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.

Ride The Wave (Perfume Thoughts: Wave, Missoni)

Missoni Wave is an aquatic men’s perfume. That’s all I have to write and you can probably tell how it’s going to smell. As per the press release, the top notes are Sea Notes, Sicilian Mandarin and Citruses; middle notes are Clary Sage, Lavender, Egyptian Pelargonium and Rosemary; base notes are Vanilla orchid, Oakmoss, Haitian Vetiver and Patchouli.

It’s all bull. It’s a generic scent with no art or imagination. It’s pleasant, and that is the best adjective I can give it. It doesn’t last on for a while, which is just as well because after five minutes of it I am ready for something more interesting.

Y Not? (Perfume Thoughts: Y, YSL)

Yves Saint Laurent (well, nowadays, they just go by Saint Laurent) always makes interesting scents even when they are supposed to be just basic. I can see Y by YSL as a competitor to Chanel Bleu or Dior Sauvage (they’re all blue) but as much as there’s something very generic about Y, it also has elements that make it more distinct and interesting than the other two.

First of all, I do like its initial blast of sour candy apple. It is pungent in the best possible way, and with the bergamot/grapefruit mix it’s fresh. Even if it feels familiar, at least there’s an effort to make it a little distinctive. Even the dry down – its mixture of amber and musk with the aquatics – is more juicy than the basic generic base that you can smell everywhere else. So all in all, I do like this scent, and if I probably would choose this if I had to buy something at the men’s section of Sephora.

Smoky Journey (Perfume Thoughts: Journey Man, Amouage)

I am wearing Amouage’s Journey Man today – I found a sample of it from my stash, probably a couple of years old now. It’s still a good sample, thankfully.

My first reaction to this – it’s such a ‘warm’ scent. It’s very incense-y and I get a lot of pepper (Sichuan pepper to be exact, as per the notes) and at first I was concerned because it is not the coldest of days, but I felt the scent as not very heavy, even with those warm notes.

I like the scent quite a bit. It is nicely layered, and there are tonka beans, and tobacco in the base notes to make it interesting. What is great about it is that you get whiffs of all the notes still in the end – it may sound dense but it gives a very light and airy incense-y feel. It smells quite niche-y and expensive, and will suit a black tie affair as well as an office scent. You get the feeling of ‘dressed up’ with it.

Dirt Water (Perfume Thoughts: Fig & Lotus Flower, Jo Malone)

Where are you going, Jo Malone? I was just testing their other new release, ‘Grapevine and Cypress,’ and was commenting how commercial and generic it smelled. And now I am testing ‘Fig & Lotus Flower’ and am similarly puzzled.

First of all, it smells a little bit away from their aesthetic. Yes, it’s kind of a floral, but the lotus flower is so muddled, and in an aquatic way – it smells like dirty water. Look, I like – even love – scents that smell dirty, but here the effect is just unpleasant.

And if you were looking for a fig scent, you won’t find the green sappy kind here. You get a milky kind of fig, and it kind of just sits there. So if you analyze both big notes – they are both uninteresting for me. Worst of all, the dry down is your basic Jo Malone generic woodsy mix – I mean, they can’t even commit to their original idea. This is the closest thing to a scrubber for me in a long time.

And on the 53rd (Scent Thoughts: Fougére L’aube, Rogue)

Every year for my birthday, I try to wear a special scent to celebrate. This has been a weird year, and I did not really celebrate that much. Just before everything went down this year, I got Fougére L’aube by Rogue. This is a new American house, created by Manuel Cross and I am very impressed. Most of what I have smelled from him have brought me back to the perfumes of yesterday. He said he grew up with classic perfumes and wanted to recreate them, with modern flourishes.

Fougere L’aube is a fougere, for sure – it is green and rich, and very fern-y. It is a trip to a wild forest, with lavender flowers and moss (since this is an American brand, oakmoss is actually used) It feels decadent, yet accessible. It skews masculine on paper, but it is truly not. I am enamoured by it and couldn’t think of any other new scent that made me happy this year, and is most fitting as I turned 53.

Viney (Scent Thoughts: Cypress and Grapevine, Jo Malone)

I wear perfume heavily so I have always gravitated to Jo Malone’s Cologne Intense Line – I have always thought the line to. be more ‘adventurous’ than their regular one. So I was excited to hear of it’s latest release, ‘Cypress and Grapevine.’

What a disappointment. The scent is your basic fresh woodsy masculine-leaning cologne that would be welcome only at the men’s department store section. One sniff from it and it conures images fo Dior Sauvage or Versace Dylan Blue,

Jo Malone in the beginning was the niche of all niche brands. I think this is one of their worst releases. It is not a bad scent – I can see what went into it quality wise, but it just feels so unimaginative, and so basic. And with perfume, that is the worst thing, in my opinion.

Dark Pineapple (Perfume Thoughts: Mile High 38, Parle Moi de Parfum)

You probably thought that Mile High 38 from Parle Moi de Parfum was just another pineapple-centric scent. Ever since that other popular pineapple scent got famous, it has inspired a lot of copycats. But this house is not a ‘follower,’ and has unique ideas with familiar themes. You get a different kind of pineapple in Mile High 38.

It’s a dark pineapple. It’s not the Sunny Dole juice kind. It is brooding, melancholy, and it is right up my alley. Paired instantly with immortelle, it feels a little musky, like it has been sitting in a box for a while.

The patchouli then comes in which makes it a lot earthy. The oineapple is still there, still ripe and juicy, but the effect is not beachy and umbrellas, but more night drink at a bar. I like it a lot, as it is very unique, and it is a perfume that will make you think and ponder.