“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.
There’s something oddly coquettish about about this one, as if the perfume flirts with the wearer.
Opens with pink candy fruit and spring flowers (Do I get a whiff of banana or am I just looking for it because there’s one on the package?) that immediately settle to an inch above the skin, and stay there all day long, blanketed down by the softest wood musk– –but in that intimate space, Perfect is an attention seeker.
I can only smell it when I lift my hands near my face–during a drink from a glass, resting my chin on my fist, smoothing my hair–but those moments are intensely sweet and distracting, a private tease with a wink and a smile, meant just for me.
The notes aren’t that special (seems like rhubarb and cashmeran are in everything right now) and a bit too girlish for me, but the performance is clever and fun. I’d love to see more designers explore this topography.
Duran Duran’s cover of Lou Reed’s classic is perfection.
Bel Rebel’s interpretation opens with a tutti-fruity candy coated gum ball, loud and boisterous, the kind that clatters down the clear spiral base to ding the silver door of the coin machine. I get the orange flavored one, citrus tart and sweet. Sadly, the trace amounts of cloves aren’t enough to elevate it out of the candy dish–more sweet spice is needed to blend the fruit sours into that truly iconic bubblegum flavor. I’m reminded of Fruitchouli Flash, an earthier distant cousin, maybe.
Settles down to elbow length after half an hour, with a dusting of chalk powder and the faintest hint of mint. (I got sneezy for a minute, but perhaps not the fragrance’s fault? Cold-season and all.) (It’s 23 eff degrees outside, right now.) Nice, and sniffy–I’m aware of it as I type–but I wish the heart had a bit of L’Interdit‘s tuberose or jasmine to cream it up and give the opaqueness that the bottle suggests. Bubblegum isn’t clear–
Lasts half the day, slowly fading to lighthearted patchouli on the bottom, with some super soft musk, an inch above the skin through the evening. I like it. For the price, I’d hoped to love it.
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.)
Such a fun surprise! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this clever little multi-faceted cassis that shifts to vanilla leather and jasmine incense then powdery tonka musk and back again.
Bergamot makes for a fresh opening, with ylang-ylang and lily-of-the-valley keeping it sweet and licorice-ish for a good half hour. Then the florals get complicated and ever changing–a bit of suede from the marigold, rose tinged sandalwood, creamy orris dust–held to personal space for half the day by the black currant jam.
Unisex, cheerful, and very high end. There’s a Guerlain vibe to the airy sweetness, yet the base is grounded with an earthy Chanel weight–and it’s all combined with a quirky hit of Lolita Lempicka gourmand. I can’t help but love it.
Elsa Schiaparelli–a French designer who worked with surrealist artists Marcel Vertes and Salvador Dali–put this out in the 1940’s (though I’ve seen it cited 1937, too) as the bottom half to Shocking’s torso. It was re-released in the late nineties, and is apparently out of production, but unopened boxes are still available at reasonable prices. I may have to get a big bottle.