Bitter Peach

Tom Ford promo card and sample spray, and very fuzzy peaches, one bitten.

Is Tom Ford trying to be the Timothy Leary of perfumery?
Seems like his best stuff is all-about-the-experience-man, and Bitter Peach is a mescaline trip.

First spray goes on with a swirly peach milkshake, but with the sugar turned down and spiked with amaretto–not for children and kind of amazing, for a quarter hour or so.

Then it gets down to business, a sour mash fruity Mandelbrot set that could be edged with almonds, cigarettes, cinnamon, and more, (but is really just intoxicated florals)–mixed with a few paranoid minutes of nauseating pizza and sour milk vomit–which is how you know the drugs have kicked in, right?

Then everything mellows out and turns dreamy and sexy, the peaches held a few inches above the skin with patchi sandalwood and made creamy with vanilla and benzoin for the rest of the evening.

Chaotic and fun.
Please use responsibly.


This slowed down cover of the Beatles’ hit draws out the psychedelics but is no less frenetic.
Spooky Tooth released The Last Puff in 1970–their I Am the Walrus was used in the (hopefully not) last episode of the brilliant show Watchmen.


Mini bottle with eclipse shaped cap and Cher’s signature etched into the glass. The bigger the bottle, the more ornate the stopper, frosted cut crystal set with rhinestones and draped in beaded silk.

Cher’s first fragrance is as loud, sexy, ageless and gorgeous as she is.

Opens with aldehydic citrus dirtied up nicely with tobacco, in a lounge act vibe that shimmers with heliotrope sequins and ylang-ylang fringe, and completely fills the room with contralto vanilla.
The set lasts all night, on a stage of soft woods, fairly linear with some dark synth sweetness flickering in and out, just to keep it interesting.

Uninhibited came out in the late eighties, and now seems a little retro, like a good torch-song should, nostalgic and boozy-bluesy–yet it doesn’t seem dated.
Imagine Chanel No. 5‘s aldehyde and ylang-ylang sampled into Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, in Met Gala gear.

Bottles can still be found on-line or secondhand. If you spot a gently used bottle for a reasonable price, snatch it up with an “I’ve Got You, Babe.”


Cher’s covers are brilliant–this is one of my favorites.

Italian Leather

Memo black, white and gold promo card with sample spray, held in a white leather glove.

The ad says a lot of pretty things involving fancy car interiors and the Roman countryside, but I get old diner next to a truck stop–chocolate ice cream sundaes, chrome and red leather bar stools, cigarette smoke and Trident gum–in the best way.

Brash and loud at the start, then melting into sweetness, the leather is almost edible, but for the marvelous hit of car-exhaust labdanum.
I can find the tomato leaf after I know to look for it, a twang of green with a metallic discord, but it fades after the first hour, drowning in the syrupy resins at the bottom of the dish. I wish it lasted longer–the sharpness is interesting, and cuts through the vanilla.

The benzoin and myrrh stay half the day on skin, and whisper the next morning on cotton.
Lots of fun.


Chuck Berry’s “You Can Never Tell” is a diner jukebox staple–

Green Lover

A bit of clematis leaf and sample vial, with Lolita Lempicka promo card featuring a waterfall over green mossy rocks.

I never really thought of Shamrock Shakes as sexy, but daaamn–this is a guy’s gourmand done right.

A milky mint confection spiked with orange flavored gin–(Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla is a pretty nice one)–that elevates it out of after school detours for fast food and into high end pastry shops with a liquor license.

Lolita Lempicka’s trademark syrupy-yet-powdery vanilla musk, here turned into sweet green teasing shadows, drifts in and out of intimate space all day, whispering invitations to drinks and dessert.



Opaque black bottle with silver cap, box and slate blue inner liner with Rocky Horror lips, and toothpaste, toothbrush and floss.

TokyoMilk No. 85 lists Crushed Ginger, Thai Pepper, Frankincense and Vanilla Orchid on the box, but it opens with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
The pepper kicks in immediately and makes the ginger, cardamom and clove mix a bit antiseptic, in a comforting way–like Band-aid adhesive–then it all soaks into the skin, leaving a smear of vanilla frosting and a dusting of head-shop olibanum.
Within two hours, it disappears, gone completely numb.

I really like it. There’s a laid-back medicinal feel to it, with good self-care cuddles.
Good for the guy who’s still too young or shy to pull off Old Spice.


My favorite laid-back jam band version–

Midnight Fleur

Mini Nest trio, with black caps, the bottle in front with a black label and blue flower.

The most popular perfume of the brand, and with good reason.

A lovely beginning of spicy jasmine ice cream over powdery patchouli, that gives way to a seductive dark boozy vanilla for more than half the day at arms length, while the usual Nest wet floral base blooms in the shadows.
Gourmandish, but without the chewy praline one finds everywhere lately. There’s a sheerness that keeps it from seeming sticky, and the woods at the heart give it a nice backbone.

For those who’ve grown out of Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar, but aren’t ready for Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille.


This album is a great tribute to all my favorite rock queens–here’s a celebration of Stevie Nicks.

Fat Electrician

Etat Libre d’Orange sample spray and box, and a power supply plug.

(Semi-Modern Vetiver.)

I love this stuff!
At first, vanilla ice cream, sweet and a little sweaty, with that strange metallic smoke of burnt wire, but wonderful–y’know the scent in the air at McDonald’s, when the shake machine blows a circuit mid-pour? That.

The singed plastic note grows into the middle–the vetiver, hot and ashy, but sexy in a smouldering way–for a nice hour inside cuddling space, before melting down to the most enjoyable myrrh for the rest of the day.

ELdO spins a nostalgic story about the gigolo who aged out and had to go into trade (yay for artsy ad copy!) that reeks of classism and fatism and ageism–NoT aLL eLeCtRiCiAnS!–and yet, because this stuff is so fantastic, we get a marvelous tribute.
The workingman’s ass crack made voluptuous, his sweat pheromonal–and who doesn’t love the guy who fixes the shake machine?!


Clutch has been rocking out for thirty years–

No Sleep

Coreterno promo card with arcane eye motif and sample spray on tiny gray pillow.

I keep trying to understand why this one was named No Sleep, when it’s the most cuddly, sleep-inducing scent ever.

Opens with big sweet dream roses and jasmine, then envelops the soul with heady vanilla, creamy and soft, and so relaxing it’s soporific.
Stays a foot off the skin for a two hour nap, then drifts down to a calm patchi woods with a hint of light rain for two more.

I wish it came in smaller bottles–I’d get one for a pillow spray on insomnia nights.


My favorite lullaby.

Tainted Love

TokyoMilk rollerball wand and pink and black packaging, with skeleton key motif and a big brass key.

TokyoMilk No. 62 lists Dark Vanilla Bean, Orchid, White Tea and Sandalwood

Sour fruity vanilla, with very little projection, until pleasant smoke drifts in after a few minutes.
Artificial flowers slowly creep up, weird sentient flocked velvet things with plastic stamens, a cute graveyard horror two hour movie anecdote, then the vanilla comes back, warm and powdery, bolstered by bottom woods to linger on the skin another hour more.

Pleasant. A little bit goth, perhaps, but safe.


Coil’s heartbreaking version of Gloria Jones’ 1965 bop is much more goth that the one by he who shall not be named, and Vivisectors’ Russian surf instrumental is a hoot, but today I’m feeling Karen Souza jazzy.


Guerlain long glass sample phial with pink eau, on black box embossed with gold foil sun face.

Big boss benzoin that morphs into cuddly cloves, and swanky.

Splashes on with spiced sipping vodka and a squeal of brand new tires, (I should probably spell it tyres, because these are definitely fancy imports) and cracks a leather licorice whip at everyone for a while.
Then it relaxes, and slowly settles just above the skin with soft smoky vanilla powder–rich sweet incense ash–and whispers complements all day long.

I’m crushing hard on this one.
Very unisex, but wouldn’t be offended by the assumption of male pronouns.


This grunge oldie is smoky and sweet, with a nice aggressive edge.