Musk Deer

Zoologist bottle cutout paper tester, green cardamom pods, decant vial and enamel deer brooch.

Rude at first, then lovely.

Opens with loud fecal spice, like something large and furry shat cardamom pods in your personal space.
Just as your eyes start to water in protest, the cedar tamps down the fumes with some nice florals, and then the softest powdery musk takes over.
The orris root makes this brilliant–not like Lolita Lempicka’s pulverized violet candy–more fae monarchy walking in the forest, raising sugary pollen that glitters in the sun.

The base woods stay sweet on the on the skin for half the day, with the musk trailing a foot above.

Unisex. Leans delicate, after the feral beginning.

*

Music for modern elven kings:

Belle

Tocca mini cruets and sample spray with pink and gold card.

Uninspired pink lemonade and pale florals (that try really hard to be roses and lily of the valley) at first, but soon turns into a nice citrus musk with a cool metallic edge–a bit like Nestea iced tea in a can.

Young and safe–a good first date scent.
Stays in personal space for an hour, then drifts down to the skin over the next two. Gone by curfew.

*

This update of Anita Ward’s disco hit is NOT appropriate for a first date.

Punk Motel

Coreterno sample card and spray, with some artsy marketing swag featuring Baroque boys in tights.

One to wear with ratty Converse All Stars, sucking down an Orange Julius–while you’re shopping at Tiffany’s.
Like there’s a comfortable I-don’t-give-two-shits vibe, but it’s really high end.

Marshmallow citrus at the start, a bit of rose meringue in the middle, creamy vanilla and salty musk at the base. Rather than being sticky, the sugar is airy and light, yet also very rich.

Stays inside the clothes for half the day, and leaves a faint sweet funk on the cuffs ’til evening.
If I could actually afford to shop at Tiffany’s, I’d bathe in the stuff.

*

Best Stooges cover ever–

Illicit Flower

Mini Illicit Flower–a cut glass barrel bottle with a modern ice castle vibe–and mandarin oranges.

I’d call this one Illicit Citrus, but it’s actually quite safe and polite.

Starts with orange juice and orange blossomy rose that stays inside personal space for an hour, then eases to sheer jasmine musk with some sweet woods until noon.

Pleasant, but very little allure. A good one for a gift exchange–the bottle is lovely.

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This song is so pretty and strange–and weirdly apropos. We enjoy sweet scents meant to inspire hunger, yet so much of fashion is biased to the dangerously thin.

Noa Fleur

Pale pink capped spherical mini bottle, reflecting my garden upside down.

A little girl in frills pretending she likes black coffee.

Opens with sweet green, then big blowsy peonies and roses take over with a bit of vodka jam, but soon a weird dark sour note blooms underneath. Maybe the spices hit the musk at odd angles on me, but it’s just sort of awkward.

Lasts three hours too long and leaves faint black currant pee on the clothes.

*

This Doors song has been stuck in my head for a week–here’s a breathy feminine cover that rocks out nicely at the end.

Noa

Cacharel’s iconic peach shaped bottle with cape collar–the mini doesn’t have the little pearl inside–sitting in a mortar and pestle filled with coriander seeds.

What a fun little coffee-on-the-terrace scent!

Opens with some late 90’s fruity flower goodness, then warms up with espresso and coriander–the seeds, not the cilantro leaf, after the plant has bolted and the flower pods are ripening in the sun–warm and sweet and spicy.

The powdery musk in the center is soft and ageless and perfect for morning.

Doesn’t last terribly long, but it’s not pricey, so have another cuppa.

*

This is song is full of good post-quarantine vibes.

Dahlia & Vines

Jumble of Nest mini rollerball bottles with black caps, Dahlia & Vines with pink pompon flower in front.

Y’know how when you pop a bottle of Zinfandel and get a big grape-y whiff that’s sort of sweet and exciting, but when you actually taste the wine, it’s drier with less fruity notes than you expected, so you’re kind of disappointed, even though it’s a reasonably nice wine for the price?

*

This song by Kat Dahlia has no vines but is not disappointing at all.

3121

Cut crystal bottle with gold detail and filled with purple eau de parfum, and purple and yellow kaleidoscope graphic box.

3121 is a decent album, in the top third of the stack by the Great Purple One, but the fragrance is a total flop.

“Black Sweat” was an early single and a good song, a bit of a throwback to “Kiss,” but the dark sweaty notes this opens with are not kissable at all–they’re fetid body odor and lime shaving cream.
Eventually settles to grubby white flower musk, in an invasion of personal space for most of the day–a reflection of “Lolita,” perhaps–sweet, too young and weirdly dirty and desperate.
Sadly, rather than “Incense and Candles,” this finishes with sawdust funk and murky patchouli.

Download the album, skip the perfume.

*

Best song on 3121:

Éclat de Rose

Tester strip of Versace bottle, spray sample and desiccated rose.

Opens with dry salty roses that are polite, but not shy. Sweet water seeps in after a half hour, with a cool wet/dry ambroxan musk, and some dusty pink incense smoke rises six inches from the skin all evening.
Lasts overnight on cotton, and leans to the floral end of unisex.

I like it.
A smart “no-nonsense” professor vibe, and a nice change from the lush, fleshy petal fruit preserves everywhere.
(Sadly, at this price our prof needs tenure at an Ivy League school.)

*

This celebration of Joni is my mood today–

Song in D Minor

Margot Elena’s packaging is hard not to fall for–Victwardian collage with gold details and raised crests on the bottles–this one features a domed birdcage and sheet music.

TokyoMilk No. 13 opens with big white flowers, in a packed hot church kind of way–and even gets a bit sweaty a few minutes in.
The gardenia takes up a lot of elbow room, then slowly settles to a foot off the body with sticky amber that smells like the soap in the bathroom of a mortuary.

Lasts through the burial and the wake, and haunts your clothes for a week after.

*

Sky–the super-group that you’ve never heard of–included the classical guitarist John Williams, the bassist Herbie Flowers and percussionist Tristan Fry, (who both did session work with everyone from the Beatles to Lou Reed to Elton John.)
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue is easily the most famous song in D minor ever.