Smell Like a Million Bucks

As I type this, it’s been raining off and on (more “on”) for a week. It’s the kind of steady rain and leaden sky that – in a high-desert city with 300+ days of sun a year – is noteworthy. It’s considered poor form among residents to complain about wet weather given our drought issues, but I’ve overheard locals muttering about Seattle. Me? I’m kind of loving it. Feels very fall-ish, and other than some amusing moments (where’d I stash my umbrella? raincoat? waterproof boots?) and the fact that Coco glares at me resentfully each time I take her out, it’s fine. I do feel bad for the people who came here from all over the globe for the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, I hear they’ve lost some flight days, but I just towel-dry the dog and enjoy not having to water my flowerpots.

I notice how the damp magnifies smells, from the sublime — incense notes of piñon hanging in the air from neighborhood fireplaces, damp earth, the last of the parking lot chile roasters – to the ridiculous (chamisa bushes, which smell even more like damp, dirty socks as I brush past them). My nose is all over the place right now, as changeable and remarkable as the weather. I had a delightful moment with Lutens’ Fleurs d’ Oranger recently – it was so lovely and warm and enveloping, like a favorite well-worn sweater (with, you know, that hint of actual sweat).

My nose was “on” when I visited the Second Bloom Farm stand at the farmers’ market. I like to stop by and see what they’re up to, I think whoever’s doing their scents is great. I’ve written about them before, but somehow I’d skipped “Million Bucks,” possibly put off by the name and the goat on the label and thinking it’d be some manly scent since they also sell a beard oil. They’re “lotion bars” sold in tins, with beeswax and various oils as a dry skin treatment, emollient and long lasting.

Million Bucks smells of cinnamon, black pepper, honey and cedar, in roughly that order of prominence, and it is both simple and fabulous – spicy, woodsy and sweet in that beeswax base. I had A March Moment of the sort I used to get at sniffage expeditions – lots of moaning sounds and not very discreet huffing of the back of my hand. Without even thinking about it, I’d handed her my credit card.

I think all their lotion bar scents are really good – shoutout to Bandelier, Cowboy, the lovely and simple Just Bee, and an excellent Lemon Verbena – I know that’s a popular scent for kitchen and bath products and yet I so often think it’s slightly “off” or weirdly perfume-y, Second Bloom’s is perfect. Their goat-milk soaps (Second Bloom has its own herd) are also really nice and charmingly packaged, an easy way for me to support a local business.

  • Pat B says:

    Was there some discussion here recently about Amaranthine? I read something somewhere, can’t remember where.

  • Musette says:

    I remember them! I got a tin of Cowboy – but don’t remember what I did with it. I really want to try Just Bee.
    I love the thought of NM in the rain – and you make it sound so lovely!


    • March says:

      Thanks, hon! I’m sure we’d get to a point the rain would annoy me — for one thing, it’s cool but not cold yet outside — so it was nice while it lasted!

  • pattie says:

    These look great! March, do you know whether they sell at any retail locations or just at the farmer’s market? Heading to Santa Fe tomorrow. Cant wait – I missed last year’s trip because of Covid.

    • March says:

      I don’t, but you could call or email them? Their website is pretty comprehensive (also I think they do online orders.)

  • Dina C. says:

    That lotion bar would be a good gift idea for my friends that love to go camping in their camper van. Anyone else started thinking about holiday gifts yet? I think coming up with ideas is the hardest part, so I usually start about now. So glad your nose is working, March! Nice reviews!

    • March says:

      Thanks! I tend to pick up gifts all year long if I see something I think they’ll like. I love finding unusual items, but sometimes it’s right off the kids’ “Santa list.” I do love receiving people’s “local” whatever — jams, crafts, etc.

  • cinnamon says:

    Dirty socks … The lotion bars sound a wonderful idea. And agree totally with supporting local independents. Looks like our rainy season might start this coming weekend, which is pretty much (I think) when it started last year. Sigh.

    • March says:

      Well, at least it’s not 90 million degrees, that’s what I keep reminding myself. It’s not even cold yet and I know I’ll be looking for spring in February.

  • alityke says:

    Excellent news on the nose peeping out of its hibernation a little more often.
    Ewww on the dirty sock bush. Gak!

  • Portia says:

    OOHHH! That bar looks like something Jin would happily use March.
    If we get to the USA next August (IF!!) you’ll have to take me Santa Fe shopping please.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Oooooh!!!!! Keep me posted, I would LOVE to see you and give you The Full Santa Fe Experience or something close to it!

  • Tom says:

    I love that your nose is coming back and love more that you found this vendor. I love finding these places.

    I’m thrilled when we get rain here. It’s wonderful when we get sustained rain for a while. A couple of years ago we did and it was shockingly beautiful going through the valley. Kelley green hills in the valley and hills in Malibu so choked in white wildflowers it looked snow dusted. And you’re right, the rain does magnify those smells. It’s wonderful.

    • March says:

      Ah yes, and even when it’s dreary, those brief moments are magical because they’re so brief! Wildflowers blooming here after the rain … if it did that all the time, meh, it’d just be Tuesday.

  • Tara C says:

    Wow, those smells sound wonderful! Sorry for the tourists but I’d be loving it.I’ve never tried a lotion bar, sounds interesting. I love buying locally made soaps and bath products.

    • March says:

      I love getting/giving locally made whatever as gifts, as I mentioned upstream … they’re fun and interesting and I haven’t tried them before!