Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011 Monthly Drawing!

My lovelies where did March go? It's madness I tell you, madness. Speaking of March Madness, you're all watching the Basenotes March Madness brackets, right? I voted this year. It was so HARD to choose!

As March 2011 passes into the annual of personal and public history, a few quick notes for my personal memorialization: Speak Now; Japan has earthquakes, tsunamis, & nuclear meltdowns; The King is Dead; Protests: Egyptian, Iranian, Jordanian, Ivorian, Bahranian, Syrian, Yemeni, Moroccan; workers stike in China while workers loss right to organiza in Wisconsin; trip #3 to Forks, Washington (don't judge me!); UN intervention in Libya; turned 33; finished a huge personal life goal (more on that later); getting ready for the July bar (another huge life goal); started getting paid to write regularly; felt inspired; felt discouraged; railed at the world; railed at myself; in-law peace in our time; Charlie Sheen; got accepted; got rejected; Middle Tornado; read voraciously; found a temporarily satisfying balance in my life.
Every month a wiener winner!

All in all -- a very full month. And you know what another month means: another Feminine Things drawing! Winner gets a standard sample set from Olympic Orchids, in honor of my discovery of orchid scents and my love of the PNW, and a copy of my handmade monthly mix CD.

To enter, post here by Thursday April 7, 11:59 PM PST. Tell me anything you like, but if you've got a fig scent you really like, I'd love to hear about it.

Any and all welcome to enter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love sticks, sweat drips.

Monday, 3/21/11, to Friday, 3/25/11

Sorry I'm late this week. It's been a writing heavy weekend. While I was chained to my writer's desk I noticed an email from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH) Perfumes. DSH is going through a website redesign and a Spring Cleaning, eliminating surplus stock and pairing down some of its lines. There is nothing I like less than figuring out I love a scent after it is no longer available, so this sort of sale scares the bejesus out of me. Thus, in honor of this talented perfumer, and never one to miss a sale, I dug through my sample box and pulled all the DSH scents I had but had yet to review. It was exactly five. Hence I welcome you to Challenge Week 12, a DSH Spring Cleaning week of reviews.

Monday: DSH Perfumes Acqua de Venezia (Italian Journey No. 1) - Top notes: Bergamot, Blood Orange (Israel), Galbanum, Lemon, Petitgrain; Middle notes: Red Fruits, Syringa; Base notes: Ambergris, Musk. Has a clean bitter edge to it. If you could suck on the pith of an orange and instead of citrus you got an essence of green that was also covered in pepper, you'd have something similar to this. I love it conceptually, but I just don't think I'd reach for it very often. A fond farewell item. 2 of 5 nods.

Tuesday: DSH Perfumes The sur l’Herbe (Tea No. 2) - Top notes: Bergamot, Lavender Flower, Lemon; Middle notes: Tarragon (Estragon), Green Tea, Verbena; Base notes: Brazilian Vetiver, Sandalwood Very lemon and verbena to start. The tarragon and tea, which on me reads kind of pepperminty, adds a weird sweet/sour thing, which is supported by the vetiver. I get basically no sandalwood, but as green herbal tea masculines go, its lovely. A fond farewell item. 3 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: DSH Perfumes The´ du Monde (Tea No. 3) - Top notes: Bergamot, Cassis Bud, Fig; Middle notes: Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea; Base notes: Brazilian Vetiver, Sandalwood, Treemoss The open is a sweet liquoredresembled treat that made me run for the liquor cabinet, trying to place it. After several well-placed sniff, I determined that it most a mixture of Don Eduardo Anejo, a top shelf tequila that is aged in whiskey barrels, mixed with a tea spoon of honey and served warm. It gets a little of a green herbal quality in the drydown, but never loses it's hot, sticky, sweet and sexy charm. So much so that I am crushed it is a fond farewell item. A great option for warmer weather, get it while you can. 4 of 5 nods.

Thursday: DSH Perfumes Giardini Segreti (Italian Journey No. 3) - Top notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Honeysuckle, Italian Neroli; Middle notes: Egyptian Rose Geranium, Gardenia, Grandiflorum Jasmine, Mimosa, Orris, Tuberose Absolute; Base notes: Amber, Ambergris, Galbanum, Musk Wow. If you like florals, particularly gardenia, you must try this. I've tried a lot of nice gardenia, but the amber and tuberose in this make it truly spectacular. Also a really nice summer option. 3.5 of 5.

FridayDSH Perfumes Il Bacio di Firenze (Italian Journey No. 2) - Notes: iris, narcissus, jasmine, bergamot, musk, and hillside herbs This scent, the "Kiss of Florence," may not even be available anymore, which is too bad because it's very pretty. It's a green floral mixture, like flowers blooming out of a moss covered garden. I hope it gets resurrected, but but given that two Italian Journey scents are in the fond farewell category (No. 1 and No. 6) and No. 7 is also already disappeared, I have my doubts. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Winner of the Week: Another great week, but for me the winner is DSH Perfumes The´ du Monde (Tea No. 3), which I must run off to purchase immediately.

DSH Perfumes La Rose Fleurette (Rose No. 2), which I reviewed here, is also on the fond farewell list, so grab it now while you can. I already did.

You hit me once.
I hit you back.
You gave a kick.
I gave a slap.
You smashed a plate over my head.
Then I set fire to our bed.

~ "Kiss with a Fist," Florence + the Machine

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You got a reaction, didn't you?

Monday, 3/14/11 - Friday, 3/18/11

As someone who loves the PNW, I'm always excited to discovery anything perfumey up here round these parts. Olympic Orchids is a new line of handcrafted artisan fragrance products, first inspired by the incredible variety of scents produced by orchid flowers and created by Ellen Covey, owner of Olympic Orchids orchid nursery in the Pacific Northwest. I don't have a lot of experience with orchids, so I decided to give the five orchids from this perfumer a try this week.

Golden Cattleya - The scent of this orchid is pure gold - narcissus, daffodil, orange fruit, orange blossoms, honey, pollen, and cream soda combine with amber-tinged resins and musks to create a warm and long-lasting aura like late afternoon sunshine. This is not your usual sweet flowery orchid scent!

Sweet, warm, sort of citrusy -- this is a huge hit for summer. The opening has a bit of a creamsicle going on, it turns into a lovely orchid, but it ha all this high-potency sweetness to it, like an orchid dipped in honey and dusted with amber. It gets supersweet after about half an hour, but still is a desserty sort of orchid. 4 of 5 nods.

Red Cattleya - You’ve just walked into a Victorian hothouse packed with the most exotic orchid species, brought back by explorers from jungles all over the world. The scent of the blooming cattleyas envelops you, a soft, sumptuous fruity-floral blend with notes of citrus, peach, apricot, melon, hyacinth, gardenia, violets and lilac. At its base is a dark current of musk, exotic woods and vanilla.

Cherry kool-aid, violets, and peaches. It sounds sickly sweet and childish, but it isn't. The musk is there, adding a dry, earthy element to the experience. Definitely fruity-floral, in a plums cherries way on me (thought the melon gets strong on the drydown), but fruity nonetheless. 3 of 5 nods.

Javanica - Walk into a hothouse full of colorful moth orchids with their perfect round flowers and their succulent green leaves. Suddenly you’re captivated by a sweet, heady scent that seems to be coming from an invisible flower. It’s Phalaenopsis javanica, whose tiny red-striped flowers hide underneath the huge, shiny, umbrella-like leaves and produce a seductive spicy flowery scent. Javanica, a perfume inspired by this orchid has citrus, bergamot and fruity top notes, with mid and base notes of nutmeg, frankincense, lily-of-the-valley, rosewood, and vanilla. This mellow spicy floral scent typifies fragrant moth orchids.

This one is in the other direction. It is medicinal and resinous at first, but turns oily and nutty. Even though vanilla is one of the notes, it is barely present here, as a mild undercurrent. Unique: not quite foodie, not quite floral, and hard to pin down. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Little Stars - Imagine a hot, steamy night in the jungle. Insects chirping, unseen creatures moving in the leaves and branches, and the heavenly scent of a flower that must be the orchid queen of the night. A rich blend of citrus, neroli, ylang-ylang, clove bud and jasmine on a base of exotic woods, oud, black agar and atlas cedarwood. An unmistakable spicy floral scent that epitomizes white, night-fragrant orchids and the woody branches that they grow on.

Well hello oud! You're being all dirty oily dark fabulousness on my arm. There is almost sweet or floral about this opening. It's the most masculine thing I've ever smelled with the word "orchid" attached. It gets very clove-y in the middle. It also seems to have a black tea aspect to it. I think I'd like it, but what I'd really love is to smell it on my husband. I think it would be a great masculine. 4 of 5 nods.

Luzonica - "There is a bizarre orchid of the Philippine jungle called Bulbophyllum macranthum. It is relatively rare in cultivation, and not easy to grow unless you have a greenhouse. Its flowers are fleshy and spotted, and look and smell a little like sliced fruits - as well as other things. This orchid has inspired Luzonica, a scent that combines oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, coriander, pineapple, mango, guava, banana and tropical flowers, along with amber, exotic musks, resins and Tahitian vanilla. An extravagant and unique fragrance."

Definitely an attempt at tropical flowers and fruit, it strikes me as kind of banana flavored candy and pineapple juice scent. It's bubblegummy and incredibly youthful. It's so hard to do tropical fruits well, in a way that does come off as fake, and thhis one tries, really hard. But it's just too much for me -- too sweet, too candied, too "all the tropical fruits at once." My least favorite of the group. But if you like tropical, try it. I didn't want to wear it so much as drink it. 2 of 5 nods.

If you like orchids, give this house a try. They have a variety of different sampling options. I haven't tried the traveling scents yet, but I'm excited to.

Winner of the Week: Toss-up between Javanica, Golden Cattleya, and Little Stars. I wouldn't mind owning any of them.

"You took a white orchid.
You took a white orchid, turned it blue.
Something better than nothing.
Something better than nothing; it's giving up.
We all need to do something.
Try to keep the truth from showing up."

~ "Blue Orchid," White Stripes

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We should have each other to tea....

Monday, 3/7/11 - Friday, 3/11/11

I'm out of town this weekend on a short trip to Washington for my birthday.  David and I are seeing his parents and hanging out in the general Olympia area, so if you've got recommendations, let me know. If I'm slow to respond, please forgive me -- I'm probably adventuring with my lovelier half.  Despite this trip, this week I'm actually giving you the as-promised five days, five scents challenge results, but with a specific focus.

I admit that I am not a fan of tea.  Until about four years ago, my reaction to the word was something along the lines of "Bleh! Tastes like dirty water!"  My husband, who loves tea, has always been amused and horrified by this attitude.  Slowly but surely, he's begun winning me over -- a little "sleepy time" here, a little "raspberry zinger" there.  But to me, tea is still something relegated to being consumed when I am too sick to smell or when I'm freezing and coffee is unavailable.

Jo Malone's idea of tea...
So you'd think when Jo Malone recently released a limited edition "tea" series, I'd have passed automatically.  Suprisingly, though, I actually like tea scents, even if I'm not wild about the beverage.  The five "tea" offerings, which are actually three tea scents and two layering flankers, are described as follows:
Tempting. Refreshing. Engagingly unexpected. The World of Jo Malone introduces a special limited edition collection - Tea Fragrance Blends. Five distinctive, contemporary scents, inspired by that most quintessential of British traditions - when everything stops for tea.
Assam & Grapefruit - Meant to be a morning tea incarnation, this scent is a bright fruity citrus. It's in the same vein as the English Pear & Freesia, but less floral and more spicy, in a baking spices kind of way. I own the English Pear, so I wasn't moved to purchase this one, but for anyone feels the English Pear is too "knock you down like a drunken floozy" loud, bright and boozy, this might be a good one for you. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Earl Grey & Cucumber - The afternoon tea offering, and in my opinion the most masculine (in the general perfumey sense) of the five. I found it gently dark, with a freshness I don't normally find in darker tea creations. Again, nice, but not moving me toward my wallet. 3 of 5 nods.

Fresh Mint Leaf - Now this one -- wow! This evening tea offering is admittedly the lightest of the three, with the lowest sillage and duration. That said, the mint is balanced with a delightful green herbal twist, and the whole experience is a light and airy affair. It may be that this was a "right time, right place" circumstance, but Fresh Mint Leaf immediately fed my desire for warm shiny days of Spring and Summer. This will make an excellent summer scent, and sniffing it I imagine keeping a bottle in the fridge so that it falls as cool and refreshing on the skin as it smells. Given that I am a wary scent shopper prone to buyer's remorse and therefore hard to move to purchase without finding an alarmingly good deal, I am completely surprised and pleased that I bought a bottle immediately. FN1. Over 24 hours later -- absolutely no regrets AND the sun came out today! I take it as a good omen. 5 of 5 nods.

Sweet Milk - It's a gently sweet gourmand scent that I think would do well as a stand alone, though it was designed as a layering compliment to the three teas. If the idea of milk smell on skin makes you think of sour baby breath, try this. You're in for a lovely surprise that might open you up to more milk-themed experiences. 4 of 5 nods.

Sweet Lemon - Tangy, zesty, sweet but not too much, this struck me as a classy option for those looking for a youthful scent. It felt contemporary, and the pineapple sweetness is a nice twist on your usual "sugary lemon" approach. Again, a great possibility for summer. 4 of 5 nods.

My idea of tea...
Also, because half of Jo Malone's marketing efforts are aimed at selling the line as one with layering possibilities to create your own 'signature' scent, I gave the layering thing a whirl with the Jo Malone options I had available. FN2. Some are endorsed by the line, and some are my own curious spraying efforts. Here are the results:

Red Roses and Fresh Mint Leaf - Nice in theory, but results in a smell akin to bitter, metallic, overheated dryer interior for an hour, then just becomes Red Roses alone. (personal mixology effort)

Orange Blossom and Fresh Mint Leaf - Two and a half minutes of overheated dryer smell then all I got was Orange Blossom. it was as if the mint wasn't even there.(personal mixology effort)

Pomegranate Noir and English Pear and Freesia - I really can't decide.It kept shifting on me, like using one of those old school view finder toys I had as a kid. Click: a delicious sangeria. Click: a loud fruity bubblegum. I can't decide if the two fight or compliment each other. (Jo Malone endorsed)

Pomegranate Noir and Red Roses - This one I liked.  It gave the Pomegranate Noir a liquored edge.  Nice option to have but I didn't like them as much together as I like them individually. (Jo Malone endorsed)

Sweet Lime & Cedar and Grapefruit - I love the Sweet Lime & Cedar by itself, and I normally don't have a lot of affection for the plain Grapefruit, but together I think the Grapefruit is a nice alternative to Sweet Lime & Cedar alone.  (Jo Malone endorsed)

So there you have it. A week of Jo Malone in all its British glory. If you've tried the tea scents, let me know what you think of them. If you haven't and the tea options sound interesting to you, beware: they really are limited. My local rep told me that the shipment they had in store was all they were getting, and once it was gone, that was it. I suspect this clever ploy will win over other impulse-resistant purchasers like me, who fear only one thing more than overpaying -- missing out entirely, then having to choose between paying double on Ebay or never get a bottle at all.

Jo Malone scents are available online and in a number of fine department stores, and generally run $55 for 30ml or $105-$110 for 100ml.

My personal love cats...
"We move like cagey tigers.
We couldn't get closer than this.
The way we walk, the way we talk,
the way we stalk, the way we kiss.
We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps,
getting bigger and sleeker and wider and brighter.
We bite and scratch and scream all night
Let's go and throw all the songs we know...  
We're so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty!
Oh you know that I'd do anything for you.
We should have each other to tea.
We should have each other with cream,
then curl up by the fire and sleep for awhile.
It's the grooviest thing.
It's the perfect dream."
~ "Love Cats," The Cure
FN1. I never regret having the scent so much as I find myself thinking "was that the best possible use of your perfume budget? Could you have gotten something better, or found a better deal?" Any time they ask you that question on personal typing tests: do you prefer the time (a) just before you make a decision, when all options are available or (b) after you've made a decision and things are settled, I am the person who always chooses (a).

FN2. I really have to struggle not to giggle any time I hear a rep refer to it as "the art of fragrance combining."

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hi all--

It's been a crrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy week here in Portlandia for your fearless blogstress, but my sniffing continues.  I owe you some winning announcements, though.  David and I are out of town this weekend because Tuesday was my 33rd birthday.  Before I left, I wanted to share the goodness of my week with you.

Birthday flowers...
List Randomizer

There were 6 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Lindaloo
2. samberg
3. Elisa
4. PearlSugar
5. Ines
6. KathyT

Timestamp: 2011-03-11 06:07:38 UTC

WINNER OF THE  Atelier Cologne Vanilla Incenseé 5ml decant
There were 6 items in your list. Here they are in random order: brother sent them from Iraq!

 1. KathyT
 2. Elisa
 3. Cymbaline
 4. Belle1205
 5. Sue
 6. Ines
 Timestamp: 2011-03-11 06:06:56 UTC

Congrats to Lindaloo and KathyT!  Please send your mailing addresses to me at so I can get your packages out to you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Monthly Spin: Broken Bells - Broken Bells

The Monthly Spin is a newly recurring feature on Feminine Things wherein I talked about an album I'm loving and the perfumes I think go with it.

This eponoymous album,a first effort from James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse), was released in 2010.  It's been getting a little bit of radio play here in Portlandia, and I am loving it.  It manages to combine angsty dude with guitar and pulsing dreamy dance beats.  While the singles ("The High Road," "The Ghost Inside") are worthy of a spin, the great thing about this album is that it flows as an album.

So frequently these days albums are just a collection of singles, each produced and even written by someone different.  They don't even attempt to tell any kind of unified story, to capture an idea or feeling, instead focusing on cramming the highest number of radio playable sound bites onto an 'album' as possible. It's one of the reasons I tend toward indie bands.  So many of them are small enough that I can see them in an intimate venue for less than $20 where they play amazing songs that are about something more than playability, charting, and making money.

Broken Bells tells a story.  Okay, it's an emo story, sure, but still, at least there's a thematic feel to the effort.  And hey, sad bastard music you can dance a little to?  That's solid gold here in Puddletown.

Recommended if you like: The Shins, Zero 7, Sneaker Pimps

While spinning, wear: Ava Luxe Wild Blackberry Musk (available again!); Tauer Perfumes Orange Star;  Jo Malone Sweet Lime and Cedar

Saturday, March 5, 2011

If you want another kind of love, I'll wear a mask for you.

Monday, 2/28/11 - Friday, 3/4/11

14 kinds of chow-dah!
Last weekend I went to the 5th Annual New England Chowder Challenge at Fifth Quadrant.  My friend Kate, one of the two Yankee transplants in my life, came along.  Together we both blind picked the winning candidate of fourteen entrants an listen to some very good live music.  Of all the gifts this perfume obsession has given me, a more discerning palette is one of the best.

Monday: Miller et Bertraux Shanti Shanti - Starts off with a big burst of rose it turns and becomes gentle and creamy. It is a snuggly kind of rose, one you want to curl up with an sniff on a dark and stormy afternoon under a blanket by a fire with a good book. I agree with other reviewers who referred to it as "calming." Some people get spicy with this one apparently, but I didn't. On me it's a gentle rose, not overly aggressive, like fuzzy bunny slippers. Unfortunately, I prefer my roses on the 6 inch spike kitten heels or wrapped in miles of velour variety so I can't imagine I'd wear it very often. But if you like your roses on the not too strong side, and you'd prefer to skip the skany rose trend afoot of late, this might be a nice one for you. I'd like to say its more than just good, but the rose field is a crowded one, which makes it difficult to stand out. These days it feels like if you aren't Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chypree or DSH Perumes Beach Roses, I've kind of smelled you before. 3 of 5 nods.

TuesdayWeil Zibeline - A floral aldehyde from 1928, I have is a vintage sample from the 1940s-50. Zibeline, or "sable," is part of a line inspired by and meant to be worn with fur. To learn more about the history of the scent and the line, I recommend this great piece from The Scented Salamander. I can see the 'fur' homage here.  The opening reminds me of something -- Chanel No. 5, but less floral, or Guerlain Mitsouko, but without so much peach.  It's lovely and sweet and warm like a fuzzy sweater.Very nice, and probably worth getting your hands on if you're into warmly sweet floral aldehydes.  4 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: Tauer Perfumes Incense Rosé - Okay, here's a tip. Never sample a Tauer perfume in a non-scent friendly environment. The sillage will blow you right down, and piss off the scent haters around you. Personally, I think the big sillage is one of the things that make Tauer Perfumes so consistently beautiful. The incense portion is similar to Une rose chyprée (the scent so nice I reviewed it twice), but the opening has a citrus rose opening I really enjoy, and that aspect, though receding, is still an ongoing part of the scent.  Love it, just like basically everything else I've tried from Tauer Perfumes. Someday I'll have a bottle of each.  5 of 5 nods.

Leonard Cohen, live Dec. 2010
ThursdayJean Desprez Bala Versailles parfum - Fizzy like a soda pop kind of like a scent Dr. Pepper at first, it becomes rough, animalic, and almost rubbery.  And yet, still vaguely sweet like cocoa powder is sweet.  In other words, awwwwesome.  So incredibly sexy! I admit that if you're not into perfume, this one is going to be a challenge for you, but it's really worth it. Would work for either a man or a woman, and be hot either way. If there were a scent version of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man," this is probably it. 5 of 5 nods.

Friday:  L'Artisan Mure et Musc Extreme - Remember when I reviewed L'Artisan Mure et Musc over two years ago and found it to nice to like?  Well I decided to break down and try the extreme version.  I wouldn't describe it as too nice.  The open as a medicinal green kick, it's not overly sweet or fruity, but instead hot and sticky, like berries too long in the sun, bodies pressed and rolling among the brambles, too lost in love and lust and rebellion to notice the scraping thorns.  Beautiful and lush and lusty, this is the Mure et Musc I could have worn as a teen.  If you think Ava Luxe Wild Blackberry Musk is too fruity sweet, try this. 4 of 5 nods.

Winner of the Week:  In a week of amazing scent, I'm giving it to Jean Desprez Bala Versailles for its singular filthiness!

"I've been runnin' through these promises to you
that I made and I could not keep.
Ah, but a man never got a woman back
not by beggin' on his knees,
or I'd crawl to you baby and I'd fall at your feet
and I'd howl at your beauty like a dog in heat
and I'd claw at your heart and I'd tear at your sheet.
I'd say please.
I'm your man."
~ "I'm Your Man," Leonard Cohen

Friday, March 4, 2011

That's how the light gets in: review and drawing!

Scent Spotlight: Atelier Cologne Vanilla Incenseé

Dear reader, let's try a thought experiment. Close your eyes and concentrate on the hottest day you can remember experiencing last year. Think of the way the sum baked the skin, the vinyl seats of the car stuck to the backs of your legs, how the wind was stagnant and the air heavy with heat to the point that the whole world -- animal, vegetable, and mineral -- seemed to bow under the burden of it.

Now try to imagine a vanilla scent that would work under those conditions.

I will straight up tell you that until today I would said I'd never found one. Maybe, maybe, my beloved and now woefully defunct L'Artisan Vanilia might have been able to tackle the task.FN1 But, and I say this is a woman who rarely meets a vanilla I find mediocre, much less unlikeable, that's hot weather is not typically the vanilla arena. The rich sugary deliciousness I imagine is a cozy smell, a warm smell meant to hold back the cold. It is a kitchen filled with baking love or a snuggle in a blanket. It is not meant to feel light, cool, and refreshing in withering heat. For that, even Vanilia probably would have been just a touch too much on the assertive side.

But thanks to Atelier Cologne Vanille Incenseé, I now have a vanilla for the hot days of summer! 
Atelier Cologne introduces Vanille Incenseé with the following romantic lead in:
“He wove through the crowd when suddenly his heart quickened. That scent. It was hers. He had worn it first until she stole it for herself. Now, there she was before him and the magic of years past came flooding back in a moment.”
Vanille Insensée, an electrical current runs through the subtle sweetness of vanilla, jasmine and fresh lime to bond with rich oak moss, woods and spicy 
Top notes: lime, cedrat. coriander
Heart notes: jasmine, vetiver and oak moss
Base notes: vanilla from Madagascar, oak wood and amber
I am so in love with this scent!  What is most surprising to me is how fresh and unique it feels. Light, clean, present without being smothering, it seems like the perfect antedote to the malaise that hits mid-summer when you tire of smelling like green tea and beach florals. FN2. FN3.  And while the sillage in moderate, the staying powder is terrific.  I sprayed maybe 3 sprays on this morning before 8am and it's fourteen hours later and I'm still getting light hits of it.  Normally anything that lasts this long packs such a wallop, scent-wise, but this is light.  

And when I say light, I don't mean wispy like a cloud or thin like fine lace or soft as angel's wings.  I mean light the way glass and space can open up a building, allowing movement and air and vitality to stream in. Light in the way that your spirit can be light.  And yet, the scent is still powerful and strong.  Because it isn't overly foodie or cozy but brings a light freshness to the scene, it is the rare vanilla I think would work beautifully on a man.

There are areas within the realm of scent that are a crowded field. When it comes to these themes (vanilla is one; rose is another), it can be difficult to create something that catches a sniffa's nose, head turning to follow. Though no one means to, it can be hard not to get a little jaded, in a "been there, sniffed that" kind of way.  I applaud Atelier for doing such an interesting interpretation on vanilla. 

You can purchase 30ml for $60 or 200ml for $170 of Vanille Incenseé  from Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, LuckyScent, or direct from the perfumer.  While I highly recommend you do, I'd also like to add that, thanks to the generosity of the perfumer, I'm giving a 5ml decant to one of you lucky readers! FN4.  

Post by 11:50 PM PST March 8 if you want to enter, and tell me your favorite vanilla.

"Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

~ "Anthem," Leonard Cohen

Want more?  Try...
~ a review from Kevin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
FN1 Which I would *still* straight roll a body to get a bottle of.
FN2 I like smothering vanillas, so I don't mean that as a bad thing.
FN3 Again, no disrespect. I've got at least three bottles of different "perfect for the beach in summer" scents. Love'em all.
FN4 Scent provided to Feminine Things by Atelier Cologne for review.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recommended Viewing: Vag Magazine

Dear feminist reader types:


 It's so funny. If you've ever spent even fifteen minutes with a group of feminists, you will recognize some of this behavior -- and you will almost pee your pants with laughter!

There are six episodes, but you should start with the first episode, above.

Thanks to feminist librarian for the recommendation!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Don't miss your chance to enter the monthly drawing!

Don't miss out on your chance to enter into our monthly perfume mix CD drawing. Just leave me a little comment over here to enter.

Mix title: This Gun Don't Care Who It Shoots.
Three or four samples of my choice plus a mix CD of the variety given by significant others in high school, complete with handmade cover art by moi.

Comment  here by 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard time, Saturday March 5, 2011 to enter.