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Posts Tagged ‘adventures in smelling good’

The Advent of Scent, Week 20

These are all from another friend, meaning that I am branching out into new territory! Not a single BPAL scent in the lot.

* Citrine (NEST)
Described as “lemon blossom, lotus flower, and freesia with the essence of morning dew and hints of precious woods.” The lemon freesia of its early stages was kind of nice, but it gets generically floral over time, so meh.

* psy_cou (Nomenclature)
Described as “coumarin (which is apparently used a lot in pipe tobacco), cardamom, juniper berries, coffee, incense, saffron, oud, and palo santo.” It’s sharp in the bottle, possibly from the juniper, but dulls a lot in application, and then I think I must have largely been getting the saffron and maybe the cardamom? Because I mostly smelled like Indian cooking. Overall I found this one hard to parse, and it’s not for me.

* Flowerhead (Byredo)
Described as “angelica seeds, lingonberry, Sicilian lemon, dewy tuberose, rose petals, wild jasmine sambac, fresh amber, and suede.” This goes into the category of “floral, but I don’t mind.” I never picked up much of the non-floral notes after the lemon faded early on, but I’m holding onto it to test against the other inoffensively floral scents I’ve kept.

* Special Moments (Catherine Malandrino)
Described as “citrus peel, plum, peach, honeydew, rose water, pink cyclamen, jasmine, white musk, amber crystals, and vanilla bean.” The honeydew helped hold down the floral here; it’s fairly clean-smelling, and I’ll try it again.

* Fantasia (Anna Sui)
Described as “pomelo, pink pepper, raspberry, praline, floral notes, cypress, and Himalayan cedar.” This one went SUPER mild, super fast; the pomelo vanished as if it had never been, and I was left with lingering traces of those floral notes. Doesn’t really have enough personality to be interesting.

* Like This (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “Indonesian ginger, pumpkin, tangerine, immortal flower, Moroccan neroli, rose, spicy notes, vetiver, woody notes, musk, and heliotrope.” I forgot to take notes on this one, but I remember it being another sort of complex and confusing one, and while it wasn’t bad, it was also not really to my taste.

* Angel (Mugler)
Described as “Calabrian bergamot, red fruits, praline, ethylmaltol?, patchouli, and vanilla absolute.” Despite living in the Bay Area, I don’t really have a good grip on what patchouli smells like — or rather I didn’t, until I tried this perfume. My sister loathes the stuff and made faces every time she sniffed my wrist. I didn’t find it objectionable, but all I really got was patchouli and vanilla, and I find that unengaging.

* Gin Fizz (Lubin Paris)
Described as “bergamot, lemon, mandarin, juniper berry; iris, galbanum, orange blossom, rose, jasmine; lily, benzoin, iris, vetiver, oak moss, and white musk.” Another inoffensive but uninteresting perfume: it also fades quite fast, and is just sort of vaguely clean floral.

The Advent of Scent, Week 19

* The Apothecary
Described as “tea leaf with three mosses, green grass, a medley of herbal notes, and a drop of ginger and fig.” I keep wanting to like scents in the “green” category more than I do, simply because it’s my favorite color (and yes, I’m aware that the color and the smell are not actually related). This one was only temporarily green, though; it goes from “lemony ginger tea” through the green phase to being just too floral for me — not sure which element that was coming from.

* Gingerbread Wolfman
Described as “gingerbread, honey, molasses, pulverized chestnut, powdered sugar, nutmeg, and hazelnut.” Ugh, no — this mostly came through as molasses, and the more time passed, the more burnt the molasses smelled. It would have been okay but not amazing without the burnt note; with it, I wanted to get away from my own arm.

* Last Tavern at Town Gate
Described as “vivid red musk streaked with sleet, hearthsmoke, a glimmer of lemon rind and yellow amber, and oak-aged whiskey.” This was very complex! I had a hard time teasing the notes apart, except for the usual pattern of the musk dominating after a while. It’s interesting, but it wasn’t for me.

* Kitsune-tsuki
Described as “Asian plum, orchid, daffodil, jasmine and white musk.” Starts off plum and daffodil, maybe with some jasmine later on. It’s floral, but surprisingly not off-putting?

* Event Horizon
Described as “black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin.” It reminded me a little of Darkness, in that my sister again said that I was clearly going to the opera; I think that’s the opium note. It’s heavy, a little sweet, a little floral; later on she called it “very very fancy bubblegum,” which I think might be the opoponax? It’s interesting enough to try again later!

* Maiden
Described as “white tea, carnation and damask rose.” Somehow this manages to smell almost lemony in the bottle, turning into tea + rose as it dries. The scent is fairly steady, and I kind of like it?

* Paladin (RPG Series)
Described as “white musk, sweet frankincense, bourbon vanilla, white leather, and shining armor.” Like Gingerbread Wolfman, this got more ugh over time. It’s generic cologne at first, and then I think basically leather frankincense later; I did not like it. (I’m starting to think leather notes will just be not for me overall.)

* Blood Rose
Described as “voluptuous red rose bursting with lascivious red wine and sultry dragon’s blood resin.” I’m not positive if I’ve encountered dragon’s blood before; people on the BPAL forum theorized that it was in Wolf’s Heart (the one that smelled like laundry detergent on me) and Sanguinem Menstruum, but the official descriptions don’t say for sure. So I can’t tell whether the sweet aspect here is coming from that, or from the red wine. But it sheds the oddly sugary effect it has early on to become quite pleasant; this and Maiden are two rose scents I actually kind of like, at least enough to hold onto them and compare again later.

. . . and in looking up Blood Rose, I discovered BPAL has a perfume called Black Rose, which of course I have to try. I’ve ordered a sample!

The Advent of Scent, Week 18

* Bengal
Described as “skin musk with honey, peppers, clove, cinnamon bark and ginger.” This is a perfectly pleasant spice-based scent, mostly dominated by the cinnamon — I only ever got the clove at the outset, and a slight astringent hint from the ginger. Nothing wrong with it, but not enough a standout for me to feel it needs keeping.

* Not a Perfume (Juliette Has a Gun)
The name of this one refers to the fact that it’s just straight-up cetalox, which is one of the forms of synthetic ambergris out there. So, uh, if you want to know what ambergris smells like, here you go? I haven’t been a huge fan of it in blends, and I certainly don’t like it enough to want that to be the only thing I smell like.

* Gentlewoman (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “neroli, bergamot, coumarin, almond, orange blossom, musks, ambroxan” (that last being another synthetic ambergris). This one goes into the not-sweet orange family until the ambroxan takes over. Interestingly, although my sister has not generally been a fan of ambergris, she turned out to like this one.

* Decisions, Decisions (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “tuberose, sarsaparilla, geranium, labdanum, jasmine sambac, raspberry, and sweet suspense.” With this, I have reached the end of their catalogue! I have literally tried every perfume Imaginary Authors makes (barring any which were discontinued before I started this project; some of the ones I’ve tried have since vanished from their website, so that’s a possibility). I think this was dominated by the labdanum — that’s a note I hadn’t really learned to recognize before trying this, but there was something sort of bitter and sort of warm, in a way that reminded me of chocolate without actually being that. Maybe the raspberry came through a little, too? But I’m not sure that wasn’t my brain grasping at straws, trying to figure out how to label what was actually the labdanum.

(I’ve managed to induce a remarkably vivid scent flashback in myself just writing this one up.)

* Marshmallow Snow
Described as “soft poofs of chilled marshmallow,” which honestly isn’t very helpful. In the bottle it’s evergreen, which somebody on the BPAL forums opined was probably spruce, and something almost . . . fruity? The fruity note persists for a bit as just a ghost of sweetness in the evergreen, and then some baking spices arrive to join the party, with the spruce or whatever it is staying around to keep this from becoming too cloying. I don’t know yet whether I like this or Thieves’ Rosin better, but either way it’s a very good scent for the Christmas season!

* S.C. 59 (Phlur)
Described as “mint, lemon zest, orange flower, and amber.” Unfortunately, this one wound up unpleasantly floral, though it started out very promisingly as mint and lemon. Might be fine for them as likes floral, but that ain’t me.

* In Dubiis Libertas
Described as “golden amber, smoked vanilla, benzoin, and blue cypress.” In the bottle and wet, this had a hint of something sharper that cut the vanilla and amber — possibly the cypress, but benzoin is one of those notes I don’t really grok yet — but alas, it lost that and just became vanilla and amber. Like Bengal, this is perfectly pleasant, but at this point in my sampling that isn’t enough to make me say it’s a keeper.

* Hanami (Phlur)
Described as “fig, bergamot, hazelnut, white florals, sandalwood, vetiver, and musk.” Another that’s fine but forgettable. Floral citrus at the outset, picking up an earthier note for a bit that was too faint for me to be sure whether it was the fig or the hazelnut, and then it predictably settled down into the warmth of sandalwood and musk.

The Advent of Scent, Week 17

Some adventures this time with a new-to-me perfumer!

* Liquid Illusion (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “heliotropin, tuberose absolute, iris absolute, tonka bean, and cetalox” (which the internet tells me is synthetic ambergris). I can smell the almond at the outset, but it’s kind of earthy/salty in a way that I think might be the cetalox (and possibly the iris, depending on whether that’s supposed to be the flower or the root), but it rapidly goes to a slightly soapy tonka/cetalox blend. Do not like.

* Rose Cross
Described as “purest rose with sacred frankincense.” At first it’s exactly as billed. Then it PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE WITH ROSE. Eventually that dials back to a more faded rose, and it isn’t terrible, but I do not like that note enough to want this.

* Mari Lwyd
Described as “Welsh cakes and ale with a smattering of dried lavender.” In the bottle it had that cloying, sort of buttery note I’ve encountered before, which fortunately didn’t last. Unfortunately, it pretty much just went to cake after that, which I think might partly have been built from musk. I never picked up anything ale or lavender. Meh.

* Invisible Gingerbread Man/Gingerbread Invisible Man
(BPAL appears indecisive about which is the correct name.) Described as “champagne-soaked gingerbread, candied ginger, lemon, and white sugar.” I got the ginger and lemon initially, but I also got soap, and it just got soapier the longer things went on. Blech.

* Oatmeal and Apple Spice Cookies
What it says, plus “brown sugar, nutmeg, and walnuts.” This also had a hint of that cloying note in the bottle, but that went away on application in favor of being very, very apple. The spice comes through later, but I never really got the oatmeal or walnut, and overall it’s just meh.

* Oil Fiction (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “tuberose, saffron, and amber.” It amuses me that my reaction to some things is “this smells like perfume” — there’s just sort of a generic, kind of floral effect to some blends. This one wasn’t bad as floral things go, and the amber comes through a bit later, but it’s still not for me.

* Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning
(This is one of the BPAL scents named after a painting, in this case one by Monet, hence the odd name.) Described as “hay, white peach, opalescent musk, orris root, pink carnation, osmanthus, and rooibos.” This once again featured that effect I can only describe as cold — no idea what does that — along with peach. The carnation showed up for a while in the early drydown, and then eventually became peach fading into musk. Not bad, but not interesting, either.

* Bon Vivant
Oh HELL no. This is described as “an effervescent blend of crystalline champagne notes and sweet strawberry,” but there was nothing effervescent about it, and very little strawberry; I smelled like flat champagne. And this one had significant throw, too, so I kept getting gusts of flat champagne coming off my wrist, to an extent that was borderline nauseating.

The Advent of Scent, Week 16

Yoon, at this point I’ve finished all the things I acquired off my own bat and have gone back to trying ones you sent me, so once you weigh in on these, I can send you the things you’ve requested!

* Violet Elixir (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “sweet violets, fresh grass, petitgrain, and bergamot.” Well, now I know what violets smell like! I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered the flower in person, but this smells incredibly purple — not quite like grape so much as what “grape-flavored” things smell like. The grass tones down the violets a bit, but I never pick up the citrus elements; it’s just VIOLETS the whole way through. Which is educational, but having been educated, I don’t need to try it again.

* Tonic #5 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “sweetgrass and aquatic notes with lavender, tea tree and rosemary.” I’m beginning to think I don’t like aquatics. This has some astringent notes (probably the tea tree) and maybe the sweetgrass, but on the whole the aquatics dominate, to which I say “meh.”

* Tonic #3 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “a clean and green blend of: parsley, peppermint, ho wood, petitgrain, kaffir leaf, bergamot and dry gingergrass.” From bottle to wrist it goes from citrusy green chased by mint to gingergrass chased by mint, settling down to citrus ginger. I’m keeping it for now, just for variety.

* Tonic #4 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “yuzu, basil, lime leaf, lemongrass, and raw sugar cane accord.” It’s mostly sweet lemon, though there’s a green undertone from the basil early on. It’s a lot like Lemondrop, so I’ll hold onto it and compare them against each other later.

* Anubis
Described as “holy myrrh, storax, balsam, and embalming herbs.” I think the spice-like element in here is either the storax or the unnamed “embalming herbs.” It’s very incense-y; I’ll keep it to compare to Penitence (which is just frankincense and myrrh), as part of the “educating my nose” part of this project.

* Gingerbread Witch
Described as “gingerbread, pumpkin pulp, Arkansas black apple pulp, rosemary, and lemon peel.” The sort of buttery whiff I get in the bottle vanishes on application, which is good; on the other hand, so does the gingerbread. So this begins as pumpkin and ends as more or less straight-up apple. Meh.

* Meigetsu Ya
Described as “red mandarin dusted with frost.” For once the mandarin note lasts! But it mellows from the juicy, sharp orange of a Starburst or a Tic-Tac to an orange creamsicle, and neither of those is really my thing.

* Wild Fig, Blackcurrent, & Neroli
The orange note from the neroli doesn’t last long. For a little while this is woody and earthy, but when it dries it just kind of goes to soap. Fancy soap, and I wouldn’t object if my hands smelled like this after washing them, but as a perfume, no.

The Advent of Scent, Week 15

* Port-au-Prince
Described as “buttered rum flavored with almond, bay, clove and sassafras.” In the bottle, it’s sweet almond with clove and herbal touches. The sassafras comes through on application; it’s basically alcoholic root beer. The once it starts to dry, it suddenly becomes CLOVE, with the sassafrass undertones coming back through later on. It’s different and interesting enough to keep for now.

* Elf
This is one of BPAL’s RPG series. Described as “pale golden musk, honeycomb, amber, parma violet, hawthorne bark, aspen leaf, forest lily, life everlasting, white moss, and a hint of wild berry.” I quite liked how this one smelled in the bottle — bright, clean, sort of green, but sweetly so. I think the floral that comes through on application is the violet (haven’t smelled enough violet perfumes to be sure), but in the end it just goes to sort of musky amber. I found the beginning more interesting than the end.

* Darkness
Described as “blackest opium and narcissus deepened by myrrh.” My sister and I decided that this perfume declares you are Going to the Opera: Verdi at first, but she granted that I might be seeing Puccini after it dried down a bit. It’s heavy and sweet without being sugary, lifted a bit by the floral note; there’s a moment while it’s drying that gets harshly resinous, but that goes away and it returns to how it started. Not really my thing.

(The next batch of perfumes are a mix of ones I ordered and some freebies. Haus of Gloi had a spring collection that looked interesting, and I realized I was close enough to having tried Imaginary Authors’ entire catalogue that I might as well finish it out.)

* Saint Julep (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “sweet mint, tangerine, southern magnolia, bourbon, grisalva, and sugarcube.” Very magnolia at the outset, with maybe a hint of mint; the tangerine appears briefly as it dries; but then it just goes sort of . . . green, which I think is the grisalva. Green may be my favorite color, but that doesn’t mean I really want to smell of it.

* Imp (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “peculiar passion fruit mingling with sun cured apricots, perfectly pink grapefruit juice and innocent whispers of wet mimosa blooms.” This one is SUPA FROOTY! Gets a little tarter on application, and then picks up a floral lift, but it stays generally fruity overall. Yoon, I suspect you might want this one, if you don’t have it already . . .

* Telegrama (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “talc, lavender absolute, black pepper, teak, amyris, vanilla powder, and fresh linens.” Based on the example of this and A Whiff of Waffle Cone, amyris seems to just steamroll any perfume it’s in that I try on, at least the way Imaginary Authors uses it. It’s kind of rich and warming, but not in a way that I really like.

* Every Storm a Serenade (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “Danish spruce, eucalyptus, vetiver, calone, ambergris, and Baltic sea mist.” The internet tells me calone is a compound developed to give stuff the scent of watermelon; well, it works! The whole way through, this one is basically watermelon with an undertone of evergreen. Again, not my thing.

* Capy (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “tart lemon, crushed lavender, white tea, and green moss.” The bottle scent is very refreshing! My sister tried this one as well; on me on me it was more lemon and lavender, going to tea, while with her it went more to tea and lavender, and then to soap.

The Advent of Scent, Week 14

A day late, but not a dollar short!

* Jack
Described as “true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove.” Okay, based on previous perfumes, I had theorized that mallow was creating the really cloying, semi-creamy effect I got off a few bottles — but here it shows up again, with no mallow in sight. So I got no idea. Fortunately that faded quite quickly, leaving behind a warm, pumpkin scent with some hints of spice. Nothing wrong with it, just not my speed, especially not with how it starts.

* Black Forest
Described as “thick, viscous pine with ambergris, black musk, juniper and cypress.” I think I’m starting to get a sense of what ambergris smells like — kind of salty, though that’s not quite it; this is one of those places where vocabulary fails me. The evergreen doesn’t hold its own for very long against that, and then in the long run (as it so often does) the musk wins out. I might like this better as an incense than as a perfume.

* Dracul
Described as “black musk, tobacco, fir, balsam of peru, cumin, bitter clove, crushed mint, and orange blossom.” Orange blossom, we hardly knew ye; I smelled it in the bottle, but never again. Starts out what I dubbed “mintergreen,” with a hint of tobacco; turned into what my sister dubbed “the living room in your great aunt and uncle’s house.” Sort of musky spicy tobacco, and not in a good way, at least not for my taste.

* Dana O’Shee
Described as “milk, honey, and sweet grains.” Given my track record with dairy notes in perfumes, I wasn’t expecting anything good out of this — but I was pleasantly surprised! We dubbed this one “diet amaretto,” not derisively; it has the almond sweetness of that drink, but not nearly so heavy. There’s a slight milkiness later on, without being cloying, and then it finishes up as a light honey and musk. It reminds me somewhat of Bastet, and at some future point I’ll try them both for comparison.

* Harlot’s House
Described as “angel’s trumpet, violet, white sandalwood, oude, copaiba balsam, angelica, white tea, olibanum [which apparently is just a different name for frankincense], and oakmoss.” It started out almost citrus-y in its brightness, slightly floral once applied, with a green note coming through that might have been the angelica or balsam. As it dried it became sweet and green with a trailing edge of resin, but in the end, the resin was really all that was left, in a very meh fashion.

* Queen of Hearts
Described as “lily of the valley, calla lily, stephanotis, and a drop of cherry.” The cherry, though not super strong, seems to blunt the floral notes in this, bringing them down from that kind of grating edge they so often have for me. It’s briefly medicinal-smelling when it’s applied, but that fades rapidly, leaving a remarkably constant scent that doesn’t change too much over its life. I just don’t like it enough to want to keep it, is all.

* Xiuhtecuhtli
Described as “copal, plumeria and sweet orange and the smoke of South American incense and crushed jungle blooms.” As usual, the orange doesn’t last long, though it’s nicely sweet at the outset. Mostly this turns into a sweet, musky resin — but a different resin than the usual suspects of frankincense and myrrh. I used to burn copal incense when I was writing Mesoamerican stuff, and now I’m tempted to do that again to compare it against the perfume. Anyway, this one is different enough to keep around for now!

* Pele
Described as “muguet [which I believe is just lily of the valley by another name] and Hawaiian white ginger enveloped by warm, damp tropical blooms.” For once, the perfume actually smelled to me like the flower instead of floral; I could very much see using this scent in a soap, which is not the same thing as calling it soapy here. It gets a little more conventionally floral over time, but stays reasonable. Nothing wrong with it; just not something I’m likely to wear.

The Advent of Scent, Week 13

* New Orleans
Described as “sweet honeysuckle and jasmine with a hint of lemon and spice.” The hint is very slight; I never get the spice at all, and the lemon is only fleetingly there while this is wet — not even really discernible as lemon so much as a touch of lightness (that doesn’t show up when my sister tries this one). It’s one of the better florals I’ve tried, though, nice and mild, with a faint honeyed note that comes through toward the end. Holding onto it for now.

* Manhattan
Described as “sheer amber, black leather, white mint, lemon peel, white tea, grapefruit, kush, teakwood and orchid.” I definitely smell a sweet leather in the bottle, along with the citrus, but (as is so often the case) the floral elements end up dominating. Not gratingly so, but enough that this is just a meh for me. (And yes, “meh” has become an actual rating in my system, indicating that it’s a three on my five-point scale.)

* Arcana
Described as “frankincense, rosemary, lavender, neroli, and verbena.” Starts out as rosemary and citrus, becomes resinous and herbal, and winds up as a mellowed frankincense that could almost pass for sandalwood. Not bad, but not me, so: meh.

* Bergamotto di Calabria (Perris Monte Carlo)
Described as “bergamot, petitgrain, timur pepper, pink pepper, orange flower, neroli, orange blossom, jasmine, iris, sandalwood, vetiver, and musk.” In the bottle, a generic “perfume” smell with an orange-y tinge. On me, it’s basically a citrus floral air freshener: inoffensive but also completely forgettable.

(Here endeth the Kurayami-Hime Citrus Collection. Now begin the samples that cgbookcat1 very kindly mailed to me!)

* Nephilim
Described as “holy frankincense and hyssop in union with earthy fig, defiled by black patchouli and vetiver, with a chaotic infusion of lavender, cardamom, tamarind, rosemary, oakmoss and cypress.” Oh BPAL, I’ve missed your more outrageous descriptions. 🙂 I suspect what I smell when I first apply this is the hyssop, maybe tag-teaming with the rosemary; it’s something very green and sharp. Over time the fig comes through, and I wind up with that and the cardamom. In the long run I’ll probably decide it’s not for me, but I’ll try it again.

* Penitence
Described as “a blend of pure, pious frankincense and graceful myrrh.” This is the first time I’ve had a perfume go full circle! In the bottle it’s kind of a heavy, sweet spice, but as soon as I apply it the tone goes much lighter and sharper, almost medicinal. Then it takes on a green and resinous edge, before mellowing to . . . a kind of heavy, sweet spice, pretty much identical to its bottle scent. Another that’s probably not for me, but I’m holding onto it because it will be useful for comparisons against more complex blends with frankincense and myrrh.

* Fighter
Described as “leather, musk, blood, and steel.” Well, it delivers, I’ll say that for it? Been a while since my reaction to a scent was “ugh, NO,” but I don’t really want to smell like metallic leather.

* Miskatonic University
Described as “Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls.” Since I never got the woody element other people report for this, it was pretty much just identical to Irish Coffee Buttercream, which I tried before. But I’m going to hold onto it so I can compare the two; I’m curious what differences I’ll find between them, before I dump one or both.

The Advent of Scent, Week 12

The Kurayami Hime Citrus Collection continues . . .

* Honeysuckle Lemon Curd (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “rich lemon curd with a touch of fresh honeysuckle.” This wound up smelling a good deal like Lemondrop from their summer collection: very sweet lemon in the bottle, tarter when it goes on, a brief appearance of a floral note, but then settling down into a nice, smooth, mellow lemon that I can only think to describe as “cushioned with honey.” This is going in the keep-for-now pile!

* Mandarino di Sicilia (Perris Monte Carlo)
Described as “green mandarin, bitter orange, yellow mandarin, petitgrain, jasmine, geranium, orange blossom, cedar, amber, and musk.” The citrus element fades pretty rapidly, but something in here manages to rein in the floral notes so they don’t tip over into that quality which usually makes them annoy me so much. It isn’t enough to make me like it, but it’s much less objectionable than most of its ilk.

* Chypre Azural (Les Indemodables)
Described as “Sicilian tarocco orange oil, Egyptian centifolia rose absolute grand cru, Indonesian patchouli, ambergris tincture, and tarragon from the Alps” (which I’m sure smells oh so different from tarragon that comes from elsewhere). In the bottle, it reminded me strongly of the yuzu soda I’d just drunk, but it went soapy as I wore it. Not horribly so — like Mandarino di Sicilia, it stayed mild for some reason — but still not desirable.

* Bess
Described as “rosemary, orange flower, grape spirit, five rose variants, lemon peel, and mint.” Very medicinally mint in the bottle, with the faintest after-whiff of grape; wet, it turned into Vicks Vapo-Rub. That fortunately went away and turned into mild roses with some fruity hints, but the best I can say for it on me was that it was inoffensive.

* The Cobra and the Canary (Imaginary Authors)
Speaking of offensive . . . this one is described as “lemon, orris, tobacco flowers, leather, hay fields, and asphalt.” Even allowing for the fact that Imaginary Authors’ last ingredient is always something random and unreal, blech. Starts out medicinal and then turns into asphalt leather tobacco. No thank you.

* Amber Cologne (Bortnikoff)
Another competitor for “way too many notes” with bergamot, lemon, white and pink grapefruit, sweet orange, cardamom, frangipani, jasmine sambac, Virginia cedarwood, sandalwood, grey and brown ambergris, oud from Sri Lanka, Bouya oud, and vanilla. Unsurprisingly, it’s a bit hard to sort through; it’s sort of floral and/or aquatic citrus early on, but later I think I might be picking up on the ambergris, as there’s something kind of warm but in a different way from sandalwood or vanilla. I’m going to try this one again, less because I like it, and more because I want to investigate it further.

* Safran Colognise (Nishane)
Described as “cedrat (which I think is citron?), passion fruit, pink grapefruit, saffron, magnolia, pink pepper, musk, ambergris, and leather.” Somehow it had that “cold” note I’ve picked up from other things, even though it shares no ingredients except for musk with them, and musk is absolutely not cold. I’m wondering if it might be some non-scent component in the perfume instead — I don’t know enough about perfume chemistry to know if such a thing might be in there. Anyway, cold and bitter citrus turns to leather and citrus turns to musk and leather with the faintest citrus edge. Meh.

* Arancia di Sicilia (Perris Monte Carlo)
Describe as “blood orange (brown extraction & sfuma torchio extraction (whatever the heck that means)), almond, cinnamon, labdanum, coffee, iris, musk, and amber.” In the bottle, it splits the difference between the sweet orange and bitter orange scents I’ve tested. On, it . . . practically vanished. As in, I probably swiped myself ten or twelve times with the wand from the sample vial in an attempt to make it something other than a ghost of a scent. It got a touch stronger later on, but I think what happened is that the citrus broke down instantly upon hitting my skin, and I had to wait for the other notes to do their thing. Which started out as almond and amber, then transitioned to what I suspect is the iris — that or the labdanum, which is a thing I still haven’t really learned to ID. Something earthy and sweetish but also kind of rough? Anyway, I don’t like it enough to experiment with it more, especially as I think I’d empty the bottle in another pass or two.

The Advent of Scent, Week 11

Now begins the Kurayami Hime Citrus Collection! My sister’s favorite perfume has been discontinued, and while she has enough to keep her going for a while, she’ll eventually want a replacement. We’ve been testing a whole lot of things. Therefore, the theme for this post and the next is going to be “citrus” — a category I haven’t really tried so far!

Lavender Lemonade (Haus of Gloi)
Described as what it says on the tin, “lavender and fresh tart lemonade.” Pretty straightforward, the only variation being that it smells more strongly of lavender early on, then more evenly of both notes later. It’s nice, but on me it also fades unfortunately fast.

Pink Pepper, Orange Blossom, and Lemon Peel
No description, but these trios obviously don’t need it. Peppery in the bottle, and lemon with a pepper edge when it goes on, but as it dries this just turns into pepper and floral. Bah.

Described as “kumquat, white pepper, white tea and orange blossom.” Wow does this smell like orange Starburst at the outset — it’s exactly that juicy, sugar scent. It acquires a floral tinge over time and keeps the orange (more mellowed, less candy), but the pepper and tea never really come through. It’s not bad, but it isn’t for me.

Falling Into the Sea (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, lychee, tropical flowers, warm sand.” This is definitely citrus, but on the bitter rather than the sweet end. Too bitter for me, honestly, especially since its other aspect is floral, and as usual I’m very meh about that.

Lemondrops (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “freshly squeezed lemon juice with a touch of lemongrass and little hint of honey.” In the bottle it’s very sugary, but it gets a little more tart when it’s applied. After it’s applied, it’s a nice, mellow, smooth lemon that I can only describe as sitting “on a cushion of honey,” so I guess I know why perfumers wind up writing ridiculous metaphorical descriptions for their products. 😛 Not bad!

Soleil d’Italie (Mancera)
My sister ordered a “citrus sampler” from, so you’ll see a few random companies appearing in here. This one is described as “pink pepper, cardamom, bergamot, bitter orange, mandarin, lime, aquatic notes, patchouli, rose, vetiver, cedar, ambergris, white musk, and gaiac,” which between you and me I think is waaaaay more notes than a single scent needs. Not that I can really pick them out: it really just smells to me like . . . perfume. Very, very generic perfume. I guess as it dried there was a brief patch where I could maybe pick out something aquatic, and then later something warmer that might have been the musk and/or cardamom, but . . . yeah, it just wound up as slightly warmer perfume. Very boring, and not to my taste.

Described as “green tea touched with lemon verbena and honeysuckle.” Goes pretty straightforwardly from “citrus tea” to “tea and honeysuckle.” I love honeysuckles in real life, but I have yet to find a perfume with that note which I like, so, meh.

Sundrunk (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “neroli, rhubarb, honeysuckle, rose water, orange zest, and first kiss” (because the final listed ingredient in their perfumes is always something randomly metaphorical). Like Falling Into the Sea, we’re firmly on the bitter end here, the zest of the orange rather than its juice. It also is too floral for my taste.