A couple of days ago March and I were yakking about When You Crave Chemicals. A friend had come by, bearing brownies – and they were gorgeous! Snappy chocolate sheen, dark moistness….I viewed them with approbation..then I bit into one.
Uh….yeah. About That Chocolate.
Where was it?
It was the strangest sensation – I saw chocolate…but I tasted..nothing! A faint hint of chemicals and a bit of corn syrup and beet sugar..and something resembling something dark and cocoa-like..
…but no chocolate.
March bit back a hoot and explained to me the principles behind brownie mix brownies, which I Did Not Know. Now, before you mix devotees get your dander up, know this: I am no food snob. I love an Oreo like a duck loves a junebug. And the whole point of a Hostess powdered sugar Donette is persackly that chemical zing! you get when you bite into one (ditto Suzy Qs. Lord, I hope they bring those back). I don’t eat a lot of that stuff but, as March said, there are days when nothing but a chemical buzz will do.
So while I don’t get the brownies, I get the concept. So what in perfumery is the equivalent of a Suzy Q? For me, one of those things is Jean Nate – the Posse knows my deep and abiding love for the Nate – and one of the things I love about it is that cheap chemical buzz. But what other scents – maybe not quite so CVS? What does the trick when you just can’t face the idea of Amouage? And when does the Chemical Craving hit you?
For me, it’s always in Summer. I love a cheap and cheerful ChemBuzz on a hot August day. And ‘cheap’ doesn’t always have to mean price (though it usually translates thus) – one of my favorites is Balmain de Balmain (okay, it’s $20 – tops- but you know what I mean). It’s got a slicey galbanum note that’s great but there’s this funky cheap chemical vibe bumpin’ underneath that actually makes the damn thing more interesting, like a Barbie with an alien head poking out of her stomach. Or early David Bowie. Or a Dalek in a dress.
The other one I’ve fallen for is Pacifica’s Malibu Lemon Blossom lotion (which, speaking of Amouage, it layers up right nice under Al Mas attar. I hope His Majesty isn’t reading this, I’ll be banned from the State!). Lemon’s a tough primary note to pull off, if you want to avoid the Dreaded Pledge accord. But sometimes I don’t wanna. I wanna Pledge! MLB topped by Fresh Lemon Sugar edp provides a yellow miasma of Citrus-Ish that actually fixes and holds, like an ad for denture cream. If you ever want a lemon-ish scent that will last in 90F-plus, I recommend this combo. And it’s got an extremely cool, mid-60s vibe. I just need some AquaNet for total Better Living Through Chemistry – omg! I LOVED the smell of AquaNet! The fabulously cool girl next door? Her mom looked like Renee Taylor from The Nanny and I don’t think she ever cooked a day in her life – they sprayed so much Aqua Net in that house it was, literally, embedded in the wall-to-wall carpet! I loved going over there – she would open the front door and wham! I was in the coolest beauty parlor EVAH! Two years after we moved in, they moved out; I went away to school that Autumn. The following year the new neighbors, Mr & Mrs King, invited us over for a Christmas party. A full year (and a carpet shampoo or two) later? That house still smelled like Aqua Net. I’ll bet it’s in the studs. Anyway, that’s a digression – yeah, like that never happens! But I wonder if this is where my love of the Chemical Buzz first started? Crap. Now I’m lemming AquaNet!
I’m back on track now – and I wanna know: what’s YOUR Chemical Buzz?