Brune Melancolia

Black and white solid perfume canister, with orange and yellow rose.

Sad rose yogurt.

The citrus opens too tart–soured by the sandalwood, maybe–but then berries and a bit of spice get stirred in, sweetened with floral syrup.
The moody violet/cassis finish on the skin is nice, after the first disappointing hour–the start seems like something you’d taste in the dairy aisle at the happy-hippy food co-op, rather than a fragrance.

*

The most melancholy song ever–

Quatre en Rouge

Red promo card and white topped sample spray.

A trumpet with a mute, playing jazzy raspberries in a roomful of roses that’s too small to contain them.

The red apple opening hits sharp, the petals fall flat, and the metallic musk bass line, though sweet, is way too brassy to wear indoors.

*

“You’d never know it, but buddy, I’m a kind of poet
And I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to say…”

Classic Lady Day, with Harry “Sweets” Edison on the trumpet.

Lyric Woman

Square, deep red mini flask with domed lid and Amouage medallion in silver, with a sprig of scarlet tipped rose sedum.

Lyric opens with bright bergamot and sharp green cardamom that slowly relaxes over chai tea–cinnamon vanilla sweetened with ylang-ylang–and dark velvet roses, for two hours or so. A lemony herbal note from the geranium drifts in and out, keeping it refreshing.
Amouage’s usual incense is anchored by sandalwood on the bottom, holding it more to clothes than to the body, and under that, powdery orris made creamy by an almond-ish tonka on the skin.

Absolutely lovely, with capricious projection–sometimes a huge flourish of roses at arms length, sometimes just a hint of intimate spice–but might be too sultry for me.
This one requires the rubies and Arabian horses and smoking kohl eyeliner type, and I’m more of a garnet and beat up jeep and mismatched cat’s eye gal.

*

A sultry song.

VideCorMeum

Red bottle paper cutout tester, black velvet bag and sample spray–all with luxe copper accents.

Rich honey rose and vanilla incense, roughed up with some crushed herbs–as if Amouage Fate and Absolue Pour Le Soir met for antipasti before a fancy event–then skipped it and went for bezoin ice cream and meaningful conversation instead.

I don’t often think of perfume as an accompaniment to food–but this would be amazing on a romantic dinner date.
Leans more toward silk neckties than chiffon scarves, and lasts long into the night.

*

Another gentlemanly rose–
Alejandro Rose-Garcia goes by Shakey Graves when he’s not acting.

Ashore

Amouage sample spray, and package featuring a watery sunset.

Nice at first–
Starts with spiced whipped cream-y jasmine in personal space that slowly drifts to a hand-span off the wrist as the cardamom ripens–then it takes an odd turn as curried raw salmon for a few hours.
The rose sticks to clothes more than skin, with sweet resins that last most of the day.

I’d enjoy it more without the fish course.

*

This song has absolutely nothing to do with the ocean and has no sushi.

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.

Epic Woman

Gray marbled Amouage card with sample spray. The actual bottle is bright India green with gold accents.

Big sweet spice and roses, soured up nicely with lemony geranium tea. There’s some creamy orris powder underneath, with frankincense and vanilla to turn it luxe, but the woods on the bottom keep it grounded, so it doesn’t turn into a cinnamon roll.

Elegant and gorgeous, but also weighty–Epic kind of makes me nervous, like I’d be expected to dance the tango at a moment’s notice, or that dressing in anything but silk brocade would be a disappointment, while wearing this.
(Maybe I’d prefer the cinnamon roll?)

*

An easy take on Neil Young’s epic song–

Eve

Paper test strip cutout of a square St. Claire bottle, and test vial of Eve.

Eve was finalist in the 2020 Art and Olfaction Awards in the artisan/independent category, and it’s aptly named, with enormous seductive apple trees growing out of a single drop.

Comes on strong and skanky at first, dirty jasmine that cleans up with roses as it settles down and turns to orchard blossoms. Then the whole tree fills the room, woody trunks, green leaves, and fruit.
After a few hours, powder coats everything in personal space, for the whole day, with smudges of sweet char on the cuffs until laundry day.

The 35% concentration is way too indolic for me–I feel naked wearing it (which might be the point.)
An eau de toilette would be less overwhelming.

*

Another take on Eve and the garden.

1000

Vintage Jean Patou cut crystal bottle with gold details and aged sealing thread (and a red capped black Joy bottle in the background.)

Jean Patou’s 1000 (said “Mille” because French, oui?) was launched in 1972, a powdery rose chypre with a glimpse of cat in the leaves.
Retro and odd, with a loud fruity green opening to a big Joy bouquet, yet somehow demure–the enormous flowers are dusted with iris and violet, and a moss so soft it disguises a rather lot of civet–that after eons settles to the skin with sudsy woody aldehydes.

Extremely long lasting, and in this era, unisex, easily worn by the guy who marches in solidarity with his mother, who wore it almost 50 years ago, carrying signs that say the same damn thing.

Sadly, Jean Patou’s production was halted last year, so grab a bottle of this (and Joy, too, if you haven’t one) now, while it can still be found.

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The Partisan is an anti-fascist song written by Anna Marley in 1943, who was an inspiration to the French Resistance. The song resurfaced in 1969 with Leonard Cohen’s cover, and it quickly became an anthem for protesters in the early ’70s, including Joan Baez.