Urban Hero

Mini flask of pale green eau on a brown leather jacket.

Leather with nice manners.

Peppery sweet limes ease into smooth wood, wrapped in a bomber jacket with a satin ambergris lining.

Not pushy, but not a pushover, either. The spicy citrus stays light and refreshing in personal space, but the animalics laying just above the skin have some weight.

I’d chat him up if he sat next to me on the subway–

*

Star Cross’d

Gold capped bottle and canister with marvelous unicorn constellation and celestial motifs on blue.

Five stars for the packaging, I’d like that design as a mural on my ceiling, but the first spray is a synthetic, skin-burning, cleaning solvent mess, and it doesn’t get better.

TokyoMilk #87 lists citrus leaves, water lily, frankincense and vetiver, which somehow adds up to the most abrasive lemon oil ever–
After fifteen minutes murky pond weeds grow a foot off the skin, just to add further insult, but luckily the base takes care of that with a nice dose of Pine-Sol fumes.

Might be a good one to keep for when guests call to say they’re coming by, and you can’t be arsed to clean–you’ll at least smell like they’ve interrupted you scrubbing the floor.

*

I’m fairly picky when it comes to covers of this song–Seven Nations’ is good, and so is Rick Springfield’s, but today I need Jimmy Little’s soothing version.

Aqua Allegoria Passiflora

A gold topped beehive mini bottle with pale pink eau on a white box with magenta accents.

A tropical fruit freshie that disappears from the skin in 30 minutes, leaving a sour baby-spit-up stain on clothes.
I get none of the promised ylang-ylang or crystalline lagoon waters, and I’m rather annoyed about the whole experience.

The brand website irritated me even more, with its suggestions for layering this scent with others in the latest collection.
At $140 a bottle, we’re paying you to properly blend the fragrance, Guerlain.

*

A good bad mood song.
(The whole album is awesome.)

Macaque Yuzu Edition

The new Macaque promo and vial, with a tired lemon and a bottle of bleach.

So the Zoologists cleaned the monkey cages with lemon scented Clorox.
Now the bleach musk augments the animalics for an uncomfortable hour before fading into resinous pine trees, but I appreciate the removal of the rotten fruit from the original Macaque.

Dries down to long-lasting Mtn Dew and turpentine that’s sweeter on cotton than skin.
Better, but still not the most fun exhibit at the Zoo.

*

StellaCorvo (sounds better the Italian) and Cris Pinzauti–who does lots of neat looped stuff–on Peter Gabriel’s classic.

Incanto Bloom

Mini handbag shaped pink flask and gold and red floribunda tea rose.

Honestly, I’m only writing this one up because it’s the last in the gift set and I need closure.
And the photo turned out cute and I have some time to kill while waiting to get my COVID-19 booster vax.

Incanto Bloom might be the most heinous of the collection.
(No, lady giving me the stink-eye for sneezing, I’m not contagious.)

So this mess goes on with grapefruit rind and curried sawdust, then delivers a bouquet of artificial roses before dying a sad musky death. Luckily, it doesn’t last long.

The disconnect between Ferragamo’s clothing and footwear design standards (their boots are marvelous) and this entire Incanto line of fragrances is hard to understand. The house knows what quality is, they’ve just chosen not to produce it.

(Get your booster shot, yeah? This crap isn’t over yet.)

*

Maroon 5’s hit came out in 2010 too–doesn’t last long either, but it’s more fun.

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.

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.)

Excess

Matte black rectangular bottle with white octopus illustration.

TokyoMilk #28 lists amber resin, oak bark, blood orange, and patchouli–and they’re easily identifiable and rather nice.

The orange is sharp–not juicy, but pleasantly pithy–bolstered by the oak, which carries a bit of root-beer sweetness. The patchouli deepens the blend without taking over, listing more toward sailor than mermaid.

Excess is pleasant and polite, lingering in intimate space for half the day, and a lot less Lovecraftian than the black bottle, name and octopus illustration advertise. (I was hoping to get to use the words squamous, eldritch, and abnormal in this write-up, but sadly, no.)

*

Here’s a cool cover of the creepy tune from Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

Savage Belle

TokyoMilk bottle and cylindrical canister, featuring a yellow striped black kingsnake, and nightshade, foxglove and amaryllis (all poisonous flowers.)

TokyoMilk No. 68 lists Warm Ginger, Bergamot, Charcoal Accord and Wisteria on this new one, but I don’t get much of that.

There’s a splash of sugar-free Canada Dry at the beginning, and a hint of guttering candle in the middle–but it’s gone in thirty minutes. A wisp of purplish citrus clings to cuffs for another hour.

The packaging is gorgeous, though.

*

This song is a bit more savage.

Valentino Uomo Acqua

Cut crystal mini flask with tiny cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Lovely tomato greens honed sharp with citrus, but then they soften–the sage takes the iris and turns it into that dusty rime on herb plants, rather than sweet powder.
Then Acqua (an odd name for this flanker because I don’t find it aquatic at all) slowly eases down to high quality Italian shoes, but they’re green and soft, keeping some of that suede texture that both sage and tomato leaves have.

Refreshing and smart–lasts half the day in personal space, longer on cuffs.

*

Bassi was one of the founders of the Italian hip-hop scene–this one came out in 2017, the same year as Uomo Acqua. My favorite line (that translates well into English) is “I have always been half rapper, half man, divided halfway between the sky and Milan.”