Candy and Fracas Giveaway

branch.jpgI would like to start today´s Candy Samples post by thanking Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume for creating a new scent, Black March, in recognition of my extraordinary work on Perfume Posse.

Okay, that´s a lie. But had I hired Mr. Brosius to do a custom fragrance for me (a service that is available on his website) I doubt he could have come up with anything that pleased me more than Black March.

My interest in fragrances most likely started with gardening and its associated smells. Black March is earth, wet slate, root, damp, sap, trowel, rhizome, hint of earthworm, clay, moss, light rain. It gives me an extraordinary pleasure buzz. I am now experimenting by layering it with light florals, since it plays the perfect supporting role with that earthy sap base. It is strangely metallic and wonderful with Hiris. Combined with Rose Ikebana (Patty´s suggestion) it is Nirvana. If you like virtual reality fragrances, gardening, or just the smell of playing in the dirt, consider this one.

Micallef Rose Aoud à¢â‚¬” I may have the sweet-eating skin that kills off many a floral, but it doesn´t seem to eat roses very well. However, I think this would send someone who is a fan of rose and aoud right to the moon.

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 à¢â‚¬” I could tell by the look of shock on my mailman´s face that we´d had a Fragrance Malfunction. Fortunately I clued him in awhile ago what all those packages are, since I didn´t want to scare him with the occasional leak. Wouldn´t you know it, this is the one that blew à¢â‚¬” not some gentle, ethereal thing (one of the Bulgari Teas, maybe?) but freaking Borneo. I bet you could smell it all the way down the hill. Anyway, I was thrilled, because this and MKK are my only remaining Dirty Serges on the to-smell list. So. Borneo smells more chocolately and less skanky than I expected, although I’m not sure I am up to its challenge. Its spicy, mildew-sweet fug reminded me of another weirder-than-weird fragrance I love à¢â‚¬” Etro Messe de Minuit à¢â‚¬” only Borneo is more animalic. Anyone else notice that similarity, or were the fumes just getting to me?

straw hat.jpgStraw Hat à¢â‚¬” I read Legerdenez´ review and had to have it. It is my new non-vintage Vintage. It reminds me of my (fictional) Aqua-Net-wearing, Chesterfield-smoking, rule-breaking grandmother. Notes: lemon, lavandin, geranium, rose, violet, heliotrope, patchouli, vanilla, musk. It´s on clearance for $6.99 at Vermont Country Store, which I´m taking as a sign it´s been discontinued. This stuff in vintage sells for $300 on eBay. If you poke around in the Yankee Bargains section of their website you will discover some other heavily discounted fragrance gems. I can personally recommend theà¢â‚¬¦

Eau de Fraicheur by Weil, which is your standard summer cologne along the lines of 4711 that is, yes, a dime a dozen. But c´mon, $3.99 a bottle!?!? You can leave it in your glove compartment and freshen your car with it. This has a deliciously retro feel and all of the lasting power you´d expect (which is to say, pretty much zilch. It´s small, tuck it in your purse.)

The Vial I Found on Top of the Dryer (Part Deux) à¢â‚¬” This was in the last candy samples. Then à¢â‚¬¦ it disappeared. Now it´s back. I have to know what it is à¢â‚¬¦ a hint of tobacco? Maybe a little Tea for Two-ish, but less so. I am sending it to Colombina before it gets away again, this strikes me as her sort of thing.

Ines de la Fressange à¢â‚¬” I bought this on clearance, unsniffed, from Sephora because a) the notes sounded good (Neroli, Mandarin, Bergamot, Blackcurrant, Lily of the Valley, Peony, Orris, White Rose, Patchouli, Benzoin, Musk, Vetiver); b) it was on clearance for $20; and c) Cheezwiz recommended it, and we like a lot of the same things. It is a charming summer floral that wins me over because it is not too sweet. Layered with Passage d´Enfer, my go-to incense that adds sparkle without burying the original fragrance, it’s so wonderful I´m considering decanting them into one bottle and starting my own perfume line.

L´Instant Pour Homme à¢â‚¬” Having failed to find anything to appreciate in the various iterations of L´Instant for women, I´d never gotten around to Pour Homme, even though I love Guerlain. On the blog recently I was asked about this one (thanks, Dusan!) and I took the challenge. What a dunce I am for not trying this sooner. It is a rich, delicious citrus/patch cologne that dries down to citrus-incense with just a touch of my beloved Guerlain skank. By the way, I am not a fan of major patchouli, so I was a bit worried, but this one is not your hippie-love-oil patch, nor is it especially masculine.

L´Artisan Ananas Fizz à¢â‚¬” it begs the question, do you want to smell like a canned, overly-sweet pineapple? My answer is no. For whatever reason, I´ll smell like an orange, or a pear, or even an apple (or a cucumber, or a carrot), but this? No. However. If you´re the coconut-cocktail-type (think of the smell of a pina colada) this might be for you. Full Disclosure: Colombina reviewed this recently and it sounds like it´s delightfully tart on most people.

Annick Goutal Muguet à¢â‚¬” Bois de Jasmin did a lovely LOTV roundup recently, and the AG Muguet came up. There was some talk that it had been discontinued. Maybe it has, but I re-checked and it is available from my local Neiman Marcus, so if you´re hankering for a bottle, it´s out there. I am not the Queen of Muguet, but the AG is stunning. It manages the green sweetness of the flower without being cloying, and without the acrid note that is present in some of her other soliflores.

Etro Anice à¢â‚¬” I don´t want to smell like a pineapple, do I want to smell like a licorice jellybean? I am still deciding. This is anise, start to finish, and I love the smell of anise. I bet this is going to be a big winner in July here when the asphalt is melting and I can barely lift my head.

bride1.jpgVow 2006 by Vow Fragrance à¢â‚¬” Scentzilla did a post on this line of limited edition EDPs I hadn´t heard of, for the Bride in your life. A lovely, grown-up (but not too) summer fragrance that would be a nice gift for the future bride or her bridesmaids (great idea, Katie à¢â‚¬” why not give a fragrance instead of some stupid tchotchke?) My other entries in the Bridal Fragrance category would be Vera Wang Sheer Veil and Marc Jacobs Blush.

Hot Dog à¢â‚¬” Scentzilla and I share a fondness for off-the-wall perfume oddities. I was frankly a little disappointed that this didn´t smell like a hot dog (there´s a measure of how outràƒ© my fragrance tastes can get!) This is a tasty fig-coconut-oil summer fragrance somewhat along the lines of Bobbi Brown Beach, without the half-smoke on the Boardwalk. Scentzilla wowed me after the fact by informing me that this is actually a fragrance for your pooch. Personally, I think my pooch would like Musc Ravageur.

L´Artisan Eau de Artisan à¢â‚¬” depending on the day, this is either a straightforward, perfectly acceptable unisex cologne along the vetiver-petitgrain line, or all that with an interesting metallic/earth/ozone twist. I much prefer the twisted version.

Okay, you lurkers (and regulars, if you´re interested): this week I am having a Fracas Giveaway: Piguet Fracas is à¢â‚¬Å“the queen of all tuberose fragrancesà¢â‚¬? as Robin aptly describes it on Now Smell This. I need to clear some more space off my perfume shelf. If you´d like my partial bottle of Fracas (it´s opaque black, I don´t know how much is left, but probably a lot) and the matching dusting powder in a glass shaker, leave a comment below saying à¢â‚¬Å“I want that Fracasà¢â‚¬? or something to that effect. I´ll do a drawing, Number One Daughter will pick a random number, and I’ll send it, free, to one of you. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

Icy branch,
Straw Hat cologne,
Photo from my wedding (that’s the Big Cheese, center)

  • has many discontinued and hard to find perfumes. Some a little pricey but they’re all guaranteed original – not knockoffs or imitations like sold by Vermont Country Store.


  • March says:

    Katie — I am actually really interested in the Weils, I know nothing about them. The name Antilope has such appeal! My guess is that Fraicheur is one of the dull ones that survives by being inoffensive and refreshing.

    Robin sweetly sent me a taste of Black March. I think I’m going to have to buy some.

    Thanks for your compliment about the photo. I have great memories of that day.

    The nice thing about Vow: it is, I think, fairly broad in its appeal (not too sweet, not weird, not too fruity) without actually being insipid, which is a pretty amazing achievement.

  • March says:

    Pam — I think DC would be a great place for a honeymoon … seriously! Okay, the middle of summer is too hot, but, c’mon, we’ve got unbelievable galleries and museums, cool urban neighborhoods, you can get decent deals on the hotels, the metro’s great, and it’s in a pretty area of the country. I can think of a lot worse places to go.

  • Katie says:

    Okay, first off you are too beautiful. Seriously, you’re all shiny-magazine-ad beautiful. Good lord, no wonder your girls are such terrifyingly gorgeous children!

    And I think I’ve said this all before, but I so love the name “Black March.” What a great choice.

    Weirdly, the Eau de Fraicheur is one of the Weils I’ve never really been curious about before – it came so very long after the Weil brothers stopped controling their perfumery production that I kind of just forgot about it. Of any of the older houses, Weil’s is I feel the one most deserving of a rediscovery. Have you tried the Antilope (I’m on a mission with this one, heh!) or ESPECIALLY the Zibeline Secret of Venus? You must. I hereby decree it! Sometime after May and the move my family is making, please remind me about Antilope, okay? I don’t think you will like it per se, but I already know you are going to admire it 🙂 It’s truly unique – there is nothing else that is even a little bit similar to it out there, either in vintage frags or in new ones. Why on earth no one is picking up the old Weil scents and trying to reissue them is beyond me. They are superb in a way that is so woefully underappreciated. I’m a bit of a fanatic on the subject, obviously! :-b

    The Vow is one I actually liked a million times better on my guinea pig’s (aka sister’s) skin than on mine. It was so nicely transparently black peppery on her – it lifted off of her that it did not on me. But I can’t see anyone not liking it – I still don’t know that I would wear it personally on my own wedding day, but I would have been thrilled to get it as a present. And seriously, how craptastic are some of the tchotchkes that they give to bridesmaids? My “maid-of-honor” was actually a man, so he got some fancy-shmancy cigars and a big old beer stein from me, because I couldn’t think of anything else that would not suck! GAH! I don’t know what I would have done if my maid-of-honor had been a woman. I have never been a bridesmaid! I guess, always the bride, never the bridesmaid for me… :p

  • Pam says:


    Funny. You got married in DC; DH and I spent our honeymoon there. I know, I know. An odd choice for a honeymoon, but we had a blast traipsing from museum to museum, taking tours here and there. It was right up our alley. And hot as Hades, too. Yes, it’s hot here in the deep south during summer, but in DC it seemed even hotter. And more humid, if that’s possible.

    Your friend did a beautiful job on your dress. My mother made mine; I felt like Cinderella, it was so beautiful.

    So glad you had a gorgeous day for your wedding. What a nice gift from heaven that was.

  • March says:

    Kuri, I grew up here in DC, it is so much worse now. Yeah, I used to laugh when they complained about traffic in Santa Fe, NM — “It took an extra five minutes to get down St. Francis!!!” — that kind of stuff. We lived 20 minutes out of town and people acted like we lived in the next state over. What I find interesting here now is that on certain places on the Beltway or I-95 South (VA) they don’t even bother reporting because the (correct) assumption now is that it’s backed up from 6 am to 11 p.m. They measure backups in miles — 15 miles to the Bay Bridge… words of terror.

  • March says:

    Pam — we’d had the worst weather for days, typical May in D.C., all rain and thunderstorms. The night before there’d been a big storm, power out all over Washington. And I got up and … there it was, all sunny and sparkling. The kind of day that is special here b/c we don’t get them all that often.

    Yes, I think the BC is adorable. The reason we’re still married, though, is because he makes me laugh harder than anyone else. Always has.

  • March says:

    Cheez — thanks!:d I am really happy with it. That’s funny, I only get a tiny squidge of patch, on me it’s Sweet Tarts and peony, with musk… I like it b/c I think I can continue to wear it in the nasty summers here.

    The Rochester Lilac nuts — that’s the Highland Lilac, I believe. It wasn’t that one, that one was too nice.:-? Mine was cheesier. Will keep looking and let you know any results.

  • March says:

    Flora — I think it’s the blackberry that keeps it reasonable on me, which is funny, because I don’t think of myself as a “berry” girl — but maybe mostly because to me they are too sweet.

    That Borneo … wow, you don’t smell something like that every day. I’m not sure I want to try MKK any more.

  • kuri says:

    Oh, I’d like to try the Fracas too. 😀

    I first thought the picture was from a magazine too.

    Hee, traffic is just getting worse over there? I think back to the DC area traffic whenever people complain about traffic in the SF Bay Area. “Traffic? That’s not traffic!” In Tokyo they measure traffic jams in terms of km (a 30 km traffic jam, etc.) I seem to recall them using time to measure traffic jams in the U.S…

  • Pam says:

    If it’s not too late, yes, “I’d like the Fracas, please.” Count me in.

    March, you made a gorgeous bride. When I first saw the photo, I thought it came from a mag photo shoot. Reminds me of the promo shot from Philadelphia Story. The BC isn’t bad, either.

  • Cheezwiz says:

    Glad you like the Ines as well March!

    My bottle arrived safely in the mail last week, from Sephora and I have been enjoying it. It goes on soft but not overly sweet. On me the drydown has a pronounced patchouli note, which I didn’t remember from my first try, but I like it anyway 😉

    Please post if you order any lilac fragrances! Lilacs are in bloom everywhere right now and I can’t get enough of them. I’m seriously considering ordering lilac from Caswell-Massey as well as a custom bottled scent from the people who put on the annual Lilac Festival in Rochester New York. Yes, I am THAT nutty about lilacs!

    Lovely wedding photo! You all look like you’re in a photo-spread from a bridal magazine! :d

  • Flora says:

    No Fracas for me – cuz I already have it! :d

    Glad you like the Ines de la Fressange – I have been telling anyone who will listen how good it is. I also bought it unsniffed since it seems to be only available by mail order, but I am so glad I did! I adore the blackberry and the fact, as you said, that it’s not too sweet. It’s going to get a lot of play during the warmer weather.

    The Borneo sounds right up my alley. Wow! Like I need another SL obsession…:x

  • March says:

    Amy, thanks. You’re in for the Fracas. Remember, it’s a Diva fragrance — you were warned!:-”

    I mostly didn’t wear fragrance, it all seemed too strong. However, for special occasions I had a small bottle of lilac my mother gave me, cologne I think, and I have been trying to identify it. I remember the smell (uh, lilac!), but not what it looked like, although for some reason I think it was fussy-looking. Honestly, it could have been Avon. It wasn’t Highland Lilac. I’m getting ready to order a sample from Bourbon French, they have fussy lilac and some other things that look interesting.@};-

  • Amy K. says:

    What a beautiful wedding photo! Do you remember what fragrance you were wearing?

    I’ve never smelled Fracas before but it sounds lovely, so sign me up please:)

  • March says:

    Mimi — the problem is, when I describe it, it sounds nasty, and it isn’t. Okay: I get a not-overly-sweet, slightly hay-ish floral, underpinned by the smell of the inside of Grandmother’s (slightly dusty) old wooden jewelry box, and overlayed with a hint of hairspray. It’s charming, distinctive, and very “vintage” smelling without actually being vintage … interestingly, it loses all the weird elements and in the air around me it is a distinctive floral that is simultaneously long lasting but not too heavy. I am kind of wild for it right now, it’s different. Cribbing from Legerdenez’ excellent review: “Hay, linden, honeysuckle, a hint of hairspray, the Pacific Ocean air out on the avenues in an old San Francisco apartment building where it’s almost always foggy.” Which is just about it. Hope this helps.

  • What an interesting and sympathico post! You look very happy on that wedding picture and everyone looks so nice!

    Could you please say a bit more concerning Straw Hat? How does it smell like?

    Ananas Fizz smells tart on me, very discreet.

  • violetnoir says:

    Diva scent post–YES!! You and Patty should definitely go for it. I love the idea. 😡


  • March says:

    Emotenote — okay, you’re in! Honestly, tho — I really do make my daughter draw the number!

    The good thing about Fracas is it’s available all over the place, and frequently during the holidays there are great deals on gift sets. It is REALLY STRONG. I am keeping a decant, but don’t wear it enough to justify the bottle. On me, anyway, it’s the sort of fragrance that inspires perfume bans in offices.

  • March says:

    Robin — I think of MOK as the one CB would have created for you! Thank you so much for sharing Black March. Maybe some day I will treat myself to a trip for one of his custom perfumes — a gal can dream…

  • Emotenote says:

    Oops,I forgot to beg for the Fracas. Rumour has it it helps the perfume gods to decide. (Even though I’ve actually never smelt it, I’m on a Tuberose research. So really this is for science.

  • March says:

    Cait — Black March is sooooooo up your alley.

    The Straw Hat was a total hit! I would love to know how it compares to the original.

  • March says:

    Patricia, honey, you’re in!:)

  • March says:

    P, yup, that’s me … several lifetimes ago.=))

    You send me Borneo and I’m calling Kimora to put the hurt on you… (been awhile since I’ve trotted KLS out, hasn’t it? Wonder how the divorce is going.)

    I think your mom should make us ALL a cake.;))

  • March says:

    Dusan — huh, another one to try!

  • March says:

    Vi — you know, that was eons ago, but it was, in fact, a great wedding day. I am one of the few women I know who actually had fun at my own wedding. A friend of mine made that dress, it had a detachable train. I felt like a princess, which is just right.

    Fracas is a True Diva Scent. Maybe we should do a post on Diva scents…

  • March says:

    Monica — well, begging doesn’t hurt.:”>

    Seriously, thanks for your comments. Not too many folks are asking for the Fracas — could be Your Lucky Day!

  • March says:

    Kuri — soon the traffic here will be at a permanent standstill and we’ll have to walk everywhere, climbing over the backs of cars.

  • Robin says:

    What a great picture!!

    Black March is a great scent, but still like Memory of Kindness better. Wish (for the millionth time) that they came in smaller bottles, so I could buy both.

  • Cait says:

    Black March is tempting me! I want some of that non-perfume sounding elixir.

    So Straw Hat wasn’t a bust then.
    I hope you feel better right away.

    Oh, and the photo is adorable.

  • Patricia Rojas says:

    I would love to have that FRACAS!!:d Thanks for the give away. You are the beautiful bride, wow!! Great picture.

  • Patty says:

    No guts, no glory. for some reason I can’t see all the text around your picture, I had NO idea that was from your wedding! It looked like a picture from a bridal magazine. Y’all look so gorgeous and glamorous, just a stunning photo.

  • Dusan says:

    M, again I’m glad I helped you discover how amazing L’Instant is! Try Escada’s Magnetism for men, no patch there, “just” pepper, saffron, amber and leather.
    And my, you are so beautiful in that wedding pic! All of Steven Klein’s photos pale in comparison to your genuine celebration of life and love! (no, I’m not fishing for samples! :-)))

  • violetnoir says:

    I love that picture from your wedding, March. The Big Cheese is very handsome, you look beautiful.

    Fracas is my favorite Mother’s Day fragrance when I announce, through the scent of my fragrance, that I am DIVA FOR THE DAY! I’d like to think I’m a diva every day, but on Mother’s Day my people let me get away with it. 😉


  • Monica says:

    I want that Fracas! does begging help? :p
    You always make my day with your entries =)

  • kuri says:

    Ditto Marina’s comment.

    Eau de Fraicheur sounds lovely.

    If I ever go back and visit DC I’m definitely dropping by Tyson’s! Too bad that I find out about these things after I move out of the area.

  • March says:

    Marina — I still can’t smell anything.:(( Sinus infection. But I really, really want to know what it is and am hoping you can identify it. I have another sample from Nordstrom of Arpege Pour Homme but I can’t smell the dang thing. I can’t even smell Amarige, that’s how bad things are.

  • March says:

    Emotenote — I lurve the Vermont Country Store. One of my favorite lame-o summer activities is to sit on our front porch with a glass of lemonade and peruse their catalog. I want to visit the store someday, I bet it’s a hoot.

  • March says:

    Sybil — I can’t wait to see how many miles long your list is!!:)>-

  • March says:

    Christina — dang. I called the NM at Mazza Gallerie (where I tried it) and they do have the tester out, but none of the fragrance for purchase… sorry for the bum information. Tysons has a fairly large counter, you could try there. She didn’t seem to think they were getting any more (sigh.) I did try to talk her into selling me the tester, and no go, but it never hurts to call and ask again, maybe you’ll have better luck with a different SA. 202-966-9700

  • March says:

    Shifts — I’m actually a fan of most of L’Artisan’s fragrances. In general they work nicely on me and they’re not overwhelming. I keep trying to talk myself into buying the Carotte, which I love love love.

  • March says:

    P — oooh, more layering ideas!

    Don’t you dare send me any of that Borneo.:-ss
    It’s going in my Evil Genius post. I guess I need the moldy books and skank, not the chocolate.

  • Marina says:

    You. Are. Gorgeous.
    Both of you!
    But you are a knockout, March.

    PS> So a mystery sample, huh? I like that!

  • Emotenote says:

    Don’t ya just love the Vermont Country store? My DH has a fondness for strange out of date tzochkes and medicines and he just loves lurking around their site. In the soil fragrance category I have to add a new one “Hot” Always by Bond No. 9. When I wore it all three other people in my family came up independently and commented that I smelled like gardening or planting or the earth (in a nice way). And, Tuberose is the new Rose you know. Actually I am a new and enchanted fan. (just got my first bottle of Do Son mmmmmmmm)

  • sybil says:

    Hey, I want some Fracas (please!), if it’s not too shameful to enter again after winning the Mitsouko, etc. Nice bridal picture! I’m putting Etro Anice on the list, too….

  • Christina H. says:

    Hi,I’ve been dying to try to find the A.Goutal Muguet.Can you tell me which at which Nieman Marcus you found it?Tyson’s? You are absolutely stunning!(Even though you don’t exactly look quite thrilled being held like that!)

  • shifts says:

    Love the giveaways, perfect time to delurke from the shadows.

    “I want that Fracas�

    L’Eau de L’Artisan seem to get a lot of bashing. I love it though and it will probably be the only summer specific fragrance I’ll purchase this season. At least that is my plan…

  • Patty says:

    Um, I need that Black March. I’m thinking it would be perfect with Carnal Flower and Un Lys as well.

    Borneo, I got a full bottle of this recently (someone sold it on eBay for less than they paid for it in Euros, My fingers almost cramped for the rush they were in to click on it and pay for it). I can send you more. It has a Messe commonality in the patch part of it, that dry mildewy part, but the chocolate note makes it so wearble for me, where the Messe just doesn’t recover. It is more animalic, yup, but for me not in a bad, skanky way (I know you love that), more hypnotizing.