Friday, January 29, 2010

A whole life so lonely, and then you come and ease the pain.

Serge Lutens Clair de Musc

My weird insomnia attacks continue. I tried everything last night. I took a pill. I took a shower. I made myself a comforting snack (my go to of late is buttered toast). I put in my first season of Gilmore Girls, which I love more than anything and always find soothing. It was five before I fell asleep.

Now I'm up because I had to take Papaya to the vet to have her spayed this morning. The vet just called to tell me she has a heart murmur. They're doing an x-ray to see if they can continue with the spaying or if it is more serious. Keep your fingers crossed for me. The sweetest cat in the world seems to be plagued with health problems. I'm hopeful, though. I don't think fate brought her to me just to snatch her away.

I have no idea why I'm telling you this. I guess I'm feeling especially chatty this manana.

I'm interrupting Rose Week here at Feminine Things to do a review of the now discontinued Serge Lutens Clair de Musc. According to Perfume Shrine, Serge Lutens has recently discontinued four scents: Chypre Rouge, Miel de Bois, Clair de Musc and Douce Amère. Naturally, this sent me directly to my sample box to rummage through it to see what I might die over missing. The only one I had was Clair de Musc, so I sprayed it on with vigor in anticipation of the overwhelming sadness I would feel at having it ripped away so suddenly, because I am, like most sniffas, a masochist.

Serge Lutens offers this about Clair de Musc: "A crystal...Freshness and Finesse.A luminous musk expressing its transparency through delicate orange blossom. Tinged with powdery white iris from Tuscany...Inimitable." I have no idea what to do with this description, so I turned to Luckyscent for more info.

According to Luckyscent, Clair de Musc is
There are musks that are sultry and carnal, the dirty, animalic musks full of heavy-lidded sensuality. Clair de Musc is something entirely different, a musk that is luminous and transparent, with the delicate, pure, radiant beauty that is nothing short of angelic. The fragrance begins with a soft citrus accord of bergamot and neroli. The tender floral notes, the light jasmine and the gentle iris, grace the heart of the scent; the base is warmed by a subtle note of sandalwood. The citruses, flowers and woods are understated, beautifully muted, allowing the silvery-white, lunar musk to shine in all its ethereal, seraphic glory. A sublimely wearable, wonderfully versatile fragrance that is bound to delight the musk connoisseurs and to convert the musk-wary into ardent followers.

Notes: Musk, bergamot, neroli petals, Tuscan iris powder
I'm relatively new to musk scents. I admit that, even two years in, there are huge holes in my perfume knowledge, and musk is definitely one of those holes. So that said, I'll tell you a little new nose secret. When I'm feeling like a perfume newb, I go to the Fragrance Families page at The Perfumed Court, to remind myself what the hell it is I'm trying to smell. This page, combined with the ability to search the site for certain notes, allows me to get a sense of what other perfumes might share a similar center note or theme, which I can then sample side by side in order to get a better sense of what it means to say "woody musk" or "floral musk."

So now that you know how I cheat, pretending to know more than I actually do...

Onto MUSK! I definitely get some of the iris. And I love iris, so of course I thought this was delightful. I do get some bergamont as well. As for "musk," I'm still not quite sure what that means, honestly. I don't have a lot of musk-y samples, as it turns out (whole new world of scent to explore -- woohoo!), but the scent has a warmth to it, something that seems to keep close to the skin. It seems like a kind of animalistic smell, like the kind of scent one gets cozying up to a special someone who has just finished a brisk walk. You know, that natural smells a person has and when you love them, you think it smells just...good. I don't know how to describe it other than that. I know all babies have it naturally -- you know, everyone comments on the "good baby smell." And when you are in love, the person you love smells like that. So musk has a warm smell that I suspect you will either like or loath varying from scent to scent, and in this case -- love. I do. I love this. It is definitely a comforting scent, a scent to cozy up to. Thus it is, of course, a wicked ripping shame that it is being discontinued, especially right now whilst I am unemployed and cannot justify begging my husband to buy me a bottle simply because "it's being discontinued!"


Ah well. Also, every SINGLE review I could find was a rave. Buy it while you can where you can, my dears. I will have to nurse my sadness with what's left of my tiny sprayer.

Oh look! It's the Bangles episode... (returns to Gilmore Girls-athon)

"I believe it's meant to be, darling.
I watch you when you are sleeping.
You belong with me.
Do you feel the same?
Am I only dreaming
or is this burning an eternal flame?"

- "Eternal Flame," The Bangles (you can hear this song here)

UPDATE: Clair de Musc has NOT been discontinued. You can still buy it as of March 2010. Yay!

Want more reviews? Try...
~ A review from The Non-Blonde
~ A review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ A review from Splendicity

Images from Serge Lutens and also a band photo of the Bangles because, frankly, there were just no good pictures for musk. Trust me. And don't go googling for it. It's a dangerous place out there. The Bangles are better.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She's clingier than Ivy, and she's zingier than black-eyed Susan...

DSH Perfumes American Beauty (Rose No. 1)

There was a time in my young life when I really wanted to be a landscape architect. When I thought "landscape architect" I meant, you know, like Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park, the grounds of the Biltmore estate, the grounds of far flung univerities like Michigan State, WashU in St. Louis, and Stanford in California, and many other beautiful outdoor locales. My (bio) mother, being the sort of person who doesn't tend to encourage people to dream, told me that "landscape architect" meant driving the truck for day laborers who worked in yards.

Did I mention my whole family was also really, really racist? Yeah. There are reasons I live three thousands miles away now.

Anyway, my dream of landscape architecture crushed, I never lost my love for natural and structured landscapes or the beautiful flowers that frequently adorn them. Consequently, I have a weird amount of familiarity with flowers and plants, particularly roses because I have been in love with them since my uncle planted one in my grandmother's yard as part of his marriage proposal. I've always found them very romantic. Thus, I now feel the need to impart a little floral history knowledge to you, dear reader.

The "American Beauty" rose was actually bred in France in 1875 and is of the hybrid perpetual variety. The cup-shaped flowers are actually deep pink and strongly scented, are frequently confused with "Rosa," aka "Red American Beauty" which is actually a hybrid tea. Your hybrid tea (the photo set left here, which is actually the "Caesar Chavez") is the more familiar and popular image of a rose, so what many of us think of as the "American Beauty" rose, a rose frequently thought of as the red lush roses from the film American Beauty, is actually a deep pink rose with ruffly petals (pictured here, set to the right). The American Beauty is the official flower of the District of Columbia, so if you've visited DC in Spring or Summer, you've probably seen these in full bloom.

But enough about flowers. Let's get to the floral perfume!

According to the perfumer, American Beauty is "Caressing. Enveloping. Passionate." The notes are

Top notes: Bergamot, Cassis Bud, Palma Rosa, Rosewood (bois de rose)
Middle notes: Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Bulgarian Rose Otto, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Egyptian Rose Geranium, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Orris
Base notes: Ciste Absolute, East Indian Patchouli, Mysore Sandalwood, Peru Balsam

American Beauty is greener and woodier than other roses I've tried. It is definitely more "rose" than anything else, probably a testament to the all the different rose essences in the mix here. It is a more classic rose scent, and that it is so well done is a testament to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's skill as a perfumer. Making a classic rose that doesn't smell synthetic, that actually smells appealing? That's quite a get. In that sense, American Beauty is reflective of the actual history of the American Beauty, even if it is not what popular culture has necessarily brought us to picture when we here American Beauty. Because the truth is, the real American Beauty actually has a nicer smell than it's hybrid tea impostor. It is the rose that appears so frequently on vintage postcards. It used to be the American popular image of a rose, but has in recent times been replaced by a flower that might be more photogenic, but is not quite as nice an experience. And that, well, that could be a metaphor for beauty standards all over right now, couldn't it? It would be nice if we could capture that image of true quality again.

You can buy American Beauty direct from the perfumer in 1oz EdP for $90, as well as the parfum in various sizes and presentations, including antique bottles and limited edition charms. American Beauty is also available in shea butter based body creme, body lotion, or foaming body wash. This one is also available through The Posh Peasant.

"I'm daffy as a daffodil.
It's laughable the way I thrill
when roses are in bloom.
Pansy is pretty; willow is tall.
Violet's kisses, tulip's recall...
how can I choose one?
I love them all.
Still I finally chose an American beauty rose."

- "American Beauty Rose," Frank Sinatra (you can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ a review from Essence of Perfume
~ a review from Sniffapalooza Magazine

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sometimes I can hold my tongue. Sometimes not.

DSH Perfumes Beach Roses (Rose No. 3)

Every time I think I am over the flu, I sleep twelve hours and get up and five hours later, I fall asleep for another four hours. So bear with me, dear readers, as I try to get back to some sense of normalcy. Additionally, my princess kitteh, Papaya, is going into the vet for to be spayed in the morning. I hate having to be apart from her even for a day, but I know in the long run she will be a happier house cat after the procedure.

Also, here's how shallow I am. I am very sad that American Historian Howard Zinn, who taught me more about American History than twelve years of mandatory education ever did, died of a heart attack today. Yet, I am thrilled to my toes that one of my favorite story tellers, Amy Sherman-Palladino, will be back on the CW in Fall 2010 in a one-hour drama format. Because, let's face it, people, I am obsessed with The Gilmore Girls like it holds the secret to a happy life.

The perfumer provides the briefest description of Beach Roses as "Timeless. Wild. Free." The notes are listed as
Top notes: Lemon, Neroli, Ocean, Palma Rosa, Violet, Waterlily;
Middle notes: Carnation Absolute, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Chinese Geranium, Demine Rose Otto, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Rugosa Rose;
Base notes: East Indian Patchouli, East Indian Sandalwood, Musk
Wow. I know I keep saying, "this rose smells like honey" but hey! This rose smells like honey! So how is different from my other honied roses? Well for your benefit, dear readers, I dug out my samples and tried them against each other to discern the subtle differences. The difference between L'Artisan Voleur de Roses and Beach Roses is that...okay kids. Here's the truth. I tried all three of them next to each other. I can see the difference between Téo Cabanel Oha and Beach Roses and Oha and Voleur de Roses, but the difference between Voleur de Roses and Beach Roses? I burned my nose out trying to spot the difference. Up top, Oha is incensier and muskier than Beach Roses. Voleur de Roses is more tea-like than Beach Roses. Beach Roses is more like an adult beverage. Beach Roses smells more like the way I'd imagine mead made from roses would taste, and let me tell you, I've drank enough enough mead to even have a favorite mead maker. It's liek trying to hold a mouthful of honey in your mouth a long time. Voleur de Roses, on the drydown, becomes a little soapier than Beach Roses. Like Oha, Beach Roses stays raw. The differences are subtle, but nice. If you're interested in trying owning one of these, I really recommend trying the three next to one another. They are all well made and which one you prefer is probably mostly a matter of subtle preference.

Having tried all three, I'm not sad to have bought Oha. I like it the best. My second fav of them is probably Beach Roses, which is more strongly rose than Voleur de Roses and seems to walk a nice like between the two. In fact, of the two I reviewed from L'Artisan this week, Voleur de Roses or Drôle de Rose simply because it smells more different than Voleur de Roses to other things I have, and I like variety, even if it's subtle variety. Which is a funny thing for me to say, because crazy rose lover that I am, I also have a bottle of my patchouli rose fav, which is Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance. But hey? A true sniffa can never have enough scents, and I think this one is a fine scent to own. I just choose to own Oha instead. That said, other people might be able to smell more of a difference. Me? I gave myself quite a vicious headache trying. But hey? For you, dear readers? Worth it.

You can buy Beach Roses direct from the perfumer in 1oz EdP for $65, as well as the parfum in various sizes and presentations. Beach Roses is also available in shea butter based body creme, body lotion, or foaming body wash.

"And I think I could leave your world
if she was the better girl.
So when we died,
I tried to bribe the undertaker
'cause I'm not sure what you're doing
or the reasons.
You're just to used to my honey, now."

- "Honey," Tori Amos (You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ A review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ A review from Essence of Perfume

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And it starts sometime around midnight...

L'Artisan Voleur de Roses

I have been sick for over a week now. David has been sick for several weeks. And before you ask, yes, he's been to the doctor, and yes, I am going myself, so no, you don't need to worry. A side effect of the illness is that, in order all my body to heal, I've been sleeping a lot and allowing my body to sleep when it wants to. This results in some strange hours of conciousness. Right now it's somet time around midnight and the fog is rolling across campus. In the distance, a car alarm keeps going off. In about an hour I'll hear the train down by the river going by. The witching hour. This campus is beautiful all the time, but especially at night. Whether it is in cool and foggy winter or warmer summer with the scent of flowers hanging in the air, it always seems romantic and young. It's got good energy.

I don't know why I'm telling you this.

Anyway, luckily I can still smell fine, illness be damned, so the march of the roses continue.

According to L'Artisan, Voleur de Roses is
An eau de toilette that evokes the smell of earth after rainfall mixed with the fragrance of fresh roses. A perfume that is both sweet and warm. Voleur de Rose is an undoubtedly original masculine fragrance!

Notes: bergamot, rose, plum, patchouli
Voleur is from the verb meaning "to steal" or "to rob" in French, and L'Artisan's "stolen rose" is intended to be as masculine scent. But for a masculine, it is a big fat juicy rose. I'm a big fan of the "patchouli rose" trend going on in roses out there -- Agent Provocateur EDP and Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance being the two of the popular 'dark' roses on the market. I tend to term these the "trashy roses," because they remind me of the perfume equivalent of those ads with heroin thin models in tattered slips with smeared lipstick sitting, bad head in hand, on the edge of a bed on the morning after. She left surveying some guy's loft before reaching for her jeans and trying to remember why all this seemed like a good idea the night before. I love these roses -- all of them. Winning the loterry tomorrow, I'd have a giant bottle of practically every high quality rose on the market so I could spray them on and roll around in bed, enjoying the subtle differences.

But this one seems less like the morning after and more like the night before. It has less of the patchouli and more of the fresh earth smell. It feels more like hope and less like regret. More of newly painted and puckered lips, buzzed spinning and spinning to your new favorite song on the dance floor. More of running through a park in the middle of the night just for the rush of being pursued. It's berries and honey and tea roses, with a woody edge that has the smell of aging whiskey barrels. It smells like promise. And when I inhale it, I don't see anything masculine about it. To me it's all about the joy of starting out for the night, and the untold stories just beyond the horizon.

Looking over reviews, Voleur de Roses doesn't seem too popular, which surprised me because I really enjoyed it. The rose I think it smells the most like is Téo Cabanel Oha, but I haven't actually tried Frederic Malle Une Rose, so if anyone wants to slide me a sample of Une Rose for comparison, I wouldn't say no. On me Voleur de Roses feels like a rounder, jammier version of Oha, and the two definitely are distinguishable after the dry down because Oha gets a lot less fruit and honey, while Voleur de Roses hangs onto that aspect. Has anyone else tried this one? If so, did you like it? What other "dark" roses do you like?

You can buy Voleur de Roses EDT in 50ml for $95 or 100ml for $135 direct from the perfumer as well as various online retailers like Luckyscent and Beauty Encounter. You can also get samples from a variety of sources -- the perfumer, Luckyscent, and The Perfumed Court.

"But you know, that she's watching.
She's laughing; she's turning.
She's holding her tonic like a crux.
The room's suddenly spinning.
She walks up and asks how you are,
so you can smell her perfume,
you can see her lying naked in your arms."

- "Sometime Around Midnight," Airborne Toxic Event

Want more reviews? Try...
~ A review from Bois de Jasmin
~ A review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ A review from Pere de Pierre

Image from L'Artisan and this great photographer I found on Flickr, Krispy Rabbit.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The dark trees that blow, baby, in the dark trees that blow...

L'Artisan Drôle de Rose

Roses are lovely. Real roses, that is. Many, *many* industries have tried to approximate their natural beauty, and failed utterly. Whether it is really tacky rose patterned wallpaper or thousands of failed art student efforts at still lifes or just some really unappealing fragrances, the rose is a fickle mistress few can tame. This week I'll be looking over a few of them.

For my 27th birthday, I had what remains the best party of my life. I trapped about fifteen of my friends in my apartment over spring break, borrowed a projector and dvd player from campus I.T., put together games including BINGO! and -- okay, yes -- a drinking game, made tons of food, bought myself a very fancy professional bakery made cake, and forced everyone to watch the entire first season of Twin Peaks as well as the prequel film. (Season 2 wasn't released on DVD yet.) David had, as a gift, purchased me an honest to God surprise barbecued brisket from my favorite BBQ place in Texas and had it shipped to Portland, Oregon, and we all just ate, and drank, and weirded ourselves out to David Lynch's PNW opus until 3am. It was wonderful. One of my favorite scenes is the scene with Lil, the girl in the red dress with the blue rose. I even hand wired fake blue roses to pins for everyone to take home as souvenirs.

Drôle de Rose, created by Olivia Giacobetti in 1996, is described by L'Artisan as
Embodying the perfumer's memory of her mother kissing her goodnight before going out for the evening, this is the smell of expensive face powders and lipsticks. Endlessly, unashamedly feminine, the fragrance is centered on a luscious rose note. The presence of violet and iris enhances the gracefully powdery aspect of the note while aniseed, almond and honey bring out the delicious, almost edible quality of the petals. A touch of leather in the drydown is sensual and a little bit dangerous. Chic and charming, this is a rose like no others.

Notes: rose buds, aniseed, orange blossom, rose petals, white iris, violet, almond, honey, rose powder, leather.
On me, Drôle de Rose is a rose with bite, with a scent closer to climbers or miniature roses than your traditional rose scent, which is associated mostly with the popular hybrid teas. It's got a bitter edge to it that I really dig. It has a dry powdery aspect that might get it associated with the dreaded "old lady" perfumes, I think it is a lovely rose with a bluish hue. It's not in line with the modern movement in roses -- all patchouli and earth notes to get to a sultry rose. Instead it's a classic that still holds mystery. In fact, in my mind, I associate it mostly with the that scene with Lil, the woman in the red dress with the blue rose attached in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Maybe, for some women, a rose made of blue silk and attached to a plastic stem might read as cheap or tacky, to me it's full of wonder and mystery. In fact, for those who don't know what I mean, I offer this clip:

In case you couldn't get the clip, or simply didn't want to watch it -- here's the critical piece.

Agent Desmond: Did you notice what was pinned to [the dress]?
Agent Stanley: A blue rose.
Agent Desmond: Very good, but I can't tell you about that.
Agent Stanley: Can't?
Agent Desmond: No. I can't.

That's it right there. "No, I can't." The mystery the blue rose holds is too weird, too wild, too fantastical and possibly dangerous for your understanding. And that's what's hiding in the dry leather, the anise seed, the bitter edge of orange blossom. The weird. The wild. The fantastical. So don't put it on, think "powdery rose," and blow it off. You'll miss it.

And I *still* have my blue rose pin.

Drôle de Rose is available in 50ml for $95 and 100ml for $135. You can get samples from Luckyscent and direct from the perfumer. It is also available in a lovely scented candle.

"And I'll see you.
And you'll see me.
And I'll see you in the branches that blow
in the breeze.
I'll see you in the trees,
under the sycamore trees."

- "Sycamore Trees," Jimmy Scott (written by David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti)

Want more? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Sweet Diva

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Swine Flu! Oh noes!

No posts this week because both David and I have been felled by the dreaded h1n1, though apparently I caught the worse of it. I can't smell a darned thing. I sleep all the time. My ear hurts like the dickens. (Now wondering if inflicting Charles Dickinson on primary school children is where that saying comes from.) Anyhoo, More to come as soon as I'm functioning. Maybe another day or two.

Usually when I'm sick I turn to Mexican food and it's delicious spices for healing powers. But after a quart of chicken tortilla soup and chicken en mole from La Costita, a local favorite of mine -- no change. My other go-to sick food is chicken and dumplings. What do you tend to eat when you are sick?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'll give you an inkling. Nothing more.

La Maison Vanille Vanahe

It's funny how, when you start something, sometimes you get more than you expected out of it. You start a project, you meet someone for coffee, you pick up a new hobby, and not only do you get what you thought you would, you get more: new professional connections, unexpected new skills, great new friends. In a world where expectations go unmet or at least disappointed with alarming frequency, it's nice when you get more than you anticipated.

According to Maison de la Vanille,
Vanahe has all the scents of the Pacific Ocean. Vanahe, the woman Eau de parfum, by La Maison de la Vanille, combines white flowers, tangy citrus fruits, a hint of marine freshness with the warmth and sensuous vanilla. This harmonious and surprising fragrance will seduce lovers of faraway climes with its colourful scents of exoticism.
Vanahe is exactly what it purports to be. It's strongly toward the candyfloss end of the vanilla spectrum, and I definitely get a hint of citrus and and marine, which in combination reminds me of those old fashioned orange candies meant to look like the slices from a mandarin orange. I don't doubt that some noses are going to get the dreaded "play doh" note on this one. It's a passable fragrance, but not one I'd choose over the other lovely vanillas out there to be had. When it comes to my candyfloss class of vanillas, I take a "Go big or go home" approach. If you're gonna go there -- GO THERE. Buy Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot or, better still, Montale Vanille Absolu. La Maison Vanille Vanahe tries to get there, but it's like putting an after-market kit on a Toyota and calling it a sports car; you're better off just saving your money until you can get a real one.

It's funny, when I was googling around for reviews, as is my habit, I ran across a comment of my own on Perfume Posse. It was right when I started as a sniffa, and I listed Vanahe in the top 20 scents I'd sniffed. That was exactly two years and eight days ago, and Vanahe wouldn't even make my "if I had a million dollars" scent shopping list. I'm amazed, all the time, at how much better my nose has gotten. Even my sense of taste has improved, which, in turn, has made me a better cook. When I started all this, I just wanted to smell good. But being into perfume has introduced me to fabulous new people, great writing, improved one of my basic senses, enhanced another, and given me a surprising hobby that -- to my unanticipated delight -- lots of people I meet seem to find intriguing, or at least, worth chatting me up about. It's nice. Strange, but nice. And certainly another reason that I am never getting off this particular merry-go-round.

"Do I have to tell you everything I think?
Open book, broken wing.
Do I have to show you what I really want?
Wounded dog, hounded heart.
I’ll give you an inkling,
spare you a notion.
Nothing more.

You get what you pay for."

"Notion," Barbara Kessler

Monday, January 11, 2010

Girls Are Not For Sale.

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It's a shame we have a day for this. It's a shame it takes a "day" designation to make people pay attention to this problem in the first place. Hundreds of people posted their bra color for strangers on Facebook this week in an attempt to raise awareness for breast cancer (which has to be one of the least effective awareness raising efforts I've seen in a while) but when, in the last year and a half, hundreds have been busted for trafficking, both here in the US and abroad, and the problem gets worse every year, it's a shame so few people ever talk about sex trafficking with any real sense of awareness. So in case you missed it:

* 120 women were rescued when a trafficking operation was busted in Houston in late 2005, a case we're still getting details about. This was 40-60 women more than even the experts working the case were expecting.

* In June 2009, 74 people were arrested across Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and the United States for smuggling young Chinese girls into the US for trafficking purposes.

* 2009 also saw the end of a two-year international investigation resulting in the arrest of 12 Israelis along with over 20 suspects in several other countries. This ring was suspected of smuggling thousands of women from former Soviet Bloc countries into Israel, Cyprus, Belgium and England for forced prostitution.

* Child sex slavery is a growing problem in the U.S. Every year, nearly 300,000 children are at risk to sexual exploitation in the U.S. and an estimated 500,000 incidents are not reported. This has made the U.S. the number one destination for child sex trafficking in the world.

So what can you do? Be aware of the problem. Be vigilant in your community. Be what, in older days, would be considered a "busy body." If you see a kid, particularly a young girl, in your community who seems neglected, call someone. Report it. Don't ignore it. Even if the child isn't a victim of sex abuse or human trafficking, they may be a child victim of domestic violence and criminal neglect, and you may be the person who finally gets help to them.

What do you look for? Well the U.S. Department of Education has created a handy dandy website and fact sheet on what signs might indicate that a child is in need of your help. There is also information on how to report, so if you know of someone who might need help and you don't know who to call, this may help. And when in doubt, call your local police department. I recognize that law enforcement isn't perfect and that lots of people have had bad experiences that discourage traditional reporting avenues, but reporting to an imperfect responder is better than not reporting at all. Take it from me. I informed lots of mandatory reporters of the domestic violence going on in my house, and no one ever helped us. Don't presume someone else will respond to the call for help. When everyone presumes some other reporter will do their due diligence, no one ever makes the call and those cries for help go unanswered. And we know, from high profile victims like Jaycee Dugard, it may take years before reports are finally responded to. So whether you are the first call or the hundredth call, if you feel uneasy, please call.

Because no one, I mean no one, deserves to grow up in the kind of hell these poor children experience.

I want to, I need to be under your skin...

Keiko Mecheri Iris d’Argent

About a week ago Angela at Now Smell This! wrote a piece about finding scents that mingle with your scent and compliment the way you smell naturally. Scents that you wear, rather than having the scents wear you, as it were. These scents vary greatly from wearer to wearer since perfumes smell so differently from person to person as they mingle with one's own body chemistry and personal scent. I've only found a couple of scents that work like this for me, but luckily Keiko Mecheri Iris d’Argent is another.

According to Luckyscent,
Keiko Mecheri’s masculine floral scent is centered in silver: the ice cold glint of steel or the glistening filaments of a spider‘s web stretched taut between branches. Iris d’Argent masterfully combines delicacy and strength. A sparkling blast of citrusy-floral notes introduces the fragrance, conjuring the cool heart of a bearded iris. Be careful to not label Iris d’Argent as a polite, scrubbed up scent for polite, scrubbed up men, however... when the fresh, clean introduction subsides, the powdery, earthiness of a finely plumed creature begins to open its wings, transforming the fragrance into a multilayered, nuanced composition. A subtle note of cedar wood enhances the balsam character and strikes a classic chypre chord, which quietly provides the backbone to the scent. Brighter than a dime and drier than gin, Iris d’Argent is a thoughtful and complex masculine fragrance that is only strengthened by its inherent fineness.
The notes for Iris d’Argent are listed as “Iris, white iris, heperides, chypré chord, cedar wood, amber.”

On me, Iris d’Argent is strange iris, indeed. It’s light and floral, at first, in a creamy and faintly lemony way. The Lemony is like a sugared lemon peel or curd, though, not acidic like juice. Then the lemony edge backs off and I smell a scent that reminds me of the taste of a barely ripe, almost green banana. If you could take that light green taste and cook it into a creamy pudding, with sweet, heavy cream and scrapped vanilla beans, then serve it over tender steamed greens, then you’ve got this scent.

This is the closest thing I’ve ever smelled to L’Artisan Vanilia, but it isn’t Vanilia; it’s entirely its own. This is smoother, gentler, than Vanilia. It’s an entirely original scent, and if this is an iris, then it is the scent that would come from taking iris blooms and stems and crushing them to take the milk from the pulp for wearing. Among the irises I’ve loved before, this one of the top. It’s wonderful because it’s so gentle and still strong and beautiful, not gentle simply for lack of substance or stamina. Definitely now added on the “to purchase” list for 2010. In this humble sniffa's opinion, where Keiko Mecheri Iris Pourpre is nice, but not outstanding, Iris d’Argent is a true winner.

You can purchase 75ml of Iris d’Argent for $115 from Luckyscent. Samples are also available from Luckyscent, and you can get samples or decants from The Perfumed Court.

"Our love is quicksand -- so easy to drown.
They steal the gravity from moving ground.
Remember? You promised me.
I'm dying, I'm dying, please.
I want to, I need to be
under your skin."

- "Dying," Hole

Reviews? I can’t find any other reviews of this one.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I never thought that tonight could ever be this close to me...

Parfums de Nicolai Patchouli Homme

When I was sixteen years old, there was a guy I knew who wore scent. Just one. I don’t mean “scented body wash” or “smelled like shampoo,” I mean he wore a fragrance, the same one every day. Specifically it was Joop! Pour Homme, and though we never dated, I still think of him as one of the most attractive young men I ever knew in my youth. (You know who you are, Chip. ) There was something about his smell that just made you want to go back for more. I think that's when I was first persuaded that smelling good could create attraction where there was none....or at least, strengthen otherwise weak attraction with perfume.

Ever since, I’ve been on the lookout for scents for men I’d have loved just as much if sixteen year old me had an excuse to hug on cute boys until I found one who smelled nice, and then keep snuggling him. Upon finding said scents, I try to convince David to wear them, and failing that, I spray them on my pillows and dream of sweet smelling snuggles. In my quest to find such scents, I tried Patchouli Homme.

According to Luckyscent,
With Patchouli Homme, the perfumer wanted to compose a woody oriental for men, but she ended up selling it to women too (which is why it will soon be renamed Patchouli Intense). And why not? This distinctly un-hippie patchouli straddles both sides of the olfactory gender spectrum, with Patricia de Nicolaï signature candied orange opening, sprinkled with cinnamon, sweetening the wedding of a deep, dark, earthy patch and its natural partner, rose. A passing quote of the fougère family – lavender and geranium – lightens the heart of this heady blend before it subsides into an incense-laden, almost tarry leather drydown that plays up the smokier facets of vanilla. A sophisticated patchouli for dandies (both male and female) who aren’t afraid of snagging a sleeve on a rose bush when they go out in the garden to pick their boutonnière.
The notes for Patchouli Homme are listed as “lavender, Turkish rose, geranium Bourbon, frankincense, sandalwood, bay oil, cinnamon, leather, amber, vanilla.”

Hello, holiday Patchouli. A sweet patchouli, with little green up front, it’s mostly cinnamon, bay oil, amber, and vanilla at the beginning with greenery in the background, like a winter holiday candle. After twenty minutes or so, the sugar and spice burns off and the patchouli comes through much stronger. As the patchouli steps forward, the scent gets bigger. At the two hour mark, it’s mostly patchouli and very little sweetness. Patchouli Homme has moderate sillage, so if you sprayed Patchouli Homme on for three to four sprays, it would probably last you most the day. I can’t say for certain since my sample is a 1ml wand sample, but since I test most of my scents this way, I’d say I’ve got a pretty good approximation of what it would be like sprayed.

On the whole, a nice scent. It’s sweet, still, but that’s not the overriding aspect of the scent; instead, it’s a nicely balanced concoction that works well for men or women, though I see this as being more of a masculine than feminine scent, despite the sweetness up front. I really hope that men will keep it on long enough to get past the sweet part, because it’s so lovely, and I can easily imagine stepping in to hug someone and then lingering, face pressed to the crook of the neck, to get closer to such a lovely scent and the lovely person who’d wear it.

You can purchase Patchouli Homme in 30ml for $55 or 100ml -- a lifetime's worth, I'd wager -- for $130 from Luckyscent. Samples are available from Luckyscent or The Perfumed Court.

But if I had your faith,
then I could make it safe and clean.
If only I was sure
that my head on the door was a dream.

- "Close to Me," The Cure

Want more? Try reviews from: Fragrantica * The Scented Salamander

Friday, January 8, 2010

EGADS! Additional film for Best of Decade!

I have to add a 21st film to my best of decade. I cannot BELIEVE I forgot this one, and rather than try to figure out what to drop, I have to just add another one. That's okay. It's the 21st century, and being a 21st century girl, I'm allowed to alter my own arbitrary rules.

So! The 21st film is.....

I'm Not There (2007) -- Let me say that I am not a huge Bob Dylan fan. My husband is, though, and therefore I kept putting off watching I'm Not There until very recently. I was astonished by how unbelievably good it was. The layered storytelling, which is more inspired by history than historical, it captures the changing spirit of American music and its on and off relationship with political activism and youth identity in the late 20th century. The whole concept of having six fine actors as the varied faces of the same character -- who is, in fact, a real live person -- is incredible, and the fact that it works is truly genius. This is one film that got a ridiculous amount of hype and actually deserved it.

Films I Enjoyed from 2009

In follow up to my “Best Films of the Decade” post, I thought I’d give a little review of some of my favorite films of 2009. The first caveat I want to put out there is there are A LOT of films from 2009 I want to see and have not yet. These include:

Away We Go, The Blind Side, Coco Before Chanel, Crazy Heart, District 9, Earth, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Funny People, Inglorious Bastards, The Invention of Lying, Nine, Paper Heart, Pirate Radio, Precious, The September Issue, Taking Woodstock, Where the Wild Things Are, Whip It, Women in Trouble.

Wow. So, that’s a lot of movies. So many, in fact that I changed the title of this post from “Best of” to “Films I Enjoyed.” If any of you have thumbs up type feelings toward films in the list above, I’d like to know which ones so I can order my Netflix list appropriately. That said, here are some good movies I saw this year, which has largely been a crap one as far as movies are concerned.

(500) Days of Summer – I loved this movie. Loved it. And I am not just saying that because I drove over an hour across LA to see it when it came out absolutely nowhere near Riverside. I’m saying it because it was funny, smart, bittersweet, and starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who—take my word for it – is one of the best young actors in Hollywood today.

Julie & Julia – This is a sweet little film where, once again, Meryl Streep proves that she is probably one of the most talented women in American film today. Amy Adams is good, sure, and the story is an inspiring story about finding your way by pursuing what you really love, even if you have to do it in your spare time after your boring and difficult job, but Streep is the reason to see this one.

Let the Right One In – What a fantastic film! I don’t know a lot about Scandinavian film, admittedly, but this seemed to have all the hallmarks – namely sparse landscapes and slow pacing – and yet, because of the romantic and mysterious story, it works.

The Men Who Stare at Goats – This was a hilarious little film that will shock you by the fact that it is based on a true story. A great comedy from Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and – of course – George Clooney.

Push – Chris Evans finally gets a good role here alongside Dakota Fanning in possibly the best sci-fi story of the year. I know, I know, Star Trek was great – but this was an original story with original characters and it was *NOT* predictable. Let me say that again – I did not see the ending coming, and that is getting rarer and rarer in films. Rent it. It’s good.

Sherlock Holmes – Just saw it last weekend. Probably the best “BIG FILM” of 2009. It’s everything it promises to be – fancy acting, period clothing, awesome fighting, big explosions. Also, the trailers did not, in fact, give that much about the plot away, nor did it show me all the best scenes, which impressed me.

Star Trek – You know what? It was good. Much like Casino Royale made Bond good again, this Star Trek rebooted the system. Was there overacting? Yes, but it was done in an homage-y way that worked. Was it Star Trek-tastic? Yes, so I hope you enjoy Star Trek, or the general space exploration and adventure genre. But as they go – this was a good one. Certainly worth renting.

Sunshine Cleaning – This was not a comedy. No. Seriously. Do not believe the trailers. It’s a drama with a few laughs, but mostly it’s a drama. Very well acted, it’s got a Little Miss Sunshine/Smart People feel to it. I really enjoyed it.

Up – Possibly the best film of the year. Pixar takes on loneliness, divorce, and ageism and creates a funny and sweet film that somehow comes out for the best in the end. The fact that they manage it is an incredible accomplishment in storytelling. If you see one film this year, this should probably be the one.

So let's call this Part I of the "Best of 2009" to be revisited in three or four months when I finally get through the rest of my list!

Tomorrow, back to perfume. I promise!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best 20 Films of the Decade

Because everyone else seems to be doing it, I’m jumping in here with my top 20 films of the last decade. And yes, I’m going 2000-2009 even though 2000 was technically the last year of last century. All the other lists are doing it, so I’m doing it, too. This is a very personal list and I recognize that most people would probably quibble with it. That said, I watch a lot, and I mean A LOT, of cinema, and if you missed any of these (including the honorable mention list), you should give them a shot some afternoon when you have a free hour or two. Personally, I think they all speak very well for themselves.

Also, I want to note, right here up front, that my favorite director, David Lynch, is shockingly absent from this list. The Naughts only produced two films of his – Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. I still haven’t seen Inland Empire, and while I enjoy Mulholland Drive personally, I still don’t see it on this list. Had Lost Highway been made a little later, it would definitely make my top 20.

And with that, onto the list (chronological, then alphabetical within):

High Fidelity (2000) – A deeply American story in its pop culture language (which is ironic, since it is based on a British novel), High Fidelity embraces the self-absorbed, narcissistic, specialty geek asshole…and somehow makes him adorable. Only John Cusack could sell this one, and he does perfectly. Plus, to quote the film itself, “Because it's a brilliant film. It's so funny, and violent, and the soundtrack kicks fucking ass. I never thought I'd say this, but can I go work now?”

Memento (2000) – A fascinating neo-noir provides Chris Nolan’s breakout success and rewrites the narrative structure so profoundly that, even after a decade of film influenced by it, I still find it original. Of all of Nolan’s artful works, and I’ve seen them all, this is by far the best. Definitely worth the hype it received when it came out.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – The Coen Brothers venture into musical land with this ode to the classics. This film is pure win. The story, the heavy Odyssey analogies, the music, the cinematography, the acting – wow. And I’m in favor of any film that can take a literary classic and make it accessible to modern audiences without a ton of blood and gore.

Wonder Boys (2000) – This wonderful film about the way life strangely works itself out and how we eventually find happiness if we let ourselves is a terrific and overlooked character piece. Everyone in it is stunning, from stars Michael Douglas and Tobey McGuire all the way down to Katie Holmes' tiny but winning role, but Robert Downey, Jr. steals the show here. If you’ve never seen it, you missed one of the decade’s best.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – Ah, Baz Luhrmann! Again we have here a director I love, and of his short list of works, this is by far the best. The music, the costumes, the intensive color so over the top that the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” dance number is visually assaultive, and I mean that in a good way. Plus, the story is tragic, compelling, and beautiful. “Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!” And yet…more than anything, it makes you believe.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) – Wes Anderson has a truly unique story telling approach, and of his tales, this is the one I find the most compelling. In a world where many of the characters are written for flat delivery of the most emotional lines, what makes The Royal Tenenbaums the true winner of all of Anderson’s efforts is the emotion shining through here, particularly in the performances of Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and especially Luke Wilson.

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) – Fantastical storytelling has been a staple of the last decade, and I’d argue that Amélie helped that movement grow. Not only is it a great story with wonderful acting and cinematography, but was also wildly popular, which is a boon to film lovers everywhere by raising popular awareness of the joy and magic awaiting in foreign films.

Big Fish (2003) – Speaking of fantastical stories, Tim Burton’s best of the decade is easily Big Fish. When I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, all I could think was that the film wanted to be Big Fish and just couldn’t get there. A fantastical and beautiful story that reminds us that magic is the stuff that our lives are made of, if we only know how to look.

House of Flying Daggers (2004) – Without a doubt, Chinese action cinema has had an impact on action films worldwide. Of the big three – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers – House of Flying Daggers has the best story and the most amazing fight choreography and cinematography. The use of color, which is critical in all three films, is at its most effective here as well.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2004) – I think it’s impossible to evaluate either half of the Kill Bill duo without recognizing that the two really are halves of one whole. Quentin Tarantino somehow manages to create a film that has kick ass action, hilarity, and some truly moving moments – the coffin scene, the bathroom scene, etc. While I still think the two halves could have been collectively edited down to one much tighter film, I still find it one of the most compelling stories of the decade.

Brick (2005) – If Memento is genius because it takes traditional film noir and turns it on its head, then Brick is genius because it manages to be every bit the traditional noir while giving this murder mystery a unique setting – high school. From the fashion to the “snappy patter” dialogue, this film is full of traditional archetypes in a modern setting. Also, let it be know, if you ever want to identify the moment when Joseph Gordon-Levitt established himself as a true talent, look no further. He’s in basically every shot, in true noir style, and he carries every one of them beautifully.

Brokeback Mountain (2005) – Ang Lee’s bleak romance set against the big sky and rugged mountains of Wyoming manages to do something that few films do – it tells a story by showing the story, not through dialogue. The dialogue here is as sparse as those lovely mountains, and yet communicates so much emotion.

Conversation(s) with Other Women (2005) – You probably didn’t see this movie. I almost didn’t see this movie. Thanks to a friend who recommended it, I caught it on video when it was so far off the new release wall it was already on sale. Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter play off each other perfectly, and while the unique running use of split screens to demonstrate the various emotions a single moment can hold might weaken a film with lesser stars, here it just makes the story stronger. A compelling tale of a love not quite meant to be, it is definitely worth watching.

Elizabethtown (2005) – Cameron Crowe has only directed six films, and three have been in the last decade: Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. When it comes to critical acclaim and grosses, Elizabethtown, starring Orlando Bloom as a failed shoe designer who takes one last trip to visit estranged family in Kentucky before his “dark date with destiny” and finds himself falling in love with a flight attendant (Kristen Dunst) along the way, is the flop of the bunch. Except that it isn’t. The story is one that perfectly captures the feeling of finding oneself at loose ends in your late 20s/early 30s and working out, on your own, how to find feelings of success, happiness, and contentment with your life and accomplishments even when you don’t know where you’re going. It is the most accessible of the three films, and a lovely tribute to the way meeting the right someone can give you a whole new perspective on where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – It is a tribute to the incredible talent that is Mr. Clooney that he appears at least once on every “best of the last decade” list I’ve seen, and not always as an actor. Here he makes the list twice, once as the lead actor of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and here again, in the director’s chair. In a decade of outstanding historical film –from biopics ( Ray, Walk the Line) to politics histories (Milk, Forst/Nixon) to true crimes dramas (Zodiac) -- Good Night, and Good Luck is the best of the best. It manages to be historical, realistic, and exceptionally timely. While films like V for Vendetta extolled the virtues of big resistance, Good Night, and Good Luck tells the extraordinary story of people leading normal lives who risk everything in quiet rebellion to protect what they know is right.

Junebug (2005) – A bittersweet tale of instant attraction that fails to survive the big reveal of who the two lovers really are. Amy Adams completely deserved the win for Best Supporting Actress for this role, and if you missed this one, rent it. You missed a truly winning performance.

Casino Royale (2006) – Of all the big blockbuster action films made in the last ten years, Casino Royale makes the list because it manages to simultaneously be art and action. Here’s a franchise I never would have believed you could make good story telling from – all Bang! Whomp! Boom! for years – and then, suddenly, here it is: amazing action, equally compelling story.

Jesus Camp (2006) – Possibly one of the most profoundly disturbing documentaries made in the last decade. It is so difficult to watch, but also incredibly revealing about the modern evangelical movement and their systematic use of children in ministry. All you can do is wonder about what will become of these children, most of whom are homeschooled, as they grow older and have to interact with the world around them. In a post-Michael Moore documentary world, it is rare to see a documentary try to give an even-handed look at a heated political issue. That Jesus Camp makes an effective attempt to show its subjects in a sympathetic light is admirable.

Juno (2007) – In a decade of hipster teen romances, Juno shines the brightest because it manages to be self-absorbed without being obnoxious about it. (cough! Garden State cough!) I think the most perfect moment to sum up growing up is captured in the lines, “I was out dealing with things way beyond my maturity level." And that says it all.

Wall-E (2008) – I know a lot of people would put Up! or The Incredibles on the list instead, but I think anyone who does overlooks the fact that Wall-E manages to bring the silent film back for over half an hour at the beginning is crazy. Plus! In an era of "show all" sex and romance, here is a film that tells a beautiful love story which begins and ends with the simple and profound act of holding someone's hand.

Honorable Mention: Almost Famous (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), I Am Sam (2001), LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Hero (2002), The Fog of War (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Millions (2004), Walk the Line (2005), The Prestige (2006), Stranger than Fiction (2006), V for Vendetta (2006), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Control (2007), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), The Go-Getter (2007), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Frost/Nixon (2008), Milk (2008), Up (2009).

Most overrated? Lost in Translation (2003), Crash (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

There you have it. My best of the Naughts list. What did you love? What did I miss? I’m already looking forward to what comes next.

So good on paper, so romantic but so bewildering.

This has been a strange couple of months for me, being jobless. It’s weird not going out regularly to interact with the world. I am what you could call a “true extravert”, someone who deeply enjoys and feels renewed by interaction with the world. I need the stimuli, the unpredictability, the newness. Without there being a specific need for day to day outings, I just never seem to get it together. This creates a weird isolation, and at the end of the day, dear reader, I feel as though I have nothing to tell you. What did I do today? I don’t know. Nothing. Everything. I made dinner for my husband, who is really sick. I managed three entrees to cover varying needs, and I made them all without a recipe, which means I’m finally becoming something of a cook. I played a video game for a couple of hours that means nothing to me with people who are everything to me – close friends all across the country, which allows us to talk to each other for free. I spent quality time with my cats, who are probably as close to kids as David and I will ever get, and who love me unconditionally (as long as the food bowl get filled at the end of the night). I took all the ornaments off our Christmas tree, dug out some paperwork I need to send the Bar, and had a minor breakdown about my isolation.

It reminded me of, in short, of that song Carly Simon sang, “Coming Around Again.” “So don’t mind if I fall apart. There’s more room in a broken heart.” It’s strange not knowing what I want to do next with my life. I’ve been moving from goal to goal, year after year, for a decade. My future, for the first time, is a lot hazier. It’s a strange feeling.

With that in mind, I hope you’ll be patient with me if I’m less routine with my posting than I should be. I don’t have a real routine yet – I’m starting one Monday to help structure my studying – but I’m still here. Still smelling lovely, new things. Still trying to find a way to share them with you.

After rummaging around in my sample box, here are the random things I’ve got for you today.

Keiko Mecheri Iris Pourpre

I generally really enjoy irises. They can be refined and elegant, like Iris Pallida, simultaneously natural and ethereal, like Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, or youthful and accessible, like Prada Infusion d’Iris. It’s amazing to me that one flower can be so magical, so flexible, so many things in the hands of different artists. Keiko Mecheri describes Iris Pourpre as follows:
When creating Iris Poupre, Keiko Mecheri drew inspiration from a precious lacquered panel from the Edo period. The sparkle of the embedded gold-leaf inlay is delicately captured in the perfect black stillness of the panel’s glossy coat. The art work depicts the nobles of Kyoto contemplating from the height of a wooden passerelle over a field of gracious wild indigo and golden iris. You would be right to expect a corresponding fragrance to be characterized by a classical elegance. From the subtle sweetness of the white bloom to the rhizomatous powder of the orris root, the iris in its entirety resounds. A trace of ylang ylang lends a full richness to the sheer iris blend. Iris Poupre’s chypre chord echoes the tree-sap-derived raw materials of the lacquer painstakingly applied to the Edo panel with control and finesse. This perfume defies the expectation of a floral fragrance dripping with an instantly recognizable honeyed nectar. Iris Poupre recalls the elegant refinement of an antique jewelry box. A scent that is breathtaking in its masterful restraint, naturalistic charm and undeniable mystery.
Iris Pourpre a strange combination of a lot of different aspects, and thus ends up kind of muddled. It’s got a dryness to it, which is nice, but also seems accessible in the same way that Infusion d’Iris is. When I say accessible here, I mean in the way that some music is less about being artful and more about being appealing. Or the way some television or movies are meant to entertain, not to produce an act of art. This isn’t a knock on Iris Pourpre; it seems like a nice iris for people who don’t think they like perfume (though I’d still give them Infusion d’Iris to start with). I’ve seen some reviews that describe the scent as “purplish”, and I’d second that, which is fitting given the purple flower. But there is perfume crème brulee, and there is perfume popcorn, and this feels like it tends toward the popcorn end of the spectrum. Even as popcorn goes, it’s pretty excellent – just the right amount of butter and maybe one of those fancy shaker salts. Give it a whirl if you like irises, particularly if you’re looking for a masculine iris because of the chypre undertones. You can get samples from Luckyscent as well as a full 75ml for $115.

More reviews can be found here: Fragrant Foodie

Stacked Style Baroque Bleu

Stacked Style described Baroque Bleu as
an intoxicating scent that lingers long after you’ve left the room. While the heart of the fragrance is gardenia and tuberose, added notes of sweet coconut and rhubarb lend an unexpected twist to this sexy, white flower. Inspired by the romantic, bygone Baroque era, Baroque Bleu is a modern floral with a classic sense that’s perfect for any occasion.
Onward marches the review of florals. I’ve sampled this one several times now, but haven’t gotten around to reviewing it. That’s not for lack of affection. Baroque Bleu has been in my little tin of perfumes to remind me to review it for quite a while. I really like Baroque Bleu in part because it is exactly what it says it will be. It’s a very nice gardenia and tuberose, and the coconut is present, too. About half an hour in I get a rubbery, musky thing underneath that makes me love it all the more. It feels less like a fake flower and more like a real, living beautiful thing you could experience…or be. And it does remind me of a simpler time, but I think more of the 1920s. I sniff at Baroque Bleu and I think of a young Daisy Buchanan, twirling in circles in the arms of charming men at parties held on beautifully manicured lawns under twinkling lights, reflecting in repetition in the gently breaking waves.

I think it’s possible to idealize any era, any moment, and if there’s a way to bottle that sentimentality, that idealism, then perhaps Baroque Bleu is that idealized 20s glamour for me. It’s not rouged knees and flapper dresses and partying away the pain of the Great War, it’s more white woven cloche hats and white lace drop waisted dresses. It’s about feeling innocent and free and full of hope in a moment between two terrible wars and a horrible economic depression, without even realizing it while it’s happening…and yet knowing just enough about the world to know that even if war is temporary, well, so is peace. So you better enjoy it. Baroque Bleu samples are available through The Perfumed Court has a partial bottle for less than $40, and I saw some new bottles similarly priced through other online outlets. Baroque Bleu is also part of the Perfumed Court Gardenia Sample Pack, which I dropped my $20 to explore. At such affordable prices, this is a great scent to own, and I highly recommend it.

That’s all for tonight folks. Tomorrow I’ll finally get a bunch of packages to the post office. (Draw winners, I apologize for the delay.) I’ll finish up some laundry. Get the lights off the tree and get the tree put away. David said we might go to the bookstore, get some coffee, take a little walk around the outdoor mall if the weather is better. We do that sometimes. While I’m out, I’ll see if I can find a story to tell you, or a scent to share. Thanks in advance for reading. It’s nice, sometimes, just knowing you’re out there and still listening.

“And I believe in love.
But what else can I do?
I’m so in love with you.”

- “Coming Around Again,” Carly Simon