Lavenda Alpina

Tiny Borsari 1870 bottle with pine tree graphic label, and sprig of fresh lavender.

Lavender is distinct and multi faceted–a good one for testing the post-Covid nose.

The guy likes the soothing aspects–I put a drop of oil on his dryer sheets sometimes–to him it’s relaxing and clean.
I find it invigorating and spicy, a refreshing addition to lemon cookies and roasted potatoes.

First out in 1929, unisex Lavenda Alpina opens sharp, soapy with a vodka note, floral herbs with camphor, some alpine fir aromatics. I get all this, thank goodness, and from the source, too, when I rub the plant leaves.
The eau settles down quickly to the skin–but my sense of smell is definitely on the fritz, because I know this has better projection than what I’m getting right now–with sugary citrus and licorice feels. This is my favorite part of lavender fragrances, the bright sweet-savory-spicy heart, almost gourmand-ish. (What Would Love Do? by LUSH captures this gorgeously.)
Sadly, I get almost nothing of the base notes. There should be a bit of moss roughing up the bottom, and the soft woods–a bit resinous, like sweet balsam–that dried lavender flowers hold for years, are just not coming to me yet.

I’ll keep at it.

Lavender tips from my garden, cobalt bottle of essential oil, and a dried herb wand with purple ribbon, handmade by a friend using plants from a local pick-your-own farm.

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I love this little-known Kinks tune, a bonus track on an album remaster.

Paris – Biarritz

Chanel promo card and sample spray.

Absolut Citron vodka and green bell peppers an inch off the skin for an hour or so.
Unisex and pleasant–a polite one to wear on the train, but nothing special.

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This song IS something special.
Stone Gossard (of Pearl Jam and Mother Love Bone) and Adam Levine did an amazing cover of this one at the I Am The Highway tribute concert. It’s worth tracking down for a listen–I’m not always a fan of Maroon 5 but Adam has a range as broad as Chris Cornell, and this tune needs it–that whole show was amazing, but today is rainy and gray and I just need the original.

Summer Rain

Sample vial and ad with a naked blonde in a field, modestly clutching a scarf that must have blown off in the breeze, with dramatic clouds overhead.

Touted as “fresh invigorating citrus” and Summer Rain is very much that–lime and grapefruit, like a early a.m. wake up call, that warms up to the citronella bite of cedar shingle siding in the sun.
Might make a nice insect repellent (so hard to find bug sprays that actually smell pretty, whines the girl who lived in Vermont marshlands for ten years) though it lasts only an hour or so.

This was the final spray of my discovery set from Raw Spirit.
I have some feelings about the ad copy that talks about their celebration of the world’s diversity and mentions responsibly sourced rare materials from the Australian Outback, the Caribbean and Bali–yet the model in all the photos is a pale blonde, which seems contrary to what the brand represents.
But the ingredients are obviously high quality, and feel like luxury oils on the skin rather than chemicals.
The scents all have an earthy herbal vibe, and the ones I liked best–Winter Oak and Mystic Pearl–seem more suited for masculine types. I’d not recommend blind-buying any of them, but their sample sets aren’t expensive.

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Feeling Etta on this one today.

Pamplelune

Medium Guerlain bottle with gold beehive lattice neck and ball cap, with a mini bottle doing something suggestive to a pink grapefruit half.

Grapefruit pith in the best way, a smart bitterness that slides to sweet throughout the day.

There’s a weirdness, a uniqueness to it that is almost distracting–I’m sniffing my wrist every few seconds, wondering if it still smells the same as the last huff I took. (How much of my enjoyment is just an oxygen rush?)

The performance is a lot of fun. Begins like an herba fresca cologne, a bright wake me up of citrus zest with a tart bite of fruit, then it cools down to a few inches above the skin and stays there, slowly growing soft with vanilla, with the tenacity of an eau de parfum.

Wonderful.
Marketed to women, but would be delightful on anyone.

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Feeling this one today.

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.


Lychee & White Mint

4711 flask with carmine label and box with illustration of a lychee plant.

I’m not usually one for mint in fragrances, and most of the Acqua Colonias I’ve tried have been exactly what they advertise, so I’ve avoided this one for a while.
But I like lychees, and I was curious what 4711 might actually do with “white mint,” and since it would fade in 15 minutes anyway, and it didn’t cost much–so why not?

Ugh.
Opens with a big swish of eye-watering mouthwash that sits fuming on top of the body like camphor rub.
And stays there–making the nose-hairs curl in despair as the pale floral lychee breezes on with a fleeting wave–for half an agonizing hour. Eventually dissolves to spearmint gum–that’s had all the sweetness chewed out–on the skin.

Too much mentholated hospital disinfectant vibes to even use as a room spray.

Try it, if you might enjoy wearing Listerine antiseptic wash.
I don’t.

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A very cool song (and hysterical video) by Mint Royal–

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.

Karma

A pot of Karma solid perfume, on the iconic blue, red and white box of Satya Sai Baba incense.

Dreamcicle orange vanilla ice cream pop and Nag Champa incense, done quite well. Sweet, herbal and spicy with nice urban hippie overtones.

The solid floats in personal space with sweet citrus for a good two hours before a slow melt into the flesh. The consistency is a bit waxy but not drying–works brilliantly as a cuticle cream.
The liquid lasts forever on paper, until laundry on cotton, and a day on skin–with more of the pine and patchi base.
I love both.

Sadly, a little hard to find sometimes. LUSH is fairly upfront about world trade and the sporadic availability of natural resources–and some of their fragrances only wind up in bigger metropolitan stores.
I’ll get a back-up bottle next I see one.

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I’ve always loved this song, and the video is a costume dream–

Mandarine & Cardamom

Cut crystal 4711 Acqua Colonia flasks, the bottle in front with an orange and gold label.

The first spray is a bright sweet puff of Tang powder, crystal clear sugary orange, that settles down to the skin in 60 seconds.
A bit of herbal citrus peel lingers with some green spice for a quarter hour, a little longer on clothes.

Lovely and refreshing.
Wear to breakfast.

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This song makes me both happy and a little melancholy.

Green Tea & Bergamot

4711 cut crystal spray bottle and box with drawing of bergamot branch and green tea leaves.

A quick tea with lemon cookies and Earl Gray.

Two bites of citrus frosted baked goods, three sips of bergamot flavored Dragonwell, then it’s gone, no crumbs left behind.
A refreshing spritz good anytime, for anyone.

Also nice on dinner linens.

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This cover of Joni’s gem is another quick mood boost–