Today´s the Scent Club, Part 2 — this month we looked at incense scents. Be sure to check out yesterday´s post on incense scents with Lee.
Etro Messe de Minuit – I have a soft spot in my
head heart for MdM, because as some of you may know, that´s how I met Patty. I´d ordered a sample from her eBay store, it got lost in the mail, I emailed her, she emailed me back, and the rest, as they say, is history. Losing that stupid sample of MdM turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I´m sure some of you would agree with that statement based solely on the way Messe de Minuit smells. Of the huge number of love-it-or-hate-it scents I can randomly think of, MdeM has got to be one of the original freak classics at this point. It´s essentially an incense scent (the name translated is Midnight Mass), with additional notes of cinnamon, myrrh, vanilla, and (depending where you´re reading) things like orange, amber and patchouli.
Messe de Minuit smells to me like the inside of a church at Christmas mass – there is incense, some woody notes, resin and myrrh. I can smell the crypt-keeper part everyone objects to – the part like mildew that in my opinion is a trick of the patchouli/myrrh combination – but somehow I just don´t find it objectionable. This scent has an online perfume rep as being this goth scent, and here I´d like to interject one of my favorite stories about preconceived notions and perfume. Because if you take someone – in this case my sister-in-law Kate, who has no interest in or knowledge of fragrance, beyond what she sniffs occasionally in my perfume closet – and you spray some of this randomly on her, she´ll surprise you by announcing it smells like spicy roses, and demand that you hook her up with some more. She´s now on her second (third?) bottle, which she has shipped to her from Bergdorf, having declared all that goth stuff a bunch of b.s. And you know what´s weird? On her it does smell like roses – spicy roses and incense. Go figure.
Next up, Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory. I reviewed this recently, and I maintain my enthusiasm. Easily my favorite of the Bond line, a variation on the theme of incense, this one being fun and lighthearted and blingy and glam. I hear there is going to be a whole series of Warhol scents, and I can´t imagine what the others will smell like (tomato soup?) This one smells like frankincense, violets and some funny metallic/synthetic note (notes are: bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, violet, incense, jasmine, iris, amber, woods.)
The Bond is IMHO probably the most commercial of all the scents we did – it´s fun, pretty (but not too pretty), unisex, wearable assuming you like incense even a little bit. I was wondering whether I´d been brainwashed by the good reviews, but I dug it up again for this session and I´m still impressed. Good work, Bond.
Finally, the biehl.parfumkunstwerke mb03. Notes are chamomile, red pepper, elemi, cistus, cashmere wood, styrax, amber, incense, sandalwood, patchouli. Hey, anybody remember these? Anybody? I mean, this is the volume issue we perfume nuts complain about. How many of these were there – 13? 14? – released at the same time. In some ways I like the concept – I like knowing who the perfumer is, in this case Mark Buxton, the alchemist behind several CdG gems. But the biehls all had those non-fragrance-names, and try typing biehl.parfumkunstwerke a few times without rolling your eyes (or accidentally typing A Very Dirty Word)… uh, where were we? To me this scent is a nice idea, a short story rather than a deep novel. My favorite bits are the first fifteen minutes, when I get the spices, and the sweet woods, and the whole deal reminds me vaguely of a summer version of the Warhol. It´s a very playful scent, and I can´t help but feel that this disappeared into the abyss because of the way it was released. Having said that, this is remarkably short-lived on me, and that´s not a frequent problem.
So – let´s have some conversation. Does Messe de Minuit really smell that bad? Or did it grow on you (and not like mildew?) Do you think the Biehl is underrated, and/or do you have another favorite from that line? Did the Silver Factory live up to your expectations? Does Andy Warhol cult irritate you even a teeny bit? Oh, wait, that´s off topic… and any of you newbies, how did you feel about all these incense fragrances? Thumbs up? Down?
Next month´s scent club: I Heart Perfume! Just in time for Valentine´s Day. This is a bit of an odd lot, scents we chose because they go together in terms of their feel and also happen to be either current or enduring favorites. They are: Isabela Capeto, Serge Lutens Rousse, Dior Homme and Chanel No. 22. There´s a spicy theme running in there, but in a hopeful, spring-is-around-the-corner way, not the winter-solstice way. We hope you join us next month to discuss these.