Tinder Hookups, Only It’s Perfume

Sounds like fun, let’s try them all!

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be fun to write up some recent perfume encounters as if they were poorly-thought-out blind dates, which, in a way (since I didn’t do any research beforehand) they were.

D.S. & Durga Pistachio I had high hopes for this one – a little weird, a little funky in a trust-fund-hipster kind of way, right down to the label which looks conspicuously groovy. (notes: pistachio, cardamom, roasted almond, patchouli, vanilla crème.) And it was a little weird, but not in a good way, sadly. It does eventually get around to smelling like pistachios, but overlaying that the entire time is a metallic-musky zing that smells very much like D&G Light Blue? Not even kidding. I mean, there are worse things, and I like Light Blue. But not in this particular combination. Maybe it’s like that Taylor Swift song and I’m the problem, it’s me.

Tom Ford Vanilla Sex The issue (okay, an issue) with this line is that when you look at all the fragrances in a display, their names start to feel less edgy-chic and more like the smutty jokes of a group of 12-year-old boys at summer camp.  Tom Ford (the man) seems equal parts irritating and skeevy, but I do like some of his makeup and perfume, and A Single Man was a great movie, so what can you do. Anyway, Vanilla Sex smells like vanilla with a little burnt-caramel twist, and feels like a capitulation to some behind-the-scenes pressure for a nice, straightforward vanilla scent. I’d probably go out with this one again if it turned up on my doorstep, but it’s not marriage material. It’s not doing anything interesting, just reminding us why so many folks find the smell of vanilla so intoxicating. But I could absolutely do better with one of a dozen rich and/or sexy vanilla scents.

Mistakes were made.

Tom Ford Cherry Smoke I’m assuming Lost Cherry (hehe, get it?) was popular enough for them to release two quasi-flankers tweaking the scent a bit – Electric Cherry, which leans more into the fruity sweetness and musk, and Cherry Smoke, its sultry older sibling. (notes: sour cherry, saffron, leather, osmanthus, apricot, smoke, woods.) I swiped right immediately and looked forward to our time together. And it was a nice interlude – nice enough for me to use up a generous decant from a generous SA. It’s less fruit-pie than Lost Cherry, and that overlay of saffron-leather-woods-smoke puts it well into unisexy territory as far as I’m concerned. If I wound up with another freebie I’d do it all again. After it was gone, though, I found I wanted more of something that made my toes curl, so, back to vintage Poison for me.

Tom Ford Bitter Peach When I was a kid we spent the summer eating fresh Georgia peaches, and the rest of the year eating canned peaches (don’t judge.) This starts off as an interesting combination of both – the sweet floral of a fresh peach and some of the syrupy sweetness of the canned. I was thinking of nice things to say about this and then hahahaha it turns into the WORST DATE EVER. It was like dinner with that creep from American Psycho, only I didn’t wind up dead. The peach gets less peachier and more fruity and that patchouli comes in and then I wanted to cut my own arm off. I googled and it turns out Hannibal Lecter Bitter Peach gets compared all over the place to Mugler Angel. While it’s not quite as chocolate-vomit to me, I see the resemblance, including not being able to make it disappear from my skin with laundry detergent, vinegar, or exorcism. Thank goodness I didn’t get it on any of my clothing during my walk of shame. I tossed its number in the trash and moved across town just to make sure I never ran into it again by accident.

Had any brief, ill-advised fragrance encounters yourself recently?

images: pexels


  • Musette says:

    OMG! I really, RILLY needed this – laughing like a lima bean over here.

    TF – definitely equal parts irritating and skeevy – and he looks as if he is going to leave oil skids on your sheets.

  • Sapphire says:

    Agreeing with others about Vanilla Sex. Straigh-up plastic!

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Vanilla Sex is on my to-try list, somewhere in the middle as I have not had luck with TF in quite a few years. Your reviews of the others are spot-on to how I have felt, especially with Bitter Peach. What a let-down. My last bad (and it was completely off the rails) perfume date was Xerjoff Amabile. It was like being lost in an old musty house. Perhaps not quite the thing nightmares are made of, but a hard pass for me.

    • March says:

      Hehe an old, musty house! Under the right circumstances … but no, not if you were expecting something completely different. Bitter Peach was a classic scrubber for me in that it was (of course) wildly persistent.

  • Dina C. says:

    My recent “bad date” of a sample was Guerlain Iris Pallida Extrait 6. I was so shocked because I usually love iris. This may have been iris in disguise. He was hidden under a thick blanket of scratchy pink Owens Corning fiberglass. I couldn’t sniff him anywhere. Had to take a hot shower and shampoo to get that off of me. But all was not lost. I mailed him off to another perfumista in less than 24 hrs.! Haha

    • March says:

      Hahaha PERFECT! I haven’t tried it, and it sounds awful, and I am also surprised. But your loss is likely another perfumista’s gain!

  • AnnnieA says:

    Muguet Blanc by Van Cleef & Arpels was Nice Guy(NiceGal) date gone horribly wrong. Ending up screeching with rage on the sidewalk “Whyyyy?! But I’m Nice!!!” as you walk away.

    • March says:

      Hahahaha welp! Muguet’s one of those fragrances I like in the tiny flowers and less so in perfume… really though how nice can it be if it’s screeching at you about how nice it is?!?!

  • cinnamon says:

    Oh, this was grand, March. So much fun to read. There’s some weird stuff in these. Vanilla creme? I sniffed the other TF cherry things on paper a while ago and my head just went uh, no. Haven’t had a really weird date since my 20s, when that sort of thing was sort of fun.

    • March says:

      I am NOT on Tinder (or Match.com or anything similar, to clarify) and/but this is always how I imagine one possible scenario lol. Glad you enjoyed the read! Yeah, those notes, I figure they’re just trying out new names for the same old thing, like names of lipsticks or nail varnish.

      • cinnamon says:

        Sigh, clearly my brain was elsewhere. Something I tried recently that I wanted to get as far away from as possible was Christophe Laudamiel’s Louis from The Zoo line. I think he is a great nose but this (the second I’ve tried from The Zoo) was horrific — to the extent I couldn’t even figure out how to express to myself how bad it was.

  • alityke says:

    Yup had a real doozy last weekend. A modern classic, by a perfume genius say all the reviews. On me? Scrubber.
    I’ll keep everyone on tenterhooks ……

  • Tom says:

    You know what? I like canned peaches. Even just out of the can. But if you feel like it you can take the syrup add some spices and a clove or two and cook it down (add some booze if you like) into a syrup, toss back in the peaches to heat through and serve over cold vanilla ice cream.

    “A Single Man” was wonderful but at one point in it I turned to my BFF Sue and said “IDK what he’s so depressed about- he’s had more offers of hot sex in the past hour of this movie than I have had in the past 20 years.”

    • March says:

      Hahahaha that movie was GORGEOUS to look at — the sets! The hot men! Julianne Moore! So glad we got a lot more Nicholas Hoult in later films / TV … that sounds like an awesome use for canned peaches, I’m going to try it!

  • Portia says:

    You are hilarious March! I loved this.
    Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    Several years ago, a friend gave me a bag of D.S. & Durga samples. None of them got me excited and none of them lasted even half an hour on skin, so I dropped the line. I like some of the older Tom Fords but not the newer ones. Also, I cannot smell the synthetic cherry note in any perfume. Lost Cherry without the cherry note smells (literally) like mucky mud with a tiny whiff of tobacco. Something similar happens in other perfumes with cherry as the main note. Not good smells.

    • March says:

      I find the Durgas interesting more often than not, but not worth the price — I’ve never been moved to buy one. The older Tom Fords, some of them are gorgeous. I feel like they’re cranking them out like pizzas at this point. That’s funny about synthetic cherry — I think we all have those nose-blind spots!

  • Tara C says:

    Vanilla Sex was dire on me, a suffocating plasticky heap of play dough. Could not wait to get home to scrub it off. Cherry Smoke was just okay, disappears within an hour just like Lost Cherry on me. Electric Cherry was too fruity. Bitter Peach, ugh. I am totally over Tom Ford.

    • March says:

      I think the line is just throwing whatever at the wall at this point, a cash grab. Vanilla Sex was fine on me (albeit very vanilla, no sex) but ehhhhhhh.

  • Pam says:

    Thanks for making my day. I’m still laughing at those “dates” of yours. I guess we’ve all experienced some losers— I have a full bottle of Mahora bought unsniffed. The bottle is so lovely. The contents, well……

  • taxi says:

    I love the opening of Cherry Smoke but after about 20 minutes I can’t smell enough of anything to make it worth the price.
    Can’t-scrub-fast-enough = Flower Bomb, pre-ifra Opium, Mandragore.

    • March says:

      Oh man, I LOVE Mandragore, could not shut up about it for awhile. Ended up with a couple spare bottles from folks who hated it as much as you! F Bomb was okay, not love. Opium, no thanks, I’m a Cinnabar gal.

  • FeralJasmine says:

    Vanilla Sex was one of mine, too. I’m a sucker for vanilla but this special molecule they yapped on
    about smells an awful lot like regular ethyl vanillin.
    I suspect that the deterioration of the Tom Ford line had a lot to do with the departure of Tom Ford.

    • March says:

      Remember how wild Black Orchid was? Whether you liked it or not, it was DIFFERENT. As I said above somewhere, I feel like they’re cranking them out like pizzas now. I can’t imagine Tom Ford (the man) signing off on Vanilla Sex.