Violette

Promo card with Tocca’s Rococo crown, sample vial, and a purple viola from my garden.

The copy on the sample card is ridiculous–springtime on the Champs-Elysees does not awaken the spirit of love, unless you are turned on by sour sycamore trees, car exhaust and urine.
Also, African Violets have no fragrance.

Violette opens leafy green, with some sharp spice in a dinner salad gourmandish way, and a hint of black currant, (so perhaps they got the Paris pee right.) The ginger gets powdery sweet on the skin, with an odd note of pine tree, then it all disappears after 20 minutes.

If you’re collecting Tocca bottles (which are rather adorable), go for it, but don’t bother hunting this one down for the scent.
LUSH’s Kerbside Violet has ten times the urban violet vibe for the same price, and any of Marc Jacob’s Daisies are sweeter and longer lasting.

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Paisley Park produced J.J.’s first album–Prince’s stamp is all over this song.

Incanto Heaven

Mini peach colored handbag shaped flask with cerise butterfly motif, and suds.

Fruity bubble bath and Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal.
I would have loved this when I was ten.

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Mom was the hippest of hippies, Dad a classical musician, and at ten years old I was a bloodthirsty little punk, so of course Judy Collins’ cover of Pirate Jenny from Threepenny Opera was my protest song when asked to help with the housework.
Nina Simone covered it best, but I really like this recent one from Shilpa Ray with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Tocadilly

Mini frosted Rochas bottle with purple ball under the cone cap (the eau inside is pale green) and a stack of cucumber slices.

Quirky garden freshness, that goes backward in time through the day.

Starts at afternoon in the garden with loud cucumber and pear and sunny lilac, then gets wet and green with hyacinth, in a slow rewind to morning dew on the grass, until it slides back under the covers with comfy creamy-but-powdery woods on the skin.

A bit off-beat and rather nice.

Rochas seems to have stopped production, but sealed bottles can still be found on line for cheap.

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This fresh cover might you take you backward, too.

4711 Jasmine

Large 4711 bottle–with white detailing–and classic teal and gold mini flask in the background.

The Jasmine variant is actually less enjoyable than the Rose of 4711’s Floral Collection.

Here, jasmine and tea take the place of the fruit in the original, drying it up, with a bit of tonka at the bottom to give back a some sweetness.
But instead of making the iconic herbal neroli creamy, the jasmine turns it waxy, and everything becomes a big box Crayola crayons, melting in the sun.

Lasts a half hour with big inescapable greasy trails, then fades to a smudge of paraffin on the skin.
Normally I’d find a household use for a cologne I wouldn’t wear, but this one doesn’t even smell clean.

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Stardeath and the White Dwarfs is a cool experimental band out of Oklahoma.


Soleil

Large oval bottle with gold Fragonard sunburst cap, on verdigris brass sundial.

Jasmine and wisteria that span several decades.

Starts with big creamy-yet-spicy florals, a hit of 80’s soapy peaches and a squirt of 70’s disco rose pee, then gets powdery with late 90’s iris. Finishes up with a light sunny musk that’s brilliant on scarves.

For the woman who celebrates her laugh lines.

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A melancholy sun. She sang this tribute five days after Chris Cornell’s death.

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.

Sencha Bleu

Rectangular bottle with gold cap and double sided label printed with songbirds.

TokyoMilk #57 lists Hyacinth, Iris, Citrus Zest and Crisp Greens on the bottle, and there’s no false advertising there, aside from the “blue.”

This is a green scent, and cheerful.

A splash of green leaves, almost bamboo sweet, with a tiny hit of bergamot rind, and hyacinth–which comes across rather lilac–and a faint smear of petroleum jelly. Lasts an hour with six-foot sillage, then fades to the skin with a light summery-lawn musk.

Good for socially distant outdoor concerts.

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A pretty summer song. Not the best recording, but I like it.

Quercus

Mini Penhaligon’s bottle with gold tassel, and sprigs of variegated lemon thyme.

Quercus means oak, but I get lemon thyme.

Opens with a bright herbal splash of citrus, that lasts through a burst of green florals. Settles to the skin in twenty minutes with some moss musk for another hour.

Nice gardening vibes, but a bit pretty. This guy grows orchid varietals, rather than getting his hands in the dirt.

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Mood this morning.

Belle

Tocca mini cruets and sample spray with pink and gold card.

Uninspired pink lemonade and pale florals (that try really hard to be roses and lily of the valley) at first, but soon turns into a nice citrus musk with a cool metallic edge–a bit like Nestea iced tea in a can.

Young and safe–a good first date scent.
Stays in personal space for an hour, then drifts down to the skin over the next two. Gone by curfew.

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This update of Anita Ward’s disco hit is NOT appropriate for a first date.

Sunny Seaside of Zanzibar

Large 4711 flask–the glass is the palest amber–in a puddle of sunlight and water, with a seashell.

This is quite nice.

Opens with subtle wet fruit (the ad copy says watermelon and star anise, and I get it, after knowing what to look for) and sweet frangipani.
Coconut ebbs in with vanilla in a sheer musky suntan lotion that lasts an extraordinary long time for 4711–the “Acqua Colonia Intense” wears like good eau de toilette–three hours with arm’s length sillage.
I don’t get much of the woods on the dry-down, maybe a hint on my cotton cuffs, but there’s an unexpected smudge of caramel on the skin that I like.

Definitely unisex, but on masculine types this would come across as very luxe, a Tom Ford-ish Soleil for a tenth of the price.

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Slow easy sunny blues–I can’t wait for summer.