Memoire d’une Odeur

My memory of this scent is that strange herbal tea my mother used to give me before bedtime.
Our well water came from the depths of Hell–so heavy with sulfur minerals you could practically chew it–so she sweetened everything with gobs of honey to make it palatable.

Definitely evocative, with a pleasant oddness I expect from Imaginary Authors or ELd’O rather than Gucci.

Earthy chamomile and jasmine on top, highbrow hippy on the bottom.


Big bang bubblegum, for adults only.
Drunk peach and vampy tuberose that bursts loud and proud and marvelous.
A twist of orange for zing, carnation for spice, roses to flirt, and a woody base for backbone.

This girl does what and whom she pleases, tuberoses untethered, with a wink and a pop and a smile.


First released in 1948, Fracas was a favorite of Rita Hayworth and Brigitte Bardot. Released again in 1998, it became a signature scent of Madonna. Ray of Light came out that year, too.

Lilac Love

There’s kind of an Alice-in-Wonderland trippy flower vibe with this one.

A huge puff of powdery heliotrope clouds, with a wisp of Amouage’s signature rose incense–that settles into a gorgeous neon lilac for a half hour.

If it stayed there, this might be my favorite of the Secret Garden collection, but the lilacs are overtaken by the iris-patchouli-tonka of every Lolita Lempicka flanker in existence, almost jeeringly loud, until that too fades into vanilla tea.

The base is an enjoyable purplish sweet sandalwood that lingers a few feet from the skin most of the day.
I like it, but it’s not as special as Love Tuberose.

Rebecca Minkoff

Understated women’s power suit perfume, suitable for everything from leather pants to silk tweeds.

Smoky cardamom scented tobacco and green banana, with enough jasmine to give a feminine twist on the patchouli and tonka bean backbone.

Stays in personal space for a few business hours, longer on clothes.
Nice, but she’d command more respect if she were louder.

Sea Buckthorn

L’Ome is the Durance en Provence eau de toilette line for men. This one is a great OG barbershop cologne.

Argousier (sea buckthorn) on top, with that creamy lemony note lasting for a half hour over alpha herbs and lavender.
Wood fills in the bottom, cedar with some masculine sour sandalwood on the skin.

Old school gentleman–a bit of a curmudgeon but sweet underneath.



In the summer Cabotine is an overwhelming mess of spicy flowers; in cold weather it becomes cassis tea with honey.

Heavy carnation, gingery white florals and huge green hyacinth are eye-watering in the heat, with a whopping dose of black currant on the top and bottom giving a bite of acidic fruit in the beginning and an angry cat scratch at the end.

But in the winter, everything blends into sweetness, berries and nectar and soft musk, cheerful and petal soft–and worn under clothes, the sillage relaxes to an enjoyable comforting layer.
Lasts til morning on skin, and til spring on fabric.


Cabotine came out in 1990. So did Sinéad O’Connor’s iconic cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Fruitchouli Flash

A spontaneous date in a bottle that starts flirty and sweet, and ends dirty (in the best way.)

Comes in with a two pound bag of Haribo peach gummies and an armload of white roses that soon get rogered up by earthy patchouli.
Brash and loud, it gives you a laughing good time, and hangs out til the next morning.

And I’d call it “genderful” rather than “unisex,” sliding all over the spectrum–from sugary feminine florals to blunt masculine woods–rather than staying in some safe place in between.


Golden Delicious

(I love TJMaxx flanker gift sets!)
This is the most refined of the Be Delicious line that I’ve sniffed so far.

A slice of fresh apple, soft flowers and a bit of plum sauce, that quickly go green with lily-of-the-valley for an hour–the usual DKNY floral fruit teacher’s fare.
Later when the woods give the base some backbone, it gets sophisticated–turns out the substitute has a master’s degree in postmodern design.

Lasts through afternoon study hall in personal space.


Another Golden that’s delicious.

Angel Nova

How much do I love this?!

Starts out cool and syrupy, like raspberry sorbet, then slowly melts into gorgeous sugary rose–the kind they make Turkish delight from–with a woody base tempered with benzoin.

The rose and the woods are linear, but there’s a slow progression to the fruity notes. They start tart and crisp and fill-the-room gigantic, but they sweeten through the day, softening to arms’ length pink floral candy, and end in the evening with a marvelous berry flavored cola on the skin.

Definitely a shift from the iconic patchouli-chocolate-caramel of the past thirty years, but this New Angel and Eau Croisière is a refreshing direction, and I’m totally ready for it.