Black Opium

YSL Black Opium mini bottle–an asphalt surfaced redux of the original flask–with a pink porthole window. And half a pear.

I remember first hearing about this–I hoped for a noir version of YSL’s original Opium, à la Lolita Lempicka Midnight, taking the heady spicy notes even deeper, more mysterious–but they took it to a confectionery, instead.

The opening breath is fresh sliced pears, but then it goes syrup sweet, the garnish on a marzipan tart–but soon honey florals hit the back of the throat, until it dries down to patchi woods with a pleasant grit of coffee-pot grounds, as if to wash down all the sugar.

So many people get a different dessert note, with it’s own particular vibe. I’ve seen descriptions of a relaxing cafe latte, a black pepper licorice twist, narcotic vanilla, sticky candied fruits–
I get the whole damned sweet shoppe, and while I love a good gourmand, this one just left me with sour caffeine breath and a desperate need to go brush my teeth.

*

Miley covered the Arctic Monkeys in 2014, the same year Black Opium came out.

Princess

Pooka’s whisker snoot, mini Vera Wang heart shaped bottle filled with pale purple eau de toilette, capped with a gold crown, and chocolate squares.

The best part of this frag is the twee bottle, which belongs in a Disney movie.

The crème de cacao opening is interesting for about fifteen seconds, then everything turns into G-rated watery cocoa.
Let it go, let it go…

*

This song lasts longer and is much more interesting.

Matcha & Frangipani

Cut glass cologne bottle with pale green and gold label, and box with green tea illustration.

I’m really enjoying this one from 4711’s Limited Tea edition.

Soft and sweet green tea over milky tropical florals in a soothing cologne with surprising projection and staying power.
Usually 4711 Acqua Colonias are gone in ten minutes with almost no sillage at all–and that’s part of their charm, a secret personal pick-me-up–but this floats around the body for a good half hour with matcha mochi coolness, and the frangipani lingers on silk all day.

Leans to the feminine in a fluttery skirts way.
Also brilliant on bath towels.

*

This song always soothes my soul. A lot of folks have covered it, but Eva Cassidy’s version is my favorite.

Diaspora

Clear ice-cube shaped bottle with tall gold cap, and black and white and red packaging.

Kimberly New York’s site lists Asian pear and Fiji apple, Jamaican rose apple, and champagne.

I’m not discerning enough to sniff out which apple is which, but they’re lovely and crisp, with that marvelous boozy-floral note that fresh red peel has. There’s a powdery wax accord, almost like taffy with a hint of violets–recognizable if you’ve ever gone to a pick-your-own orchard–the dusty rime an apple produces naturally, that I just love.

Artsy–Kimberly Walker’s flagship fragrance–has the same candied apples at its heart. In Diaspora they’re the full body and soul, not just a note but the whole song.
I get gourmet wine gums at the bottom, a little younger vibe than bubbly, but equally as fun.

Like Indigo Love, my skin gobbles this up, so I have to reapply often (no hardship at all, because it feels delicious) but it lasts much longer in my hair, and forever on cotton.

*

How amazing is this video from Nitty Scott?!

American Cream

Pale yellow filled small bottle in a wood display box at the nearest LUSH store–the furthest I’ve ventured from home in an entire year.

American Cream smells like Demeter Fragrance Library got stoned and went to a Ben&Jerry’s.

Scoops of strawberry vanilla with honey drizzle, and light herbal funk.
Not the highest you’ve been, but a long-lasting buzz.

Puff, puff, give.

*

One of the sweetest slow jams ever.

Le Petit

Full sized (almost empty) Tokyomilk bottle with two sided label of a nest with speckled egg floating above.

TokyoMilk #02

Proceed with caution–
One light spritz gets you powder and cute plastic toys and baby hair–sweet with innocent violets and melting ice cream–all day long.
Two full sprays gets you a spanking by sticky artificial vanillin, itchy rubber pants, and a bath.

*

I adore this sweet little tune, off a children’s album by the same guy who did Lump and Peaches–

This Moment

Adorable floral painted Lollia mini bottle with gold cap.

Opens summer bright with bunches of wet greens, more lily-of-the-valley in the rain than water lotus.
And appropriately, This Moment lasts only a few of them, soon settling to the skin with orange flower honey and gone in an hour.

A safe blind buy gift for tweens on up, and pretty on the vanity.

*

I grew up on this song.

Rose Pompon

Red cut glass bottle with gold cap, pink striped tea roses and raspberries.

Heat activated roses that last FOREVER.

Opens with Ruby Red pink grapefruit juice cocktail spiked with raspberry Chambord, and as it warms, the roses bloom sweet with vanilla, and stay there for days. Weeks, even.

The rose masks the violets, I only smell them in my hair (which is Covid-19 long right now) and on my shirt cuffs when I’m not wearing it. If I pin my hair close to my head the roses open again, same if I re-wear the jacket.
In a hot bath the roses get thorny, woods with a bitter bite of the grapefruit again, gorgeous, yet also a bit masculine.

There are sexier fruity roses out there—(come to me, baby) Angel Nova and (sigh) Sådanne—but none as delightfully mercurial or long lasting.

*

Just discovered Esperanza Spalding, a cool jazz artist with a lot of Joni Mitchell energy–

Dolly

Black and white photo of Dolly Parton on a blush sample card with her butterfly signature, and a spray vial.

Dolly Parton’s new perfume is a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a bottle.

Opens with the strawberries-and-cream saltwater taffy from Old Smoky Candy Kitchen–soft fruity pink and gooey sweet–and lasts as long as one takes to melt in the mouth.
The middle is pure Dollywood, rhinestone musk and jasmine encore bouquets, synthetic but charming, though nowhere near as loud.
Finishes with a lingering view of the mountains, green forest woods and a hint of pine.

Oddly, Dolly is a bit shy, staying in personal space and fading quickly to the skin. I’d expect this brief a performance from a cologne, not a celebrity eau de parfum, but her short songs are good, too.

*

This remix takes Dolly out of the mountains and into the club, with Junior Vasquez mixing Ladysmith Black Mambazo into the beats to raise the sun.

Omnia Golden Citrine

Mini Omnia chain link bottle in chrome and bright yellow.

Citrine starts with the transparent juice from canned peaches and mandarin slices, in a nice morning cocktail way, but then fades to powdery yellow flower pollen.

Benzoin at the bottom gets sticky and brings back some of the opening citrus, with the clear syrup from candied peel that bakers use–and I so wish this moment was longer and louder, there’s almost a Shalimar vibe for a second–but everything soon dries down to the Omnia sheer woods base.

Cotton holds the jasmine well, but on skin it’s all gone by noon.
I’ll try it again in the summer. Maybe I’ll like it more.

*