Twilly

Mini Twilly with Hermès scarf patterned box, and knobby bit of ginger root. I adore the trademark black derby cap–a redux of Mercury’s golden helmet, because Hermes, of course.

Twilly is a witch potion. A good one.

Starts with a cuppa ginger tea, a bit of citrus and powdered sugar stirred in, then gets fizzy and trippy.

Tuberoses bloom, bubbly and brash, arguing with the jasmine–who manage to pepper some sharp retorts–in an absurd and delightful Monty Python routine, complete with Silly Walks in vanilla lingerie.
There’s a fun colorful vibe, too, in a cartoons-for-adults way, as if the scent cloud is infused with silk scarf hues.

And it lasts for hours, slowly settling close to the body with an occasional carbonated giggling hiccup of ginger ale and woody spice. In the morning it’s still there, a smudge of watercolor sigils on the skin.

Cheerful modern magic.

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Lord of Misrule

Bottle of amber perfume with a tall black cap and a blue and clear glass cruet with scattered pepper.

Lord of Misrule is what to wear to wild Bacchanalia parties where you sign a waiver to not hold the host responsible for any bruises, scratches or accidental pregnancies.

A pinch of lemon zest, then a bite of fresh ground black pepper–with sharp teeth, enough to make one wake up and pay attention–and woody patchouli that’s been sweetened with a hit of licorice powder.
The base is everlasting vanilla kisses, dark and dirty and rough in the best way, that linger on clothes and sheets for several nights afterward.

On the right guy, this would give soft demi-satyr vibes.
On the right woman, this would be dangerous.

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I have mixed feelings about the Hunger Games series, but the movie soundtracks were amazing.

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–

Bee

Pave bee pin, locally harvested honeycomb and decant vial, with test paper cutout of Zoologist Bee bottle.

This one is gorgeous: beeswax comb filled with vanilla and flower nectar and a bit of tonka that manages to come across as animalic, and so incredibly sweet you expect it to be sticky on the skin. The heliotrope–which I’ve not been a fan of lately–gives nice structure to the benzoin, and a lovely powder dryness to the honey-syrup.

There’s a brilliant smudge of labdanum on the bottom, a perfect hint of beekeeper’s smoke. Fills the room like a summer swarm and lasts forever.

I loved it passionately until the guy said it reminds him of that scented toilet paper from the ’70’s and now that’s all I smell and I’m so sad about it.

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This one is as sweet as the perfume–

Tuberose Flash

Tauerville black and white label bottle, casting prism shadows. I wish this one came in larger amounts–I’d buy it by the quart.

Tank Battle’s older sibling who drinks too much and swears a lot, and I’m obsessed.

A shot of benzoin bourbon out of the bottle and a heavy draw of labdanum smoke, and then slides easy into creamy tuberose. Sweet and lazy, it lingers close for the evening, a faint breath of patchouli keeping it just a little dirty.

Sexy as hell.

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The opening of this is fun–I love when musicians tune onstage.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint PhalleI was sixteen when I saw the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, and fell in love with Niki de Saint Phalle’s wonderful sculptures.
She released her perfume in 1982–as a way to fund her life-long Tarot Garden sculpture project–with a variety of illustrated bottles, including a zodiac series called Eau Defendue.

The eau de toilette opens with peaches and wormwood, and mint–that has just enough of a toothpaste-and-orange-juice dissonance to make one wake up and pay attention, not unlike the vibrant color-blocking of her sculptures–weird and bright, yet pretty.
Carnation and patchouli and some green-dyed-leather twists it around for several hours, and woodsy moss covers the skin for the rest of the day.

Jean Tanguely, Niki’s partner, insisted that moss be allowed to grow on the Centre Pompidou sculptures, as Nature’s contribution to the art–so it can’t be a coincidence that the perfume carries the same green notes.

For more about the artist and her Tarot Garden, check out this New Yorker article.


Igor Stravinsky (watch a video of him conducting here) was a huge influence on John Williams, as well as The Beastie Boys, who sampled The Firebird Suite in two of their songs from Hello Nasty.
I like to think Niki de Saint Phalle, whose artistic style included found materials and juxtaposed media in her feminist compositions, might have approved of this cover by Robyn Adele Anderson. (And the guy on the Theremin is awesome!)

Remarkable People

remarkable people
Small bottle with Etat Libre d’Orange bullseye label and chrome cap, and gold drawing box.

Artsy bubblegum and I’m here for it.

The champagne and cardamom combination keeps it from being gooey, and the jasmine sweetens the sandalwood the perfect amount.

Sillage at arms length for an hour, and close to the skin for three more.

I wish I’d bought the big bottle.


Joan Jett is pretty remarkable.

Minuit Noir

LL licorice
Black and gold Lolita Lempicka apple on a pile of licorice all-sorts.

Sweet and evil.
Lolita Lempicka Minuit Noir will always be my witching hour perfume–my house reeks of it on Halloween.

Sugar spells and dark iris magic, wicked candy licorice and violet patchouli brew.
It’s nicely powdery, keeping the juice intriguing–fey dust rather than cloying syrup.

Lasts all Samhain and charms sleeves for days after.


4711

4711 and limes
Coin shaped flask with iconic gold and turquoise label, red and gold cap, and cut limes in the sun.

A splash of limeade and orange zest, a rub of basil and flower petals, a breath of cedar, and then it’s gone.

The brevity is a strength–4711 glories in its opening moment, the interaction of refreshment, the awakening.

Many of us grew up with this one in the medicine chest rather than the vanity, used to disinfect cuts and soothe burns. It’s still one of my favorite comfort scents.


Haydn’s Surprise Symphony (No. 94) came out in in 1792 too.

Chinatown

chinatown
Bond No. 9 sample sprays and bottle shaped cut out tester with red cherry blossom design, and a fortune cookie.
[The best way to make a friend is to be one.]

Peach blossom candy and fortune cookies, creamy tuberose sharpened with cardamom, and a bite of sandalwood on the bottom.

There’s a voluptuous mystique to it, gorgeous but with an edge, the sweetheart next door with a femme fatale secret.

Elusive on skin and lasting on silk.
I love it.

I loved Chinatown, too, all the crazy smells and the languages and the colors, the shops with fish and spices and trinkets. The restaurant with the sweetest old man who taught me to eat with chopsticks when I still needed to sit on a phonebook to reach the table.


Deee-Lite is also from New York. This song always makes me happy.