Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yesterday away from you, it froze me deep inside.

CB I Hate Perfume In The Summer Kitchen and Wild Pansy

I have a couple of job interviews coming up. I'm nervous, and...cautiously optimistic. I'd like to think one of them is going to help me find some direction soon, but I don't know for sure.

I've always been a driven person. Always known what I wanted, always preparing for the next step even as I'm finish up the one I'm on. These last few months I've read through every professional guidance book I can find, met with two difference career guidance offices more than once, and yet here I am, still struggling to make the next step, to commit to a path. It was easier without anyone else to consider, but I'm older now. I've got a partner to think of, and four cats who I love a great deal and who I would never abandon after saving them from a life without love or a home. From youth's perspective, so much of adulthood looks like self-betrayal and compromise.

From my now more middling age, I see that it's not about compromise. It's about choice. You make choices, every day, about what's important to you. I could get in my car tomorrow and walk away, but I choose not to. Because I love. Because I have a home and a family now, and I don't always have to be running, all the time. I choose to be anchored. And once you recognize that, you become more at ease with the in-between spaces. So for now, I live in-between and I explore my options, especially the ones that allow me time to enjoy being with my family.

For someone who scores off the charts as risk avoidant on personality tests that assess risk aversion, it's a strange and sometimes anxious place to be.

Now, on to the perfume.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's only when the high winds blow that I wish my hair was long.

Eau d'Italie Magnolia Romana

I have a very good friend who has just finished his first year of law school here visiting this week.  He's going to school some two hours away, so we don't get to see him that often, and he used to spend three to four nights a week with us.  It's nice to have him around again, but he likes to tease me about the size and multitude of my samples and bottles.  I don't know how to explain to someone who isn't into perfume that there is really no such thing as "enough."  I guess you just have to love perfume to understand.

According to perfumer Eau d'Italie,
Magnolia Romana is all that one remembers of a Magnolia. A scent initially fresh and transparent, then warmer and with something more: the full roundness of a pure white flower with the green freshness of basil, the cleanliness of lotus blossom mixed with a summer ozone note and the contrast of crushed lemon leaves, with just a hint of the evanescent bitterness of damp earth. A rare olfactory creation for woman and man.
What is interesting about this as a magnolia is that I don't find much floral about it at all. If the scent of magnolia flowers is in there, it's been beaten into submission by a whole litany of other things. I get lemon. I get cedar. I get some spiciness. It's definitely got a heavy ozone thing going, though, and I'll be honest with you. I don't really like ozone. I don't. And that makes this a difficult scent for me to like.

This is going to sound hilarious to you, probably, but when I smell ozone, I smell fish. Yep. To me it reminds me of the way the warm summer beaches of the Gulf smell when an overabundance of seafood begins to arrive and the warm, wet air carries the scent of it.  It's what I imagine Alabama's coast smells like during Mobile Bay jubilee. Or the way a piece of fresh white fish, like cod, smells just before you cook it. It's not an overly fishy smell, it's subtle and faint. But it's there and as much as I love perfume I just can't deal with smelling like fish. I have never seen anyone else make this connection, and I am fairly certain it's a unique-to-me experience. If you are a reader who hasn't tried a lot of ozones, don't let me warm you off them.

In this particular case, Magnoia Romana is, ozone issue aside, a sweet, herby delight with citrus and floral highlights. This is a unisex scent that, if you like ozone, would be right up your alley. For me, the ozone doesn't work, but that's me.

You can buy Magnolia Romana in 100ml for $120 from Luckyscent and First-in-Fragrance. Luckyscent and the Perfumed Court have samples.

"And gulf winds bring me flying fish that shine in the crescent moon,
show me the horizon where the dawn will break anew,
and cool me here on this lonely pier where the heron are flying low,

echo the songs my father knew in the towns of Mexico."
- "Gulf Winds," Joan Baez
(You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
~ a review from The Scented Salamander
~ a review from from Pere de Pierre
~ a review from Fragrantica

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday, but I realized some bigger dreams of mine.

Ava Luxe Milk

I love milk. I have two weaknesses in terms of food, really. The first is dairy in ANY FORM, but primarily any and all cheeses. The second is fresh baked bread. When David and I first started dating, some of my favorite times spent together were spent lounging on our couch watching television while he introduced me to fine cheese and rare microbrews, talking and watching movies. It may seem simple, but the truth is that one of the reasons I knew I should say yes when he asked me to marry him is that we both enjoy simply sitting in the same room together. If, as Gavin Rossdale of Bush once rasped, "It's the little things that kill," then it's also possible that the little things can also make an otherwise difficult day a good one.

But I was talking about milk. Yes, I love milk. Those milk mustache ads? I'm all about them. Milk in my coffee. Milk in my oatmeal. I drink glasses of it simply because I enjoy the taste. So I was intrigued by the prospect of milk as scent. If I suddenly became lactose intolerant, I think I might die.

According to the perfumer Ava Luxe, Milk is:
A gentle milk perfume, slightly sweet, with a soft and airy musk base. Soothing and cozy.

Notes: Milk, Vanilla, Musk.
Wow. This is delicious! Now I am on record as being a gourmand lover of the highest order, but I have to say, this is pretty great. On application, Milk is, well, milky. I find it so comforting -- sweet, light, a tiny bit salty and warm. The vanilla is there, but it isn't the overwhelming part of the scent, which is rare with vanilla. If you press your nose close, it even has a little bit of a sourness, like milk that is just starting to turn a little, as though you warmed it a bit to drink before bed. More accurately, the food experience it reminds me of is Leche Quemada, a Mexican milk custard (and also a candy) which is kind of like Dulce de Leche, but less caramel in flavor. Someone else mentioned sweetened condensed milk, but on me this is much more like a fresh glass of milk with a dash of vanilla added and warmed to just to the perfect temperature for comfort. For me at least, "Got Milk?" will also include an inquiry after this delicious scent.

And while I'm mentioning "Got Milk?" advertising, can I just point out how cute Taylor Swift's ad is? Also, though I usually wait until the end of the week for this, I cannot wait that long to direct your attention to this post over at 90's Woman about how awesome Taylor Swift is. I concur with this analysis. I love Taylor.

Yeah, yeah, she can be normative. Yeah, yeah, she's no Kathleen Hanna. But she is NOT "a feminist nightmare." (Also, note to feminist blogging community -- neither is Tina Fey/Liz Lemon. Sorry Sady, I love you, but just -- no. It's Tina Fey making fun of the IRL Liz Lemons out there.  It's meta.  It's ironic.  Pick up a hipster-to-English dictionary if you don't believe me.)

In an industry (country music) where NO ONE writes their own material (I'm looking at you in particular George Strait, with your Lifetime Achievement Awards and your chart-topping "Troubadour" album wherein you didn't so much as co-write a single song), here is a girl who is working hard to write about her own life experiences and convey those experiences to others. Here is a girl who tells fifteen year-old girls who (if they're anything like me) are lonely and lost and desperate for love and acceptance and are in NO WORLD going to listen to adults who 'don't understand' them to take their time making decisions and to aim higher than getting a date on Friday night. Frankly, I love that. Because when I was fifteen, you know what?  Someone told me they loved me and I believed him and then it broke my heart when he left me for someone who would sleep with him when I wouldn't. (You know who you are, AGV.)  And then I did sleep with someone I wasn't all that attached to and later regretted.  Several of my friends did.  We all cried.  Not because our virginity was a super-precious gift from God meant for only the man God chose for us or anything, but because we had decided to share a significant and intimate life experience with people who didn't really care all that much about us in the long run, and because we did it (at least in part) out of a need for acceptance and love we still didn't find.  And I was an engaged high school senior with a jealous and controlling boyfriend who I wanted to marry and then didn't, and now I've accomplished lifelong dreams I never thought I would and have a partner who supports me. So you know what?  I'm a radical feminist who TOTALLY IDENTIFIES WITH TAYLOR SWIFT.  So does Stevie Nicks. Deal with it. 

And also I love the song "White Horse" wherein a slightly older (17 y.o.?) Taylor realizes sometimes people lie and boys aren't the solution to everything and that you ultimately have to save yourself. And also? Taylor is funny! And kind of sarcastic. And hilariously real. And I suspect, because she does write from her own experiences, as she grows and changes, so will her music. She's already a fairly strong young woman. I'm excited to see where she goes next. She...

...okay.  Rant over.  I'm out of steam...for the moment, at least.  Sorry about that.  It's been boiling for a while.

You can buy Milk direct from the perfumer at her Etsy store. It comes in a 5ml perfume oil for $17 and a 15ml perfume oil for a mere $45. The website lists them both as currently in stock.

"'Cause when you're fifteen 
and somebody tells you they love you --
you're gonna believe them.
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
makes your head spin 'round.
But in your life you'll do things greater 

than dating the boy on the football team.
But I didn't know it at fifteen
."
- "Fifteen," Taylor Swift
(You can listen to the song here)

I found a few mentions of Ava Luxe Milk in a variety of places, but no other actual reviews. Too bad; I think it's worth a look.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Awesome PSAs and Other Fun with Feminism!

Hello again dear Readers!

Only one review this week? I know, I'm as disappointed as you are. What can I say? I was busy with two other projects. I still am. I might be a little slow with the posting. But I'm thinking of you and smelling pretty things to tell you about and I still love you! You're awesome. Really. It's not you -- it's me.

Now onto this week's links!

* These portraits of prison rape survivors are really worth looking at. Just Dentention International's PSA campaign is very effective.

* Speaking of public education efforts, the Feds have a new texting campaign to educate young mothers on prenatal care. I applaud the Dept. of Health leveraging whatever they have to in order to get prenatal care education out there.

Here's one of the highlights of my week, thanks to the tubes: a word from Tavi, the current and future of feminism, on the Terry Richardson scandal:
And, let's clarify: you don't love women just because you have sex with them and like taking pictures of their ladyparts. I'm not saying that's all Richardson does, but "love" entails "respect" and also "the basic human decency to not use pictures of someone's lady parts for your photography show without her permission" and also "the basic human decency to not pressure a girl into giving you a hand job because OH MY GOD I WILL LITERALLY NOT BE ABLE TO PRESS THE FLASH BUTTON ON MY CAMERA UNLESS YOU TAKE NOTICE OF THE FACT THAT I HAVE NO PANTS ON. ALSO I'M A PROFESSIONAL."
I have only one word for Tavi -- awesome. She's a wonderful writer with a very bright future.

* Yeardley Love's case demonstrates some gaping holes in Virginia's restraining order laws. Turns Out, Yeardley Love couldn't have gotten an RO even if she wanted one.

* This piece has already demonstrated to me that I will basically have to turn off my brain to enjoy Iron Man 2.

* In a surprising trend away from the last couple of weeks wherein several U.S. states seemed intent on making sure I'd never move there, Minnesota makes a step toward being a future home for David & I as the Minnesota House approves granting gay and lesbian couples rights over their partner's remains upon death. The bill still has to clear the state Senate and be signed by the Governor, but I'm please to see the bill gaining traction. Might seem like a small thing, until you consider what it feels like to be the surviving partner as some distant relative to sweep in during the wake of a heart-breaking loss, identifying the body, making the funeral arraignments, and burying your partner of 25 years 3000+ miles away. So yay Minnesota for treating people grieving their loved ones with a tiny smidgen of decency and respect!

* Recommended tweet o' the week: Feminist Hulk! Some Choice Tweets include:
~ "HULK SMASH MALE PRIVILEGE INTO HEGEMONIC SHRAPNEL!"
~ "HULK RETURN FROM DAY OF PARADIGM SMASHING TO FIND PLETHURA OF NEW FEMINIST ALLIES! HULK OFFER BIG GREEN HUG TO NEW FOLLOWERS!"
~ "HULK BAKE STRAWBERRY SCONES FOR MONTHLY FEMINIST POTLUCK. HULK KITCHEN SMELL WONDERFUL. DELICIOUS BERRIES FOR SOCIAL CHANGE!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It feels like Independence Day and I can't break away from this parade.

Marc Jacobs Perfume EdP

Today all the seniors left. Those not graduating had to be out by Friday, but today is the day that the campus loses some of its cadre of the last four years forever. If I've learned anything over the last ten years in and around higher education, it is this: a campus without students is like a stadium with no team, a car with no driver, a house without a family to live in it. The vitality of place comes from a sense of purpose. Purpose gives belonging in the world. It gives meaning. Without that, without life, it's just a shell, not unlike the way people look after the life leaves them. A college is just that: a living entity. Without students, we don't exist, not really. And in the dramatic come-tragedies of several hundred lives, this set was written off the page today. And those who remain, more or less with it.

It's strange to be in a perpetual state of being left behind as people complete and move on from major chapters in their lives. I think we all like to believe that we are the stars of our world, our lives, but when you are -- annually -- a part of someone finishing one adventure and going off into the sunset to pursue to next one, it's a strong reminder that the world does not, in fact, revolve around you. Who becomes a minor and passing player and who continues as guest star is sometimes difficult to predict. It's an age old tale, only David and I live it a little every spring, just as we become new and important players in different lives every fall. Fall feels like life starting in our world, and Spring is the end, in a perverse reversal of natural forces. And tends to make me maudlin.

There are nice things about it, though. One of them is that David loves to go around at the end, when everyone has left, and look at what remains, scavenging from other people's trash things that, to us, are treasures. An abandoned course book; a random home appliance. And, at least this year, believe it or not he even came back with some perfume. This my friends, is how I came into possession of a three-quarters full bottle of Marc Jacobs perfume, and thus bring you this review today.

The perfume is supposed to be "Marc Jacobs interpret[ion of] Gardenia," described as follows:
Marc Jacobs Perfume maintains the fundamental aspects of all Marc Jacob's designs. It's classic, luxurious, and comfortingly feminine. The scent is both sensuous and uncomplicated, complementing the wearer without overwhelming her.


Notes: Gardenia, Wild Muguet, Skin Musk, Cedar, Ginger.
The instant application scent is watermelon scented nail polish remover. Luckily that fades almost immediately into gardenia. This gardenia is more wide than deep in scent, seemingly coated in a fat layer of watermelon jolly rancher -- sweet, fruity, and floral. I don't get cedar at all, though the musk is probably contributing that tiny sour bit that turns this toward watermelon and away from something sweeter, like strawberry or cherry.

On the whole, not the worst gardenia in the world. In fact, when it comes to a floral that typically get associated with the proverbial 'old lady' scent, this one might be very nice for a teenager or girl in her early 20s. And, inevitably, that's who left the bottle behind. It makes me wonder -- why did she leave it? Had she already found something she thought fit her better? Was it one of many options? As she went off into the end-of-school-year, beginning-of-summer sunset, did this no longer seem to fit her, after all the experiences she'd had in the last year? I hope so. I hope Marc Jacobs was left behind in a flurried rush toward something even better. It's nice to think that somewhere out there a girl is growing into someone she never expected to be, striking off toward new adventures. And I, the one left behind? Well, I get her perfume.

You can buy Marc Jacobs perfume in a variety of sizes from Sephora, Amazon, Nordstrom, and a number of other online and brick and mortar outlets. It also comes in solid perfume, body creme, and lotion.

"Hey, come on try a little.
Nothing is forever.
There's got to be something better than in the middle.
Me and Cinderella,
we put it all together.
We can drive it home.
with one headlight."
- "One Headlight" The Wallflowers
(You can listen to the song here)

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Case You Missed It: This Week in Victim Blaming...

This week's recommendations for In Case You Missed It:

~ An Australian jury decides the rape of woman in skinny jeans is not really possible -- clearly getting her out of the jeans meant she must have consented and helped. Proof that juries will find any excuse to victim-blame.

~ I tend to side with Justices Breyer and Ginsberg that the US Supreme Court decision to close its iconic main entrance due to fear of 'terror threat' when even Israel hasn't taken such a step is overkill and fear-mongering.

~ Arizona rushes ahead to compete, once again, for top place I don't want to move because the politics are crazy by grading its teachers on fluency, as State Pushes School Districts to Reassign Instructors With Heavy Accents or Other Shortcomings in Their English. As my husband noted, why do I suspect that the "heavy accents" they're referring to aren't the one's my Texas family members have?

~ Elizabeth Hasselbeck's teary apology neither impresses me nor excuses her entirely inappropriate comments that "ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews has been wearing 'next to nothing' on Dancing With the Stars, and that if she were the stalker behind bars for secretly videotaping Andrews naked in hotel rooms in 2008, she’d think, 'Man! I just could've waited 12 weeks and seen this -- a little bit less -- without the prison time!'" Yes, because when women wear very little, they deserve to be stalked!

~ Blog recommendation: Stupid Nail Polish Names is pretty funny.

~ Grain de musc asks: what notes/scents do you gender and why?

~ Last, but not least, MTV bans Tiombe Lockhart's video "Ropes" for being too graphic in its attempts to address depression and suicide. See it below and judge for yourself -- more graphic, violent, or disturbing than other MTV-okayed videos, say like Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" (homicidal school shootings), Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box (bird-pecked, emaciated self-crucifixion victim; aborted fetus tree) or hell, even Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker's "Last Dance with Mary Jane" (complete with the manipulation of a woman's corpse for male pleasure and then discards her when bored -- necrophilia, the ultimate in objectification)?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A matter of complication when you become a twist...

Parfums Zero Six Cent-Trente Yuzu Rouge EdT

Summer has finally hit Portland. Just two days ago, it was cold and rainy and occasionally hailing, and today? Warm, summer breeze. It will be in the low to mid-70s by midweek, and David and I will be dragging out the fans for our thoroughly unairconditioned apartment. With the warmer weather, I am on the hunt for warm weather scents. In the summer I tend to shy away from incenses, orientals, and powders and toward citruses and light florals and the occasional leather. (Yeah, leather, because spring/summer is Rodeo and State Fair season to me, and that means leather.) Today, in my search for summer scents, I'm trying Parfums Zero Six Cent-Trente Yuzu Rouge EdT.

According to Parfums Zero Six Cent-Trente,
Yuzu Rouge is a crisp Eau de Toilette that combines the refreshing Japanese citrus yuzu with verbena, grapefruit, and bergamot. The precious rose adds a light floral touch to the freshness of the scent, and a soft sweetness blooms from the black currant, tea, and amber, making this scent complex and refined.

Notes: yuzu, cassis, grapefruit, verbena, damascena rose, nutmeg, bergamot, cardamom, musk, moss, gray amber
On application I get grapefruit covered with brown sugar and sprinkled with lime. It's very light, and I only get a tiny it of rose or verbena. For such a fruity scent, this isn't very juicy. It's more dry, which I suspect is the amber, musk, and moss base. Apparently some people get a tea-like note in this, but if so it's an herbal tea sort of scent, not black or green or hell, even a Lipton tea. It's light, and kind of citrus rosey, but much less strong or warm than, say, Red Flower Guaiac.

Yuzu Rouge also does not grow noticably stronger as your skin warms, either from heat or exercise, and doesn't quite have the staying power of Guaiac, but it is much less sweet than Guaiac. Consequently, it's wearable by just about anyone. I think you'd have to use quite a bit to get some lasting power out of it, and I kind of wish it came in an EdP or parfum because I would like it much more that way. Being as is, it's a nice scent, and worth trying, but as citrus roses go, the holy grail continues to elude me.

You can buy Yuzu Rouge in 100ml $110 from Luckyscent, Barney's, Beauty Encounter, Four Seasons, and First-in-Fragrance. Luckyscent also has samples. The scent also comes in a candle for $40.


"Can somebody tell me now,
who is this terrorist?
Those girls that smile kindly,
then rip your life to pieces?
Can somebody tell me now,
am I alone with this?
This little pill in my hand
and with this secret kiss.
Am I alone in this?"

- "The Power Of Orange Knickers," Tori Amos (feat. Damien Rice)
(You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I can hear the bells are ringing joyful and triumphant...

Strange Invisible Perfumes Urban Lily EdP

I mentioned Strange Invisible Perfumes Urban Lily EdP on my favorite Spring scents last year, but I'm only getting around to reviewing it now. Alexandra Balahoutis founded her house, Strange Invisible Perfumes, in 2000. Billed as "botanical perfumery," Strange Invisible Perfumes are all organic and fall into a current popular trend in perfumery.

I'm of two minds regarding the trend. On the one hand, I in favor of environmentalism and embracing a chemical free life; on the other hand, perfumery is about making the best scents possible, with whatever can be had. Also, Chandler Burr makes a pretty credible argument in The Perfect Scent in favor of synthetics in describing how they are frequently more environmentally-friendly because they can produce approximately the same or better quality ingredients without, say, having to kill musk deer. However, I suspect the 'all naturals' movement is here for a while, anyway. While I don't go out of my way to look for them, I certainly do note when a scent is 'organic' because, while I don't care, I have friends that do and, for the sake of gift giving, it's nice to know.

According to Strange Invisible Perfumes,
Sincere. Resilient. Untamed.

The lush scent of lily of the valley blossoms

Similar to the gardenia, lily of the valley will not yield an essence. Happily, the sweetness of its petals, the strength of its roots, and the lush beauty of its leaves are captured in Urban Lily, a stunning bouquet for the ages.
Urban Lily is dry and green, a clean smell in a world-washed-clean-by-Spring-rain kind of way, not in a hand soap or laundry soap kind of way. It's green and clean like plants and earth. In that respect, it reminds me of CB I Hate Perfumes Black March and CB I Hate Perfumes Wild Hunt. It also induces that catch in the back of the throat, verge of tears feeling. It also has a dryness to it; some reviewers said this was sort of like the smell of hay. I'll mostly have to take their word for it, since where I'm from all the hay has a slightly mildewed smell from the high humidity. To me it reminds me of the smell of incense trapped within the pages of church hymnals. Which brings me to the other scent this reminds me of, CB I Hate Perfumes Fire From Heaven. This scent seems to be a blend of those two, with the addition of the smell of wet concrete drying and hardening in the warm summer sun.

The other imagine that arises in my mind when I close my eyes and beath in Urban Lily is the color of foam on top of waves, after the wave has crashed against the beach and left a line across the wet sand, like the top of a fan or or the rippled edge of a shell. The overall effect in my mind is most akin to...creation. The start of something new, both organic and man-made, of nature and the urban. For those reasons, it seems very oriented toward Spring to me. It's not a particularly gendered smell either, which I appreciate. I think it could easily be worn by anyone without a lot of second glances, which I don't usually find in soliflores, so that's a nice surprise.

You can buy Urban Lily direct from the perfumer in pure parfum (.25 oz for $210) or EdP (1.7oz for $175). The perfumer also has samples available, as well as the rest of the Strange Invisible Perfumes line. You can also get Urban Lily at BeautyHabit

"I'm seeking girls in sales and marketing.
Let's go make out up in the balcony.
Your business dress so businesslike and I'm
Tossing the blouse over a chairback and
I can hear the bells..."

- "I Hear The Bells," Mike Doughty
(You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Ayala at Smelly Blog
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Scent Hive
~ a review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ a review from Perfume Posse
~ a review from The Beauty Alchemist

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When I'm with you, I'm looking for a ghost.

TDC Bois d'Iris

First off, I want to give a little shout out to my Pio-readers as they go through finals week. My husband was at a campus event last Saturday night when a student, in a slightly inebriated state, told him she liked this blog. To you, in particular, anonymous LC student, my best wishes and congratulations on another semester successfully completed; I agree that perfume is "like -- woah!"

And with that, let's get on with the awesome perfume.  According to The Difference Company,
The Iris Pallida, the most aomatic of its kind, grows exclusively on this site of arid rocks and mild soil. Unlike the osmanthus flower whose epidermis cells secrete the essentiel oil, the iris its olfactory wonders [w]ithin its roots ; this concealment is so skilful that several years of complex processing are required to capture its secrets: planting, frequent hoeing by hand, to avoid damaging the rhizomes (roots), harvesting (three years later), selecting and husking, washing, followed by one month of drying under the sun on lattice trays, and five years of dehydrating in bags ; the grinding and miling in the factory.

The powder that results from these six years of preparation is macerated in cold water. Finally, a steam distillation gives birth to the essence of iris, also called butter, granted that the chemist follows the stringent requirement of moderate heating. Once distilled, this creamy substance turns into a treasure, a priceless marvel : the absolute. Eight years of complex processing are required to extract one litre of iris absolute from forty tons of rhizomes. Hence the scarcity of this aristocratic fragrance in today's perfume creations. The wonderful magic of a flower that blends with vetiver, bergamot, cedar wood, narcissus, geranium and musk delivers us the splendour of Bois d'Iris.

[sic -- the entire paragraph; TDC needs an editor stat.]

This scent was hard for me to pin down, and not only because every review I read after making my initial notes described it in (imo) substantially different ways. Also, comparing it to other irises didn't help as much as it normally does. It's clearly an iris, but I mostly only know how to describe it by telling you what it isn't. It's not as funerary as L'Artisan Iris Pallida and not buttery like L'Artisan Dzongkha. It's not quite as violet as Iris D'Argent, nor does it have the grape syrup sweetness vibe of Keiko Mecheri Iris Poupre. It's less like pop music than Prada Infusion d'Iris in terms of accessibility, but also isn't so much dirt or herbs as Le Labo Iris 39. And it is nothing at all like the the candy floss of Memoire Liquide No. 205 Vanille Florentine.

Bois d'Iris, for me, is most similar to Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, but yet isn't. It differs in that, initially, this is an iris that has overtones of lemon and has a very fresh edge, like the scent was distilled not from flower or root, but from iris leaf and stem. The middle becomes powdery and sweet similar to but not exactly like an iris bloom covered in a fine cloud of talc. In this section is becomes more similar to Iris Silver Mist. The bottom (about an hour in) continues to remind me of Iris Silver Mist, though a tad sweeter in a mixed floral way. This isn't as strong as Iris Silver Mist -- the sillage is lighter and it doesn't last.

On the whole Bois d'Iris is a very nice scent and one worth trying. That said, for the price point, I'd rather have a bottle of Iris Pallida (I do), Iris Silver Mist (I will - just have to figure out how to get it out of Europe first), or enough Infusion d'Iris to take a bath in (but who needs that?). It's lovely, and I'm sure it is THE IRIS for plenty of iris lovers. It just isn't the one for me.

You can buy Bois d'Iris direct from the perfumer in 50ml ($161.46), 90ml ($233.22), and 250ml ($448.50 -- comes with a leather case in your choice of color -- red, mandarin, or black). TDC also has an awesome sample program allowing access to the entire line. Other purchasing avenues include LuckyScent (including samples), Beauty Encounter, Beauty Habit, and First-in-Fragrance.

"But you are what you love,
and not what loves you back.
That's why I'm here on your doorstep,
pleading for you to take me back."

- "You Are What You Love," Jenny Lewis
(You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin
~ a review from Eliza at Scentsibility
~ a review from Scent and Sensibility

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Case You Missed It: The Mary Tyler Moore Edition

In a new series here at Feminine Things, I'll be posting on Sundays to share links I've though were excellent from the last week, both perfumey and not, that you might have missed. 


* Sady from Tiger Beatdown writes about how Rivers Cuomo Messes You Up Forever.

* A good argument for why men should be into feminism: Feminism for Young Dudes

* Bond no. 9 threatens The Perfumed Court with litigation through twitter, of all things. There's no case to be had, but I can't believe that any reputable company would attempt a 'cease and desist' via twitter.  Like when Courts cite Wikipedia in decisions, it just ain't right, yo.

* Another by-product of finals procrastination: an all male a capella review of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance straight outta Eugene, Oregon (Go Ducks, and good luck to Andrew, who is working on his 2nd semester 1Hell finals.)

* Natania Barron reminds male readers to Never Assume Anything About a Geek Girl

* Oklahoma steams ahead in the race for "places I'm least likely to ever move" by passing the most restrictive measures on choice in the nation this week. I thought that Nebraska had the title sewn up the week before, but between Oklahoma' new laws and Arizona's continuing mission to persecute basically anyone brown through racial profiling, more and more places are becoming unlikely. It does make the job hunting easier, though, since now I just refer to my big US map of "Places I Wouldn't Raise a Kid or Want to be a Lawyer" in order to mark possibilities off the list.