Turn the Heat Up

The winter of our spring continues – right now it’s 38 and cloudy, rather than the seasonal norm of 64. I´m wearing a hat and a frown while I type this. My prediction that we´re going to skip spring this year, more or less, and move directly into summer is looking increasingly likely.

This is the weather that makes me reach for some of my sweetest comfort scents – the perfume equivalent of honeyed mead (the way it sounds, as I have no idea how it tastes. Maybe it´s disgusting.) I want warm-radiator scents like Rochas Tocade and Fendi Asja, or cuddlers like Barbara Bui. In this weather, I can actually understand why someone might want to wear something blisteringly sweet like Lutens’ Rahat Loukoum, although I won´t be making that journey myself.

sonia-rykiel-womanI got together with Louise to sample a couple of  wallpaper scents you all recommended which she happens to own. I giggled when I first smelled Laura Biagiotti Roma, which several people mentioned (blackcurrant, bergamot, pink grapefruit, mint, hyacinth, carnation, jasmine, muguet, rose, amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, civet, vanilla, oakmoss, myrrh). It´s a big ol´ sexy thing from the late 1980s. Friends, if this is your idea of a wallpaper scent, then you must be sprawled out in bed in a whorehouse, surrounded by red velvet and gold flocking, that´s all I´ve got to say. However, you´re right – eventually after the other notes put their pants on and go home, it settles down into a warm, comforting amber. I came home with Louise´s bottle and a promise to let her borrow it back.

Sonya Rykiel Woman (not for Men) also came up. This is the one that´s always being compared to Barbara Bui on some of the other fora, and I suppose BB’s pneuma might be in there somewhere.  Notes are pink pepper, violet, dates, jasmine, Bulgarian rose, black pepper, olibanum, agarwood, leather, and amber. The similarity is strongest for about two minutes at the open, when Rykiel is radiating that powder/almondy, slightly bready sweetness that BB has. However, the drydown is fairly different, at least on my skin. Rykiel is what BB Pour Homme might smell like if it existed – the same concept skewed in a much woodier, peppery direction. Despite its name, I find it a bit masculine – I get a decent amount of leather and even a pleasantly raspy touch of oud, and I think men could wear this as easily as women. Also, people who liked the idea of BB but then smelled it and couldn´t figure out what all the fuss was about might want to try this one, it´s certainly stronger. Also, I bet they smell pretty darned great layered. Btw if you go looking for this online, it´s not the one shaped like a tee shirt. It´s the one with the black cap/box with gold studs on it pictured above, and you want the EDP with that purple lettering, not the EDT with the silver (inferior), and thanks to Helg for the reminder.

herve-legerThen I ran across the sprayer of Herve Leger in my purgatory bowl, where it´s been since the Chicago Scentsation last year. My thoughts regarding Herve Leger (named after the clothing designer) focus entirely on how extraordinarily happy it made one member of our group, a lovely woman who tagged along with her daughters on our sniffage, although she herself wasn´t that interested in perfume. She was looking for something new, and fell in love with Herve Leger. Seeing the tears of joy in her eyes brought tears of joy to my eyes and several of those around me – because it is just that wonderful and sweet and happy to see someone in full swoon over a new scent. That thrill never goes away.

A little online research provides a couple of surprises. It was launched in 1999 (older than I thought, where have I been?) as a woody oriental and, worth noting, the nose behind this fragrance is none other than Alberto Morillas. The fragrance features sandalwood, amber, musk, orchid, vanilla and apple.  The juice is pale purple and I find the bottle a little gawky, it’s the sort of thing that would always be falling over on my dresser and taking a couple of SLs with it, but maybe it’s tied into his clothing aesthetic, about which I know nothing.

Herve Leger is definitely sweeter than most anything I´d ordinarily wear, and I worried just a bit when I sprayed myself whether I´d be sorry. I wasn´t, although at the top I´d say it takes several steps in the direction of syrupy vanilla nose-bombs like Dior Poison or Addict. You wouldn´t want to spray this on like an eau fraiche and then hop on the subway. In the drydown it reminds me a bit of Hypnotic Poison – it has that dense, almost chewy sweetness while still allowing me to breathe, courtesy of the sandalwood. I´m wild for HP but I´ve never bought a bottle, because I wasn´t sure I´d ever actually wear it. This strikes me as a slightly less intense alternative.

  • veuve amiot says:

    So… three wallpaper scents down, 250-ish to go? I remember a *lot* of recommendations in that other thread. The Bui/Not for Dudes ones sound quite nice, actually, although I have to wonder if I *really* need another almond-vanilla-comfort frag.
    The spinter of our discontent (mine, anyway) seems to be ending here! ‘Course, last year spring turned out to be the sunniest/warmest months of the year, so I’d better enjoy them now. never know what summer will do in these parts.

    • March says:

      Spinter, bleh. The sun came out today, but it’s still low 60s, and tomorrow I believe it’s back to rain.

  • Joe says:

    I thought that “(Not for Men)” was a snarky editorial addition in your post, then I noticed the fine print on that photo of the Rykiel box (IMO a contender for most hideous packaging ever, by the way). Is there actually an exclamation point after that, as in, “Not for Men!”? Hrmmph. That gimmick is either a sure way to make me try it or a sure way to tick me off so completely that I’ll never have any use for any Rykiel product ever (I’ll show her!).

    Oh, and I’m with Tom up above: I can really enjoy a spritz of Rahat Loukhoum now and then, only for me it doesn’t even have to be freezing cold out. Come on, a nice blast of marzipan is good for everyone once in awhile! Don’t tell me we guys are the only ones who can handle it. 😀

    • March says:

      Yup, that’s the way it’s actually written — Not for Men! I thought it was just a cutesy gimmicky thing, but I guess it’s offensive, too, eh? Although I don’t know anything about her, but didn’t she have a sex shop or something? Maybe I’m thinking of somebody else.

      Joe, I try to indicate whether something might be perceived as conventionally “masculine” but I hope you know I am a huge proponent of men wearing ladies’ scents and vice versa!

      • Joe says:

        March, believe me, I know you’re all over the unisex thing. I was feigning a little outrage over Rykiel’s gimmick. Just silly if nothing else, not truly offensive.

        I used to work with some Turks, so I have eaten more than my share of “loukoum” (mess and all, tons of powdered sugar everywhere). Though it’s not my favorite sweet by a longshot, I like it, especially the one with pistachio embedded in the middle. I don’t particularly find RH to evoke actual loukoum one bit… definitely more of a straight-up marzipan/almond paste thing to my nose.

    • March says:

      PS I am one of the few people who consider marzipan pigs, etc. to be actually edible (there are other marzipan lovers on here lurking, I know.) But fragrances that sweet are rough road for me. And I tried (and failed) to appreciate the virtues of Turkish Delight, the jellied delicacy upon which I think Rahat is based.

  • carmencanada says:

    March, all I can say is: you done it. We know what *that* means… 😉

  • Masha says:

    I’ve recently discovered SR and I’m really impressed. I make my own lavender/olibanum mix for bedtime, but I love Belle en Rykiel for daytime, just gorgeous. And Le Parfum is an opulent, and now, totally illegal, oriental. YUM! Not for Women is a peppery, incensey treat, like Barbara Bui but very amped up. I love them both. And they can be purchased for so little, it’s a shame not to snap them up (not that I’m enabling anybody….)

    • March says:

      So Le Parfum, I should try it? I got curious researching this post. Thanks for joining me in the enabling.

  • Mwa says:

    Layering a smear of Dolce et Gabbana Light Blue lotion directly on top of Herve Leger EDT neutralizes a certain harsh note that I don’t care for and transforms Herve Leger into a more beautiful fragrance.

    • March says:

      No way. This isn’t some kind of a weird dare, is it? Because you know I’ll do it. It sounds so wrong. It’ll probably be great. And I am on record as liking and owning Light Blue, although ever since Diva started wearing it in enormous quantities I’m a little less enamored. 🙂 Their entire floor smells like LB.

  • tmp00 says:

    It’s gotten cold enough that I can wear Rahat Loukoum. Just.

  • Robin says:

    My wallpaper scents: Hermes Eau des Merveilles, and even more wallpaper-y, Body Time Egyptian Musk.

    It’s really freezing out. Quite disgusting.

  • Disteza says:

    OMG, you’ve never had mead? One of the most highly regarded mead makers IN THE WORLD lives in Sperryville, about 60 miles away from DC. His production is erratic, but what does come up for sale is magic. There’s more information at their website:

    Meads vary by producer, and most of the ones that are cheap are better by far heated and spiced with some mulling spices. Chaucer makes a good mulling mead that you can usually find in World Market, and it’s reasonably priced.

    • March says:

      No way. That’s fascinating. In our own backyard. Is it good? I guess so. Maybe I’ll try the World Market one.

      • Joe says:

        The only time I’ve had “mead” (which I guess is called “tej” in Amharic) is at Ethiopian restaurants. It goes great with that food, by the way.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Oh good, I can comment today because the “nesting” problem hasn’t eliminated my reply box! Oh, and whoever mentioned they couldn’t see who had written the blog, I’ve never been able to see that either….I just assumed everyone was so attuned to the scribes here that they automatically knew (though perhaps that is true too).

    Perfumes? Weather? Don’t know the first two scents but I’ve tried the Leger body cream and it was a delight. I think the idea of an 80s powerhouse being a wallpaper scent is a bit of a hoot though. I don’t think I do wallpaper scent…..

    We haven’t had summer in the UK for the past two years really but we do seem to be having what passes as spring at the moment. Mind you, it never gets really cold or really hot here, so the fluctuations you cite could never happen.

    • March says:

      Well, I’m the one who sounds like a drunken idiot. Patty’s the one who’s always giving away samples. I figured it was pretty straightforward telling us apart. Lee and Nava alternate Fridays. But I have Musette covering the fort on Monday… our best guys are working on the comment issues.

    • carter says:

      Also, March is the one who likes to talk about sperm.

  • sara says:

    I am a huge SR Woman fan–the body lotion is strong and true-to-scent. Herve Leger is probably the sweetest scent I own. I will wear it once I’ve stopped wearing my winter coat! HR body lotion is also terrific. I can see HR being a stand-in for HP–particularly for those of us who dread almond accords 🙂

    • March says:

      I hardly ever try the body lotions, and you are making these sound very tempting. The Herve is sweet, I think your observation about HP is right on.

  • Nava says:

    Honestly, the psychotic weather doesn’t bother me because this is exactly what happens every year in the northeast. It’s almost like I never left!

    I discovered Rykiel Woman courtesy of a lovely MUA poster. To my nose, it is even better than Barbara Bui. And, by the way, did Bui ever resurface? I wandered into her Soho store probably close to 2 years ago and was told that it was “temporarily” discontinued.

    Chag Sameach to everyone. Remember to pick up some Kosher for Passover regular Coca Cola. It has real sugar in it since corn syrup is not Kosher for Passover. Deeee-lish!

    • March says:

      So far as I remember, BB was announced as going back into production at some point in the past (although of course you never know whether it will smell the same.) But I don’t see it anywhere looking brand new, all the bottles out there are, I think, the old stuff.

      Sipping Kosher Coke as I type this! Happy Passover.

    • Gretchen says:

      Why is corn syrup not kosher? It’s a plant product, like cane sugar. Something about the manufacturing process? At any rate, now I’m laughing to think that the only kosher Coke around these parts (California) is the kind that’s bottled in Mexico in the classic green glass and imported for purist cola fanciers in the States!

      • Nava says:

        Corn syrup is a grain based sweetener, and if you keep Kosher for Passover, consuming it goes against dietary restrictions. I’m not a bona-fide expert, but this is what I’ve been told – me the person who used to sneak bowls of cereal during Passover at my next-door neighbors’ house when I was a kid. My mom kept Kosher and they got custody of all the breakfast cereal during Passover.

        • March says:

          I’ve read a couple interesting arguments in terms of your reply, which I stumbled across googling “Kosher coke.” Some people say it’s not kosher because of the old Jewish law of Chametz (the five grains.) Then other people step in and argue that since they didn’t have corn in the old world, it must be a *different* law. The debate gets pretty lively!

        • Gretchen says:

          Grain-based– I can see that reasoning. For myself, I like that Mexican cane-sugar Coke because Coke tastes its best when you kiss it out of a green glass bottle. . .

  • Musette says:

    It’s still VERY chchchillly here – we vasc between high 60s and low 30s – and then there’s that Evil Snow. It comes, it goes. Daffodils and bluebells are out, though, and they’re hardy enough to withstand anything over 20F and ice.

    I know nothing about any of these ‘fumes except the Herve Leger. It did absolutely nothing for me, except make me smile every time I look at my little samp. It is then that I remember R, an incredibly beautiful lady inside and out, and her tears of joy. Not too often I see a perfume do that to someone.

    Francesa, I tried Al’O, too, in hopes of coaxing spring. Camille, all the way. And this was right before bed, after a hot shower – surely She could’ve managed to linger just a bit longer…

    …today it’s Liz Zorn’s Calcutta. It’s HOT in Calcutta.


    • March says:

      Oooh, there’s an idea! Maybe I need to put on something that makes me think it’s HOT outside. Although I’m too much of a cheapskate to turn the heat on, so it’s darn cold in here. And my allergies are really kicking up.

  • Oh, so you did try both Roma and Rykiel Woman after all, after that discussion! Excellent! And LOL, yes, they’re a bit sexy in their way 😉
    But they’re good, aren’t they? And I bet lots of people would have no difficult in wearing them; they’re easy.
    One point worth noting: the Rykiel is that good only in the EDP pictued. The pink and silver EDT is comletely different and very meh….

    Sorry about the apparent loss of spring. It’s been so sunny around that corner of the planet. Virtual sunshine and some fredoccino with Amaretto your way!

    • March says:

      Dang — I totally meant to put that in the post, maybe I’ll run up there and do that. About the Rykiel EDP. Because I know you’re right. Thanks for reminding me.

      I saw some of your recent pictures, jealous jealous.

  • Louise says:

    That brief burst of snow last night definitely blew the concept of spring away, didn’t it? Though today looks lovely (from bed, I’m on spring break, too, Rosarita!), and I’m planning an arduous hike tomorrow. I should be fully carb-loaded after tonight’s seder.

    Well, the Roma is a Big Girl on me, and sadly has a note of Screech, so please enjoy. I first smelled it on an older friend on a very hot beach day, and she had sillage up and down the beach. She noted how “soft” her new perfume was 😉

    Sonia Rykiel not for Dudes is on of my go-to scents, and is a “wallpaper”. It is a touch plastic, and is fab layered with a dry wood/incense-I usually use Ceremony.

    The Leger is nice, and a I spray a touch for a candy moment in winter.

    Happy Passover!

    • March says:

      Hey, honey — it was great seeing you yesterday, thanks for sharing. I’ll be breaking one of these out again today, no doubt. I am really, really ready for warmth.

      Happy Passover back atcha!

  • karin says:

    I hear ya on the winter thing, though I can say we haven’t had any snow for quite awhile up here in Maine – just rain. This morning it’s 35 degrees and the weather prediction had threatened snow last night! But it’s sunny and clear this morning, no snow. YAY!

    With all the talk around the blogs of finding great scents cheap at TJ Maxx, I ventured over there yesterday. I also stopped at Marshall’s. I swiped up a LARGE 3.4oz bottle of Tocade for $14.99 (!!!???) at TJ Maxx, and a small bottle of Azzaro Pour Homme for $19.99. Hadn’t smelled either of them, but figured thay were both good thanks to PtG. At Marshall’s I found a 2.5oz bottle of Belle en Rykiel also for $14.99. Another wonderful scent. I also grabbed a bottle of Bali Dream that I’m going to return. Don’t care for it, though it would be the more summer scent of the three. I’ve already dropped Tocade and Belle en Rykiel into my fall/winter drawer. Doubt I’ll wear them. Though it’s cold out, I’m in a spring mood. As one of my friends said, even if it’s cold out, she just can’t see wearing her winter coat right now. If you imagine it’s spring…it is. Haha. We’ll suffer a bit for it! It’s the hope and anticipation that keeps us going…plus, the seasonal ice cream shops opened a few weeks ago, so they must know something we don’t!

    Speaking of TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, there were other newer scents for a fraction of their normal retail price. I’m lucky I didn’t buy more. It’s quite the coup.

    • karin says:

      BTW, just because beloved LT and TS rate a fragrance highly does not mean I automatically love it! I love gourmand scents, so figured Tocade would be right up my alley (encouraged by the great review, too). For the record, I also love Flowerbomb. A solid one-star in PtG.

      Speaking of PtG, it seems (along with a few amazing blogs, including PP…and the so incredibly great Perfumed Court – thanks Patty, et al!) to have accelerated my perfume-trying and buying rate. It’s propelled my fragrance love to new heights, encouraging me to try stuff I may never have tried without it. 🙂 I’m having WAY too much fun. How else would I have ever discovered Dzing!? Or Sacrebleu? Or Tocade for that matter? Heaven on earth.

      • mals86 says:

        K, you’ve got good stuff at your TJMaxx… the local one stinks on the selection. I’m actually craving the Tocade myself. I have a sample that I’ve almost used up, and it’s so inexpensive that it seems ridiculous to not buy it. It strikes me as a sort of Organza Indecence with rose instead of spice/citrus. After a truly lovely warm weekend, we had SNOW yesterday, and I’m shiverin’ without my bun-warmer perfumes, like OI and PdN Vanille Tonka. The VT has the added benefit of making me giggle… it always makes me think of drunken limes staggering around, laughing their heads off, in the vanilla forest.

        And I agree on the PTG reviews! There have been a few 5-star things that I’ve liked (Tocade, Tommy Girl – which, shockingly, I had NEVER smelled before) and far more that I hated (Beyond Paradise? White Linen? Puh-leease). I find that I do far better researching their 4-star recommendations.

        Following up on a post from last week: my vintage Emeraude pdt came the other day, and I am in swoony lurve.

      • March says:

        Hey, Karin! Glad to hear we’re enabling you! Also I am annoyed, they’re sending all the good stuff to MAINE?!? Where’s my cheapo bottles of Armani? (Okay, Louise got me one.) Our TJ Maxx always has stuff like Perry Ellis 360 and Liz Taylor Passion.

        • karin says:

          Yeah, well, it’s hit or miss up here. First time I’ve ever found something worth buying at TJ Maxx! I was shocked to find Tocade. Haven’t seen the Armanis at all. I stopped in at the TJ Maxx in Woburn MA – which is a huge store – on my way to a meeting in Bedford, and O Lord, was the selection pitiful. There were like 50 boxes of total scattered around on one little display, some with the plastic torn, boxes opened. It was really bad. Marshall’s up here, on the other hand, had oodles of good scents. Difficult to choose. And I ended up with that Bali Dream? What was I thinking? Guess I thought perhaps it was good since it was only available in duty free!!!

          Anyway, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx are the same company, so it’s worth it to visit both! I had never noticed the HUGE perfume display in the front of the store at my local Marshall’s. I traveled once to the back of the store where there are like six displays with very unorganized bottles and boxes of opened and tampered with body products, and like five very undesirable torn apart perfumes. This is only the seoond time I ventured into that shop, hoping something had changed. Went straight to the back. Saw that jumbled mess, and as I started to walk out the front door, spotted Oz in the distance. WOW!!! What a score!!! Loads and loads of perfume crowding up the way to the exit. Woo-hoo! Now I’m in trouble. 😉

    • carter says:

      See? Now this is a woman with balls! And she’s in Maine, for crying out loud! Shame on you woe-is-us-weenies!

  • rosarita says:

    The imagery for Roma cracked me up, too funny. How is it on my somewhat scent twin Louise? IIRC, on me it was kind of a watery nothingness that didn’t take me long to swap. 🙂
    I’m on spring break this week and there’s been snow on the ground since Sunday (insert eye rolling emoticon here.) I’ve reverted back to serious snugglers too, mainly Les Nereides Imperial Oppoponax layered w/ Patchouli Antique. The Sonia Rykiel sounds promising, and I think I saw the box @ TJMaxx last weekend, alongside several Armani Prive refills; just never know what’s going to turn up at a discount store. Stay warm…

    • March says:

      I think Roma gets on Louise’s nerves — it’s more subtle on me. Although now I am curious whether there’s some anosmia at work for me (and maybe you?) Maybe we’re wafting giant sillage and killing everyone around us?!?

      Your TJ Maxx is WAY better than anything we’ve got, that is for sure.

  • Francesca says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if this turns out to be one of those no-Spring years. 34 and threatening snow one day, 98 with humidity to match the next. I hopefully started spraying on spring fave Après l’ondée the other day and she looked at me piteously and quoted Garbo in the last scene of Camille, “Let me live in your heart…where the world can’t see me…” So for the time being it’s back to wood, spice, incense. Today I’m fortifying myself with 10CC. (LOL, I originally typed “spite” for “spice,” but that works for me, too.)

    • March says:

      That’s so funny! I tried something resolutely “spring” as well… it was a joke. Back to the heavier scents. Actually we might as well enjoy them while we still can, right? It’s right about now I always find something sitting around that I forgot to wear all winter. 🙁

      • carter says:

        Oh, ye of little faith! I’m doing spring, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes! A pox on yer comfort scents, you cowards!

  • Elle says:

    Must try the Herve Leger! Sounds like it has serious potential. The whorehouse wallpaper imagery for Roma cracks me up. 🙂 Used to wear Roma. My skin chemistry turns it into a close cousin of Fifi edt (but DH’s skin chemistry doesn’t). I’ve been meaning to get a full bottle of that Sonya Rykiel for ages. It’s a great layering scent (although I’ve not yet layered it w/ BB – soon to be remedied) and definitely comes at a great price.

    • March says:

      Look, here I am! Busily working on tax stuff… I got sidetracked.

      Does Roma remind you of Fifi? Hm. I really kind of want Fifi now, but I hate that stupid atomizer bottle. Any time you see a tester it’s always broken, which tells me something.