Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Like swimming.

INeKE Derring-Do
Independent San Fran-based perfumer Ineke Rühland offers a very attractive way to get consumers to try samples from her alphabet-scheme-named line: all five in small 1.5oz sprays, presented in a beautiful box, for $20, shipping included. As if that were not enough, should you love one of your perfume options, that $20 will be put toward the cost of a bottle!

Needless to say, I ordered the sample box posthaste following the recommendation of Heather over at Memory & Desire. Upon arrival, it was just as Heather described -- each bottle, wrapped in colored rice paper, individually boxed, inside its own beautiful and sturdy showcase box. As presentation goes, this is at the top, and would make a lovely gift for any budding perfumista.

But does it smell as good as it looks? Today, I'm sporting Derring-Do. INeKE describes Derring-Do as:
Spring rain, fresh and fearless, the first glimmers of light.

Notes: top, fresh citrus blend, rain notes, cyclamen; middle, magnolia, fougere accents; base, guaiacwood, cedarwood, musk.
 INeKE notes that this fragrance is "for men" but I'm in the perfumista camp that believes there is no such thing. I like Derring-Do. It smells like modern art to me -- clean, angular, stark. The initial application is a sort of citrus and spice combo. The citrus isn't a real life lemon smell necessarily, but it isn't chemically on me either. On dry down the spiciness drops out a bit, leaving a lovely clean lemon citrus kind of smell. INeKE aimed for spring rain, but I see light and air...like the fragrance version of modern architecture. James Turrell's work with light or Phillip Johnson's glass house. It's got structure, but it's clear, visible, even empty...but in a good way. Like sticking your hand through what Turrell has constructed to read, to the eye, as solid space, but isn't. Floating inside the solid, swimming in clear Carribean water.

This kind of art is an experience, whether it is visual or olfactory. You just have to know it for yourself.

Sweet like the way it was
like swimming for the
very first time...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I've got my spine; I've got my orange crush.

Red Flower Guaiac

So today, my perfume discovery is Red Flower’s organic, Guaiac. Red Flower describes it this way:
Red Flower’s homage to the tree of trees carries us into the infinite expanse of wilderness, into the faraway lands of scorching sun and dark earth. The balsamic, sweet fragrance of guaiac wood with its tea-like undertone, is freshened by the inclusion of pink grapefruit, sweetened by rose and enriched by the resinous luxuriousness of elemi, copaiba and cabreuva. A dreamy, soulful perfume that fills our hearts with wanderlust.

Notes: Guaiac, pink grapefruit, rose absolute, elemi, copaiba, cabreuva
I have a sample of the perfume oil, which comes on at first like a strong juicy orange rind, but quickly gives over to an orange blossom, and finally settles into a sweet, full tension between roses and oranges. Over several hours it lightens up, but because it’s an oil, it hides next the skin, floating up strongly when you warm up. So you have a lovely sweet summer scent that comes on like a sudden blushed response to an unexpected compliment. I find it sexy, flirty, ambitiously romantic. I love it.

I am trying to decide if that means I should go for the roll-on alcohol dilute or spring for the very expensive 15ml concentrate. It’s three times as expensive, but has the added benefit of not contaminating the perfume every time I put it on. I could wait a month or two to get it, but then the summer is coming to a close and I don’t see me wearing it a lot in the fall. I think Dzing! and Alamut will be back in full swing by then.

I’ll probably buy it anyway, because I am a full on sucker for a lovely perfume.

...coming in fast, over me...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Review: Bond no. 9 Little Italy

Bond no. 9 describes Little Italy as follows:
Citrus-flavored melt-in-your-mouth gelato in spray form.
Top Notes: Clementine, Grapefruit, Mandarin. Middle Notes: Tangerine, Jasmine. Base Notes: Sheer Musk.
Gelato? I think not. On me, this reads as more in line with orange sweettarts or smarties. It's both too sweet and citrus-y alright, but it completely lacks depth. And there is sharpness to the citrus tang that I found unpleasant, in a not really citrus but more what faux citrus flavoring tastes like way. Might make a better car freshener, but not a great perfume.

Dzing!: The Greatest Show On Earth


 Back to L'Artisan Dzing! today.

Dzing! is supposed to be inspired by the smells of the circus. L'Artisan describes it as:
A unique fragrance inspired by the circus. Possesses all of the distinguished fragrances of this wonderful universe: saddle leather, sawdust from the ring and the caramelised smell of candy. A perfume that reveals itself completely on the skin and is intended for both men and women. Soft and fierce.

Dzing! notes: tonka beans, balsam, saffran and ginger.
I definitely smell the carmelized candy, and the leather. There is a salty note that I pick up -- probably from the saffron -- that gives it a little bit of a stinging smell, which I experience both at circuses and at live stock shows and rodeos. This is less sweet than a livestock show, sharper and spicer, but it's in the same area.

Also, when I forget I'm wearing it and it wafts up and surprises me, I am immediately transported back to a certain high school boy's room. He was one of those loner types who kept his door closed when he was home with his parents,and he burned incense and played a well-card for, oiled acoustic guitar, and he wore perfume and always smelled lovely. Dzing! when it catches me off guard, smells like his room. Being old enough now to be someone nostalgic for my youth, I think that personal aspect of Dzing! is lovely.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bond no. 9: New Haarlem


Today, Bond. no 9 New Haarlem.

Bond. no 9 New Haarlem: Described by Bond. no 9 as follows:

Get lost in the brazen jazz-club atmosphere of this wholly unique corner of NYC. With notes of vanilla coffee and patchouli this fragrance plays like an original jazz number boldly beautiful and full of surprises.
Now this -- I loved. I am an admitted coffee addict. And here: a coffee, vanilla, patchouli mix? Normally I hate patchouli. I'm with John Cusack on that one -- "Get your patchouli stink *outta my store*!" But in perfume, turns out, it reads more as minty-earthy, which I enjoy. Yep. I'm working on trying out several Bond scents, and this one is my favorite so far.

Current personal top 10, err 11.

Just for my own tracking, here is my current scent top 10 11 in no particular order. And I still have a whole lot of samples to go through. Because I love samples.
  1. Annick Goutal Songes*
  2. Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut*
  3. L'Artisan Dzing!*
  4. CB I Hate Perfume Wild Hunt
  5. CB I Hate Perfume Smokey Tabacco
  6. Origins Ginger with a Twist* (discontinued -- now I have to hoard bottles I find for cheap on Ebay)
  7. DSH Perfumes The Vert
  8. Worth Courtesan
  9. Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengance
  10. The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla**
  11. Bond No. 9 Bryant Park

* means I have an actual bottle more of a size of 30ml or more.
** I just love this; no excuse.

Review: CB I Hate Perfume Smokey Tabacco Accord

Familial scents...
My grandfather, my Pawpaw, had a stroke when I was five. It was a stroke of the life altering kind, the killing kind. He lived, and a very long time, but he was never the same person after. I only have a few real memories of him prior to the stroke, and then I have things that I think I remember because people have told me them so many times -- faux memory constructs. 
Here is what I remember of him from before he had his stroke. He mowed my grandparents lawn in a blue and white patterned polyester shirt and shorts. Sometimes he mowed ours, too. He drove us to the beach, and their beach house, in a big battered blue station wagon. He listened to old country and sang loudly and somewhat badly. But happily. He took me out into the Gulf all the way to the second sandbar, him walking and me floating along in an innertube. He took me to his office, and in it he kept a bag of lemon drops in the bottom right drawer just for me. There are a few more things, but those are the strong ones. He used to take me to ride ponies after going to the office, to ride old retired ponies around a dilapidated ring. After the beach, he would take me to a waterslide and he would take me down it because I was too scared to go alone. He drove us out into the wilds of East Texas to visit my great-grandma (Mother Nanny) and my greant-aunt (Ain't Lee) and about thirty other somehow related virtual strangers. He lives, in my mind, as a sort of icon of manhood -- tall, funny, loving, protective, active, responsible, brave. To say, given my tumultuous relationship with my father, that I loved my grandfather is not a clear enough statement. He is more than that to me. Always will be.
One of those things I remember? Before his stroke, he smoked a pipe. My grandmother smoked gross Winston Reds, but my grandfather smoked a lovely pipe. Thanks to CB I Hate Perfume's Smokey Tabacco Accord, I can now trigger those fond memories at will.
I, just generally, love Christopher Brosius's line of perfumes. The line, entitled "CB I Hate Perfume" is different in that it strenuously avoids smelling like what you think perfume smells like. I have samples of about eleven of them already. One of the perfumes, Smokey Tabacco Accord, is now one of my top ten favorites. CB describes it thusly:
I love the scent of smoke. Even the acrid can be made attractive… The smells in this series are the scents of burning: burning wood, burning leaves, burning paper and most especially, burning incense…
Smokey Tabacco Accord smells like the memory of my Pawpaw, pre-stroke, and like the sweet lingering smell of southern men and their pipe tabacco. Sweet, a little tangy, it is the perfect combination of acrid and warmth. On the whole a lovely effort.

A Scent -- Love!

I have a new hobby...one that I actually enjoy talking about, so I thought I’d do that now. I am a burgeoning perfumista.

Yep, you read that right. Though not much of a traditionally girly girl, I have gotten into perfume. One of the regular bloggers for Now Smell This! works part-time in my office, and she got me into it. Now I am a fully fledged, blog reading, scent reviewing level 2/3 perfumista. Partly because I love scent, and I have a VERY STRONG olfactorial memory. Partly because smelling nice makes me feel so pretty, no matter how else I might look or feel.

The tricky thing about being a perfumista? Expensive. Another problem? I don’t speak French. You’d be shocked how much this matters, but hey, buying perfume internationally online means you really need some French. I have managed to satiate my obsessive need to try new fragrances, to experience them bloom and settle on my skin, by indulging myself not in $100+ bottles, but in $3-9 samples from Ebay, Lucky Scent, and The Perfumed Court and direct from perfumers themselves.

And, yeah, okay, I admit that I have now acquired a few bottles of extremely niche, hard to find in the real world, small perfumery too-elite/rare/small-for-department-store-sale perfume. I did pre-order Luca Turin’s anxiously awaited book. And I do now feel practically naked if I leave the house without picking a scent to wear for the day. On two separate occasions I have actually made a mad mid-day dash home to correct such an obvious oversight. And I did start a personal database of scents I want, scents I have, my personal rating, what I think they smell like (spec. notes, also associations), the notes listed by the perfumer, cost, where I got it from, etc.

So okay, I admit it. I am waist-deep into perfumista world. I did identify with, and laugh at, Lee’s post on Perfume Posse the other day. I genuinely love discovering new scents that make me feel pretty or feminine or fresh or sexy or cozy...I could go on and on. Right now, I’m sporting Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s The Vert. My current reigning fav, though, is L’Artisan's Dzing!, though Romano Ricci’s Juliette Has a Gun: Lady Vengeance is running a close second. I have not had a chance to try Juliette Has a Gun: Miss Charming yet, but I suspect I will probably like it, too. I already broke down and bought Dzing! (though I got a great deal on Ebay) because L’Artisan has cut the 50ml bottle (originally threatening to cut it completely, then returning with only the 100ml) and I was afraid it would go away if I waited. Now I have to try for a measure of restraint before indulging the shift from winter/wet spring scents into wild, fresh summer scent.

Thank god for samples, bottle shares, and swapping boards.

I am not a pretty girl...

I am a woman who tends toward typically/traditionally male pursuits. There are, however, a few exceptions. This is a blog in which I can wax poetic about perfume, poetry, rom com movies, and the like, without constantly annoying my regular journal readers with perfume reviews.

I wish they could see us now,
in leather bras and rubber shorts.
Like some ridiculous new team uniform,
for some ridiculous new sport.
Quick! Someone call the girl police and file a report...