Dream

Lollia “Little Luxe” bottle (I love them all so much) with gold letters and blue back design and gold cap, and a bit of florist purple fluff.

Slightly threatening cellophane packing tape.

The (very cute) bottle says White Tea and Honeysuckle right on it–but that’s been taken to the post office and shipped far, far away, leaving nothing but adhesive esters and nervous tension.

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One out of five American adults deal with anxiety issues, and those rates are even higher for teens–

X For Women

Clive Christian tester packet on a china saucer. I’m not a fan of the cardboard “pull-and-press-here” samples–they’re one use only, usually tear, and dribble more than spray.

The smoothest peach smoothie that ever smoothed, sucked through a straw by Bettie Page. In full color.

Fruity, soft, creamy and boldly sexy–garnished with pale green jasmine that brings out the pineapple, for hours. Finishes with lovely sweet musk with a bit of smoke, pursed lips and a wink, erotic and flirtatious, yet genuine at the same time.

I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Gucci Rush, and I definitely smell the resemblance. However, X strips out the plastics and reblends with powdery orris and labdanam, elevating the peach out of vinyl album cover and into burlesque editorial.

The over 50¢ a spray is rather cost prohibitive–Clive Christian can seem more interested in selling his own price tag than a good perfume–but X goes on like really fine lingerie, as much an indulgence for oneself as for anyone else, with banging projection that lasts for ages.

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The smoothest–

Summer Rain

Sample vial and ad with a naked blonde in a field, modestly clutching a scarf that must have blown off in the breeze, with dramatic clouds overhead.

Touted as “fresh invigorating citrus” and Summer Rain is very much that–lime and grapefruit, like a early a.m. wake up call, that warms up to the citronella bite of cedar shingle siding in the sun.
Might make a nice insect repellent (so hard to find bug sprays that actually smell pretty, whines the girl who lived in Vermont marshlands for ten years) though it lasts only an hour or so.

This was the final spray of my discovery set from Raw Spirit.
I have some feelings about the ad copy that talks about their celebration of the world’s diversity and mentions responsibly sourced rare materials from the Australian Outback, the Caribbean and Bali–yet the model in all the photos is a pale blonde, which seems contrary to what the brand represents.
But the ingredients are obviously high quality, and feel like luxury oils on the skin rather than chemicals.
The scents all have an earthy herbal vibe, and the ones I liked best–Winter Oak and Mystic Pearl–seem more suited for masculine types. I’d not recommend blind-buying any of them, but their sample sets aren’t expensive.

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Feeling Etta on this one today.

Ciel

Clear mini Amouage bottle with silver dome lid on the edge of a garden pot, and blue sky with wispy clouds behind.
Today will be lovely, the weather woman says.

Ciel seems to be trying to compose solar and aquatic vibes out of flowers–sun-showers, maybe?

Opens slightly spicy and green, and soon turns watery but oddly creamy, with a lot of jasmine.
Then the bottom makes it really weird, soapy woods-musk, with some Amouage brand incense muddled in, polluting the whole sky with floral acid rain.

I’ll stay inside.

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Here’s a gorgeous clear sky:

Orchid Bloom

Shanghai Tang mini bottle with gold ball cap and blue symbol, with strawberries and blueberries.

Fruity wine with floral musk underneath.
The berries open strong and fun, but the orchid is too sheer, like its made of silk and chemical dyes. The musk on the bottom is delicate but loud–a bit shrill, to me.

Shanghai Tang is an amazing fashion house out of Hong Kong, with cross-cultural designs that lean kitschy in the best way.
The founder, Sir David Tang, was a fascinating guy–he was a philanthropist, socialite, business magnate, English professor, and newspaper columnist. His granddaughter runs the company now.

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AGA is a Cantopop star from Hong Kong. This one is off her latest album So Called Love Songs.

Cashmere Mist

Curved, clear, cut crystal mini bottle that could possibly look like a flowing scarf?

Mid-nineties musk.
Opens with sneeze-worthy powdered nail polish remover and leather flip phone cases, then softens to vanilla SoBe soda on the skin.

Wear with a slip dress over a tight t-shirt, and ankle boots.

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Aaliyah’s debut album also came out in 1994–this was my favorite song.

Tubereuse Indiana

Creed sample card with splash vial, featuring portraits of the company founder (James Creed, 1760) and the designer of Tubereuse Indiana (Oliver Creed, 1980.)

Hmmm.
Well…

I get a fair bit of lily-of-the-valley, and maybe some gardenia, but not a lot of tuberose. Or vanilla.
Some ambergris rises from the skin about an hour in, but it’s got a cigarette ash aftertaste that seems dated.

The whole thing feels like it’s trying to have vibes of the action TV shoes in the late 60’s–The Mod Squad, and The Avengers, even Batman, all with slick sexy fashions contrasted with dangerous underworlds–but misses the mark (and doesn’t seem to go anywhere near India.)

For a good Indian tuberose with a kiss of vanilla, a bottle of Sikkim Girls and a mortgage payment can be had for the same price.

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Diana Rigg lived in Rajasthan when she was young, and spoke Hindi.
Cool lady. Smoked a lot.

No Sleep

Coreterno promo card with arcane eye motif and sample spray on tiny gray pillow.

I keep trying to understand why this one was named No Sleep, when it’s the most cuddly, sleep-inducing scent ever.

Opens with big sweet dream roses and jasmine, then envelops the soul with heady vanilla, creamy and soft, and so relaxing it’s soporific.
Stays a foot off the skin for a two hour nap, then drifts down to a calm patchi woods with a hint of light rain for two more.

I wish it came in smaller bottles–I’d get one for a pillow spray on insomnia nights.

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My favorite lullaby.

Murkwood

Olive brown sample vial and burlap gift bag, smoking incense stick and pine sprig.

Sweet smoke, and pine trees.
Soft and resinous on the skin, sharper and greener on cotton cuffs.

There’s a hint of something dangerous lurking underneath, that takes the incense out of the headshop and into darker, more niche territory–the moist forest floor threatened by distant fires, the spilled tea leaving ominous stains.

Very unisex and a bit sexy. Lasts a good two hours a foot off the wrist, then rests on the skin for two more.
I really like it.

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Acoustic Cure Forest might be my favorite.

Rose Jam

Simple LUSH bottle with black cap, surrounded by pale pink rose petals.

Gourmand roses, to be eaten on toast.

Fruity citrus petal mash, exactly like the jelly I loved from the Turkish import store, perfect for little girls’ tea parties and big girl indulgences.
Loud lemony rose-hips at the start, with the faintest herbal green and sweet spice, and loads of sugar for hours and hours.
Eventually settles to floral caramel on the skin and cuffs, and stays there all day long.

Wear with lots of pink.

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Ebru Gündeş is a popular singer from Istanbul.
Google says the title of this song means “I Have a Lot of Business with You,” but translations of the lyrics have a much prettier vibe than that.