On A Winter Morning (Perfume Thoughts; Indi, Katy Perry)

375x500.45647I am a perfume snob, but I am not such a snob with celebrity fragrances. If someone puts out something noteworthy, I would have no problem adding it to my wardrobe.  Katy Perry’s ‘Indi’ is great, and I bet if you closed your eyes, you might even mistake it for a niche brand – it wouldn’t be out of place under the Comme de Garcon label, for example. The press release for Indi describes it as a musk fragrance, and of course that got my attention instantly. Even more interesting, they say that the perfume has eleven types of musk in it. I mean, how many kinds are there?

The result: Indi is a close-to-your-skin sexy musk scent. It’s very 70s, and  maybe I am reminded of it via Jovan Musk, which I used to wear when I was in elementary school (I was savvy, what can I say) Really, it is more similar to SJP Stash, although Indi is drier. There is a white tea note on top, and there’s cumin, but it doesn’t overwhelm. It’s a cold scent, akin to hugging your man on a lazy Saturday winter morning. And it is beautifully dirty, and I find myself constantly smelling my wrist throughout the day when I use it. I spray it on my scarf and the rose-y, powdery smell is retained in the fabric.

And to think I am not even a Katy Perry fan, as I find her music derivative.  I expected her perfume to be sugary sweet, so I am pleasantly surprised to see a lot of maturity and class in Indi. Of the scent, I am a fan.

By The Orange Blossom Tree (Perfume Thoughts: Orange Tulle, Jo Loves)

Jo-Loves-Orange-Tulle-294x300Jo Loves ‘Orange Tulle’ is exactly what its title sounds like: a gauzy, tarty citrus fragrance that is realistic, and quite lovely. It’s by Jo Malone under her latter label Jo Loves. And it’s very Jo Malone – floral and light and effervescent. You do feel like you are smelling orange blossoms as you walk by an English garden in the early morning, as there is a dewy quality to the scent. I walk every morning to work and it mirrors the ‘experience’ of a lot of the flower patches that I travel by in my neighborhood. There’s sicilian mandarin, and neroli, and of course, orange blossom here, and there’s the sweet, the sour, the slightly bitter in the composition. It reminds me of summer mornings, and now that it has gotten chillier, it’s a good reminder. This is one of those perfumes I sometimes forget about. I have to pull it out to use it. In a stroke of luck, this small bottle is one of the ones that have ‘come out’ from my collection from my move. The sillage is romantic – you have to pull close to me to really get the scent, but I bet I oversprayed and people can smell it on me now. I also bet I get compliments.

The End Smell (Perfume Thoughts: Eleventh Hour, Byredo)

375x500.50934Seconds after spritzing Byredo’s ‘Eleventh Hour’ and I am already impressed – what is this note, I asked. It’s dark, and dank and peppery, and this morning it was nice and cold, and this just fits perfectly as I wake up and it is still kind of dark outside. Turns out the note is called Ban Timmur, and it is a Nepalese plant related to Szechuan pepper. It has a moody kind of spice, and I am addicted to it. And then some cloves come in, and in its heart a fig – the juicy kind, not the just-off-stem that is in Philosykos.  But there’s also a creaminess to this, and I get some cashmere kinds of woods that feel like the scent is enveloping you and keeping you warm. I imagine in my mind a burnt orange hue, and this makes the perfume just perfect for the late fall.

Eleventh Hour is inspired by the end of the world. Well, if this is what the end smells like, then I gather it will not be as dreaded. I know that L’Artisan had a similarly themed one in 1999, but their interpretation was more altar-incense themed, asking you to pray. Byredo’s point of view at the end feels more settled-in. Byredo’s recent releases have been nice, but this one has excited me just a little more.

The F Smell (Perfume Thoughts: Fucking Fabulous, Tom Ford Private Collection)

fabuEver the provocateur, Tom Ford has named a fragrance ‘Fucking Fabulous.’  Apparently, that’s what someone said when they were testing the product, and it stuck. Ford said, sure why don’t we name it that, and initially, this was a limited edition fragrance that came with the invitation for his fashion show September last year. I know around this time past year this became available at his stores, but I had already been in the midst of my life-changing year then, so I never had the chance to sample. I thought, with all this whirlwind in my life, do I really need ‘Fucking fabulous’?

I didn’t, and I probably still don’t. This is kind of standard Tom Ford Private Collection fare. It is not entirely unique. It’s very well made, as all Tom Fords are, and  its burst of leather almond opening certainly catches one attention. But I have never really been an almond fan, so I was a little lukewarm with it. As it settles into the heart, tonka bean oil comes up, and we get that plastic, playdoh accord.I don’t dislike it, but I’ve smelled it before. It stays there , and it stays strong, as I would consider this scent in the stealth category. In the end, I don’t like it enough for its price point. Although, admittedly, its name attracts me to get it just for that fact.

And since we are talking about prices what i up with Tom Ford Private Collection being available everywhere? everywhere I turn it’s available – Nordstrom, even Bloomingdales. It certainly doesn’t speak well for the exclusivity of the brand for it to be popping up in all the familiar places. I doubt is Ford is happy about that.

The Playful (Perfume Thoughts, Scherzo, Miller Harris)

o.54020I stayed at a friend’s mansion in San Francisco recently and, of course, while I was there, raided to use his perfume collection. He pointed me to his ‘new acquisitions,’ which were the bottles he recently got from his trip to Paris. I immediately gravitated towards Scherzo, from Miller Harris. I knew nothing about it, and upon first spritz, fell in love with it.  I did not even know what the word meant, and was fascinated by its meaning:  a vigorous, light, or playful composition, typically comprising a movement in a symphony or sonata.

But first, the perfume’s  very beautiful back story. Miller Harris, for inspiration, gave two perfumers, this quote from F Scott Fittzgerald’s ‘Tender Is The Night:’

When this died away on the summer air, she walked on, between kaleidoscope peonies massed in pink clouds, black and brown tulips and fragile mauve stemmed roses, transparent like sugar flowers in a confectioner’s window-until, as if the scherzo of colour could reach no further intensity, it broke off suddenly in mid-air…”

Scherzo is Mathieu Nardin’s interpretation, and he first impression is a bit literal, with the burst of sweet rose from the top notes. I don’t know if it is necessarily too-sweet as sugar flowers, but on my skin, the darkness quickly comes in, in the mixture of oud and patchouli that’s instantly heady and cashmere-like. It was perfect in the windy cold deceptively-sunny San Francisco weather, and it added a lot of mystery to our day’s adventures there. I wonder if, had the weather been a bit warmer, the sticky rose would have lasted more, and this makes me want to wear this again when the temperature is higher. But as it is, this is a great scent that has character. It is strong and massive, with great sillage and lasting power. I know this would be a great addition to my wardrobe, and now want to test ‘Tender,’ which is Bertrand Duchafour’s take on the same Fitzgerald quote.


Call Me, Cumin (Perfume Thoughts: L’Autre, Diptyque)

51pn+WiQUPL._SY355_There was a time when I really hated cumin as a perfume note.  The sweaty, dirty aspect of the note really turned me off, because it always reminded me of body odor. Even as a spice, I avoided it. Whenever I see it listed on an entree, I always looked at it like a deal breaker for me not to order. Perfume wise, though, it always fascinated me, and I proudly have a lot of these sweaty, stinky scents in my wardrobe.

One of which is Diptyque’s L’Autre. I got this at the Diptyque Sample Sale in New York, and never really liked it. I never got rid of the bottle and very rarely (never) used it. So when I randonly opened it from my boxes from storage, I just went in, close my eyes, and sprayed. Yes, that cumin note is there, and I still think it smells like body odor, but I really warmed up to this. Paired with a bright citrus accord, I appreciated its ying and yang, framed by the freshness of the citrus ( I think its cardamom, based on the notes from Diptyque) It is very peppery, and the base has that dirty patchouli note, though this is a tidy patchouli, and on my skin not as soily. I am enjoying it, even with the hot-and-cold Los Angeles late summer weather (70s during the day, low 60s by night) I like the bloom of the perfume, with its earthiness, and dankness. And maybe as an added bonus – a friend of mine hates it with a passion. (Got to keep them on their toes)

All the Bitterness (Perfume Thoughts: Honeysuckle and Davana, Jo Malone)

375x500.51266When I first tried Jo Malone ‘Honeysuckle and Davana,’ I couldn’t decide if I really liked it.  I was at Bloomingdale’s walking on my way to lunch and spritzed it, and almost forgot about it. Then I started to sniff my arms where I sprayed and I thought it was quite mossy. I guess I was expecting a sweet honeysickle flower. The weird thing is that we went to a Jo Malone stand alone store after lunch and I sprayed again, and this one felt more flowery, as if blooming on a summer day.  I asked, could he department store version be different? (‘Of course not,’ she says) Maybe I just missed the top notes earlier – which smells like a flower out in the sun, faded by the glare. It’s a bit like shampoo accord, for sure, but its brightness was unmistakable. And then the green – the mossy notes come in, and it adds that bitterness that I was talking about earlier. And then I am instantly reminded of a fragrance I have known since childhood: Cacharel’s Anasis Anais, with its floral/green/mossy combination. Suddenly, I started to love this scent more. I asked for a proper sample and now I am trying it for a day and I already feel like it should belong in my wardrobe. It’s very un-Jo Malone like, too – it is not light and airy, and this has tenacious strength. A small bottle may be in order.