Gelsomino

Pooka sniffing a micro Borsari 1870 bottle with pale bow and amber eau.

Gelsomino is Italian for jasmine.
This vintage beauty from Borsari 1870 is a good reference–I’ve reached for it often this week as I attempt to retrain my nose–first formulated in 1930.

Jasmine is the soprano of the white flowers–the violin, while neroli is the viola and tuberose a cello–gorgeous when on pitch, shrill when off.
Jasmine can be milky, too–lactonic–with clouds in the tea that make everything soft, and also very indolic with skanky “Pollinate me, Baby” invitations.

I usually find elements of apple, matcha, and the top lemony opening of roses here, bright cheerful nectar–and I finally do again, though they’re muted. I have to shove my face into my wrist, when I remember it being loud as a struck bell.

So yay, my sense of smell is coming back intact, just slower than I’d like. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. Baby steps.
And sinus medicine.

Borsari 1870 Fragrance Collection, packaged in a gold edged black tome that holds 24 mini bottles`. A gift shop gem from the 1970s, this Italian floral sampler makes a great reference library.

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We learned the traditional Chinese “Jasmine Song” in elementary school. The amazing Song Zuying is joined here by Celine Dion, who takes it to Vegas.
(More sopranos.)

Ciel

Clear mini Amouage bottle with silver dome lid on the edge of a garden pot, and blue sky with wispy clouds behind.
Today will be lovely, the weather woman says.

Ciel seems to be trying to compose solar and aquatic vibes out of flowers–sun-showers, maybe?

Opens slightly spicy and green, and soon turns watery but oddly creamy, with a lot of jasmine.
Then the bottom makes it really weird, soapy woods-musk, with some Amouage brand incense muddled in, polluting the whole sky with floral acid rain.

I’ll stay inside.

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Here’s a gorgeous clear sky:

Tubereuse Indiana

Creed sample card with splash vial, featuring portraits of the company founder (James Creed, 1760) and the designer of Tubereuse Indiana (Oliver Creed, 1980.)

Hmmm.
Well…

I get a fair bit of lily-of-the-valley, and maybe some gardenia, but not a lot of tuberose. Or vanilla.
Some ambergris rises from the skin about an hour in, but it’s got a cigarette ash aftertaste that seems dated.

The whole thing feels like it’s trying to have vibes of the action TV shoes in the late 60’s–The Mod Squad, and The Avengers, even Batman, all with slick sexy fashions contrasted with dangerous underworlds–but misses the mark (and doesn’t seem to go anywhere near India.)

For a good Indian tuberose with a kiss of vanilla, a bottle of Sikkim Girls and a mortgage payment can be had for the same price.

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Diana Rigg lived in Rajasthan when she was young, and spoke Hindi.
Cool lady. Smoked a lot.

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.

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My favorite lullaby.

Soleil

Large oval bottle with gold Fragonard sunburst cap, on verdigris brass sundial.

Jasmine and wisteria that span several decades.

Starts with big creamy-yet-spicy florals, a hit of 80’s soapy peaches and a squirt of 70’s disco rose pee, then gets powdery with late 90’s iris. Finishes up with a light sunny musk that’s brilliant on scarves.

For the woman who celebrates her laugh lines.

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A melancholy sun. She sang this tribute five days after Chris Cornell’s death.

Love Tuberose

Opaque cream, silver capped, full sized and mini Amouage bottles, in a pile of pale pink and yellow flowers.

Love Tuberose is a huge ice cream cake cuddle of a scent, and became my favorite comfort fragrance at first sniff.

Starts with a bouquet of white flowers sculpted from sugar paste, with milky sweet notes that slide tropical and faintly fruity–I get a breath of apricot that is most likely me imagining things–so pretty and feminine and uplifting.
A half hour later the fun happens.
Puffs of whipped vanilla rise from the tuberose, with the creamy lightness you’d expect from jasmine, but they’re pure bubblegum, flirty sass with a hint of powder–if a scent could sound like laughter, this one does.
The sandalwood on the bottom keeps it from being too young and giggly. The wood notes are a support for the flowers, giving them strength without taking over, and are more apparent on cotton than silk.

Lasts a good three hours in personal space, then sleeps on the skin with a smile.

All Amouage perfumes are expensive–high end top-shelf bottles with quality ingredients and master blending–but for me, this one is a self-care mood-lifting therapy session with each spray, and worth the cost of a big bottle.

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This whole album is good therapy–

Illicit Flower

Mini Illicit Flower–a cut glass barrel bottle with a modern ice castle vibe–and mandarin oranges.

I’d call this one Illicit Citrus, but it’s actually quite safe and polite.

Starts with orange juice and orange blossomy rose that stays inside personal space for an hour, then eases to sheer jasmine musk with some sweet woods until noon.

Pleasant, but very little allure. A good one for a gift exchange–the bottle is lovely.

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This song is so pretty and strange–and weirdly apropos. We enjoy sweet scents meant to inspire hunger, yet so much of fashion is biased to the dangerously thin.

Destiny

TokyoMilk rollerball and magenta capped black packaging, on chunks of crystalized ginger.

TokyoMilk #79

Destiny is that marvelous obnoxious friend who’s a blast to hang with, but would wear you out if it were an everyday thing.

Rolls on in with sugary ginger and wild berries, in a heavy-handed but good way, then develops some nice nasty indolic tendencies.
A pleasant bitter-sweetness that might be the davana paired with honeysuckle interrupts for a few hours at arm’s length, then slowly settles down to creamy cuddly jasmine for the rest of the day.

Lots of fun, but for occasional use only.
(Can be hard to find. Snag a bottle if you see it at a price you can afford–I’ve see them as low as $12 used and $60 new.)

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I would totally hang out with Lizzo EVERY day.

Wild Fire

Discovery set sample pray and intense model with dark lipstick and smudges on her face, and maybe a bird nest on her head.

Raw Spirit calls this “warm and seductive,” though “stifling and carnal” might be more accurate–

I got clubbed with thick hot amber at first spray.
As I gasped for fresh air, the guy wrinkled his nose and said, “Huh. That’s really sexy.”

Eventually the amber simmered down to nice dusty sandalwood–tempered with jasmine, very close to the skin–that lasted most of the day, a spot of heat on the flesh, almost like a bruise.

I’d wear it for him, but I’d need some cooling sweetness–a breath of violet leaf, or maybe vanilla–to wear it for me.

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This Wildfire is quite spirited, and a bit raw.

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.

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Imelda May is the epitome of retro and fresh.