Staring in the Sample Drawer

The worst days for me in writing are when no sample, perfume, idea, season jumps out at me and seems to want to be written about – there’s just this great big empty space where my brain used to be. I uncap and sniff sample after sample, wanting one of them to speak to me – good, bad, anything but indifferent.  And they are all silent.

Panic set in after I’d gone through about 20-30 samples, mostly new stuff, and I was resigning myself to writing about plants or sewing or sex.  BTW, I did just order a tuberose bulb so I can have the smell of tuberose around my house.  It joins my champacca, gardenia and jasmine plant.

Then I spied the new Soivohle samples. Surely something in there would leap out at me.  Pink Praline sounds like a sticky mess, though I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be Liz’s somewhat more refined rendition of Pink Sugar.  Notes of pink grapefruit, cocoa, maple, dark roasted coffee, spices, cinnamon, honey, fenugreek, vanilla.

Citrusy, almost tart chocolate on the open, which is a little weird, but then the coffee really takes it in another direction.  It’s gourmand, but not GOURMAND.  Spicy coffee chocolate, which just a touch of sweetness from the vanilla and maple.  I love Bond’s New Haarlem for coffee fragrance for many years, but I prefer the Pink Praline much more – it’s not as agressive, I don’t feel like Starbucks and Tastee Cakes were making out on my arm. It’s subtler and more interesting.  And it’s definitely a gourmand you can wear in the summer, it’s not heavy, it has almost a coolness to it.  Basially a tasteful New Haarlem.

What perfume’s name threw you when you actuallly smelled the perfume the most?

  • DinaC says:

    Liz Zorn’s Violets and Rainwater was a head-scratcher for me. I was expecting violets and an aquatic note…maybe something like the new Byredo Le Tulipe. Instead, I got spiced tea? Something very warm and cozy. Not what I was expecting.

  • k-scott says:

    Mals- I know right!?! I love Carnal Flower, but carnal? Not so much. Now Amaranthine on the other hand… I may not get the inside of a woman thigh from it, but when I get a whiff my mind definitely wanders off where it will… 😉

  • k-scott says:

    As far as frag names that don’t match the juice, I’d have to say Dzing! pops to mind first. Now of course I had a read a pound and a half of reviews about that scent before I sniffed it so I can’t say I was taken off guard. But with a name like Dzing!- an exclamation point included for god’s sake!- you would expect something charged with energy, perhaps a (d)zingy citrus and herb concoction, not a soft, mutable comfort scent. That being said, I love Dzing! to pieces and methinks there’s something fun about a name that is a little unexpected for the juice that lies within. Such anachronisms keep life interesting. 😉

  • Pyramus says:

    Serge Lutens Cedre is mostly tuberose. Serge Lutens Datura Noir is mostly tuberose. Keiko Mecheri Datura Blanche is mostly tuberose. Seriously, what is the deal with that?

    • Flora says:

      I don’t get tuberose from Datura Noir at all, strangely enough, since white flowers tend to amplify on me. Is it that way for most people?

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Serge Lutens Cedre. Say what?

  • Ann N. says:

    Whoops — sorry — that should have been “its” … Typing skills rapidly decling these days …

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Patty, good topic today. For me, the one that threw me was IUNX’s L’ether. Not sure what I was expecting, but thought it would be lighter and more ethereal than it actually was. Kinda reminded me of Costes, the original, which I didn’t care for all that much. Costes 2, bless it’s warm and cozy little self, is a different story altogether.

  • Gail S says:

    I feel the same about Pink Praline. Not at all foofy and sticky 🙂 It was actually my first purchase from Liz Zorn (before Soivohle).

    Can’t think of any others right this minute unless I go the LeLabo route also. Must go get coffee……

  • maggiecat says:

    Is it cheating to mention the Le Labo line? Le Labo Jasmin 17 is neroli – actually NEROLI – which I also love, of course, but was thinking I’d find…well, jasmine. I understand most of Le Labo’s scents are like this, but I haven’t tried many others.

  • mals86 says:

    Carnal Flower was a big disconnect between name and scent, for me. I mean, Flower, FINE – but Carnal? No. No morning-after bedsheets, no girl-knickers, no ladyparts or cojones or naughtiness at all. It’s the refrigerated florist case full of tuberose and other greenery. (I love it, by the way.)

    I understand it was inspired by M. Malle’s aunt Candice Bergen, who starred in the movie Carnal Knowledge – and that makes a little more sense to me, since her character in the film is a blend of Ice Queen and maternal warmth. I do get a lovely balance of cool and warm out of Carnal Flower – but I have to streeeeetch to make that association.

  • Madea says:

    BPAL’s Marquise de Meurteuil. She’s such an awesomely decadent character, I would’ve expected something really dirty and deep. It smelled like peaches on me. Seriously. Classy, not cheap peaches, but peaches.

  • Ceil says:

    Mine was Yosh Ginger ciao…. I love ginger fragrances and this was all white flowers on me. No ginger. I was quite disappointed. so… I keep thinking I should retry it without the preconceived expectation of ginger.

    • Tommasina says:

      Ceil, I think the idea with this was ginger lily, not ginger root; the flower itself is, indeed, a ‘white-flower’ smell


  • Musette says:

    I think mine was Tea for Two. I was expecting a warmish, Chai-spice concoction – and got dirty ashtray.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉

    The other one was Agraria Bitter Orange. I was expecting a variation on Bigarade and got Constant Comment Iced Tea, with an orange slice in it. It’s divine, but 4million miles away from my name-expectation.

    xoxo >-)

    • Kelly says:

      I had the same hope and the same discovery from Tea for Two. However, it made me do the vomit shudder. 😉

  • audrey says:

    pink praline was interesting. i had a bottle but i think I threw it out (horrors! but when i get bored i get bored). I think your review described it perfectly though….if I’m mistaken about the throwing out part I think I’ll try it again.
    I think CdG Rhubarb threw me. It’s a great scent, but borders on the dry and woodsy on me. When I think rhubarb, I think very tart, and sorbet is sweet, not soft and woodsy. Also, L’Heure Bleue. Other than that it didn’t live up to my expectations, it smelled very warm and made me hungry. I always associate that blue hour with cool breezes and flowers, so i think I just expected something completely different. Finally, Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Orange Magnifique. I didn’t even get orange from it….if I had gotten it as a decant instead of the original bottle in a sealed box I would have thought they sent me the wrong thing, because surely an orange aqua allegoria would have orange in it….

    • Thanna says:

      Must be something about orange fragrances. Soivohle Moroccan Orange is all about herbs and hay. No orange, no orange blossom, no citrus of any kind. I’d originally sampled it as part of my search for the right orange/orange blossom scent but it turns out that I actually prefer the herbal overload.

  • Scent HIve says:

    I had the same experience with Pink Praline. I was ready for cloying and got interesting and beautiful. It was a terrific perfume to review.