Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Unwanted Perfume Reviews

Blue Flame: Iris Poudre

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

…by Pierre Bourdon, creator of Davidoff Cool Water among other things

Top notes: aldehydes, rose, violet, ylang-ylang

Middle note: iris (orris)

Base notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, musk

This is the “bluest” scent I’ve ever smelled. It makes me think of the blue of a gas flame.

The scent of iris is actually derived from the roots (called orris), not the flower, and has a powdery, chalky, rooty quality. Iris Poudre means “Powdery Iris,” and this perfume emphasizes the more powdery, refined quality of iris, rather than its earthiness. (For emphasis on the earthy, vegetal quality, check out Iris Silver Mist, which I’ve reviewed previously, but I can’t get the link to work. For something less sinister than ISM, try Bois d’Iris by The Different Company.)

Iris Poudre is just beautiful. A bit powdery, but not smotheringly dusty, a bit floral, but not overwhelming, and blue, blue, blue. Quintessentially cool and sophisticated. The drydown warms up a bit as the wood and musk come out, but it never gets exactly cuddly.

Rating: 5 out of 5

So how does it stack up for me personally?

Personality–Well, non-cuddly is kind of a defining characteristic for me, so it works.

Comfort level–There’s a minor problem here. Iris Poudre is an aldehydic floral, like Chanel No. 5 or Chanel No. 22. Aldehydes are synthetics that give “lift” to a fragrance, rather like carbonation to a beverage. I’m not opposed to them on principle, but a little goes a long way. Iris Poudre has just a touch too much to suit me first thing in the morning.

Preferences: It is gorgeous in its blueness, but…

Final Verdict: I am not the rightful wearer of Iris Poudre.

By the way, Rom is watching “Forged in Fire” on TV, watching people make knives, while I review perfume. It’s a gender-role festival!

 

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Lilac Fanatic: En Passant

white petaled flowers

Photo by Lubov Tandit on Pexels.com

…by Olivia Giacobetti

Notes: white lilac, orange tree leaf, cucumber, wheat, white musk, cedar

I am not a lilac fanatic (although I do enjoy them), but if you are, you need to try this. It’s another “rainy” scent, and it’s like spring fever in a bottle.

Olivia Giacobetti is known for hazy, delicate scents (she did  Hiris and Passage d’Enfer , which I’ve reviewed previously), and this is a classic example. But it has a clean, wet-pavement sort of feel that makes it more “modern” (I hesitate to use that word, because what seems modern one year seems quaint and dated the next) than the description “lilac perfume” would seem to indicate. It’s supposed to evoke a lilac bush next to a bakery (the name means “Passing By” or “In Passing”), and I find the wheat note very apparent. Of course, being married to a baker might help in that regard.

There isn’t much more to say about it, it would seem. It’s a simple scent, but is so much greater than the sum of its parts. It is SPRING, with all the hopeful yearning that evokes. It’s nostalgic, without being old-fashioned. It’s a great fragrance.

Rating: 5 out of 5

But as it relates to me personally…

Personality: It’s not really me. Too pastel. It’s like a watercolor I’d admire in a gallery, but would feel no desire to buy.

Comfort level: This is my major problem with it. Something about it makes me queasy, even though I love the scent. I often have that reaction with aquatic or grain notes, and both are present here. So I feel a bit smothered after awhile.

Preferences: Like I said, great smell. But something I’d only want to sniff occasionally, preferably on other people.

Verdict: I am not the rightful wearer of En Passant.

 

Drinking Gin in the Rain: Angeliques sous la Pluie

road landscape nature forest

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

…by Jean-Claude Ellena

Top notes: angelica, bergamot, pink pepper, juniper

Base notes: cedar, musk

Jean-Claude Ellena specializes in scents that are simple and light, usually inspired by nature. When I first smelled this one, I thought, “Gin and tonic, followed by buttered toast.” But several years later, with my Mad Men-style upbringing fading in the rear-view mirror (especially since I’ve never actually had a gin and tonic–that was more my parents’ generation), this perfume is growing on me. I’ve never smelled angelica herb, but I’m familiar with juniper, and “Angelica in the Rain” is the smell of juniper in the rain, bottled. It’s amazing how this captures the smell of rain–it actually smells “wet,” fresh and cool, with a bit of wet pavement added. Like the juniper bushes in my yard, growing next to the street.

The drydown is warmer, less wet, but still green, and woody with cedar. However, the whole show is over very quickly. The scent is very light and does not last long, but is so evocative while it lasts. Only a faint trace of woodsiness remains, like a memory.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Now for our Three Criteria:

–Does this suit my personality? Very much. It’s a “blue-gray” sort of scent, and probably the most spare and austere I’ve ever smelled.

–Comfort level–This is too light to cause any sensory overload. I’d have no problem spraying it on first thing in the morning, in fact, it would probably improve my mood. OR WHEN I HAVE TO GO TO THE DENTIST TOMORROW AFTERNOON, IN THE FROZEN COLD, BECAUSE A CROWN FELL OFF MY TOOTH LAST NIGHT. For the record, that will bother me less than getting up early in the morning, for any reason, would.

–Does it suit my preferences? Well, it’s taught me to appreciate the smell of juniper, but honestly, I would prefer my rain to fall on roses. (Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens actually are a few of my favorite things.) So this one  might rate more as Something I Think I Should Wear.

FINAL VERDICT: I don’t think I’m the rightful wearer of Angeliques sous la Pluie, but, like I said, it is growing on me.

Jasmine, Plum and Dr. Pepper: Le Parfum de Therese

clear glass mason jar with red jelly

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I was drawn to Frederic Malle’s line, Editions de Parfums, as soon as I heard of it. Of course, there’s the connection with literature–he calls the perfumers “authors,” and actually puts each one’s name on the bottle of the fragrance he or she created. I even love the black labels with red trim, inspired by the book bindings of a publishing house. Plus, Malle’s fragrances seem designed for a “signature scent” sensibility, rather than the “I need a tuberose to round out my collection” approach that seems to dominate today. I am a would-be scent monogamist, and when the Malle website says that a great fragrance has its “character, its colors, its rightful wearer,” it makes me want to discover which one I am the rightful wearer of. Kind of like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. In fact, the Frederic Malle folks have their own service in which you answer a questionnaire and they recommend scents for you. I will tell you which they recommended for me when we get there.

Malle himself offered pointers in Elle magazine (May 2017), which I will use as a checklist here. The right fragrance should:

  1. Suit your personality. This is not as simple as it sounds, as I have loved some scents which were emphatically not “me,” and ended up feeling as if I were wearing someone else’s clothes.
  2. Feel comfortable to wear. Many scents give me sensory overload when they’ve been on my skin for awhile–even fragrances I love. I plan to adopt a zero-tolerance policy here–even a moment of slight discomfort will disqualify a fragrance. My criterion: If I had to get up early (something I have loathed all my life) and go somewhere, would I be reluctant to spray this perfume on in my frazzled and crabby condition?
  3. And, of course, smell good to you. Again, seems like a no-brainer, but I tend to overthink things and go for something that I think I should like. This is how I ended up wearing Poison for most of the 80’s.

Which brings us, by way of plums, to our first scent to consider, Le Parfum de Therese (perfumer: Edmond Roudnitska).

Top notes: melon, mandarin, cucumber

Middle notes: plum, rose, jasmine

Base notes: vetiver, patchouli

Edmond Roudnitska created this fragrance for his wife, Therese, in 1961. It was not released to the public at the time, because no one was really doing fruit notes back then.

I should love this stuff. I like the idea of a fruity scent that is nevertheless sophisticated, a “dark” fruity fragrance if you will, like my beloved Mitsouko. Unfortunately, the opening of Therese gets under my skin, as well as on it. I blame jasmine–never a favorite of mine, and plum, which is the main note (the perfume was actually called Prune as a working title). I have occasionally enjoyed some of the sweeter varieties of plum, but basically I find this fruit too spicy. The plum note also unfortunately reminds me of Dr. Pepper, which makes the drydown smell a bit silly to me–especially since I don’t really get rose or patchouli from this.

So, according to our three criteria, my final assessment is:

  1. Does this suit my personality? Well, it doesn’t not suit it. I’m going to be liberal  in my interpretations here, unlike when it comes to–
  2. Comfort: Zero tolerance, remember. I do find the opening a bit irritating. If I were to spray this on at 7 in the morning, I’d want to hold my breath for the first few minutes.
  3. Does this suit my scent preferences? After the first few minutes, I like it, but I don’t love it.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5

Final verdict: I am not the rightful wearer of Le Parfum de Therese.

 

 

Raw Material

cash dollars hands money

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I’ve been suffering from a dearth of material since I retired, but I realized I have, at the moment, two past events and two future events to recount, PLUS a segue between the two categories, so here goes–counterfeit money + a 90th birthday party + physical therapy + perfume review introduction (you thought I’d forgotten about those, didn’t you?).

ADVENTURES IN COUNTERFEITING

I found a $20 bill on the floor at the Dollar General. If I’d seen someone drop it, I’d have returned it to them, but no one was around, so I snagged it.

It was crumply and had weird markings on it, but no more so than some other bills I’ve had. But I presented it at McDonald’s, and they knew it was wrong right away. “We’ll have to keep this, if you don’t mind,” the employee told me, but of course they’d have kept it whether I minded or not. Easy come, easy go, I said, and explained how I’d gotten hold of it. I also explained this to the nice officer who came to pick it up.

I tell this story belatedly because Nick, who was the first person I told it to after Rom, felt compelled to post it on Facebook.

Perhaps this is what my fortune cookie meant when it said I’d inherit some money this year, but I didn’t exactly inherit it, unless someone had fallen down dead in the dollar store and dropped it. I am also picturing the conversation if I had seen it fall out of someone’s hand–“Excuse me, you dropped this,” “No, never mind, it’s fake anyway.”

SOCIAL PAGE

I attended my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday party yesterday. An impressive number of people braved the cold and snow to be there. (In the interests of accuracy, I must note that she will not actually turn 90 until Wednesday.) It is the job of Trexa and myself at these gatherings to sit in the corner and mutter about how loud everyone else is. I am betting this was the loudest 90th birthday party I’ll ever attend, and possibly the loudest anyone will ever attend. Unfortunately, the corner we were sitting in was right in front of the card/gift table, and people kept handing me things and asking me to put them on the table behind me. However, I’ve developed a condition called “frozen shoulder,” and I can’t really reach behind me. So I’d hand the items to Trexa, and she’d put them on the table. Yes, it takes two people to put a birthday card in a basket.

Now this is where the segue comes in. You might remember my dislocated finger 2 years ago, and the 5 months of therapy that followed. Well, I start physical therapy for this shoulder tomorrow, and it should be good for a few weeks of whining at least.

Also coming up at some point–reviews of the entire Frederic Malle perfume line. They will be widely interspersed, though, so you can gather your strength between reviews.

 

 

Easter Eve: L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer

(Note: The below is an excerpt of my review of this fragrance on makeupalley, and no, I don’t know how I got the photo in that awkward location, and all my attempts to fix it only make it worse.)

I joined MUA to find my signature scent–a concept I’ve always loved, even though one hears the term “fragrance wardrobe” more often these days. I also asked my husband for input, since I really had no idea where to start. He said, “You should smell like cool, misty dusk or dawn in an interesting place.” I referred this poetic description to the MUA fragrance board, and they recommended notes like sandalwood and incense. DH then elaborated on his suggestion, saying my perfume should evoke “a chapel that smells at the same time like the fresh wood when it was newly built, and like the incense that’s been burned there for years–that chapel at dawn.” He actually got a little choked up, describing this fragrance for me. Two of the specific fragrances the board recommended were woodsy/incense scents–Tam Dao and Passage d’Enfer. Tam Dao is more Asian temple incense. Passage d’Enfer is churchy, so that’s what I ordered a bottle of, all the while thinking, “They can’t get everything he said into a bottle.” Well, that’s exactly what they did, plus a “bonus” gray-stone note which completes the mood perfectly. The wood note is light and bright, as is the lily. The incense is also airy, and only a little smoky–as if the incense is not burning now, but has been recently. The tawny feline sweetness of benzoin becomes more noticeable in the drydown, as it mingles with the musk. I liked this fragrance immediately, but it took me awhile to fully appreciate and love it. It’s comfortable in any weather, appropriate for any occasion. But it’s not merely wearable. It’s also lovely, elegant, and distinctive. It’s composed of contrasts, marvelously resolved–rich yet light, smoky yet fresh, or, to quote my husband yet again, “intoxicating yet austere. It makes me want to bite you.”

I wrote that in 2004. So why is my signature-scent question still not settled? (A question all the more pressing, considering I first started looking when I was 14.) Two reasons:
     1. Do I like PdE better than the perfume of my dreams, Mitsouko?, and
     2. Shouldn’t I really be wearing a rose scent?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gray concrete column inside vintage building

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

A Poem Lovely As a Tree: Diptyque Tam Dao

brown close up hd wallpaper surface

Photo by FWStudio on Pexels.com

Choosing a photo for this review was easy for this perfume, which is all about wood. Choosing a title, however, was not, because, unlike several of the scents we dealt with previously, Tam Dao does not evoke a scene or mood for me. All it does is smell great.

We are now at the other end of the spectrum, as it were, of scents which were recommended to me as a result of Rom’s suggestion of something cool, misty, and dusky. We started with blue florals–violet and iris, went through more complex blends, such as the two Guerlains, and are now back at simpler scents, but focused on woods and resins this time.

Tam Dao, created in 2003, is basically about sandalwood. The opening is raw and rough, almost splintery–probably the cypress that’s listed as a note. There’s almost a rosy tinge to it, too. I don’t know how rosewood smells, but I can imagine it smelling like this. The fragrance quickly settles down to a beautiful creamy sandalwood, smooth and soothing. There isn’t much more I can say about it, but nothing more needs to be said.

YOU DON’T GET ALTERNATIVE-TO-PERFUME CONTENT TONIGHT BECAUSE I WANT TO GO WATCH THE SIMPSONS WHILE ROM MAKES DINNER. LIFE IS HARD.

Oh, and vote for me, even though I’m deserting you.

 

A Distant Ship: Jean Patou Normandie

woman in body of water

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Normandie was created in 1935, and named after the luxury ocean liner. All first-class passengers on its maiden voyage received a sample of this perfume.

It was recommended to me as a powdery amber, and that, plus spicy carnation, is pretty much it to my nose. That plus–THE PAST. Like Le Dix, which I reviewed previously, Normandie smells dated to me. It’s a time machine in a bottle,  going back to a time before my own. Why this smells too old-fashioned to me, and L’Heure Bleue, which also has powder, spice, carnation, and a sweet drydown, does not, is a mystery.

Like Niki de Saint Phalle, Normandie is no longer in production, but can still be found on Ebay, in its art-deco-patterned box.

AND A P.S. TO THE PREVIOUS POST

Fiber-supplement experimentation–Congratulations, Metamucil! WAY to find an orange dye which withstands the digestive process!

The Hissing of Summer Lawns: Niki de Saint Phalle

nature animal green lizard

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When Niki de Saint Phalle perfume was recommended to me as one of my dusky scents, I was eager to try it. How could I not be? The bottle is blue glass (favorite color!) with colorful snakes on it, and I have a cobra tattoo on my arm! Plus, it was released in 1987, the year Rom and I got married! How could I not love it? As it turns out, I didn’t, but it is an interesting scent, and definitely unique.

Niki de Saint Phalle was an artist and sculptor, and designed the snake-trimmed bottle for her fragrance. The scent is a combination of many unusual notes–pine, grapefruit, marigold, geranium–and thus smells hissingly green and spiky. It’s a bit too acerbic for my taste, even though I love green scents. But what fascinates me is the picture it evokes–that of a garden in late summer, when the only flowers still blooming in the blazing sun are, you guessed it, marigolds and geraniums. Dry, hot, and pungent. It would be the perfect scent if you love the scent of marigolds. But I don’t.

(Correction: It turns out that NdSP was created in 1982. 1987 is when I first heard of it.)

PART II, NO SEGUE ATTEMPTED

My current least-favorite commercials:

–“My hiney’s clean! I’m Charmin’ clean!” Yeah, it’s OK to show something’s butt if it’s a cartoon. If we learned nothing else from South Park…

–and the mouthwash commercial that shows a bunch of people’s gross mouths and the problems they have–Dry mouth! Garlic mouth! Cotton mouth! Stop showing me this! It’s not even a cartoon! Come to think of it, we did go from end to end here.

Speaking of which, now that “Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!” has been done in country and soul formats, we need a rock version.

‘WHOA, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE, WHOA-OH, GIBBON AND ECLAIR!’

Yes, the quotation marks above are incorrect. This will come out in hearings after I am President.

You know you’re sitting near a nerd when you hear the sentence, “They just rebooted their entire mythos.”

Speaking of nerds, a nerd on the bus solved a thorny theological problem–“God could have created evolution!” I’ve been saying this for years. Well, not on the bus.

Mmmm…Mitsouko by Guerlain

clouds countryside dawn dusk

Photo by Tim Savage on Pexels.com

Mitsouko haunts me. This is the only perfume that brought tears to my eyes the first time I smelled it, and the only one I wear in my dreams. (I dream about shopping for others, but if I apply perfume in a dream, it’s always Mitsouko.)

Part of its spell for me is obvious–its basic building blocks of peach, rose, and oakmoss are my favorite notes. But Mitsy is so much more than the sum of its parts, and in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s like faith–if you understand it, no explanation is necessary, and if you don’t, no explanation is possible. It was created in 1919, and thus qualifies as unfashionable now, yet it transcends fashion. It smells like peaches, roses, and forest floor, but liking all those smells doesn’t guarantee you’ll like it. It smells intensely autumnal, but is glorious on a summer day (especially in the dampness which is such a hallmark of the climate here). It’s an introverted scent with its dusky woodsiness, yet it’s dramatic. Maybe melodramatic. Introverted yet intense.

It’s not a crowd-pleaser in this “Eww, someone’s wearing perfume” era. But it’s a masterpiece nevertheless, and ever the more.

IN NON-OLFACTORY-WORK-OF-ART-RELATED NEWS…

On pumpkin-pie box at McDonald’s–“Packed with all the flavor it could possibly hold.” Well, isn’t that true of everything? Apparently not, since one of their meal combos was described as “Just the right amount of yum.” Because yum isn’t something you want too much of.

I am in postage-stamp heaven. Currently available are–not only rose stamps but DRAGON stamps! (“Who uses stamps anymore?” Nick yawns, but he is just out-of-sorts because his picture is not on any of them. Also because I haven’t made him my running mate yet.)

HOW TO PROTECT THEM FROM THEMSELVES?

Cat Esmerelda fell off the top of the door, leaving claw marks on the way down.

Cat Glamour will eat any bits of kitty litter scattered on the floor.

This seems to me emblematic of our current political situation.

VOTE FOR ME. I’M THE OUTSIDER AND I WILL MAKE ALL THESE POLITICAL ADS STOP.

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