99 Regent Street

Sample dabber and beige Hugh Parsons box, with crest featuring green oak leaves on white and a helmet head topped by a unicorn and so on. The London company was established in 1925 and has nothing to do with the Hugh Parsons of Springfield, Massachusetts, who was acquitted of witchcraft in 1651. (His wife wasn’t so lucky.)

This would be a reasonably refreshing powdery Dude-Bro fragrance if the ball-peen hammer of musk didn’t hit the center of the forehead quite so hard.

Recommended for outdoor use only.

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This hammer is much better.

Qaa’ed

Gold diamond stamped sleeved bottle and matte black canister.

Lattafa Perfumes (out of the United Arab Emirates) can be found fairly easily online or in the beauty section of import shops at great prices–Qaa’ed cost me less than a tub of pistachio halva.
And while the eau doesn’t exactly smell rich, there’s some good spiced leather packed in the glitzy bottle.

Opens with a big dose of amber cinnamon sweetened with vanilla, then five minutes in cardamom carries in the leather–new work boots with rubber soles and saffron suede car coats lined with polyester–a bit synthetic, but made to last.
And the woods on the bottom do last, even through a hot bath, spicy oud and buckskin still sweet the next day.

Could be an affordable alternative to Bvlgari Black, especially in autumn–the cool florals replaced with warmth.

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Love this collaboration from these two Dubai based musicians.

Un Matin d’Orage

Beads of water on a frosted Annick Goutal bottle sitting in a puddle, with prismatic sunlight.

This “Stormy Morning” dawns with lemony ginger and a lot of wet green notes that turn into an enjoyable petrichor–and stays dewy on the gardenia and jasmine all day.

Very sweet and very white, with the same mixed-message quality of pristine indolics in La Chasse aux Papillons.
Also similar to Reflection–a bit less grounded by the sandalwood–and about two-thirds the cost.

Pretty, but not terribly exciting–a good storm should have a bit of thunder and lightning, yeah?

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This morning is sadly just dreary.

Quercia

Yellow Acqua di Parma discovery set box, with black capped sample spray, and turning oak leaves.

Autumn, and sweet.
Begins with a mid-day bluster of lemony oak woods, then grabs a mug of chilled root beer and settles in for a fire-lit evening, while the winds blow outside.
Shifts from cheerful warm spice to melancholy cool herbs and back again with the weather.
I like it very much.

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I’m a month late on this, but ’tis the season.

Macaque Yuzu Edition

The new Macaque promo and vial, with a tired lemon and a bottle of bleach.

So the Zoologists cleaned the monkey cages with lemon scented Clorox.
Now the bleach musk augments the animalics for an uncomfortable hour before fading into resinous pine trees, but I appreciate the removal of the rotten fruit from the original Macaque.

Dries down to long-lasting Mtn Dew and turpentine that’s sweeter on cotton than skin.
Better, but still not the most fun exhibit at the Zoo.

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StellaCorvo (sounds better the Italian) and Cris Pinzauti–who does lots of neat looped stuff–on Peter Gabriel’s classic.

Narciso

Mini cube of dark eau (yes, it stains) with an ecru top. The full sized bottles are lined with opaque white.

Delightful.

An opalescent woody musk–there’s a lovey creamy yet multifaceted quality about it–and blatantly rich. Starts out with a splash of Shalimar cola, then dusts up with earthy mineral powder made carnal and soft by gardenia.
A bit of rose grows up a few hours in, wild, dry and thorny over the cedars, staying in personal space all day.

Marketed to women, but would be absolutely lethal on masculine types, in a sulking prince way.

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Benjamin Haycock is a singer/rapper/songwriter out of the UK–I love the percussive techniques he uses on the guitar.

Chort’s Suds

A sketch of an embroidered Slavic demon popping a beaded soap bubble.

My short story in the latest NYC Midnight 250-word MicroFiction challenge.
~for Cyndy~

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CHORT’S SUDS

The man had insisted on the carwash, half-off. “It’s my family business. Drop it off tonight, pick it up in the morning.”

I accepted, though it was my careless elbow that knocked his coffee cup onto my new car.

Now I stood in the empty lot of what used to be Chort’s Suds—the building boarded up and the signs taken down overnight—blinking in shock.

They hadn’t waxed and polished my car—they’d waxed and Polished it.

The sleek Nuova 500 had been transformed into a hideous Polski Fiat, elegant curves pounded square, pillars connecting roof and quarter panels at the hard angles of the Communist regime.

“We’ll get her in shape,” the man had said. I’d nodded and signed the discounted estimate. The pen’s red ink stank of gear oil.

I snatched the copy from the wiper on the front windshield, scanning each capital letter, wincing at my initials ticking the box marked Interior Detailing.

“My wife does that,” he’d said proudly. “She’ll take care of you.”

Embroidered felt covered my car seats, folk-art roses and roosters handstitched on black wool. I’d seen those same designs yesterday morning, on the skirt of the woman who shook her fist when I clipped the corner too fast on Gooseberry Street. My stereo drowned out her curses with rock lyrics.

I slid behind the wheel. A spiced babka air freshener swung from the rearview.

The radio blared as the engine turned. I frantically pressed the buttons, but every station played a Chopin mazurka.

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Check out MYTHandSTICH on Etsy–they do gorgeous custom embroidered patches.

Incanto Bloom

Mini handbag shaped pink flask and gold and red floribunda tea rose.

Honestly, I’m only writing this one up because it’s the last in the gift set and I need closure.
And the photo turned out cute and I have some time to kill while waiting to get my COVID-19 booster vax.

Incanto Bloom might be the most heinous of the collection.
(No, lady giving me the stink-eye for sneezing, I’m not contagious.)

So this mess goes on with grapefruit rind and curried sawdust, then delivers a bouquet of artificial roses before dying a sad musky death. Luckily, it doesn’t last long.

The disconnect between Ferragamo’s clothing and footwear design standards (their boots are marvelous) and this entire Incanto line of fragrances is hard to understand. The house knows what quality is, they’ve just chosen not to produce it.

(Get your booster shot, yeah? This crap isn’t over yet.)

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Maroon 5’s hit came out in 2010 too–doesn’t last long either, but it’s more fun.

Gucci Guilty

Gold Gucci Guilty mini bottle with mirrored G motif, sitting on some lackluster peaches.

Muted peaches.

Lemon flavored window cleaner and Lipton peach tea powder out of the bottle, that turns to plain non-dairy creamer while the lilacs bloom, milky and warm in personal space, but a little dull.
The bottom is safe patchouli amber just above the skin for half the day.

There’s something oddly repressed about the whole mixture–like the fruit notes want to bump-n-grind but they’re stuck in a demure floral dress–that feels dated.
(I don’t think Guilty has been allowed anything fun to feel guilty about.)

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Even Rachel Wood was the face of the Guilty campaign–she sang this in Across the Universe–but Siouxsie did it best.

Arsenic

Black TokyoMilk mini bottle featuring a white beetle, sitting in the eye socket of a plaster skull draped in a snakeskin printed scarf.

Now this is what a Halloween fragrance should be–weird, earthy, evocative, and tricky sweet.

TokyoMilk Dark #17 lists Absinthe, Vanilla Salt, Cut Greens, and Crushed Fennel on the bottle–and Arsenic lives up to that, and more.

Wormwood out of the bottle, a satisfying poison green, with a bit of dusty white frosting, both edible and stand-offish.
A twitch of licorice keeps it fresh and fun for several hours at the edge of social distance, and then slides down to intimate space with intoxicating herbal green woods and mineral salts–the the kind that smell a bit sour and glitter when the light hits them right–until the next morning.

The sweeter top notes linger longer on hair and silk, and the bottom blooms brilliantly in a steaming bath (or cauldron.)
Compelling and sexy.
Leans to the warlock section of the spell-book.

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