Peach Me

Sample spray and promo package, with bottle test strip and some candle tins to make my photo a little less boring.

or, Kirkland’s in liquid form.

Seriously, this stuff opens with nice juicy tropical peach dangling-from-the-mirror car air freshener, or maybe even the clip-onto-the-vent-because-my-dog-barfed-on-the-way-to-the-vet, you-can-buy-it-in-wax-melts-too kind.
The fruit fades to the skin over the next six hours into spice mix potpourri from the store at the mall that starts selling cinnamon scented pine cones in September.

If you can afford to splurge, Tom Ford’s Bitter Peach is the surreal masterpiece–but an awesome, long lasting succulent peach for a tenth the cost of Bel Rebel is Outremer PĂȘche. Or if you want that retro spice bottom, go with Dior’s Dolce Vita.

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Proper nasty punk Peaches, that you won’t hear on the Muzak speakers in Kirkland’s.

Starfruit & White Flowers

Mini 4711 flask with bright yellow and gold accented label, on a dish with starfruit.

Starfruit & White Flowers is a lovely fruity floral, with crystalline green peachy-citrus notes, their sweetness carried deeper by the gardenia-neroli mashup. Pretty and linear, projects across the room for 10 minutes, then settles to the skin over the next half hour.

I’ve enjoyed most of the 4711 Acqua Colonia offerings, but this one is rather special–delicate, refreshing and cheerful, and even a bit sexy in a see-through summer evening sundress way–
–but there’s also a crisp sugary vibe that works for daytimes in winter, too.

Very sniffy and maybe a little addictive.

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Just in case you haven’t heard this one–

Junk

Small glass pot of purple solid perfume with black lid.

Oh, Junk, how I love you–one part Tiger Balm, one part black currant cough drops–you heal my soul with comforting ’70s vibes of beaded doorway curtains and rusty VW micro-buses, JOB rolling papers and Aquarian tarot decks.

The solid is much preferable to the spray, so it can be rubbed into the skin like a curative salve. Apply every four hours or as needed.

My little pot expires next year. I cannot wait until someone asks me what I’m wearing, so I can nonchalantly say, “Just some old Junk I had.”

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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.

Perfect

Mini bottle with blue plastic bow on top and box with sketchy illustration of a banana on the side.

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.

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Duran Duran’s cover of Lou Reed’s classic is perfection.


Quatre en Rouge

Red promo card and white topped sample spray.

A trumpet with a mute, playing jazzy raspberries in a roomful of roses that’s too small to contain them.

The red apple opening hits sharp, the petals fall flat, and the metallic musk bass line, though sweet, is way too brassy to wear indoors.

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“You’d never know it, but buddy, I’m a kind of poet
And I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to say…”

Classic Lady Day, with Harry “Sweets” Edison on the trumpet.

Bubble Gum

Pink ceramic bottle and Dum-Dum bubble gum lollypops.

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.

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I do love this–

Gold Fresh Couture

Gold window cleaner shaped mini bottle, metal shot rag scrap and an ochre pear.

A sweet cheapie that works hard at school and doesn’t make their parents nervous–
Cheerful pear and vanilla with a touch of floral woods to keep it from turning into melted ice cream.

Reasonable performance and would pair well with any off-the-shelf hair product in existence.
For Ages 13 and up.

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I’m really enjoying Moschino’s aesthetic right now–check out this new collection, upbeat campy fun that couldn’t give a flying fuck about binary gender expectations.

Planningtorock’s electropop “Girl You’ve Got My Heart” was used in Moschino’s wonderfully inclusive 2022 Spring-Summer walk, but “Much To Touch” is my favorite.

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.)