White Sandalwood

Pile of Nest square minis, White Sandalwood–with a botanical drawing label–in front.

Almond nutshells and work boots.

Nest is hit or miss with me–though I love their pretty little bottles. White Sandalwood leans masculine with fresh cut wood and an earthy leathery note, and dry almonds–almost toasted, but not gourmand at all–and I like it.
A little lasts a long time–too much explodes with Hypnotic Poison strength Sharpie marker. Pair with jeans and a flannel shirt.

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Turn it up and let off some steam.

Rose Pompon

Red cut glass bottle with gold cap, pink striped tea roses and raspberries.

Heat activated roses that last FOREVER.

Opens with Ruby Red pink grapefruit juice cocktail spiked with raspberry Chambord, and as it warms, the roses bloom sweet with vanilla, and stay there for days. Weeks, even.

The rose masks the violets, I only smell them in my hair (which is Covid-19 long right now) and on my shirt cuffs when I’m not wearing it. If I pin my hair close to my head the roses open again, same if I re-wear the jacket.
In a hot bath the roses get thorny, woods with a bitter bite of the grapefruit again, gorgeous, yet also a bit masculine.

There are sexier fruity roses out there—(come to me, baby) Angel Nova and (sigh) Sådanne—but none as delightfully mercurial or long lasting.

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Just discovered Esperanza Spalding, a cool jazz artist with a lot of Joni Mitchell energy–

Springtime in a Park

Replica sample card with a pink liquid filled spray, and a really tasty Bosc pear.

Springtime in a Park is supposed to replicate Shanghai 2019, but I get Car Wash 2004.

Starts out with a blast of flower lather, and then some not-quite-shrieking neon-green pear liquid soap, then blooms with bonkers loud lily-of-the-valley suds.
Bath-time is over in an hour, drying down to clean musk on the skin.

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Donna Summer had much better spring fling flair.

Rhinoceros

Test paper cut out of bottle, a decant vial, carved wood rhino and a shot glass with an ounce and a half of hemlock cones.

Drunk pine cones and combat boots, but comforting.
This is that big guy at the bonfire who wrapped me up inside his motorcycle jacket to keep me warm, and whispered dreadful jokes in my ear all night long, and I’ll always be a little in love with him.

Fills the room then eases into personal space for the entire night, and lingers on the skin the next.

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Rhinoceros was a supergroup experiment by Electra Records in 1969. There’s a good stampede in the middle of this one–

L’Air des Alpes Suisse

Tauer blue mini pentagon bottle with mountain graphic label, on iced over evergreen bough.

I thought there would be hot cocoa.

L’Air des Alpes Suisses is chilly and gorgeous, and stays that way.
The ambergris is a gust of cold wind carrying snow and pine, with a weirdly enjoyable sweet whiff of gasoline–and it echoes. The camphor in the woods somehow resonates, the way a struck bell vibrates the air in the room, with a slow two hour fade to the skin.

The linear sound wave quality is very cool, a good example of synesthesia in perfumery, though I keep wondering if it will resolve at the end.
(Is there a tease of warmth and chocolate in there, or is that my own wishful thinking?)

I like it very much, but I bet it’s a completely different scent in August.

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An electro-pop dance hit out of Zurich that’s oddly soothing, with a gorgeous little video.

Byzance

Orange carnation tipped in rose pink, and cobalt disc shaped bottle with gold coin center medallion

I was in high school in 1987, and aldehydes were the stuff of women thirty years older, who wore Chanel and Givenchy and Estée Lauder–but that gorgeous blue bottle lured me with bohemian riches and devious secrets anyway.

The juice in my bottle has become dark and viscous, and the carnation has mellowed the soapsuds, turning them into a wonderful fizzy cola. Tuberose still takes center stage, like Ysatis but with more spice and less cat–though I think Byzance has aged better, retro rather than dated.
I’ve no idea how well this performed fresh from the factory. Mine stays nicely at arms length for a good six hours.
Pairs well with sequin tops with shoulder pads.

Snag a bottle soon if you’re into vintage icons–I see fewer and fewer of them at my usual second-hand haunts.

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Byzance is especially lovely in the winter.
This song came out the same year.

Sotto La Luna – Tuberose

Decant vial on paper test cut-out of Tauer cobalt bottle, and scattered whole cloves.

Sweet, buttery green tuberose sharpened by spice with a serrated edge.
Turns creamy on the skin with nice projection and lasts all day, but the geranium sticks to the cuffs with a funny veggie side dish note.
Pretty, but makes me crave fried chicken.

The structure is similar to Tuberose Flash, from the Tauerville collection, which I absolutely love. so I sprayed that on my other wrist to compare. Flash’s benzoin softens the jasmine and patchouli, where the ambergris and spices in Sotto La Luna brightens them.
Of course, I went for the spice cabinet next. and hit the raw materials. The clove was obvious, the sweet bite on top, but the cinnamon was more subtle–just a dusting of warmth.
That was fun.
(I’ll stay with Flash.)

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This is so weird and unexpected–I like it.

Mitsouko Eau de Toilette

Mini scrolled bottle of Mitsouko Eau de Toilette at the center of a crimson firework Gerbera daisy.

1919.
House of Guerlain, Paris France.
Nobody:
Jacques: Here’s gunpowder and blood, coffin-woods and grave-moss, because War.
Nobody: (blinks)
Jacques: And some peaches and jasmine so it’s pretty.

Wow. Guerlain’s iconic Mitsouko is goth as Hell.
Opens with the sharp tang of citrus and peaches–bright coins to pay the ferryman–but made sanguine with roses. Funeral flowers bloom, more roses and lilac and jasmine, and slowly dry to cedar box dust. At the end, embalming spices rise from the skin, and ash smoke–the powdery residue of battle–until they fade to moss and lichen on headstones.

For elegant widows, death obsessed poets and wannbe undertakers.

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This cheerful little tune is surprisingly dark–John Cale’s classic made modern by Owen Pallett.

Dolly

Black and white photo of Dolly Parton on a blush sample card with her butterfly signature, and a spray vial.

Dolly Parton’s new perfume is a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a bottle.

Opens with the strawberries-and-cream saltwater taffy from Old Smoky Candy Kitchen–soft fruity pink and gooey sweet–and lasts as long as one takes to melt in the mouth.
The middle is pure Dollywood, rhinestone musk and jasmine encore bouquets, synthetic but charming, though nowhere near as loud.
Finishes with a lingering view of the mountains, green forest woods and a hint of pine.

Oddly, Dolly is a bit shy, staying in personal space and fading quickly to the skin. I’d expect this brief a performance from a cologne, not a celebrity eau de parfum, but her short songs are good, too.

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This remix takes Dolly out of the mountains and into the club, with Junior Vasquez mixing Ladysmith Black Mambazo into the beats to raise the sun.

Be Delicious Paris

Mini blue liquid filled DKNY chrome apple dwarfed by a Pink Lady apple, and violet blue flowers.

The final flanker from the DKNY Hearts the World set, and the best of the lot.

This time our girl is drinking wine at the nearest bar after French Club let out and enjoying a menthol cigarette. The usual green apple has turned to chardonnay, the flowers-for-teacher left in the classroom, the sandalwood burnt to patchouli ash.

Lasts a few hours in personal space–then the dry-down turns surprisingly rich and masculine on the skin for a few hours more, a rough vanilla cologne vibe that elevates Paris way above the other cities in this line.
Definitely one to snag at TJMaxx.

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This sweet little song goes to Paris, Texas.