Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Mélange of Jasmine

Last month, I lost a friend to cancer. She had a deep love for Hawaii, and had filled her life and home with memories. Among these, were a few specialty soaps that she ended up wanting to give away to people she loved. I found myself sniffing the soaps and thinking about how they would have evoked Hawaii for her. The focus was on pikake (Jasminum sambac, or night blooming jasmine), but other forms of jasmine had a spot along with plumeria (frangipani) and ylang ylang.

When I was young, my mother and I had little money for frivolous things, and Christmas was definitely frivolous. However, we still managed to find a gift or two here or there. One of the gifts that I clearly remember giving to my mom was a set of bath beads, filled with jasmine fragrance. Of course, inexpensive often means cheaply produced and those jasmine beads were pretty potent when the package was opened (probably made up mostly of artificial something or other, skunk oil, and purple coloring), but the hint of what those beads had promised (the soft jasmine whiff that trailed faintly from the package) still sticks in my head, and was heavily in my mind as I sniffed the soaps made in Hawaii that my friend had wanted to share with the people she loved.

When I came home that day, I found my own stash of pikake soaps that I had purchased on sale on a whim earlier this year (without knowing the stash my friend had), and I sat and sniffed them for a long time. Sometimes we don't always know what connects us to another until we have something tangible showing how alike we can be.

The longer I play around with perfume, the more I see how the journey seems to go in cycles. Something that I "grow out of" I usually come back around to years later and fall back in love, usually with a different take or facet being explored. This year has been jasmine, but I was sticking with soap because most white florals veer into massive migraine category on me, and soap is relatively safe. Since my friend's death, I've purchased a few more soaps focusing on pikake or other jasmine. One day, as I was sniffing one soap in particular that had the delicate lushness of true jasmine tea, I decided to brave the migraines so I could find that "one" jasmine fragrance that would be everything I love about the flower. (If I could distill jasmine tea and have it remain true as a perfume, I would.)

I trotted off to Luckyscent and started a wish list. Did you know that if you do a search for jasmine on perfume sites, eleventybillion results will come back? After reading for days whenever I had spare time, I finally narrowed down some choices for my first set of samples.

I was going to simply do this for myself, then I realized how much I love sharing the journey, so decided to bring my tries here.  (Note, I did grab a couple that weren't trying to be a jasmine soliflore because I wanted a range of experiences to base my thoughts on, so some of these may have jasmine as a main note, but may not be attempting to be a jasmine fragrance, per se.)

My first sample list:

Amouage, Journey Woman--"Inspired by Shanghai Art Deco in the 1920s and Chinese film noir, Journey is a refined fragrance for the elegant woman who knows that a soft touch and a glimpse of silk can be far more alluring than brazen boldness. It opens with delicate jasmine flowers, coated in honey and infused with jasmine tea. Osmanthus lends an apricot touch, along with smoky Lapsang Souchong and a hint of leather." Notes include: Osmanthus, Apricot, Jasmine Tea, Honey, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Jasmine Sambac, Freesia, Mimosa, Cedar Wood, Saffron, Tobacco, Leather, Vanilla, Cypriol, Musk

I really can't resist a good leather perfume. If When I win the lottery, I will have a shelf full of leather perfumes. It's just a thing. However, I was a little uncertain about how this one would play out. I've heard glowing reviews of Amouage, but I have tended to shy away for some reason. This was my first big jump into Amouage.

When first applied, the honey was warm and delicious and very dominant. Threaded under and through that though was a delightful jasmine tea note that made me very happy. (I may or may not order jasmine tea just so I can sniff it.) For the first hour this was on my skin, I wondered if I had applied too much as it seemed to rise up all around me. But after that, it softened and snuggled down to what still was hours later a warm, softly sweet (no cavaties and sugar perfume here), slightly smoky perfume with a faint trail of the jasmine coming in and weaving throughout. The bit that clung to my shirt was very much the Lapsang and leather, but what was on my skin was sweeter, more warm, and infinitely snuggleable. I came to Amouage as a skeptic, and I would definitely consider this worthy of purchasing. Really lovely, even though it's not the soliflore I was looking for.

April Aromatics, Jasmina--"An aphrodisiac par excellence. The Jasmine flowers for this scent are obtained from the south of India and are distilled through a variety of processes. The flower‘s calming, soothing qualities help to relax the body, lift the spirit and quiet the nerves. Jasmina brings a heightened spiritual awareness and encourages sleep and dreaming. It is a very sensual scent and a truly pitch-perfect soliflore." Notes include: Jasmin flowers, ylang-ylang, pink grapefruit.

I have a bottle of ylang-ylang essential oil that I have often thought about using for myself, just because it smells so deliciously wonderful. This carries much of that, mixed with both the jasmine and the pink grapefruit. When first applied, the jasmine opens beautifully and the ylang-ylang also opens up more on the skin. The pink grapefruit comes across as a bit zesty, and helps to keep the florals from being over the top. This is very pretty and softens almost immediately on me, but after a little while it went a little soapy on me (which is one reason I've been avoiding jasmine--many tend to go soapy and I want something that stays true floral). This is very delicate and pretty, and comes across as feminine. Something about it feels cool/chilling (more than likely the grapefruit), but I think I want my jasmine to come across as more warm. Pretty, and definitely worth considering as it does give me a restful and soothed feeling, but it's not quite where I want it to be.

Grandiflora, Madagascan Jasmine--"Inspired by the Stephanotis Floribunda, an asterid treasured above normal star jasmine for its unique aroma and used frequently in high-end bridal bouquets, Madagascan Jasmine is a floral fragrance as unique and captivating as its namesake. A true soliflore, Madagascan Jasmine beautifully captures the complexity of Stephanotis, which far surpasses the amorphous sweetness of lesser jasmines, presenting a floral both lusciously white and deeply green, fresh and yet heady, with a boldness appropriate for both the ingredient and the dynamic florist responsible for the Grandiflora line." Notes are not listed.

This one definitely focuses on the green aspect of the jasmine, in the sample and on the skin. It's a wet green, like a stem freshly snapped, that has the jasmine weaving in and around the green the whole time. This also comes across as a bit more dry, which is interesting with the wet green, but the jasmine doesn't quite play as lush or dewy, and after a little while drops down to a low hum on the skin. Compared to some of the others I have on, the others are much more big white floral and this is more like a throat being cleared at a funeral. It's discreet and not very lush. It's still pretty though, and I think it might shine a bit more when worn alone so the nuances and subtle sweetness can come out to play. As quiet as this one is, and more green than I was expecting (and thought I wanted), I keep coming back to it (probably because it does feel understated but solidly present).

The next I was going to review was Montale's Jasmine Full (notes are: Jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossom) which really sounds delightful, but the sample I received was of Full Incense (notes: Cedar, labdanum, patchouli, elemi, Somali incense) which isn't quite where I was going with this... ;-) I like the look of the notes enough that I may try to order this one again.

The Different Company, Jasmin De Nuit--"Jasmin de Nuit is a childhood dream, the sweetness of the flower that opens at nightfall mingled with a hint of star anis…and rests on a warm bed of amber. Exotic Egyptian Jasmine is used abundantly here and, combined with spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, delivers and elegant, sohphisticated fragrance with a subtely-sweet drydown." Notes include: Egyptian jasmin, amber, blackcurrant, star anise, spices, cinammon, cardamom, sandalwood

Mmmmm. This one opens feeling like it comes from the dark side bearing gifts. The anise and spices are gorgeous, and makes this much different than I expected (heavier on the spices). The sandalwood is a faint hum on the bottom, providing a decent base to rest on. The amber or something in this makes this come across as much more musky than I expected. This is rich, like a very delicious spice cake with blackcurrant jelly turned into perfume. The jasmine is definitely not the focus here, rather it's the dot on the i or the cross on the t that rounds everything out and completes the whole. I tend to stay away from perfumes that feel heavy on musk, but this would be worth hanging on to and breaking out for special occasions. I have much weakness for perfumes that make spice and anise star attractions, and this one does so beautifully. Some reviews called this "airy," but the muskiness weighs it down and keeps it from being very airy for me. The waft is lovely even though it feels like it has gravity to it. This was also placed in the unisex column, and I could definitely see this being stunning on a guy (although, I would hope they would go light on it, otherwise too much of this would go straight into headache territory, despite how pretty it is).

Keiko Mecheri, Clair Obscur (formerly Jasmine)--"A stunning rendition of the one of the world's best loved flowers. Nothing harsh or strident here -- this is a light, transparent jasmine. Ethereal. Lyrical. With a breathtaking purity and simplicity. Enchantment in a bottle." Notes include: Sicilian night blooming jasmine, absolute jasmine

Even before I put this on my skin, I felt like this could be the very thing I am looking for. In the sample, this smells a bit medicinal and a little sour, but threaded under and through that was a pure clear jasmine that made me want to try this immediately. As soon as I had it on me, it began to open into a soft and lovely fully jasmine fragrance. Actually, there is a moment where this reminds me heavily of Tubereuse Criminelle with the menthol opening that clears the slate for the creamy sweet floral to shine, and this (in many ways) continues to follow the same trajectory for me, while staying true to the jasmine note. This is jasmine, specifically the softness of pikake/night blooming jasmine. It is soft and sweet. It drifts through the air without giving away its location, forcing you to go looking for the source (which is part of the enchantment). This is a summer night, out in the garden of this wild world, the light of the stars and moon softly showing the outlines of the bushes and trees around us while the fragrance perfumes the air and reminds us that even in the darkness we are surrounded by something beautiful. It is lovely. I am probably going to keep looking, trying, testing, but so far this remains the ideal that I am looking for.

And if, on some lonely day, I close the blinds and turn out the lights, put on some perfume and lie there in the darkness thinking about a certain bay where the whales migrate through, and where rainbows have been known to play over the water, it will be done as a reminder that people always live on in our hearts no matter how empty the world is without them here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Possets Halloween 2015 (The Scent of Night) Part 2

I have many more perfumes that I wanted to get from this collection, and I always waffle between feeling like I got what I wanted and also somehow let The One slip away. It's always a gamble to grab a bottle without the ability to sample first, and sometimes I lose but often I win.

Today's group focused more on two of the more typical pumpkin/fall type perfumes, and then I added one fruity and one unknown to the mix.

Again, the following reviews were posted on the forum, so some of what I reference may create questions. If you would like to know more, feel free to ask here or to go to the Possets forum.

Now to the reviews!

Redcap - Possets description: Macintosh and perfumed Pink Lady apples, Bartlett pear, cling peach, and Indian sweet patchouli dance about madly in this rendition of the Scottish dwarf who murders people for the fun of it. Redcaps are called that because they murder innocent travellers and dye their hats in the victim's blood. They must continue to dispatch humans and dip their hats in the blood for if the hat dries out, the Redcap will die himself!

This one is a Perfect autumn fruit filled perfume, a real go-to whether the days are bright and warmish or overcast and morose. There is something Scottish indeed about this great perfume oil and I like its lingering on a thick sweater or in the covers. Very sexy and bright."

In the bottle: apples (green with a faint touch of red), a faint grit underneath, and what I'm thinking may be the bubblegum note mentioned by another reviewer is the peach with the touch of pear. Every time I sniff this one it makes me sneeze. I hope it doesn't do so when I'm wearing it. :-D I will admit that there's something underneath that may be a bit of the patchouli and something else that comes across as fake peachy/cranberry (like I stepped into a shop that has a BUNCH of fruity air fresheners lying around and it's all mingling together). I'm a bit nervous, but I know some of these insistent perfumes can morph beautifully on the skin. *Crossing fingers

On my skin: Well, that's hopeful. The perfume fruity note begins to resolve into an apple note (the perfumed pink lady, perhaps?), but this is a very strong fruity perfume that my nose is still working through at this point and feels a bit confused. The patchouli seems to be sifting through to the bottom to provide a base that roughs this up a bit, which is good for balance. I am also getting a fruity/soapy note, and I'm not sure if it's just because my nose seems so confused or if it's because I need to let this rest and focus on it only some day. 

Make no mistake, this is a very fruity perfume. It has an astringent side though too.

I don't know if it's my skin chemistry, but there is something about this one that is affecting me. Since trying this one (I have been spacing them all out throughout the day), my skin has gotten flushed, I keep sneezing, and it is sickly cloying on my skin and has gone into Glade plug-in territory for me. It may be my skin amping notes in a horrible way, but this reeks of artificial fruit on me. And I have much sads over this. I really wanted this one to work, but somehow most apple perfumes seem to hate me and go into air freshener/fake fruit/ick getitoffgetitoff territory for me.


Spider Juice - Possets description: "
It's that pumpkin time of year and I am loving the idea of all things dark brown with pumpkin: molasses, brown sugar, toasted reductions of cane sugar, the glass-like golden sheet of sugar you get from carefully handled ingredients. It's all there, and the pumpkin, it is definitely there. Add a big shot of peach nectar and THIS is what you have been waiting for all year, and it does not disappoint."

In the bottle: warm buttery browned pumpkin, spices, and a very faint whiff of something fruity (deep fruity not bright or tropical).

On my skin: Fresh brown sugar, pumpkin/pumpkin rind, spices (most strongly is cinnamon), a hint of what comes across as green and peppery (almost jalapeno ish), sweet sweet peach (the peach is very subtle and soft, but the sweetness is not). 

As it dries: Oh boy, something in here is reacting with my skin. Where I put it on my neck is going bright red and feels hot to the touch (oddly it's not doing that on my wrist, only on my neck, but where it is on my wrist does feel tingly). The cinnamon note seems to be heavily swirling around me. (It has the sweetness and tone of hot tamales candies.) 

As it dries further, the cinnamon begins to fade down more to a cinnamon powder and my skin is still very red and blotchy on my neck, even though I tried to wipe off what I could. On my wrist, the baked pumpkin merges with the cinnamon powder and comes across as warm and custardy--like a decadent cinnamon pumpkin custard pie. Very very faintly underneath is a soft peach note. After about a half hour, the peach note rises for a bit, then merges into the other notes to provide a gentle sweetness and rounds out the whole.

Dry down: this fades to a pretty pumpkiny perfume that has a faint cling of the sweet soft peach (more peach skin than juicy peach) and a touch of the buttery toasted aspect. The cinnamon note is mostly faded at this point, but when I sniff deeply, I still can get a cinnamon powder vibe. This is warm and very autumnal, and very traditional pumpkin perfume on my skin.

For me, this is going to have to be a non skin scent for sure. It's enjoyable, but whether it's the cinnamon powder vibe or something else, there is definitely more in this than my skin can handle. 

Psychopumpkin - Possets description: "Quesque c'est? This is pumpkin, slathered in spice and encrusted with sugar. This is pumpkin in its glory, thick and deep, tumbling in honey and caramel. Foody and wicked."

In the bottle: Oddly, I get more fruit from this than I did from Spider Juice. Rounded spices, a touch of deep dark fruits, something that comes across as a dark gingerbread (but waaay down at the bottom), and a pumpkin pie-ish note.

On my skin: This opens with the baked pie and fruit notes dominating, and then begins to soften with some of the spices from Big Black Cat seemingly coming into play. This isn't BBC by any stretch, but something about it is reminding me of it--including a touch of the sweetness. 

As this dries: The honey really starts to come forward, in a very wildwood honey kind of way (deep and dark) and not the softer clover honey. The spices here feel softer (more like nutmeg, maybe) and the caramel is providing what I think of as a green note. The pumpkin veers more toward the fruity side here, and less like a baked pie at this point.

The more it dries: The area on my hand that I put this on is also having a small reaction. Not as bad as Spider Juice, and it could be that my hand is dry and needs lotion on it, but it is feeling a little of a burn there, so I'm wondering if there is some cinnamon or something along those lines within the spices mentioned. This is softer than Spider Juice. More fruity, much less spice, a bit more fresh pumpkin feeling, but I'm not sure if that's the honey or caramel lifting it and making it seem more fresh. This feels rounded, softer, and sweeter than Spider Juice (SJ is more dry by comparison). This feels more like a perfume than SJ (if that makes sense). 

I really like how deep this feels, while also coming across as a pretty light perfume. It's definitely autumnal and warm, and feels comforting. As it fades down, it continues to stay light but warm and makes me think of cozy fires, warm hearths, snuggly blankets, and good books to read. 

Note: Due to my experience with Spider Juice, I did not put this on my neck and only put a touch on the back of my hand in case it reacted. This seems more candied and less spicy than Spider Juice, so I will probably try it on my neck to see if I react as badly with this as I did with SJ (at some point--I do not feel that brave today).

Flirty She-Corpse - Possets description: "Italian bergamot, Georgia white peach, sambac jasmine, French oakmoss, and American cedar wood marry together in this rich and beautiful surprise combinations. I never thought I would like something as aromatic as cedar wood combined with a foody item like peach but the result is breathtaking."

In the bottle: herbs, cedar, what comes across as ginger (where did that come from?), and a touch of something from my perfume memory that I can't quite put my finger on. This is not what I expected (I think I expected something softer, but this is more bracing).

On my skin: Ooooh! That's a surprise. The bergamot opens this beautifully! Also, the notes are MUCH softer on the skin than in the bottle. I get the oakmoss and the cedar, but MUCH softer than expected (the oakmoss is beeeaauuuuteeeful!), and waaaay down on the bottom the jasmine says hello.

As it dries: This has a tinge of old school perfume. Classic, very very classic. The bergamot plays beautifully with the oakmoss, and the jasmine sweetens and softens the whole (I'm not getting much peach, but it could also be that making this come across as a sweet balance to the oakmoss). The cedar is waaaaay down on the bottom, providing a gorgeous base to lay this on. This is tres chic, and utterly stripped down to the bone classic perfume with a twist. 

As it dries further: Ohhh there you are peach. Peach laid out in the sun and left to dry, but not quite yet fruit leather. It is really fantastic with the creaminess of the jasmine (a non stinky jasmine--so far, knock on wood). The cedar keeps holding steady, blending beautifully with the other notes, and the oakmoss just hits this out of the ballpark. This plays like a dry chypre, but the soft edge of the peach and jasmine lift it and make it, well, flirty. This is glam cocktials of the 80's, with a touch of Chanel class (old school) thrown in. It is utterly cool, calm, collected femme with a naughty side. And wow if she didn't make me just love all of her sharp edges and soft secrets. 

In the final drydown, it softens considerably with the cedar becoming dominant and the other notes slinking around in the background with occasional sashays into the foreground, except for the jasmine which appears to have left the party in someone's candy-apple-red Ferrari. 

You don't need much when you wear this one, but when you do wear it you definitely make a statement!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Possets Halloween 2015 (The Scent of Night) Part 1

I've not made it much of a secret that I love the perfumes that come out around this time of year. They are usually more foody, but also more resinous and oriental to hold up against the incoming cold weather. This is where I continue to find the homey pumpkin scents (although I do agree with some folks that pumpkin can get to be too much), the warm woods (and wood pudding-esque fragrances), spices, and sometimes the stark edges like earth or leaves I am looking for. While I have many perfumes on my list, I have limited finances and somehow I keep coming back to Possets to get more bang for my buck. This season is no exception (gratefully purchased with some birthday money).

This year, the perfumes were named for frightening creatures from around the world or for aspects of this time of year. The names are fun, which makes buying them even more of a pleasure (even if some of the critters aren't quite so nice).

The following perfumes were posted on the Possets forum, but for folks who want to stay away from forums, here is the first section of what I've tried from this new release:

Dancing With the Sprites in the Fall Rain - Possets description: "A fabulously dry and sophisticated take on fallen leaves, wet days, and overcast autumn skies. The ozone/water of dank, a hint of mushroom musk. Overall, there is a huge resemblance to lavender but it is not lavender. As a huge wood hides its secrets from you, this blend is a morpher for sure."

In the bottle, this REALLY reminds me of the damp leaves note of Dies Irae mixed in with Re--God of the Sun's marigold autumnal note (from previous collections). It also has a touch of a bandage accord (as I call it lol) that usually becomes something beautiful and perfumey.

On my skin, it seems to hold what was in the bottle for about five minutes and then WHOA this opens up beautifully! At first it really reminds me of the above perfumes, then it begins to shift and I get what Fabienne says by lavender but not. It has that herbal-type edge with a hint of sweetness without coming across as lavender at all. I don't get a mushroom vibe (don't know what I was expecting there), but the more it dries down the more I get what I would describe as a sweet masculine note that comes across as what I smell in fougere type fragrances, but (dare I say it?) this is even better. It's a touch sweeter (almost with the roundedness of caramel, without being caramel sweet and without the greenness or stickiness that can come with caramel notes), and it's not as dry as I expected either. It has a touch of aquatic as it dries down that resolves away but that feels like it's providing a backbone for the fougere-esque vibe. And that vibe is goooorgeous! This is like the best fougere without tipping over into too spicy and darkly astringent as some of those can go. 

This feels like it has a masculine edge, but is beautiful for women as well. This doesn't remind me so much of damp leaves so much, because it is more dry than that (although this doesn't come across as wrung out dry by any stretch), but it definitely pairs beautifully with today's autumny gray rain and the pop of yellow, red, and orange leaves. This one makes me *very* glad I got it (and I have a feeling this one is going to get even more fantastic as it ages). It has kept me sniffing (nose glued to wrist, pretty much) in an effort to get all of the nuances. It's mmmmmm good.

Zombie - Possets description: "You really need a big dose of toasted marshmallow and oude. The obvious combination, wouldn't you say? Resinous and foody at the same time. Smoky sticky fun." (Note: this perfume was a suggestion by a forum member)

In the bottle, this was a lovely smokey toasty marshmallow with an almost woody rounded depth. It also had a touch of sour milk edge (almost baby breath milk) to it when I sniffed deeply which made me raise an eyebrow, but (for science of course) I put a nice big drop on my skin.

On my skin, it opens up very nicely and I almost immediately get an ambered toasted marshmallow. This shifts down pretty quickly to a powdered soft sweetness and I don't get a whole lot of oude. I'm thinking the oude will probably develop the longer this sits in the bottle, but it's definitely a wearable perfume right now. The longer this is on the skin, the toasted aspect goes away, and I get more of the ambered/powdered aspect of the sweetness, with the oude holding steady on the bottom that gives it an almost wood edge, but on a soft scale. (I really can't wait to see how this ages--I have a feeling it's going to be absolutely amazing.)

At first it seems to be light and fluffy, but it has a solid backbone that gives it staying power and depth. It's delicious without coming across as uber foody, and the oude keeps it perfectly balanced from being too sweet (it has a touch of sweetness, but it's more like the sweetness of amber and not the sweetness of sugar). This is really delightful and I think it's going to only get better as it ages. Mmmmmm!

Jurogumo - Possets description: "
A powerful vanilla musk the likes of the one used in Dance With Me (VERY seductive yet subtle and cloud-like), and rich cardamom, and finally the nectar of peaches squeezed in the summer sun and concentrated to make a sugary peach liquor...I chose the white and gauzy vanilla to remind me of the spider's silk and how appealing it is when a light shines through it and it casts a soft glow by diffusing light. The cardamom is an illusion of the hospitality the spiderwoman shows men, and peach to imagine what dainties she would prepare for the men she was going to feed upon." With a description like that, how could I refuse?!

In the bottle: Ohhhhh mmmmm! Dry powdered chocolate, vanilla, and a faint peach liqueur. 

On my skin: The vanilla opens immediately, the way Reason [Reason is a permanent for Possets] does. Very straightforward vanilla that can come across as a bit alcoholic. The chocolate (dark chocolate mixed with a bit of milk chocolate) drops down immediately into the base and resolves into being the cardamom. At this point it smells like a completely decadent drink spiked with a tinge of some kind of thick alcoholic something (rum, maybe) without smelling like alcohol (if that makes any sense at all--it's just that kind of note with edges and spikes but warm and intoxicating). It takes about five minutes before the peach begins to open up on my skin.

As it dries: The peach begins to come forward and plays beautifully with the cardamom. This comes across as delicate, with a bite (perfectly named for a spider). The vanilla plays steadily with the other notes, and makes this both luscious and delicious but also gives it an ethereal lift. This is a foody that definitely keeps a foot in the foody camp but that has a surprising edge that leans to the perfumey side with a sly nod to sophistication. I have a feeling that every time I wear this one, people are going to want to hug me just a bit longer than usual. *grin

This is delightful, and I think is going to age beautifully. I can see this being worn almost year round, but think it will be too much on nasty muggy days (the vanilla may be too heavy instead of lift then, but would be gorgeous on the evening of one of those days as the sun begins to set and the stars come out).

Warm. Engaging. Comforting. Snuggly. But also utterly foodily delightful.

Jin - Possets description: "
A true peach oriental with ingredients they use in the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE). Peaches, dried peaches, patchouli, and tobacco extract, a good wollop of cardamom and big shot of a very dry amber. A foody resinous blend which is just what cooler weather perfects."

In the bottle: Mmmmmm, oh yes. It's like the Gingerbreads [the Gingerbread line includes the Gingerbread Whorehouse and Gingerbread Crackhouse and are forum favorites] and fruit had a baby (it's not quite peach, not quite apricot, but rather like both of them dried and almost fruit leathery, but with hints of the fresh juicy fruit lurking waaaay down below).

On my skin: The peach blossoms, and with the gingerbread essence it turns into something that almost comes across as chocolate perfume. Not quite chocolate, but as if a perfumer was doing a modern take of chocolate but in perfume form. That phase shifts around a little bit, and goes "cool" on me for a minute or two, where it turns straight into peach perfume (not peach, but like a modern take of peaches only as perfume). Then a pipe tobacco lifts up a bit (so beautiful) and dives down again to become an amazing base and the peach becomes softer and juicier. Right here, just right here I fall in love. This is beautiful. It rides on a masculine edge, but is so gorgeous. Tobacco and peach is probably a combination I would have never imagined together, but this proves they were MADE for each other. For a few minutes, as it shifts around a bit more, it smells a little like a VERY upscale soap that belongs only in the most posh salon. The peach continues to feel like a combo between fruit leather and juicy succulence. The tobacco is utterly amazing in this--fresh and a bit moist--and it weaves around the peach so beautifully. I don't get much patchouli, but I do sense it lurking around the edges and I think as this ages it will come out a bit more and rough this up a little bit more and make it even sexier. (I did have this on my skin and applied again to get my first impressions, and a few hours on the skin brings out the patchouli a little more to merge beautifully with the above notes and seems to be providing some of the spiciness to this.)

As it dries down, the notes soften a bit, while still retaining the slightly masculine vibe, and yet oddly it makes me feel more feminine and powerful.

Out of all of the ones I've tried today, this is the one I keep returning to. It's complex and simple and snuggly but gorgeous all at the same time. I agree that this is a great transition perfume, but I can also see me reaching for this (often) in the dark and gray days of winter. It's soothing and comforting, but also uplifting and assured of itself. It shifts around quite a bit for the first half hour, but after that it seems to take all of the good notes and ride that through the rest of the hours in a more gentle form without losing substance. I could also see myself wearing this in spring, and on brilliant summer nights when the humidity has dropped down a bit and I just want to go out and enjoy the stars.

The notes balance each other in such a way that you know what you're smelling but the sum is SO much greater than the parts. I would definitely not slather this one on. The nuances seem to pop most when applied with a lighter hand, and the longevity is solid enough that I think slathering would over do this one. This is a fragrance to savor like a fine wine or chocolate. You can gulp a Hershey's bar, but you experience a fine European chocolate. This perfume is one to experience (and I have a feeling I'm going to want to experience it over and over). Stunning. Beautiful. Just...fantastic.

I have four more perfumes that I'll review tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Depression and Perfume

If anyone has been paying attention, I haven't been here. I haven't been here for a while. In fact, I was here, and then I wasn't.

I've talked a little (elsewhere) about depression. I'm in several groups for writers. Some of us have joked about depression being a necessity for writers, but even with knowing that we feel (enabling us to bring pages to life for others) it doesn't make going through the dark hours any easier.

Depression is a tricky thing. Sometimes we're clawing to the top (and almost out), then we fall right back down into a suffocating hole. Some days we know are going to be coping days so we grit our teeth and hang on. And then there are the days when, if we are honest with ourselves, the empty gray of depression has us very very lost, but we can sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we are coping.

Last year (and for part of the year before that), I was very lost. I had some reasons. Four of my sweetiepie birds died (it still shakes me to think about). I had some big health scares. People I love dealt with big things. People died. I was struggling in many ways. It felt like every month brought one more thing to deal with, and even knowing that we all deal with those one more things I still felt very alone. Correct that: I felt very lonely. (I don't mind being alone, but feeling lonely is miserable.)

Before I fell into the world of perfume oils and niche (indie) perfumes, I had things that could keep me going, but I could drop interests when I felt like it. The few times I struggled with debilitating depression, I had stuff that I knew I could set aside, walk away from, lose. It scared me that I was okay with that. But after I discovered this small fun little world of fragrance, I had this thing that despite myself would keep me coming into the present. My very worst days worried me the most, not because I was thinking of ways I could hurt myself, but because those were the days I wouldn't wear any perfume at all. I had several of those days in a row, and that's when I said, "Whoa, you need to do something. Danger."

To many people, that may seem frivolous and silly, but perfume was my life line to some degree of normal. Deliberately turning away from perfume was a blinking red beacon that I was in trouble.

And so I made myself, in the deepest darkest of gray, put perfume on. Every day. Even when I wanted nothing more than to fade into the ground, to not move, to crawl under the covers and never wake up. I would go to my perfume chest and make myself pick out something.

Then, one day, I crawled into bed and decided to stay there. No perfume. No shower to feel clean. No brushing of teeth as a reminder that I am alive. Just covers and darkness. And tears. As I lay there staring at the ceiling with tears slowly slipping into my hair, I snuffled. There in the gray, I smelled the mix of the small box of perfumes I had stashed by my bed. Mindlessly, not being aware that I was doing so, I began to pick out the notes. Peony, yes, I think that's peony. Lavender. Rose. Is that maybe a touch of tuberose? Lemon? No. Grapefruit. Why am I smelling this right now? I don't normally smell this when I go to bed. I looked over. The box was the same (undisturbed). Nothing had changed that I could see, but somehow they had reached out to me. I crawled out of bed. Showered. Put on perfume again.

I can't list off all of the names of what I wore. I can't even tell you everything in that small box. By Kilian. Carnal Flower. Testers from people all over the place. Guerlain. Old classics. Several Betrand Duchaufor creations. Possets. Sample packs from Lucky Scent (if you do not know Lucky Scent, you want to). More packs from The Perfumed Court, The Posh Peasant. My empty sample of Lea by Calypso St. Barth (I really do need to just buy a bottle of that some day). My travel case of samples a friend gave me with mimosa and sparkling flowery perfumes. L'Artisan and Parfumerie Generale.

Every time I wore perfume, I didn't feel as isolated or lonely. I slowly have been making my way back here. We're about to move and life is going to be hectic again, so my posts may be sporadic, but even if I never write another post I wanted to say this: Sometimes the smallest things can save us. If perfume brings you joy, embrace that. You may never know when it reaches out to you and becomes your lifeline.

Since the last time I wrote here I have sampled, tested, hoarded, wrinkled my nose at, and sniffed multiple lovelies (and not so lovelies). My hope is that when we get settled in our new location that I will be able to bring them out and share them with the world.

Until then, even while packing and moving, I'll be wearing perfume. I hope you'll join me.