Lui

Guerlain long glass sample phial with pink eau, on black box embossed with gold foil sun face.

Big boss benzoin that morphs into cuddly cloves, and swanky.

Splashes on with spiced sipping vodka and a squeal of brand new tires, (I should probably spell it tyres, because these are definitely fancy imports) and cracks a leather licorice whip at everyone for a while.
Then it relaxes, and slowly settles just above the skin with soft smoky vanilla powder–rich sweet incense ash–and whispers complements all day long.

I’m crushing hard on this one.
Very unisex, but wouldn’t be offended by the assumption of male pronouns.

*

This grunge oldie is smoky and sweet, with a nice aggressive edge.

Rose and Me

Coreterno discovery set with Fornasetti style branding, sample spray, and black promo card with cool blue reflections.

Opens with spicy saffron roses, big and jammy, in Fort & Manle fashion.
Then lemon leaf geranium jumps in with a big splash–that flowers in the rain thing that Nest does–pleasantly tart and wet.
After an hour or so, a nice smoky tea brews, with patchi honey and Amouage’s woody rose incense.

The best performance of Coreterno’s perfume catalog, with fill-the-room floral sillage and semi-permanence on clothes. Hardly original, but that might be a part of their branding: a pastiche of beloved cliches that blend into a new but still familiar composition.

Not one I’d wear–this one would be more likely to wear me–but I’d love to huff on someone else, especially masculine types in retro neckties.

*

Here’s another pastiche of cliches done perfectly.

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.

*

Feeling this one today.

Catharsis

Palm reading sticker and sample card with arcane eye motif, and spray.

Garage metal shop–pleasantly sour earthy concrete, metallic dust with the smoke of flash sparks from a grinder, tools with wood handles that warm up with use–and spiced gumdrops.

Nice. Leans to the calloused fingertips end of unisex.
Lasts longer and louder on clothes than on skin, and makes one nostalgic for clove cigarettes.

*

Another metal catharsis.

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.

*

Mood this morning.

Sunny Seaside of Zanzibar

Large 4711 flask–the glass is the palest amber–in a puddle of sunlight and water, with a seashell.

This is quite nice.

Opens with subtle wet fruit (the ad copy says watermelon and star anise, and I get it, after knowing what to look for) and sweet frangipani.
Coconut ebbs in with vanilla in a sheer musky suntan lotion that lasts an extraordinary long time for 4711–the “Acqua Colonia Intense” wears like good eau de toilette–three hours with arm’s length sillage.
I don’t get much of the woods on the dry-down, maybe a hint on my cotton cuffs, but there’s an unexpected smudge of caramel on the skin that I like.

Definitely unisex, but on masculine types this would come across as very luxe, a Tom Ford-ish Soleil for a tenth of the price.

*

Slow easy sunny blues–I can’t wait for summer.

Bulletproof

TokyoMilk black mini bottle with white pistol illustration, and a marching line of .45 caliber bullets.

Fierce out of the bottle, smoked black tea with two sugars and burning cedar shavings, loud in personal space, soft outside.
Lasts three hours before sliding into nutty vanilla and dark woods on the skin for three more.

Aggressive but interesting, with enough sweetness to be inviting.
Recommended for corporate mercenaries and apocalypse vigilantes.

*

DAG: Angharad used to call them anti-seed.
CHEEDO: Plant one and watch something die.
~ Mad Max: Fury Road

Desert Blush

Sample vial and promo with blonde wearing a dred-wig and pink dress in a grassy field with a cloudy mauve sky.

The ad copy says “warm sophisticated floral” but all I get is sandalwood and cedar musk that turn dry and dusty, like old leather.
Where have all the flowers gone?

Good for aging cowboys and folk singers, I suppose.

*

This song has been translated into thirty languages, and got Pete Seeger inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Amazon Lily

Sample card with botanical drawing of a white lily, spray vial and other Nest mini bottles.

The first spray is a sanitizing citrus that fades to weird artificial fantasy flowers–they feel a bit Tim Burton-ish, like they might eat your brains with slurping noises.
The dry drown is very cool, a woodsy musk that does a chilly freshwater slow dive that lasts for hours and hours.

Masculine, in a modern knight errant on a trippy quest way, but a Lady-of-the-Lake could pull it off, too.

*

Tim Burton directed this cute video for the Killers.

Lampblack

Lampblack bottle test strip and decant vial, and a grapefruit.

This smells like a flirtation at the race track on a sunny day–with a tumbler full of Gin & Juice on the side.

Delightfully bitter citrus, and ebony black oily resins–new tires and gear oil and leather and asphalt, all inky surfaces that get a touch of sweetness as they heat up–that stay close to the skin for the afternoon.

It’s weird but fun, and I really like the dichotomy of it.
Minerals gone organic and wild and dark, but bright and warm at the same time, and strangely inviting.

Leans masculine, but I’d wear it on high heel boot days–definitely on the Want-a-Full-Bottle list, and now I’m curious about the rest of the line.

*

One part Beefeater’s gin, three parts Ruby Red grapefruit juice. Pour over good ice and garnish with lime.