Lui

Guerlain long glass sample phial with pink eau, on black box embossed with gold foil sun face.

Big boss benzoin that morphs into cuddly cloves, and swanky.

Splashes on with spiced sipping vodka and a squeal of brand new tires, (I should probably spell it tyres, because these are definitely fancy imports) and cracks a leather licorice whip at everyone for a while.
Then it relaxes, and slowly settles just above the skin with soft smoky vanilla powder–rich sweet incense ash–and whispers complements all day long.

I’m crushing hard on this one.
Very unisex, but wouldn’t be offended by the assumption of male pronouns.

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This grunge oldie is smoky and sweet, with a nice aggressive edge.

Jimmy Choo

Delicious Bosc pear and and mini brown glass bottle shaped like a pineapple (or a grenade?) with a silver cube lid.

Cruise ship pears, in a tacky self-indulgent way, and rather enjoyable, until the hangover hits.

Starts out with swanky fruit salad garnished with flowers, eventually takes a dip in an overly chlorinated pool, then smokes a Caramelo Joe cigar off the upper sun deck.

The headache slowly creeps in after the first hour, insidious, like the low grind of the boat motor that you try not to notice. Eventually you can’t ignore that you might be seasick, with regrets that you jumped too fast at the good price.

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How does Florence manage to make falling apart so pretty?

Violette

Promo card with Tocca’s Rococo crown, sample vial, and a purple viola from my garden.

The copy on the sample card is ridiculous–springtime on the Champs-Elysees does not awaken the spirit of love, unless you are turned on by sour sycamore trees, car exhaust and urine.
Also, African Violets have no fragrance.

Violette opens leafy green, with some sharp spice in a dinner salad gourmandish way, and a hint of black currant, (so perhaps they got the Paris pee right.) The ginger gets powdery sweet on the skin, with an odd note of pine tree, then it all disappears after 20 minutes.

If you’re collecting Tocca bottles (which are rather adorable), go for it, but don’t bother hunting this one down for the scent.
LUSH’s Kerbside Violet has ten times the urban violet vibe for the same price, and any of Marc Jacob’s Daisies are sweeter and longer lasting.

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Paisley Park produced J.J.’s first album–Prince’s stamp is all over this song.

Incanto Heaven

Mini peach colored handbag shaped flask with cerise butterfly motif, and suds.

Fruity bubble bath and Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal.
I would have loved this when I was ten.

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Mom was the hippest of hippies, Dad a classical musician, and at ten years old I was a bloodthirsty little punk, so of course Judy Collins’ cover of Pirate Jenny from Threepenny Opera was my protest song when asked to help with the housework.
Nina Simone covered it best, but I really like this recent one from Shilpa Ray with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Tocadilly

Mini frosted Rochas bottle with purple ball under the cone cap (the eau inside is pale green) and a stack of cucumber slices.

Quirky garden freshness, that goes backward in time through the day.

Starts at afternoon in the garden with loud cucumber and pear and sunny lilac, then gets wet and green with hyacinth, in a slow rewind to morning dew on the grass, until it slides back under the covers with comfy creamy-but-powdery woods on the skin.

A bit off-beat and rather nice.

Rochas seems to have stopped production, but sealed bottles can still be found on line for cheap.

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This fresh cover might you take you backward, too.

Rose and Me

Coreterno discovery set with Fornasetti style branding, sample spray, and black promo card with cool blue reflections.

Opens with spicy saffron roses, big and jammy, in Fort & Manle fashion.
Then lemon leaf geranium jumps in with a big splash–that flowers in the rain thing that Nest does–pleasantly tart and wet.
After an hour or so, a nice smoky tea brews, with patchi honey and Amouage’s woody rose incense.

The best performance of Coreterno’s perfume catalog, with fill-the-room floral sillage and semi-permanence on clothes. Hardly original, but that might be a part of their branding: a pastiche of beloved cliches that blend into a new but still familiar composition.

Not one I’d wear–this one would be more likely to wear me–but I’d love to huff on someone else, especially masculine types in retro neckties.

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Here’s another pastiche of cliches done perfectly.

Pamplelune

Medium Guerlain bottle with gold beehive lattice neck and ball cap, with a mini bottle doing something suggestive to a pink grapefruit half.

Grapefruit pith in the best way, a smart bitterness that slides to sweet throughout the day.

There’s a weirdness, a uniqueness to it that is almost distracting–I’m sniffing my wrist every few seconds, wondering if it still smells the same as the last huff I took. (How much of my enjoyment is just an oxygen rush?)

The performance is a lot of fun. Begins like an herba fresca cologne, a bright wake me up of citrus zest with a tart bite of fruit, then it cools down to a few inches above the skin and stays there, slowly growing soft with vanilla, with the tenacity of an eau de parfum.

Wonderful.
Marketed to women, but would be delightful on anyone.

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Feeling this one today.

Rose Prick

Pale pink Tom Ford promo card with sample spray, and rose stem with thorns.

Ooh, I like this one–a nice dry rose, the way good sherry and a sharp sense of humor are dry.

Starts with an interesting spicy chocolate, and a bit of skanky-sour rose-hip fruit for a half hour, then gets powdery soft with enchanted rose forest patchouli thorns for the rest of the day.

Nothing sweet about it, and quite loud–this one enters the room before you do, and lingers after you’re gone.

Lovely for fairy-tale princes on a mission, and queens who need no rescuing.

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A dry, dry song.

Simply Pink

Fuchsia capped red-to-orange ombre rollerball bottle on mound of pink sugar.

Loud strawberry freezer pop, from the concessions kiosk at the middle school dance.
Artificial sweetened berry pulp with nuances of scented doll, and sassy caramel licorice on the bottom.
Fun, but could be overwhelming during a slow dance.

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This was the dance anthem when I was in junior high…

Catharsis

Palm reading sticker and sample card with arcane eye motif, and spray.

Garage metal shop–pleasantly sour earthy concrete, metallic dust with the smoke of flash sparks from a grinder, tools with wood handles that warm up with use–and spiced gumdrops.

Nice. Leans to the calloused fingertips end of unisex.
Lasts longer and louder on clothes than on skin, and makes one nostalgic for clove cigarettes.

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Another metal catharsis.