Perfume Challenge Week 14: Monday, 3/4/11, to Friday, 4/8/11
Next weekend is the annual Hood River Blossom Fest. I'm heading to Seattle for a friend's birthday for the weekend, so a friend and I drove out to look at the Hood River 'Fruit Loop.' It's not quite in bloom yet, unfortunately, but it was a nice drive through the Gorge nonetheless.
Monday: L'Artisan The Pour Un Ete - notes: Jasmine Tea, Green Tea, hints of lemon and peppermint A bright burst of lemon immediately shifts to a peppermint with a jasmine edge. Compared to Jo Malone Fresh Mint Leaf, which is slightly sweeter, this mint is more mint bordering a garden of jasmine than mint candy. Would make a nice masculine. Nice but not for me. 3 of 5 nods.
Tuesday: Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin - Reminiscent of the scent of limes carried on a Caribbean sea breeze, Lime Basil & Mandarin has become a modern classic for men and women. Fresh limes and zesty mandarins are undercut by peppery basil and aromatic white thyme in this alluring signature blend.
Lime and basil is not a winning combination in my world. It's dry, it's bitter, it's not, well not good. It's like sour dry pencil shavings, and not in a good way. 1 of 5 nods.
Wednesday: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb - notes: Sambac Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Cattleya Orchid, Ballerina Freesia, Patchouli I'm already on record as *hating* Flowerbomb's entire advertising campaign. However, I had a sample, and decided to see if the scent was as bad as its advertising.
I really liked the opening, which was a combination of licorice and cotton candy. It was a dark, sweetly sexy scent. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this last all of ten minutes. Then it turned sour on me. *jen says she got "crème brûlée sitting next to a vase of flowers" and I wish I could say the same. Instead, I get a smell like cotton candy that's flavored to resemble canaloupe balls covered in white mold. That strong sour notes backs off eventually, but still lurks in the bottom, making it a loud, overly sweet unpleasant experience. I think I see some of the caramel that is supposed to be the scent's inspiration, but it smells curdled -- not burned, but actually spoiled somehow. Honestly, I'm relieved I don't like it; now I can sleep soundly knowing I never have to help the ad firm responsible for its marketing make any money. 1.5 of 5 nods.
Thursday: Olympic Orchids Bay Rum - Olympic Orchids does this amazing thing where some of the samples you receive are not part of the line. Because of that, I can't tell you what notes are in Bay Rum, or even if you'll ever be able to purchase it. I hope you will, because I really enjoyed it. Bay Rum is a deep, dark, musky scent, with elements of: warm rubber, damp basement, vanilla bean, powered cocoa, and a little clove. It's what I imagine you'd smell bouncing across the back roads of a Caribbean island in an open Jeep on an extremely hot day. It positively smolders on the skin, and would make a nice masculine or feminine. 3 of 5 nods.
Friday: Téo Cabanel Alahine - notes: Bergamot, ylang-ylang, jasmine, Moroccan rose, iris, cistus, patchouli, benjoin, vanilla, sandalwood, musk So here we go again, with a a spicy rose that reminds me of Tauer Perfumes Une rose chyprée. This is a lighter scent, textured and structural instead of luch and supple. If Une rose chyprée is brick and skin, then Alahine is the steel under the bricks, the bones beneath the skin. It's not cloves and oranges, it's musk and incense, but in a staid sort of way. There's something else there, too, something a little like chewing tobacco... I like Alahine, but I don't psychotically love it like everyone else seems to. Maybe if I hadn't met Une rose chyprée first. I recommend trying both to decide which one is right for you. 3 of 5 nods.
Winner of the Week: Téo Cabanel Alahine, L'Artisan The Pour Un Ete and Olympic Orchids Bay Rum are all fine selections, though for me Bay Rum is the winner for sheer originality.
"So I drank all of my money and I slept out in the rain.
Every day is different but the nights they're all the same.
You never see the sun on the old black rum
but I know I'm gonna do it again!"
Photos: Dana Joe and The Kitchn