Sunday, July 02, 2017


So I'm smelling some new materials that arrived today.

First up, the Framboise base from Firmenich.  Interesting. Right out of the bottle, I get more strawberry than raspberry. I have some drying down on a strip now, and it's been maybe 20 minutes since I put it on there. The sweeter, strawberry note has faded a bit, and what remains is definitely a berry, red fruit type note, but more in a rosy direction and much drier. It smells like something very familiar now, but I can't quite place it. But it's more floral, and maybe a bit more melancholy, then the opening. Still doesn't smell like raspberry, but very red fruit.

Also got some irisnitrile. I was really excited about being able to get some of this, as the only (putative) descriptor I could find for it was "brutal".  And brutal it is. This is 10% in TEC, and from the formal descriptions I expected it to be green iris. It's green, but cucumber green. Of course. I should have expected that, actually, and it completely makes sense now, but I didn't expect it. I think it becomes nicer as it loses weight. It's very dry. Interesting to see if anything can be done with it.

And lastly, a sample of Jasmophore, by Firmenich.  This arrived at 10%. Amazing.  Just like jasmine grandiflorum absolute, but maybe cleaner.  Creamy and thick smelling. Love this stuff. It's drying down on a piece of paper now, so we'll see if it stays this good. I just had Nils smell it, and he says it had a little nuance of "fart," so maybe it's more indolic than I realize.  But now, I love this stuff. EDIT: I feel like I should say that this is a very natural base. Probably more so than the Sampaquita by Givaudan, which is also spectacular, by the way. But it feels creamier, more natural (more lactonic?). And it definitely doesn't strike me as one of those all benzyl acetate type jasmines, nor as one of those car air freshener types. It smells nearly exactly like jasmine grandiflorum absolute, but with less baggage.

The only other newish thing I got was Coranol, which, just like it's description, smells like linalool. The description actually says "linalool ex coriander," but to be honest, I've always thought linalool smelled like coriander, as opposed to, say, lavender. My mom thought a linalool sample smelled "woody." So this Coranol smells to me of coriander. Just like advertised.

And that's pretty much it for today.  Flerp!

Saturday, April 22, 2017


So I've been thinking about musks again lately. Specifically the whole dirty/clean thing.

Sometimes I think I might be hyposmic to some kinds of 'animal' notes, because when I hear about fragrances that are 'skanky' and then smell them, it's nearly always a deflating experience. I read so much about Muscs Koublai Kahn and how it was so filthy, but then when I smelled it, all I got from it was what seemed like a costus note in the top and then a regular white musk thing. Nothing particularly offensive.  And the other day I happened to check out some reviews for Kiehls musk scent, to see what other people thought. And there were people who were all like, "It smells like sex" and talking about how indecent and skanky it was. And I'm there like, "What scent are they smelling? It just smells like laundry musks to me." And even Yatagan and Lauder, who I gather from Luca Turin's book are supposed to be very animalic--Yatagan just seems herbal and woodsy to me, and I don't get a predominant animal vibe at all from Lauder.

I should also mention that I had a dilution of skatole (unknown dilution, but probably 1%--the bottle said it was 'undiluted,' but undiluted skatole would be a powder; this was liquid), and to me it just kinda smelled like bad teeth. I didn't really get a fecal note from it. And I've never found a civet base that I thought was really repulsive; I never got a fecal impression from those. Indole materials tend to smell like mothballs to me. African Stone tincture maybe has a touch of fecal, but I find it more leathery and dusty. And I've had a couple musk bases that were supposed to be somewhat close to the natural material--Shangralide and Tonquitone. Shangralide smells terrible to me neat, but not in a shocking way. More just like in a Galaxolide-with-old-smelling-notes-mixed-in. I find it very unpleasant, and for some reason the word dollhouse keeps coming to mind when I think of it; maybe because it reminds of of some dusty place where plastic dolls were stored or something. As for Tonquitone, I do sort of get an animalic vibe from it, in the way that it kinda smells like underwear that's been worn for 5 days straight. In general I find it somewhat pleasant but not all that compelling.

I have a friend who loves skanky scents, and she's starting to get into aromachemicals. And she asked me about some musk that I mentioned--I think it was L-muscone--and asked if it was very animalic. I said I didn't particularly think so. I remember it smelling powdery and warm, like other musks. Were I to continue along that line, I would have said that I've never come across a musk molecule that smelled sexy/animalic/raunchy/dirty. ALL of them have smelled pretty clean, often powdery, sometimes fruity (or metallic, as with Galaxolide; I think Globanone had a metallic aspect too), but certainly never offensive. Or leathery, even.  And that gets me thinking....

Natural musk tincture. The way it strikes me is that the muscone, which I believe occurs naturally in it (maybe muscenone too) is sort of the 'character molecule' of it, as vanillin is with vanilla and civettone with civet. I feel like it was used in the beginning to get this note, and that the animal notes would have been side notes. Maybe side notes that were desirable, but that the muscone type smell was what perfumers saw in it. And the molecule itself would have the hedonic and performance qualities that make musk so desirable. (Personally, I would guess that there are other components of natural musk that may improve performance as well, even if alone they seem odorless. Maybe some kind of steroid molecule or something.) So it seems to be that muscone-type chemicals are the 'core' of the musk smell.

I would also bet that if you traveled back in time with a selection of modern musks, say, Habanolide, muscone, Velvione, muscenone and ethylene brassylate, and presented them to a perfumer who was used to using natural musk tincture, I think he or she would probably start using them like crazy, and maybe not even use the tincture at all. Because here you have the ability to give that lovely finish and performance enhancement you get from natural musks, but without all the animalic baggage. Suddenly you can create something clean and diffusive and soft and beaufiul, and use the musk note at much higher amounts (and have it appear in the top note too), and even boost fruity aspects. Probably they would still use the tincture, but as a blend with the modern musks. That's just how I think about it.

And I also think that if musk tincture weren't something unobtainable, then people probably wouldn't get it stuck in the search for a musk molecule that smells really skanky, or thinking that this is how musk is 'supposed' to smell. You see the same thing with people fetishizing sandalwood oil, since Indian sandalwood is essentially impossible to acquire these days. Sure, we can't get Indian sandalwood, but when you look at the universe of santal odorants, you have so many from which to choose--Sandalore, Javanol, Ebanol, Santaliff, Sandela, Osyrol, Polysantol, etc. So many materials, all of which reflect its own aspect of sandalwood. Why not combine them into something new, instead of trying to mimic sandalwood? And even if you're making a santal soli-whatever, surely with all the santal materials and the bases and all the other building blocks from which to choose, something very convincing could be created. So why get stuck on the idea of using the natural material? It seems that people fetishize these materials that are no longer available, or shouldn't be used due to overharvesting issues (don't get me started on rosewood--frankly, I don't understand the appeal. It smells JUST LIKE linalool to me; I just don't see a reason to use it. But then I'm not a perfumer, so there you go).

I'll admit that, in a previous part of my perfume journey, I used to think I should be attracted to dirty musk smells. I think that when you start exposing yourself to some of the perfume community, you sort of absorb the idea that 'dirty' smelling musks are 'truer,' and to seek them out endows you with some kind of sophistication. And to like clean 'white musks' means that your taste is unrefined, that you're a noobie plebeian like the overwashed masses. This makes me think of those people you occasionally hear from, usually in newspapers that I guess have space to fill and decide to publish a perfume-related story with no knowledge of perfume, who start decrying the modern focus on squeaky-cleanness and how 'we're on the verge of losing our own animal smells' clutch-your-pearls! (I know I've read that exact wording somewhere before, because it stuck with me; I don't remember where though.) Oh, what nonsense. Take the subway on a very hot, humid day at rush hour with a bunch of men in suits. Then tell me how 'precious' our natural odor is. Or better yet, cram onto a train in a poor part of India or wherever, and then tell me how wonderful the natural human smell is. There's a reason we cover up (to some degree) our natural odors, and it's not because they're so breathtakingly beautiful. I think that if people thought that the natural human odor was so fabulous, then they would be working to augment it, because that's where the money would be.

But the money (and much perfumista scorn) seems to be in white musks right now, because it seems like they sell. I suppose there would be industry money in a musk odorant that smells and performs exactly like musk ambrette but degrades easily and is 150% safe, but I don't know if one of those exists, and I can see that the fresher musk scents tend to be popular. (Excited note on musk ambrette: I have some that should be coming my way soon, if it can get to me. I sorta live in the Land of the Banned, so I'm not sure whether it will come through, but if it does, I'll be super excited to smell it. And then just after I smell it, mildly disappointed, because it could never live up to all the hype. Nothing ever does.) (Another note on musk ambrette, just in case anyone other than me is actually reading this: I'm referring to the nitro musk, NOT the extraction from ambrette seed and not ambrettolide. And not one of the bases like Ambrettex. This is one of those cases of perfumery being very undisciplined with its language, rather like the case with 'amber' and even 'aldehyde C-16 (so-called). Can't someone step forward and bring the language into line, please? And don't tell me to do it; no one even listens to me. Not even my dog. OK, I don't have a dog, but you get what I mean. Right?)

And this leads me to something of a confession: I like 'white musks." If you asked me what my favorite musk is, I think I would have to respond (and with some residual shame): Habanolide. I just love it, especially that hot-ironed note in the dryout. Although I think I MIGHT like Globanone a little more, but I haven't experienced it enough to decide. And I've smelled muscenone once, and wow, that's some purty stuff, so maybe that will become my favorite.  Although with the muscenone, I wonder a little whether I like it because it resembles musk ketone a bit (but being liquid and smellable from the bottle helps). And to be honest, I'm not sure I really understand musk ketone that well. I know it's supposed to be AMAZING and all, and I have had good results messing around with it, but I'm not sure that I understand it well enough to appreciate it yet. I will say this, though: straight out the bottle, the powder smells a bit to me like cardboard toilet paper rolls just unpacked, or at least how they smelled back in the 80s. Anyone else get that?

So yeah, I like me the white musks. Which isn't to say that I like all the white musk scents that are out there, or--god forbid--all those ghastly harsh 'linen' accords. But I do like me some fresh musk type scents when they're not too thin. And that's why I was seeing what other people thought of the Kiehls musk, even though the few times I've smelled it I was quite underwhelmed. I actually have some Alyssa Ashley white musk that I sometimes use for layering--I wish it were more straightforward musk, because I think there's some floralcy there that I could do without, but all in all I rather enjoy it for a day to day type thing. I was looking into the Kiehls for layering porpoises as well, but I don't think I need it. I do have my own musk blend which I'm sure I would actually prefer.

OK, rant over. Thoughts, anyone?

Pussokram -E

Saturday, September 17, 2016


So I was blermbling around Östermalm today, and I realized that I hadn't yet been to the new Chanel boutique there, and that it MUST be open by now.  Happy, it was.

What a suckfest.

Anyone who knows me should know that I couldn't give 2 shits about Chanel clothes or bags or whatever else they sell except for the perfume (and if you didn't know that, then you clearly don't know me), so naturally I went straight for the Les Exclusifs, which you haven't been able to find in Stockholm up until now.  They weren't hard to find, since the store itself is just as cramped as the one in NYC; in fact, they were in plain view--just a few bottles set up right outside a door that the salespeople kept entering and exiting, making for an annoying experience.  They also didn't carry the whole line.  I assume this because I did not see Cuir de Russie among them--I don't know (or care to know) the names of every perfume in the line, so I can't say if any others were missing, but the CdR definitely wasn't there.

And that's a shame, because I really wanted to see if I found it as bad as I did the last time I smelled it in NYC. It was over Christmas, and I hadn't smelled it in forever, but I had wanted it for quite some time. And now that there are smaller bottles, I was thinking of getting one. But it wasn't the same perfume--it didn't have that plush, warm, velvety feel it used to. I assumed that I had changed, and that it wasn't appealing to me anymore. But when I put it to the brain trust, they confirmed that yes, there have been a few reformulations in that line. I don't understand WHY they would reform CdR--if it met all the regulations in 2011, wouldn't it still meet them now? And they charge enough for it that they shouldn't be needing to save money on the formula. But anyway, I obviously no longer want it and can't see myself ever buying it. So that's that.

The usual suspects where there at the store, however: Misia, Bel Respiro, Boy, Jersey.... I briefly smelled the Eau de Cologne, and it didn't grab me. There are umpteen bazillion colognes on the market; why buy this one instead of any other.  I was, however, very interested in Boy. I remember there being lots of buzz around it, and while I could be wrong, I thought the buzz was that it was a 'feminine fougère' and that it had an androgynous feel. I'd heard about people liking it too, so I was interested.  So I smelled it.

I have to say, I sort of liked it initially. It reminded me of some oil, probably called 'fern', that I smelled at some overpriced, overwrought Italian place on the Lower East Side once. I liked that 'golden' quality that it had, which I would venture to say is a coumarinic aspect.  But then I remembered it was the same quality I liked in some Penhaglions fragrance that I smelled once (possibly also called Fern), which I never got because I didn't like the minty aspect that it had, which Boy also has.  Anyway, once I got past the 'golden' part of the scent, I realized that there wasn't much more there. I think the perfume could simply have been called "Fougère Base," because that's all I got from it. It's pleasant enough, but definitely not thrilling, and surely something that could be gotten for 1/10 of the price. I wouldn't be surprised if one could buy a fougère base that smells pretty much exactly the same.

And I also must say, apart from the sweetness, I don't see how anyone could call this a feminine fragrance. To me, Boy smells like a component of lots of men's fragrances from the 70s. It smells like it could have been an accord in Brut (which I'm not very familiar with, so maybe I'm thinking of another), or in a dozen-or-so masculine scents that you could find in a drugstore in the 80s. What part of this is a feminine update?

I don't get the hype around this fragrance. My personal thought is: Why would you wear this when you could find an old mens fragrance at a drugstore that smells the same but a bit more complex? I guess one could respond that a lot of those old scents have changed, and that it takes time to go wandering in different stores to find a good one, and that this one is ready to buy, albeit roodonkulously overpriced. I realize, however, that other people do not think like this and that probably the main reason people will wear this is because "it's Chanel." Or maybe because they buy in to this stupid feminine fougere claptrap. But for me, this scent is blah. Not unlike Jersey, which was, while pleasant, also blah. But with Jersey, I would question, "Why wear Jersey when you can wear Habanolide?"

Then on the way out of the store (I couldn't get away from that counter and the people coming and going fast enough), I saw the latest iteration of No. 5 on the main counter. So I smelled it. God, how pointless. I've heard very good things about this new one (whatever the hell THIS one is called. I think there's an 'eau' in it), so I guess I expected SOMETHING new about it. Nope. The same soapy aldehydes in whatever base I don't care about.  Honestly, when are the sequels to this movie going to end. Does the world need YET ANOTHER version of No. 5? No. Unquestionably, no. I didn't even keep the scent strip to see how it developed. Why bother, when there will probably be 3 more versions of Number 5 on the market by next year? 

To be completely honest, the world doesn't even need the original No. 5 anymore. It should by all rights be in the Osmothèque. How everyone hasn't outgrown it, I don't know. I was tired of it before I even knew it was No. 5 I was tired of. I thought it smelled soapy and 'old ladyish.' And I know I've mentioned this before, but I was told that the participants in a focus group at Symrise said the same thing, because they weren't told that they were smelling No. 5. At any rate, I find it hard to believe that people wear No. 5. for pleasure. It seems that it's more worn to telegraph certain things, like 'class' or wealth. Or perhaps some wear it out of reverence for history, I don't know.

And why bother wearing No 5 when you can wear FAKE No 5? I find Chanel as a company very off-putting anyway, so I celebrate anyone who wears fake Chanels.  In fact, I happen to own what I assume is a knockoff of No 5. I saw at at Lidl (!!), and it's basically a very aldehydic floral. Since it was I think 30 crowns (less than $3), I got it, and I like to layer things over it, because I like how the dry freshness of the aldehydic accord works with some stuff.  I think it must be a knockoff of No 5, because why would anyone make an aldehydic fragrance these days? It's been done. And I would say that the apotheosis of aldehydic fragrances is, in fact, White Linen by Estee Lauder.

So that was my annoying experience with the Chanel store. I can't at the moment imagine a reason to ever return, but I'm sure that another Les Exclusif will come out and I will go there to smell it and be disappointed again.  Such is life.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Firmenich Bases

Firmenich bases, where have you been all my life (except in a large number of my favorite scents, I assume)????

Every time I smell another Firmenich base, I fall in love all over again. I had to type this, because I got a couple new (to me) ones today: Feuillage Vert and Mimosa Absolute Synth. The Feuillage is so crisp and green and fresh, but also light, like crushed leaves (it doesn't smell like it's loaded with galbanum molecules to me), and works in a hay context. The mimosa is very much like the flower that I recently finally got to smell off the tree---anisaldehydic, greenish-but-not-harsh, with a cinnamic note straight out of the bottle and a bit of a cresylic animal note. I don't know how closely it reflects the absolute, since I haven't smelled it in ages, but I assume since it's a base it's brighter.

I also received a sample of an incredible Narcisse base, which is very green with a mentholic aspect. I excpected it to be more white flower-with-leather, but it makes me think of tuberose. Oh, and I should say that I also got a sample of Firmenich's Osmanthus base, which straight from the bottle smells to me exactly like the description of osmanthus that I knew before I ever smelled the absolute--peachy (more like peach tea) with a leather undertone. Very nice.

I have a couple more bases from Firmenich--the Vetyrisia, which I've read was a part of lots of vintage fragrances, and to me has the smell of a fruity orris base. I don't get much vetiver from it, but I love the orris note.  I'm sure I have a couple more, but nothing springs to mind right away.

Actually something did, but when I looked at it I realized it's a Symrise base--Frangipani Rouge Vitessence. This is just stunning to me. Full floral, very clean, maybe just a touch soapy and green. Absolutely lovely. A perfume in itself.

Actually, any of these that I've mentioned could be perfumes in themselves. I could see just diluting them and wearing them straight, or maybe with an unobtrusive musk. They all seem very versatile.

And that's my flerp for today.


Sunday, February 28, 2016


So I have this musk blend that I often use as a base on which to layer things. It's a sort of ever-evolving blend that I add to when I have new musk odorants. It's mainly ethylene brassylate at this point, but it also contains Zenolide, l-muscone, Exaltolide, some musk ketone, Habanolide, Velvione, Exaltenone and at least one musk base.  No Cashmeran.

At first I wanted to keep it only musk odorants, but after a while it's grown a little in complexity. Benzyl salicylate is in there, both because I love the smell of it (I perceive it, but it's very faint to me) and because it's easy to dissolve the ketone in it. There's some vanillin in there too, because I love vanillin in all its forms.  Just traces in my musk blend, though

What has not really been in there are any more traditional animalics, like civet or castoreum (although I do love castoreum, but I think I prefer a reconstruction to the natural material). I've always thought I would like the more animalic musks, and filthy smells in general; sort of in the same way that I thought I would like things like red wine, dark chocolate and whiskey--things that are always described as rich and bold. I've never smelled musk tincture (who has?), but I've smelled some of the more 'dirty' musk bases, and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I think Shangralide smells awful--like a ugly mixture of clean musk with something, I dunno, musty or dusty or something. I wish I could smell some now, because I can't remember what exactly it brought to mind for me; for some reason I keep thinking it made me think of dolls (sort of like how a plasticky apple scent might make you think of a Strawberry Shortcake doll), but that can't be right. Maybe it smelled like something girly but old, like a soft scent stored for a long time in a dank cupboard.  Anyway, yeah.

I've also smelled Tonquitone, which is more appealing than Shangralide by miles, but doesn't make me swoon. It smells like underwear that I've worn for a week straight. Not altogether bad, but not as interesting as it seemingly smells to others.

As for dirty musk fragrances like Musc Koublai Kahn, well, I've never really found one that I thought was particularly dirty. MKK starts out with a dirtyish note but clams down pretty quickly. I've not smelled Secretions Magnifique, so maybe that's more offensive.

I guess I should mention that I've also smelled civet bases (but not the natural material), which smell unpleasant but not hellaciously so. They smell like bad teeth to me. And I've smelled Africa Stone, which is actually quite pleasant.

But I've never put anything like that into my musk blend. After smelling a bunch of musk materials, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I prefer the cleaner musks. I think my favorite is Habanolide (or maybe Globanone, which I haven't experienced much but seems to be even more of what I like about Habanolide--a sort of metallic note), which is clean, not too fruity or powdery, and gets even better as it dries down. Ethylene brassylate is really growing on me too. I do quite love juniper lactone, but it's very pricey. Still haven't smelled civettone (talk about pricey!!).

But this weekend I got it in my head to see what Costausol did to my musk blend. Costausol is an animalic-type that I sort of like. To me it smells sort of nutty, and with other materials it gives an impression of hair. Actually, alone it reminds me of the first "vetiver type"oil I ever smelled. It was from some super cheap brand sold at a place called Scents n Suds, and I remember it smelled sort of like old wood but with a tone of chewed peanuts and a floor wax connotation. Since then I've smelled several vetiver essential oils and a couple isolates, and nothing has ever smelled like that particular oil. I wonder what they were going for when they created it. And I also wonder whether it had costausol in it, as costausol gives part of the oily, peanutty note that was in it.  So anyway, I tried a little costausol in my musk blend, putting a tiny bit in a smaller bottle and seeing what happened. Because that's how I roll.

Now, the tiny bit in the smaller bottle still amounts to much, much more of a Costausol influence than I would end up with. When I'm trying something new like that, I'll often put it in a li'l sample at a much higher concentration than I would use it, just to see what it does. And you know what? I like the effect that the Costausol has. Granted, it's too nutty and forward in the small sample, but it's much more diluted in the blend proper. I like how it gives a background to the musk, making them a bit more oily. It also works very well for layering. I think it will work well once it integrates fully into the blend. And if not, I can always add more of the musk materials I prefer to the blend to bring it back into balance. There's so little Costausol there that it shouldn't have a massive effect.

And that's floop!

Friday, February 19, 2016


First of all: Oh fer Chrissakes, now the EU demands that blogs have informed consent??? WHAAAAAA?????

And now that's out of the way (I hope), let's talk about lactones.

It's been forever since I posted, and I've smelled about a million (probably closer to 30) aromachemicals since then, so I'm finna speak about my most recent acquirescences, which aren't many.

So..... lactones.  What does the word mean to you? If you're not a fumehead (my preferred term) (and if you're not, well, how did you get here?), then you have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe you're lactones intolerant.

If you ARE a fumehead, then you're probably thinking, "Oh yeah, lactones! Buttery, peachy, coconutty.... white floral accents.. yes, I know those."

So yeah, lactones.

I'm finna talk about my most recent acquirals in the world of lactones. And they all revolve around tonka.

So since I was gonna be in the States over xmas, I finally made another order from I haven't ordered since I've been abroad, because their shipping is, like, $20, and compared to perfumersapprentice's circa $10, that seems like a lot to me. Until I type it, and then it's like all, duh, that's only a few more dollars, but hey, no one ever claimed I was rational. But anyway, so for the visit, I made a quick order that included whiskey lactone and gamma valerolactone.

OK, so some preliminaries... I love lactones. Tonka-type lactones.  Peach lactone and C18 were the first ones I ever experienced, and I didn't much like them, to be honest. Peach lactone (C14) didn't smell like peach to me in a way that I liked (it smelled buttery to Nils; I would say maybe fatty, but not buttery so much), and C18 was too dry for my taste. I don't usually like the coconut note when it's too forward. I still don't like C14 very much, but I'm sure it works better in composition than in isolation.  But I DO love coumarin. And, to some extent, octahydrocoumain. Both are lactones. Presumably so is dihyrdocoumarin, which I think I like even better than coumarin, as I perceive it as more tonka. Coumarin in isolation is more powdery to me.  But since I'm always searching for That One Perfect Tonka Note, and I know (now) that coumarin is a lactone, I've been trying tonka-type lactones.

The first couple I tried that seemed much more interesting were Koumalactone and Florex (both available from Liaison Carbone, thanks god). Now, every time I find a new lactone that's coumarinic in the way I like, I always think it's my salvation. "This is the lactone I've been looking for!!!" is the first thing I think when I smell them.  It was like that with Koumalactone.  "Finally a lactone that smells like tonka!!!!" I thought when I first smelled it. I wish I could get it at 100%. But.... then came Florex.  But wait!

Actually.... then came Coumarone, also available from Liaison Carbone.  I forgot about this one.  A powder, just like coumarin.  BUT it has an orangeflower facet.  I read about this (of course) on The Good Scents Company before ordering, but to be honest, I couldn't really get my head around it. "And orangeflower facet in a coumarinic material? How could it be so..." I thought to myself. But it's true. A coumarin theme with a significant orangeflower side note, not unlike.... oranger crystals!!! Of course, it makes total sense. I mean, it's a ketone, right? Just like oranger crystals.  Seems like it could be very useful.  But anyway...

Florex. Amazing. It really does have a 'tangy' aspect. I've been interested in this idea of a tangy aspect since smelling Guess! for Women, which--for better or for worse---I will always associate with Payless Shoe Source, since I finally bought the bottle, at deep discount, the same day I visited a Payless Shoe Source in Atlanta. One whose clientele must have been mostly drag queens, because I think I bought some chunky women's heels there in an attempt to see if I could make myself even taller, something which today I think I could accomplish with simple elevator shoes. (Full disclosure: I'm not exactly tall. I'm not exactly short either, at just about 6 feet, but hell, a few inches can make a big difference. Yes, that IS what she said!) But I remember it had a tangy drydown which for whatever reason I thought had a fecal aspect.  And interesting that I should think that.

Because I got some Florex, after wanting some for quite a while. And naturally I thought, "This is the tonka note I've been looking for my whole life!" I found it tonka, coumarin, tangy, interesting and very long lasting.  Nils, on the other hand, thinks it smells like "fresh dog shit," and hates it. When I think about it now, I sort of see what he means. Its tangy note is very sharp. I find it pleasant; Nils doesn't. The tangy note isn't so forward in composition. (Full disclosure: "Composition" to me basically means "added to something I had lying around.") It's quite lovely.

So on to the creatingperfume order.  In it were whiskey lactone, gamma valerolactone, a sample of Azuril, a sample of Indolearom, a sample of Amber Xtreme and something else citrusy that was unpleasant. I think that was all.  So whiskey lactone.  Well, it's basically the tonka note that I've been looking for all my life.  Like the others. At this point I'm getting skeptical of these initial impressions.  But it did smell lovely in a tonka way. Nils thinks it smells like dill. Gamma valerolactone--well, this one is quick. Quick of the smelling strip, that is. The description intrigued me to no end--tobacco, hay, top note.... On the strip I didn't smell so much. I still haven't explored it enough, though. But I think I got some almond/hay type scent from it. I'll have to explore this one further. After googling, I noticed that it may be metabolized into some GHB type chemical.  Well, who knew! I have no intention of trying that, but I guess this type of thing is good to know, if only to anticipate the thing being restricted soon.

So that's my lactone journey for the moment. I'm always hoping to find more (convenient to acquire) tonka-type lactones, so maybe something will come along soonly that IS the lactone I've been looking for my whole life. And hopefully it will be super strong, available at 100% for cheap, and be a base note with an effect perceptible at every stage of evaporation. I've yet to explore gamma-hexa- and heptalactone--maybe those are the key.  I guess it can't be all THAT difficult to reproduce the tonka note, since there aren't many tonka bases offered in my sphere of purchase possibility dinglepoodonglevweenoodelpeedoodeloos (which makes me think that this tonka-hay note is so obviously reproduced that no one bothers to make bases for it; that said, there IS the base Coumarex, which I still have yet to experience. But then, that's a base to allow for reduced use of coumarin, methinks, which doesn't really apply to me, since I'm just a hobbyist doing ish for my own pleasure).
Be well, and be perfumed.

Much Love,

Monday, February 08, 2016

Link: LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

So how can someone have a scent blog and not mention LVMH shutting down Monsieur Guerlain?  Go here to read all about it:

It's a disgrace.

10 February update: And this is how LVMH responds to the criticism on Facebook:

So this is Guerlain believing "strongly in freedom of expression"? Fuck Guerlain. Fuck LVMH.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Blimey. I found this old post as a draft that it looks like I've never published.  Might as well complete it! And now, the post:

I got some much anticipated materials today: geosmin 1%, earthy pyrazine, seaweed absolute, oakmoss absolute and a Givco orris base.

My impressions were as follows:

Geosmin: Smelled it from the bottle, as I always do. Couldn't smell much of anything, maybe a very light patchouli. Blended it with some stuff, wore it, and was told I smelled like garden soil. I thought that was a good thing! I hoped for more of a petrichor effect. Probably it wasn't diluted enough.
The pyrazine: earthy, dryish, nutty
Seaweed abs (decolorized): It makes me think of sushi. 
Oakmoss abs: I was already familiar with this one. Like Polo once was, dark, mossy, rich. Wish I had a decolorized one.
Orris: mild orris note; didn't find it very powdery; fruity; nice.

What I found more interesting were Nils's impressions:

Geosmin: patchouli, slightly floral
The pyrazine: green peas. I smell this too, actually, but I don't think it was my first impression.
Seaweed: burnt rubber, burnt textiles, blown-out brakes, unpleasant
Oakmoss: old paint, old houses
Orris: Foody, slightly violet

I can see what he means about the Geosmin and the pyrazine.  Now that some time has passed, I can also see what he means with the seaweed, but my dominant impression of that is still green and sushi-like. The oakmoss I can understand, too, but to me it smells richer and darker than his description. He found the orris very foody, and I found it more woody.

So that's the materials gurzonk for the moment. More to come, as I've probably experienced and forgotten a zillion materials since the last time I updated.


Zara Home

Wow, it's been forever since I posted. I just looked at the blog to see how the format was, and my last post seems to be about my anosmia, which I am happy to report passed after I got antibiotics for the sinusitis.  It was a scare for a little while.  Anyway....

I went into Zara Home today and was greeted by.... new fragrances!! ZH has been in sthlm for some time right now, and I've been wanting them to get SOMETHING new for a long time now.  Sure, they occasionally had different candles or what not at the register, but the main scents they had were always the 'core' line (what I consider the core line): Dark Amber, Black Vanilla, Green Herbs, the gardenia one, the jasmine one and I think one they call White Ginger or Ginger Flower or something.  Those are nice, and they certainly do perform--one of the big candles will fill a room with scent without being lit.  That said, the scents kinda share that Golden Girls vibe that the rest of the store can have, some more than others.  The biggest case in point being the gardenia, which to me seems loaded with white flower notes and fruity tones--peachy lactones, maybe. But it's not soft or velvety or buttery. It's a bit harsh. The jasmine is a bit harsh too, and kinda thin now that I consider it.  The amber is nice--I have the incense, and it gives me a big vetiver vibe. Green Herbs is lovely; I have the spray, and when I got it home it was fruitier in a cis-3-hexenyl acetate way than I expected. The Ginger one is problematic for me--in the store I got a strong spicy, eugenolic feel from it and I got the reed diffuser to tinker with. When I got it home, I got a lot more lilac from it, which I wasn't crazy about. The Black Vanilla I don't even bother with. It just doesn't appeal to me.

Apart from the 'core' scents, I've only experienced a few: their holiday gingerbread is nice in the incense and more lemony in the spray; they had a holiday candle which I think they called myrrh--it was a lovely incensy aroma, I wish they carried it all year round; and something I think they called Coral Flower, which is really an orange blossom. I got the big candle in that, but it doesn't have the performance of their other candles.  Nice, though.

So now to the ones I saw tonight. I didn't write anything down, so I'll try to take it from memory.  There was a cedar scent, not very exciting, seemed to have some conifer aspects. Pleasant, and if I had not accidentally sprayed it in my face, rather forgettable.  There was a fig one, of which I bought the incense. (I'm so into incense now; I never liked it before, didn't like what the smoke contributed. But it's undeniably a convenient method of home fragrancing.) The spray--I was smelling the sprays--was nice, berryish, kinda green, pretty much what you'd expect for a fig fragrance. I quite like the incense, though--a round berry smell with aspects of currant, not as green as I expected. (Take all the descriptions in this post with a hefty grain of salt, because the Zara Home store can be smelled from a block away, and there's also lots of scents in the apartment. So it's not like I'm smelling these things under lab conditions or anything.) There was an orange blossom that I found utterly unlike orange blossom, except for the fact that it was indolic. I actually smelled the cap before then spraying it into the cap to smell again, and I thought, "Wow, the drydown is pretty indolic. I can't wait to smell the floral overlay." But I didn't get any floral in it at all. It was like a woody scent, maybe even leathery, with an indolic facet. I guess they must have been going for some kind of new take on orange blossom, because I don't think that an orange blossom is particularly difficult. I'm sure there are great bases, and even if not, you could probably just put Aurantiol into something and a lot of people would read it as orange blossom. But what do I know? Nothing, that's what!  And onward...  There was something they called bamboo while the design suggested 'clover.' It smelled mild green, but not sharp like you'd expect from a bamboo. More like a clover. Pleasant. I got the incense, but I need to smell it in action again to know fully what I think about it.  OK, this paragraph is getting heavy, so I will start

a new one. Next was a tuberose. "Tuberose Bouquet" was the name. Nice in its way, but even harsher than the one they call Gardenia. Like a bunch of harsh white flower notes turned up all the way. Minty too, which of course made me think salicylates, but don't those usually soften a scent a bit? Maybe the mint came from that cresylic note whose name I can't remember.  Anyway, it could have been so nice if it were softer, but it felt a bit skeletal. Would be interesting to get it and add to it, see what could be done.  The last one I remember was their Red Berries.  I didn't mention it above, but I've also smelled this before. Love me a good berry note, and this one is nice. Nothing to scream from the rooftops about (not like that fantastic Kobo candle that I want--now THAT's a berry!), but pleasant. I wonder how performative it is.

Well, that's the Zara Home update for now. Hopefully this new addition to the scents here means that they'll start offering a better variety. One can hope!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I have anosmia.

At the moment I seem to be anosmic, meaning that I can't smell anything. Orthonasally, that is. I can still taste flavors (at least I think so--food hasn't seemed particularly bland), so I think retronasally I might be fine. Here's the background:

I've been sick since mid-December, when I flew home across the Atlantic. At first it was just a minor headcold. I felt all 'inflamed,' but mostly only at night. I seemed to get a bit better by hammering the cold with Mucinex and decongestants. A couple weeks later, though, I got a high fever for a night, followed by days of maybe a mild temperature, and seemingly fluctuating between feeling very hot and very cold but probably not feverish.  I think I had a mild cough after that. The whole time, however, I was able to smell things. Then I flew back to Sweden, and got sick again, probably from the stress. Green-grey mucus. So I stayed home from work for a couple days and slept nearly the whole time. And I've had a productive cough since then. The mucus went from gray-green to yellow. And I started taking bromhexine, since that's OTC in pill form here. I know that I could still smell after getting here.

Then a few days ago, possibly when I tried to break my dependence on nose spray, I noticed that I couldn't smell a thing. Food still tasted fine, but I couldn't properly smell anything from the front of my nose.  A couple days ago I sprayed a bunch of different fragrances on paper (Spellbound, Fleur du Male, Body Shop White Musk for Men--nothing exactly subtle) and inhaled. Nothing.  Absolutely nothing. I figured it must be the cold, the congestion.

So today I used some nose spray (oxymetazoline AND Nasonex) and took a large dose of decongestant (pseudoephedrine, the real stuff) and smelled (er, inhaled from) a bunch of things: isobutyl quinoline, methyl benzoate, wintergreen oil, juniper berry oil, an apple fragrance oil, Azarbre, rum acetal, a couple monstrously strong scents I made, para-cresol 10%, Ultrazur, Galbex 183, a couple perfumes, a dilution of skatole. 

Nothing. Or rather, sometimes maybe a faint just-under-consciousness type odor, but that was probably because I knew what I was smelling.  Maybe a faint hint of the Galbex. 

I guess that's why I haven't recoiled from the frequent bathroom stench at work in the past few days.

Ironically, I've also been reading that book Season to Taste, about someone's anosmia which resulted from a head injury.

So has anyone out there over the intertubes had this experience? Any treatment recommendations? Alls I could find was a brief mention of various minerals (zinc, magnesium, selenium), vitamin A, theophylline (because it increases cAMP in mucus--so might coleus forskohlii help?), alpha lipoic acid.

I think I should get my olfaction back when the illness is gone, but this is very dispiriting. I hope it's not a long-lasting or permanent thing.  

Suggestions, anyone?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dear Yves Rocher

Dear Yves Rocher,

I just tried a few of your deodorants last week. The good news: I LOVE how they smell! It's so refreshing to find a deodorant that doesn't smell like all the rest. I especially like The Brown One, which is oriental and reminds me of that Liz Claiborne fragrance for men. Spark, was it called? I like the pink one too and the almond one, which should probably be renamed coconut.

And now the bad news: they don't work. Oh, they smell great when you put them on, but then a few hours later, after the sweat comes, there's no sweet smell left. Only sweaty-ass rankness. Check out Soft n Dri---that stuff works after a 12 hour shift at McDonalds! Or Right Guard, which doesn't smell as good but certainly works.

That is all.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Snerfling (...I really hope that's not the word for some strange fetish or something. It just came to me, like sniffing +flerping)

So I was at the only place in sthlm I know of where you can sniff the Frederic Malle line the other day, and I think I have a new scent for my wish list: Dries van Noten, which until yesterday when I looked it up online would have been referred to as "that Dutch-sounding name." (I think it's actually a Flemish name, which means.... what exactly? Does anyone actually speak Flemish? Or Dutch for that matter?) My first impression of it was that it smelled like steamed milk and toasted almonds. And I guess that will never change, because that's what everyone says about first impressions: Looking for a second job is a full-time first impression.  When I got home I peeped at basenotes and elsewhere about the frag and it seems that the whole gourmand thing is no accident--you know, Belgian waffles and I forgot the rest after mentioning Belgian waffles.... But it also apparently has a sandalwood accord, which I'm not sure if I picked up, because I kept thinking there was a balsamic woody thing going on there but that it might have been the scotch pine essential oil that I put on my hand some hours before (that gluey woody pine note, without any of the sharp greens, possibly because of low quality). And it's supposed to have real Mysore sandalwood in it. Is that possible? I thought it was supposed to be NO HOW NO WAY NO MYSORE SANDALWOOD since the unpleasantness (the overharvesting). Do I have it wrong? Well, sandalwood or not, I really quite like the Dries, so after trying it a zillion more times I might end up buying it when I'm drunk and feeling like a splurge. Except that nothing is ever open here when you're drunk, unless you get all bombed from 11-2 and not on Sundays.  So maybe not then.  We'll see, because it might smell completely different the next time I make an experience of it.

The other scent I smelled there was also from Frederic Malle, because they don't carry Serge Lutens at this store and have never heard of the line (of course not--why would someone who works at a perfume store know anything about perfume?), was Une Fleur de Cassie. Now, I've never smelled cassie absolute before or, to my knowledge, cassie flower. But I do know that it's not the same things as cassis or cassia. Something leads me to think that it's in the same olfactive range as mimosa and hawthorn (another one I've not smelled. to my knowledge)--a pale, almondy, anisic, greenish, powdery smell. Mind you, I only say anisic because every 'anisic' odorant I've come across is described as useful for mimosa and hawthorn scents. Also that these odorants don't usually smell like what I would think of as anisic--anisaldehyde is kind of hay-like and anisyl acetate smells pink.  Yep, pink. And Une Fleur de Cassie smells white. White and powdery. And floral, but not exactly like I expected. I really didn't get almond or vanilla or hay or anise or coumarin or cherry or any of that, or if I did they were subliminal, if that's the right word. I really just got a powdery pale floral. One that smelled 'classy.' Like if you added a lot of orris, you'd have a Chanel perfume. And if you added orris and ate one of those saffron buns, you'd have the whole Chanel boutique (because saffron has a leather nuance. Make sure you tell that to the next person you meet who is eating a saffron baked good). And while I appreciated the smell of Une Fleur, and I guess you could say I in-the-right-mood-quite-liked-it, I'm not sure I would ever wear it. I'm not sure when something like it would be appropriate. Maybe it makes more sense if I say that I could totally see myself wearing it with an ivory suit. But then when would I ever have the opportunity to wear an ivory suit?! Also, it seems much better suited for a woman my Mom's age (I'm not sure my Mom would like it--I think she likes her frags more hot blooded). And since I'll never be a woman my Mom's age or any age, then either it's perfectly wrong for me or perfectly appropriate-because-I-don't-have-to-be-older-to-wear-it. Does that make sense? It felt like it made sense to me the other day. Hmmmmm.....

And of course I wrote the whole preceding paragraph without explaining that mimosa/cassie/hawthorn is a note I'm really feeling right now because I bought some room spray called Mimosa and felt like I suddenly 'got it' with the mimosa descriptor. I think the spray is by Durance, who for some probably-irrational reason I've been resistant to for some time. And who knows why I smelled it in the first place, but when I did, it seemed like I finally understood something about the mimosa descriptor. Because the spray is fresh, floral, powdery and has that anisaldehydic sweetness that tells you that it's mimosa. And it also has that fantastic soft-not-sharp green note on top that I think is what attracted me to that long lost gem from the Body Shop called Leap. I'll confess--I like it so much I've worn it as perfume. And if that's wrong then I don't want to be overserved. And we all know I like the overservage. So yeah, that's why I decided to pick up Une Fleur de Cassie the other day. That and the fact that I always smell Carnal Flower and Musc Ravageur, dreaming of the day that I'd be rich enough to waltz in and buy one for my daytime scent and one for the bathroom, and one for the ballroom where I get my waltzing lessons.

And well that's the beep for now. Snerflp!

Sunday, September 08, 2013


So I got some new materials the other day, in addition to the bazillions of ones that I got and never wrote about, so I thought I'd flerp a post up.

One at least is a "natural" ingredient (natural in quotes because the demarcation between natural and synthetic is so much fuzzier than it may seem initially): fir balsam absolute.  Wow--where has it been all my life?? It smells kinda like that Yankee Candle that was discontinued because it smelled too good, the Balsam Fir one. It has the very green conifer notes (nothing camphory, thankfully), and the balsamic-woody tone with the fruity tone that always comes up in descriptors for it. It's very, very thick and sticky, but it's worth getting it to dissolve in alcohol, because it's such a lovely, natural note.  And rather unlike the steam-distilled conifer notes I've smelled. It's fuller than the Himalayan fir oil and much more complex than scotch pine essential oil.  Very nice. I think I shall have to get more of it.

Two other materials I got are good examples of the blurriness between the idea of naturals and synthetics: One is Patchouli Coeur, which is a patchouli oil high in patchoulol. It's a very nice oil, not as harsh as the young, steam-distilled (?) patchouli oils you often come across in health food stores and what not. It's almost like a composition.  Recognizably patchouli, not too green, a bit of that 'round' note that patchouli can have that I've never been able to describe. I think it might be a fruity note, but I've always for some reason thought of it as having a cola nuance.  Unfortunately I don't get any of a cocoa feel from this oil, but nevertheless it's a great patchouli. I'd love to compare it with patchouli CO2 and patchouli absolute, which I don't have.  And patchoulyl acetate, which I'd quite like to smell, especially since I find interesting the olfactive differences between various alcohols and acetates (linalool and linalyl acetate, eugenol and eugenyl acetate, etc....)  The reason why I'm not sure whether this oil is a natural or not is that I'm not sure how they get the patchoulol content higher than typical oils.  I guess it's some kind of fractionation, but I'll stop any speculation there, since I don't understand those processes. The takeaway here is that if you like patchouli, you'll probably like the patchouli coeur.

And the other material is Labdasur. It's from labdanum (hence the name), and I think it's considered a synthetic. But I'm not sure if it's a fractionated version of labdanum or something extracted out of it (like alpha irone from orris?). The company that manufactures it also makes Cistasur (a synthetic) and eclat de ciste. I don't have either of those, but I do love my labdanums. The Labdasur is supposed to be leathery and animalic--I suppose the leathery part of labdanum.  To me it smells very ambery, and maybe leathery in the sense that Bel Ami is (or rather, was) leathery.  In that ambery way.  So it's a warm brown leather note like in Cuir de Russie, not a smoky leather note like cade or a black leather like Safraleine. I diluted some and put it on my skin, and it got a bit of a powdery thing going on too.  Very nice. I like this one a lot. I'd love to try the cistasur, which is supposed to be ambery and powdery, I think, and the eclat de ciste, which I think is a 'sparkling' cistus note.

I do have to reiterate that I love my labdanum. There's an absolute that I can actually buy in a store here in the Frozen North (there aren't many places to get essential oils/absolutes here), and it has a smell similar to a light oakmoss.  Speaking of which, I have some oakmoss coming, along with Timbersilk and Fixateur 505, which I'm pretty excited to meet. I just love the name, and it's supposed to smell a bit like Ambrarome, which I think is supposed to smell a bit like labdanum.  So the labdanum journey continues.

And that's my beep for today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

OK, so I sort of told myself that if I had a glass or 8 of wine then I would post something on the Interwebs. Which, now that I think about it, maybe isn't the best idea, but whatever.  I'm only in the mood to post after a glass or two of wine.  And prebiotics.

So I thought I'd flammer about things that I couldn't smell before but I can smell now.  First, the odd ones out: raspberry ketone and eugenyl acetate.  Raspberry ketone I thought I just couldn't smell.  But since there's online jangles about it helping hair growth and skin elasticity (and weight loss--how odd that something I've played with for perfume is also available in pill form for people who want to slim down), I diluted some in PG (yeah, I did that.  I said PG for propylene glycol) and then in water and put it on my face.  Why not? It's cheap enough.  And from that I get a little bit of a berry smell.  Not singly raspberry--more like a vague strawberry/raspberry/generic berry. Or like the fruity part of ethyl maltol without the burnt sugar/caramel tone.  Faint, but nice, and seemingly very versatile.  I think TGSC said one of its uses was 'Christmas blends,' and I can see this now.

And eugenyl acetate.  The first couple times I got this chem I could not smell it AT ALL.  This latest time I got an impression of it.  I think.  Now that I've come to the conclusion that acetates are fruitier than alcohols, I smelled the eugenyl in that frame of mind. I think it is fruitier than eugenol, although it's not fruity per se.  I think it's a more rounded smell than eugenol, not as sharp.  But I still can't smell it all the time, whereas I can absolutely smell eugenol, dihydroeugenol (the Monster thought that smelled like clove cigarettes) and isoeugenol (there's a weird ham note there). I like eugenyl acetate, but of course I would.  I love the clove note, and I don't think I've met a clove note that I didn't like a bit. Interestingly, the Nilsmonster couldn't smell eugenyl acetate at all either--is this common?  Anyone out there who could smell eugenol perfectly well but not the acetate? (I don't know if it's relevant, but I can smell Z3hexenyl acetate and linalyl acetate just fine.)  So I can sort of smell eugenyl acetate now, under the right conditions.

A couple more: ambroxan at 100% and Exaltolide at 100%. I can smell these now.  Before, I couldn't.  You may be thinking, "Of course you couldn't smell them at 100%! Why didn't you dilute them?!" OK.  I admit it--I'm not exactly scientific with my aromachems.  I'm not a perfumer or a compounder.  And I don't have a 'lab.'  So I usually smell things at 100% or dilute them in any carrier I have (at whatever %) and, well, yeah.  Anyway, I can smell ambroxan now.  If I hold the bottle under my nose for just a moment, I get the whiff of what I know is ambroxan (I know this mostly from drydowns of things with it.). And Exaltolide: I couldn't smell it at all before at 100%, and I don't think I could smell it in dilution, but I  COULD smell a change when I added it to things.  I can't exactly explain the change, but it just seemed to enhance things.  Well the last time I ordered it, I smelled it outside (this is important, I think because of air pressure) and I could smell it!  I could smell the balsamic character it has!  That was cool.  Other musks were somewhat easy to smell at 100%: Cosmone, Musk Ketone, Velvione, R1. Others needed dilution: Galaxolide (I put this in my bathroom spray, which essentially functions as a vehicle for experiments. I sprayed it, and after the lighter notes wore off, I was like 'this smells just like Tersor!!!'), Tonalide (to me this smells like Downy when it dries down), Habanolide (the hot-ironed fabric note is real: but you have to dilute it or let it dry down to smell it).

I'm not sure I have anything else that I can't smell at 100%. I don't really keep track of musks, since I don't expect to smell them at 100%. I have a great musk ambrette replacer that I can smell if I put it on paper and wait a short while. Otherwise I think everything I have at the moment is smellable at 100%.

And that's the burgoosh for now.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Still here. Still a Sauvignon Blanc wino.

So I have some castoreum absolute (50% in benzyl benzoate) on the way. But I have to admit, I prefer the Givco (I think) castoreum base. I guess it's "Disneyfied," but I just see so much possibility with it. Whereas the natural I'm just like, 'it smells sweaty.' I think I need to further dilute the natural. Am I the only one who thinks this?

Hermitage has some natural civet absolute for sale. I'm toying with the idea of buying a milliliter just to have the reference scent at hand.  After all, I've had the base (Firmenich? I got it from Perfumer's Apprentice), and I don't think that's EXTREMELY offensive.  Sure, it's unpleasant, but not all THAT bad, really.  Not something that I'd keep in a jar inside a jar (like the isobutyl quinoline, which I find quite pleasant even at 100% but which is so strong that I keep it inside a couple jars). At Symrise I smelled a sample that just smelled like bad teeth.  Or, if you will, "over 45 teeth" (I put the 45 in there since I'm, um, "over 39," and I'd prefer to think that I have 5 years before that 'teeth' smell arrives). Anyway, the natural is supposed to smell 'repulsive,' so it would be nice to have the reference smell.

But back to Givco bases. I had some Sampaquita  and used it all to simply dilute in alcohol to make scents with (it's that good). And sure, it smells like jasmine, but, like I've said before, jasmine "with all the lights turned on."  I will say, however, that in a composition I think it smells more like regular jasmine flower.  So why does anyone use natural jasmine?!?!  Now if only PA would carry a tuberose, a fully accurate carnation and a tonka base, then all the problems of the world would be solved!  I imagine that if I had the perfect tabac-new mown hay base, then I could just quit with all my experimentation, because there would be my perfect scent!

So I also have some of their 'styrax essence' on order. And I'm not 110% sure if that's a purified natural or a base or whahappen, but I'm interested to see how it will smell. It's in their 'leather key accord,' so I'm hoping it will be more a leather than a cinnamic-tolu balsam-type. But since I intend to maybe use it in a spicy leather thing that I have, then probably either will do. But I'm hoping it smells exactly like Tom Ford Private Label Tuscan Leather (which it won't), because I adore that (along with Tobacco Vanille). And not only do I adore it, but I find it deceptively simple.  I smell it and think, "I could just dilute some Suederal."  But no.  I've diluted Suederal, and it didn't smell the same.  So if anyone has a formula for a convincing formula for a fake, please do comment....

I had the same experience with Chanel's Sycomore.  I smelled it and was like, "I could make that!" Even though I knew in the back of my head that I could not, in fact, make it.  But it seemed so simple!  I can't in fact recall the smell now, except that maybe it was vetivery and definitely woody-green-foresty, and that I'm sure I thought I could reproduce it with isocyclocitral, vetiver and galbanum. Oh, to be as close to the Chanel boutique as I was when in NYC!!!! Alas.

But anyway, I have castoreum, styrax and the citrus key accord they have on the way.  I do love the citrus accord. If you look at the formula, it's almost all limonene, but that's fine, because it smells sweet and dry citrus and wonderful, and it will go with my Celeditude scent, which might be a bit too round and needs more sharp citrus.  So there you go.  But apart from that, it's all about the leather.  And spices and tobacco. And, of course, powdery musk.  So if any reader out there has any strange quinolines or spicy notes or rare musks that they want to share/get rid of, hit me up in the comments.  I'm always up for spicy notes! (I love me some Methyl Diantilis, and I'm tinkering with the idea of getting some Safranal and zingerone.)


This is one of those posts where I'm, like, 'I haven't posted in a while, but now I've found Jesus, and I'm going to post all the time or at least try or explain why I haven't posted or say that I'm drunk." So yes. Obviously the Jesus part is tongue in cheek.

So I haven't posted in 10000 years, but maybe I will sort of almost kinda in a way post more in the future or something?  So there you go.

I would have posted about aromachemicals right now, but my Nilsmonster just held one of his boxes in front of my nose.  See, he has these wooden boxes that he occasionally asks for scents to put in.  So I put scents in. Usually heavy woody or woodamber notes that take forever to disappear, like Timberol.  But in this case it was loaded with Cashmeran.  And it's STILL in my nose, the Cashmeran. I like this note, but it makes me think of hairspray.  Because I was doing a lot of stuff with it in my bathroom back in my Mom's house, and I always smelled it the next day or five, and I was like, 'It smells like hairspray.' Even though it doesn't smell like hairspray PER SE, but possibly as a component thereof.  Eller?  Anyway, it has a chemical nuance.  And a clean pine nuance as well, but the 'clean' part is very chemical.  And that's why I really don't like Dans Tes Bras. Because I find it harsh and chemical.  Am I the only one?  I've never liked it.

But continuing with this streamofconsciousness, I do like Musc Ravageur. Yes, it's much more than musk, and someone who smelled it on me thought it was Shalimar.  But I do like it. Better than Muscs Koublai Kahn, which I find animal-in-a-Costasuol-kind-of-way but not so much that I'm bowled over.  I like the vanillic spiciness of MR. I might would get it as a splurge, but I'd always wonder if I should have gotten Carnal Flower, which is closer, in my mind, to genius.  Sigh.  This is Sweden for you, folks.  There is one--count ONE--place where I can buy them, apart from online.  So I have to choose well, because I can't just waltz into the department store and spray them on, mind you.  So do I buy Carnal Flower, which I would seldom wear but it's perfect, or Musc Ravageur, which I could wear much more often if everyone here weren't "allergic" to noticeable fragrances?  Oh me.  My life if so hard.

So I feel like I should talk about aromachemicals more, since I've gotten a bunch (and used them up) since I last seriously reported.  Tabanon. Undecavertol. So many others.  In some cases I'm terribly embarrassed, because I sort of remember what they smell like, but not in detail. And every now and then someone reads this blog and comments and I'm like, "Shit. People actually read this sometimes." And then I'm like, "They must think I'm an idiot because I don't dilute things and my 'smell readings' are so amateur."  For example: rum acetal.  I don't remember what I thought when I first smelled it.  I think I was like, 'Yeah, this would totally work in tobacco scents.' But I had my monster smell it, and he was like, 'Tequila.  No, liquor.  It smells like liquor. Maybe rum.' And this was without me showing him the label. Interesting was his take on Dimetol: 'It smells like Gain [detergent]'  Yes. I think.  I had seen the descriptor of dihydrolinalool attached to it, so my impression was, 'Yes, it's like a super fresh linalool. I can see how it would be used in bergamot things.'   Anyway.....

So anyway, there's really no point to this post. I guess I just wanted to feel my fingers typing again, so I could see what it's like.  But I would like to start posting again, so we'll see.  And that's the bagoosh for now.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Bath & Body Works

I gotta admit, since I live in Sweden now I do occasionally think of places like BBW.  So I had a gander on their website to see what they're offering now. So I checked out the holiday offerings: eh.  Then I clicked on View All Fragrances. And as I scrolled down, I was like, "Hey! Their fragrances have started to get sophisticated!" But then my brain corrected me: It's doubtful whether the actual fragrances have, especially considering how meh most of them usually are.  But certainly the NAMES of the fragrances, and maybe the concepts, have.  Here are some I would love to smell:

-Bonfire Maplewood (Would it smell like barbeque potato chip flavor or maple syrup? Probably the latter)

-Cranberry Pear Bellini (What's a bellini, by the by? I thought it was a potato pancake.)

-Cranberry Woods

-French Baguette----this one is really intriguing to me.  Because who hasn't wanted to find the smell of fresh bread available at your fingertips??!  I can't imagine it's photorealistic, though. And my thought is: Why bother doing it if it's not? That's the whole idea of a fresh-baked bread accord--recreate a simple, beautiful smell that everyone thought couldn't be accurately reproduced. And if it reproduces the smell of the bread and the bakery (realistically), so much the better! But having gotten excited about cheap (and expensive) scents before only to end up disappointed (too often), I won't even dare thing that this scent lives up to the hype. But if it does, I would LOVE to get my hands on it! I would put it around the house, mix up experiments with it..... If there were a BBW here and this scent was good (like the Body Shop's Steamed Milk oil a few years ago was), I would buy as much as I could.

-Mahogany Teakwood---What what?!?!  Really?? That SOUNDS great. I wonder if it smells as good as it sounds. This seems like the kind of scent I would HOPE would smell a really good interpretation of wood, complex and deep, with notes heading in directions like tobacco and incense and sap---of course the reality would probably be a thin little 'fresh wood' thing, a one-note woodamber or a re-used amber-as-in-Youth Dew thing. Basically my expectations would be very low. You'd think they would exceed them, but it doesn't usually happen.

-Marshmallow Fireside--This seems like a really good concept. But when I think about how it would be executed, I'm not sure if it could be done well. It's probably more marshmallow than fireside. In fact, I would venture to guess that the 'fireside' part of it probably is just some burnt sugar nuances, maybe even from that most ubiquitous of molecules, ethyl maltol. Speaking of which, someone by now must have named her daughter Ethyl Maltol, right? It just seems like the kind of thing someone should have done by now, someone who loves loves LOVES Angel (and a lot of people love Angel). Of course there are other caramellic notes out there, one in particular that I quite love called Homofuranol, if I have the spelling right. I think it can also be called shoyu furanone. Nice, caramel, a bit maple, bready, a little burnt. I think I prefer it to ethyl maltol, and I wonder if it's as versatile. There's also a caramellic material I've smelled called Levistamel, which I think has a pine facet (or was it celery?). I would guess you could use it (or any of them) for the sappy note that Florida pine trees have. Anyone care to comment?         Oh, and since this is called Marshmallow Fireside, I guess I should mention that I quite loved the original Fireside. It didn't smell like a fire or like smoke to me--more just like dry woods with a bit of a suede quality if I recall--but it was very, very nice. I would've worn it as a personal fragrance! (I probably did, actually--I'm prone to that sort of behavior.)

-Snowed In---I love the concepts of these types of scents. The execution almost never fails to disappoint me, however.

-Winter Night--more of the fireplace with clove and conifer and incense. Could it be as good as it sounds?

And over in the home section they have something called Cashmere Glow, which I would like to smell purely out of curiosity. See, every time I see Cashmere in the name of a scent I think "Cashmeran! It must have Cashmeran!" I don't think that's necessarily true, however. But I've heard people say that the phrase 'cashmere woods' usually refers to Cashmeran as a note, and I've smelled some cashmerical things that seemed to be about Cashmeran-----On the other hand, I'm sure there are other ways to get a 'soft' feeling in a scent, if that's what cashmere should imply. Velvione, I would presume. and Iso-E Super is famous for the 'velvety' texture it can impart, but then it's probably already in everything, even your breast milk. I would think that someone would want to do a 'cashmere without Cashmeran.' Then again, maybe people have come to expect that anything with Cashmere in the title would smell of Cashmeran.  After all, cashmere wool doesn't have a smell of its own, does it? I'm too poor to know these things. Maybe it smells like lanolin?      But antyganoo... I still think it's a little strange that this musk called Cashmeran got so associated with, well, cashmere. Because if you smell it, it's so strange---I smell something piney, clean, chemical and bright, and I get the musk aspect of it but I still haven't really gotten the cashmere aspect or the red-fruit nuance. It's also supposed to support floral notes well and have what's been described as a musty aspect that people liken to wet concrete, blood and mushroom. Are these things you think of when you think of cashmere?  I just think it's funny.  I'm sure the people who branded the molecule knew what they were doing.    And now back to the scent.  The copy says something about vanilla and peach "wrapped in the softest cashmere musk." So what say you, peeps? Is it Cashmeran?

And that's pretty much it for the scents. The only thing left to mention is the design of everything. I must say I'm impressed. I love the way the packaging looks now--has it come a long way or did I just learn to expect too little?  Even the website design is good, with a section on "exploring -their- world of fragrance."  Well done.

And I know this is a post about BBW, but I wanna mention The Body Shop briefly (and whoever accused me of being coherent in my posts anyway?!). When I was in college I expected a lot from them, probably because I still had naff, crappy taste, considering I think I still owned a bottle of Passion for Men, which may have been perfectly OK in terms of smell, but otherwise is too humiliating to contemplate. At least I always thought the bottle was ghastly. I loved Leap and the Strawberry oil that smelled like strawberry ice cream. And Satsuma, with its citrus candy, none-of-the-off-notes-of-real-citrus blaze. and later I loved some of their limited edition oils like Steamed Milk and the Almond they did, which to me smelled like the most amazing coumarin note ever and just went on and on.  That one I'm sure I wore as a fragrance, although I probably put it on my clothes.  Anyway, you get the point--I used to like them. But then something happened a few years ago, before I moved across the pond. They stopped making the cool home scent oils and came out with 3 (or is it 4?) that have never changed. One is vanilla-tonka, which sounds amazing but smells nothing like either vanilla OR tonka to me. If I had to conjecture, I'd say it smelled like a marketing meeting. And, of course, they come out with 3 Christmas scents every year: their Cranberry (which I LOVE but seldom buy--it's like cranberry but deeper, with what I've always perceived as rich, grape-like notes), something with a lemony ginger that is supposed to feel like gingerbread but is more like the spice alone (maybe whoever they get their stuff from had a lot of some ginger accord left over from when ginger was everywhere and NOT exiled to the Christmas season), and something they call Vanilla packaged in a yellowy cream color. This year it's the same. The ginger is OK--it smells like all the other gingers they've put out, and probably is. The vanilla this year is odd. I like it in the body products, where it smells rich and creamy. But in the oil (and for some reason this never comes out right with their vanillas--they've never smelled as good as a simple dilution of vanillin, or even Isobutavan, would; maybe this is due to discoloration issues) it's horrid. At least out of the bottle. Maybe diluted in the air it smells fine, but out of the bottle it's very fatty and dry, a bit coconut too but more of the fatty dryness which is unpleasant. If I were highfalutin I might say that it smells 'lactonic'--that is, of lactones (obviously), but more specifically, fatty, buttery, fruity often with a coconut angle. I kinda want to buy a bottle to see what I can do with it--experiment with blending it with other stuff and seeing what happens.  But then I smell it and I can't bring myself to buy it, because it's just not pretty. And I also remember when I've bought things like that before and it didn't end in some great mind-expanding whatever, but just with a difficult scent that I can't do anything with. Also, I much prefer mixing up things that I'm certain of what they are, so if I want to mix up a lactonic thing, I could just get some Aldehyde C-18 ("so-called," for the terminology nazis out there) and play with that, even though I'm not totally crazy about the smell of it either (but it smells better than this Body Shop thing). Because with the C18, at least you know other people are blending it too, and you can google their experiences or just ask people on basenotes about them. Whereas if you're blending up Body Shop oils, well, people might just think you're a Silly Person!  So there!

And that's the gzornk for the moment.  Flerp!