Posse readers – I bring you glad tidings! I, your devoted perfume cowgirl, am quoted in the current Time magazine in an article about perfume! Me! in Time! Not that I’m tooting my own horn or anything! (Now Smell This, Sniffapalooza and Vetivresse are in there too.) That’s me over there to the left in Time’s cover illustration recreating my discovery of the smell of Diptyque Essence of John Galliano — look at my tiny waist! (Okay, that last sentence? a total lie. Hillary whatsername’s on the cover.) I must have talked to the reporter for 30+ minutes about the world of fragrance freaks, and am amused to see the quote she used from me is a random aside about shoes (I was making a point about perfume having its culty devotees, similar to those for shoes, wine and handbags, and how each has blogs devoted to the topic). I am kind of pleased she didn´t quote me as to the country of origin of Juozas Statkevicius. I said – are you ready? – “Moldavia,” as in the Moldavian Massacre on that 1980s TV classic, Dynasty. Also I am pretty sure I said “I have more vials than a crack addict,” or possibly “crack dealer,” and wouldn´t that have made my loved ones proud, seeing that in print?
Anyway, here´s more stuff. Less fluff. I got a package in the mail from Tigs …
Bois 1920 Sandalo e The. What a crushing disappointment. Lots of tea, no sandalwood, a pinch of cumin. I´d be all over that cumin-y goodness if it weren´t bolted to a snooze-inducing fougere. This is like sniffing Brut in your average guy´s freshly showered armpits.
Hermes eau d´Hermes. Heh. Show of hands, please – how many of you bought this unsniffed based on my rave from-memory review? And how many of you have now quietly put the bottle up for swap? I adore this even more being able to spray it, but seriously, this is borderline non-public-fragrance territory on me. The Holy Grail of sweat scents.
Christian Dior Cologne Eau Noire. And can we talk about the wonder of the immortelle in there? It´s oneiric, is it not? Not the sweet maple-syrup-on-Mars of Annick Goutal´s sables, but a darker, honeyed, curried, woody richness. If you were to ask me, why are you obsessed with fragrance? I´d stick this under your nose.
Diptyque Essence of John Galliano (room spray) and I am the only person who giggles at the idea of the “essence” of John, everyone´s favorite funky little fashion troll? Or is that just my dirty mind wandering?
Digression: there is the Bandit Principle, which holds that if you smell something repeatedly, your tolerance for its basic weirdness increases. The first time I smelled Piguet Bandit, I thought, you must be joking, who would wear that horror show? Second and fifth times – ouch, no thanks. Ninth time — hmmm, that´s kind of … pretty! Last time – whoa, this needs something to butch it up a little.
John Galliano’s “essence” is supposed to smell like an orthodox church in St. Petersburg, and having never been there, I can´t attest. All I could ever smell was the famous birch note, which is to say: Campfire. This smelled like heavy campfire smoke, period, end of sentence. Sniff the end of a charred log and there you have it. This time out I got – St. Petersburg! I got the incense, vanilla, old waxed wood, the whole gnostic shebang, which becomes much more apparent after the first fifteen minutes, after Campfire settles down.
And then! We had a fragrance accident! The best kind! Because I also got a little bottle of Organza Indecence. And I sprayed it on. And I was enjoying the full flower of its vanilla-woods glory, when I realized…
Eureka! I was filled with aporia, until I realized I had found the ultimate Smoky Vanilla! I, March the Maleficent, pronounce the Smoky Vanilla Holy Grail: Organza Indecence (which has NOT been discontinued, as many of you took the trouble to tell me) layered with Essence of John Galliano. I think that incense note makes all the difference in the world.
Hermessence Poivre Samarcande – she is me! And I am her! And she blooms on my skin like a thousand tiny peppercorns laced with green dew, upon a frail bark boat, blown through the regions of my imagination by the most delicate winds of skank… whoa, reel in the jib of frothy verbiage, cap´n! Seriously, Tigs, what does this do on you? How does it go wrong? Because it is so very, very right on me…
Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Rouge. I have the green and the white, and I never quite fell for the The Rouge. It´s supposed to be based around rooibos and as I recall when it came out, all of us tea/frag nuts felt like the tea element wasn´t strong enough. I am now beginning to wonder, re-sniffing this – has my nose recalibrated in the direction of more delicate notes? Or has Bvlgari subtly tweaked this scent after its introduction, in response to those complaints? It´s still not a ringer for rooibos, and there are other notes in there (including fig, bergamot and musk) but it´s definitely rootier than I remember, almost chthonic, with more pepper and less florals. It goes a little soapy on me, and the drydown doesn´t stay “true” to the fragrance somehow – kind of muddy. Hmmm. I need to retry in hot weather, which is when The Blanc and The Vert get their heavy rotation.
I Profumi di Firenze Incenso – hey, this is fun. A lively, sparkling incense as opposed to a churchy one, maybe incense for non-incense-lovers? It´s got a tart lemon top note that´s a ringer for – no kidding – Guerlain´s gorgeous Philtre d´Amour – and then it´s a resiny (pine resin, not copal resin) incense. I don´t see this anywhere online … and while I´m complaining, can I add that a) I wish they exported more of their line to the U.S. (particularly the more interesting, non-bouquet fragrances), and b) I swear they sell these for $20 – $25 in Florence, and that is some serious markup on the U.S. bottles.
Kenzo Jungle Le Tigre – bergamot, kumquat, davana, osmanthus, ylang-ylang, Massoà¯a wood, cinnamon. Okay, this is really … um … what is this? Hey, again – quick show of hands – how many of you bought L´Elephant unsniffed after I raved about it and then you hated it? I told you not to buy it unsniffed! Because until it settles down, L´Elephant has all the subtlety and annoying enthusiasm of a sugar-addled toddler. I love it, but I have a small decant and I think carefully before I put it on. Le Tigre is the more wearable scent, and based on the notes I thought I´d love it. I loathe the first two minutes — there´s a lot of peppery citrus in the opening, and a macerated fruity sourness, the fragrance equivalent of the taste of postage stamps. The transition from that to the osmanthus and spicy woods is jarring and unappetizing to me. It wasn´t a scrubber, but it was odd. The drydown, though, is the star, and (like L´Elephant) you just have to grit your teeth and wait for it. To my nose it´s reminiscent of KenzoAmour, spicier (which I like) but also more floral and sweeter (which I don´t). KenzoAmour is one of my winter comfort stand-bys, and if you like the concept but find it a snooze, you might like this better.
There was some other stuff in there, but that´s probably all we can take for today, yes?
Today’s giveaway — Spring Round-up! Seriously, I need to get that Wen Fig Oil (ack!) out of my closet before it escapes and strangles all my Guerlains. I’ll send a box of stuff to the first person who can tell me: which words appeared on here today as a dictionary challenge? You know — the ones you think, what the he– does that mean? Hint: five or fewer words. U.S. residents ONLY on this draw, please. Shipping smelly little boxes out of the country under current regulations involves an amount of bureaucratic b.s. bordering on the surreal. Besides, I am pretty sure shipping Wen Fig Oil violates rules set by the DEA, FDA, ATF, NAFTA, PETA and the Geneva Convention, for all I know.
image — I have no idea, I nabbed that off the internets so long ago, it was in my archives. Cute, no? Also, my Fragrance Princess orchid from my Valentine’s day review is still going strong, same blooms! Yowsah! What is that, three weeks ago?