Saturday, May 14, 2011

I was told I was beautiful but what does that mean to you?

Perfume Challenge Week 17: Monday, 5/9/11, to Friday, 5/13/11

As I driving home yesterday afternoon along a long ribboning road with an obscured view of snow capped mountains way off in the distance, a fire truck rolled out, light and sirens blaring. It was followed soon thereafter by an ambulance. In both cases, all traffic on both sides of this six lane, two-way highway stopped. Those traveling in the opposite direction pulled to the right to allow the vehicles to pass, but even traffic in my direction stopped, just froze right where it was, in case the emergency vehicles needed to cut over to our side and weave between us to get where they needed to be. In that frozen moment I had a few thoughts:

1. I love that I live in a place, and that it still exists on earth, where even a million people crowded together and in the middle of the busy commute home on a Friday afternoon, will all simply stop in unison, even when not all of us needed to, so that someone in need can be reached by those trying to help them. I like to believe it's asign of compassion seeping through cracks in our hard and cyncial shells.

2. If the rapture actually does come, it will look just like this -- the world frozen in place, cars stopped dead in the middle of the road, people just taken bodily from wherever they are. For some reason, it reminds me of the Ray Bradbury story "There Will come Soft Rains", where the family simply isn't there anymore but the technology lives on in fits and starts for a while. It's strange to think we have the capacity to do that, simply vaporize other people en masse, that we ever wanted it. Just because you can do a thing doesn't always mean you should. Humanity isn't always so good at grasping that concept.

Well, that's enough deep thoughts for the day, I'd wager.

Monday: Sage Onyx - Notes: Black Coconut, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Amber, Musk. Very coconut and vanilla up top, for a super sweet scent that reminds me of eating a white chocolate dipped macaroon. It's even a little mildly salty on me, though I don't get any tobacco (a shame -- I like tobacco). Onyx is a snuggly, warm sweet tropical scent thanks to the oakmoss and musk. It is a night time of tropical fun, as though created from the smell floating through a window into a hotel room after quite a bit of noctural fun has been had. A little bit naughty, a lot nice on its own merits, but when I've already got bottles of Coty Sand and Sable, CB I Hate Perfume At the Beach 1966, Creed Virgin Island Water, and Annick Goutal Songes, it's safe to say that my tropical/beachy dance card is quite full. 3 of 5 nods.

Tuesday: By Kilian A Taste of Heaven EdP - Notes: Calabria bergamot oil, geranium bourbon oil, orange flower absolute, Turkish rose absolute, green absinthe oil, lavender barreme oil, lavandin abrialis oil, lavandin green absolute, lavandin green, concrete, Indonesian patchouli oil, oak moss extract, costus oil, ambrarome absolute, vanilla bean absolute, tonka beans. Described as an "absinthe verte," menthol goes honey sweet with a bit of cinnamon and coppery penny scent. Thirty minutes in I get with a wallop of patchoui that takes the sweetness down a step in a way a really enjoy. Nice, and definitely on the drier side of sweet for me, this might make an excellent gourmand light for those who cannot stand the super saccharine affairs that dominate the field. 4 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: Les Nereides Musc de Java - Notes: light musk, berries, blackcurrant, violet leaves, sage, fresh cut hay. Violets and too new green berries become sage become hay with just a hint of blackcurrant. If you like L'Artisan Mure et Musc, or even if you hate it, give this a try. It's greener and less sweet than the aforementioned L'Artisan offering, which I prefer. The berries became stronger on me for the two to six hour period but the green is still there. Nice longevity, it's making the "when I get around to it I'd like to have this" list. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Thursday: L'Atelier Boheme Immortelle EdP - Notes: Brazilian tangerine, Italian bergamot, light florals, pomegranate, amber, immortelle.

Holy mother of baby powder! If you want to be slapped in the face with a fierce amount of amber and immortelle, this is a great scent for you. I'm gonna be straight with you, it's hard for me to get anything else right now other than dry, hay-like, carmeled powdery sweetness. It's really remarkable in the sense that the opening is like someone taking Loves Baby Soft (but way, way better) and powered it up by a factor of a thousand.

Two years ago, I would have flung the vial as far from me as possible because I didn't like it. Now, I'm not sure if I like it, but I think it's an incredible feat someone managed to make a scent this strongly aspected. I'm trying really hard to imagine a circumstance where I'd want to smell like someone just hit me in the face with a comet-sized powder puff, but all I can think is pink, pink, pink! I think I'd need to be in the mood to do it up Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette style, and I have never once sported a bouffant hair so I can't imagine wearing it. FN1.

And yet, I weirdly want it, just like I want this crazy Marie Antoniette Barbie. Yes, it's absurd and limiting and whatever, but damn -- it's so pretty. And sometimes a body wants pretty. FN2. FN3. Really wanting to try Annick Goutal Sables now, so I can have some other immortelle to compare to. 4 of 5 nods.

Friday: Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace - Notes: Grapefruit, black currant, lily of the valley, musk. Scent of Peace was created by Bond as "our post-9/11 conviction that peace is a beautiful, beautiful thing." The opening of the scent itself is a light, soapy and clean floral with gentle fruity highlights. This part is well-made, but not particularly unique. On me it starts out green, and I get a moderate serving on lily of the valley, but pretty soon it becomes the strangest scent on me. It smells like the taste of really cold, clean water, or maybe the taste of snowflakes on the tongue. I don't know if I find that peaceful; maybe I do. I certainly find it remarkable. One of my favorite things about perfume is that I never stop being surprised. Even when I think I know what will happen next when I put it on, I don't always. I love that. 5 of 5 nods.

Winner of the Week: Wow, really hard to choose this week. I think I'm giving it to Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace, for its unique, quiet, and wow, yeah, actually peaceful qualities. Rarely is it an obliquely named bottle contains what it advertises.  PDXers, I recently found out that Bond No. 9 is coming to the downtown Nordstrom, so keep that in mind when you're planning your summer scent purchases!

"You can buy your hair if it won't grow.
You can fix your nose if he says so.
You can buy all the make up
that M.A.C. can make,
but if you can't look inside you
find out who am I too
be in the position to make me feel so damned unpretty..."

~ "Unpretty," TLC


FN1. Okay, not on purpose. I am a native Texan after all. Big hair just comes as a genetic gift. Just this morning I was blowing out my hair and found myself pleased because I had managed to make my already thick head of hair look fuller rather than sleeker. I actually had to stop myself, and ask the mirror "Where the hell did that come from?" I'm going to blame the resurgence of 80's styled cuts, which currently has me sporting a longer version of Joan Jett's hair circa 1985, but with swoopy side bangs and red instead of black, of course.

F2. I have a sick fascination with Barbies. I look at them, and I see the distorted body image and the perfect, smooth, plastic skin and realize it's part of what makes me hate my own body, and yet I cannot stop loving her. Sometimes I think that's the most amazingly insidious aspect of mysogany -- I love and admire the thing I will never be, and therefore hate and admire her in equal measure. And we wonder why women stuggle to have relationships with one another...

FN3. Speaking of which -- did everyone see the Glee "If Feel Pretty/Unpretty" mash-up from a couple of weeks ago? Sometimes the show does a number that really hits on something really. It gives me hope Glee! gets back to the original awesomeness it had. If any of the writers are reading this, I have suggestions.


FGNA said...

"PDXers, I recently found out that Bond No. 9 is coming to the downtown Nordstrom"

Excellent news. I love Scent of Peace too. Where did you here about the opening and when are they expected to be ready for business?

Diana said...


My friends at the Jo Malone counter told me when I was in two weeks ago. I'm thinking any day now is the answer since they are currently hiring for Luxury Counter Sales Managers at Nordstrom's in Seattle, Portland & Minneapolis (

They are also getting a Creed counter! I am deeply worried for my wallet.

frill said...

Diana, maybe you shouldn't have told me about your blog. I just ordered some L'Atelier Boheme Immortelle.

Diana said...


I try very hard to stick to the "try before you buy" rule by ordering samples before you dive straight into full bottlage. I recommend checking The Perfumed Court ( or LuckyScent ( or directly finding the perfumer themselves to get samples.

Happy hunting!

Undina said...


Every time I see the traffic giving the way to an ambulance or a fire truck I have thoughts similar to yours in #1.

I read this story (and many other of Bradbury's stories - he was one of my favorite authors when I was younger) and remember how sad I felt the first time I read it and realized the house was empty.

frill said...

Diana, I've already found the Perfumed Court. Do they have every perfume in the world?????
<3, Chrissie