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Patty White launched Perfume Posse in 2005, and we've been yapping on and on about perfume endlessly since.

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Feb 272008
 
 February 27, 2008  Posted by on February 27, 2008
perfume posse - perfume reviews, perfume blog

Vetiver and I have a difficult relationship. I blame this on a tragic first meeting with Hermessence Vetiver Tonka, one of … how do I put this delicately? One of the most heinous fragrances on the planet. Vetiver Tonka is the fragrance equivalent of avocado ice cream – no, make that Brussels sprouts ice cream – and every bit as hard to choke down. (I concede my problem may in fact be with tonka, since I tried Patricia de Nicolai´s Vanille Tonka with similarly dismaying results.)

I´ve been trying to undo the leaf damage with a slow reintroduction to the wimpiest vetivers I can find. I was charmed by Guerlain Vetiver Pour Elle, and then worked my way up to regular ol´ Guerlain Vetiver, which I am pretty sure is now at the top of my to-buy list for The Big Cheese this spring. Le Labo Vetiver I like, but it´s not really vetiver, is it? Anyway, when Louise offered up a sniff of Lubin Vetiver recently, I turned her down. Couldn´t care less. I only tried it because she kept shoving it at me, and if you´ve met Louise … well, anyway, it´s gorgeous. Clearly I still like my vetiver on the cleaner end of things, and with a little additional company – notes are: mandarin orange, grapefruit, Guinea orange, orange flower oil, cloves, whole nutmeg, pepper, Java vetiver, Eastern red cedar, myrrh, frankincense, tobacco. If you are feeling blue and would like to wet yourself laughing, read the description on LuckyScent (“… the freshly torn from the earth richness of vetiver and the otherworldly airiness of frankincense circle each other warily, a truce between the sacred and the pagan….”) But what a wonderful, cheerful pleasure: citrus and spice opening, but layered with the vetiver from the start – so the whole effect is that bright, sparkling, leafy earthiness rather than dirty rootiness. Trot in the woods and incense and tobacco, and you´ve presented vetiver on a perfect platter of notes. I doubt vetiver purists will find this satisfying, but gosh, it´s pretty – I hate to use that word, because really, it´s unisex heading toward masculine on me, but it´s one of those colognes I´d ask about if I smelled it standing behind someone. Have you smelled it? If I say, I´ve come around to vetiver, and then cite Guerlain and Lubin as examples, does that give me all the street cred of someone who talks about how much they´ve learned to love Mexican cuisine based on their meals at Taco Bell?

L´Atelier Boheme Immortelle — Wow. What a … stunning disconnect between my nose and the online reviews. Perfect if you would like to smell like baby lotion and amber. None for me, thanks.

L´Atelier Boheme Helianthe – green notes, pear, exotic flowers, ylang ylang, sunflower, sandalwood. I cannot think of the last time I experienced such a profound gap between my feelings about the opening and drydown of a scent. The opening of this is such a fruity, green atrocity – like taking a can of Glade Spring Meadow and shooting it straight up your nose – that I refused to scrub it only because I was curious whether it could possibly get more awful. Then I got distracted by my maternal duties (dinner or something) and – you guessed it – eventually realized Helianthe had morphed into a delicious scent. Now, let me clarify that I like pear. I like Petite Cherie. If you do not like pear, you will really feel the full flower (fruit?) of your hate for this. I still can´t recommend this, based on the hideousness of the opening. Has anyone else tried this?

Prada Cuir Ambre parfum – this is one of those obscure LE things that I think is available at the Roja Dove boutique at Harrods in London, at some Prada boutiques (Milan? Moscow?), and on alternate Tuesdays on Mars. Here´s my review: heh heh heh. Okay, first a big note of powdery amber, a cross between Anne Pliska and POTL, and I say: bleah. Then: big big BIG (cue music from Jaws) leather – leatherleatherleatherrrrrr, dark tanned boot leather, but expensive. Not soft handbag leather. If I do my weird huffing thing (we need a better name for that: I breathe softly in and out through my nose and mouth pressed softly against the scent on my skin in the drydown, and I feel like my hot breath gets me maximum feedback, including almost tasting it)… there is something else in there, spicy, like carnation or iris? But I only get the spice while huffing it. What I don´t get – that sort of fresh/aquatic note I sometimes get with leather, that I don´t care for. This is custom-quality leather, all the way, no vinyl here. I´m not even a leather freak, and yum.

Lubin Idole – okay, fine. I give up. Do you hear me? I give up on this. I get: 45 seconds of warm, woody wonder, a la Feminite du Bois. Then I get something doughy and wan. Then I get poof! nothing. Then I get some lame wisp of something indistinct and ambery. Notes of saffron, bitter orange, rum absolute, black cumin and bitter orange peel, doum palm, smoked ebony, sugar cane, leather, red sandalwood. Yeah, read that list and weep. This was made for me (by Olivia Giacobetti, no less.) Where are those notes? Not on my skin, that´s for sure.

Demeter Incense – this is new. Their blurb: “Demeter´s incense is a warm, deep, rich blend of exotic notes, inviting and enveloping, the kind of scent that is both simple and complex at the same time, centered on a unique core of Copal. Copal is a type of resin produced by plant or tree secretions, particularly identified with the forms of aromatic tree resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as a ceremonially burned incense, as well as for a number of other purposes” etc. You know I love incense, and I like a lot of Demeter scents – not the sugary sweet ones, but their more offbeat ones (Holy Smoke, Beetroot, Coriander Tea, Bonfire, Greenhouse, off the top of my head, are pretty great, as is Eggnog, and yes, I know that sounds disgusting.) They don´t last forever, but they´re inexpensive and they come in those giant mini sizes (1/2 oz. for $5), which I love. So. This doesn´t smell at all churchy, like frankincense – Armani, Avignon, etc. This is definitely on the warm, resiny end of things. Its fragrance is mild and sweet, and there´s some extra stuff in there – a dry vanilla, maybe some amber, spice and pine? It´s soft and warm, smooth but velvety rather than creamy, a resiny comfort scent. To me, a nice Demeter is like putting on a favorite tee shirt. Two thumbs up.

Lubin images: LuckyScent

  159 Responses to “Leap Year Candy”

Comments (159)
  1. Dear Miz M,

    Regarding your opinion of Vetiver Tonka:

    :o Heresy!

    (*whispers* but you know? Vanille Tonka has never worked on me, either..)

    Have you tried Different Company’s Sel de Vetiver? It’s very clean and green/citrus and a little salty. I think it’s delicious, but some people don’t. :-\” Let me know if you want some, I’ve got plenty to spare.

    And so glad to get the thumbs up on the Demeter!

    • (I think she has tried Sel de Vet, iirc. Same as VT I think. She’s a weird one)

    • Lee’s right — I *did* hate Sel de Vetiver. And I think I still might, but I haven’t tried recently. You never know. I’ll check it out the next time I’m at the local boo-tique.

      I gave away my decant. :)>-

  2. Darnit. That questioning guy is supposed to be whistling. I think I’ll go back to my previous life as an emoticon disparaging purist.

    :d

    Maybe.

  3. I agree about Idole; I must just give up on it! Because after the beautiful Feminite du Bois opening it simply rolls over dead. Then I read that list of notes again and wrinkle my forehead in extreme consternation. Where is THAT? And where did the bit I loved go? However, I declare Vetiver Tonka is the furthest thing from heinous! It is an easy, comfortable, feel-good scent, more like buttered toast than brussels sprout ice cream! For a difficult to choke down Vetiver, I point to Route de Vetiver which is like raw potatoes straight out of the ground. VT may be my favorite vetiver, also Serge’s Vetiver Oriental.

    • I actually think vetiver’s a really interesting note – like leather. Some people want smooth; some people want rough; some people can’t get enough. :d

  4. Idole has been a wimp on me too.

    Hey, March, I have a story for you. Do you remember that you sent me a whole lot of Terre d’Hermes and I then informed you that I hated the stuff? My DH and I had tried some at the Sacramento Sephora and we’d had to scrub it off. Well… After months of your Terre being in the closet, I brought it out to try. My DH wasn’t quite up to being the guinea pig, so he suggested I spray Norbu. In trying to get Norbu with the spray I also got DH and couch. This would have been a disaster if it hadn’t turned out that…guess what…the DH and I like this Terre. The element the DH likes the most is the vetiver. So thank you. I wonder if the Terre at Sephora was bad or if now we’ve been exposed to so much weirdness that we’re willing to accept more.

    • Poor Norbu :(

      How’d he smell?

    • Thank goodness!

    • I’m glad it worked out on you! And I wonder whether the bottle changed or you did. :d

      I need to retry Sel de Vet, maybe my feelings have changed?

      If you spray Norbu with that Juicy Poochure thing (they have a dog perfume now) I’ll call the authorities. [-( Sel would probably be perfect though.

    • I’ve supplied DH with Terre d’hermes and Creed Vetiver and both are beautiful on him. That was during my Vetiver phase. Now I will be bombarding him with incenses. I was using the Sel de Vetiver during the summer. I smell licorice when I first put it on, yet I never see that in the listed notes. Maybe that is the way the vetiver smells on me?

      • Licorice? Shudder. Maybe I won’t resmell it … I keed, I keed. You know, I can see the licorice idea. I think when you get the first hit of vetiver, depending on how rooty it is and what else is going on, there’s that licorice-y smell.

  5. Oh, March :((:(( Just when I was thinking maybe you were my long-lost scent sibling. I luuuuuuuuuuvvvv Vetiver Tonka! But then, I love almost all things vetiver. That Vero Profumo Onda is going to haunt me until I break down and take out a second mortgage to buy it.

    Haven’t tried the L’Atelier Bohemes but I have samples! (of course). Maybe I shouldn’t bother? I’ve only tried Idole from my sample vial and remember it smelling lovely and thinking about getting it. But I’ve never followed through, maybe poor lasting power was the reason :-?

    I’ll sniff the Demeter if some turns up, but probably won’t make much effort to track it down. I like some incenses, but they don’t make me swoon.

    • I haven’t tried that Onda yet. Skeered. But now that everyone’s raving … I should check my packages, maybe she’s sent me some. :)

      No, no, no — try the Bohemes if you have samples! Put one on each arm and report back! :d Do it before you shower, is my suggestion.

  6. Hey March – Well, lucky me. Idole actually smells good on me! I get the awesome spices after riding out a short period of feeling ravished by Captain Morgan. And I’m generally abstemious with the tiny sample. Think I’ll wear it today! The Demeter Incense sounds really nice. Sniff, sob, it will never make it to the continent. ps – what’s a Norbu???

    • Man, where’s MY Captain Morgan! I want to be ravished! >sob< :((

    • PS A Norbu’s a dog. I think Sel de Vet would have a good, complementary cheetoh note for a dog.

      • Hi, from a newbie to your blog.

        Just popped in to see what’s doin’ over on this lovely blog and I find another dog perfumer! I perfume my Rottweilers, though mostly by accident(not). My big male wears Joy most of the time and his son, who is a bit more skittish, wears a lot of Hermes Elixir de Merveilles. Come Spring, whenever that happens, they will change to Fresh Lemon Sugar and vintage Vacances. No cheeto notes there. I tried the new Rumeur on the big dog and….well let’s just say it’s tough to wash a 130-lb dog in February in the Midwest but needs must when the Devil sprays Rumeur.

        What breed of dog is Norbu?

        I really like your blog!

        • Hey, welcome to the blog! We’re always happy when people stop by (and especially when they comment. I lurked forever.) :)>-

          I believe Norbu’s a rescued greyhound.

          Wow, Rumeur was that bad?!? I mean, I think it would be sort of mild and inoffensive, at least that’s how it smells on me.:d

          • Thanks for the kind welcome. I don’t know why I got the sense of Norbu being a bulldog (later post)…now I have to rethink the fragrances, LOL! Like Norbu, Jorge is a rescue, too (perhaps ‘kidnap’ is a better word. He was being neglected, bordering on abuse, so I took him and the guy was too scared to ask for him back – for 4 years now he’s ruled our household with charm and grace)

            Rumeur is getting seriously bruised on another blog (mostly – some fans there but not many). For me it just smelled Old and musty – not the worst thing but nothing I would actually want to wear…but on Jorge it really stank! Usually perfume just sits on his coat but this one interacted with something musky ….or else he’d rolled in something…all I know is the Ick factor got turned WAY up!

  7. I hadn’t realized just how little you like vetiver before that oh-so-gentle attempt to get the Lubin Vet on you. Moi-insistent? I’m just faster than you 8-| It really is lovely-now under consideration for purchase. Neener. Neener.

    But March, how can any sensate person not love Vetiver Tonka?. It…is…perfect. I really think it is the tonka that turns you off, as you suggest-’cause I know just how stinky you turn that the PdN. Not that vetiver is an easy note-it took me a long while, and some excellent vetivers (love Le Labo’s)to grow to enjoy it.

    The Ateliers both went in my “it’s a shame to spend so much on samples” Tupperware container #37. I will retry, when I can find them. Idole remains interesting only because of the bottle. I am curious to see who posts later that may have a good experience with it.

    Copal is the resin that Kamali’s Incense focuses on (I think). That is for me the ultimate beautiful, intense, room-clearing incense of my collection. How does the Demeter compare-and any chance it would last a bit longer than the average Demeter for me (ya know-20 seconds, tops)?

    For a little leap day fun, join the “revolution” started by a dear colleague-“Seize Back the Day”. He was interviewed in the Washington Post magazine last weekend:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/20/AR2008022001966.html?referrer=facebook

    • I don’t work on Fridays, so does that mean I can take today off?

      • Well, sure, fella! Just tell the Man that I said so, logic and productivity be damned.

        In fact the National Trust is taking tomorrow off as a statement of environmental concern-extra day, no need to sap extra resources. I like their thinking.

        • You know what’s weird? I was supposed to be training people all day in a school and doing all sorts of other stuff there too. Big programme all planned out. But they called very early to let me know they had staff chaos and could I come next week instead… I’m ‘working’ from home. Whooo!

    • I mean … you SMELLED that PdN on me. Was that not the nastiest thing ever? Vetiver Tonka is like that on me, only more … pureed (shudder.)

      Um … the relationship between that NK and Demeter would be like between tar and … air? I doubt the Demeter could land on your skin, but we will find out the next time we get togehter. I’m starting a little pile (Incense, my vile Oiro, and something else we discussed, can’t remember.)

      Thanks for making me try the Lubin. :”> I know, I want Idole to work in part because I love that bottle.

      I wonder whether the Leap Year thing would get me out of kid duties? PRobably not.

  8. You’re crazy – VT is perfection. PERFECTION! – you hear me?

    I sniffed the Lubin and didn’t feel very excited – will retry.

    Not tried any of the l’Ateliers, and not really planning to. I ODed on Idole for some ti me and wonder if people are anosmic to some aspects of it… how? Why? (but then, I’m one of those freaks who gets relatively no muskiness from Musc Ravageur). It’s rum spice all the way with me, though the drydown turned to powdery and no longer holds my interest…

    Didn’t we try CA at Roja Doves? I remember liking it best of all those chichi Pradas…

    • I know, I KNOW — I saw you loving it yesterday and I felt guilty! Not guilty enough to edit my post, but … dang, I *really* need that whistling emoticon fixed.

      As you can see, it’s 20 to 2 on that vote. Elle and I can sit in the corner together.

      We did try the CA at Harrods. But I think I was distracted by the Oillet, and that ridiculous incense thing (Sacred Tears of Thebes?) and we’d smelled so much product at that point. That’s a huge advantage of sampling at home.

  9. I’ve been eyeballing that Lubin Vetiver at LuckyScent for a good bit now; I just thought the bottle was cool and kinda hoped the juice wasn’t nearly as good as the bottle, but you’ve taken me even further there now with your review. Dude, tobacco and incense, “a truce between the sacred and the pagan” – that’s me, right??

    And, of course, I’m gonna have to try the Demeter Incense. There’s a local boutique that carries their stuff and any fragrance that costs less than thirty bucks, well, they’re essentially giving it to you. Plus you can never have enough tee shirts. Cheap and easy, wait, that’s really me, right??:-:o

    • You are SO walking the line between the pagan and the priest, or whatever. Reading the blurbs on LuckyScent is one of my favorite sources of perfume entertainment. For extra laffs, read the (uncensored, so far as I can tell) reviews attached to each frag for OTHER people’s take on the scent. There are gems buried in there if you dig.

      You are not cheap and easy. You are expensive and easy. [-( ;)

      And you’re such an incense slut. But I’m warning you — easy tee-shirt copal resin incense, my friend — adjust the nose.

      • March –

        I’m just getting started on these blogs – is this Marchlion? If so I absolutely ADORE this blog! Fun,fantastically informative and very irreverent, which works for me!!!!

        This is MamaBear from over on NST (I get tired of being called Mama (or Mommy, which is just as stupid) by a bunch of giant, tattooed bikers so decided to go back to my more civilized roots, at least in name).

        KevinS and I had a discussion about scenting dogs on the Perfume Insults post. My Rottweilers wear a variety of fragrances. I find the classics work best on them:-) Jorge (Georgie) wears Joy most of the time – it seems to complement whatever I’m wearing….and his son Carmine wears something a bit springier, in keeping with his bouncy temperment.

        Actually, I’m joking, sort of – they wear whatever I wear because the poor bassids can’t help but get nailed by it. I once sprayed Calyx and it hit Carmine on the back of the head. He sneezed for 30 minutes! So, no more Calyx for him!LOL! Joy and Bal a V are non-sneezers. My boys would bite my toes clean off were I to try to spray them with a dog-perfume.

        What breed of dog is Norbu? I’m envisioning bulldog, for some reason.

        • Musette — yes, I am Marchlion, for … well, for no good reason, really. When I was signing up for my first alias, I thought, March comes in like a lion. Which, generally, is true. ;)

          It’s funny, I never think of perfuming the dog! Mostly because I think he’d sneeze, but I sort of like his doggy smell. It sounds like your dogs are getting some high end fragrance treatment; no drugstore scents for them! I am trying to imagine Joy…

    • March,
      I don’t actually perfume him on purpose. If I have it on my hands he just gets the residue (work with me – I’m desperately trying to not sound like a giant freak here:-).

      I agree, general dog-smell is very nice. He’s a great dog and very relaxed about smelling like Joy, though I’m sure he’d rather smell like bacon. Or maybe he’d rather I smelled like bacon…

      The Grateful Palate actually have bacon-scented air fresheners and candles but I don’t think they’ve managed a bacon perfume yet. I know there are many gourmand perfumes out there but bacon seems to be a bit above and beyond…

      :-&

      • Musette, it took me forever to find this comment buried in here.

        FWIW, I think Kolnisch Juchten smells a lot like bacon. Very meaty. In a cool way.:)

        • Okay – that’s it! I officially HAVE to try it. If I end up with a pack of dogs following me down the street, ala Aunt Bee with the wagon full of meat…

  10. *Want* that Demeter! It’s the copal note that makes me swoon over NK’s Incense. Can’t resist it – instant transportation back to Guatemalan churches.
    Have only very, very recently started to see any magic in vetiver scents. Miller Harris (who also converted me to the wonders of geranium) did it w/ her Vetiver Bourbon. Am slowly starting to resample vetiver scents. Agree w/ you on the Lubin Vetiver – will be excellent for summer. Also agree w/ you (raising defense shields now) about the almost universally worshipped Vetiver Tonka. I just don’t get it. Never have. However, I will continue to try, as, God knows I all too frequently find myself doing radical turn arounds on scents. It would be infinitely better for my budget if I just never resampled. Instead, I diligently hold onto samples and retry month after month, year after year.
    *Adore* Cuir Ambre. Don’t know if I’ve tried the L’Ateliers. Think I have and the samples are probably lurking around somewhere. Think I’ll let them remain in lurk mode.

    • *fires hazelnutty and tonka laden vetiver salvo at shields. They crumble, like crushed polystyrene (but without the awful squeakiness)*

    • Thank GOD. Thank GOD FOR YOU, WOMAN. I scanned *all* the comments, frantically looking for your confirmation. Now I can sleep (with the door locked and the gun loaded), knowing there are two of us who don’t think Vetiver Tonka is one of perfumery’s finest moments.

      Okay … when you read Lee’s “hazelnut and tonka” attack below, doesn’t your stomach lurch a little? Girl, we *ARE* smelling it correctly. And let’s go look for the right emoticons … :-ss >:p b-(

      That should do it.

      • Psycho busy day and only just now saw this. Great emoticons! Just skimmed more comments and am relieved to see more people populating the world outside the walls of the VT loving encampment.

        • But there are a LOT of them. We should probably circle the wagons and build a big campfire … hmmmm, any emoticons handy? Let’s go look.

          <):)

  11. Ah, me.
    So we disagree- I’m NOT kickin’ you outta bed on account of that, dearie.

    VT is beloved by all chez moi.
    I WISH I had hausvonstone’s response [tee-hee !]- Idole is a premature ejaculator for me- so I gots to put ‘other stuff’ with, to keep it going.

    CA is my delight.
    Judith and I could drink it, bathe in it, wash the dishes in it…..
    But I’m a demented fool.

    L’Ateliers ?
    I’m with Louise.
    Meh-feh range of rating.
    [I await the Lubin sample from luckyscent….]

    Kisses to all in your domain-
    I hope you’re cured.

    • Sorry, but I’m seriously lol-ing at your bathing in CA comment. Mostly because I know it’s so true.

    • It sounds like we aren’t the only ones with Idole performance issues. And as you can see all over here, I am (almost) alone in my distaste for VT!

      The CA seems so very, very you.

      Hey, will you be at the Sniffa in April? I want to meet you.

      • Not only will I be there-
        But I’m schlepping the DH [aka “B”]with me, dear sod.
        So, beware…
        You’ve been warned-
        And forewarned is foreskinned,
        as SOME are fond of saying….
        [Poor March ! Really, I can’t wait !!!]

  12. I love that you hate VT so much–to be honest, I find mixed reviews of a scent a lot more interesting than a total consensus. The whole Hermessence line sort of pisses me off for some reason. A lot of them seem slightly off or un-finished, and I love JCE. I do like the Poivre, but it has no lasting power, and the Paprika is sort of ok, but then it goes wayyyy too soapy–as in Dawn with iris.

    I wasn’t impressed by the Prada, but this is one that there is serious consensus about, so I really feel like I need to re-try (this is why universally good reviews are dangerous, to my wallet).

    The Lubin sounds so perfect, can’t wait to try. I need a light, citrusy replacement for Terre D’hermes, which I’ve OD-ed on and need a break from.

    • Hahahahhahaha!!!! No no no honey — they’re not off or unfinished! They’re the work of a minimalist genius! I hear the next one’s called Eau, and it’s going to capture the full breadth and spectrum of the smell of water. Although I’m pretty sure Issey Miyake has that territory covered.

      While I’m making enemies, the only Hermessence I really love is the one that (I think) everyone else hates — Paprika Brasil. Although revisiting the Hermes boutique with Patty I guess I’d take a couple of the others.

      • PS I think “a light, citrusy replacement for TdH” is actually a great description of Lubin, so I bet you’ll like it.

      • >:/ You wanna start something here? ;))

        • Well … no. I mean, if I rag the Hermessences it’s like peeing on the — you know what? I will stop right there. How many people can I legitimately offend on a Thursday morning? I think I’ve bagged my limit. :)>- ;)

      • Ugh, I know! I find myself liking Paprika a lot actually. But then I realize that it smells like soap. And I can’t justify spending 200+ dollars on something that smells like soap, even if I like it. Plus, I hate the name. It sounds like a cheap Brazilian/Thai fusion restaurant.

        • At the risk of grossing you out, I think Brazilian/Thai fusion sounds like kind of a tasty concept. :”>

          But you’re right. $200 is waaaay too much for soap, even good soap.

    • Adding my complete disinterest with the entire Hermessence line. And Im a big-time Hermes Parfum lover.

      They’re like whispers to me. They’re very un-eventful, I feel. I’ve not even smelled the last 2 or 3 that have been released b/c I simply have no interest. And the leather sleeves that you can buy to put them in cost more than my Hermes leather mousepad – an impulse purchase, sure – and probably not one of my proudest retail moments. But at least I use it every day and have since 10th grade!

      If he releases a Narcissus scent I’ll be one cranky SOB, let me tell you. B/c I’d HAVE to try it, and what if I like it? I’d have to give in and buy it. And once I become firm on an opinion, I hate when its in danger of change.

      That said, Im also not really a fan of vetiver. I have a few vetiver scents – the guerlain, for instance. I never reach for them. ever.

      • I do like that Guerlain. I hear you on the Hermessences (although we’re not going to talk too much about it, so we don’t get flamed.) And I can’t believe you have an Hermes mousepad! I have Mary-Kate and Ashley staring up at me … back when they were 12 and cute as little matching buttons … even my girls are too embarrassed to use it, which I guess is why I have it.

        You know what I love? That L’Artisan LE, Fleur de Narcisse. What did you think of that?

        • Im wearing it right now, love.

          I just bought it on Friday. Im already thinking I need to sell my kidneys to stock up on it b/c the thought that it can never be recreated is just heartbreaking to me – I love it so much. It really is just devastatingly perfect for me.

          Its definitely in my Top 10 list.

          • Thank goodness we’re in the minority Mark–it’s still on a lot of websites, including big department stores, so I feel safe for a little while. I too feel like I could have a bathtub filled with it and I’d go through it. Is your fragrance almost done??

            • The next mod should be in transit as we speak. Im eager to spray it on – I think this one should make my jaw drop in the good way. Don’t worry, I’ll send you some when its done – I haven’t forgotten.

              Im going to get another bottle of FdN and lock it away till Im 60 – this way instead of going the rest of my life wishing I could still get it – I can go through life thinking “In a few more years, I can have it back again”

          • I remember the first time I smelled it. I was (forgive me) expecting something more floral. I didn’t realize cut narcissus had that dark, masculine, animalic aspect. Once I picked myself up off the floor from the shock, I was enthralled.

            It’s an unusual fragrance, and I would suppose an acquired taste. Which works out in your favor in this case. @};-

  13. OK March – I am now proving myself to be a complete uneducated noob, but I kinda liked L’atelier Helianthe – even the opening. But I think I have a much higher tolerance for sweet than you do. Wouldn’t race out to buy it (fruity floral just ain’t my thing), but I’ll probably finish that sample.

    After some thought (thanks for the prodding, March), I realized exactly what L’Atelier Immortelle smells like.

    3 words – “Sanitized by Swiffer.”

    Those of you who have spent quality time in DC public restrooms may know what I am talking about. :-&

    • Well, I really did like the drydown. A lot. And who knows? Maybe in warmer weather it would seem more fun and less cloying at the start.

      And for a noob you pretty much nailed Immortelle. I think you should apply for a job writing that stuff at LuckyScent. Send them that as an example. Let me know how it works out. ;)

      • Well – then I’d have to say nice stuff about EVERYTHING.8-|

        And what fun is that?

        • Um, well, exactly! You’re preaching to the choir on that one! As you know. ;)

          Man, what would we do if the *winking* emoticon broke?

          • wait – is it supposed to be winking – or does it just have one eye closed like a wink. ‘Cuz it doesn’t wink open and closed on my machine?

            • Nope, mine doesn’t wink. But then my skull doesn’t do anything either, and I hear its mouth moves.

              I miss the whistling one because little notes came out of his (her?) mouth.

  14. I have some bad news. As you know, I didn’t hate vetiver as much as you: didn’t smell like B.O., liked it as an accent, found most vetiver “soliflores” dismissable. (Always liked Guerlain, but found most trendy ones – Encre Noir, Vetiver Extraordinaire, etc. – boring. My reaction was always “Yeah, smells like vetiver. Hmmm. Okay, next!” Vetiver Oriental by SL was at least different, but pretty unwearable for me.) VT was always very ‘meh’ IMO: just a sort of fresh and yet sweet vetiver that I called “Vetiver Cookie”. And then the lovely Hermes woman insisted I take a sample at the boutique, and, and…. I sort of *like* it. I mean, not so’s I’d buy it, yer understand. But it’s sort of *okay*. That’s as far as I’m prepared to go. My order would probably go: Osmanthe Yunnan, Brin de Reglisse (I know, I KNOW), the 15 secs I get of Rose Ilkebana, Vetiver Tonka, AN, Paprika Basil, and then poor ol’ shtinky Poivre.

    Even more bad news: I actually am starting to really *enjoy* TDC Sel de Vetiver.

    • I think “Vetiver Cookie” is almost as perfect a gross description as “Avocado Ice Cream” — and yet … you sort of like it. Sigh. Must be the tonka. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      I love your backpedaling (not so’s I’d BUY it) ;)

      My order is roughly: Paprika, Poivre, OY, Rose, and the others I will generously leave to you. :d

      • Poivre smelled just great on the strip and then ACCKKK! on me. One of the most egregious cases of a bad skin chemistry match I’ve ever encountered. I took samples just to confirm how truly awful it smelled on me, but I’ve been too scared to try again. I’ll send you my samples!

        • That is so funny. Poivre smelled great on me. It was the first time I really considered how much I liked it. (I think I’m on a mini pepper binge.) They’re mostly pretty light, except for ol’ Dark Ship of Death By Amber.

          Hey, I sent you … the Bohemes! Heh. So you have fun with that.

  15. I thought I was the only one who got absolutely nothing like the reviews with Immortalle, a very blah fruity powdery scent on me. As for vetiver my favorite is still Guerlain’s original perfect in the summer layered with Molinard’s Mure (like a perfect blackberry patch.)

    • Powdery. Yes. And I’ve had this nutty fear of mure, but after my come-around on Mure et Musc, I’m thinking maybe it’s not so bad after all… your layering combo sounds nice, actually.

  16. *slumbers out of hibernation to let out a roar in defense of VT, then yawns, slumps back onto the ground and resumes snoring*

  17. Blasphemy! Cretin! VT is simply the best thing ever made, your nose is broken. /:)

    I think the immortelle and helianthe worked out better on me than you, but I just don’t remember them that well? Kiss of death, to be unmemorable immortelle.

    • KOD is right. It was a powdery, lotion-y snoozefest. Which ain’t what you and I are looking for from our beloved syrup-y, foot-y friend. :”>

      I know, I know. I’m an idiot. I can’t help it. /:)

  18. OK I’m coming out of the closet with my head held high/at an angle to avoid hazelnuts etc. (Can’t do that neat thing of crossing out something so you can see what I’ve crossed out. Anyway, am joining March and Elle re VT. Its been a guilty secret and I’m relieved to confess but I really don’t like it on me. Just can’t make its mind up – is it green and rooty? Is it overhandled pastry dough? Whatever. I don’t like it near me. Going to check it next to Onda and Vanille Tonka (both of which I love) and see if I can extrapolate anything. The Idole is the usual Giacobetti sheer thing – nice enough but I was disappointed. However the Prada CA is fabulous! Its at Selfridges and Liberty too so almost department store;)Somebody told me it reminded them of Knize Ten and I can see what they mean – love Knize Ten too.

    • Aha! Now there are three of us to stand in the corner together! And I’m glad for the company. Bring your decants, we’ll share.

      VT is like a green root *wrapped* in overhandled pastry dough. And partially baked. I don’t want to eat it, it makes my tummy hurt.

      Knize Ten? Really? :-? Knize Ten I like a lot, but it does something very odd occasionally on my skin. Can’t decide whether the odd bit is good.

      • Ok I tried Vet Tonka, Van Tonka and Onda on scent strips last night (was happily wearing Attrape Coeur and no way was I disturbing my peace)! And a funny thing happened. I totally saw what could be nasty in Van Tonka when I smellt it next to Vet Tonka. (I now have a three quarters full bottle of Van Tonka for sale/swap!)For the first 15 minutes they smelled very similar though this morning when I gingerly approached the strips Vet Tonka was back being green and rooty. Onda was and still is simply beautiful in a primordial way. So I don’t think its vetiver and I’m not even sure its tonka which upsets me in the other 2 -its something else – I think there’s lime in Van T which may not help but don’t know what the hell it is in the Vet T. But as you so correctly point out March – it makes my tummy hurt.

        • Thanks for the update! I have smelled Vanille Tonka on a couple of other people and it smelled wonderful — an incense note. So I think it’s an issue on my skin. And you know at some point I’ll try Vetiver Tonka again. :)>-

  19. March! :d Just when I thought I was the only person in the world to not LOVE vetiver, you, oh mistress of everything fragrant, have taken my hand, dried my tears, and validated my very existence!

    I have watched Patty fall trance-like into her own wrist for VT, and I felt a deep and painful loss… either that or complete befuddlement at her freakiness. It’s by my true love, JCE (and yes, he DID name his Caleche for me!) how can I not love this? How can I not even stand to have it in my house?

    I don’t know what vetiver is supposed to smell like… I have googled it and it’s “smoky”… OK… somehow I expect something like campfire or fireplace. What I get is using my skin to wipe out the overflowing ashtray at a dive bar. I approach my arm from different angles, with eyes closed, mouth open, standing on one foot, tongue out, nothing works. Vetiver sucks. Sorry if you love it but… well, what the hell are you smelling there?!?!

    • I wouldn’t say smoky. I’d say rooty and dirt-ish and leafy, with the relationship between those items changing in the scent.

      Here’s my opinion — I’m going to call it …. The Cumin Principle. Is that grandiose enough for you? Cumin (like vetiver) is a particular, dis-stink-tive smell. I think most every one of us *perceives* it the same way (although we may get less or more of it.) But some people like it and some people think it (literally) stinks, no good reason either way. I was sniffing Cartier Declaration and Declaration Essence last night at Bloomies, and I’ll skip the rest of the long story, but the male SA thought it was sexy and lovely and human. The other SA could not get away fast enough. Maybe vetiver just ain’t you. Having said that, if you smell, say, Guerlain Vetiver? For men? Just regular, not Iced or Femme or Extreme or whatever else they come up with — to me, that’s the platonic ideal of a clean, wearable vetiver. If you hate that, it’s probably hopeless, right now anyway.

      • Yes, that dirt smell, luv that. We have vetiver mats in the bathroom and after a shower there is a sweet dirt smell. Sounds gross as I read it back, but I like it.

  20. What about the March Maneuver. I mean, I do the same thing (the “heating up and maximizing the fragrance” toward the end) but I’d be happy to put your name to it… as a matter of fact I think I’ll be unable to NOT think “March Maneuver” from now on when I do it. hahaha…

    No comment on your Vetiver Tonka disgust [-( :d

    • I know, I’m a maroon. And The March Maneuver is already taken for other activities =))

      oh, that’s so wrong

      “huffing” makes me think of inhalants, and “snuffling” makes me think of pigs rooting for truffles. Although maybe that’s how I look, doing it.

  21. Hey, March: What about Goutal Vetiver? That might be just the ticket — it’s delightfully spicy along with the rootiness. I have recently fallen in deep love with it. Seems like anything with tonka predominating just hates me, whether it be the Nicolai, or the VT, or that Etro that I think Nancy described as being “wood and wood, with extra wood added” — was it Mahogany? Hates me. Threatens to suck up all the oxygen in the room.

    I recently read Madhur Jaffrey’s “Climbing the Mango Trees,” about her childhood in India. They were pretty well off — lived in a large family compound. They had curtains of vetiver that hung over certain doorways, so they could open the door when it was unbearably hot & get the rooty cool smell. mmmmmm –Ellen

    • Goutal Vetiver?

      NFW. I didn’t even know they *made* Vetiver. Just plain ol’ vetiver? If you’re another tonkaphobe, that makes me even more interested.

      PS Curtains of vetiver. Oh, lord. I can smell it now. Doesn’t that sound like heaven on earth?

      • AG Vetiver is an very atmospheric sea/beach vetiver, rather spicy and salty, as E says. Very interesting and innovative, if not particularly my thing.

      • Yup. The Perfumed Court describes AG Vetiver edt: “A woody spicy scent with notes of Burmese spices, rare woods and Javanese vetiver.” I wish I knew what those spices are, but it’s just dry & smoky & lovely. There’s a nice review of it at Bois de Jasmin, though I don’t get the sea-saltiness she describes. Something in the dryness makes me think of Bois d’Ombrie. –Ellen

  22. I can’t wait to try on Lubin’s Vetiver, as it sounds truly perfect, especially for the warmer months to come. I love Idole too, especially the first whiff of rhum… that’s the best part for me. As for Vetiver Tonka… I got a 15 ml bottle and I still haven’t decided whether I like it or not. I suppose that means I don’t like it much, actually. Vanille Tonka…I really really like it if I don’t overdo it. Otherwise, after washing my clothes I think I can still smell it on them (which worries me)!:-?

    • Dangit, where’s my rum? Where’s my spicy, sexy Captain Morgan? I would totally love Idole if it actually *smelled* like it reads, which it does for that first minute … sad, sad, sad.

      Giggling at your not-quite-ringing endorsement of Vetiver Tonka. :p

  23. You are making me want to stop by scentbar on the way home tonight to try those L’Atelier Bohemes just to see how bad they could be?!? :d

    • Go for it! Don’t get it on anything you have to dryclean.

      Seriously, when’s the last time you smelled something that really, really suuuuuuuuuuuuucked? (blue sugar?) The Immortelle’s just lame. That Helianthe, though — that’ll grab you by the throat and squeeze.

      • I think Blue Sugar was the last one that really killed me. I might have to cruise Sephora and find something equally nasty; I can work off my winter ennui with some random act of perfume bitchery. :d/

  24. hm…i, too, disagree with you on VT – i like it, but not enough to purchase (so far?) i like PdN vanille tonka as well, it´s a dry vanilla with a good amount of smokiness on me. perhaps tonka bean just doesn´t work for you? like for me white musk – my skin amps it up until i can´t stand it any longer – it´s just plain nasty.
    my fragrance taste is taking a weird turn , i don´t know what´s up :-? i like vetiver, fruits, even *gasp* fig!
    i just hope i won´t wake up one day & like clean fragrance – now that would be a nightmare!
    i have a sample of the lubin vetiver, but haven´t tested it, yet. i think i like FM vetiver extraordinaire & the one from SL quite a bit, but it has been ages since i sniffed them for the last time, so who knows – maybe i´ll loathe them now.
    idole is a scent i don´t know what to think about. i like it, i don´t get anything that reminds me of FdB (which is good), i only get alcohol & spices. sometimes the rhum is a bit too much, soemtimes it works just fine for me. but i like isabela capeto so much more than idole, to me it´s like the soft version of idole with an additional plum note that´s just gorgeous :x

    • Malena, weird, how did I miss your comment? Sorry! :(

      I would love that liquor part of Idole people talk about, it’s just too tame on me. I am so glad to hear you like Isabela! I think it’s a very interesting scent.

      Tastes change — it’s a good thing! Although the day you and I wake up loving a fresh note, let’s call it quits. ;)

      If you need ninety-kajillion fig scents, they’re listed on the blog under Figmania I and II …

  25. I’ve tried both Immortelle and Helianthe. LuckyScent offers another fragrance from that line called Fil de Soie, which I liked the best. I found it to be very peppery; if you can put a touch to a scent, it would be like it should sting. The Immortelle was a little sweet, but it didn’t really last. I’ll try it again in the summer. Helianthe was a horror of super-sweet, bordering-on-rotten pears. Absolutely nothing green present to save it. It stayed so over ripe that I was afraid fruit flies would start hatching and swarming. However, I’ve learned to continue to try dismissed perfumes until the bottles are confiscated!

    • That sounds lovely and is in my shopping basket right now! I love me some peppery.

      Loving your description of Helianthe! It sounds like we got sort of the same ride on that one, at least at the start.

  26. I don’t see how you can claim to love skank and not love vetiver!

    Trying to remember what all Chandler Burr said about vetiver in The Perfect Scent — doesn’t he hate vetiver too?

    • He said that Vetiver Huile Essentielle (the oil distilled from the root), from Haiti smells like a Third World dirt floor and Vetiver Bourbon from Isle del la Reunion smells like a Third World dirt floor with cigar butts. At one point SJP says she likes Guerlain’s Vetiver and he responds – Whoa, I say you’re hard core! A classic masculine! Seriously? “I love Vetiver?”

    • It’s too … it’s the wrong kind of skank. What Chandler said. Although, obviously, I am coming around. Which partly I owe to you, you suggested the Guerlain as a reasonable starting point.

      And I’ve gone from disliking it to liking it very much.

      At the risk of sounding nutty, that vetiver smell put me off the way I think cumin puts some people off. It just smelled nasty to me. At first. But like many things worth working for (caviar!), the first time or three are a little rough.

  27. with Idole, i get spicy orange liqueur plus woods, then some leather … for a few hours, then it fades quite a bit. if i want spicy woods, i’ll wear Black Cashmere, it stays much longer. in fact, the Giacobetti scents i’ve tried tend to piss me off with their transparency. they’re gorgeous, but so sheer and weightless, and so far, i really don’t like sheer or weightless.

    and Vetiver Tonka – i don’t even know what to say. it’s gorgeous. and while i could understand someone not liking vetiver, i must say your tonka hatred confuses me. that’s like saying “i hate vanilla ice cream.” it may bore you, but it’s so inoffensive, how could you outright HATE it?

    but besides the oddities of skin chemistry, scents evoke very strong reactions with people, and are deeply tied to emotions, childhood memories, etc, so in no way should you feel bad for having such a reaction to an otherwise universally loved perfume. even though it makes you weird. :x

    i’m taking my sick self back to bed, i hope this made some sense.

    8-x

    • I don’t like vetiver *with* tonka, I think, because they seem so wrong together — broccoli and syrup? Broccoli and buttercream frosting? I love broccoli, and buttercream frosting, but not together.

      Seriously, though, if you smelled Vanille Tonka on me, you’d run. It’s ghastly — ask Louise. I wonder if I do something nasty to tonka, it’s like burnt vanilla? Vanilla and tar? Very off.

      I hope you feel better soon! ~o) Here’s a mug of soothing tea.

      • Yup, it’s just gross :-\”

      • I’ll have to try the Vetiver Tonka but I get what you are saying – that’s what Iris Ganache is like on my skin. I mean, ganache is supposed to be unoffensive vanilla frosting/topping, right? But with iris and on my skin?b-(

        • Really? What does it do? I think most complaints were, it’s too sweet. Ganache was one of the weird ones I tried purely as a Fear Factor test — I knew it would be horrible — and it was fairly mellow and spicy on me, so who knows?

  28. ha… my first (and second) reaction to the lubin vetiver was that it smells just like marijuana. could not get past it. yuck.

    and to me, idole was a total snore. not sure what the fuss is about. pleasant, but done before and better. actually all the lubins felt rough and unfinished to me – which surprised me. thought i’d like them much more, given the reviews.

    would love to try the demeter, though – sounds right up my incense alley.

    • I’ve been growing more & more keen to try the lubin as the day has gone on. And now..;)

      • Well? Now? Less keen? Or more? Ravished by Captain Morgan, or bored in bed? Which will it be? :d

        • Ha, I’ll be havin me some of that lubin. A kind of summer on the porch smell.

          • Okay, for some reason in my head I read your words in Mr. Crab’s accent on Spongebob Squarepants. “I’ll be havin’ me” etc. Do you think I should seek professional help?

            • LOL, no kids so I don’t know what that sounds like. Think more Bklyn, NY and add 12 years of London. That’d be me

              • Mr. Crabs talks in this absurd, faux pirate — Arrgh, matey, ye’ll be walkin’ the plank! Only … wronger than that. Like bad pirate lingo. Which is reminding my strange brain, I think there’s some website devoted to talkin’ the pirate talk?

                Why can I remember this and not the name of my children? I ask you.

      • Whoops, wrong Lubin!

        I remember smelling the one that’s *supposed* to smell like dope and being disappointed. What is that? Can’t remember the name. Cannabis Santal! All santal, no cannabis on me.

        • Have you tried the new Cannabis Rose?

          • Um … no, because what if it smells like rose? Then I probably won’t like it. :(

            • it smells like rose and patchouli and musk – and it’s quite good, so don’t bother with the cannabis rose if you’re looking for a cannabis smell. cannabis santal has got to be one of the worst things i’ve ever put on my skin.

              and while i’m thinking about pot-smells, back in the late ’90s there was an orange-colored shampoo my hoity-toity dallas salon sold that smelled just like pot. it was disgusting. if i could remember the name i’d tell you what it was. tall, skinny bottle with orange stinky shampoo. they were being “clever” making it smell like pot.

    • Now that’s a good point. Strong vetiver does smell a little bit like dope. Since I like that smell, we’re good. :”>

      I like Olivia Giacobetti’s style of perfumery, and I remember seeing those notes and that bottle and being ecstatic. I almost bought it unsniffed, and am grateful I didn’t, although at least I could look at the bottle. Her lightweight scents usually work great on me. But clearly reading the descriptions above, either I don’t get those notes on my skin, or I simply can’t smell them.

      The Demeter, for what it is, is lovely. I know some folks just don’t like Demeter — too plastic, doesn’t last long enough, whatever. I have a soft spot for them because they were some of the early odd things I loved. Thunderstorm!

      • March, what does dope smell like? :d

        • Well, I have heard that it’s a pungent herbal smell with a bit of burning rope. That’s the way I believe it has been described.

          What emoticon were you aiming for? The only one I know is broken is the whistling one, which really bothers me, you get some QUestioning dude that isn’t even up there.

          • It starts out rose but then quickly develops a green leafy smell from the oolong tea and patchouli then the drydown is kind of chocolate.

            • Sorry March, this should have been up on the thread about Cannabis Rose..time to go bed!!

            • That’s okay, you gave me a good chuckle. The day I start blogging about the Wonders of Rose is the day I want you to send out the forces to get me back from the alien abductors. =:)

            • Really?

              • I love roses. Real roses. I grow fragrant ones. Rose in perfumery I’m less enthralled with. There are exceptions, though — usually the stinky ones like Serge Lutens’ Rose de Nuit, TDC Rose Poivree… :”>

            • Ooops, wrong reply! I think your description sounds interesting. I’m a worried it might be a little Angel-ish, though. :-ss

  29. What’s with the emoticons-they’re playing switcheroo…:)>-

  30. My earlier reply to Norbu’s perfumes was meant to reply to this part of the thread – the posting went somewhere else….sorry!

  31. I heard wonderful things about Vetiver Tonka, but like you, was disgusted by it. I tried Helianthe back in October; I don’t remember it very well now, but judging by my blog post I loved it. And the opening was very gentle.

    Idole smells wonderfully rich and spicy on me, like pomanders. I bought a bottle for my Dad for Christmas – on him it’s similar, but hugely musky too. A shame you can’t wear it. :(

    • Aaaaarrrggghhh!!! Your description of Idole! That’s what I want! That’s what I imagine it should smell like! Go ahead, torment me further — do you get a lot of saffron? My saffron fantasies border on obscene. :”>

      And so happy to hear about the Vetiver Tonka! Uh, I mean, it’s nice to have the company. You know what I mean…

      • No, I don’t really get a lot of saffron. It’s there, but not in huge amounts. I’m going to visit Dad tomorrow – now I am going to have to spritz some of his Idole on myself :)

        • Your father wears Idole? Can I send my father to him? My dad is having some sort of weirdness where he sprays this godforsaken stuff called BOD all over …he lives in a 3-story townhouse and I swear there’s a bottle of this on every floor (for easy sprayin’ access, don’tcha know:-).

          Our deal is: when I come to visit he must shower daily (he’s 86 and it’s not always tops on his list) and NO BOD. It actually inflames my sinuses, it’s so……..I don’t know what it is but it’s like turpentine and orange juice, mixed in a vat of cat piss.

          • Your father wears BOD?!?!

            Lord. This is like … a national emergency. A fragrance emergency.

            Can you confiscate all bottles immediately? Seriously, that’s so wrong. Tell him Bod is for horny 17-year-old boys. No, wait. Don’t tell him that.

            Can you replace it with something cheap and cheerful you can stand in large doses? How ’bout Old Spice in a splash bottle? No, seriously. Smells great, not too strong…

            • You jes’ don’t know! I would like to find out who is responsible for this and give them my ENT bill! I gave him some Bond #9 samples but I think he uses BOD in lieu of a shower (I know, it’s a little early in the day for such disclosure):-& I threw away 3 bottles of it….and a month later they’d been replaced! I guess his housekeeper’s sense of smell is ….nonexistent?

              I give him plenty of warning before I am coming up to see him, he showers and lays off the BOD.

              Old Spice would be a welcome alternative. I actually like that scent, used sparingly, on older men. smells like my papi did before he lost his olfactory mind!

              Kathy – tell your father’s girlfriend to look for an old man to be dropped off at your father’s this very afternoon, LOL! She’s got her work cut out for her!

          • OMG – poor you! (and your dad’s neighbors!) Dad used to wear Polo and Drakkar Noir in vast quantities when I was younger, but now he allows me to choose fragrance for him. I started him off gently with Burberry London. He really liked the Idole, so I got that for him next. Today I think I’m going to take my Frapin 1270 and some Dior Homme for him to sniff.

            He’s only 71 and lives with his 20-years-younger girlfriend who definitely wouldn’t tolerate Bod or Axe or any of those other spray-n-stenches.

  32. that would be talklikeapirate.com (I think it’s dot.com). I am always saying to my boys “you – yes, you – the,the, the one who isn’t the other one!”…….over time they’ve figured out it’s an equal-opportunity Forget.

  33. Well I tried the L’Atelier Boheme Fil de Soie and it smelled like – coconut suntan lotion.

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