Sunflowers

Amber eau mini capped with white, with a yellow flower crest, sitting on a pile of salted seeds, against a flag blue background.

“Take these seeds and put them in your pocket, so sunflowers will grow when you die here.” -Ukrainian curse

Elizabeth Arden’s iconic 90’s soapy melon salad smells of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, Beanie Baby pellets, and Bill Clinton’s saxophone spit, and nothing like sunflowers, or war.

I’m a bit sideways today. The world seems unreal, sometimes.

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The Ukranian Armed Forces asked a soldier–Taros Borovok–to write them a fight song, the day Putin invaded. He praises the Turkish combat drones that slowed the Russian forces that day.

And Soul

White bottle with gold cap and graphic anatomical heart, on a linen tea towel, with hand sifter, sprinkled with all purpose flour.

Orange flour water.
Seriously, this stuff has a weird dusty bread dough thing going on.
The bottle says Oolong Tea, Bamboo Reed, Orchid & Air (whut?) and White Musk, but I get sweet uncooked enriched buns, with that puff of powdery steam when you punch the rise down.

Doesn’t last or project much. Leaves a smudge of sugary floral musk on the skin for a few hours, but that’s all.
A good gift for home cooks.

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I’m hungry, now.

A*Men

Black A*Men sample spray on blue themed promo card featuring a flask with the Mugler iconic cut star.

Mint chocolate patchouli, camphor cool and creamy, with black coffee on the side.
Lasts an eternity.

Incredibly dynamic, constantly shifting from dark to bright, sugary to herbal, soft to sharp–and there’s something aggressive about the performance, the way it fills the room and takes up space. A*Men is definitely a manspreader, but gets away with it by being sweet and fun.

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“I think beauty is the human emotional vehicle between us and it’s very important.” – Manfred Thierry Mugler

The world has lost some sparkle today, and I imagine the angels and the aliens fighting for the honor of carrying him upward.

Mugler was an incredible fashion designer, responsible for so many history making outfits–Demi Moore’s Indecent Proposal dress, Kim Kardashian’s wet Met Gala number, David Bowie’s neon green suit, Cardi B’s Venus dress–and sooo many more, all bold, creative, sometimes divisive, and always attention getting, just like his perfumes.

He was a visionary and an activist, ignoring gender rules, racial bias and body shape stereotypes, making luxury fashion inclusive and exciting to all, and in the case of his fragrances, accessibly priced and environmentally conscious.

Rest in Parfum, sir, and thank you for all the beauty you have given us.

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George Micheal’s 1992 Too Funky video was set in a fictional Mugler runway show.

Perfect

Mini bottle with blue plastic bow on top and box with sketchy illustration of a banana on the side.

There’s something oddly coquettish about about this one, as if the perfume flirts with the wearer.

Opens with pink candy fruit and spring flowers (Do I get a whiff of banana or am I just looking for it because there’s one on the package?) that immediately settle to an inch above the skin, and stay there all day long, blanketed down by the softest wood musk–
–but in that intimate space, Perfect is an attention seeker.

I can only smell it when I lift my hands near my face–during a drink from a glass, resting my chin on my fist, smoothing my hair–but those moments are intensely sweet and distracting, a private tease with a wink and a smile, meant just for me.

The notes aren’t that special (seems like rhubarb and cashmeran are in everything right now) and a bit too girlish for me, but the performance is clever and fun.
I’d love to see more designers explore this topography.

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Duran Duran’s cover of Lou Reed’s classic is perfection.


Make Me Blush

TokyoMilk canister and gold capped bottle, illustrated with magnolia blossoms on a script background.

This beauty is much more likely to make everyone around her blush.

TokyoMilk #72 lists Magnolia, Honeysuckle, Jasmine Vine and Bourbon, and does them slow and sexy–understated creamy white florals take an hour to fully bloom in personal space, leaving long honey trails behind as they grow.
Underneath, a few inches above the skin, a touch of charred whiskey barrel grounds the lushness of the flowers, keeping them earthy and seductive.

(The bourbon notes are well done–smoky oak caramel with a hit of vanilla spice–that stay dry and thankfully don’t turn into teenage praline on the bottom.)
(Our queen finds getting carded tedious–no one would mistake her for an underage girl.)

Lasts only half the day–through afternoon on cuffs, and into the evening in the hair–but the opening comes in so easy, a later spray seems like a continuation rather than a refresh.

My favorite TokyoMilk out of the newest batch, and might be the best since Honey & the Moon.
There’s an enticing maturity to it that I really appreciate, as if the cottage-core princess grew up and got provocative.

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Love the way she grows up in this redo of Sting’s classic.

Bubble Gum

Pink ceramic bottle and Dum-Dum bubble gum lollypops.

Bel Rebel’s interpretation opens with a tutti-fruity candy coated gum ball, loud and boisterous, the kind that clatters down the clear spiral base to ding the silver door of the coin machine.
I get the orange flavored one, citrus tart and sweet.
Sadly, the trace amounts of cloves aren’t enough to elevate it out of the candy dish–more sweet spice is needed to blend the fruit sours into that truly iconic bubblegum flavor.
I’m reminded of Fruitchouli Flash, an earthier distant cousin, maybe.

Settles down to elbow length after half an hour, with a dusting of chalk powder and the faintest hint of mint. (I got sneezy for a minute, but perhaps not the fragrance’s fault? Cold-season and all.)
(It’s 23 eff degrees outside, right now.)
Nice, and sniffy–I’m aware of it as I type–but I wish the heart had a bit of L’Interdit‘s tuberose or jasmine to cream it up and give the opaqueness that the bottle suggests. Bubblegum isn’t clear–

Lasts half the day, slowly fading to lighthearted patchouli on the bottom, with some super soft musk, an inch above the skin through the evening.
I like it. For the price, I’d hoped to love it.

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I do love this–

Lempicka Homme

Pale blue promo card with silver ivy leaf, spray sample and several packs of gum wrapped in pale blue.

Must love licorice.

That Lempicka Homme and Black Jack chewing gum have the same color branding cannot be a coincidence. This stuff is dead on.
Black magic aniseed, herbal sharp with a hint of powder–a freshly unwrapped stick–then earthy sugar, the real stuff, no aspartame here, slowly easing down to the musky woody notes at the bottom as the sweetness fades.

There’s other stuff, too, just to be sophisticated, rum and almonds and some smoky labdanum, a little less syrupy than dad’s version, a little less purple, but still witty and fun and cheerful.
Lasts a nice three hours in intimate space, then another three on the skin.

(I do love licorice.)

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More Black Jack in blues.

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.)

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

New Baby

Demeter mini splash bottle with black cap in my hand, and a mini in a yellow onesie holding my fingertip.

Demeter’s New Baby is an oddly exact mix of milky vanilla, mineral oil and powder that starts with a shriek, but soon settles to cuddle space with sleepy lemon curd.

Comparing it to the source material was fun but a bit startling. The lactonic notes–almost animalic–are very similar, and there is a definitely a sugar cookie thing going on, especially on the top of their little head. (Apparently there are Scientific Reasons why newborns smell so sweet.)
I’m not so sure how the lemon pie on the bottom relates, but it’s a nicer sour than burpings.

Very sniffable, but wearing it might require your own car-seat and diaper bag.

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Yep, I’m gonna be this this grandma.

Beetroot

Fresh beets with a mini splash bottle of Demeter Beetroot cologne.

Okay, yes.
Beetroot is weird–an undead gourmand?!– but it’s interesting.

Begins with a big shovelful of the same dusty soil opening that Zoologist Bat has, cellar dry, and cool.
The sweet notes in the middle are an hour or so of white sugar–granulated crystals without fruit or flowers or spice–oddly earthy in its purity, and rather fun.
The end lasts another two hours, a smudge of dirt on the skin, with subtle smoke that reminds me of Tank Battle.

Not one for daily wear, but I’ll douse myself in it for the local Zombie Shuffle next Halloween.

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El Wencho is awesome!