Dolly

Black and white photo of Dolly Parton on a blush sample card with her butterfly signature, and a spray vial.

Dolly Parton’s new perfume is a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a bottle.

Opens with the strawberries-and-cream saltwater taffy from Old Smoky Candy Kitchen–soft fruity pink and gooey sweet–and lasts as long as one takes to melt in the mouth.
The middle is pure Dollywood, rhinestone musk and jasmine encore bouquets, synthetic but charming, though nowhere near as loud.
Finishes with a lingering view of the mountains, green forest woods and a hint of pine.

Oddly, Dolly is a bit shy, staying in personal space and fading quickly to the skin. I’d expect this brief a performance from a cologne, not a celebrity eau de parfum, but her short songs are good, too.

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This remix takes Dolly out of the mountains and into the club, with Junior Vasquez mixing Ladysmith Black Mambazo into the beats to raise the sun.

Purplelips

Purple mini bottle with a stack of lips à la Han-Solo-in-carbonite, on a detail of The Temptation of St. Anthony.

I love a good pun.
These Purple Lips open with juicy blueberries that would stain the teeth, and linger on violet and lilac flower candy that dye the tongue. Sheer woody musk on bottom keeps it in personal space for half the day.

But one could easily find this scent–though maybe not as cool a bottle–in a fast fashion chain for teens. I want more from the house of Salvador Dali.
Give me chessboards on the ocean floor. Give me ship sails made of butterflies.

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The Cocteau Twins kept it surreal.

Sea Buckthorn

My grandfather’s old grey Stetson and a paisley tie slung around a clear flask.

L’Ome is the Durance en Provence eau de toilette line for men. This one is a great OG barbershop cologne.

Argousier (sea buckthorn) on top, with that creamy lemony note lasting for a half hour over alpha herbs and lavender.
Wood fills in the bottom, cedar with some masculine sour sandalwood on the skin.

Old school gentleman–a bit of a curmudgeon but sweet underneath.

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Angel Nova

Rose-red and chrome Mugler Angel star casting pink shadows.

How much do I love this?!

Starts out cool and syrupy, like raspberry sorbet, then slowly melts into gorgeous sugary rose–the kind they make Turkish delight from–with a woody base tempered with benzoin.

The rose and the woods are linear, but there’s a slow progression to the fruity notes. They start tart and crisp and fill-the-room gigantic, but they sweeten through the day, softening to arms’ length pink floral candy, and end in the evening with a marvelous berry flavored cola on the skin.

Definitely a shift from the iconic patchouli-chocolate-caramel of the past thirty years, but this New Angel and Eau Croisière is a refreshing direction, and I’m totally ready for it.

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Here’s another Nova that I love–

Artist

Drawing mannequin (his name is Fred, pleased to meet you) posing with a color block push tube of “Artist” by Le Soft Perfume.

Soft solid that goes on with sugared grapefruit and sinks into the skin with lovely green forest woods. The cedar pushes it to the masculine end of unisex, but the musk at the end is sweet.
Lasts a good three hours an inch off the hands.

Comforting and friendly. A great one to give as a gift.

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My favorite art inspired song.

Be Delicious London

Chrome DKNY apple filled with pink liquid, next to a pink petaled flower and a Honeycrisp apple.

Another apple for the teacher–this one is passionate about Victorian literature and floral print dresses.

Honeycrisp by the bushel and Crabtree & Evelyn rose talc, with modest sillage until tea time. Woodsy amber at the bottom lasts longer on clothes.

I kind of feel like this is what an American designer thinks London should be–cliche and prissy and pretty history–without acknowledging the grime and colonialism and punk rock.

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The “DKNY Hearts the World” line came out in 2012, when this song hit it big in the US. (And Florence is actually from London, unlike this perfume.)

In Full Bloom

Pale purple mini bottle with papery white gardenia top that might be meant to look like a rose.

Opens with lots of roses and some other greenhouse flowers my grandfather grew in patio pots and brought inside in the winter.
There’s an edge of citronella and underneath, some cedar notes, but it doesn’t tell much of a story.
I love the marketing on my little magazine sample–yes to gorgeous Black women with natural hair and real women over fifty! But I’m disappointed that there is none of Kate Spade’s trademark whimsy of typewriter purses and flowerpot bags in this scent.

Edit–2/18/2020
Three years later and here’s a mini in a box of curiosities I don’t remember ordering at all, and I manage to splash it all over the house while opening it. Now I have rosy cedar floorboards and an annoyed cat, but there’s a quirky cottage-core vibe that I like (and didn’t get from the peelie) so I’ll tuck it into my linen closet until I find a good home for it.

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Rest in Parfum, Kate Spade. I’ve loved your fun designs.