XII: L’Heure Mysterieuse

Cartier Red and gold box and sample vial, on an antique clock face reading 12:41.

L’Heure Mysterieuse has a lot of ties to LUSH Lord of Misrule, but where LoM measures time on standing stones, XII is a church clock-tower.

First strikes with dry spice and jasmine–peppery sharp, then resin and incense waft in, with a fifteen minute chocolate and cigarette break.
At the half hour patchouli chimes loud, taking over, only occasionally letting a few seconds of vanilla slip by.

Lasts the day at social distance with woody amber, brassy and stern.


Sonoran Bloom

Canister and gold capped bottle featuring a red and fuchsia illustration of a cactus bloom. Yes, I did blind-buy it on the packaging alone.

Anosmia Bloom is a better name for the opening–I worried that my covid nose had returned–two big sprays on my wrist and one directly on my cuff and for a while all I got was watery citrus.

TokyoMilk #84 lists Petrichor, Saguaro Flower, Agave and Red Clay.
(Saguaro are the big tree cacti out west, with flowers that smell like overripe green melons and are beloved by bats.)

Margot Elena’s “Desert Splendor Awakened” takes a while to wake up, but after a half an hour of weak lemonade, the flowers bloom a hand-span above the skin, herbal-sweet with earthy green notes.

Reasonably pleasant, but nothing special.
Lasts half the day in intimate space, with some dusty musk stains left on cotton.


A night-blooming tune.
(R.I.P. Dusty Hill. Texas has gone to hell without you.)

Mimosa Mixte

Purple pouch with tiny sample jar. Jeffrey Dame has very niche presentation at affordable prices.

Cherry vanilla ice cream, artificially flavored and freezer burnt, and awesome.

Opens with a room filling puff of mimosa and ylang-ylang, but with just enough herbal citrus to keep from slipping into banana peel territory.
Fifteen minutes later and the heliotrope takes over with powdery synthetic almonds, musk and vanilla, worthy of a Lolita Lempicka flanker if it were faceted rather than creamy.
Melts to the skin after three hours, and stays there with dusty soft-serve woods through the evening.

Cheap and chic but sweet and nostalgia inducing, like a slow club remix of a favorite song.


Dimond Saints do some amazing mixes.


Sample sprays, one still in Bond № 9 royal blue foil wrapper, on pic of bottle with the Worlds Fair globe sculpture in gold.

On blind sniff I got the bergamot, and what I first thought was jasmine and apricot–but turned out to be tuberose and osmanthus–with sandalwood on the bottom.
The rest was just a pleasant spicy amber fruit mush that I couldn’t deconstruct, like that purple hard candy that you wonder what flavor it’s supposed to be.
Lasts a pretty day in personal space, finishing on vanilla ice milk musk.

Really nice, but other than an apropos slight hit of Chinatown, and the gorgeous bottle, kind of tame–

Queens NY is diversity and contemporary art, and Louis Armstrong and Rockaway beach, fusion street food, Houdini’s grave, Astoria, shopping for absolutely anything in Flushing, and crazy little museums about the oddest things–but it’s not tame.

(I remember walking under the El, before “Sunny Jamaica”–yeah, I’m old.)


Awkwafina is the best thing out of Queens right now.
(NSFW with five-borough-language.)

Wakening Woods of Scandinavia

White cat with a very pink nose, and a large pale green cut crystal flask and leafy printed box.

(Meet Lucy, our newest household addition.* She likes to eat rose petals, chase hair ties, and watch sandwich-making.)

I’m rather devoted to the House of 4711, but I’ve been putting off opening my bottle Wakening Woods of Scandinavia–even though it received kudus from People Who Know What They’re Talking About, and was designed by the Escentric Molecules guy–because I didn’t want to be disappointed.
I have such fond memories of the various forests in Sweden I’ve seen and smelled (Trollskogen on Öland is amazing).

Wakening Woods is lovely…!
Crisp green bergamot and some herbal spice at the start, ridiculously fresh and breezy, then after a few seconds, cool fir and alpine roses–the tiny ones that smell almost apple-y, but not sweet–over forest floor bracken.

Fills the room at first spray, but settles quickly to a few inches above the skin with nice ferny trails for two hours.
Evergreen, but all-year-round.

* Adopt, don’t shop, yeah? Second-hand cats and wild-grown kittens have the best personalities!


Tori going Nordic.


Topaz yellow tipped ebony vial–representing a jeweler’s dop stick for polishing gems, a nice bit of Bvlgari branding–in a tall shot glass because it also looks a lot like a bartender’s swizzle stick.

A queen bee perfume, and heaven help the poor drones.

First flight is spice and sweetness, then she melts into syrupy amber–soft at social distance, but full of invitation into personal space where the cinnamon is buzzy and warm.

An hour in the ylang-ylang softens, and fruit notes begin to slide in and out of the benzoin, wildflower honey with alluring facets of lemon and apple and apricot for the rest of the day.

Zahira is perfect for autumn, with spicy warmth that’s too delicate for the summer sun. A bit expensive, but a lovely indulgence when one needs some royal treatment.


Another beckoning Jem.

Un Jardin sur le Nil

Promo card illustrated with lily-pads and Hermès bottle, and sample spray.

I’ve never been to the Nile, but the Lily Pool Terrace at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden smells a lot like this–standing water in the sun, but nice, with that marvelous fruity green aquatic plant funk.
There’s other stuff blooming too, indistinct but still there, bulbs from the fragrance garden, and distant herbal vegetable leaves, with a bit of city haze underneath.

Perfect for summer, but good for hot autumn afternoons with Chardonnay, too.

Lasts the morning on skin in personal space, and most of the day on clothes.


Hossam Ramzy was an amazing percussionist–he’s worked with everyone from Led Zeppelin to Shakira. (Y’know the riff in Jay-Z’s Big Pimpin’? That’s him.)

Incanto Shine

Pale purple purse(?) shaped mini mini bottle embossed with dragonfly motif, and a peach slice.

Synthetic tropical fruits that last most of the bus ride to school, then settle down to curried peaches and pencil shavings on the skin until second period.

Most junior high kids have much better taste than this–get them any Moschino for the same price, instead.


Better synthetic Peaches:

Autumn Rhythm

Paper test cutout of Chris Collins black and copper bottle, sample spray and fallen leaves.

Dry sweet musk over soft leather and woods, dusted with gourmet hot cocoa powder.
Comforting yet elegant–there’s a lovely walk-through-the-arboretum feel, with city bustle not too far off.

(If Tauer’s L’Air des Alpes Suisse is your winter in a bottle, Autumn Rhythm might be your fall.)

Greener on skin than on clothing, and makes rough cotton feel like fine spun cashmere.
High end prices, but big boss performance–two small sprays fill social distance and beyond with trailers that last all day.


An autumn song:


Rectangular slate blue mini bottle with silver crown cap and a long red pepper.

This guy starts out like all his other man-pals, noisy and a little gin-drunk, but he’s sweet so you go home with him–and he cooks. Spicy peppers, herbs, citrus, figs, well mixed, and suddenly he’s fun, hot chili and warm blues. Not particularly athletic, but he’s long lasting with good wood and big wok energy.


Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground is good hard funk.