Lazy Weekend and Burkelman Fragrances

Well, the heat sort of broke here. It is still warm, but not blazing hot and not Atlanta-level humid. An old friend from work who I haven’t seen in over ten years was in town visiting and wanted to get together. You know how you will meet people, mainly through work, and though you have pleasant interactions with them you know that it’s just kind of a work thing and won’t last after you no longer punch in on the same timeclock? Then there are some who you know that you will want to keep up with for years after? Well the one I met Saturday was one of the latter. She was hired only a couple of years before the mass-slaughter at work that canned most of our department. (I stayed to train my replacement for 6 months because I was going to get a thumping buyout due to seniority, she decamped to greener pastures sooner since she wasn’t getting extra severance) She briefly ended up in finance at a company that was worse than the one we were at, then fled to the halls of academe, where she works to this day. It’s perfect for her: she has family in the area and is loving living on the East Coast. Even if she says she still can’t manage to pronounce “Berkshire” like a native and stumbles at “Scituate” at least she doesn’t (horror of horrors) pronounce the “H” in Amherst. We had a lovely lunch at a vegan restaurant and hung out window shopping in the Larchmont Village area (March, you will remember) and had a great time catching up. It was like the time hadn’t passed in a way- we just took up the friendship in the same way as if we’d seen each other last week rather than last decade.

I didn’t even have to drive over there: one of the perks of turning 39 is that you qualify for a METRO senior pass, which drops the price of a fare from about $2 to 35 cents. On top of that my city actually subsidizes senior fares, so it’s free. Since I have an app that will tell me when the next bus is coming it seemed idiotic to drive there and pay for parking when I could take METRO for free. Of course when I got there there was a free parking lot, but still. Parking my gas-guzzling sports car next to all those Teslas (Teslae? Teslii?) would have been like asking the waiter to club a baby seal for my beet salad.

Sunday I could have done something but didn’t. I lazed around, ate what I had in the icebox, watched Netflix and tried the Burkelman fragrances that have been sitting on my desk glaring at me since I ordered them weeks ago.

I know nothing about Burkelman except that they showed up in my FacePlace feed one day offering a deal on their fragrance sample set- usually $25 I think it was half-off. They also sell pillows, candles and of all things, sheepskins, and are carried by stores on the East coast from Maine to Florida.

The scents are:

Ambassador So-and-So which they call “Sandalwood with a twist.” I would say it’s a twist of lime, like a Gin Rickey served in a sandalwood mug. As the cocktail sparkle of the citrus starts to fade the creamy warm sandalwood comes forward. I liked it. A lot.

Night Moves is “intoxicating, sweet, and sultry” listing amber, bourbon vanilla, vetiver and rose. I can only vouch for the sweet. I will admit that I only gave this one about 15 minutes on skin before removing it- it was like going into one of those places at the mall that stocks every sort of jelly bean and sugar dollop in large bins with little scoops- the ones where the air itself seems to be filled with atomized sugar. If there were roses I didn’t stick around to find out.

Sensory Seeker is according to them, fernet. clove and leather. I don’t know if fernet is the ingredient in Fernet Branca, the Italian bitters, but I get a lot of sweet clove. And a slight whiff of the listed cannabis. Sorry, smells like a coffee house in Northampton, MA circa 1986. Pass.

Welcome to the Vortex is their take on a powdery floral. It is one, but not in a traditional way, which is a very good thing in this case. They list “violette flower” as well as powder, leather and juniper. It’s sweet- but not cloyingly so. The violets are like candied ones (which I love) and if there’s juniper it just lends a sort of contrapuntal punch to the sweet violets. At the very end there seems to be something almost minty in there that adds a little zing to the proceedings. This ones a winner.

T.H.V.F (That Hudson Valley Fragrance). Okay, this was the one that I was both looking forward to the most and (after having tried some of the others) dreading the most. What if their idea of the Hudson Valley was as liberally sprinkled with sugar as some of the other scents, as the actual Hudson Valley is sprinkled with Dunkin outlets? Thankfully my fears were unfounded. I got an opening that was as warm and welcoming as a roaring wood fire on a chilly autumn evening. It does get sweeter, as if the room had been a pipe smoker’s for years and somewhere off in the kitchen they’re making hot chocolate for the returning guests. While the woodsmoke isn’t up to the level of Chris Brosius and I personally prefer the drier and more layered takes of Roxana Villa, I do enjoy this trip to a BnB in a bottle.

Oddly, although the Hudson Valley one was the one that I wanted to try the most and the one that had the opening that most grabbed me, Vortex is my favorite of the lot, with Ambassador as a second. Which only goes to show, don’t judge by first sniff and always get samples to live with. What was that phrase “Marry in Haste, Repent at Leisure”?

All of these seem to be $165 for 50ML ($5 for samples) and are available at thier website. I purchased my samples from them. Photos are mine and Pexels. 

  • March says:

    I loved our walk-around shopping, it was so much fun! And I really like the sound of Ambassador So-and-So (although I think the name’s a bit silly.) It’s wonderful to meet up with old friends, people you haven’t seen in awhile, even years, and pick up right where you left off.

    • Tom says:

      I particularly remember that farmers market..

      Now there’s a cookie place that has lines around the block. But my friend said there was one near her and it wasn’t a “line around the block cookie”. She’s one of us all right.

  • Musette says:

    Oh, Larchmont Village, with the vaunted Larchmont Beauty Supply – how I do miss thee! Roscoe’s (on Sunset), then Larchmont, then back to the beach for a sandia agua fresca at Santa Monica Farms Jr (I have always wondered at that ‘junior’ – but I like that it remains one of those quirky Santa Monica Mysteries.

    when I read Sensory Seeker’s notes, I thought it said ‘ferret’! Alas, no.
    oh, well…

    Glad you got to spend some time with a good friend – and I’m glad she’s found a soft landing for work! We spend so much time at work – it doesn’t have to be a Passion – but it’s really helpful if you don’t HATE it!

    • Tom says:

      I didn’t drag my friend into LBS since I didn’t want to scare her with my impression of the Tasmanian devil out shopping. Gotta work up to that one

      • Musette says:

        I feeeel yer paiiin, Tom. I don’t ‘do’ beauty supply shopping with many folks (March and Patty are exceptions because we’ve done it as a trio on a bunch of occasions, to great happiness for all involved). I was at the beauty section of an H-Mart! and a friend WOULD NOT STOP YAPPING! – and she was yapping about Things Not Beauty!!!
        I hissed at her. HISSED!

        We do not shop together anymore – at least not Beauty.

        • Tom says:

          Totally got that. I think however that my friend has it in her to go a little beauty crazy.

          You guys of course would be dreams- we’d just stock snacks and keep each other hydrated and like different enough stuff that we wouldn’t come to blows over the last 50% off Kneipp Valerian Bath Oil.

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve never heard of Burkelman, Tom. Welcome to the Vortex sounds good to me. I’m glad your weather is being nicer. I love those kind of friends where you can pick right up. I saw 3 of mine from my old church youth group at a funeral last month, and you’d think we were still all in 8th grade sharing a cabin at camp and giggling about puberty and not in our 50s. It was a really precious feeling — like being transported back via time machine.

    • Tom says:

      I’d never heard of them either. It was the sample program that pulled me in. Other houses should take note.

  • cinnamon says:

    Night Moves was directed by Arthur Penn, whose kids went to the secondary school I attended (no, not friends — I wasn’t cool enough for the theatre kids — Matthew Broderick and Kenneth Lonergin also went there). And doesn’t look like these are available in the UK, though I haven’t looked hard — maybe they ship from US. That sweet one sounds luscious, but maybe, as you say, a bit too much. We too have decent weather currently. Sun’s out, fan’s on. Thinking I need a bowl of berries after the dog walk. And really jonesing for an iced latte.

    • Tom says:

      If they ship from the US they won’t work unless you have a player that will play discs from the us as well as the UK. Don’t know why they still do that, but they do.

      A bowl of berries sounds wonderful..

      • cinnamon says:

        Sorry, I meant the perfumes not being gettable here. I expect I could find the film if I tried to. The berries were wonderful.

  • Maya says:

    Sounds like you had a good weekend. It helps when the weather cooperates. The perfumes interest me somewhat. I do like some of the names – Welcome to the Vortex and Night Moves. Night Moves is a song by Bob Segar, which led me to another song of his, Old Time Rock and Roll. A very very very young Tom Cruise, in his under ware, lip synced to this song in a movie. So funny. My favorite is Niles in The Nanny doing the same. I love him more. Both clips are on YouTube. So thank you. I went from perfume to names to songs to having a marvelous laugh.