Woods, Pray Tell?

I think the unthinkable has happened: my relocation, my surroundings, possibly my diet, and other contributing factors have altered my chemistry. Things don´t smell the same, and the tenacity of scent on my skin is no longer as impressive as it once was. Now, nothing seems to last more than an hour. Last year, circumstances derailed my sense of smell; now they seem to be wreaking havoc on my skin.

I´ve dragged all my cool/cold weather faves out of hibernation, and once again I find myself bonkers for everything containing incense and woods. Out came Donna Karan Wenge & Labdanum (waves to Lee), along with my beloved Chaos, Satellite Padparadscha, Costes, Jozef Statkus, and the like. After my Ricci Ricci “fruitchouli” encounter two weeks ago, I needed to get my nose back on the right track. But, nothing seems to hang around for very long. The best part of all these scents, for me, is the warm, comforting embraces I´ve always gotten from them. Now, these embraces have deteriorated to those quick shoulder bump/back claps I see men give each other all the time. Like, all of a sudden, a nice solid bear hug requires too much effort.

One scent I´ve rediscovered is Serge´s Five o´ Clock au Gingembre. A lot of people complained that this one was too “perfumey”. I´ve always found it beautiful. It starts out all tangy and gingery, but warms up to this spicy, kind of chai latte scent on me. It has quickly found a place at the front of the line. This one is an underappreciated gem, in my opinion. And Lee, it has that magic ingredient – cistus labdanum.

pBBW1-6082139v194Before I embark on a post, I always like to get a sense of what´s out there. Last week, I wound up in, of all places, Bath and Body Works. Why? Their newest offering: Twilight Woods. Woods are for me, the equivalent of the dinner bell for Pavlov´s dog. I´ve become so infatuated by them, I´ll smell them anytime, anywhere.

Unfortunately, there´s nothing remotely woody about Twilight Woods. Check out this list of notes: juicy berry, sparkling mandarin, hint of coconut, creamy frangipani, soft mimosa, wet honeysuckle, wild freesia, apricot nectar, oud wood, skin musk captive, vanilla milk and warm woods. Serge Lutens is off in a corner somewhere sobbing.

Again, we´re talking mainstream; my M.O. lately is to poke fun at the scents I´m sniffing, then admit they´re not all that bad. And most of the time, they´re really not. I think B&BW has done a pretty decent job with some of their newer scents – Sensual Amber is a good one, and that Chocolate Amber one they briefly had was even better.  Black Amethyst is a little heavy on the patch for my liking, but all in all, they´ve come a long way from Flowering Herbs and Juniper Breeze. As for Twilight Woods, my nose picks up a good bit of apricot and freesia, and the drydown is more of a sweet musky vanilla than oud and warm woods. It´s nice; but it´s not one I would classify as “woody”. Serge knows his woods; Donna Karan knows hers. Twilight Woods is a grabber when you want a nicely scented body cream and shower gel. And when you can buy three and get three free, how can you go wrong?

005Lily has chosen: Claudia is the lucky winner of the Ricci Ricci mini from my post two weeks ago. Claudia, when you´re not busy Black Friday bargain hunting, please click the “Contact Us” link up top,  give us your info, and Lily and I will send you your Ricci Ricci mini PDQ.

  • Lee says:

    *waves back* way too late!

  • lborrego says:

    Totally agree about Twilight Woods, but did you smell the candle? The candle was much more woodsy, I really liked it.

  • Tara C says:

    I’m 43 and over the past couple of years I’ve experienced some radical changes in my sense of smell. Last year I went through a period of about 9 months where I could not wear any of my heavy oriental fragrances, all I could wear were light florals and aquatics. Some days I pick up a fragrance and it smells horrible, a week later it smells great to me. I notice that although I have very dry skin, fragrance disappears on me in the heat and humidity of a Montreal summer, and stays better in the winter. Go figure!

  • Bev says:

    “Serge is in a corner somewhere sobbing.” That had me ROTFL.
    I think the nose, longevity and preference issues are age related. I was shocked when I first discovered that some of my old faves just didn’t really work anymore. So, I discovered new scents and eventually went back to some of my old ones. Try to give it a positive spin; it all works out in the end.
    Nava, do you have a humidifier? It helps so much. One’s nose and skin are happier and all of those negative ions also affect our emotional wellbeing, especially in the gloom of a TO winter.

  • Musette says:

    Just a thought – this BBW scent: could they have rolled it out to coincide with that vampire story? It’s called ‘twilight’, right?

    Yeah, yeah, I just got out of my cave – sue me /:)

    I am having the oddest time with frags these past couple of days. Things are doing backflips on my skin~ oh, well. I’m sure it will right itself anon.

    xoxo >-)

    ps. Black Friday, indeed. I avoided all shopping today, save a quick run to the grocery (deserted – guess everyone was at the malls). The outlet mall near my bestie was, apparently, so packed that their HUGE parking lot couldn’t hold everybody – they were parking in the fields surrounding the blasted thing.

    What on earth could be worth all that agita?

    • Nava says:

      I ask that same question every year…

      Not that I’m paying much attention to all the “Twilight” hysteria myself, but if the release of that scent was in fact meant to coincide with the release of the movie, that is totally lame.

      By the way B&BW stores are popping up everywhere here in T.O. Just spotted one tonight in the east end in a place I never would have figured there would be one.

    • mals86 says:

      M, I think BBW was at least hoping to piggyback off the Twilight mania, although there’s no official tie-in. (And how do I know this??? I have a teenage daughter, of course.)

  • I too like to rotate out my different scents. It all depends on my mood and what I doing for which I’ll prefer.

  • Nava says:

    I too have found some of SSS’s woods a tad too sweet. Funny how I love the sweet effect of vanilla and tonka bean (and even labdanum, as Lee spoke of last week), but pair it with wood and it curls my nose hair. 😮

  • ScentRed says:

    I too have found that lasting power has taken a nose dive recently. I initially attributed it to the colder weather, decreased humidity and resulting increased dryness of my skin. However some days I worry that it’s a smell malfunction and really I am surrounded in a cloud of scent that’s faint to me but overwhelming for those around me. (Yikes, I don’t want to be THAT woman) For me, SSS Champagne de Bois is a woody powerhouse which lasts forever – but unfortunately, despite being a fragrance I really admire, has a heavy sweetness on my skin that I just can’t live with.

  • mals86 says:

    For years’n years I thought BBW was all I could afford in terms of fragrance. I’m very fond of Velvet Tuberose, still, and Moonlight Path body products layer nicely with Chanel No. 5. (On the other hand, I would rather chew tinfoil than smell Black Amethyst or, b-( Chocolate Amber ever again.) Aromatherapy Orange Ginger lotion smells fab under Theorema. And my latest find, Ginger Vanilla body wash, is wonderful with quite a number of my fall scents: Mauboussin, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, SSS Tabac Aurea…

    • Nava says:

      And I’d rather belly up to the tinfoil than wear No. 5! :d

      I’ll have to investigate that Ginger Vanilla; TF Tobacco Vanille is one of my faves as well.

  • Kai Perfume says:

    Thanks for the share, your post is interesting. I enjoyed reading it.:d

  • Musette says:

    I had the same thing happen to me lately – I tried Ormonde Woman one night and it was absolutely lovely. The next night, the same sample: absolutely terrifying, like something from the Chemical Waste dumpsite @ Victoria’s Secret.

    Could be hormonal, could be emotional – who knows? I’ll try OW later, when things settle down, and see which way the coin flips.

    Happy Black Friday! Wear protective gear, if you are going shopping.

    xoxo >-)

    • Nava says:

      =)) That’s pretty much how I feel about VS, too!

      I second the protective gear when shopping. If I were crazy enough to venture out to shop on Black Friday, I’d definitely be wearing a crash helmet and body armor.

  • aubrey says:

    Mmmmm. Love 5 oclock Gingembre. A fantastic MUA’er recently sent me a sample, and I crave it at night after work now. It’s so comfy. I also like Tea for Two, which is also like a comfy hug. I’ll have to try some of the others on your list, because I love this sense of hugginess.

    Lasting on skin- did you move somewhere dryer? I have really expanded the length that things last by putting on a THICK unscented moisturizer after showering, and again 10min before applying perfume. It slows down the entire drydown, but it makes the frag last all day. Maybe try that?

    • Nava says:

      I’m guessing the weather has a lot to do with it; it is definitely dryer than I’m used to, not like the DC area where on certain days, you can actually grab handfuls of air, it’s so heavy.

      I’ve got an arsenal of moisturizers and that trick does work. Another issue is that I’m not as diligent as I used to be about applying them!

  • Nava says:

    I’ve got a family thing in the afternoon tomorrow, so I won’t be able to make it. But please let me know the next time there will be a gathering and I will be there with bells on. 🙂

  • Erin T says:

    Nava, did you see the shout out to all Torontonians on Tuesday? Are you coming to Noor in Yorkville for noon tomorrow for our perfume tour? I’d love to meet you…

  • Francesca says:

    I really have to check out that Five O’Clock au Gin……..however it’s spelled in French. And I LOVED the photo of your beautiful cat. I wish wish wish I coudl have a cat but alas i am horribly allergic to them. But my ridiculous little dogs and my wonderful husband are all somewhat catlike so I will just have to deal.

    • Nava says:

      Definitely check out 5:00. It is also one of the few Serge creations that is so easy to wear.

      Lily is as mercurial a cat as they come. The one thing I’ve always loved about her is her penchant for curling up and sleeping on things: in that picture, her head is resting on the notebook I scribble in while I’m working, and she’s using the power cord from my laptop as a belly-warmer. How can you not love that?

      • mals86 says:

        Awww, a belly-warmer… my own dear Silvia, 16 years old, is addicted to warm spots on the floor, including the place where the refrigerator blows out warm air. She will also curl up on top of just about anything. One of the kids leaves a backpack on the floor, or on the couch? Silvia’s on top of it. Stack of laundry folded on the bed? She’s on top of it. Kid’s jacket atop a pile of laundry on the couch? You guessed it.

      • Francesca says:

        I used to love seeing a friend’s Cornish Rex cat sit under a lamp with her head shoved up under the shade, next to the bulb. They really are heat seeking devices, aren’t they?

        • Aparatchick says:

          We used to live in a very old house that had a heat vent in the floor of the kitchen. Guess where the cat could always be found. We always say that every cat’s first waking thought is: “how can I be more comfortable?”

          I sampled Twilight Woods a few weeks ago. It wasn’t what I was hoping for (the EDT was too sweet for me, and I agree – where were the woods?), but the body cream is nice to put on before bed.

          As for making scents last, I’ve found putting on an unscented oil/lotion first, then spraying works well. It seems to make my skin grab and hold onto the scent much better.

  • Jillie says:

    It’s a coincidence that you should mention how things are not smelling the same/lasting as long as they used to, because I was thinking of sending out a distress call to everyone asking if there was a cure or explanation for my weakening smellability. I suppose as we “age” our powers diminish, and I am aware that the eye drops I take for glaucoma, and the fact that I have a wonky thyroid are also contributory factors. But I am beginning to panic – could this just be temporary, or will it worsen? Even more dreadful to contemplate – will I lose my sense of smell all together? And the medical people aren’t interested. I guess they think I should count myself lucky that they are treating “more important” conditions. They don’t understand that perfume is such a huge part of my life! Anyone got any suggestions? I will now put on some Chamade to comfort myself, even if I know it isn’t going to last!

    • Nava says:

      There is probably a very logical clinical explanation for why our sense of smell goes all wonky from time to time. My personal diagnosis is that it’s 99% emotional. Alas, I am not a trained physician, so I could be wrong…

      I once had such a horrible head cold that I couldn’t taste or smell anything I ate or drank for a week. Or smell any fragrances. At one point I was convinced my sense of smell would never return. How miserable life would have been without it.

      • Jillie says:

        Yes, you’re right, Nava, I think the brain has a horrible way of interfering with our life sometimes, especially if there are other issues. Thanks for your comment. And by the way, one of my cats looks a little like Lily! Thanks for your comment.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Oh! I’m the first today – I suppose everyone is sleeping soundly after the excesses of yesterday and preparing for the shopping onslaught.

    Funnily enough a dear perfume friend in the US just sent me a bottle of the above-mentioned BBW scent as she loved it and wanted me to have it too. As my chums at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie always say, “Diane doesn’t do mainstream” so I haven’t actually dared sniff it yet; perhaps it is going to be something to spray on after my evening bath before going to beddy-byes.

    • Nava says:

      LOL! Nava didn’t do much mainstream either, until very recently. :d

      I heard from several friends in the US that a whole bunch of stores opened at midnight for Black Friday. Gives new meaning to the saying, “sleeping it off”!