Acqua di Colonia Calicantus

CalicantusSanta Maria Novella’s site calls Calicantus “a bouquet of fruity floral notes,” which makes it sound like every Victoria’s Secret bottle in the last two decades, and this is quite special.

It’s marketed to women, but has terrific bay notes usually found in seventies aftershaves, and I’d enjoy huffing it on a guy, too.

calicantus labelOpens soapy clean, with citrus blossoms that soon settle into calycanthus flowers–with the sweet clove/anise of carnation, but with a little more nectar on top, and the earthier base of honey on the bottom–and some woody support.
The dry down is quick yet unexpectedly sweet, the fruity notes in the description–peachy with an almond/sour cherry bite and a drop of amber.
Lasts on silk forever.


Calicantus came out in Florence in 1999, when Anna Oxo hit it big with Senza Pietà–Without Mercy.

Voyage d’Hermès

voyage d'HermesA trip to India, for spices and Darjeeling and marigolds.

Opens with big bright lemon and brash cardamom–heaping handfuls still in their green pods.
There’s an interesting warm-and-cool, push-pull to the top notes that keeps it from settling down–and it stays that way, fresh from the citrus, yet powdery with the spice–for several hours at arms length.

Eventually green tea musk slides in, soothing it down and pulling the sillage in. Finishes with a breath of woody flowers on the skin.
A lovely scent for summer daytime wear.


Stromae is a Belgian musician who also manages to be both dry and refreshing (and  stylish–his design line, Mosaert, is gorgeous!) His first hit came out in 2010, the same time as the fragrance.

Minuit Noir

LL licoriceSweet and evil.
Lolita Lempicka Minuit Noir will always be my witching hour perfume–my house reeks of it on Halloween.

Sugar spells and dark iris magic, wicked candy licorice and violet patchouli brew.
It’s nicely powdery, keeping the juice intriguing–fey dust rather than cloying syrup.

Lasts all Samhain and charms sleeves for days after.


Fate for Women

fate for womenFate for Women is the queen in an urban fantasy who reads your palm with a handshake and leaves you wondering if you’re going to be invited for a bedtime snack, or eaten in a stew.

Opens with cinnamon and pepper–almost itchy–then sweet incense flares with a breath of rose for an hour. Eventually the most gorgeous benzoin melts with vanilla into leather and lingers all night.

Incredible on silk scarves.


This cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is spicy-smoky-amazing.

Brooklyn

brooklyn No 9 edgyAlcohol and asphalt, perhaps.
I might get a slight gust of subway air rising from the station at Jay Street-Borough Hall. Maybe a whiff of the spices from the import stores on Atlantic Avenue, and possibly a floral green breeze from the Botanic Garden.

But Kings County New York isn’t tentative, or maybe.

Give me the jazz zest, the hip-hop fire and the Philharmonic sweetness.
Give me diesel fumes of the BQE, Fulton Street funk and Coney Island animalics.
Give me drag queen cheesecake, everything bagels and spumoni on the Bridge.

This stuff projects only inches, not the length of Flatbush Avenue, and lasts barely through lunch, much less a Spike Lee movie, or a season binge of 2 Broke Girls.

I was born there.
Don’t spill a weak gin and tonic on the sidewalk and tell me it’s Brooklyn.


Cardamom Coffee

cardamum coffee edgyIndeed.
Rich hot coffee and roasted cardamom pods at arms length for an hour, slowly fading to sweet oud and herbal rose a few inches above the skin for several more.

Gorgeously unisex, but also sensual and inviting–flickering lights on a cold night, hands held in mittens, warm drinks with spice.

The solid is nice, but I want a bottle to douse myself with on the holidays– and it would work really well as a bed linen spray, too.


This song is comforting and inviting and unisex, too.