First of all, to anyone who has generously sent me samples à¢â‚¬” thank you, many times over. My life has settled down a bit, and I am now hitting the candy hard. All the miserable weather recently forced me inside where I can spend endless hours annoying the Big Cheese by applying fragrances and sniffing myselfà¢â‚¬¦
Second, to everyone who tried (and tried and tried) to leave comments on my Guilty Pleasures post last week, they appeared magically a day or two later, with no notification in my email inbox, hence the slow response. Again, my apologies. I have no idea what that was about. The winner of the Ysatis Iris was à¢â‚¬¦ Pam! Email me your address under Comments and I´ll get it in the mail. Anyway, on to the candy samples:
Andy Tauer Lonestar Memories à¢â‚¬” From their website: à¢â‚¬Å“A scent created on memories of a wide land, open pastures, earthy leather, warm smoke, being there, I am free and true.à¢â‚¬? Dude, aren´t you à¢â‚¬¦ Swiss? Or German? How did you work your magic with this one? Because what I smell is the inside of a vintage leather and pawn shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I was a joyful resident for a decade. Here are my notes: old cowboy boots, used saddles, mud, old wood, footprints, dust, sawdust, hint of silver from concha belts and other metals, slight musty-old-building smell, ancient spices, and à¢â‚¬” my favorite à¢â‚¬” a waft of red chile courtesy of the ristras hanging from the corbels by the door, just after a July rain. (The woman in that fabulous painting above is making ristras using fresh red chiles.) This is not another leather. This is a journey, and you should think about taking it.
JAR Golconda — It´s a pure, creamy, glorious carnation on a rich, wine-y base. It should have been perfect, given how much I love carnation. Let me be clear: it smelled GREAT à¢â‚¬” but there is something weirdly malevolent about it — like holding Snow White´s poisoned apple in your hand. It gave me a serious case of the willies, the reverse of that rush of happiness I get when I stumble across something new and wonderful. I´ve never smelled another JAR, am dying to do so now, wonder if there´s a common base?
Dior Diorling (vintage) à¢â‚¬” Something I can simultaneously admire greatly and find generally unwearable. A musky floral on a weird, green, medicinal, leathery base, along the lines of Diorella, without the toothpaste. (Later) It´s still not quite me, too green, but fans of classic Dior would be rolling around on the floor moaning in ecstasy at this point in the drydown.
V´Tae Sensuality EDP (lavender, mandarin, lemon, ylang ylang, sandalwood, ginger, vanilla, freesia, rose and other essential oils) à¢â‚¬” I don´t love this one at the opening as much as their Green Grass and Sunshine but it´s winning me over in the drydown. Interesting because it goes from à¢â‚¬Å“coolà¢â‚¬? (lavender/citrus) to à¢â‚¬Å“warmà¢â‚¬? (spices) over the course of an hour.
Caron Tabac Blond à¢â‚¬” Maybe this will be my Caron. WTF à¢â‚¬” the first 30 seconds are powdery?!?!? Followed by three minutes of à¢â‚¬¦ something murky and evil (enter the Famous Caron Base, wearing a dark robe and carrying a scythe). #1 Daughter says: à¢â‚¬Å“Eeewwww. Smells like the boys´ locker room.à¢â‚¬? Then: beginning of a leather smell. (Half an hour later) Verdict: it smells like SL Daim Blond to me, only mustier and more interesting, the Caron base having been mostly buried.
Old Spice aftershave à¢â‚¬” Somebody commented that it smelled surprisingly good. (No, don´t start writing in with suggestions that I spritz myself with Febreze or Windex; I´m not falling for it.) Anyway, I´m biased on this one, because my father has been wearing it since the first time my tiny fist could reach the counter to buy it for him. And it does smell rather nice à¢â‚¬” spicy, powdery, and much less masculine than a lot of the other things I wear. But I just can´t go around smelling like my dad.
Amouage Gold (Rock Rose, Lily of the Valley, Silver Frankincense, Myrrh, Orris, Jasmine, Ambergris, Civet, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Musk, Patchouli, and Oakmoss) à¢â‚¬” I Am An Idiot. I blew this entire line off recently in my Chicago post, saying they were unmemorable, and someone (Flora?) gently suggested that if I couldn´t remember Gold, there was, perhaps, something wrong with my nose and/or my entire head, and maybe I should re-think my position. So Patty sent me the Gold and the Dia. The Dia is lovely, but I am still deciding whether it´s interesting enough to rave about. The Gold, though à¢â‚¬¦ I´m having trouble believing I´d forget this one à¢â‚¬” maybe I didn´t smell it? I went back and read some old reviews on other blogs. It has very much a à¢â‚¬Å“classicà¢â‚¬? fragrance feel, and I would classify it as a chypre floral, with an overall effect that reminds me of Guerlains like Parure or Chant d´Aromes. At first application it is insanely heady and intense along the lines of the Patou heavy hitters, and that limited space in my wardrobe is already taken by Mitsouko and Jicky parfums. However. Once you get past the initial minutes of being thrashed by the Big Bouquet (I can see where those à¢â‚¬Å“old lady perfumeà¢â‚¬? comments come from on the fragrance boards) the drydown is à¢â‚¬¦ immense. I get a lot of the famous silver frankincense of Oman, which I guess is more present for most people in the preferred Men´s Gold. I also get that glorious, fizzy, champagne-like petillance, along with à¢â‚¬” really à¢â‚¬” the finest skank money can buy. This is Jean-Harlow-level bombshell glamour.
Oh, look, there´s another Caron in the candy box à¢â‚¬” Reglisse. The anise one, right? Colombina and Legerdenez swear it´s Caronade-free, but my pre-application prediction: total scrubber. (applying) Hahahahahaha — the Disciples of Caron must have hated this one with a passion, because I am twitching in pleasure like my dog in the middle of a rabbit-chasing dream. Hellooooooooooo à¢â‚¬” Caron base, are you home? Definitely not. Instead there is: a big splash of lemon/orange, anise, and what smells to me like verbena, drying down into something woodier and more substantial, but still definitely a summer fragrance, with the anise melding together with the citrus in a way that is mouthwatering without being foody. Note to everyone who reads à¢â‚¬Å“aniseà¢â‚¬? and wants to heave: it does not smell like a box of licorice, and I don´t even like licorice. P, have you smelled this? On my Summer Nirvan-a-meter, it´s a 9. (hour later) Damn. How can a Caron smell that good? I could wear this all summer.
Montale Jasmin Full à¢â‚¬” Patty´s review prompted an entire discussion of indoles, skank, and whether or not this one is indolic (skanky). Patty says it´s all a perfumed heaven of fresh, snowy, virgin-white starflowers for her. I say à¢â‚¬¦ lock up your daughters. I can´t believe all the dogs in the neighborhood aren´t trying to knock my door down right now. No, no, no, that is not a complaint in any way. It´s perfect.
image: “Starting a New Ristra,” kirkrichards.com