It looks like everyone else hated it too. It lasted FOREVER on me, and it was pretty sweet, and given that I usually eat the sweet notes down on my skin, it must be wretched for most people.

      Another JdR fan — I am so thrilled! I adore her nose. That’s the way it usually is, I think, with we the button-nosed people. Of course her nose would look ridiculous in the middle of my face. I am glad you held onto yours.

      I don’t think JE is “you” either, but you wouldn’t dismiss it as an insipid fruity-floral.:d

  • rosarita says:

    Fun reviews as always. I have the sweetest mini of Habanita edp that is a tiny version of the black opaque bottle (of course, it had me at the bottle). At first , it smelled just like hated cough syrup from childhood, but then I realized I was marinating my wrists in it and I learned how to dab a pin dot amount. Lovely! Those *old lady* frags are usually my favorites, which fits. 🙂

    Wonderful photo. I saved it so I can study it at leisure.

    • March says:

      A dab of Habanita — that’s the ticket. I’m telling you, with a little lust underneath it was perfecto. If I get a bottle (a mini sounds perfect) I’ll probably layer it with a bit more leather.

      Robin (I think?) did this interesting article about how it was originally designed to scent your cigarettes (you dipped them in it) and how bizarre is that?

  • Gail S says:

    Hi March,
    I haven’t tried any of these perfumes and now I probably won’t be rushing out to get any of them, but I just wanted to say “Have I told you how much I love your reviews?” They just amuse me :d

    • March says:

      No? Nothing on this list calling out to you? Mango/heliotrope?


      But thanks for the compliments. They’re fun for me to write.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Hahahahaha !

    At first, I was hoping that that androgenously lovely creature was really the Lady Chablis…one of my sons’ pet names for me.

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown,Marchele.

    I KNOW I’m an old lady [and I don’t care], so I don’t mind Habanita.
    All I know,. is that folks follow me around like flies on you-know-what when I wear it, in any form.

    That works for me…
    [I’d LOVE to try the Elephant, though; I adore weird]

    • March says:

      Well, she IS sort of drag queen, isn’t she? I think (thought?) she was the bomb. In terms of type, she’s about as far away from me as you can get. What’s that term — jolie-laide? But I hear the men loved her (and she loved them right back). Actually, if any of my math was right, she was 52 in that photo.

      The Elephant was weird and sublime.

  • Leopoldo says:

    Incensi – it’s in my ‘most hated’ league. Blech.

    The rest, of those I’ve sniffed, I heartily concur.

    • March says:

      Wow, I had no idea how passionately everyone hated Incensi!

      Of the ones I’ve tried, Spezie was maybe the worst …. no, no, no — Teint de Neige!!!!!! OMG, I weep at the memory.

      • CH says:

        I have the room spray equivalent – Incenso. It seems more resinous and cedar-ish than the Incensi. I have the bottle in my cubicle at work. My friend swears that when I spray it she’s in the middle of the forest.
        I cannot find the spray anywhere but I can find the “room oil.” I think everyone would like this one much better. No sour apple notes!

        • March says:

          Huh. That sounds like a completely different fragrance.

          • CH says:

            It’s one of the LV Room Fragrances that can be found at Luscious Cargo. Amazing that one letter can make that big of a difference. And I verified it is indeed LV, not the other Incensi fragrance.

  • Maria says:

    March, dear, I don’t think we can lay your craziness at the feet of perfumistas who send you samples. I suspect the cause lies much further in your past. :-j I know mine does. =d>

    I love Habanita, especially in the extrait version. I got an EDP sample recently and could not recognize it as the same fragrance. That said, you’d go crazy trying to figure out the notes for Habanita. Every source has a different list. osMoz even manages to provide two different lists on one page. I think the sweetness you detect at the base comes from the combo of amber, vanilla, and benzoin. Of course, there’s leather. Most sources agree there’s rose. Some say jasmine also, and I’d bet on it. Some say ylang-ylang. It’s wild. But gorgeous.

    Did you get a strong hit of galbanum from the Villoresi Incensi? I think I read somewhere that it has a high percentage of it. I’ve never sniffed Incensi, alas.

    • March says:

      Maria — yeah, as you noted, I gave up on putting a list of Habanita notes up there because they’re all so different. I think your guess about the base is spot-on. I remember smelling the EDT eons ago and being very disappointed — I’d expected something darker and more Bandit-y from this legendary scent. But taken on its own terms, Habanita is gorgeous. You watch, now hausvonstone will write in and tell me it’s the edt :”>

      I got NO galbanum in Incensi, and I’d be surprised if it’s in there, because that’s a note I’m sensitive to (a little goes a loooong way with me.) Did you see all the negative comments below?!? It’s pretty sweet. If you’re contemplating it for the green galbanum, I’d say don’t bother.