Crimson Rocks

Amouage spray sample and red card, photo-bombed by a Siamese cat with no manners.

Oooh, this is heavenly.
Cinnamon and cedar and so warm, like standing before a brazier of burning hardwood, and sweet–but not cuddly, the honey is spread with a sharp rose knife.

I get a lot of Youth Dew vibes–that rich spicy heat–but Crimson Rocks is wilder, more elemental.
The lack of amber or balsamics on the bottom give an amazing desert mirage feel, elusive and light, like dusty spice in evening sun–

Lasts all night, growing sweeter and softer, just a breath on the skin left in the morning.

The guy said “You should get that,” and I might, when the price of eggs becomes reasonable again.

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I do love Joan Jett, but daaamn this is good.

Rose Incense

Sample spray and promo card, with desiccated roses and incense in a green ceramic holder.

Amouage’s take on Citizen Kane opens with sharp resins with melancholy undertones, then shifts to burning dried rosebuds (see what they did there?) and more aged frankincense.

Sadly, these heart notes leave one wanting more–the myrrh plot twist is so well known that there’s no surprise of cleverness to the sandalwood at the end–and the fleeting sweetness of vanilla at the bottom gives only the sense that love was never found.

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The Union Forever” is The White Stripes’ take on the same movie, but “The Same Boy You’ve Always Known” is my favorite song on that album at the moment. Here’s a live version-

Poe’s Tobacco

A white cat sniffs an apple on a green leather bound collection of Edgar Allan Poe, with a TokyoMilk bottle featuring a raven.

“Long Covid” is a thing.
I’m getting better, just more slowly than I thought. It’s been 10 months, now.
(The guy hasn’t got his taste back properly, and says the sky looks pinker than it should.)
The waves of exhaustion come and go, with joint pain popping up in odd places–a ghost in the machine–and shrouding sensations that make me doubt my nose and my playlists.

Sometimes my most beloved songs seem flat, the blues going gray.

I took a break from the sniff tests for a few months, nervous that my receptors were too scarred to function properly.
I’ve found comfort in my old favorites–Tank Battle has been a constant through this two-steps-forward-one-step-back recovery–spraying more, pressing my nose deeper into my skin, rejoicing at the familiar notes in the muted performance.
Not all have stayed the same, though.

Poe’s Tobacco–which used to be an autumn go-to, with apples and amber and tea–now seems more summery, orchard blossoms and sun in trees, and maybe some jasmine I wasn’t aware of before.
The tobac still gives it depth, but the woods lean more floral now, and less toward books in shadowy corners. I’m sad about it, that the niche-but-accessible cleverness has worn off.

A nice, easy to find vintage–but not quite as offbeat and fun as I remember.
I hope it’s just me.

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A haunting rendition that still rings true.

Pure Poison

Mini bottle with white fade up to the black collar and purple lettering, casting iridescent shadows.

A jasmine bomb with a 2 mile blast radius.
Pull the candy orange peel pin and white flowers go nuclear, a dense gardenia fog with ambery woods fallout underneath, that flattens every other scent in the vicinity.

Brilliant and a little frightening.
Wear in winter with an open carry permit.

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A*Men

Black A*Men sample spray on blue themed promo card featuring a flask with the Mugler iconic cut star.

Mint chocolate patchouli, camphor cool and creamy, with black coffee on the side.
Lasts an eternity.

Incredibly dynamic, constantly shifting from dark to bright, sugary to herbal, soft to sharp–and there’s something aggressive about the performance, the way it fills the room and takes up space. A*Men is definitely a manspreader, but gets away with it by being sweet and fun.

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“I think beauty is the human emotional vehicle between us and it’s very important.” – Manfred Thierry Mugler

The world has lost some sparkle today, and I imagine the angels and the aliens fighting for the honor of carrying him upward.

Mugler was an incredible fashion designer, responsible for so many history making outfits–Demi Moore’s Indecent Proposal dress, Kim Kardashian’s wet Met Gala number, David Bowie’s neon green suit, Cardi B’s Venus dress–and sooo many more, all bold, creative, sometimes divisive, and always attention getting, just like his perfumes.

He was a visionary and an activist, ignoring gender rules, racial bias and body shape stereotypes, making luxury fashion inclusive and exciting to all, and in the case of his fragrances, accessibly priced and environmentally conscious.

Rest in Parfum, sir, and thank you for all the beauty you have given us.

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George Micheal’s 1992 Too Funky video was set in a fictional Mugler runway show.

Urban Hero

Mini flask of pale green eau on a brown leather jacket.

Leather with nice manners.

Peppery sweet limes ease into smooth wood, wrapped in a bomber jacket with a satin ambergris lining.

Not pushy, but not a pushover, either. The spicy citrus stays light and refreshing in personal space, but the animalics laying just above the skin have some weight.

I’d chat him up if he sat next to me on the subway–

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Lempicka Homme

Pale blue promo card with silver ivy leaf, spray sample and several packs of gum wrapped in pale blue.

Must love licorice.

That Lempicka Homme and Black Jack chewing gum have the same color branding cannot be a coincidence. This stuff is dead on.
Black magic aniseed, herbal sharp with a hint of powder–a freshly unwrapped stick–then earthy sugar, the real stuff, no aspartame here, slowly easing down to the musky woody notes at the bottom as the sweetness fades.

There’s other stuff, too, just to be sophisticated, rum and almonds and some smoky labdanum, a little less syrupy than dad’s version, a little less purple, but still witty and fun and cheerful.
Lasts a nice three hours in intimate space, then another three on the skin.

(I do love licorice.)

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More Black Jack in blues.

African Rooibos

Paper test cutout of red flask and copper label wrapped sample spray on a china saucer with a cup of red tea.

Herbal tea that’s so spicy it puts hair on your chest, then rocks you to sleep.
Warm peppery cardamom at first sip, but slowly steeps into hearty yet smooth red tea with tonka.

Lasts the day on skin–intimate and sweet (orris root keeps it from getting syrupy)–with some soft wood smoke on the bottom.

I really like it, and had fun comparing it with yesterday’s sniff, Amouage Lyric Woman, which has a lot of the same notes under the rose. African Rooibos is much earthier–more knight to Lyric’s queen.

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Rooibos grows only in the Cederberg Mountains, north of Capetown.
Here’s some more South African goodness from the very popular pop duo Mafikizolo.

Lyric Woman

Square, deep red mini flask with domed lid and Amouage medallion in silver, with a sprig of scarlet tipped rose sedum.

Lyric opens with bright bergamot and sharp green cardamom that slowly relaxes over chai tea–cinnamon vanilla sweetened with ylang-ylang–and dark velvet roses, for two hours or so. A lemony herbal note from the geranium drifts in and out, keeping it refreshing.
Amouage’s usual incense is anchored by sandalwood on the bottom, holding it more to clothes than to the body, and under that, powdery orris made creamy by an almond-ish tonka on the skin.

Absolutely lovely, with capricious projection–sometimes a huge flourish of roses at arms length, sometimes just a hint of intimate spice–but might be too sultry for me.
This one requires the rubies and Arabian horses and smoking kohl eyeliner type, and I’m more of a garnet and beat up jeep and mismatched cat’s eye gal.

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A sultry song.

Gold Fresh Couture

Gold window cleaner shaped mini bottle, metal shot rag scrap and an ochre pear.

A sweet cheapie that works hard at school and doesn’t make their parents nervous–
Cheerful pear and vanilla with a touch of floral woods to keep it from turning into melted ice cream.

Reasonable performance and would pair well with any off-the-shelf hair product in existence.
For Ages 13 and up.

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I’m really enjoying Moschino’s aesthetic right now–check out this new collection, upbeat campy fun that couldn’t give a flying fuck about binary gender expectations.

Planningtorock’s electropop “Girl You’ve Got My Heart” was used in Moschino’s wonderfully inclusive 2022 Spring-Summer walk, but “Much To Touch” is my favorite.