Strange Invisible Perfumes and their offerings tend to fall off my radar.They´re not sold in many brick-and-mortar stores (in NYC I think they’re at Barneys and nowhere else); their website´s a little groovy and not especially detail-oriented regarding the notes in their fragrances.I didn´t realize the name was taken from Shakespeare but it is nonetheless apt because I find many of their fragrances … well, a little strange.Like the scents from Aftelier they can take some getting used to. They don´t lend themselves to a quick sniff at the counter at Barneys because they can spend up to half an hour unfolding themselves on the skin like a tea flower dropped in water.Finally, I might as well mention to the uninitiated that they are expensive in the parfum version — $185 – $210 for 7.5 ml, which doesn´t lend itself to bottle splits.
They have three new releases in time for spring, and let´s start with my favorite:
Epic Gardenia.The bad news: no, it´s not a reissue of the late, lamented, discontinued Lady Day, so shed a couple of quiet tears and get that out of the way so you can smell Epic on its own terms.Like lily and tuberose, gardenia is not a friend to all.Apparently gardenia can´t be easily distilled from the plant, so it´s simulated in other ways, and you tend to get plastic, or too much kitchen spice, or something really green (like a side-dish of muguet).Epic is substantially less cheesy-smelling than JARdenia or the Tom Ford; it doesn´t have a big LOTV hit, although it´s both a wee bit green and slightly indolic.It´s probably the closest thing to the smell of an actual gardenia flower besides Yves Rocher´s ridiculously cheap and effective gardenia, but I like it better – it´s richer, a little grassy, and the drydown is quite long lasting.Lovely.
Urban Lily wins the SIP Award for epic strangeness.A startlingly peculiar combination of peppery florals and wet pavement at the open, Urban Lily is the sort of not-for-beginners scent I´d have loathed as a nascent perfumista. The really cool part is, an hour or two later it morphs into an utterly different scent, a honey-hay-beeswax smell with a hint of something peat/leather like narcissus. It’s such a holy-crap-what-is-that?!? about-face that twice I went back over every inch of my body and the other scents I had on, trying to identify the correct source. Tom at Perfume-Smellin´ Things says this features a big dose of their house musk.Which has me thinking Patty and I really need to stop by SIP next week when we´re in LA, because I need me some of that base.I found the lasting power on this one extraordinary.
Aquarian Roses‘ notes are rose, sandalwood and marjoram. (FYI – this is the only list of notes the company provided me, the others being “impressionistic renderings.”) I left it till last and was pleasantly surprised.It´s quite sharp at the top, medicinal/herbal like a poultice, and rather soapy, with a dry tang that makes me think of creosote way off in the distance. It goes through a phase of smelling rather like the Weleda calendula balm I used to use on my kids’ chapped skin. Tom uses the word stemmy, which is perfect. The rose is subdued on my skin.Has anyone else tried this yet?
Since we may go by the shop, and since a lot of our readers may not have sampled much (if any) of the line, I´d love to know what your favorite SIP is and why.
PPS I just clicked through Tom’s review to his original review of Musc Botanique, and hey — look — I started off my review with almost exactly the same sentence. I think that’s so funny I’m leaving it. Tom, be sure to rag me for shamelessly plagiarizing you next week.