Fraaagola Saalaaata – Hilde Soliani

saltImagine the Morton Salt girl in a pink raincoat and red rubber boots, blowing a bubble of strawberry gum.
The strawberries run the gamut from fresh picked berries in the sun, to red soda pop, then shortcake ice cream bars, and finally those smelly erasers from primary school.375x500.10239

The salt melts quickly and disappears into violets, then a breath of vanilla, a brief taste of hazelnut.

Sweet but strangely chaotic.

Encens et Bubblegum

375x500.4517All I get from this is dried peaches in a plastic bag. Maybe a whiff of the incense aisle at the other end of the food co-op.
And it lasts as long as the 10-items-or-less line.

I’ve seen Encens et Bubblegum compared to Gorilla Perfume’s Tank Battle (from Lush).
This stuff is a stale sugarless dime ball from a reproduction piggy-bank next to Tank Battle’s fresh packet of Big League Chew. This is clove cigarette ash likened to Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa.
Twice the price, half the sillage and none of the longevity.
Doesn’t compare at all.

Si Magnifique! by Oriflame

375x500.42091I got this at Åhlens in Stockholm, a blind buy based on price and description and the (unusually chatty for a Swede) saleswoman’s advice, and didn’t open it until I got back to the States…
…where it smelled like every Victoria’s Secret store distilled into a bottle. Entirely too girlish sweet almond, rosebuds and muted citrus with some obligatory white musk underneath.
On my early twenties daughter-child it became Earl Grey tea in a rose-patterned china cup, elegant and perfect.
Dammit, I’m old.

Absolue Pour le Soir – Maison Francis Kurkdjian

pour le soirBeekeepers smell like this–honey and smoke and sweet resin. Flowers and wood and hard sweaty work underneath.

Bees make a sticky glue from pine sap called propolis to secure the honeycomb. It’s been used for centuries to varnish violins and in traditional medicine to soothe irritated throats.

Smoke gets the buzzy girls high, so they don’t mind the beeman in their home. He’ll say hullo to the queen and admire the brood before leaving.

Summer afternoons, when it’s too hot for even the roses, the propolis gets soft and the honey makes a mirage of heat over the hives–this is Pour le Soir.

Amarena Whim – Lolita Lempicka

AmarenaAmarena is the vanilla ice cream and sour cherry cough drops after you get your tonsils out. Medicinal, comforting, delicate, soporific… one to wear to bed when sleeping alone.

The sugary musk on the bottom is delicate and delicious, but also metallic, like the scent of a tin of silver dragées.

I’ve doled this one out over a decade, my Rx at the end of a rough day. I’ll be heartsick when the last drops are gone–I look for it at every airport shop, every high end thrift store.



pavlova2Pavlova starts as fingernails on a chalkboard, gives a stern lesson in botany, then hands out sugar pastilles while dismissing class.

Everyone got this as a hand-me-down from their mom in the seventies. She was gifted it by someone in a holiday present swap, who bought it without testing first because it was cheap and the bottle was pretty.

A shrill chypre powder grenade with a dry sweet finish.

Tea Rose

Tea RoseTea Rose is cultured pearls and effortless good manners having gin and tonics at a garden party.
Uncompromising rose, it will strip all other scents in the room of their flowers, and curtsies only to Joy.

I wore this in college when I could only afford silver jewelry, and needed my rayon dress to hold its own in a room full of silk.