Lampblack

Lampblack bottle test strip and decant vial, and a grapefruit.

This smells like a flirtation at the race track on a sunny day–with a tumbler full of Gin & Juice on the side.

Delightfully bitter citrus, and ebony black oily resins–new tires and gear oil and leather and asphalt, all inky surfaces that get a touch of sweetness as they heat up–that stay close to the skin for the afternoon.

It’s weird but fun, and I really like the dichotomy of it.
Minerals gone organic and wild and dark, but bright and warm at the same time, and strangely inviting.

Leans masculine, but I’d wear it on high heel boot days–definitely on the Want-a-Full-Bottle list, and now I’m curious about the rest of the line.

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One part Beefeater’s gin, three parts Ruby Red grapefruit juice. Pour over good ice and garnish with lime.

Winter Oak

Sample spray and ad with righteously pouting blonde who should be allowed to wear more clothes when it’s that cold.

The ad copy says “smooth creamy warming” but I get “edge of the forest hermit.”

The first spray is a burst of sour citrus and vegetables with herbs, in a messy sun-drenched garden way, then everything gets spicy, woody cloves and earthy peppercorns for an hour on the skin.
The end is a slow fade of soft with smoky firewood that’s still a bit too green to burn.

I’d really enjoy this on a guy, which is funny, because the guy said he’d enjoy it on me.

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Winter came back yesterday, for one last kiss.

La Fin Du Monde

Etat Libre d’Orange paper test of bottle (with orange radioactive symbol label) sample spray and box, and seasoned popcorn.

The End of the World definitely starts with a bang.

Opens noisy, an explosion of salt and pepper popcorn that leaves one thirsty, then the minerals seep in, metal smoke and charred woods, and concrete rubble. The fallout stays dominant on clothing, but after an hour or two flowers grow on the skin, powdery with a bit of ash, soft and strange.

Weirdly violent, in a post-apocalyptic movie way, and hopefully not prophetic.

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This is easily the best song on Achtung Baby.

Rose of No Man’s Land

Velvet rose with paper test of Byredo bottle, and decant vial.

The ad copy for Rose of No Man’s Land lists rose, pink pepper, raspberry blossom, papyrus and white amber.
I can pick out those notes, but all together it smells like the green-room at a drag show.

Ms Turkisha Petals camps out at the snack table–salty corn chips and berry ginger-ale–until Rose d’Red threatens her wig with pepper spray. Eventually Amber Oralgami sashays in after her paper dolls routine, to collapse on the sofa for a few hours.

Statuesque, sweet and savory, and a little chaotic in the best way.

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Annie Lennox’s ironic hit is a drag show regular.

Poppy & Barley

Poppy & BarleySweet yet somehow dusty–pleasant for dry autumn days, and Jane Austen novels.

A wake-up splash of sweet whiskey mash with some soft fruit, then calms down to an easy earthy floral a few inches above the skin for half an hour.
Slowly fades to sheer musk with a hint of ripening grain.

Comparing it to the source (I cook with barley in the winter, so I had some on hand) was fun–I could definitely find the powdery sweetness of the kernels.


Love this instrumental on an old classic–

Cafe Tuberosa

cafe tuberosa
Atelier Cologne sample spray on test card with image of yellow bottle with red label.

Fun.

Cocoa and loud roses, orange zest and white flowers. Coffee kicks in after 15 minutes and settles into personal space for another quarter hour.
The chocolate sticks to the skin, but the citrus lingers longer on clothes.

I’d like it on a guy, too–a laid back type who wears floral print shirts and has a good belly-laugh.


This one is also fun and laid back.

Vaara

VaaraStrangely sweaty in a four seasons way.

First sniff is wilting tulips and grubby spring earth, then humid summer roses bloom for a bit before fall spice takes over with sweet curry funk. Finishes with a cool murky aquatic on the surface of the skin.

The notes list quince, carrot seeds, coriander and peony; benzoin and cedar and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t suss out, but would have liked to experience.


This bit of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is much more exciting.

Clementine California

clementine californiaThis one missed the mark on me.
There’s a weird rough plastic note that swallows up the fruit–like the mesh bag holding the Halos is consuming them–then some vague pine arrives and immediately soaks into the skin.

The ad copy talks about spices and herbs but I get nothing fun like that. Maybe I’ll give it another try when the weather is less January.


A more fun California.

Attaquer le Soleil

attaquer le solielMarquis de Sade–Attack the Sun.

On first blind sniff, I get an earthy animalic lemon with some smoky cedar resin. It’s marvelous, almost like wet oil paints–complex and changing with a hint of sweetness. Even my cat got nosy.

So I looked up the description, and discovered it’s pure labdanum. Rock-rose, and that’s all. The designer apparently doesn’t like it, so he made a solifleur in an attempt at immersion therapy.

Labdanum is at the heart of two of my favorites by LUSH, Tank Battle and Rentless, grounding the clove and the aniseed. On its own, it becomes airier, balsamic and musky, and decadent.

Projects at arms length for an hour, and on the skin for three more.


“How many times, good God, have I not wished it were possible to attack the sun, to deprive the universe of it, or to use it to set the world ablaze –” Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom

Another riff on the decadent Marquis: