At Last

Mini bottle with white lacy floral motif, and metal tube of lotion with the same design on yellow.

Overly friendly envelope glue and laundry starch.

And the “handcreme”, though nice and rich, smells even more deliberately boring.
I’m not one for lotions, but I’ve been gardening today–my neighbor (who probably wore some slinky Chanel back in the day, but doesn’t bother with all that silliness now) gave me a Dior sized heap of lily-of-the-valley bulbs–so my knuckles are thirstier than a pumice stone.

I have no idea why Margot Elena thought anyone would want to smell like this.
Lollia This Moment is a much better choice–not weird or fusty at all–and the bottle is cuter.

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Also not frumpy:

Lavender & Thyme

Cut crystal flask with a purple and gold label, and blooming lemon thyme from my garden. (My herbs did really well this spring!)

A nice clean herbal, but almost too soapy to wear on the skin–I feel itchy in it, like I haven’t rinsed enough.
This one stays in the laundry room, to spritz on wet towels before they go into the dryer. (Did you know fabric softener sheets make your towels less absorbent?)
Doesn’t last long, even on cotton, but the folding is more fun.

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Insolence

Small frosted Guerlain bee bottle with purple label and pink eau, with strawberries.

Scintillating strawberry baby powder.
Brilliant, with a delicate dissonance that shifts between sparkling floral dust and sweet berry syrup, for hours and hours.
Chaotic, with the lure of a candy shaped bar of soap, and easily worn by anyone from age 9 to 90–

–unless if you happened to be in elementary school in 1980.
Because this smells exactly like Strawberry Shortcake doll hair.

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Here’s another dissonant Insolence that works well:

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Poe’s Tobacco

A white cat sniffs an apple on a green leather bound collection of Edgar Allan Poe, with a TokyoMilk bottle featuring a raven.

“Long Covid” is a thing.
I’m getting better, just more slowly than I thought. It’s been 10 months, now.
(The guy hasn’t got his taste back properly, and says the sky looks pinker than it should.)
The waves of exhaustion come and go, with joint pain popping up in odd places–a ghost in the machine–and shrouding sensations that make me doubt my nose and my playlists.

Sometimes my most beloved songs seem flat, the blues going gray.

I took a break from the sniff tests for a few months, nervous that my receptors were too scarred to function properly.
I’ve found comfort in my old favorites–Tank Battle has been a constant through this two-steps-forward-one-step-back recovery–spraying more, pressing my nose deeper into my skin, rejoicing at the familiar notes in the muted performance.
Not all have stayed the same, though.

Poe’s Tobacco–which used to be an autumn go-to, with apples and amber and tea–now seems more summery, orchard blossoms and sun in trees, and maybe some jasmine I wasn’t aware of before.
The tobac still gives it depth, but the woods lean more floral now, and less toward books in shadowy corners. I’m sad about it, that the niche-but-accessible cleverness has worn off.

A nice, easy to find vintage–but not quite as offbeat and fun as I remember.
I hope it’s just me.

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A haunting rendition that still rings true.

Sunflowers

Amber eau mini capped with white, with a yellow flower crest, sitting on a pile of salted seeds, against a flag blue background.

“Take these seeds and put them in your pocket, so sunflowers will grow when you die here.” -Ukrainian curse

Elizabeth Arden’s iconic 90’s soapy melon salad smells of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, Beanie Baby pellets, and Bill Clinton’s saxophone spit, and nothing like sunflowers, or war.

I’m a bit sideways today. The world seems unreal, sometimes.

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The Ukranian Armed Forces asked a soldier–Taros Borovok–to write them a fight song, the day Putin invaded. He praises the Turkish combat drones that slowed the Russian forces that day.

And Soul

White bottle with gold cap and graphic anatomical heart, on a linen tea towel, with hand sifter, sprinkled with all purpose flour.

Orange flour water.
Seriously, this stuff has a weird dusty bread dough thing going on.
The bottle says Oolong Tea, Bamboo Reed, Orchid & Air (whut?) and White Musk, but I get sweet uncooked enriched buns, with that puff of powdery steam when you punch the rise down.

Doesn’t last or project much. Leaves a smudge of sugary floral musk on the skin for a few hours, but that’s all.
A good gift for home cooks.

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I’m hungry, now.

Zoa Night Perfume

Marvelous swirling black bottle with frosted flower shaped cap–Regine’s classic bottle shape has a bit of a can-can dress vibe.

A fun and inexpensive vampy amber floral–
I love the big citrus champagne opening, fresh and flirty, though I wish it lasted longer before dissolving into the pink flowers. The vanilla at the bottom stays close to the skin for most of the day, with faint patchi amber an inch above.

There’s a joyful retro feel that makes me think of secondhand shoppes that cater to drag royalty and couture collectors, and sell Pop Rocks and Lemonhead candy at the register.

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This one was a hit in France in 2009, too.

Jasmins Marzipane

Sample spray of pale pink eau, on promo card featuring bottles from the Maison Lancome collection.

This is so marvelously intriguing–a simple white floral that’s really a James Bond femme fatale in disguise.
Comes in with a big hello of jasmine to the entire room, begging questions at social distance–Is that violet? patchouli? heliotrope? cigarette ash?–then winks with a smirk, because no, they’re actually almonds and cashmere musk being clever.
Vanilla and sandalwood leave long trails in personal space like theme songs that get stuck in the head for hours and hours.

Bold and smart, and not as sweet as first impressions might give.

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A 007 twist that makes Katy Perry’s classic intriguing again–(I adore PMJ.)

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.

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

Untold

White cat with a pink nose sniffing a crystal mini bottle with quilt lines cut into the sides. There’s a hint of cassis-catness in Untold, so use a light touch.

A wealthy aunt perfume. She spends more on handbags than her nieblings pay for tuition, but she gives cool birthday gifts and is the first one they come out to.

Cut glass pears and white flowers, with a sprinkle of ground pepper. Ends on folding money musk and soft patchouli.
Not bad.

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Woke up with this stuck in my head this morning–it’s raining, too warm for December but I’m not complaining.