Black Orchid

Black orchidChocolate covered mushrooms.
Tom Ford’s biggest is actually an olfactory pun on truffles!
The bottle is even textured like gills.

Opens sweet and dirty and loud, earthy cocoa and umami fungus that grows on your skin and your clothes and the walls of your dining room.
They slowly warp into wet white flowers and syrupy fruit, in a change of dinner courses that doesn’t take the old plates away, a trencher of watermelon garnished with petals and patchouli.
Afterwards vanilla beans, smoked like cigars.

Very sexy, in a you-make-me-hungry way, but don’t wear it if you’re dieting.


So many ‘shroomy covers of this song. I’m stuck on this awesome Arabic one right now.

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.

Fire Island

Fire Island 2Neroli, waves and sunshine.

I spent a few summers on Fire Island when I was little, the volleyball net at the Pines marking the nude beach–suits vs. skins games all day except high tide–and I’d come home with a pail full of seashells, a permanent sunburn and sand everywhere.

This scent has that freedom, wind and ocean spray and surf and naked skin, with a lovely base of top shelf zinc tanning lotion.

Projects two beach blankets over, and lasts til the sun goes down and the disco starts.


“Somewhere there is a gay man with a magic lamp and two wishes left.” -Jerrod C.

Orange Sanguine

orange sanguineI like blood oranges, and this is a nice ripe one.

Opens with a bright hit of sweet juice then settles to peel, with a breath of green underneath. Sits two inches above the wrist for an hour or two, then fades to candied citron and sandalwood on the skin.

It’s a little pricey for the lack of longevity and projection, but maybe not for a citrus aficionado.


Blood Orange is amazing and this video is a giggle. The costumes are brilliant–I keep wondering what scents they all might be wearing–

Nirvana Black

nirvana black edgesViolet, vanilla and sandalwood in equal doses.
It’s quite nice–I’m impressed with this  whole line–powdery soft and sweet, but with a little bite.
I do miss the ivy and licorice notes that add the depth to Lolita Lempicka’s Au Masculin.

Lasts a few hours close to the skin–a good one for dancing on Halloween.


Here’s a disturbingly happy cover of Nirvana’s Lithium.