Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: perfume

In the Weeds: Vetiver Extraordinaire

{It should come as no surprise that I don’t know how the photo ended up at the bottom of this post instead of the top, and that I don’t know how to move it back, or if that’s even possible.}

…by Dominique Ropion

Top notes: bergamot, bitter orange, pink pepper

Middle notes: vetiver, cedar, sandalwood

Base notes: oakmoss, musk

For the first time, I’m dealing with a fragrance that’s primarily marketed to men. So I won’t be judging it according to my usual will-it-work-for-me criteria, but I will include Rom’s opinion.

Vetiver (derived from the roots of a grass found in, for example, Haiti) is a love-or-hate note for me. Some of my favorite fragrances (Mitsouko by Guerlain, Sycomore by Chanel, Vetiver Tonka by Hermes) contain a bunch of it. It lends a smoky dryness to a scent that I find very appealing. However, it also has a “nutty,” almost meaty aspect that I can find bothersome, and that is the case here.

The notes list would indicate that vetiver is just one of many components here, but trust the name of the fragrance instead. This is all about the vetiver, and the other notes are just accents to make it even more Vetiver.

For that reason, it’s taken me a long time to get around to reviewing it. Not because it’s complex, but because–it’s vetiver. What else is there to say? If you already know what vetiver smells like, you’ll already know what this smells like. If you don’t know what it smells like, but want to find out, try this and you’ll know.

ROM’S IMPRESSION

“At first there’s something harsh, almost like detergent. And something that tickles my nose–maybe the pink pepper. But after that, there’s something stony, kind of mineral, that I really like. It smells like something a wealthy middle-aged man would wear. But for evening, not for the office.”

 

green tree photo

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Oranges: Bigarade, Cologne & Concentree

mandarin fruit

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

…by Jean-Claude Ellena, whom we’ve already met in connection with Angeliques sous la Pluie.

Top notes: bitter orange (that’s what “bigarade” means), cardamom, pink pepper

Base notes: hay, cedar

I’m not burningly interested in citrus scents. I don’t dislike them; they just bore me. However, I was surprised by my enthusiasm for this one.

That being said, there still isn’t a lot to say about it. If you like oranges, you’ll like it; if not, not. The main note is mouthwatering, juicy orange, accented by greenness and a bit of wood, like the leaves and twigs of the orange tree. (Not its flower, fortunately, since I am a long-time hater of orange blossom.) I found it surprisingly lovely–for some reason, “lovely” is the exact word that came to mind when I smelled it.

This is, technically, two different scents–Cologne Bigarade and Bigarade Concentree–but it’s a difference of intensity more than anything. When the line put together gift samplers of their scents for Christmas awhile back, they put Cologne B. in the women’s sampler, and B. Concentree in the men’s, which seems about right, since the more concentrated version smells a bit earthier, and the lighter one more delicate.

Since these reviews are All About Me…

–Personality: Not really me. It is, after all, orange, and therefore irrepressibly cheerful and sunny, even though the green/wood notes provide a bit of shade.

–Comfort level: No problem. Even the Concentree is basically a light scent, just not as light as the Cologne.

–Preferences: Like I said, lovely, and I was surprised by how much I like it, but basically, I don’t want to smell like oranges.

Rating: 5 out of 5, nevertheless.

 

Retro Decadence: Une Fleur de Cassie

women s purple and yellow lips with yellow liquid

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

…by Dominique Ropion (creator of Ysatis, Amarige, and Alien, among others)

Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, rose

Middle notes: mimosa, cassie (another type of mimosa)

Base notes: sandalwood, vanilla

One thing I’ve learned in my sampling is that perfumes that smell weird to other people don’t smell weird to me. Maybe this means I’m weird. At any rate, Une Fleur de Cassie has been described by others as smelling like wet cardboard at best, and at worst like things I won’t mention here, except that they involve babies or the circus. Use your imagination.

Using my imagination is proving difficult for me, though, because I find Cassie a bit hard to describe. It’s centered around mimosa, a note I usually find too prim yet perky for my taste. But Cassie is neither of those things. It is lush and honeyed. This is another of those deliberately-retro scents, like a woman who only wears vintage clothing–that woman on a sultry summer night.

While racking my brain trying to think of a comparison for it (because you have to think of something while you’re walking to the bus stop), it occurred to me: There used to be (maybe still is) a line of erotic oils, unguents, etc. called Kama Sutra. They had a product I was fond of called Honey Dust. This was honey-scented (and flavored, for that matter) powder. So it smelled like honey and powder, in a hippy-dippy sort of way. And Une Fleur de Cassie is like that hippie honey powder–if a time warp brought it back to the Roaring Twenties. Got that?

Personality: I’d like to think I’m the sort to lounge about with kohl-rimmed eyes, but kohl is wasted behind glasses.

Comfort level: Like with Iris Poudre, there are aldehydes in the opening. It doesn’t always bother me, but it sometimes does, and we’re going zero-tolerance here, so I must regretfully reject it.

Preferences: Love it, but with reservations.

Rating: 5 out of 5

But I am not the rightful wearer of Une Fleur de Cassie.

 

It’s National Fragrance Day!

beautiful bloom blossom bud

Photo by YUSUF Yulipurnawan on Pexels.com

Yeah, I know no one else cares. Anyway, I dreamed I made Mitsouko my signature scent.

COSMO ASTROLOGY 1987

…is full of perils. Even though it was the year I married Rom. So here’s

Taurus with Taurus: “You’re the most wildly stubborn sign in the entire zodiac, and so is he–which makes for titanic clashes. Neither of you is capable of giving an inch, and life is soon reduced to a series of battles about what to eat, which movie to see, where to vacation. ..even sensational sex can’t make up for so many downs.” Actually, we are agreed about where to vacation–at home. Travel bad.  Speaking of which, my email contains, “ENTER THE AARP TRAVEL SWEEPSTAKES!” No, please no!

Oh no, I spilled Redd’s on my velvet pen case! What will I do? IT’S NATIONAL FRAGRANCE DAY, OF COURSE I AM CELEBRATING!

Home decorating for Capricorn: “Have the place painted in a subdued pastel hue. Furniture is covered or accented in the same subtle shade, for a look that’s breathtakingly coordinated.” It’s so breathtaking when you can’t find the chair, because it’s the same color as the walls.

Romantic Rendezvous for Pisces: “In a rowboat on an isolated lake.” Yeah, I can’t see that leading to drowning or anything.

IN OTHER NEWS

You know a guy in a suit at Taco John’s is going to be annoying. “I need Potato Oles, and make sure they’re hot and fresh.” Dude, take your chances like the rest of us peasants.

Seriously, the state of my velvet pen case is troubling me.

What is also troubling me is that the state of Indiana has not sent my tax forms yet, because they’re hoping I’ll panic and file online anyway. Why am I not filing online? A.) I don’t have my printer hooked up, because I fear it, and B.) I resist any attempt to make me do something. Yes, I will  panic and file online anyway if the forms don’t come. Next question?

VOTE FOR ME, I’M THE OUTSIDER, AND I WILL NEVER MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING ONLINE WITH THE SPURIOUS ARGUMENTS OF “THAT’S HOW WE DO IT NOW” AND “YOU’RE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY.”

 

 

 

Unafraid of the Dark: Noir Epices

healthy holiday dry eating

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

…by Michel Roudnitska, son of Edmond who did Le Parfum de Therese

Top notes: orange, geranium

Middle notes: clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper

Base: sandalwood, patchouli

Now THIS is “introverted but intense”!

If you’d told me I’d fall in love with a fragrance called “Black Spices,” I’d have said you were insane. I tried it, well, because it’s there. Also, the Malle website has a little abstract art for each scent, with the colors that represent it, and this one was the picture I liked best–black with bands of brilliant blue.

Noir Epices is simple, stern, and austere. First a “rind” of orange, tinged with geranium (kind of spicy in its own right, though not as much as the scent of carnation, which I hate), then a layer of the namesake spices–very dry, not sweet like the spices in Musc Ravageur. These two stages last only moments, though, before the fragrance settles into sandalwood, sweet in the way that wood can be sweet, and very smooth. The whole reminds me of a high-class version of Old Spice. Noir Epices is unisex, while Old Spice is marketed to men, but it was originally a women’s fragrance, called American Old Spice.

Surprisingly, as a long-time spice hater, I love this fragrance. Maybe it’s because the spices don’t last long enough to annoy me, and that smooth wood scent is gorgeous. It’s not comforting like Musc Ravageur is, but it makes me feel good anyway.

On to our criteria:

Personality–Oh, yes.

Comfort level–No problem.

Preferences–Again, surprised by the spices, but no problem again.

Verdict: I might be the rightful wearer of Noir Epices, but I still have a lot of ground to cover. Let’s call it a runner-up at this point.

 

Weighted Blanket: Musc Ravageur

closeup photo of silver tabby cat on red textile

Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

…by Maurice Roucel

Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, lavender

Middle notes: cinnamon, vanilla, amber

Base notes: sandalwood, musk

This is The One, at least according to my adviser at Frederic Malle responding to my questionnaire. He did recommend a couple others to address specific concerns, but this is the one he recommended in response to my personality and style answers–the core of the argument, as it were.

I was a bit bemused by this, as Musc Ravageur is not one I would have thought likely for the honor–although I didn’t think I’d dislike it, either. Musk and woods,  with vanilla and sweet spices. And no flowers. It sounds like the scent equivalent of those weighted blankets they recommend to soothe anxiety–which seems so counter-intuitive that I feel a bit anxious just thinking about it. (I used to hate when my mother would tightly tuck me into bed, as if to keep me from falling out. I’d ruck the covers loose as soon as she left the room.)

But considering my specific answers to the questionnaire, I think I can see where he got the idea. I said I wanted my scent to be “introverted but intense.” Well, I don’t know how “Ravageur” I am–very cool name, though!–but this perfume does suit someone who sorts the laundry every week and ends up with a pile of dark clothes twice as big as the light-colored ones. Also, I said I usually wear “soft knits with dramatic jewelry,” and this is certainly Soft Knits with Dramatic Jewelry in a bottle.

The touch of brilliant citrus at the top leads quickly into the deep darkness of the other notes. I often find cinnamon problematic, in perfume as in food, but I like its use here; it keeps all those dark opaque notes from smelling flat. The fragrance gets increasingly vanillic as it wears, but the vanilla, though creamy, is also smudgy with musk and woods, so that this unisex scent is not too sweet for a man.

Opinions seem evenly divided on just how “Ravageur” this stuff is. I fall in the middle here. I wouldn’t recommend it if “clean and fresh” is the highest praise you could give a perfume. It is a straightforward fragrance, and a very sensual one. But it doesn’t smell like a hooker who’s been working too hard.

And so…

Personality: It could go either way, I suppose. It doesn’t smell flagrantly Not Me, but like I said, it wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind.

Comfort level: Surprise! In spite of my fears of being smothered, I feel comfortable with this from start to finish. Maybe I could use a weighted blanket after all.

Preferences: When I first tried it, while I liked it well enough, something in it reminded me of root beer–I guess the cinnamon and vanilla–and I don’t like root beer. But for some reason, the more time I spent with it, the less I smelled root beer, or the less bothered I was by that. By the last couple of wearings, I enjoyed it heartily all the way through.

Rating: For the above reason–most of the time, I’d have said 4 out of 5, but I’d have to give it a 5 for the last couple wearings. I guess this is why we sample first.

Verdict: I am reserving judgment at this time.

 

Blinding White: Lys Mediterranee

nature blue summer yellow

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

…by Edouard Flechier, the creator of Poison, a scent which will always make me think of partying at the old F.O.P. Club in the ’90’s. I shudder to think of how I probably over-sprayed it.

Notes: bergamot, orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, ginger lily, clove, sea breeze accord, musk

This perfume is a study of ginger lilies. I’ve never smelled those, but I do have Casablanca lilies, and their blooming is an event every summer–creamy white, saucer-sized flowers,  gorgeously-scented, almost vanillic.

The idea with Lys Mediterranee (“Mediterranean Lily”) is to present the scent of ginger lilies permeated with Mediterranean sea spray, and I think the perfume accomplishes this brilliantly. There’s a leafy green note at first, then that magnificent lily smell, with a spiciness I assume is the “ginger” aspect. It gets softer and muskier as it dries down, but it is a bright scent throughout, like a day in the blazing sun.  The “sea spray accord” marks one of the few times I’ve sniffed a marine note without feeling queasy. It’s very subtle and well-done.

Yet another masterpiece floral portrait from the Malle line, but….

Personality-wise: I am not a white floral lover. I like to sniff them in small doses, not live with them. I am not a white floral sort of person, either. I doubt anyone has ever used the word “sultry” to describe me.

Comfort level: This scent actually grew on me with repeated sampling, but still, no. It’s not the smell itself, exactly, it’s just that it’s so bright. It’s like a blindingly bright day, and I’m not a sun-lover. Combine this with its potency–a mere dab is long-lasting and well-projecting, and I can’t imagine what a full-sized spray would be like. More than a drop is too much for me.

Preferences: Like I said, another in the I’d-like-to-smell-this-but-on-someone-else category. But if you love ginger lilies, I can’t imagine a better rendition.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Verdict: I am not the rightful wearer of Lys Mediterranee.

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.

 

This Is Not a Story

buildings bus business car

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

OK, I did not see when I inserted this photo that it’s a trolley, not a bus, but it will have to do, because I don’t know how to dis-insert it.

Hey, I made up “dis-insert” and spellcheck didn’t correct me! It guess it’s thinking, She hyphenated it, so it must be legit. Or maybe spellcheck has just given up on me.

AT ANY RATE, Facebook has decided that my status updates are a “story,” prompting me with “Add to your story!” Um, I just wanted to mention that the cat threw up today. Yes, that is what my last post on Facebook was. This is why we have the Internet.

AT ANY RATE, my life is not a “story,” but a series of disjointed episodes. Here is one.

A PERFECT STORM ON THE BUS

My heart sank as I approached the bus stop today, because it was already occupied by the Family of Five. This is five people, a couple, two daughters and a son, who prefer to spend their money on smartphones for each person rather than on body wash and laundry detergent. I always let them get on the bus first, so I can sit as far away as possible.

The man of the house was wearing a t-shirt that said, “I Used To Be a People Person, Until People Changed That.” Funny, that’s the same thing I was thinking when I saw him!

When I came up, they were discussing swords, in particular those seen in video games. The talk then shifted, logically enough, to guns. The lady of the house asked, “What’s the largest caliber gun you’ve ever shot? Mine was a Browning machine gun. The guy who gave it to me told me not to ask how he got it. I used it to kill a chicken. That chicken didn’t even get the whole squawk out.” Her daughter then asked, sensibly enough, “Why did you use a machine gun to kill a chicken? You wouldn’t be able to eat it.” She said, “Well, they were diseased chickens! They couldn’t be sold!” Come to think of it, Killing Diseased Chickens With a Machine Gun would have been a good title for this post.

Our heroine then asked, rhetorically enough, “You wanna know what things I most missed when the house burned down? My three swords, and my Hellraiser action figures. It took me fifteen years and thousands of dollars to collect those.” Who knew?

Once on the bus, my heart sank further still when Dave got on at Walmart. You may remember Dave as the guy whose idea of a clever pickup line was, “You look like you’re goin’ for that wannabe-Goth look.” The bus was crowded, so Dave and his fifty Walmart bags had to be next to me. Dave then regaled us with a list of every celebrity he knows of who came from Tennessee. Followed by every corporation with headquarters in Tennessee. I don’t know what got him started on that state. Also, Dave has no indoor voice, so having him next to me made me want to crawl out of my skin. I’m just glad he wasn’t talking to me, because he can’t tell when you’re trying to ignore him, and kept saying to the bus driver, “You know who else came from Tennessee? Hey! You hear me?” Kind of like the camel in the Geico commercial. If he had tried conversing with me, he’d have been sorry. It’s like it was at work–“Well, I hate having someone sit with me, too, but what can you do? You have to make small talk.” Watch. Me.

Then the guy on the other side of me said, “I’m on my way to the cemetery, to check if a couple motherfackers are still in there.” Um, OK.

As if in recompense, the bus on the way home was absolutely empty, so I enjoyed my private charter service.

A TOPICAL NOTE

This is the first Super Bowl I’ve ever had an opinion about. My opinion is that neither team deserves to be there.

NEW FRONTIERS IN CORPORATE WEASELDOM

I denounce thee, CVS! You have stickers on all your perfumes, saying “Special Price.” And the special price is…the same price as usual, just in red and yellow lettering. Fie upon you! I don’t know what “fie” is, but obviously it’s something you don’t want to get on you.  For the record, I did not buy any perfume, but I did note approvingly that they stock Aramis, my favorite men’s scent, and possibly my favorite smell ever.

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.

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