Myrrh & Kumquat

Large cut crystal splash bottle with gray and gold label, and box with drawing of a kumquat branch.

Myrrh & Kumquat is marketed as being “harmonizing,” but it’s the first 4711 Acqua Colonia I’ve sniffed that gets flirtatious.

Opens with a sour candy citrus zing, then melts down into very personal space with sugary balsamic come-hither glances, for thirty minutes.
Lingers with caramel sweet spice on the skin for another hour.

Unisex, unexpected, and marvelous. A good one for a spontaneous lunch date.

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Another Myrrh.
The Church has been around for forty years–this is an early one.

Bad Boy

Promo card with a black and gold lightning bolt shaped bottle, and a sample spray.

This “bad boy” just earned a week of detention when he got caught with a blunt at his all-boys private school, along with Axe Dark Temptation and Invictus Victory. He’s got good taste in chocolate, and misses his mom.

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(It’s a shame that The Inner Circle’s Bad Boys is indelibly linked to the show Cops, because it’s a good song.) Here’s a Scandi EDM duo

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.

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.

Illicit

Mini cut crystal bottle with pale ecru eau, and a silver teaspoon of golden honey.

I get sheer honey at first sniff, with a tobacco and pink pepper dissonance that is probably the ginger fighting with the citrus. They duke it out, but the jasmine swoops in and wins, creamy florals thickening the honey and lifting it two feet off the wrist for half the day.
There’s a shard of woody amber close to the skin, that cuts through the syrup and keeps it from being too cloying.

Nice, but over-refined. I’m aware of the chemicals, and honey should be raw, y’know?
TokyoMilk Honey & the Moon is wilder, with twice the sillage and longevity, in the same price range.

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This is a much sweeter, dirtier, synth honey.

Hierba Nera

Coreterno sample card and spray, with cheeky neo-baroque postcard of a lady with a high ruff collar and spray painted mask.

I love the opening–green citrus with good rasp of nutmeg, and a nice hit of pot funk–but in 15 minutes Hierba Nera (Black Grass) slides into smoky amber resins with lazy projection.
The base notes of miscellaneous wood musks last half the day on the skin, with no residue on cotton.

Leans to the oak-y end of unisex.

If the top notes took center stage, I’d be all up in a bottle–the art-house basement party vibe is delightful–but the high doesn’t last long enough to warrant the cost.

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Very fun video to a cool song.

Wild Fire

Discovery set sample pray and intense model with dark lipstick and smudges on her face, and maybe a bird nest on her head.

Raw Spirit calls this “warm and seductive,” though “stifling and carnal” might be more accurate–

I got clubbed with thick hot amber at first spray.
As I gasped for fresh air, the guy wrinkled his nose and said, “Huh. That’s really sexy.”

Eventually the amber simmered down to nice dusty sandalwood–tempered with jasmine, very close to the skin–that lasted most of the day, a spot of heat on the flesh, almost like a bruise.

I’d wear it for him, but I’d need some cooling sweetness–a breath of violet leaf, or maybe vanilla–to wear it for me.

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This Wildfire is quite spirited, and a bit raw.

Éclat de Rose

Tester strip of Versace bottle, spray sample and desiccated rose.

Opens with dry salty roses that are polite, but not shy. Sweet water seeps in after a half hour, with a cool wet/dry ambroxan musk, and some dusty pink incense smoke rises six inches from the skin all evening.
Lasts overnight on cotton, and leans to the floral end of unisex.

I like it.
A smart “no-nonsense” professor vibe, and a nice change from the lush, fleshy petal fruit preserves everywhere.
(Sadly, at this price our prof needs tenure at an Ivy League school.)

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This celebration of Joni is my mood today–

Song in D Minor

Margot Elena’s packaging is hard not to fall for–Victwardian collage with gold details and raised crests on the bottles–this one features a domed birdcage and sheet music.

TokyoMilk No. 13 opens with big white flowers, in a packed hot church kind of way–and even gets a bit sweaty a few minutes in.
The gardenia takes up a lot of elbow room, then slowly settles to a foot off the body with sticky amber that smells like the soap in the bathroom of a mortuary.

Lasts through the burial and the wake, and haunts your clothes for a week after.

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Sky–the super-group that you’ve never heard of–included the classical guitarist John Williams, the bassist Herbie Flowers and percussionist Tristan Fry, (who both did session work with everyone from the Beatles to Lou Reed to Elton John.)
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue is easily the most famous song in D minor ever.

Grand Amour

Amber filled Annick Goutal mini splash bottle, behind a spire of blue hyacinth.

A garden party of an earlier era–

Fruity hyacinth wine and Victorian button boots, damp spring earth and sheer amber musk.

Roses and jasmine and vanilla add a splash of sweetness. The flowers fade to the skin in a few hours, but leave green stains on the clothes for days.

Pretty, but Grand Amour needs to be a bit more exciting, for me to have Big Love at that price.

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This song is all Lindsey Buckingham, but Stevie Nicks does play her skirt really well.