diaThe perfect spring, distilled into liquid form.

Very topographical–at arms length an easy breeze, in personal space it becomes new blooming roses edged with silvery musk, and on the skin it’s budding orchard trees and soap lather–and lasts that way for hours.
Some scattered herbs keep it organic, and a touch of incense smoke gives it a bit of body.

Lovely, but for me, spring is usually March storms and mud-season, messy and chaotic. This is too refined.

This breezy-but-refined song topped charts in 2002, when Amouage first released Dia.


Lady Stetson

lady stetson edgySweet soapy sandalwood and senior English Lit class, prom carnations and packed bleacher musk.
I wore this at seventeen, with pleated stonewashed jeans and my grandfather’s Stetson Stratoliner à la Molly Ringwald.
Three decades later and it still holds up, an affordable and cheerful Chanel knock-off with riper peaches at the end.

This debuted in 1986, along with Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and we all swooned over the album cover. Here’s a gorgeous version of my favorite Dwight Yoakam song.


knowingThis one should come with a warning: a little bit goes a loooong way.

Frothy aldehydic opening, mimosa sweet–the whole blooming tree, not just one flower. Then the cat spray hits–make that three cats, two toms fighting over a queen–though the roses and patchouli do their best to drown them out.
After a few hours, moss creeps in and covers everything under the roses–everything–your skin, your house, your neighborhood–turning them into herbal topiary sculptures that cast weird spicy green rose-shaped shadows until the sun goes down.
Except they’re there the next day. And the next. You can’t outrun this stuff. It laughs at hot showers, goes swimming in the laundry, dances under the garden hose.

Please send help.

Knowing came out in 1988, along with Enya’s Orinoco Flow. A little of that goes a long way, too. Here’s the shortest cover I could find.


ysatis edgeOpens with lemony ylang-ylang, then settles to aldehydic woods and tuberose with some animalic dank notes that keep it from being too sweet.

Strong sillage, and long lasting, but it does seem from another time, when perfume focused on gravitas and established style. Now the trends seem to aim for playfulness and creativity.

This might have more personality on a gentleman, today.

Ysatis came out in 1984, and I discovered short-haired girls.

White Linen

white linenClassy soap powder.

Aldehydes and lilac with some sweetness, settling into soft floral sandalwood that lasts all day long, just within personal space.

There’s a retro middle-class “cleanliness is next to godliness” vibe to it, laundered and starched and proper.

Sometimes I put a drop on the dryer sheet when I wash bedding.

Dog and Butterfly first came out in 1978, too.


MistigriThe fashion illustrator René Gruau’s 1953 advertisement for Jacques Griffe’s Mistigri is much more famous than the perfume ever was, but I’ve always been curious about the scent.

I finally managed to score a 70-year-old vintage mini, the little box (made to look like a deck of cards–the mistigri is the Jack of Clubs,  as well as the trickster cat–still intact. The bottle even had the string on the cap, though it fell apart as soon as I opened the stopper.
A dried up drop was left, a flake of amber brown in the corner of the bottle that smelled like every fusty antique store and estate sale.
–until I rinsed it out, and the warm water brought a green chypre to life, resinous and floral. Some sharp pepper and flirty cloves were mixed in there too.
An hour later the room smells faintly of cedar and the soapy-sweetness of Chanel No. 5, in a trousseau chest with a secret kind-of-way.

So Mistigri was a nice scent, though nothing amazing. But the cat drawing on the box? I want a poster of that on my wall.

My favorite Catwoman, Eartha Kitt released C’est Si Bon in 1953.