Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Scents of the Week: Aug. 24 - 30

[Most products were purchased by me as samples from perfume vendors, or received as Sephora perks.]

Apparently my tastes have wandered from the candy shop of last week (or two weeks ago, whatever. Timey-wimey-ness). The weather has cooled ever so slightly (I'm losing my cold tolerance, guys), so I'm reaching for darker, smokier things. Sort of. Sometimes. I'm still a sucker for vanilla.

Sunday: Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black (Sephora perk roll-on)
notes: violet, sandalwood, vanilla
Violet can be tricky (in fact, one of the other scents I tested this week was violet-centric and I had to scrub it off), but this one doesn't really smell like violet; it's more of a smokey, sweet, something. I don't really know what sandalwood smells like, but this is a darker scent that brings to mind Diptyque Volutes or Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. Not as smoky or complex as the latter, and not as cherry-sweet as the former, but it evokes the same feelings. I got my roller ball as a 100-pt perk and I quite like it, although I think the spray bottle offers more throw and longevity. (As an aside, I can't stand the White version. It's a powdery mess on me.)

Monday: Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise (mini bottle)
notes: star anise, purple vanilla orchid, vanilla bourbon
I have to confess that I'm confused as to why Jo Malone gets so much love - they're so...spritzy. And the concept of having to own five of them so you can layer them all is just...yeah, I'm too lazy (and broke) for that. This is the only scent from the brand that I could imagine owning a full bottle of - I quite like the carefree, light waves of vanilla and twisted licorice. It is very similar to Diptyque Eau Duelle; the latter is more complex, and lasts longer. I'm not sure how many vanilla perfumes a sane person can have. My little bottle is almost gone. Do I upgrade to the 1 oz bottle ($60)? Do I settle on Eau Duelle instead?

Tuesday: Tocca Graciella (Sephora perk roll-on)
notes: Bitter Orange, Asian Pear, Watery Apricot, Casablanca Lily, Ylang Ylang from Comoros Islands, Karma Fleur, Rose de Mai, Creamy Iris, Cashmere Musk, Benzoin, Laos.
Something to lighten the mood. I don't know what the hell "watery apricot" is (if I took a bite into that, I'd spit it out), but this is a light fruity floral that stays in the realm of silk chiffon; opens with bright Asian pear and bitter orange, floats into iris and other flowers, and hovers there forever. I like it, although I never find Tocca perfumes particularly robust, so I'm not sure that I'd splurge on the full bottle. Maybe someday when I want something pretty for my dresser - the bottles are lovely.

Wednesday: Sweet Anthem Lolita EdP (SA List sample)
notes: sea salt, black currant, cherry blossom, tonka bean, rosewood
I reviewed this previously, and my opinion hasn't changed. It's the first cherry blossom scent I've liked, and its mellow, aquatic sweetness makes it bright and cheery in the heat of summer, as well.

Thursday: CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea (Perfume Absolute Sample)
notes: "Smoked black Indian tea, bergamot and the hint of shelves full of old books"
I kind of roll my eyes when I hear the brand name, because really, of all the elitist, supercilious - anyway. The description, too: "the hint of shelves full of old books." Sometimes I think people are a little too self-indulgent. Anyway. This is touted as the smokiest, most inherently tea scent around, and while it's definitely black tea, rich and sweet and instantly recognizable, it's a bit too sweet for me. I get a lot of bergamot, which I usually like, but here it's a little too lemony and more reminiscent of sweet tea. Where is my smoke? Not terrible, but not, in my opinion, worth the $130 for 15 mL of perfume absolute. But I do love the tea base, and will happily wear out the rest of my teeny sample.

Friday: Serge Lutens Five O'Clock Au Gingembre (sample)
notes: notes of bergamot, tea, cinnamon, candied ginger, honey, cacao bean, vanilla, gingerbread accord, patchouli, vetiver 
Apparently I am doomed to be disappointed by tea scents this week. I wanted the delicious spiced cookies and smoky black tea that everyone else gets, but this turns into a soapy, abrasive "man-smell" on me - you know, that lavender-clove cheap aftershave smell? With a dash of sharp patchouli, just to add insult to injury. I waited it out, hopeful that the initial rebuke would soften into something more palatable, but nope. Big fat nope. Maybe my sample has expired? Either way, this one goes into the "repulsive and rejected" pile. I scrubbed it off and consoled myself with the last of my sample of Eau Duelle.

Saturday: YSL Parisienne
notes: blackberry, vetiver, vinyl accord, sandalwood, damask, rose
I actually have a full bottle of this (the first full bottle of perfume I ever bought, actually, and S. helped me pick it out). I don't wear it that often in warm weather because it's a powerhouse of a scent - the sillage could strangle someone (also, the cap, you could kill someone with the cap - it's hefty!). It's also very fruit-forward (like wine! I actually think it smells like riesling, to begin with) with tons of blackberry, and the lingering rose-vinyl accord can become a bit cloying. I wore this because I let S. pick, and apparently he likes it when I smell like riesling. In colder weather, I like it a lot better - it's much tighter, lighter, and not as plastic.

I have a lot of fun with these. I try to keep perfume reviews light-hearted and non-scholarly, but perhaps I'm being a bit self-indulgent with the snark. Personal failing, that. But I am pleased, because I am slowly but surely moving samples from the "to-be-tried/worn/eaten/looked at/something" (just kidding, please don't eat perfume) pile to the "shove off on someone else" (Amy?) pile. Tortoise ftDUBS, baby.

What kind of scents are you reaching for lately? Has the weather turned where you are?