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.

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.