Quercia

Yellow Acqua di Parma discovery set box, with black capped sample spray, and turning oak leaves.

Autumn, and sweet.
Begins with a mid-day bluster of lemony oak woods, then grabs a mug of chilled root beer and settles in for a fire-lit evening, while the winds blow outside.
Shifts from cheerful warm spice to melancholy cool herbs and back again with the weather.
I like it very much.

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I’m a month late on this, but ’tis the season.

Narciso

Mini cube of dark eau (yes, it stains) with an ecru top. The full sized bottles are lined with opaque white.

Delightful.

An opalescent woody musk–there’s a lovey creamy yet multifaceted quality about it–and blatantly rich. Starts out with a splash of Shalimar cola, then dusts up with earthy mineral powder made carnal and soft by gardenia.
A bit of rose grows up a few hours in, wild, dry and thorny over the cedars, staying in personal space all day.

Marketed to women, but would be absolutely lethal on masculine types, in a sulking prince way.

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Benjamin Haycock is a singer/rapper/songwriter out of the UK–I love the percussive techniques he uses on the guitar.

Wakening Woods of Scandinavia

White cat with a very pink nose, and a large pale green cut crystal flask and leafy printed box.

(Meet Lucy, our newest household addition.* She likes to eat rose petals, chase hair ties, and watch sandwich-making.)

I’m rather devoted to the House of 4711, but I’ve been putting off opening my bottle Wakening Woods of Scandinavia–even though it received kudus from People Who Know What They’re Talking About, and was designed by the Escentric Molecules guy–because I didn’t want to be disappointed.
I have such fond memories of the various forests in Sweden I’ve seen and smelled (Trollskogen on Öland is amazing).

Wakening Woods is lovely…!
Crisp green bergamot and some herbal spice at the start, ridiculously fresh and breezy, then after a few seconds, cool fir and alpine roses–the tiny ones that smell almost apple-y, but not sweet–over forest floor bracken.

Fills the room at first spray, but settles quickly to a few inches above the skin with nice ferny trails for two hours.
Evergreen, but all-year-round.

* Adopt, don’t shop, yeah? Second-hand cats and wild-grown kittens have the best personalities!

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Tori going Nordic.

Autumn Rhythm

Paper test cutout of Chris Collins black and copper bottle, sample spray and fallen leaves.

Dry sweet musk over soft leather and woods, dusted with gourmet hot cocoa powder.
Comforting yet elegant–there’s a lovely walk-through-the-arboretum feel, with city bustle not too far off.

(If Tauer’s L’Air des Alpes Suisse is your winter in a bottle, Autumn Rhythm might be your fall.)

Greener on skin than on clothing, and makes rough cotton feel like fine spun cashmere.
High end prices, but big boss performance–two small sprays fill social distance and beyond with trailers that last all day.

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An autumn song:

Youth Dew Amber Nude

Half full ribbed hourglass bottle with tall gold cap and brown grosgrain ribbon belt, with cinnamon sticks and an orange carnation.

(There’s something deliciously ghoulish about buying perfume from an estate sale. You know that bottle is haunted, but you take it home anyway.)

Tom Ford’s remix of Estée Lauder’s classic Youth Dew smells exactly the way Swedish Julmust tastes, only sexier.

For those who’ve never been to Sweden in December, Julmust is a sweet spiced cola made with ginger and citrus and other secret ingredients, and is the only non-alcoholic drink you’re allowed at Christmas.

Amber Nude starts with an effervescent pop of candied grapefruit peel, ginger and cinnamon, then mixes in carnation sweetened with jasmine and ylang-ylang, which turns into clove spice-drops that melt in personal space all evening long. Spun sugar amber and warm woods linger on clothes forever afterward.

Brilliant for holiday parties with low cleavage dresses.
(Cheers to you, dead lady with good taste in minimalist furniture and sexy perfume. I bet you were fun.)
Skål.

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Cheryl Wheeler is a brilliant folksinger and songwriter whose tunes have been covered by Bette Midler, Garth Brooks, and many others.

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.

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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.

Uninhibited

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.”

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

Honour

Whiskery cat nose sniffing the gold dome of a white mini Amouage bottle, and some magenta button carnations.

Pleasant white flowers at first, not a lot of personality, but sweet–then after a few minutes the tuberose and the carnation pick up the spicy notes and turn more interesting.
There’s a delicate watery feel under the florals–more morning garden dew than rainy lotus pond–that might come from the lily-of-the-valley and rhubarb; green, a little earthy.
Some resinous stuff on the bottom gives texture and holds the gardenia in personal space the whole day long.

I get a maternal vibe, in a young expectant mother way–pretty, but not for me.

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This Honor isn’t watery at all.

Zanzibar

Clear rectangular bottle with offset red square cap, and cardamom pods and cloves.

Opens with green herbs that get spicy as they warm up, teasing cloves and cardamom in a mild weather linen suit way, with sandalwood and soft sweet musk at the base.
Stays in personal space with breezy trails for an hour, then disappears to elusive spice on the skin.

Subtle, elegant and warm. (The guy finds the opening a bit too masculine on me, but likes the drydown.)

Van Cleef & Arpels discontinued Zanzibar, perhaps due to the fleeting performance. Vintages can be found pretty easily, with mini bottles pretty cheap, and full sizes in the hundreds.

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An Australian band that’s been around for forty years, and still touring. This is an early one.

1000

Vintage Jean Patou cut crystal bottle with gold details and aged sealing thread (and a red capped black Joy bottle in the background.)

Jean Patou’s 1000 (said “Mille” because French, oui?) was launched in 1972, a powdery rose chypre with a glimpse of cat in the leaves.
Retro and odd, with a loud fruity green opening to a big Joy bouquet, yet somehow demure–the enormous flowers are dusted with iris and violet, and a moss so soft it disguises a rather lot of civet–that after eons settles to the skin with sudsy woody aldehydes.

Extremely long lasting, and in this era, unisex, easily worn by the guy who marches in solidarity with his mother, who wore it almost 50 years ago, carrying signs that say the same damn thing.

Sadly, Jean Patou’s production was halted last year, so grab a bottle of this (and Joy, too, if you haven’t one) now, while it can still be found.

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The Partisan is an anti-fascist song written by Anna Marley in 1943, who was an inspiration to the French Resistance. The song resurfaced in 1969 with Leonard Cohen’s cover, and it quickly became an anthem for protesters in the early ’70s, including Joan Baez.