Having mostly recovered, I fell into the candy samples bowl, where I was amused to discover a number of things I´ve been wanting to try.
Honestly, where do these things come from? Do people just stop by my house now and leave atomizers on my desk, and then three months later I notice them? One of you must have given this to me, fess up … anyway, my best guess for the atomizer labeled Sinativa is from “The Original Chiang Mai´s spa” website, which says: “The summer fragrance of lavender, the aromatic scent of sandalwood, the lemon freshness of neroli, the sensuous bouquet of ylang-ylang and the aromas of other genuine essential oils combine to create the captivating harmony of this perfume.” If I´m completely wrong chime in here. So – it makes me feel very aromatherapized. In a good way, like when I put on my Edun cotton pants and top and go up to my little room armed with my yoga mat (even though I end up sitting around reading Glamour and eating truffles until I fall into a stupor). I don´t like the first ten minutes at all – it´s it´s like the lemon freshness of neroli and the aromatic sandalwood are locked in a serious beatdown (maybe even muay thai) . Although even then, it was interestingly wrong – sweet/sour and raspy. Eventually the sandalwood kicks the neroli out of the ring entirely, then curls up with the lavender and ylang. I don´t even like lavender, and can I tell you? With sandalwood it´s pretty delish – it´s weird, I can totally identify it as lavender without that sucking-on-a-sachet feeling. It smells incense-like, without being incense. It gets sweeter in the drydown, and I think there must be other florals in there, but it´s never very sweet, and it´s spicy too, like cinnamon. Something I´d want to try again in the hot, humid summer, maybe layered with Jatamansi. Yum.
Mona di Orio Oiro – oh, my God, nooooooooooooo. How did she do it? How did she capture the exact smell of the inside of the sneakers of one of my (unspecified) children? And why is it that some people have such stinky feet? And why is it that I like some stink (armpit) in a fragrance, but not other kinds (locker-room-grade feet)? And when I am queen, I will have someone on my royal staff I can call who can explain to me the slight difference in chemical components between lovely armpit and foul feet. Oiro opens on a powerful note of Gold Bond Foot Powder applied generously to the inside of a child´s favorite pair of overripe Keds. Go on, stick your nose in there – it´s fascinating, in a horrifying way. After five minutes the powdery, quasi-medicinal sweetness of the Gold Bond fades and you´re left with, essentially, Ked – including the burnt rubber note you get when you sniff the sole. A monumental trainwreck on my skin (and I assume this must be a problem with my skin) that simultaneously amuses me and makes me so very happy that I didn´t spray it generously. Lee clearly loves this thing; in his recent review he called it a “richly brocaded jasmine and sunlight glitterball.” Cripes. Nuit Noire is dirty on me, but this is so far over my skank line I can´t even see the line in the distance from here.
Armando Martinez Kitsune – I keep this out, trying to decide whether I like it. And I´ve decided I like it, but it´s not something I would ever choose to wear. Notes are: incense, leather, frankincense, and clove. It´s very masculine, leathery and faintly sour on me, but it´s interesting – on one level it´s a very straightforward leather/incense, but there´s this extra edge to it – a more complex registry on the edge of the senses, like the difference between, say, the smells you might encounter in a car interior vs. the smells on a leather jacket. This is in the car-interior direction (hint of dashboard?) By the way, I put this on accidentally while looking for Gianni Campagne´s Vento Canale, which I then dug out of my filed samps to see whether I still adored it, and I do (I reviewed it here) if you´re still looking for that perfect obscure-ish winter pipe tobacco/amber/rum comfort scent.
Givenchy Organza Indecence – okay, this candy sampling is now inching toward practical-joke level. Do you have any idea how long this has been on my to-try list? And I keep wimping out on eBay because my unsniffed purchase track record is so bad. Maybe I should look in my own to-try bowl more often. Who sent this to me? So this is what you all are raving about, eh? And … the next bottle on eBay is mine, you hear?!?! Mine, mine, all mine!!!!! I can´t even remember what Organza smells like (wait … big white-flower confection? Or is that Amarige? Or both?), so this might be one of those pseudo-flankers that makes no sense name-wise. This is also one of those scents that makes me wonder, what is wrong with the world of fragrance that this got the ax, and not 65 other things I could name right off the top of my head? Basenotes lists cinnamon, jacaranda wood, patchouli, musk and amber; actually, I´m going to go re-smell Organza because it´s got some nice comments on Basenotes as well. Indecence sounds like maybe Organza with no florals and more spice/woods? And I must have fallen on my head, because this is another vanilla I am loving. Spicy vanilla. A smoother, creamier scent than, say, Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale, which (without going back and resmelling all my vanillas) feels like the closest comparison – Indecence is less aggressive spice, but oh, lord, the woods! If it weren’t for the woody notes, and (on me anyway) a deliciously animalic dollop of musk buried in the base, this would be too plain-vanilla and too sweet. I’m going to commit fragrance heresy and admit I find Indecence easier to wear than Sushi. When surveys say men find vanilla-based scents sexy, this is the kind of sexy I imagine they´re talking about.
Ineke Perfumer Evening Edged in Gold – first off, I love that name (she’s doing her series alphabetically.) Second, she should win some sort of award for her sample packaging, as any of you know who’ve ever opened one of her wonderful little matchbox scents. Third, I admire her esthetic. Having said that, while I admire her scents, I have not thus far been sufficiently moved to work through a decant; there’s a green, modern spaciousness to her scents that just aren’t me. Evening Edged in Gold is no different — except. Except you leather fans need to take note here. I am not (at this point) a leather freak, at least as a dominant note. Notes are plum, osmanthus, night blooming flowers called Angel’s Trumpet and Midnight Candy, saffron, woods and leather. Evening Edged in Gold starts with a sharp contrast between some fairly sweet notes and the animalic, tanned-skin side of leather. First off — if you are trying this, forget dabbing, this is seriously one of those scents where you need to go for it — four, five, six sprays on the arm — to get the effect. Angel’s Trumpet and Midnight Candy both refer to flowers that give off heady evening scents — night phlox and datura/brugmansia (depending), and that headiness is immediately apparent, but it builds almost simultaneously on top of a dark, bitter leather note, and there’s that signature Ineke I-don’t-know-what, a synthetic space opening the notes up like a big umbrella. The fragrance starts to settle after ten or fifteen minutes, the leather loses its bitterness, and the saffron emerges, and it is this part of the development that I find arresting — there is nothing else I can think of offhand to compare it to. Watching it over the first hour is like watching the sun set, and the slow, deepening shadows of the evening. After an hour I’m left with a soft, leather/woods skin scent and the desire to do the whole thing over again.
Coming up Thursday and Friday – this month´s Posse Scent Club! Also, if you´re interested, here´s a link sweetlife sent me to an interesting article about old roses and “rose rustling” – rose lovers hunting through old graveyards, abandoned homesteads, etc., looking to rescue long-forgotten roses. (By the way, this practice is not confined to Texas, and generally refers to taking cuttings, not the entire rose). Finally, I have to include the quote carmencanada found on Basenotes describing Eau d´Hermes, for those of you who missed it: “Robert Mitchum´s jockstrap in Grace Kelly´s bag.” If that doesn´t make you want to sample it, I don´t know what will.
microscopic image of sandalwood tree: micro.magnet.fsu.ed