Cotton & Almond

A cut glass flask of cologne in a cannister of Quaker oatmeal.

The almond turns into nutty field grains and the cotton into cardboard–exactly like the bottom of a can of Old Fashioned Oats.
The label touts the word “Comforting” in several languages–and a nice bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon is a lovely comfort food–but sadly this has none of that indulgence.

Healthy, dusty and earnest.

*

A more fun Cotton.

Angel Iced Star

Tweedle-dick bluepoint cat sticking his nose into my punny shot of a sample spray vial on an ice cube.

Angel Iced Star is the best Piña Colada ever:

Blend until smooth-
4 parts pineapple juice
2 parts ice
1 part Coco Lopez cream of coconut
2 parts Malibu Coconut Rum
Top with vanilla flavored whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg.

I could drink these all day long–but I wouldn’t want to smell like I bathed in them.

*

I remember ’70’s summers and all the parents on the block getting stoned and making the kids virgin coladas, and telling us to go out and play and not come home until dusk–

Delicious Delights Cool Swirl

Frosted DKNY apple, the top half pale green, with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio

Cool Swirl is a trip through our nearest Korean grocery, with the produce that smells of sweet greens and strange fresh fruit, the dairy case full of coconut water, the shelves of flower scented cosmetics, ending at the freezer chest by the register, filled with melon popsicles and Bravo pistachio treats.

Lasts a half hour in intimate space and becomes a faint skin scent of musk and ice cream.
(For longer satisfaction skip the scent and grab a pint of B&J’s.)

*

I really should have chosen BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez’s “Ice Cream” but it makes my head hurt, so here’s Tom Waits instead.

Jasmins Marzipane

Sample spray of pale pink eau, on promo card featuring bottles from the Maison Lancome collection.

This is so marvelously intriguing–a simple white floral that’s really a James Bond femme fatale in disguise.
Comes in with a big hello of jasmine to the entire room, begging questions at social distance–Is that violet? patchouli? heliotrope? cigarette ash?–then winks with a smirk, because no, they’re actually almonds and cashmere musk being clever.
Vanilla and sandalwood leave long trails in personal space like theme songs that get stuck in the head for hours and hours.

Bold and smart, and not as sweet as first impressions might give.

*

A 007 twist that makes Katy Perry’s classic intriguing again–(I adore PMJ.)

Mimosa Mixte

Purple pouch with tiny sample jar. Jeffrey Dame has very niche presentation at affordable prices.

Cherry vanilla ice cream, artificially flavored and freezer burnt, and awesome.

Opens with a room filling puff of mimosa and ylang-ylang, but with just enough herbal citrus to keep from slipping into banana peel territory.
Fifteen minutes later and the heliotrope takes over with powdery synthetic almonds, musk and vanilla, worthy of a Lolita Lempicka flanker if it were faceted rather than creamy.
Melts to the skin after three hours, and stays there with dusty soft-serve woods through the evening.

Cheap and chic but sweet and nostalgia inducing, like a slow club remix of a favorite song.

*

Dimond Saints do some amazing mixes.

Chipmunk

Zoologist promo sample with adorable rodent in acorn cap beret and scouts uniform, and some dark brown pin oak acorns.

This is nuts.

Opens with a squirt of alcoholic citrus that is overtaken by green cardamom, then turns creamy. (The chamomile and benzoin, maybe? It’s quite nice.)
Acorns and leaves slowly fall to the skin, sharp oak but earthy, sweetened with hazelnuts and herbs.
At the very bottom is more woods and some gorgeous balsamic resins, but they’re cooled with patchouli, a hint of winter coming.

Brilliant for autumn.
I’d enjoy it more as an ice cream or a tea, rather than wearing it–I’d be constantly worried that I’d managed to overturn someone’s fall spice latte on my clothes–but Chipmunk would be perfect for anyone looking for a heartier nutty gourmand than the usual marzipans.

*

Best Chipmunk remix ever.

Sécrétions Magnifiques

Etat Libre d’Orange target motif box and sample spray, with a blue circumcised pencil eraser.
(Best bachelorette party ever.)

Eldo’s divisive masterpiece has distinct topography.

At arms length, we go down a flirty Rococo corridor, powder pastel whispery blue iris, edged with coconut cream. A sweet pretty floral, like those sugar pastilles that taste of cosmetics.

Breaching personal space opens the boudoir door, and we’re thrust into the climax of an orgy–the smell of sweat, fluid and semen hits the back of the throat before we even see who is connected to whom, and how.

Plenty has been asked about context. Would this, on a totally blind sniff without knowledge of the name, still have the same connotations? (Can the innocent innately understand the scent of sex?)

The cloying milky-metallic ooze–with a weird side note of bleach musk–is instantly recognizable, quite loud, and long lasting.
Sécrétions does indeed have a magnificent time, for hours and hours. Perhaps there is tantric practice involved.

Eventually, finally, the earthy dissonance eases down until there’s nothing left but a sweet balsamic afterthought on the skin.

It’s kind of amazing.

Would I wear it? Absolutely not.
Do I keep it around to dare friends to sniff? Absolutely.
(Good revenge on my scotch drinking pal who slipped me that shot of Laphroaig–the stuff tastes like bogwater dipped in tar–just to watch my face.)

Edit – 2/21/23

Do. Not. Spill. This.
(I may need to burn my house down.)

*

This cover is just wrong. Brilliant, but wrong.
(Like Secretions, very NSFW.)

Beach Walk

Replica sample spray and promo card featuring the bare back of a blonde at the seashore.

Another citrus-coconut-floral for barefoot surf dodging–

A soft bergamot opening, with that squeeze of lemon juice to lighten the hair in the sun, then coconut creme sun lotion and sweet tropical flowers carried at arms length, ending in a sheer driftwood musk that melts to the skin after a few hours.

Nice, but I already have a Soleil Blanc sample to get busy with, and a few doses of Moon Bloom and Salty Flower to finish, a Sunkissed Hibiscus mini, and an enormous bottle of Sunny Seaside of Zanzibar, so I’m not likely to shell out for this one.

*

A golden oldie made sunnier–

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

Sunkissed Hibiscus

Mini rollerball bottles with black caps, Sunkissed Hibiscus in front. I like the branding on Nest’s line–vintage naturalist illustrations, painted with vibrant colors on a dark background–this one is a voluptuous peach and orchid triffid.

The latest Nest is a big splash of generic herbal tea at the beginning, then gets greasy with coconut oil and milky white flowers for two hours. (Hibiscus is in the Malvaceae family, a kind of mallow, like ambrette–which explains the musky weight of the florals.)
The bottom is actually a bit nice, amber making a long lasting Nutella accord on the skin, perhaps a nod to the warm Cocoa Woods, which I liked very much.

I imagine it’s better in high summer than early spring, but I’ll likely pass it along to someone who enjoys suntan lotion scents before then.

*

Love this cover, which has a certain weight, too. Last summer was cruel, but a lot of artists have produced some neat stuff during the quarantine.