Acqua di Tuberosa

Two 50-year-old micro bottles. The one on the right–honey amber eau, with a pristine white bow–came from a sealed set. The opened one (I have no idea when)–with a stained yellow bow and deeper oxidized liquor–is richer, with spicier base notes.

This little beauty shows off the lighthearted facets of tuberose–sweet milky florals, the giggly sweet aromatics of bubblegum, the sugary mint of wintergreen, buttercream icing–without going into the skanky indolic camphorous aspects. (More on Amouage’s Love Tuberose end of the spectrum than Moon Bloom.)
A bit of sandalwood on the bottom anchors it, and there might be a bit clove, too–I get nice hints of Tabu there.

I can definitely smell it, too–though I still have to shove my nostrils up into stuff to get a good full whiff. So I’m guessing all my receptors are still firing, they’re just weak.
My first Covid symptoms hit four weeks ago. The folks I’ve talked to, that have weathered it through, have said they finally got their taste and smell fully back after two months.
Mine seems to be coming back faster than that–most likely due to the vaccine, rather than me huffing everything that crosses my path.

Vintage Borsari mini bottle, the label featuring a woman draped in flowers in a draw-me-like-one-of-your-French-girls pose, on a chrysanthemum flower to make my photo fancy.


An uplifting song with some spice on the bottom. It’s so nice to feel better.

Viole del Pensiero

Nosy blue-point Siamese cat sniffing wild pansies, and a tiny purple bowed bottle with a plastic gold cap.

Pansies are so fun! The smaller johnny-jump-ups have the most scent (which isn’t much) and are the easiest to grow.

Borsari 1870’s 1970’s reissue of a 1920 classic that I picked up in 2010 (…Let’s do the time-warp, agaaiin…!) is a greener violet than many, with a dewy leafy opening that stays verdant as it slowly dries down to sweet floral powder.
There’s a bit of woody backbone at the bottom–I’m only getting a smidge, but it’s there–some subtle oakmoss, maybe? that takes it out of traditional feminine flowers and into intriguing unisex garden.
Nice vibe of the whole plant, not just an extraction of the petals.

I have to shove my nose into things to get good results–a big huff rather than a delicate sniff–but I’m getting there!


Another vintage one that got me moving. (I still get worn out quickly, but I’m much better than last week!)

It’s just a jump to the left–

X For Women

Clive Christian tester packet on a china saucer. I’m not a fan of the cardboard “pull-and-press-here” samples–they’re one use only, usually tear, and dribble more than spray.

The smoothest peach smoothie that ever smoothed, sucked through a straw by Bettie Page. In full color.

Fruity, soft, creamy and boldly sexy–garnished with pale green jasmine that brings out the pineapple, for hours. Finishes with lovely sweet musk with a bit of smoke, pursed lips and a wink, erotic and flirtatious, yet genuine at the same time.

I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Gucci Rush, and I definitely smell the resemblance. However, X strips out the plastics and reblends with powdery orris and labdanam, elevating the peach out of vinyl album cover and into burlesque editorial.

The over 50¢ a spray is rather cost prohibitive–Clive Christian can seem more interested in selling his own price tag than a good perfume–but X goes on like really fine lingerie, as much an indulgence for oneself as for anyone else, with banging projection that lasts for ages.


The smoothest–

Summer Rain

Sample vial and ad with a naked blonde in a field, modestly clutching a scarf that must have blown off in the breeze, with dramatic clouds overhead.

Touted as “fresh invigorating citrus” and Summer Rain is very much that–lime and grapefruit, like a early a.m. wake up call, that warms up to the citronella bite of cedar shingle siding in the sun.
Might make a nice insect repellent (so hard to find bug sprays that actually smell pretty, whines the girl who lived in Vermont marshlands for ten years) though it lasts only an hour or so.

This was the final spray of my discovery set from Raw Spirit.
I have some feelings about the ad copy that talks about their celebration of the world’s diversity and mentions responsibly sourced rare materials from the Australian Outback, the Caribbean and Bali–yet the model in all the photos is a pale blonde, which seems contrary to what the brand represents.
But the ingredients are obviously high quality, and feel like luxury oils on the skin rather than chemicals.
The scents all have an earthy herbal vibe, and the ones I liked best–Winter Oak and Mystic Pearl–seem more suited for masculine types. I’d not recommend blind-buying any of them, but their sample sets aren’t expensive.


Feeling Etta on this one today.

Dylan Turquoise

Mini sky-blue frosted amphora with gold chrome cap topped with Medusa medallion.

This gorgeous bottle opens with Red Lobster wet wipes that come with the plastic bib, and finishes with the guava shampoo at Great Clips.

Lasts a short daytime shift with stingy tips.
I’m rather sad about it–and now I want cheddar biscuits.


Here’s a marvelous Dylan cover–Bettye LaVette is raspy soul greatness, and Larry Campbell (he’s been a studio guitarist for everyone from B.B. King to The Black Crowes, and toured with Bob Dylan himself) is phenomenal.

Tainted Love

TokyoMilk rollerball wand and pink and black packaging, with skeleton key motif and a big brass key.

TokyoMilk No. 62 lists Dark Vanilla Bean, Orchid, White Tea and Sandalwood

Sour fruity vanilla, with very little projection, until pleasant smoke drifts in after a few minutes.
Artificial flowers slowly creep up, weird sentient flocked velvet things with plastic stamens, a cute graveyard horror two hour movie anecdote, then the vanilla comes back, warm and powdery, bolstered by bottom woods to linger on the skin another hour more.

Pleasant. A little bit goth, perhaps, but safe.


Coil’s heartbreaking version of Gloria Jones’ 1965 bop is much more goth that the one by he who shall not be named, and Vivisectors’ Russian surf instrumental is a hoot, but today I’m feeling Karen Souza jazzy.


Promo card with Tocca’s Rococo crown, sample vial, and a purple viola from my garden.

The copy on the sample card is ridiculous–springtime on the Champs-Elysees does not awaken the spirit of love, unless you are turned on by sour sycamore trees, car exhaust and urine.
Also, African Violets have no fragrance.

Violette opens leafy green, with some sharp spice in a dinner salad gourmandish way, and a hint of black currant, (so perhaps they got the Paris pee right.) The ginger gets powdery sweet on the skin, with an odd note of pine tree, then it all disappears after 20 minutes.

If you’re collecting Tocca bottles (which are rather adorable), go for it, but don’t bother hunting this one down for the scent.
LUSH’s Kerbside Violet has ten times the urban violet vibe for the same price, and any of Marc Jacob’s Daisies are sweeter and longer lasting.


Paisley Park produced J.J.’s first album–Prince’s stamp is all over this song.

Rose and Me

Coreterno discovery set with Fornasetti style branding, sample spray, and black promo card with cool blue reflections.

Opens with spicy saffron roses, big and jammy, in Fort & Manle fashion.
Then lemon leaf geranium jumps in with a big splash–that flowers in the rain thing that Nest does–pleasantly tart and wet.
After an hour or so, a nice smoky tea brews, with patchi honey and Amouage’s woody rose incense.

The best performance of Coreterno’s perfume catalog, with fill-the-room floral sillage and semi-permanence on clothes. Hardly original, but that might be a part of their branding: a pastiche of beloved cliches that blend into a new but still familiar composition.

Not one I’d wear–this one would be more likely to wear me–but I’d love to huff on someone else, especially masculine types in retro neckties.


Here’s another pastiche of cliches done perfectly.


Palm reading sticker and sample card with arcane eye motif, and spray.

Garage metal shop–pleasantly sour earthy concrete, metallic dust with the smoke of flash sparks from a grinder, tools with wood handles that warm up with use–and spiced gumdrops.

Nice. Leans to the calloused fingertips end of unisex.
Lasts longer and louder on clothes than on skin, and makes one nostalgic for clove cigarettes.


Another metal catharsis.

Musk Deer

Zoologist bottle cutout paper tester, green cardamom pods, decant vial and enamel deer brooch.

Rude at first, then lovely.

Opens with loud fecal spice, like something large and furry shat cardamom pods in your personal space.
Just as your eyes start to water in protest, the cedar tamps down the fumes with some nice florals, and then the softest powdery musk takes over.
The orris root makes this brilliant–not like Lolita Lempicka’s pulverized violet candy–more fae monarchy walking in the forest, raising sugary pollen that glitters in the sun.

The base woods stay sweet on the on the skin for half the day, with the musk trailing a foot above.

Unisex. Leans delicate, after the feral beginning.


Music for modern elven kings: