Nancy’s Candy

Winners of the Barbara Bui Le Parfum samples, drawn by Enigma’s hand: Divalino, Kuri and Sweetlife! Email me your address under Contact Us. I´ll also throw some random leftovers in your package, having decanted part into vials. Note: I am going to switch to glass atomizers, but I already have a ton of the plastic ones, so that´s what you´ll be getting. If you hold onto your decants indefinitely, consider pouring them into glass vials or bottles.

For anyone else who wanted to try Barbara Bui – I heard from a regular commenter that she bought some online after my review from Perfumes from France (which is actually in Florida), and she was quite pleased with their customer service. They carry 30, 60 and 90 ml bottles at reasonable prices, representing a great alternative to fleaBay. I checked the site out and – squeeeeee! – promptly ordered some Barbara Bui Huile Blanche (white oil) – 100 ml of oil with the same notes as the fragrance for $18.95! It sounds like the perfect thing after the bath. I´ll let you know how it works out. By the way, last week I threw on Barbara Bui Le Parfum in slightly cooler weather and was thrilled to get a big ol’ hit of incense and less amber. It’s sort of a changeling.

Okay, on to today´s post.

Why am I crazy? It´s probably the fumes. Join me as my fingers do the walking through a random, daily dose of niche perfumery.

Gianni Campagne Vento Canale — Nancy stuck this into my sample set as a gift, saying “speaking of comfort scents…” since I´d been blogging on them. Notes are: rum, clary sage, carrot seeds, davana, cedar, lily, amber, tobacco, musk, honey, vanilla, cacao, and vetiver. And wow. Thanks, Nancy! There´s something Giacobetti-esque about it, and it´s up to you whether that´s good or bad. (To me: good.) An airy comfort scent par excellence – a woodsy, piquantly herbal cedar that dries down into a mildly boozy tobacco/vanilla that doesn´t try to strangle me with sweetness like Tom Ford´s Tabac Vanille (and, occasionally, Lutens´ Chergui, as much as I love it. Don´t shoot the messenger.) Not being beaten over the head with the kitchen-spice-box is a nice change. Definitely worth checking out.

Norma Kamali Incense – they wouldn´t let me try this on when we were playing at Nancy´s house; she sent me home with a sample. I can see why. You know I love incense. I like Norma Kamali Ceremony a lot, which is $80 on Beautyhabit and well worth it, IMHO. I smell incense, myrrh and woods in Ceremony. Norma Kamali Incense is $220, and … whoa. It smells to me like frankincense from the most expensive head shop on earth. NK Incense spends 60 interesting seconds after application wafting all sorts of odd smells – mushroom, sweet, resinous musk, bitter herb (sage?), dust — while it rearranges its skirts or something. After that it´s essentially like being whacked by a Flintstone-sized cudgel of incense. And I put on maybe 4 drops. Norma recommends layering it with her NK fragrance. I recommend not wearing it to work or in confined spaces, and double-bagging your sample vial. Potent stuff. I do like it, though.

Guerlain Iris Ganache — Go figure. I hadn´t even bothered smelling this one. I´ve sworn off my Guerlain-whoring ways until they work through that giant drum of heliotrope-benzoin they keep making into various things. Also, could we not name any more fragrances Quand Vient Beyonce Pour La Pluie or whatever? There is zero chance I will ever get that name right, even if I´m staring right at it. Oh, and something in the less than $200 range would be great, thanks, I can live without the Baccarat flacon. Anyhoo. I put it on as a half-joke, because … ew. Ganache? Notes are: iris, chocolate, cinnamon, patchouli, musk, cedar, vanilla, and Kill Me Now. But it smells heavenly! I think the reason it works for me is (joy of joys!) I immediately kill off most of the sweet stuff everyone´s been complaining about and get a metallic iris and a dusting of cinnamon, which is a delightful combo. It´s like L´Heure Bleue with less powder and more spice, and while I´m not sure I need both (I love LHB) this is way more attractive than I thought it would be. Easily my favorite of the L´Art et la Matiere line. The lasting power is excellent, which in this instance is a good thing.

Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale — citrus, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, Madagascan vanilla. Dammit. I really wanted this to work. As you can see it´s not sushi-scented – it´s comfort-scented, and many people love it. I was actually heartened by a commenter´s complaint that it smelled like sweet gingerbread and cloves. Bring it on, baby! What I get, though, is the Grim Reaper of Vanilla. I can kill off random sweet notes like nobody´s business, but too much vanilla is Too Much Vanilla. Where is my comforting spice pudding? Sigh. It´s fine – it´s just mostly vanilla on me, a very nice, pretty vanilla, and no thanks.

Red Flower Hammam Cardamom Amber oil — Notes: cardamom, bergamot, rose, jasmine, litsea cubeba, ylang ylang, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, black pepper, sweet orange, and apricot. I am having huge success today. Is this wildly innovative? Um, nope. Lightly spiced amber with the merest hint of florals. Smelling it on the back of my hand made me grin, it´s like a hug in a bottle. It´s also an oil and so (hold onto your hat!) it´s … oily. Fall´s almost here. Turn the phone off, take a long bath, throw some of this on, climb into your terrycloth robe and read a good book.

Also in the box but not in this review: PG Haramens, PG Cuir d´Iris, Armando Martinez, possibly something else. My nose broke. Maybe next time.

fish candy (aren’t those great? I want some):

  • kuri says:

    yay! <:-p That really made my day, coming off of a sleep deprived week and heading into a sleep deprived week. Ugh, must get up in 4 hours. Lol at the Grim Reaper of Vanilla. Fortunately I have yet to encounter much vanilla in my forays.

  • Patty says:

    I’m still shocked you liked IG in one way, but not in another. Sushi Imperiale, a small decant, should last a year, that is some seriously potent jus!

    • March says:

      P, you know how much I didn’t love the rest of them. I’m gonna try Armenie again in NY (plus I think they have that Vanille thing?) but the IG sounded nasssssty. I SWEAR what I smell is cinnamon-dusted iris and a Guerlain-ish patchouli, with the rest of that hot mess firmly in the background.

      I’m going to try Smooshi again. I want to feel the love! Where’s my dang Vanilla Eraser?@-)

  • sweetlife says:

    Hah! That was my “complaint” about the gingerbread and cloves: when you write it down like that it sounds great, but I have a problem with cloves=shaving cream on my skin. Sigh. I like them in real life…

    Very excited to be winner! I’d almost written “sounds so good you’d better put me in the draw…twice” but had a moment of modesty and good manners and erased it. The Enigma must have received my vibes. (Every time I see that name I think about the Oracle of Delphi.)

    • March says:

      Well, that clarifies. I did wonder what grudge you could hold against a clove. A clove of GARLIC, maybe. But cloves — yum! Anything you could put into a pumpkin pie is a friend of mine.

      The Enigma is shockingly receptive to vibes. She intuits stuff that baffles me. I mean, I can scream at her to clean up her bathroom until my head explodes, but then she’ll come out with some astonishingly nuanced observation. I guess this time she intuited that you really deserved that decant![-o<

  • Marina says:

    *gloomily* Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale = masculine Angel. :-b

  • *wish list* *wish list* *wish list*

    Is there a “Dealing with your Decants” guide anywhere? When I only had a dozen around, carefully stacking them up on the dresser behind the big bottles sufficed. No more! Mandragore fell over, leaked, and ate its way into the finish (all in less than one day, like Alien blood); I can’t find anything; and I can’t figure out how to open the little darlings without getting juice on my fingers. A Tupperware brim-full of rice is working to keep everything upright, but I’m guessing someone has figured out a great way to organize the flocks.

    • March says:

      Well, asking me about organization is sort of amusing. Honestly, I think most of us view our sample collections as something between an occupational hazard and a chronic illness. I have heard rumors that there are freaky people who have all their samps neatly labeled and then organized/alphabetized into the sorts of containers you use for nails or other handyman-type widgets a la Container Store (or your hardware store.) I think that in general, people try to store atomizers upright and vials however (atomizers seem more leak-prone). Some people alphabetize (but by name or house?) and others group by dominant note, family, vintage, whatever. Mine are “organized” alphabetically into a multi-drawered antique wooden spice box, except for the overflow and all the samps that won’t fit. (I will say in my defense that generally I can put my hands on anything I’m looking for pretty quickly). Given the alcohol content of most ‘fumes, they’ll eat the varnish off wood… you design a great organisational system and you could probably sell it.$-)

      • sweetlife says:

        As soon as I’m done with my current writing deadline I’m going to organize my samples and decants into a little card catalog looking thingie from Ikea. I decided I would organize by house (I find it easier to remember the names that way) and then make up a cross reference list by note for the days when I just need a little somethin’ somethin’ and can’t remember what everything smells like.

        At least, that’s the fantasy plan I’ve hatched while handcuffed to my computer until I finish my work. :-s

        • March says:

          See? Freaky people, just like I told you. 😉 I know some people have Excel spreadsheets. If I ever start nattering on about my perfume spreadsheets, call the CIA, I’ve been abducted.

  • tmp00 says:

    I was at Luckyscent (big shock, eh?) and was cruising the Bois 1920 and there was one, which of course I can’t remember which had some serious skank going on there. Even the deskankotron curled up into a foetal ball and whimpered: it was Human Existence covered in flowers and citrus.

    I may have to go back and reinvestigate :-?:d

    • March says:

      I am SHOCKED. SHOCKED that you were in LuckyScent …. and DIDN’T WRITE DOWN THE NAME OF THE SKANK STEAMROLLER. Young man, you march yourself right back there and find out what that is! I have to hunt it down and harpoon it./:)

  • Louise says:

    Great run-through of some fall scents.

    I am sooo easily led astray-I retested the Bui after our get-together, and yup, it’s great. So, guess what? I ordered the little bottle and the oil after reading your post. I should get a good 4 hours out of the combo.

    Now you understand why you weren’t allowed to spray the Incense at Nancy’s, huh? I sprayed it heavily one day, and my dear son tried to claw his way out of the moving car. But I adore it, and especially the fact that a touch lasts all day and night on me. That never happens. It is definitely not a work scent (except to bomb my office mate, thanks for the suggestion, Lee), but I am wearing Ceremony today. So nice and zen.

    The Iris Ganache must smell great on people who can wear Iris. I officially give up on it, now. I just get bitter somethin’, followed by a pleasant choco. No choco for me, not at that price.

    But, March, how can you turn Sushi into anything other than wonderful? What you do to vanillas is criminal-on me the vanilla is dry, and wrapped in those nice spices. Send your samp to Lee-it was divine on him.

    • March says:

      Nah, I’m gonna keep that sample of Sushi around for my favorite hobby — retesting things that are bad on me to see if they’re any better. (Weirdo. But I WANT this one to work! Look at those notes!) I wonder if I need to spray it on…

      Um, I wonder what would happen if you dabbed a little of that oud oil and some NK Incense in your office, just to get rid of the bad spirits? Heh heh.;))

      Do oils last any better on you? I wonder … if you first put on the BB oil, and THEN put some of the scent on top of it … yeah, maybe you can get that 4 hours!8-}

  • Robin says:

    Ooooh, please post about the BB oil when you get it! That is very tempting. Course, by then it will be all gone.

    Just shocked that you liked IG, never would have guessed that in a million years.

    • March says:

      I’ll let you know on the oil. I have high hopes! It seems like a great scent for an oil.

      Re Iris Ganache — you and me both. I think yours was one of the reviews that killed off any faint interest I had. If it hadn’t (literally) fallen accidentally into my hands at Nancy’s I might never have tried it. I probably still wouldn’t buy a bottle, though.

  • Divalano says:

    Thanks 🙂 I have a 3 day a wk tech job & usually I love it, it’s just today that sucks. Everyone’s out sick, I have new project, I start a vile, evil tech class tonight, my own pc is suspiciously sluggish, there’s a new phone system, and I’m supposed to be leaving for a week vacation on Wed & have ALL kinds of stuff that needs doing. Eeeep!!

    re: scent to make me feel better. put on 28 La Pausa this AM, still trying to decide what I think of it. not sure that it’s making me feel better but it IS a distraction, lol.

    • Divalano says:

      doh! meant to put this as a reply to the above. ok, going back to running around crazy here, over & out.

      • March says:

        Wah, that sounds terrible. I do think 28 La Pausa sounds like a good medicinal scent, though. Here’s hoping your day gets better.

        • Divalano says:

          Yes, medicinal IS a good word for it. This AM while I was waiting for my coffee at my beloved Mud Truck I thought it smelled a bit like money. And then today I read some review of an iris scent where the guy mentioned band-aids. And I thought yes, it IS a little antiseptic. So now I’ve got rooty, carroty, medicinal, money scent that reminds me of the scent some rich lady left on her alligator purse or Hermes scarf. Still not sure what I think of it, lol.

          • March says:

            I am sure I would love it if I could get it hang around a bit longer on me. Having said that, I’ve used it when I wanted an extremely unobtrusive fragrance. (The problem with that theory being: what if I’m the only person who can’t smell it?):-“

  • Divalano says:

    omg, thank you March for being so wonderfully snarkysmart. My Mon is off to a hellish, despicable start & I believe you’ve saved me from hiding under the console & crying. For now. Not sure any of these are for me but I’ll admit a growing curiosity abt Iris Ganache. Someday I’ll get over trying several Guerlains in my 20s when I worked near B Altman’s & being told each time that I smelled like an old lady. Iris Ganache might be the first I try.

    oh and squeeeee! I won stuff! yay :d

    • March says:

      “smells like an old lady” is one of the highest compliments you can bestow on much of my fragrance line. I equate it with “interesting, complex and not too sweet.” But unless you’re way more sophisticated than I am, most of the hardcore Guerlain oeuvre would have been beyond me in my 20s. Also, my guess is you tried the EDTs, and in most of them I prefer the less sharp EDPs. The parfum versions are heavenly but generally not for sampling.=((

      • Divalano says:

        You’re probably right. I had no sense of what I liked & what I didn’t & was way too easily swayed by the opinions of others back then. I’ll get around to exploring Guerlain again, promise.

    • March says:

      PS Don’t hide under your console and cry!!! That’s terrible. If it’s like that regularly can you get a new job? I had to do some presentation stuff and I used to hide in my cubicle and try not to vomit, but not on a daily basis, the rest of the job I really liked.

      Can you spray on something that would make you feel better?

  • Helen T says:

    Sorry, that was all supposed to be about Iris Ganache, not the headlined Irish Ganache, which will be out soon with top notes of Baileys on ice, underpinned by frozen mocha sorbet and jonquil.

    Damn these fingers :”>

    • March says:

      Hahahaha!!! You made me laugh through my coffee (got the keyboard wet). I expect to see Irish Ganache on the shelf soon at my local Sephora, in the gourmand section. I will NOT be smelling it, but have no doubt it will sell like hotcakes.

      That frozen note is a nice touch, BTW. Do you work for a fragrance manufacturer?;)

      • Helen T says:

        No, they work for me! I’ve spent years working on new products (not a clever chemist, just a marketing gal) and I’ve sat through lots of those presentations, so it must have all crept into the psyche!

        Just running off to patent Irish Ganache before the Sephora boys get there….!

  • Helen T says:

    March, I’m with you on the Irish Ganache. I begged a few drops of this from a friend, mainly because I was intrigued, not for a moment because I thought I would like it. I didn’t even put it on my skin to start with, just dipped a strip and kept sniffing it through the day. And it kind of had me further intrigued, because it never smelt like I expected to (which was very sweet mixed with sickly floral).

    So when I did try it on my skin, I loved it. Not enough to shell out for it, but enough to remind me not to judge a fragrance by its description! And like you say, it sure has some staying power!

    So, it smells great, and its one of their more sensible names :d

    • March says:

      I was SURE their Bois d’Armenie was going to be a wonder of wonders on me, and it was YET another heartbreak. They all smell sort of generically Guerlain vanilla/powder-ish More than Ever on me (what was that in French? They’ve probably released a dozen things since then.) Plus Que Jamais.

      So to get a strong, spicy iris and a pinch of patch was glorious! You’re right, no judging by the name (or even, sometimes, other people’s reviews.;) )

  • Judith says:

    I’m with Lee on the IG–really too sweet on me.:( Haven’t tried the Sushi–haven’t been tempted to, and your review confirmed me in my opinion. I do love NK Incense, but agree that it’s the most potent stuff on earth–practically radioactive. Red Flower–nice, cuddly, not incredible–as you said. So that leaves the Vento Canale, which DOES sound really tempting. . . . 8-|

    • March says:

      What I liked about Vento Canale was its total lack of sweetness. You know, you get that Sweet Pipe Tobacco thing going … it was neutral and very soothing, not heavy. Whether it’s too light for you, I dunno.

      The Cardamom Amber’s the sort of thing I wish BBW carried instead of 90% of what’s in there, which is too strong and too sweet.

      I am feeling oddly pleased about Ganache. The whole gourmand aspect combined with iris sounded revolting.

      • Louise says:

        I just don’t get how the canale’s not sweet on ya. I love it, but it’s way sugary on me. Lasts long, though. Comfort, yes.

        • March says:

          They call me … The Sugar Killer.b-) I am assuming it has something to do with the vast amounts of sugar I consume? I never know up front whether something sweet will work on me, but I’ve had more success … Iris Ganache is one example. I’m wearing it right now. Iris Patch Cinnamon, and I’ll take it.

  • Lee says:

    Seeing as this workplace of mine is all Fish philosophy focused, I should have that candy on tap!

    I think Iris Ganache worked more for you than it did for me – it squeaked with sweetness on my skin. I don’t know why anyone would want a whole bottle of NK Incense when one drop is enough for several temples. Sushi Imperiale is another potent one – I am tempted to buy a bottle, but the decant I’ve got will last and last, and it does wonderful things on Matt’s skin (more than mine…). The bookend two, never heard of em, me duck…

    • March says:

      Waitaminnit … are you working for The Man, The Guy Upstairs, The Big Guy? Or, like, a canning factory? I forget. My fish philosophy is: eat or be eaten.:)>-

      What would you DO with a whole bottle of Incense? What if someone dropped it? Or it leaked in the mail? You could clear a building that way.

      I’m going to try Sushi again, obviously, when the weather cools. I think I’ll dump the rest of the vile on and see what happens.

    • Lee says:

      See here re: fish

      March, you could clear a town. I think Louise should smash a bottle on the snarky woman’s desk, just to get a bit of respite at work.

      • March says:

        That sounds like a very interesting place to work! I was assuming some sort of Judeo-Christian origin (particularly with that name) but it seems happy and huggy and secular … although I am having deep trouble seeing buttoned-up Brits signing up for Play etc. OTOH it’s hard to imagine the US industry I’m familiar with following this either; their attitude is, it’s SUPPOSED to suck the life out of you. 8-x

        • Lee says:

          Let’s just say we’ve adapted the happy huggy stuff for our own purposes – no Fish songs here. But the basic tenets – hey, who wouldn’t want to sign up to them? Matt now thinks I’m working for a cult rather than an education consultancy firm, cos we also have a heavy duty focus on core values like Courage, Wisdom, Compassion, etc… Perhaps I’ll end up Buddhist!

    • Louise says:

      Darling Lee-didn’t I get to sniff Sushi on you? Wasn’t it very lovely? Or am I creating a fantasy (bad habit, that)? And to imagine it smellling even better on Matt-wowee!

      • Lee says:

        Oh yes – it smelled mighty fine on me. Matt takes certain scents to another level – but that might just be down to my rose tinted specs…

  • Gail S says:

    I am definitely visiting that website as soon as I’m home and not on a work computer :d

    Really sorry that Sushi Imperiale didn’t work on you. I don’t get ANY vanilla from this at all! Huh….chemistry again. To me, it’s a slightly “sparkly” version of Ambre Narguile that I can wear on a daily basis (and I’ve started to do just that!)

    • March says:

      I want a sparkly version of the Nazgul!:(( And don’t you love those daily basis fall comfort scents? I’m looking lustfully at all my musks, woods, heavy florals, etc.

  • Dusan aka Insomniac says:

    I haven’t tried a single one from that candy and do I care? Nope luv, cos you’ve made my day by cracking me up big time (chuckling at 5 am while everyone’s asleep). I could read your writing anytime, which in fact I do do (older posts) whenever I need a quick feelgood fix. 😡
    And yeah, what’s with the highfalutin names? Thank god Guerlain weren’t that inspired with their men’s fumes; speaking of which, you did get round to trying Héritage, right? 😉

    • March says:

      Dushion! I need to dig out those samps and re-smell Heritage. Why didn’t it wind up in a candy review?:-? I need to go look … hey, you were gone, maybe it happened in there somewhere.

      Glad I gave you a laff. I wish I’d taken French (maybe I will, a quickie intro course, just so I can stop pronouncing things in a way that causes French-speakers physical pain.) And the least visually comprehensible Euro language I’ve seen up close and personal was in Budapest, where everything looks like syizyrsvksbryni (add a lot of those accent marks) and is pronounced “Spet.” I’m thinking I wouldn’t have a prayer with Serbian, which I am sitting here reading about in Wiki, it’s written in variants of Cyrillic AND Latin alphabets? I cn barly spek Englsh.:)>-