Shalimar Souffle

Large navy blue bottle with classic Guerlain amphora shape, with mauve evening clouds behind.

There’s a very fun generational skip with Shalimar Souffle–a fresh take on bygone fashion–that reminds me of the ultra-feminine girls who wear ’50’s pinup dresses in modern prints at the car shows.

This “Breath of Perfume” opens with lovely light citrus and jasmine, that soon gets interrupted by a peppery note that feels discordant–like it’s my skin, somehow, that is objectionable–but does fade in a few hours, leaving behind rich vanilla cake with lemon icing for the rest of the day.

Retro yet fresh at the same time, but weird on me. (One often sees “It doesn’t work with my body’s chemistry,” in reviews, but I rather feel that with this one I’m the one at fault.)
I gifted my big bottle, but kept the mini. Maybe I’ll improve with age.


Imelda May is the epitome of retro and fresh.


Spice Islands Pure Vanilla in dark brown bottle and traditional label.

This gourmand splash is quite boozy out of the bottle, sugary molasses and slightly floral with big bourbon notes.
Dries immediately down to the skin with middle notes of digestive biscuits and caramel.
The base, a faintly woodsy sweet musk, lasts through the evening, with melting ice cream vibes.

Recommended for blue Muppet monsters with cookie addictions, and Swedish Chefs.


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.


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.

Lord of Misrule

Bottle of amber perfume with a tall black cap and a blue and clear glass cruet with scattered pepper.

Lord of Misrule is what to wear to wild Bacchanalia parties where you sign a waiver to not hold the host responsible for any bruises, scratches or accidental pregnancies.

A pinch of lemon zest, then a bite of fresh ground black pepper–with sharp teeth, enough to make one wake up and pay attention–and woody patchouli that’s been sweetened with a hit of licorice powder.
The base is everlasting vanilla kisses, dark and dirty and rough in the best way, that linger on clothes and sheets for several nights afterward.

On the right guy, this would give soft demi-satyr vibes.
On the right woman, this would be dangerous.


I have mixed feelings about the Hunger Games series, but the movie soundtracks were amazing.

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–

Dolce Vita

Ceylon cinnamon and my ancient bottle of Dolce Vita.

I feel a lot of kinship with Dolce Vita.
She tries really hard to be that spicy peach tart who likes a good cinnamon roll (and a little sugar in her bowl…) but can’t quite get the pieces together enough to pull off the whole outfit.

The ingredients are all there–juicy ripe fruits at the beginning, spicy vamp seduction in center, and lingering vanilla woods at the end–but the top is too young, the skirt too brash, the shoes too cute.

I keep trying it, hoping somehow she might have gotten over the awkward stage and come into her own, but in thirty years all that’s changed is that the gold leaf has flaked off the bottle.
Me too, Dolce Vita. Me too.


This song came out 90 years ago and is still one of the filthiest songs ever recorded.

Velvet Orchid

Flocked faux flower (Say that three times fast!) and a mini purple bottle of Velvet Orchid.

Another olfactory pun by Tom Ford… fake flowers indeed.

I get a nice light orange honey out of the bottle that slowly turns purple–grape juice dye no. 69, lolly-sweet–and a huge mixed bouquet of gorgeous flowers, that weirdly smells more and more plastic the closer it gets to the skin.
Several hours later the blooms fade to faux suede–is it the labdanum that gives a slight chemical smoke?–and vanilla with a resin wood base, that last all night long.

I’m not sure how I feel about it.
It’s lovely from a distance, but Velvet Orchid costs a lot of money for a bunch of artificial flowers, and the concept of “tacky couture” can seem elitist and absurd.


This is how you do absurd right.

Splendida Tubereuse Mystique

Cobalt blue Bvlgari mini, and tea-leaf reading cup that sadly has no perfume bottle symbol.

Opens with an elegant brew of smoky tea, black currant and the same lemon creme I get from Teazzurra, but with an herbal bite, like it’s laced with wormwood.

The tuberose drifts in slowly, as if the sugar wasn’t stirred in and gets stronger and sweeter and prettier with each sip.
Lasts for hours, held just above the wrist with vanilla and enigmatic resin.

Perfect for modern mages and fashionable fortune tellers.


I love this French cover of INXS’s Mystify–