reflectionsThere’s a high-end bridal shop dressing room vibe from this one–jasmine and chrome with infinite good taste.

Airy white flowers, with enough sandalwood on the bottom to make it shiny smooth.

The wet violet note on the bottom lingers longest, into the late afternoon.

Mirror Lover is kind of shiny and smooth, too.

Low Key Lyesmith

loki edge“Black clove and cassia flung onto glowing cinders and mingled with slow-dripping poisons.”
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s description beats even my purple prose–but it’s spot on.

Bright green leaves with that black currant sting, then–CLOVES. Big loud sweet woody spice, with a breath of smoke and an unnecessary dash of dirty cinnamon. After an hour it dries down to powder, a smudge of gingerbread dust and vanilla on the skin.

More insidious than godlike, but definitely good for tricky witchery.

Here’s an insidious witchy song with an awesome Bond-girl vibe.

Private Collection

Private CollectionI love the opening, a magician’s big poof of flowers hidden in a sleeve.
They turn green quickly, facefuls of huge leafy citrus blooms with extra greenery, and woodsy patchouli stems by the armload.

Private Collection came out in 1973, but doesn’t bare the civet fangs that were so popular then–the base is cedar and bright spice a few feet from the skin. The dry down on clothes is wildflower sweet for two days.

The top notes are so fun, and the finish is pretty, but the middle feels like I’ve been whumped in the chest by the biggest bridal bouquet ever thrown.

This one first came out then, too.


Confessions of a Garden Gnome

Confessions of a Garden Gnome edgyOpens with bergamot then rolls around on forest floor with violet leaf and lily-of-the-valley for a few hours.
Finishes with musky rose and wet ambergris on the skin.

Very brooding male pixie.
I love it.

(I may have posed in a compromising photo with a certain lawn ornament, many many years ago…)

This duo from Cleveland is doing fun things with music and video.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint PhalleI was sixteen when I saw the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, and fell in love with Niki de Saint Phalle’s wonderful sculptures.
She released her perfume in 1982–as a way to fund her life-long Tarot Garden sculpture project–with a variety of illustrated bottles, including a zodiac series called Eau Defendue.

The eau de toilette opens with peaches and wormwood, and mint–that has just enough of a toothpaste-and-orange-juice dissonance to make one wake up and pay attention, not unlike the vibrant color-blocking of her sculptures–weird and bright, yet pretty.
Carnation and patchouli and some green-dyed-leather twists it around for several hours, and woodsy moss covers the skin for the rest of the day.

Jean Tanguely, Niki’s partner, insisted that moss be allowed to grow on the Centre Pompidou sculptures, as Nature’s contribution to the art–so it can’t be a coincidence that the perfume carries the same green notes.

For more about the artist and her Tarot Garden, check out this New Yorker article.

Igor Stravinsky (watch a video of him conducting here) was a huge influence on John Williams, as well as The Beastie Boys, who sampled The Firebird Suite in two of their songs from Hello Nasty.
I like to think Niki de Saint Phalle, whose artistic style included found materials and juxtaposed media in her feminist compositions, might have approved of this cover by Robyn Adele Anderson. (And the guy on the Theremin is awesome!)


calycanthus edgesVintage solifleur.

Opens sharp and sweet, like peaches, then settles into soft green forest floor leaves with a cinnamon/curry melange–calycanthus is also called “spice-bush” and “sweet-shrub” in the US–and ends with ferns with cardamom spoor.

Interesting and unusual.
Released in 1970 as part of Bosari’s Library of Fragrance, but I don’t know if it was sold apart from the reference set.
It’s a spicy scent–reminds me of the curry-plants the herb guy at the farmer’s market sells.

Le Orme is a prog-rock band out of Italy, formed in 1966. They’re still around today.

Voyage d’Hermès

voyage d'HermesA trip to India, for spices and Darjeeling and marigolds.

Opens with big bright lemon and brash cardamom–heaping handfuls still in their green pods.
There’s an interesting warm-and-cool, push-pull to the top notes that keeps it from settling down–and it stays that way, fresh from the citrus, yet powdery with the spice–for several hours at arms length.

Eventually green tea musk slides in, soothing it down and pulling the sillage in. Finishes with a breath of woody flowers on the skin.
A lovely scent for summer daytime wear.

Stromae is a Belgian musician who also manages to be both dry and refreshing (and  stylish–his design line, Mosaert, is gorgeous!) His first hit came out in 2010, the same time as the fragrance.