Monday, September 27, 2004

The Weekend's Expedition

My roommate got 2 new colognes the other day, but nothing that I might have hoped he'd get. His favorite cologne is Acqua di Giò, because it's very fresh and bracing, which it is, but without a lot of depth. He doesn't have a very informed appreciation of fragrance, calling any musky or woody undertone in a fragrance "that Pakistani cabbie B.O. smell." He's even intimated that a Cartier fragrance smells like that. I don't think so -- you can pretty much trust everything that comes out of Cartier. Anyway, the colognes he chose were predictable: L'Eau D'Issey by Issey Miyake and Vera Wang for Men, two sweetish, fresh fragrances also without a whole lot of depth to them. I'm not fond of VW. I've written about it before--it smells like a fake DKNY for women oil I used to have; and I'm not exactly crazy about L'Eau D'Issey either, but that's mostly cux I'm just tired of it.

So while I prolly won't be sneaking spritzes of any of those scents anytime soon (especially since for me colder weather demands something more fiery and impetuous), something good did come out of his purchase: samples. Unfortunately two were for VW, but the OTHER, the cologne he said he didn't like, was for L'Eau Bleue D'Issey pour Homme, which I didn't expect much from but found that I rather like it. At the very first sniff I thought it smelled like black pepper, fading into a cucumber note, and similar to Polo Blue. But later as I tried it again I noticed that it was much woodier than I first perceived, and that indeed, it smelled just like the fresh woody notes that open Joseph Abboud, but without the unpleasant drydown. So in fact as it happened I quite like this fragrance. Not enough to run out and buy it, but I do like it nonetheless. And it might even be light enough for summer wear, although I'd really have to 'get to know' it to be sure. Still, it was a pleasant surprise.

Other weekend happenings: I stopped in this shop in SoHo next to the Starbucks to look at candles. Votivo apparently has a new line out: the Votivo Murano Collection. I think they intended the packaging to look more high end, but in fact the candles look like oversized candy bars. The scents are as unimpressive as the packaging: Venetian Silk, Venetian Coffee, Venetian Leather and Venetian Pear. The Silk one is far and away the best, but I'd still rather receive any of the regular Votivo candles as a gift. The Silk has a subtle, almost lineny (as in White Linen by Lauder) quality to it, but it also kind of smells chemical. The others are perfectly banal. Should it comfort me to know that coffee in Venice smells just like it does here? And why should I buy a coffee candle when simply heating up some coffee beans, or making coffee, will give me the EXACT SAME effect? If there was a complex bouquet in the candle, I didn't detect it. Also, the Venetian Leather smells like any other leather oil I've smelled. Maybe they should have called it Venetian New Car Smell. This is a shame, because there aren't really, really good leather candles out there, ones that smell like suede or a leather jacket or that scent they ever-so-faintly put on the Coach catalog. There was the possibility for something spectacular here, but mediocrity prevailed. Venetian Pear--do pear trees grow in venice?? I didn't understand the logic behind this scent choice. Further, there wasn't anything remarkable about the scent.

Overall, I'd have to rate the Murano Collection low. The quality of Votivo candles being so high generally, this line is quite a disappointment. I expect better from them.

There was a line of candels right beneath the Votivos that were quite nice: Bluewick. I got a chance to write a few notes about them before someone came up to me and asked me something like 'What line do you work for?' and then I felt I had to leave, so as not to break the spell of my apparent mysteriousness. But what I jotted down, which now that I look at it I can barely even decipher, was that the ginger-jasmine one was spectacular, the Rain scent worked very well (all 'Rain' scents should work this well), and that while there's room for improvement in the brand, it's off to a great start.

And that's my beep for now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

L'Occitane et L'Et cetera

lavenderThe other 2 fragrant places that Jason and I visited on Sunday were the L'Occitane store in SoHo and a place called Enchantments in the East Village. L'Occitane (the name might actually be "L'Occitane en Provence") was pretty predictable, but then I've been there a few times. I like some of their scents, but overall the line doesn't really impress me much. I think their scents could be a bit more ambitious--more complex, or combining more unusual notes, or just using more unusual single notes. As an example of the last suggestion, why couldn't they have made some home fragrance products for their Immortelle line, instead of just beauty products? I think it would be more interesting than, say, lavender or clementine, which they offer. Most of their products involve single notes or combinations of two, and they're relatively predictable: lavender, cinnamon orange, amber, winter pine.... Their newest product is an apple spice scent (more apple than spice). Snooooozzzzzzzz. One of their relatively new single note lines out now is interesting, though: miel (honey). It really does smell like honey, unlike too many of the honey scents I've smelled before. I thought it might blend in well with my spice-wood-hay fall fragrance aesthetic, but I wasn't sure, as their miel, while it does smell like honey, doesn't smell quite like beeswax absolute--their offering is more floral. So floral that I didn't think it would blend as well, or rather I just was too unsure. Their mens fragrance line bears mention: a lot of wood going on there. Their Cade scent smells pleasant, if you like the only-dry-woody-smells-a-little-cedary thing, which I sometimes do (it would be nice to wear under something else). Their L'Occitane for men fragrance is more complex and is nice, but none of the mens fragrances really have much to say. It's a pity that all these shops (L'Occitane, the Body Shop, Bath & Body Works, etc.) that could make an interesting statement with mens products end up making something pedestrian and boring, something that if it says anything, too often says "I was inspired by the fresh, crisp smell of mass-market deodorant."

Enchantments was a place I'd never been before. I'd walked past it, but I'd never thought to look in for oils or fragrant stuff. I wish I had. It's one of Jason's stores, so he brought me there, and he said they might have tonka beans, after we'd discovered that Aphrodisia was out of them. We went in, and it turns out that Enchantments was also out of tonka beans, but they would probably get more in soon. However, they also had a wide variety of fragrant oils, among which were: tonka, deertongue (which they had called "deer's tongue," I guess for the 'witching' effect--it's a witchcraft store, after all) and civet. I was excited. The tonka I didn't find up to much. It smelled like frankincense. The deertongue, however, when you smelled it from the bottle smelled just like tonka is supposed to--sweet, coumarinic, whatever. On the skin it smelled a little different--like a blend of almond and something underneath it, maybe something coumarinic underneath it, dunno. But I was excited that it at least bore a resemblance to tonka, so I got some for use in my autumnal blend. The civet was probably the most exciting. Of course it was synthetic--you can't get real civet, and all the fragrance oils were synthetic that I mentioned. But what made it so special was that it did not smell pleasant. It's not supposed to. Neither is musk or ambergris, but everytime I've encountered those in an oil form they smell vaguely like cologne, which is not what they're supposed to smell like. Full strength, they're supposed to smell like shit, literally in some cases. They're supposed to be super strong and absolutely unbearable. It's only until they're diluted to an extreme degree that they begin to give a warmth and a rounding off to a fragrance and make it smell pleasant. I didn't expect the civet to pack much of a whallop, but I was hoping that it would at least smell unpleasant. And it did! I can't really describe the odor, cux it was hard to smell it for more than a second, but the girl behind the counter remarked that it smelled like 'old person.' I suppose it did. That or B.O. Or something like that. It would be very interesting to see what it smelled like in a blend. I wonder how much one would have to dilute it to make it work, or if you'd have to dilute it all that much anyway (since who knows how it would behave--presumably it wouldn't behave like the civet-type odors used in professional perfumery. I'd like to get some one day just to experiment with it. And it's also good to know where you can get something so stinky, in case you ever have a use for it.

And that's the rest of Sunday's beep.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Myne Trippe to Sephora II

SephoraContinuing from Part I...

One of the standout fragrances of the day was definitely Magnetism by Escada. I always expect a violently fruity note from Escada perfumes, ever since I smelled Tropical Punch, and then everything after that seemed to have a dominant fruit note, either papaya or guava or melon, married to a light and unassuming floral body. Really, for a while, most of those new Escada fragrances just kind of blurred together. I don't even remember the names--Island Kiss, Ibiza Something-or-other.... Sentiment I guess would be the exception among those perfumes, however, with its berry note above the lush florals; but apart from that they were all pretty much the same. So that's what I expected from Magnetism. But it pleasantly surprised me. It is fruity, though, and bombastically so: it opens with this bodyslamming cherry/cough drop note that I find incredibly pleasant, but which others might not be very partial to. I would say that it follows into a floral body, but by the time I got around to smelling it, there were too many fragrances in the air and I couldn't spend a lot of time following it. Still, the opening is quite nice, and it recommends the perfume quite well. I could see someone wearing this perfume for a romantic night out, but then again I could also see how that would be problematic. The intense cherry-ness of the scent might conflict with a really romantic mood.

These little Dior scents, the ones in the small cutesy bottles that seem to only be around a few months--are they made for teenagers? I'm thinking they are, because they always have these light, fresh scents that are very young, and the marketing seems geared to the very young. The ones I sampled yesterday were CHRIS 1947 (these ones seem to be pushing the envelope as far as names--that's a good thing), a wispy, young light floral, and Forever and Ever, a fresh fruity floral. The bottles are very cute and the scents themselves are pleasant, but I don't think they would do much for a grown woman. These are scents to keep in mind when giving a gift to a younger cousin or someone like that. They almost seem like 'starter' perfumes.

The Sud Pacifique line has new stuff out now, and it's incredible. I first noticed that line when I smelled their Amour de Cacao, Kumquat and Vanille Abricot, so I associate them with food scents. Here are the ones I noted: Vanille Coco--I thought at first it was cocoa-vanilla, but after I smelled it I realized it meant vanilla coconut. Pleasant if you go for coconut; I don't. I think there are plenty of cheap vanillic fragrances out there that end up smelling like coconut anyway. And if you really, really like coconut, you can just spray coconut car air freshener on your clothes; or wear some Coppertone. Vanille Canelle--I was excited about this one. Vanilla Cinnamon! How can you go wrong? Well, they did. There was too much vanilla, not enough spice. It was disappointing. Vanille Banane--this stole the show. Vanilla Banana. I thought it was such an incredible sensation; but then I love the smell of banana cream. I can't imagine when I or someone would want to wear it, though, but if you really like those smells you can't go wrong with this one. In fact, this one might would actually work best as linen spray or something like that. I just can't imagine when I'd ever feel like wearing it as a scent, unless I combined it with other things. There was also Vanille Pitahaya (papaya?), which I liked but Jason didnt, and Vanille Passion, which I didn't think was up to much, compared with the others. I would liked to have seen a stronger spice, and perhaps a vanilla caramel or a good berry vanilla.

Speaking of foody scents, I smelled Hot Toddy by Demeter as well. I liked it, but since I don't know what's in a hot toddy, I didn't really know what to sniff for. to me it simply smelled like a synthetic carnation oil to me, which is actually a pleasant smell, but nothing I'd necessarily wear.

I smelled 2 scents from the CLEAN line, Baby Girl and Fun. Baby Girl smelled familiar, but I couldn't conjure up what exactly it smelled like--baby powder? Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo? I couldn't figure it out. Fun , which was a roll-on oil, smelled terrible, like fruity smells wafting through a car garage.

And the last one, the only mens fragrance I took notes on that day, the new offering from Hugo Boss: Baldessarini (named after a former Boss chairman. It's thanks only to basenotes that I'm able to spell it correctly, since the name is in a cursive that I wasn't able to completely decipher. As for the fragrance, I like it. I found it coniferous and spicy, and definitely not something I would have expected from Hugo Boss. I'd have to smell it again and look at the drydown to see whether I really, really like it, but my first impression was that it's a quite nice fragrance, although not a really groundbreaking one.

And that was my Sephora experience! Beep!

Myne Trippe to Sephora

Methinks this picture is of the Sephora in San Francisco, but I'm not sure.  I've been to that one.  It's nice.I went to Sephora yesterday with Jason on an attempt to describe some of the new fragrances I've seen but not yet experienced. I went and took a bunch of notes, which I'm sure as I type this will seem woefully inadequate; at least I'll have a better idea of what to write down next time. We also went to L'Occitane in SoHo and a couple other places, but I'll split this entry into 2 parts and talk about that in the next one, I suppose. I should say about Sephora that it's terribly disappointing that they took out the perfume organ that they used to have. That thing was the coolnerest thing ever, and it made me want to work at Sephora just so I could play with it. Anyway, it's been gone for years, so that's that, I suppose.

Mostly this expedition concentrated on women's fragrances, cux I haven't smelled anything new in them for what seems like forever. Here are just a few notes:

There are a lot of li'l fresh florals out there that smell pretty much like each other and aren't really up to much. True Star by Tommy Hilfiger, Lauren Style by Ralph Lauren and Attraction by Lancôme come to mind. They're all relatively light and pleasant. They'd probably make good gifts, but they didn't strike me as anything all that noteworthy. Also light and fresh are Blush by Marc Jacobs, Pure by Jil Sander, Eternity Moment by Calvin Klein and Simply by Clinique. I liked these a little better, for the most part. Blush I liked--it seemed floral fruity, with maybe an apricot note, and had the slight hint of Kool Aid to it. Pure was actually a big disappointment--it being by Jil Sander I assumed I would love it, but honestly, I couldn't even smell it! Perhaps it was all the other scents clogging the air, but I could barely detect anything from the scent strip I was sniffing, so I deduced that it just smelled something like hairspray. I'll have to smell it in a different environment to see if it in fact has any odor at all. Eternity Moment is a light floral that might work well for a late spring/early fall day; it's a young woman's scent (but not necessarily a girl's). Simply I'd smelled before, and I only mention it because it's just so pleasant. It seems to be a light floral with notes of peach and tea. It's a quite pleasant and very versatile scent. I could easily see giving this one as a gift. It's a Spring-like scent, but versatile enough to wear every day. It's peachy note isn't as pronounced as Trésor, so it's not quite as lush, but that's fine; the tea note gives it a naturalness and wearability that is disarming.

One fragrance had some notable packaging: Flower by Kenzo. Firstly, there were two packages of it: a white box and a red one, and I couldn't tell whether the difference was that the red was the parfum and the white the eau de parfum, or whether the red was actually some slightly different fragrance. (Cux all the houses seem to be making endless variations on their fragrances, instead of actually launching new ones: Tommy Girl Summer, Eternity Moment [an odd word pairing], Pure Poison, White Linen Breeze, Pleasures Intense...) So that was a mark against it. Although the red one smelled quite nice, very vanillic if I recall--I didn't write anything down for it. Secondly, there was a 3-miniature set which was quite attractive-looking. The front of the box was clear, and it showed the 3 little boxes next to the bottles, which area very cute--clear, rounded with a flower design in/on them. The miniature set looks like it would make a splendid gift (for one person or as 3 stocking stuffers); although I think you'd have to give it to a group of 3 people--mother, daughters or something--for it to work. Cux what use would one person have with 3 different bottles, unless s/he collects them? It would seem more prudent (albeit less aesthetic) to simply offer one bottle with 2 refills.

...And since this entry is getting really long, I think I'll split it here. More in the Part II section to come!


Hermes Rocks the Noodle

AK!!! I've just read on basenotes that Hermès is coming out with a fragrance this year called Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka. I must say, that certainly sounds promising! It's not on their site yet, so I'm presuming it's not out yet. I wonder what it will smell like--since vetiver has that grassy, rooty smell and tonka (which smells like autumn happiness) has that rich coumarinic smell, I imagine it might be a refined, high-end version of those Grass scents that start out with the sharp, green, fresh-cut note and then have the warm coumarin note beneath it. Or maybe it will be more of a fantasy tonka smell. Tonka bean smells sooooooo incredibly wonderful; I wish I could find a just-tonka-bean scent. Or for that matter, tonka bean oil, which once upon a time I was able to find, but for years has completely eluded me. (Enfleurage doesn't carry it; Aphrodisia doesnt; Angelica's Herbs seems to not know of it; and other places don't seem to have heard of it. Speaking of Angelica's Herbs, they tried to tell me that beeswax absolute doesn't exist. I can't stand it when these people try to tell me about fragrance when they don't know about it themselves.) So I can't wait to smell this one. I wonder when it's coming out.

Speaking of Hermès, I got some Equipage the other day. I was going to buy it online, cux I didn't want to spend the Sephora price, but the more I looked around, the less confident I was in purchasing it. I saw it on some eBay store for $20, but when I read the reviews, focusing on the negative ones, I realized that it was too risky. The reviews complained of bottles that leaked or lacked tops, and also imitations (not just of fragrances). They talked of informing eBay and the authorities. So I decided hells no on ordering from them. (I disregarded the positive reviews cux I figured half of them were probably put up by the company or their sympathizers.) But then I went to this perfume shop in Union Square and got it for a very good price there. We'll see if I still like it as much come December. It was still, even as I was getting it, a toss-up between Equipage and Bel Ami, because they both had good prices (and I love Bel Ami), but I went with Equipage cux it has a carnation note and is more versatile.

Continuing to speak of Hermès, go look at their site if you haven't before. Gak, the photos--they're just breathtaking. They oughtta be--Hermès is high-end enough. Just look at some of these:

Now that's some good product display, there.

Last thoughts on Hermès: you know, I realized the other day that just a few years ago I would never have really liked a Hermès fragrance. I liked them more synthetic, sharp, sweet and dazzling; whereas Hermès fragrances seem to be to be more natural, balanced, subtle, refined and understated. I guess my fragrance aesthetic has matured. The scents I prefer now tend to be Cartier and Hermes, whereas before they were Calvin Klein and the like. And I still like the other fragrances (I keep trying to compare it to music, with Calvin Klein et al being poppish and Hermès et al. being something I can't describe quite well, something more acoustic or substantial. However, my attempt at comparison keeps failing and I keep deleting what I type), but they just come off as really loud now (even Mont Blanc's Individuel, which I loved when I first smelled it, now seems to unnecessarily shout with its berry notes) much of the time. And when I actually purchase a scent, I gravitate more to Carter and Hermès. It leaves me to wonder whether I'll be wearing Creed in the future. But then I haven't smelled enough of Creed to have that much of an opinion on it.

And that's my beep for now.

Concentre d'New Scents at Sephora!

I was at Sephora today, and gaZOW!, are there a lot of fragrances out that I haven't seen yet. Mostly women's fragrances, cux at Sephora they didn't have the mens fragrances that I really wanted to see (Reaction, Beyond Paradise). There was one fragrance that definitely caught my eye: Hermes has one out now called Concentre D'Oranges Verte, which is basically just a stronger version of Eau D'Orange Verte. That irked me a little, cux I bought and used up my bottle of Eau a few months ago, and I would totally have bought the Concentre if it were available, cux the Eau dissipated FAR too quickly. Interestingly, the only other colognes I want right now, at this moment, are from Hermes: Bel Ami, which smells like cistus labdanum/leather to me (a PERFECT autumn scent; it oughtta be, it's $100 at Sephora) and Equipage, which smells to me like a new-mown hay scent with cinnamon. (If you mention new-mown hay to someone who's supposed to know about fragrances and they don't know what it means, they don't know about fragrances. Period. It doesn't help that it's almost impossible to explain what it smells like--tonka bean, hay, etc.... You just have to say it smells 'characteristic'.) So if anyone wants to buy it for me, I'll accept it, without conditions of course (so why on earth would anyone buy it for me?!). Anyway, I have to go back to Sephora next weekend and write down all those new perfumes and say something about them.

I was at Target over the weekend. Their autumn candles are out. Pumpkin spice, cider, maple pecan (smells a bit like slightly burnt pancakes), etc.. Predictable, but they're all pleasant. Unfortunately, there's no hay or teakwood or anything like that, but that's probably a good thing, as their Target-brand Sandalwood candle smells like shit. Powdered shit. I spotted the new Downy fabric softeners as well, the vanilla & lavender, water lily & jasmine and morning glory & honeysuckle. They're not up to much. The lavender one is ABYSMAL. Horrid. Smells like shit cheap drugstore vanilla perfume. A travesty. The others are OK, but nothing to write home about. One smells like a fresh garden. but they're not all that. The best fabric softeners out are actually the Target's Method brand. The have two out, as far as I could tell, one that if a 'fresh air' scent and smells just great. The other I don't recall the name, but it's in green and has something of a green grass smell. But then everything that Method puts out is good, from their almond-scented wood cleaner to their cucumber cleaning products. (Unfortunately all the cucumber products seem to be listed as bathroom cleaners--I'm sure they're all-purpose cleaners, but when something says 'bathroom' on it people get weirded out. I'm sure my roommate would only use it in there, and not on the kitchen counters, where it's likely to be smelled. Alas!!)

And that's the beep for now.

Vanilla Anecdote

Here's an anecdote: The people at Enfleurage are out of stock on vanilla absolute - they only have the oleoresin. Why? Because someone bought up all the vanilla in Madagascar. Who? Coca-Cola, for, of all things, Vanilla Coke! Who knew?!! And who knew that any vanilla actually made its way into Vanilla Coke! You can't tell cux of the taste. I don't believe that whole vanilla extract is being used to flavor the beverage - it's got to be vanillin. But maybe it's vanillin from vanilla, so they can put 'natural flavor' on the label. But then can't vanillin be gotten cheaply from something else? And surely, can't it be synthesized even more cheaply? Hmmmm. What a shame that there's no more vanilla absolute. They're also about to run of of another essential oil, but I don't recall which one. Alas!

And I found a link to that old aroma disc player in the 80s. I'm almost positive this is the same thing: The Remigton Aromance Aroma Disc Player. This is apparently an image of the user manual. Fascinating.

And that's today's beep.

The Body Shop

I popped in to the Body Shop the other day to see if the new home fragrance oils for autumn were out yet. They were. Not much new in their offerings for this year, nothing terribly exciting. Here's what they had:

Pumpkin Nectarine: This is what they've had for a number of years now. It's nice, pumpkiny with that ubersweet orangey zing. I think I've got a bottle every year since I discovered them, which was probably the first year I got into NYC. It's autumny but very sweet; it blends well with Realm for Women, by the way. I like it, and it's clearly their big seller for the fall, cux they keep bringing it back every year. I would like them to also offer a just-pumpkin scent, or a pumpkin pie/pumpkin muffin/pumpkin coffee/pumpkin spice scent, but they don't. They did one year--they had a pumpkin scent with a couple other scents, but it was only available in a 3-oil set; I didn't buy it then cux I was PO, but I would this year, even though I'm still pretty po.

Spicy Berry: I bought this one once thinking I might start liking it, but I never did. It's quite terrible, neither 'spicy' nor 'berry,' but coming close enough to one or the other for them to name it that. It's also far too sweet, but I find that it can be useful in creating blends, if used very, very sparingly. On the other hand, it's extremely powerful (all the Body Shop oils are strong, but this one especially so), so if you like that kind of thing (and generally I do, but mostly when it's a pleasant fragrance) then this might work for you.

Mulled Cider: This oil is actually an excellent apple-spice scent. I recommend it. Although their apple offerings were more interesting last year, this is a fine scent.

Pear: I didn't smell this yesterday, cux I've smelled it before and it's excellent. It's hard to go wrong with pear, but I've smelled oils that did. This one is nice, however, and I recommend it. I'm not even sure if it's for autumn per se - it might be a year-round fragrance. If you can't find a cheap $3 pear oil at Target (and you might be able to), then pick this one up.

Autumn Morning: This is hideous, just abysmal. It smells like nothing. It just smells, I dunno, aldehydic or something. It just smells like weird synthetics. It certainly didn't evoke anything of autumn to my mind. Two years ago they put out this oil called Autumn Leaves, which was wonderful. It had a dry, sorta woody, similar to frankincense odor, and did smell autumny. I like to say that it "smelled like regret." Then last year they came out with Autumn Breeze, which smelled a little like the original Autumn Leaves but worse; they finnucked it up a bit. Now there's this Autumn Morning, which is nothing like Autumn Leaves and is absolutely horrid. I can't imagine what the perfumer was thinking. Someone from a tropical nation that doesn't have autumn must have created it. It doesn't smell woody or haylike or earthy or any of that -- it just smells like some cheap old drugstore perfume I smelled too many years ago.

Needless to say, I wrote them an email at the Body Shop, as this has lately become my wont. Someone actually responded to me, and it's not a form letter! Of course that doesn't mean the email I received actually says anything, though. It's formulaic enough to be a form letter, but it gives the impression that a real person actually wrote it (part of that is perhaps due to the clumsy language of some of it. Here's a the meat of it:

We are sorry you feel that some of our fragrances are not to the quality level you would wish. Also, it is a personal preference as to which scent is more inviting to each separate individual. What may smell nice to one person may smell the complete opposite to another.

Again, thank you for taking the time to express to us your opinions and suggestions for the Autumn fragrances we currently carry. Also, please know that your request for our discontinued lines have also been documented for future reference! Feel free to contact us again if you have any further questions or concerns about the products or customer service at The Body Shop.

Anyway, that's the beep on the Body Shop's fall home fragrance oil line.

When Febrezes Attack

Febreze air fresheners So Febreze has air fresheners now. I saw them the other day in Duane Reade and picked up the floral one. It's nice. Smells just like the floral Febreze, but stronger. It's a nice scent - very hyacinthy - I just wish it lasted longer. But that's no big whoop, cux it's pleasant. I was just looking at the Febreze site also, and it turns out there are more scents for the air freshener than there are for the odor eliminator; in the air freshener line they have scents for citrus and for summer fruits; there are no corresponding scents for the odor eliminators.

Also on the Febreze site, I saw that they're the company doing these ScentStories things. I'd heard a li'l bit about these things before, but haven't seen them yet. Apparently it's something that plays a CD of odors instead of music, giving you 30 minutes of scent and then moving on to the next scent. I guess it's similar to that aroma thing that came out in the early 80s (can anyone remember the name?) that played scent disks and was, unfortunately, a colossal failure. It's a shame, too, cux I never got to try it out, as I was just a tot and couldn't afford it. I'm sure fragrance technology has advanced quite a bit since then, though. Still, I don't have really high hopes for this Febreze thing. I can't imaging that the scents are going to be terribly good or interesting. Like the disc 'exploring a mountain trail'--are any of the scents really giong to smell like a mountain trail--earthy, dry, woody, firlike notes in the air? Or are they going to smell like 'mountain-inspired' air freshener type scents? And this one called 'wandering barefoot on the shore'--how do you recreate the smells of 'walking in the sand' or 'splashing in the waves'?? Is it going to smell salty, with hints of fish and urinous notes, like the ocean often smells? Or the tones of rotting seashells that are vaguely present? Or will the whole thing just be that icky, 'fresh' aldehydic stuff that perfume companies claim are 'marine' scents? 'Strolling through the garden' sounds nice, cux the odors are clearly deliniated: peachy freesia, lilac, honeysuckle, rose... Unfortunately the rose is bound to smell disgusting, as most synthetic rose smells do. And also, I wonder if there will be the earthy, soil-like undertone or a fertilizer note. 'Shades of vanilla' sounds just stupid. And where is the autumn story?! It could have 'chapters' like caramel apples, pumpkin pie, leaves blowing in the wind, sitting by the fire and taking a hayride. That would be nice, but of course it would surely smell like shizzle. I'd like to see one that really reproduces natural odors well, like woody odors, complex earthy accords, leafy notes, etc. I wonder if they'll come out with a Christmas one: It could include: 'putting up the tree' with your basic xmas tree accord; 'making the wassail' with notes of orange, cinnamon and mulled wine, 'christmas cookies' with the familiar smell of sugar cookies, buttercream and hints of ginger and cinnamon, 'christmas dinner' with smells of turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie' and 'sitting by the fire' with firewood notes. (I'm all about the firewood smell.)

At any rate, I'm definitely going to try this thing out, provided it's not insanely expensive. I'd like to see a higer-end fragrance company start doing it. Interestingly, aromaplayer thing is an idea that I used to fantasize about since college, but I never thought that anyone except scent-lovers like me would want to buy something like it. Furthermore, when I would fantasize about it, I envisioned something a bit more complex--my metaphor was more of a symphony than a story. And I envisioned something that would weave odors in and out of each other more often than 30 minutes, something that built from one odor and traveled through several more before climaxing and fading out, of course around a particular theme (with autumn, obviously, being my preferred theme). I think I also envisioned lights and perhaps music coordinating it, but for the most part it was the odor symphony. How interesting that something like this is coming out now. (How disappointing that it's coming out from a company like Febreze--not exactly world-renowned for their mind-blowing scents.) I guess I'd like to see Yankee Candle do something like this, or those French candle people who make that Feu de Bois one I like. Or Votivo. Or even a fragrance shop. Cartier makes spectacular fragrances--it would be great if they did something like this. Or Ralph Lauren, whose home-fragrance line I adored beyond measure way, way back in the day (I think around 10 years ago) when it was out. He had this stuff out once with notes of leather and hay and a horse stable, maybe even horse shit--it really worked, though, and smelled better than all the other home fragrances. (Interestingly, the horse-shit note probably made it smell even more high-class--walk along 5th avenue on museum mile. That's some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and yet most of it smells like horse shit, cux of those horse-drawn buggies that are always going through Central Park, which borders it.) I would really like to see that come back, but like too many really good fragrances, it failed miserably. On the other hand, maybe Erox could make something like the aromadisc, spicing it with human pheromones. They did such a good job on Realm for Women, I can't imagine they wouldn't do it well. Lastly, Demeter would be an instant choice to produce the aromadisc, cux they have/had so many interesting fragrances, which were nearly impossible to wear cux of the lack of fixatives in them. But fixing the fragrance in an aromadisc wouldn't really be an issue. Again lastly, I would buy a Christmas aromadisc from Crabtree & Evelyn, but only a Christmas one, as their other fragrances are really too cloying.

And that's my beep for today.

Caldrea in the City

Caldrea White Clover Fabric SoftenerI am LOVING this stuff, this Caldrea line of products. It's a line of finely fragranced cleaning and body products. Scents include lavender-pine, citrus-mint-ylang ylang, sweet pea and white clover. I especially like White Clover, and bought the hand lotion over the weekend. (It was actually a toss-up between the hand lotion and the fabric softener, but I went for the hand lotion.) the white clover has a full, soft and sweet fresh-cut-grass smell, not too sharp, almost floral, and without that coumarinic undertone. It's really quite nice. I bet it would go OK with vetiver oil, if I were the type to wear vetiver oil anymore (There used to be a day when I would wear Gap Grass with a li'l vetiver oil under it. I also liked the combination of Gap Grass with this Carnation perfume oil that I used to get. It smelled great. You can't find Gap Grass anymore, but you can still get a fake oil of it at that place on 106 & Amsterdam, Scentsations I think it's called.) I also like the lavender-pine a lot - I should definitely get some of those cleaning products. It would prolly smell better than the orange-scented cleaning products we have now. I'm not as keen on the other fragrances, except for White Tea, which I like, but not as much as white clover; but the whole line is pleasant enough.

In cheap candles news, I saw a Glade 3-in-1 candle that I'd not seen before at KMart the other day. I forget what it was called, and the Glade site, typically, is of no help (it's a really shitty site, this Glade one is). My guess it that it would be Evening at Home. It's one that has, and I don't remember this all that well, Chamomile Tea on the top part, something called Comfort something in the middle (with an accompanying graphic of a leather chair--is is supposed to smell of leather?!), and then Warm Hearth on the bottom (with an accompanying graphic of firewood). It looks like it could be really something, but smelling it didn't reveal much. I suppose I'd have to burn it at home to see what it really smelled like. Also, Glade fragrances always look promising, but then when you actually use them, they tend to smell like shit. Case in point: their Gingerbread Spice candle. I don't know what it smells like, but it certainly doesn't smell like gingerbread. And that's perculiar, because I've seen plenty of cheap gingerbread-scented oil that smells spectacular. And that Grandma's Cookies scent from Airwick smells divine, like Belgian Waffles, and it has a ginger accord in it (that I can't really smell, but it says it does). So why can't Glade make a scent as easy as Gingerbread Spice?! But anyway... I'm excited about this candle, cux if the base really does smell like firewood, then maybe they'll come out with a firewood-scented candle on its own, and that would be GREAT! There's nothing like that out there that's affordable. I think I've said before that there's a candle out there going by the name of Feu de Bois that smells incredible, just like firewood, but it's $45. And the only other alternative is the Firewood candle from White Barn Candle Co., which is quite nice but more of a bouquet (it smells a little like Helmut Lang's Cuiron). So it would be cool if it actually smells nice.

And that's the fragrance beep for today.

Incense Is Best!

I went gandering over the weekend for scents for fall, and it hit me that a great way to create that smoky, burned smell that I associate with autumn would be with, duh, incense! So I thought I'd snoop around and see if I found any incense that's actually good quality, and lo and behold I did! Votivo makes incense, so I was looking at their wood scents, cux what better way to create a firewood smell than with wood incense? I settled on 3 of their scents that I think would work for a smoky, autumny scent: Teak, Mahogany and Tumbleweed. Teak seems to be a dark, dry wood (it also seemed to have an almost moldy note), one that maybe has a whisper of a smoky character anyway. Mahogany seemed to be a richer, fuller wood scent. Tumbleweed was kind of a dry earthy scent, which smelled a little like this synthetic vetiver I found once; it seemed like it would work for a dried leaves kind of smell. I ended up getting Mahogany, and spending more than I should have on it--in this place on Avenue A they had the Teak incense for $12, but they didn't have Mahogany, so I ended up spending $19(!) on it at Details in the West Village. So if you're in the mood for Votivo incense, especially the Red Currant one (cux that's the one everyone has shitloads of), buy it in the East Village. I just wish I could remember the name of the store.

At this store, they also had that line of really expensive candles with the French names that textwrap on the label (which I think is a little precious in the pejorative sense). I wish I could afford them, cux their Feu de Bois is second to none. I'm assuming it means 'firewood' cux the words and scent convey that. It really smells quite natural. It oughtta, though, for $45!! (!!!) The room fragrance for the feu de bois, interestingly, is terrible. There's a weird mossy/moldy/off note in there somewhere, and it doesn't really smell like firewood. Their Tubereuses candle is also top-notch. Once I was at Sephora, when they still had the perfume organ, smelling stuff--the woman gave me a sample of the West Indian Tuberose; it was the most amazing thing I've ever smelled--it was a rich, full and sweet floral that actually smelled like that candy Smartees. I thought it was the most amazing scent; and interestingly, it smelled NOTHING like the tuberose absolute/essential oil you can buy, which has the vaguest hint at something floral but is mostly a peculiar oily green scent which isn't all that pleasant (a lot of essentail oils are like that--why does the Carnation oil at Enfleurage, for example, not smell like honey-clove-floral-green?! Why does the Narcissus not smell like much of anything?! Osmanthus is supposed to have a cherry-almond-leather note mingling with a spicy floral, so why doesn't it smell like anythying?! Jasmines are the only thing that are very impressive--even Neroli is crap most of the time you smell it! I've only smelled ONE Neroli Bigarade oil in my whole life that really smelled like the blooming orange groves of my youth). Anyway, their Tubereuse candle smells like the West Indian tuberose oil that Sephora had. It's quite amazing, really. They have a new one too--a New Mown Hay smell (I can't remember the French); unfortunately, it doesn't smell like new mown hay to me. It doesn't really even smell like coumarin, seemingly. It smells like powdery honey. I thought new mown hay was supposed to smell like, well, hay, or at least tonka bean, which smells incredible and pretty much can't be found in New York anymore. (Everyone says you can find everything in New York--well, you can't find tonka absolute; neither can you find beeswax or really good floral absolutes. An aromatherapy-addicted friend of mine has never even heard of cassie; and the only time I've ever seen genet was a long time ago in a line that Aveda discontinued. Until recently, in fact, it was difficult to find a good vanilla!) So the new-mown-hay thing is a bust.

Speaking of new-mown-hay, that's becoming the theme for that fall home-fragrance oil I'm making for myself. Well, more like Wood Masquerading as New Mown Hay with Spice Notes. Basically it just involves putting some warmer notes in it, which on the whole give a new mown hay type nuance. Anyway, we'll see how the blend turns out.

And that's it for today.

Autumn Breezing Through My Mind

Out of the blue: I don't know why this blog is listed in the Yahoo! Australia/New Zealand directory.

Sigh. Making a fall blend is something that occupies my mind every year. Just something to occupy my mind. This year I want to make some kind of scent blend that's autumny and combines dry woody, firewoody, hay/tonka-like, and spicy notes. And other fall-like notes. So I'm thinking I want to combine lots of cedar into possibly a tonka base and mix in other notes, including clove and chamomile. I'm thinking there should be earthy notes and the like in it as well. I was smelling stuff at Enfleurage the other day, and here's what I think would work:
Virginian cedar, carrotseed (for the earthiness), perhaps juniper wood, frankincense, hay, cistus labdanum absolute (I smelled one that smells just like Bel Ami by Hermes), perhaps ginger CO2-extraction, and maybe Peru Balsam. And of course some kind of synthetic amber/leather/suede/firewood scent. Basically lots of cedar with hay/tonka/dry notes and some spice thrown in.

And that's it. Damn I'm bored.

Autumn Notes

tonka beansJust a quickner note. I want to mix up some kind of autumny scent with oils, but I want it to be dry, woody, hay-like, firewoody, with hints of spice. I'm guessing that notes like cedar, hay, tonka, cistus, balsam, frankincense, carrotseed, leather/suede/firewood, helichrysium and clove would work well. I think chamomile would work well too. Last night I mixed up some clove and chamomile (since I actually own some of both) and it worked spectacularly. And that's all I wanted to say; that clove and chamomile blend very well together. And if you don't think so, you STINK!


Oops. I've worn too much cologne today. I guess I should have showed a little more restraint, considering I am wearing Halston Z-14, which can be pretty strong. I know I'm wearing too much cux it's making my own nose tickle a little. Oop. However, the people on the subway weren't coughing and theater-sneezing, as they usually do when I put on too much. Yet I'm pretty sure I overdid it. Well, it's been on for over an hour, so it should be quickly losing its maximum piquancy. And I did just wipe a little off (I hate doing that).

The problem with wearing too much cologne is not that it might set off peoples' allergies (and much of the time I don't think said allergies even exist; you can see this in the staged, exaggerated way that people sneeze and cough when they know someone is wearing fragrance, usually cux someone told them. I've noticed that if no one tells them, and the fragrance isn't strong enough to be detected from miles, then these people don't react). It's that someone might come up to you (especially at work) and ask you to stop wearing cologne cux they can't deal with it. And what choice do you have then?! You (usually) have to stop wearing it. So the objective is not to wear so much that people get to put on the whole I'm-a-victim-of-cologne show.

Since I'm talking about overcologning, I'll just say it: I wear too damn much anyway. Cux I wanna smell it! I know you're not supposed to be able to smell your own fragrance (and that you still can on a level under your conscious awareness), but what's the point of wearing it if you can't smell it at least a little?! (This is why I've been known to put some kind of scent on my chin [vanilla oleoresin/absolute is good for this] or on a scent strip that I affix to my glasses, to have a smell in my personal space.) Maybe it's lameazoid, but I'm a fragrance fiend, and I have to wear them! So gnak! If only my nose were more sensitive, I wouldn't have to wear as much. Sigh.... Oh but for a harmless pill that would enhance your sense of smell (not to mention hearing and sight).... Sigh....

There are exciting new air freshener thingies out with unexciting scents! I saw some over the weekend--one that is battery operated and sprays a scent throughout the day (or something like that). The unfortunate thing is that it's by Glade, and it has the same tired, never-all-that-great, focused-grouped-into-nothing scents that they always have: the 'outdoor green fresh' accord and the 'vaguely floral buy really synthetic smelling' accord. And I think I saw some by Oust too, but they're similar: the vaguely green outdoor fresh scent and the citrus-but-weirdly-metallic scent. I would love to see a battery-powered air freshener that sprays scent all day in a scent that's pleasing and works with the home. Some suggestions: teakwood; cedre & santal; firewood; tonka/coumarin; fresh cut grass; vanilla cookies; freshly-baked bread; suede; clove/allspice; fig; tomato leaf; frankincense..... There are so many other scents; why do Glade et al. always make their products so pedestrian?! (I actually just sent them a note from their website about that.)

Oh, and talk of firewood and suede reminds me: Bath and Body Works had their Wallflowers plug-in units on sale for $5 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for last weekend only. If I hadn't been spending a small fortune on my party, I would have bought 10 (OK, maybe not ten; probably 4, though). The Wallflowers and their candles are actually made by The White Barn Candle Co., and the quality is superior. I bought two Wallflowers, one in Sweet Cinammon Pumpkin for autumn (I can't get enough of the smell of spiced pumpkin; it's my favorite, no matter how synthetic or decadent it smells) and Kitchen Spice to add to the vanilla/fresh baked/confection fragrance aesthetic of my housewarming party. Kitchen Spice isn't really a spice scent; it's more of a gourmand scent, with notes of vanilla, mocha, buttercream and hazelnut, and touches of nutmeg - it's nice. I would have gotten cucumber melon, but it's so hackneyed; I did not get spiced cider, because it's really not that pleasant. But that sale's over; there are, however, other things to check out: they have a car scenter now, in most of the usual fragrances, but there's one that's new and I think it's called suede. There wasn't a tester to smell, but the people behind the counter had an opinion on it: they didn't like it. They said it smelled 'burned.' Interesting. 'Burned like burnt rubber or like firewood?' I asked (cux I've smelled a cheap 'leather' oil that smelled like burnt rubber, kind of like lower Manhattan after 9/11), and they replied that it's like firewood. That sounds wonderful! One day I might try it, but I really have to smell it first. As far as their other products, their new higher-end candles are stunning. The Basil scent is complex and very sophisticated. If I wasn't po-as-hell I would get it. But the others are just as nice: the firewood one is fantastic, if it does smell somewhat like Cuiron by Helmut Lang. The Clove could certainly be more clove-y and, well, just more all around (I mean, Esté Lauder's Spellbound can be read as a clovelike scent, and it's unbelievable); the Orange Flower is an interesting bouquet, very full. I forget the other scents, but the point is it's a great line.

Another always-superior line of home fragrances is the Pier One line. Harvest Pumpkin Spice (formerly Harvest Spice; I guess pumpkin consciousness is raising, since they added pumpkin to the name) is out again; it's the bestest fragrance ever ever ever!! Don't let autumn slip away without buying some of this! You can even use it as a linen spray; in fact, that's prolly the best use, cux it fades less quickly. Or, rather, get a candle. Duhr. Along with Harvest Pumpkin Spice comes Cinnamon Bun, an OK attempt. They're actually doing quite a bit of gourmand scents now - buttercream vanilla, caramel vanilla, spiced pear. Well, it's good to see it. They have a new Clove out too, but I forget the name. This one smells more like traditional clove bud. The original, titled simply Clove (and with the candle is GREEN(?!?!)) didn't really smell anything like clove buds. It must have been over my head. I wish they'd come out with a banana bread candle. Maybe they have, who knows.... I also like their First Bloom candle. And I'm sure some great Multiples candle involving pumpkin spice will come out in the autumn, as there was one last year (I'd not seen one before last year). Can't wait to see what it is.

And that's the fragrance beep for now.

Halston Gets Discounty at KMart. Film at 11:03

Just a quick post. I was @ Kmart the other day, the one in Penn Station (not Astor Place), and picked up a bottle of Halston Z-14, which, surprisingly, was priced at only $12. But with the 30% off-lowest-price of all fragrances there, it clocked out at $9. Not bad! And I love the scent! It's lush, citrusy-mossy-lush, opening with a powerburst of sweet bergamot, drying down through mossy notes underlined with tonka and amber and earthy notes. It's really nice, and it is an old-line fragrance, with that older-man smell. But I don't care. I like it. I think it's that marriage of mossy notes with amber that does that. But fragrances of that time were good, you know. I think I still perfer Aramis (which I don't have) for the kind of smell, but Halston Z-14 seems to be richer. And of course it has that great bottle. I'm thinking that since Z-14 is so nice, maybe I should pick up a bottle of 1-12, which they had at Kmart. From the description I read at, it seems like 1-12 would be similar, but less spicy and warm (less benzoin and tonka) and more coniferous/fresh (it has notes of pine, lavender, galbanum and 'green notes'). I'll have to drop by and check it out. At those prices, how can you lose, really?. Also, with everything 30% off, it might be a good time to look at other fragrances, just to see what they cost.

Well that's that. Beep.


I was at K-Mart a few days ago and peeped through the cologne section. Sometimes they have some good miniatures, sometimes nothing. There were no miniatures, but I did see this bottle of Halston Z-14 that intrigued me. What intrigued me was the price: ~$18 for over 2 ounces. Hmmmmmm... It might be worth buying. Of course, I don't really know what Halston smells like; but I remember that someone I knew back in college who had classic tastes really liked it. So it's always been a cologne I kinda wanted to have, if I liked the smell. At $18 I guess it wouldn't really matter if I was crazy about the smell. That's so cheap I could just gift it if it was really offensive. But I think it will turn out to be a good smell. Then again, who the hizzle knows. It's impossible to tell by the notes, but here's what they are, courtesy of

Bergamot, Lemon, Basil, Cypress, Gardenia
Vetiver, Jasmin, Patchouli, Coriander, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Geranium
Amber, Leather, Olibanum, Benzoin, Moss, Musk, Tonka

I wish I knew a place to smell it, besides the scratch-n-sniff tester on the box at KMart. Oh well. I may or may not actually buy it. Who knows.

And that's that.

Demeter Gets Stinky

I was at Sephora today, and saw that there seems to be a new addition to the Demeter line. It's a few fragrances whose selling point is that they contain human pheromones. Actually, one pheromone, Androstadienone, which is the same in all the fragrances. They have names like Always Happy, Always Calm, Never Lonely, and one for energy. They're supposed to lift your mood and give the feeling that is implied in the title: happy, calm.... Do they work? Who knows. I walked around with some testers in my shirt pocket, and even rubbed some of Always Happy on my chin to smell it for some hours, but I didn't notice anything tremendous. If they do anything at all, it's very subtle.

As for the scent, they're, eh, OK. They smell like they were made with some essential oils, in that they have the weak, wispy character that some (but not all) all natural fragrances have. They start out very predictable: the Happy has orange, etc. etc. They don't end up in a predictable place, however. I'm sniffing the paper testers right now, and the smell could best be describe as Urinal. Maybe Urinal with hints of Dirty Underwear. It's faint, and I don't think many people would notice if someone were actually wearing the scent, but it's certainly an interesting, unexpected effect. You'd think they would have mingled in some sandalwood or vanilla, or maybe a synthetic musk or something to mask the odor of what is presumably the pheromone component (I'd read before that one human pheromone, either the 'female' or 'male' one, whichever, had a sort-of unpleasant odor, kind of sweaty, which made it less attractive as a perfumery product, whereas the other gender pheromone was odorless. This is clearly not the odorless one.). But I guess not. And now that I think of it, one of Demeter's things is not using synthetic fixatives, if I remember correctly, and that's why the fragrances disappear 20 seconds after you've put them on, 30 if you spray them on clothing.

Verdict on these fragrances: eh. I don't particularly care for them. They don't compare to Realm, which was spectacular (the women's version). I guess I'd hafta give them 1 nose. If I got them as a gift, maybe I'd spray them if the cat shit a lot. Then again, maybe I'd just reach for the Glade.

Summary: Demeter pheromone scents:


Fragranced Memories

I saw a set of Pierre Cardin cologne on sale (for cheap!) the other day at Duane Reade, the local drugstore here. It was some Father's Day thing. I remember having that cologne as a kid. I got it one Christmas. I don't remember much about it, though — I guess it was relatively unremarkable. The cologne that I remember really liking as a kid was Rookie, which my quick google search seems to have revealed is both by Avon and 'for boys.' Who knew?! I'm pretty sure it's the same one I had. (The google search also revealed that Rookie can be purchased on ebay! Yowza!) Oh, and of course that li'l tester I had of Lauder for Men, but that was all the way into middle school, so it doesn't really count. Antyganoo, I'm considering buying this Pierre Cardin, just to have it. I love the idea of wearing old colognes like that, especially if they're classic (like Lauder). Of course I'll have to smell it first, but when something is considerably less than $20 and smells fine, you might as well have it. And as I said before, there is an appeal to wearing a cologne you got from the drugstore. It feels like there's something wholesome, old-fashioned about it. It feels, I dunno, 50s or something. Whatever. Beep! Oh, here are the notes in Pierre Cardin, since I tend to provide that kind of thing, you know:

Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Lavender, Basil
Carnation, Geranium, Leather, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Orris
Vanilla, Moss, Tonka, Leather, Benzoin, Amber

This is just funny. I saw this review on basenotes and think it's just hilarious. I can't imagine it could be true. It just sounds like a legend created by a marketing department. What say you:

When I was a young man and infatuated with the Duchesse de Guermantes, I would always wear Chanel Pour Monsieur because it seemed to me then, as it still does now, to contain some mysterious essence of aristocracy and sophistication. I would follow the Duchess endlessly until one day I summoned up the courage to address her. 'Madame,' I stammered, 'we have not been introduced but I believe you know my uncle.' 'Young man,' she replied with a frown, 'I do not know your uncle and I find you presumpteous. Furthermore, you have been following me for days. I have only tolerated it because I adore your cologne.' Although the Duchess and I later became friends, I soon enough lost my love for her. However, I have never relinquished my love for Chanel Pour Monsieur.

-marcel , uk , 2004/03/26.

And that's the fragrance beep for now, beepgners!

A Sephora Experience

I was in the Time Warner Center Sephora the other day (that store is small; what's more you have to walk over this precarious-looking high bridge made of translucent tiles to get to it. I would probably feel safer on a rope net), sniffing this and that — Jil Sander Sun for Men*, Pasha... when I came across Vera Wang for Men. I'd never smelled it before, so I gave it a whiff. Wow, the peculiar freshness almost blew me away in a flurry of Breath Savers. At first I kind of liked it — it smelled familiar, but I couldn't pinpoint what it reminded me of. Then it occurred to me. It smells almost just like this fake oil I got once of DKNY for women (which one person actually said smelled like shampoo). It was virtually identical, until the fragrance dried down just a bit, when I started to notice hints of that weird greenish note in Calvin Klein's Truth for women. At that point I decided that I do not like the fragrance. It just smells odd to me, and since it smells like a fake oil, it makes me think it smells cheap. (Although I don't necessarily mind smelling cheap; sometimes cheap perfumes smell perfectly fine. In fact, I once have worn Coty's infamous Wild Woods, partly cux I liked the fact that it smelled like Gucci's Envy, partly cux I just loved that 70s-looking bottle. And partly cux I like the idea of wearing a drugstore fragrance.) I'm sure plenty of people will love it, but to me, I just don't think it works. That's that. Just in case you're curious, though, here are the notes in Vera Wang for men, courtesy of

Green Mandarin Leaf, Yuzu
Nutmeg, Leather, Anise
Sandalwood, Tobacco

I also smelled Liz Claiborne's Spark for Men a couple days ago, and I'm really impressed! It got good reviews on basenotes, and I smelled a fake of it that was nice, so I thought I'd go to that store in Union Square (since I was in the area) and see what it smelled like. And it's really good — basically a wintry, oriental with gourmand notes. Speaking of notes, here they are:

Rum, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper
Figs, Honey, Cognac
Sandalwood, Amber

I didn't get a chance to see how it dried down, but my initial impression was wow, this is fantastic! So I think I'll have to get some for when the weather cools down. It will be nice for every day wearing, it and Déclaration by Cartier. But I do have to check how Spark dries down before buying it, though. However, it helps that it's only $20, putting it in the same price scale as, say, Arbre from the Body Shop. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting it to be up to much, being a Claiborne scent and all, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now, this is not to say that it's some really complex scent you could get lost in, like Individuel or even Déclaration, but it's very pleasant, nonetheless, and there is that fake oil you can use to layer it with. So I guess out of 5 noses I'd give it maybe a 3.8. (Déclaration is a 5.)

Speaking of gourmand notes, I love this lotion: Wild Banana Vanilla Lotion by Pure & Basic. You can find it at Whole Foods, and I've seen it at other health-food type stores. It smells GREAT — you can smell the banana if you know it's there, and also a vanilla tone, but the overall impression of it is more like butterscotch. Or caramel. Although I've only tested it out at the store, it seems to be effusive with good staying power, for a lotion, I guess. And it seems like it would work well with other foody scents, like that Desserts line I was raving about, which appears to be the one by Jessica Simpson. Or, to a degree, with scents like Spark and Angel, which have gourmand notes in them. (NOT with the fragrances from the SmellThis line, which I think are cheap and terrible, as they only smell good right when you spray them, then they break down and smell like ick.) Of course, it could also be used alone, but it just seems natural to use it with another comparable food scent, like, say, pound cake, buttery vanilla, bay rum/spice or cassis. It might even be the perfect complement to Eau de Charlotte, by Annick Goutal, a great fragrance with a cassis-like top note reminiscent of rhubarb jam underlined by a cocoa-vanilla base (I don't smell the floral middle much).

And that's the fragrance beep for now! Beep!

Vera Wang:
Spark for Men: .8
Wild Banana Vanilla Lotion: .85

An Idea for the Oprah

I should write this in open-letter format, but whatever. I was thinking that since everything Oprah touches becomes famous, shouldn’t she create a perfume with her hair or skin flecks or something in it? She could call it Fame. Or Ôprah. Or Oprah Makes You Really Really Famous. And when you put it on, you’re famous. The fame part would probably expire quickly, before you’re finished with the bottle, but at least while it’s fresh you’d get some fame out of it, maybe more than 15 minutes, maybe less, but some definite fame. There could probably more fame essence in the eau de parfum and parfum concentrations, maybe with a super-deluxe concentration that is so exorbitantly expensive that only celebrities and the very wealthy could afford it. I hope she does make this perfume, and I hope I can afford it when it comes out. I sent Oprah a copy of my CD (it does have Ed Shepp Exposes Oprah Winfrey on it), so maybe she’ll send me a li’l tester of the parfum, maybe the beta version.

The First Post

Pasha by Cartier is a good fougère—minty lavender topnote, followed by a spicy floral middle that I didn't really notice much, then moss on the bottom; but I think I still would rather have Aramis. Chanel Pour Monsieur is kind of nice, more floral than I remember. Of course it reminds me of when I worked at Universal Studios Orlando, and that's not the best memory. Sooooo, then I decided to look at the womens scents, cux I was blas—. It became clear to me that I hadn't looked at them in a long, long time cux there were around a million that I'd never smelled before. Highlights: Tender Touch by Burberry. Yowza, that's a perfume. Talk about POWER floral: it kind of smelled like a blend of jasmines sambac and grandiflorum, with other stuff too. I wondered whether it was one that I could buy my sister for Xmas or something, or whether that would be rude in a way, cux it's a really STRONG fragrance (but great). You never know whether you can give someone a really strong perfume, cux either they might not like it, or when they wear it, other people might complain to them. (Damn other people!!) The other really good one was this line called Desserts. They had a vanilla, a berry and a chocolate-coconut. The chocolate one was OK and I didn't smell the berry one, but the vanilla one was transcendent, like buttercream Belgian waffles. I wish everyone would wear that. In autumn, at least. I hope it catches on--it would be great to be in the subway and have everyone in the car wearing that and smelling like a pound cake. I can dream...