Be Delicious Fresh Blossom

Chrome DKNY mini apple filled with pale pink eau.

“It gets better,” a teacher once told me, and I clung to those words even through college.

Fresh Blossom doesn’t.

Starts summer school with fruit flavored sanitizing cleanser and Pert shampoo. The roses soon call attendance, sharp and artificial on wire stems, loud enough to make one wince.
A few hours later, the florals settle to apple woods, a smear of Yankee Candle MacIntosh that stains the clothes.

This one gets a passing grade only for the longevity.

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Wussy’s cover of the Beatles needs more play–it’s got a great Cowboy Junkies hits The Runaways feel.

Fiori d’Amore

Bvlgari promo card embossed with Allegra glass candy motif, and pink rose taffy and red hard candy.

“A magnificent floral expressing the loving exaltation of receiving a giant bouquet of roses” is some of the silliest ad copy ever written.

So… Yay, roses!
Woody tea hybrids with what is supposed to be a fancy new raspberry accord but actually smells of salted lemons, in a fun tequila shots vibe.
The fruity notes sweeten up as it drifts down to the skin over an hour or two. Not a cheap date for the performance, but good on hot summer nights spent eating spicy food with the fingers.

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Here’s a smooth take on a St. Germain classic.

Black Tulip

Little Nest roll-on bottles, the one in front showing a black label illustrated with a burgundy parrot tulip displaying a yellow pistil.

High school fruit-chuli.

Opens with ice cream parlor raspberry syrup, that the Nest site describes as black plum and black cherry. A few florals giggle as they pass by, then the patchouli kicks in like teenager’s antiperspirant, warming and sweet, for several hours before fading to the skin.

My mother grew Queen Of The Night tulips–the original black ones. They smelled faintly of green grass and a bit of nutmeg.

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Mozart’s iconic Queen of the Night aria is actually titled “When Hell Boils In My Heart,” and commands her daughter to commit patricide or she’ll disown her. (My first stepmother sang this–go figure.)

Kelis samples the famous trills in Like You, (and Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins is amazing) but this electronica remix is fun.

X For Women

Clive Christian tester packet on a china saucer. I’m not a fan of the cardboard “pull-and-press-here” samples–they’re one use only, usually tear, and dribble more than spray.

The smoothest peach smoothie that ever smoothed, sucked through a straw by Bettie Page. In full color.

Fruity, soft, creamy and boldly sexy–garnished with pale green jasmine that brings out the pineapple, for hours. Finishes with lovely sweet musk with a bit of smoke, pursed lips and a wink, erotic and flirtatious, yet genuine at the same time.

I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Gucci Rush, and I definitely smell the resemblance. However, X strips out the plastics and reblends with powdery orris and labdanam, elevating the peach out of vinyl album cover and into burlesque editorial.

The over 50¢ a spray is rather cost prohibitive–Clive Christian can seem more interested in selling his own price tag than a good perfume–but X goes on like really fine lingerie, as much an indulgence for oneself as for anyone else, with banging projection that lasts for ages.

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The smoothest–

Orchid Bloom

Shanghai Tang mini bottle with gold ball cap and blue symbol, with strawberries and blueberries.

Fruity wine with floral musk underneath.
The berries open strong and fun, but the orchid is too sheer, like its made of silk and chemical dyes. The musk on the bottom is delicate but loud–a bit shrill, to me.

Shanghai Tang is an amazing fashion house out of Hong Kong, with cross-cultural designs that lean kitschy in the best way.
The founder, Sir David Tang, was a fascinating guy–he was a philanthropist, socialite, business magnate, English professor, and newspaper columnist. His granddaughter runs the company now.

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AGA is a Cantopop star from Hong Kong. This one is off her latest album So Called Love Songs.

Rose Jam

Simple LUSH bottle with black cap, surrounded by pale pink rose petals.

Gourmand roses, to be eaten on toast.

Fruity citrus petal mash, exactly like the jelly I loved from the Turkish import store, perfect for little girls’ tea parties and big girl indulgences.
Loud lemony rose-hips at the start, with the faintest herbal green and sweet spice, and loads of sugar for hours and hours.
Eventually settles to floral caramel on the skin and cuffs, and stays there all day long.

Wear with lots of pink.

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Ebru Gündeş is a popular singer from Istanbul.
Google says the title of this song means “I Have a Lot of Business with You,” but translations of the lyrics have a much prettier vibe than that.

Dylan Turquoise

Mini sky-blue frosted amphora with gold chrome cap topped with Medusa medallion.

This gorgeous bottle opens with Red Lobster wet wipes that come with the plastic bib, and finishes with the guava shampoo at Great Clips.

Lasts a short daytime shift with stingy tips.
I’m rather sad about it–and now I want cheddar biscuits.

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Here’s a marvelous Dylan cover–Bettye LaVette is raspy soul greatness, and Larry Campbell (he’s been a studio guitarist for everyone from B.B. King to The Black Crowes, and toured with Bob Dylan himself) is phenomenal.

Jimmy Choo

Delicious Bosc pear and and mini brown glass bottle shaped like a pineapple (or a grenade?) with a silver cube lid.

Cruise ship pears, in a tacky self-indulgent way, and rather enjoyable, until the hangover hits.

Starts out with swanky fruit salad garnished with flowers, eventually takes a dip in an overly chlorinated pool, then smokes a Caramelo Joe cigar off the upper sun deck.

The headache slowly creeps in after the first hour, insidious, like the low grind of the boat motor that you try not to notice. Eventually you can’t ignore that you might be seasick, with regrets that you jumped too fast at the good price.

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How does Florence manage to make falling apart so pretty?

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.

Simply Pink

Fuchsia capped red-to-orange ombre rollerball bottle on mound of pink sugar.

Loud strawberry freezer pop, from the concessions kiosk at the middle school dance.
Artificial sweetened berry pulp with nuances of scented doll, and sassy caramel licorice on the bottom.
Fun, but could be overwhelming during a slow dance.

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This was the dance anthem when I was in junior high…