Quelques Notes d’Amour

Varigated sunset rose and rectangular mini bottle with heart cut into the corner filled with pale pink eau.

Starts with raspberry tooth polish for kids and a whiff of loaded diaper, and finishes with fresh hamster cage shavings, but the big patchouli rose in the middle is nice for an hour or two.
Affordable but if you want a pre-school teacher vibe, DKNY Be Delicious is the better bet.


Hey, happy new year, year?
Here’s some Debbie Harry that should not be played in the classroom.

La Belle et l’Ocelot

Tall rectangular frosted bottle, a striding wildcat (with magnificent whiskers) in clear bas-relief, with faceted cap and gold signature.

Fruity at first, an hour long, and loud, citrus and plummy osmanthus sharpened with witchy rose thorns. Slowly softens with jasmine and some smoky-sweet amber into personal space–up close it’s bright on cotton cuffs and syrupy on the skin–and lasts all day, fading to a dab of luxe benzoin on the wrist.

La Belle et l’Ocelot could almost be a Chanel, rich incense resins and balsamic roses (though there’s oddly no civet) if the wormwood at the top didn’t turn it weird.

I don’t love it–I’d prefer more purring and fewer claws–but there’s something intriguing about it, opulent yet off-kilter, and the bottle is an objet d’art.


Salvador Dali’s pet ocelot was named Babou. He never seemed happy in photos, aside from the one where he is biting the artist’s nose.

Gucci Guilty

Gold Gucci Guilty mini bottle with mirrored G motif, sitting on some lackluster peaches.

Muted peaches.

Lemon flavored window cleaner and Lipton peach tea powder out of the bottle, that turns to plain non-dairy creamer while the lilacs bloom, milky and warm in personal space, but a little dull.
The bottom is safe patchouli amber just above the skin for half the day.

There’s something oddly repressed about the whole mixture–like the fruit notes want to bump-n-grind but they’re stuck in a demure floral dress–that feels dated.
(I don’t think Guilty has been allowed anything fun to feel guilty about.)


Even Rachel Wood was the face of the Guilty campaign–she sang this in Across the Universe–but Siouxsie did it best.

XII: L’Heure Mysterieuse

Cartier Red and gold box and sample vial, on an antique clock face reading 12:41.

L’Heure Mysterieuse has a lot of ties to LUSH Lord of Misrule, but where LoM measures time on standing stones, XII is a church clock-tower.

First strikes with dry spice and jasmine–peppery sharp, then resin and incense waft in, with a fifteen minute chocolate and cigarette break.
At the half hour patchouli chimes loud, taking over, only occasionally letting a few seconds of vanilla slip by.

Lasts the day at social distance with woody amber, brassy and stern.



Tocca pumpkin shaped mini bottle with bronze lid and a few sprigs of pinkweed from my lawn, on notebook paper.

Opens with a nice splash of black currant liqueur, then grows some vague purple flowers that I thought might be wisteria, but the ad copy says is iris.
There’s a drop of rose and jasmine underneath, but after a few minutes, it all fades to patchouli woods on the skin.

Doesn’t last long–maybe an hour–but makes a reasonable berry refresher, without being too tooty-frooty.


Mýa is so cool.


Matte black rectangular bottle with white octopus illustration.

TokyoMilk #28 lists amber resin, oak bark, blood orange, and patchouli–and they’re easily identifiable and rather nice.

The orange is sharp–not juicy, but pleasantly pithy–bolstered by the oak, which carries a bit of root-beer sweetness. The patchouli deepens the blend without taking over, listing more toward sailor than mermaid.

Excess is pleasant and polite, lingering in intimate space for half the day, and a lot less Lovecraftian than the black bottle, name and octopus illustration advertise. (I was hoping to get to use the words squamous, eldritch, and abnormal in this write-up, but sadly, no.)


Here’s a cool cover of the creepy tune from Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

Exit the King

Etat Libre d’Orange sample spray and box with target motifs, and a yellow paper crown.

(Did they toss His Majesty out with the bathwater?)

Awkward soap aldehydes that want to be fine milled French savon, but there’s something weird–maybe the pink pepper?– that gets fishy, in a sea foam at low tide sort of way, as if Thierry Mugler stuck his Womanity caviar finger in the tub to test the eau.

The roses are sweeter and last days longer on cotton than on skin.


He was a good king.

Black Tulip

Little Nest roll-on bottles, the one in front showing a black label illustrated with a burgundy parrot tulip displaying a yellow pistil.

High school fruit-chuli.

Opens with ice cream parlor raspberry syrup, that the Nest site describes as black plum and black cherry. A few florals giggle as they pass by, then the patchouli kicks in like teenager’s antiperspirant, warming and sweet, for several hours before fading to the skin.

My mother grew Queen Of The Night tulips–the original black ones. They smelled faintly of green grass and a bit of nutmeg.


Mozart’s iconic Queen of the Night aria is actually titled “When Hell Boils In My Heart,” and commands her daughter to commit patricide or she’ll disown her. (My first stepmother sang this–go figure.)

Kelis samples the famous trills in Like You, (and Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins is amazing) but this electronica remix is fun.

Jimmy Choo

Delicious Bosc pear and and mini brown glass bottle shaped like a pineapple (or a grenade?) with a silver cube lid.

Cruise ship pears, in a tacky self-indulgent way, and rather enjoyable, until the hangover hits.

Starts out with swanky fruit salad garnished with flowers, eventually takes a dip in an overly chlorinated pool, then smokes a Caramelo Joe cigar off the upper sun deck.

The headache slowly creeps in after the first hour, insidious, like the low grind of the boat motor that you try not to notice. Eventually you can’t ignore that you might be seasick, with regrets that you jumped too fast at the good price.


How does Florence manage to make falling apart so pretty?

Rose Prick

Pale pink Tom Ford promo card with sample spray, and rose stem with thorns.

Ooh, I like this one–a nice dry rose, the way good sherry and a sharp sense of humor are dry.

Starts with an interesting spicy chocolate, and a bit of skanky-sour rose-hip fruit for a half hour, then gets powdery soft with enchanted rose forest patchouli thorns for the rest of the day.

Nothing sweet about it, and quite loud–this one enters the room before you do, and lingers after you’re gone.

Lovely for fairy-tale princes on a mission, and queens who need no rescuing.


A dry, dry song.