I was at my brother’s house over the Holidays and had access to his perfume wardrobe (which is pretty good) and it gave me a chance to sample some scents he has but I don’t own. I zoomed in on ‘Love In Black,’ by Creed because, well, Michelle Obama has been in the news promoting her book and I thought this was her scent – of course when I googled it, I was mistaken – her signature scent is Love in White by Creed, this perfume’s twin-set match. ‘Love In Black’ still has First Lady pedigree, though, as it is inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy.
It’s classic Creed – you can tell it has good quality, and you can also tell it’s expensive because of that. But again with me and Creed, I found it hopelessly boring. It isn’t unique, and its violet-iris accord smelled just like a lot of other things out there. As time wore on, it became a straight-up iris scent for me – the papery, library kind. It’s nice, but my cheaper Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee does the same thing, and better. So why pay Creed prices?
Describe a perfume ‘clean’ and I am instantly turned off. So is it no wonder that I have not explored the Clean line? I see them all the time at Sephora and I turn my nose up on it – I am a perfume snob and prefer Orientals! The dirtier the better! In my stash of samples (I swear I want to finish all of them at some point) came Clean Reserve Skin. This apparently is from their higher-end line, and has better raw ingredients, and is ‘inspired by the feeling of a warm embrace and a loving touch’ Sure I could use either or both of those on this wintry day, why not?
I like this. It’s an effortless floral musk, and contrary to its name, would probably not be described as clean. It’s musk. It’s not the sweaty spicy musk that I would normally gravitate to, but a nice floral kind with just a tiny bit of edge. There are hints of leather and tonka bean (vanilla?) but there is also a lot of sweetness to it – praline or caramel, perhaps. It is very close to the skin, and most importantly, is agreeing very much with my body chemistry. On this cold day, it does feel like an embrace, and I imagine it could even be described as sexy. It also isn’t too pricey, and is all-natural and vegan (if that’s your thing) It’s a mainstream version of musk, and when I say that I don’t mean that in the negative. So yes, this is a ‘clean’ i don’t mind.
Someone once told me he didn’t like Chanel fragrances because they all smell the same. I thought about that remark and say, well, I think that’s the same reason why I love them. You know exactly what you are going to get with a Chanel fragrance – something elegant, something tender, something that is classy, and you can wear today and will probably still be relevant ten or twenty or a hundred years from now. Chanel ‘1932,’ is exactly that fragrance. This is part of their Les Exclusifs Collection, and is named for the first year they started offering fine jewelry. The fragrance is inspired by diamonds and comets.
1932 is a soft scent – its notes say white jasmine – and this is a very clean jasmine (nothing indolic here) It is mixed with rose petals, but it is not jammy or sweet. There is a lot of their trademark aldehydes here, and the overall effect is something that smells like one of their makeups. It is certainly pretty.
It’s also kind of boring, and I don’t know if I really need it on my wardrobe. And yes, I probably have something very similar to it already. But this sample is nice to wear and I shall enjoy it.
I thought By Killian’s ‘Black Phantom’ was a new release, until I looked it up and realized it was from around Spring of 2017. That’s how up to date I am now on these things. But anyway, i was walking through Nordstrom and casually spritzed it on my wrist. The Sales Associate actually said “Wow, you just go in and go directly to skin, don’t you?” Well, why, yes, I do, I am a renegade like that.
But seriously, I should have tried a testing strip first. This is a big perfume – with huge notes, and my initial thought was disgust – it’s a monstrous sweet concoction, and I told the SA, “too gourmand for me.”
And it is. Even its inspiration is all over the place – something about pirates, and rum spiced coffee, cyanide (!) and sweet caramel. I smell all of those in this perfume, and it’s a bog total mess. I can’t imagine wearing this on a scorching day because it will incite an immediate headache. There’s just too much going on here, and its potent. There’s Shin-Shin, which is Irish coffee and rum – this coffee has tons of sweet vanilla cream, and there’s sugar cane, and java, and I swear, one whiff of this and you will need a dose of Metformin. By Killian used to do these big heady perfumes (I am looking at the Love series) and on one end, it’s brave, but just too much. I like a little bit more subtlety nowadays. ‘Black Phantom’ is a hard NO for me.
I’ve been meaning to try Juliette Has A Gun’s ‘Sunny Side Up’ for the longest time now but I keep on forgetting. I know it got a fair amount of praise from perfumistas, and I generally like most of the releases from this house, under the care of Romano Ricci. The house is known for their rose fragrances, but this time they are using a different note to showcase: sandalwood.
This is not your mother’s soapy wood sandalwood, because this is a very modern take on the note. Ricci uses coconut water to give the sandalwood a sunburnt feel. Imagine using that sandalwood soap and then laying out in the sun with your sun tan lotion – that is the kind of vibe that this perfume gives. It’s a very summery fragrance, and now that I am wearing it in slightly colder weather, I am quickly reminded of summer days. There’s a hint of jasmine and vanilla here, and perhaps the scent is much sweeter than I normally can handle, but I don’t mind this at all. For me, this is a great cold-weather scent, something to remind me of sunny days when in winter doldrums.
I 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.
Jo 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.