Hierba Nera

Coreterno sample card and spray, with cheeky neo-baroque postcard of a lady with a high ruff collar and spray painted mask.

I love the opening–green citrus with good rasp of nutmeg, and a nice hit of pot funk–but in 15 minutes Hierba Nera (Black Grass) slides into smoky amber resins with lazy projection.
The base notes of miscellaneous wood musks last half the day on the skin, with no residue on cotton.

Leans to the oak-y end of unisex.

If the top notes took center stage, I’d be all up in a bottle–the art-house basement party vibe is delightful–but the high doesn’t last long enough to warrant the cost.

*

Very fun video to a cool song.

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.

*

This Wildfire is quite spirited, and a bit raw.

Amazon Lily

Sample card with botanical drawing of a white lily, spray vial and other Nest mini bottles.

The first spray is a sanitizing citrus that fades to weird artificial fantasy flowers–they feel a bit Tim Burton-ish, like they might eat your brains with slurping noises.
The dry drown is very cool, a woodsy musk that does a chilly freshwater slow dive that lasts for hours and hours.

Masculine, in a modern knight errant on a trippy quest way, but a Lady-of-the-Lake could pull it off, too.

*

Tim Burton directed this cute video for the Killers.

Winter Oak

Sample spray and ad with righteously pouting blonde who should be allowed to wear more clothes when it’s that cold.

The ad copy says “smooth creamy warming” but I get “edge of the forest hermit.”

The first spray is a burst of sour citrus and vegetables with herbs, in a messy sun-drenched garden way, then everything gets spicy, woody cloves and earthy peppercorns for an hour on the skin.
The end is a slow fade of soft with smoky firewood that’s still a bit too green to burn.

I’d really enjoy this on a guy, which is funny, because the guy said he’d enjoy it on me.

*

Winter came back yesterday, for one last kiss.

Koala

John William Lewin’s 1803 drawing of “Coola and Young,” Zoologist bottle paper test strip, decant vial and tip of a eucalyptus branch.

Down Under barbershop bloke.
Zoologist went for environment rather than animalics on this one, though apparently koalas do smell like cough drops.

Opens with a big bar of masculine eucalyptus soap, and rinses down to herbal spice and vanilla mint. Within half an hour there’s a splash of smoky tea that I wish stayed longer, then it dries down to soft wood musk on the skin.

I like him, even if he’s not giving out Vegemite sammies.

*

I’m old enough to remember when this first came out on the radio.

L’Air des Alpes Suisse

Tauer blue mini pentagon bottle with mountain graphic label, on iced over evergreen bough.

I thought there would be hot cocoa.

L’Air des Alpes Suisses is chilly and gorgeous, and stays that way.
The ambergris is a gust of cold wind carrying snow and pine, with a weirdly enjoyable sweet whiff of gasoline–and it echoes. The camphor in the woods somehow resonates, the way a struck bell vibrates the air in the room, with a slow two hour fade to the skin.

The linear sound wave quality is very cool, a good example of synesthesia in perfumery, though I keep wondering if it will resolve at the end.
(Is there a tease of warmth and chocolate in there, or is that my own wishful thinking?)

I like it very much, but I bet it’s a completely different scent in August.

*

An electro-pop dance hit out of Zurich that’s oddly soothing, with a gorgeous little video.

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

Here’s another Nova that I love–