For Fir (Scent Thoughts: Forest Walk, Sonoma Scent Studio)

I was at my friend’s house in the Bay Area recently and he has a pretty sizable perfume collection. I always like to go through his scents just to try some that I don’t have (though our wardrobes overlap a bit) He had one that caught my eye: Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio. Curiously, I don’t have anything from this house, even though I think their scents are pretty well done.

Forest Walk smells exactly as you think it would, like a walk in the forest. It starts with green fir, and then goes to honeyed amber and other resinous notes. It is quite interesting that it has a note that I would c all ‘moldy.’ smelling woodsy (cedar? oak?) Fragrantica lists one as ‘earthy notes’ and that could be it.

It’s a multi-layered scent and was perfect for the forty degree weather over there. But I probably cannot wear this anymore in Southern California – it will probably ‘bloom’ in the wrong way. I can just appreciate it as I cannot imagine buying a bottle of this – it just isn’t me anymore.

Best and Free (Perfume Thoughts: Libre Eau de Parfum, YSL)

YSL Libre is my favorite perfume…that I don’t own. I remember sniffing this when it first came out and loving it instantly. But I never did get a full bottle of it. I would go to Sephora and spray…but I always say that as soon as I get a deal for it, I would buy it, but never did. Today I found a sample of the Eau de Parfum, and I am reminded of how gorgeous it is: and it blooms differently today in the cold-ish Southern California weather.

It’s an orange blossom scent, for sure, one fo y favorite notes of late. Mixed with lavender, it gives a unisex vibe, even though it is marketed towards womens. My favorite thing about the scent? It has a chamomile note that is calming and gives the perfume a ‘cold’ demeanor.

The scent also feels ‘dressed up,’ akin to the YSL Tuxedo. I can see wearing it with a dinner jacket on a formal event. As I wear it to the office, it adds sheen to my office wear. I would say for me this is the best commercial; release in recent years,

Tiny Bubbles (Perfume Thoughts: Viva Le Juicy Le Bubbly, Juicy Couture)

What kind of emotion does this bottle get from you? For me, it’s something between annoyance and euphoria, but you have to admit it is certainly not boring. If you saw this on someone’s perfume counter, you would more or less know the kind of person they are.

The juice, you ask? It has notes of blood orange and freesia, and that is exactly how it smells. It’s a juicy orange, and accentuated by some aldehydes that gives it some ‘fizz.’ Does it smell a bit like alcohol? Yeah, the wine cooler kind, I guess. I grabbed this sample on the way out this morning, and I don’t regret wearing it.

I also can’t see myself ever wearing it again.

The Old Man (Perfume Thoughts: Tabac Vert, Rogue Perfumery)

In women’s perfume, there is such a notion that something smells old-lady-ish. This is most probably because of aldehydes – a note usually associated with more vintage women’s perfumes. I wonder if there is a similar note for men’s fragrances. I think of that because today I am wearing Rogue Perfumery’s ‘Tabac Vert,’ and saw a comment about it wherein someone said this would be difficult to wear for someone under the age of forty. and I ask…why not?

Tabac Vert is a tobacco perfume. But it is unlike some of the modern takes of tobacco, most notably the popular Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford. Tabac Vert is dry, and mossy – there’s that oakmoss again that Manuel Cross uses for his creations – it’s unmistakable, and it is so revolutionary.

I love the dryness of the tobacco here. While I do like Tobacco Vanille, which reminds me of tobacco-pipe scented rooms, this one feels more old world. The clove and carnation round it out just fine, and what we get is that mossy green chypre. It smells…worldly, like someone who knows his way around the world, who has traveled the world, and is confident with himself. So maybe this scent could be associated with an old man, and I guess that’s just fine.

Just Jasmine (Perfume Thoughts: Jasmine Antique, Rogue)

On one of my last visits to Luckyscent before the pandemic, I got a sample of Rogue’s ‘Jasmin Antique’ and at that time this scent had not been released yet. The raves for this jasmine perfume from the people there were staggering, with someone even saying that this is the best jasmine scent in the whole store. I tried it on and was obviously impressed. But I obviously did not want to write something that is not in the market yet. (It was eventually released around April.

If you love jasmine, this will be a godsend to you. This is a big, heady, indolic cluster of jasmine, and it is huge. This is not a shy flower, it makes her presence known and wearing it makes a statement (your statement is that you like jasmine) the clove-like indolic note sits just to let the flower bloom, and this scent will envelope you in just the right way.

There is nothing else to say but Manuel Cross has created a jasmine masterpiece. You will either love this or hate it. 

The Smell of the City of Angels (Perfume Thoughts: Los Angeles, Gallivant)

Covid Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I will be spending it alone in my studio apartment in Los Angeles. It’s a weird year to celebrate on an already weird year, so I think it is somewhat fitting. This really makes me ponder – what does Los Angeles mean to me now? It is home for me now, of course, and I like it here now. I always say I never thought I would ever live here, but here we are. I am in a contemplative mood, I guess, because of all that is happening this year, and I am sampling a perfume named after this city.

Gallivant’s Los Angeles is, much like the city, a hodge podge of notes. Look at the list: eucalyptus, clary sage, mandarin, pineapple, narcissus, tuberose, guaiac,  musk and heliotrope. When I first blasted it, I have to admit that the note that was most prominent on my skin was pineapple. However, it wasn’t a juicy one- this one felt dry on me (perhaps because of the eucalyptus) The perfume is kind of odd, to be honest, because the mixture feels like the notes don’t blend well together, but they happily co-exist. It is definitely a ‘warm’ scent, and in my opinion more akin to colder months. it is leafy but herbs make it tropical-ish, but not really. The dry down is most intresting: on my skin it is a candied tuberose that is kind of synthetic but still smells real. There is a mint note here that settles in, and is kind of distracting but I can’t help wanting to look for it.

Over all, Gallivant’s Los Angeles is somewhat of a keeper. It’s strangely addictive, but I can’t figure out why it appeals to me. Maybe it mirrors how I really feel about the city.

Dried Green Mango (Perfume Thoughts: Salted Green Mango, Strangers Parfumerie)

I was looking through a Luckyscent bag and discovered I had this sample. I remember what happened – I tried Strangers Parfumerie’s ‘Salted Green Mango’ while I was at the store (this was pre-covid, I think around February early this year) and I remember not really getting any smell while I was there. My immediate thought that it was a very subtle scent, and not what I was expecting. So I had asked for a sample so I could do a proper wearing.

When I was a kid, I would eat green mangoes, and the real raw kind. The more sour, the better for me. I would put salt on it, or better yet, shrimp paste to accentuate its flavor, and this memory made me want to really try and love this perfume.

And I am wearing it now, and my first thought: it’s a pretty elegant perfume. Itr is nto gourmand at all – though it has touches of the mango note and a salty seaweed accord – but it doesn’t smell gourmand-y or aquatic. It’s a well blended affair, with very dry vetiver and lime in there, which gives it just enough citrus bite. But it is also very synthetic, and it smells like an ‘older’ perfume that way. I found it not very ‘natural’ smelling – and I appreciated that. The scent is interesting in a much different way than I thought. I don’t know if it is full-bottle worthy, but I am definitely not bored.

Drunk Peach (Perfume Thoughts: Bitter Peach, Tom Ford)

All eyes are on Georgia right now because they are all of a sudden a swing state which could determine the elections, and of course, it made me think of what they are most known for – the peach. And I realized I had a sample of Tom Ford’s ‘Bitter Peach,’ so it is as good a time as any to spritz it.

I like the idea of a peach fragrance – juicy, stone-y. And you will definitely get a peach when you first sniff this scent. And yes, I kind of did like that initial burst.

But then, expectations. I admit I was kind of expecting this to be a citrus, but it turned dark right away, with not4s of rum and cognac. This is definitely not a summer scent. The peach note becomes a little plastic-y after – I am reminded of the smell of a plastic doll. Do I like it? I don’t totally dislike it is my answer, and it is definitely weird. I want to get to know it better, to wear it maybe on cold cold nights. But for $300?

The Scent of Letting Go (Perfume Thoughts: Ambre Gris, Balmain)

 I have been on a quest to ‘simplify’ my perfume collection. I have accumulated so much over the years and want to keep just the ones I truly love. I have a lot of bottles I loved when I first bought them, but now feel ambivalent about. I remember when I first bought Ambre Gris by Balmain. I remember there was a big commotion because it was wrongly priced at one of the e-retailers and people were buying it by the bulk. It was such an attractive price that I bought it blind. Balmain is a solid house, and it would be a solid fragrance at the very least.

I am wearing it today – this bottle is about ten years old now – and it is still wonderful, just as I remembered it. I haven’t worn it in a while, but I saw it from my boxes and took it out, wanting to finish it off. The benzoin and cinnamon top notes are perfect for this cold morning, and the amber is nice and dry and powdery. It is a scent that whispers, and it’s beautiful in its subtlety. I read that it has become some sort of collector’s item now, and people have been hoarding it. I will wear it this winter, and I am no longer int hat collector’s mode of trying to preserve this. I will enjoy it, and when it is gone, will gladly let it go. 

The Smell Of What Could Have Been (Scent Thoughts: John Varvatos XX)

There are some John Varvatos fragrances that I like – Artisan, for example with its fresh take on Vetiver – so I didn’t really mind sampling one of its releases, XX. At first smell, this really feels very familiar, like everything you smelled before. And really, it is. But if you smell closer, you will find some flickers of imagination here – there’s an apple blast in the beginning that could have gone somewhere, and the drydown has a coffee note that is just so slightly different. I think there were some ideas here that could have made it gone a different – more artistic – direction but I bet it was shot down by Corporate.