Getting Clean

Photo of Twomas and me in the dear, departed Z-3. Didn’t think to take one in the Z-4

Well, Memorial Day weekend came and went. My friend Tomas was visiting from NYC. Part business and part personal- his work does have an office in Los Angeles and his elderly parents have an apartment in a high-rise on the shore in Santa Monica, so he stays in a small hotel there and Ubers around. There’s a restaurant close to me in West Hollywood that we like called Bottega Louie that also has great desserts, so he could kill two birds with one stone by having lunch and picking up his mom a birthday cake from there. After lunch we Ubered over to some shops on Beverly Blvd, including Heath Ceramics, where he had never been and ScentBar, where he had also never been. Steve G happened to be there, looking as dapper as ever and it occurred to me that I had not been there since before the pandemic. So that must be what, five years? Maybe I’d been worried about dropping that Covid 25 (to be extremely charitable) but no, I hadn’t gone in. I did get a sample from Imaginary Authors, which I will circle back to at some point. The reason for the lack of an actual perfume review will become clear later..

Are you on tenterhooks, yet? No? Okay..

Yes, I consider that “running low”

So one thing I am running low on is a Moulton Brown shower gel in the most delicious rose ever. It’s so wonderfully rosy that it pretty much perfumes the whole apartment, much less the bathroom for hours after use and stays on the body as well. Normally I don’t like that in a shower gel- I like it to perfume the shower while I am using it and then begone. But I can use this to be a base for a great rose scent like Uncle Serge’s La Fille de Berlin to which I might add if I am feeling really frisky (and won’t be meeting anyone) a good spritz of MKK.

In any case I have been on Amazon looking at cheap and cheerful subs.

Bouquet Garni Rose Garden was the first and while it wasn’t a complete disappointment it wasn’t rocking my world. It was a nice rosy hand wash type thing what would be perfect to fill up the soap dispenser in the guest bathroom. If I had a guest bathroom. Or a soap dispenser. Or for that matter, guests. It foams up, is rosy, then goes away. Perfect for a hand soap but lacks the richness of the MB.

So Mrs. Meyer was next. Of course having the attention span of a fruit fly (and the budget of same) I was distracted from actually having anything rose scented from them by Tomato Vine. I really love the scent of tomato leaf with it’s delicate earthy greenness. This is extremely pretty, with just a touch of earthiness. Which is I suppose sensible- the idea of washing your hands in fresh dirt probably went out with Euell Gibbons eating pine trees. It’s also apparently a limited edition so I refuse to fall in love with it.

The third purchase was because of some comment somewhere on the interwebs (I would give credit if I could remember) about carbolic soap and how it brings back memories for those of us of a certain age. That particular medicinal smell is quite definite and has a certain throw-back charm to it. In the way that certain retro cleaning products have: Pine-Sol (“I can tell by the smell you’re been cleaning” the spokeslady would chirp as she entered the kitchen where the lady of the house had finished mopping) is one, but it is I have been told toxic to pets. Old School Spic and Span powder is another. I purchased something called “Blue Power” carbolic soap in a 3-pack. I should have been clued in that it was wrapped like plutonium- it has a definite medicinal smell that may even be a trigger for someone who had a bad experience at the Dentists in the 70’s. Which I guess would be anyone who lived and had teeth in the 70’s. In any case, it does have a definite smell of “clean” as in “sanitized for your protection” that is actually pleasant when not having to sanitize your average crime scene or bus-stop bathroom. It does however preclude even trying to wear perfume: Even heavy hitters like Giorgio aren’t going to be able to muscle their way in on this one. You are just going to  smell unassailably, virtuously clean for the day after a shower with this. Which, depending upon their associations, either reassure or terrify those around you.

So the search for the rose is ongoing. Any suggestions?

Blue Power Carbolic soap was about $10, Mrs. Meyers Tomato Vine was around $5 and Bouquet Garni Rose was $14, all purchased from Amazon. I don’t know where I bought the Moulton Brown, but buy it I did. Pictures are mine, Pexels, and stolen from Amazon (hey, I bought the darned soap so fair use.)


  • March says:

    Ha! When the girls were tweens I had an ironclad rule: no Lush bath bombs (or any other bombs that left the tub looking like … well … like a bomb went off.) I don’t even understand wanting to use something like that, even if you had a housekeeper to clean that mess up for you. Ugh. So clearly I need to smell Lush Rose Jam … doesn’t Mario Badescu make a rose bath gel? I think you’re a fan of the line.

    • Tom says:

      I haven’t checked Mario- I will need to.

      I remember I never even got into that bath. As it was I was trying to get glitter off my forearms for an hour. I didn’t need to be picking out of my netherlands as my friend Bitsy calls them..

    • Dina C. says:

      Yes!! It’s also excellent. I’ve used up 3 bottles of it.

  • Hey Tom, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I too have the attention of a fly and found your post very entertaining, informative and funny. Best of luck with your search for the rose!

  • cinnamon says:

    Well, I am yet another to suggest Lush Rose Jam, which is just … glorious. Clean sounds weird. Sorry, that sounds weird too. I so enjoy your posts.

  • Dina C. says:

    Tom, your phrase “wrapped like plutonium” had me cackling madly as I read. That’s hilarious! No, I don’t want to smell like a janitor from hospital housekeeping just mopped me and buffed me with one of those orbital bonnet buffers! My best recommendation for a nuclear strength rose in either body wash or spray is Lush Rose Jam. It’s pretty affordable, too. So strong that years ago, I squirted one spray on myself, and my teen daughter yelled from downstairs, “Did you just put on some Rose Jam? I can smell it!” The body spray (totally misnamed based on its strength) is in a black spray bottle like weed killer comes in. hysterical laughter I kid you not. You can order online to avoid the hordes of tweens and teens all trying to sniff bath bombs at the Lush store in your local mall if that’s not your thing.

    • Tom says:

      Well I actually do have to go to the local mall and return a shirt that a friend gave me thinking that I am far more svelte than I am, so I may brave the Lush store at the mall. I can fumigate it with the body spray and pick up the gargantuan size bath goop they apparently sell.

  • Musette says:

    For someone who loves roses in the garden (and spends hours and many martinis defending them against Japanese beetles) I do not often wear actual rose-centric scents very often (the exceptions being Lyric and Rose Aqor attar – both by Amouage. Oh! and Tribute (also Amouage)… sigh. I should probably quit while I’m ahead…

    • Tom says:

      Yeah, I tell myself the same thing. “What? I NEVAH wear rose/tuberrose/iris/gourmand/fruityfloral/cheapostuff…

      Until I do.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m using the Lush See and Be Seen Body Wash, which the website says has rose, geranium,Sicilian lemon oils and Pakistani rose absolute. Smells yummy, lathers well, bathroom and shower smell good after and so do I. No reaction from it with my sensitive skin. It’s from their Bridgerton Collection, so they call it limited edition. I’m also a Rose Jam fan.

  • Maya says:

    I can’t help much. I did see however that FragNet carries Moulton Brown and has a shower gel by them called Rhubarb and Rose for $25…a tart rose, might be nice.

    • Tom says:

      Ooh, good to know!

    • alityke says:

      The Rose & Rhubarb is absolutely gorgeous but I love rhubarb in all guises. I think they do a rose oud too

      • Tom says:

        I am a huge ran of rhubarb. Even as a food. I used to filch it from my neighbors garden and eat it like celery when I was little. They were first annoyed thinking it was a gopher and then just non-plussed that a pre-teen kid would skip the candy dish and filch rhubarb.

        Still love it.

  • Kathleen says:

    I just love reading your posts Tom!
    I had a small bottle of MB Rosa Absolute shower gel And absolutely loved it. But then I couldn’t find it anywhere, has it been discontinued or chronically out of stock?
    The rose shower gel that I’ve enjoyed is Rose Jam. I’ve had some really lovely rose, scented bar soaps in the past. I can’t think of the names, but I find bar soap has a more authentic rose scent.

  • Tara C says:

    I just stick with Lush Rose Jam for my rose shower gel needs. As for Pine Sol, yes it is quite toxic to pets, as well as Fabuloso, which I found out the hard way with a very sick dog and $$$ vet bills.
    Thanks for the layering tip of MKK with Fille de Berlin!

  • LaDona says:

    Now I am wondering how that Moulton Brown would pair with l’Aire di Dessert de Morocain. I’m going to need details.