Mystic Pearl

Sample spray and ad of a blonde gazing into the distance with parted lips and a string of beads wrapped around her middle finger.

A “fresh luminous floral inspired by Bali… using the scent of real pearls.”
(Do they grind them up, or somehow distill them? I feel like the liquid should have a paillette effect, or some shimmery nacre going on in the bottle.)

Mystic Pearl opens with a fresh vodka note that turns oceanic, then some jasmine and coconut. Sadly, I get none of the spices listed, which might have given this more backbone and lasting power. Disappears into the skin in under an hour, though lasts half the day on cotton.

(My pearls first belonged to my grandmother–they still smell like Charles of the Ritz.)

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This funky number is also inspired by Bali–with a lot more spice.

Fragile

Snow globe with gold glitter liquid and a black figure with Jean-Paul Gaultier’s iconic corseted silhouette.

There are few times I would ever recommend anyone not snatching up an adorable miniature vintage bottle from a brilliant costume and fashion designer, filled with tuberose and sweet smoky spice mixed by Francis Kurkdjian himself, that lasts at the most delicate arm’s length forever–

–but this mini Fragile is a pain in the ass.
The press-on tab lid on the bottom leaks, because gravity. The gold detail on the bottle on the bottle decomposes with alcohol, and since perfumer’s spirits are usually 190 proof, that happens quick. And the mouth, one of those irritating single drop orifices (orifii?) that essential oil bottles have, gets clogged up with glitter particles and has to be cleaned out with a pin.

So don’t.
Walk on by.
Keep scrolling.

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I do love me some Gaultier. His costumes in Fifth Element were amazing.

Delight

Sample vial on a detail of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, with two spoonbills riding a goat, a porcupine floating in a dandelion, and what might be a game of mounted naked dodge-ball on the right.

Delight is quite nice, with tropical sweet flowers that settle to a good ’70’s funky green jasmine. I get a pinch of gourmand spice, though none are listed–maybe the bottom notes of the rose?–that makes it modern and feminine and fun.

A single drop fades to the skin in two hours, but lasts on fabric for days.
This might be the most mainstream fashion, blind-buy-safe blend from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that I’ve sniffed so far. I’d rec it to anyone who loves Estée Lauder flower showers but has a reaction to the woody musk on the bottom.

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Delightful song with some retro funk and modern sweetness.

Elephant

Wood elephant, a bit of greenery and a decant vial.

Green grass and green tea and green coconuts and jasmine at the beginning–playful jungle notes that I like very much–but then the patchouli makes it rain, and the sweetness is lost.
Wood notes at the bottom dry it up and add some gravitas, but I wish the cocoa came through deeper, to give more weight.
There’s a lack of presence, in both scent and sillage, that I find disappointing.

The elephant in the room should fill the space, and this one doesn’t.

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This Elephant makes me happy.

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.

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I love this French cover of INXS’s Mystify–

Fracas

Pink gumballs and a mini bottle of Fracas.

Big bang bubblegum, for adults only.
Drunk peach and vampy tuberose that bursts loud and proud and marvelous.
A twist of orange for zing, carnation for spice, roses to flirt, and a woody base for backbone.

This girl does what and whom she pleases, tuberoses untethered, with a wink and a pop and a smile.

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First released in 1948, Fracas was a favorite of Rita Hayworth and Brigitte Bardot. Released again in 1998, it became a signature scent of Madonna. Ray of Light came out that year, too.

Chloé

Mini iconic curvy bottle with translucent troll horn stopper, casting gold shadows.

Chloé is pure fun sunshine, from beach wear and flip-flops to glamorous midsummer weddings.

Aldehyde fresh, citrus spiked peach punch, garnished with tropical flowers for an hour at the beginning, that warms up with spicy carnations and white flowers, heavy on sweet tuberose. Dry woods at the bottom anchor it at arms length for the day and to clothes for the night.

I love the ’70’s intrigue movie vibe to it, sea-kissed Jacqueline Bisset from The Deep, Gloria Hendry in the patchwork bikini in Live and Let Die.

Luckily, it’s easy to find a vintage bottle, and it seems to keep well–though current pop culture makes the bottle top look less like calla lilies than Shrek ears.

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The best Bond song ever:

Beautiful

BeautifulA bottle of Bridezilla, with a cathedral length train.

She comes in on full pipe organ, fruity sweet floral honey for the first half hour, then the nectar turns to a cascade of petals: carnations and roses, lilac and mimosa.
Spills blooms through the reception and the dancing, and ends in sweet vanilla sandalwood and musk, trailing Just Married signs–
–and wasn’t her dress just beautiful?


A another good first dance song that came out the same year.

Citrine

citrineThis is lemon Italian ice, sold from a cheery street vendor in August.

Sugary citrus blooms, loud, with a wet floral that is supposed to be lotus, but seems more like yellow roses, with synthetic papery wooden notes underneath.

Citrine is sweet but safe, polite sillage that doesn’t overstay its welcome, no risks, no glory.
It needs layering with musk, or even a bite of something animalic to make it shine.


Bono channeling his inner Elton-Bowie-Elvis is amazing. Whether you grin or groan, you have to admit he took risks–and the song is great.