June Candy

Hey – remember when I used to do my “candy sample” reviews? My brief, uninformed thoughts, snark, and fleeting impressions of various fragrances, often followed by apologies and/or a complete reversal of opinion months or years later? Let’s do it again!


La Via del Profumo – Venezia Giardini Segreti – I nagged Patty for a sample of this after reading Luca Turin’s ecstatic review. (I like all the ones I’ve tried so far from the line, and my bottle of Mecca Balsam helps get me through the winter.) Features notes of jasmine, rose, Italian aromatic herbs and myrrh; LT swore it went all gardenia-y in the middle.

I love wearing big white florals in our summer humidity, which is when white flowers (on the vine or on the skin) really bloom. Unfortunately, the herbal-resin underpinning of this one is all wrong for me in the summer heat. Note to self: try again when it’s not 90+.

La Via del Profumo – Surrender – I asked Patty to throw this in as well. I don’t know all the details, but she hired Dominique Dubrana/AbdesSalaam Attar, the perfumer, to create a bespoke scent for her (you can do this too, I believe the details are on the website.)

From Surrender to Chance: “Surrender is a rich jasmine floral that blends different jasmine absolutes with licorice, carrot, myrrh, gourmand notes and hyraceum. We wanted this to be a plush, slightly naughty wedding perfume… “

Where to start? Patty and I are big ol’ jasmine freaks, one of the notes we bonded over. And we both like skank, so win/win. The front end of this makes me giggle — I get root beer and Jordan almonds! It’s a delightful, milky, giddy rush, rather than the monster jasmine I was expecting from Skank Mistress P. It takes me almost an hour to get the naughty bits, and they stay pretty close to the skin. This strikes me as a great choice if you want a sensual white-flower that isn’t a total panty-drop or a sillage monster either.

incenserUnum Lavs — I love incense fragrances. The first few samples/decants I ever bought were incense frags. Patty and I bonded over incense frags. My first long-distance shopping score for her was Armani Bois d’Encens. Asking me to choose a favorite incense is like asking me to pick my favorite kid – hey, it changes from month to month, people! So I’ve got my “churchy” incenses, my floral-incenses, my resins, my smoky incense, my balsam-woody blah blah etc etc.

Anyway, Unum Lavs – notes are jasmine, cardamom, black pepper; elemi, coriander, cloves and labdanum, opoponax, palisander rosewood, amber, oakmoss and tonka bean. The first time I tried it, I sprayed on three light spritzes from a 5ml atomizer, and let me tell you, that was two more than I needed. (News flash: it’s extrait de parfum). It’s super peppery when I first put it on, and kind of wintergreen/balsam fir, plus the high church thing, followed by the lilies. At various moments I caught aspects of: Kenzo UFO, CdG Avignon, DK Chaos, maybe a dab of Bois d’Encens, and a big finish of Passage d’Enfer. It gave me a headache. I love all of those, but criminy, not at the same time!

I keep going back to it, though, again and again, because it smells amazing whenever I catch traces of it – on the scarf or blouse I was wearing, or in the living room (where I spritzed the air, then walked through the spray. The last time I busted that move was Fracas.) Maybe this is the world’s greatest ambient spray, or maybe the way I’m going to enjoy it most is when I run across it months later, wafting from a scarf. Time will tell.

Samples of all of these provided by Patty/Surrender to Chance.



  • Ann says:

    Howdy, dear March! I must find my sample of Surrender and try it again (think I’d sampled it on a crazy busy day and forgot to sniff my wrist — horror of horrors!). Also, gotta get my mitts on some of that Unum — count me in as another incense lover, of any and all. Thanks! P.S. Hope you’re feeling better!

  • Melissa Pham says:

    I actually haven’t tried any of these. But I’ll try Surrender if I have a chance cause I love your description of it. Thanks for posting!

  • poodle says:

    I really need to make it a point to try Unum Lavs. It could just be this incense lovers dream come true.

    • March says:

      If you’re an incense freak, and it sounds like you are, you should definitely try it, particularly if you’re not wildly put off by “churchy” incense. That’s never bothered me, but it comes up often enough as an issue that I’m aware of it.

  • LaDona says:

    I’m Flying a red eye into New York tonight, and one of the first orders of business I have is a visit to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn to smell Unum Lavs. I am DYING to smell it….and so I shall. I only get two days in the city, and one is filled with a work conference. I can’t wait to share my latest acquisition, Odori Tobacco, with all my fellow radio geeks! They’ll love it, I am sure….

    • March says:

      Patty and I didn’t make it to Twisted Lily on our recent visit and I’m still kicking myself, looking at their website. Another trip to New York is necessary.

  • caseymaureen says:

    I’ve never had that problem with Venezia Giardini Segreti during an English summer! However the herbal thing does appear at odd moments when I’m not expecting it which of course is exactly what the giardini segreti do, but it is a bit of an oddity. I was lucky enough to live in Venezia as a student many, many years ago before the blight of the big crusie ships and ubiquitous mask shops so I feel a great deal of affection for this perfume.

    • March says:

      I visited Venice only once, a few years ago, so I don’t have anything to compare it with, but found it absolutely magical. I’m incredibly grateful to have seen it.

  • Portia says:

    Always exciting to see you here March.
    Surrender = FAB U LOUS!
    Portia xx