Archive for February, 2011

I’ll warn you now, it’s going to be another busy-busy-boring week. Paint and Kid Taxi and stuff like that… and I really must get out those swaps I promised.

Monday, Feb. 21: Feels like spring! Temps in the 60s, a stiff wind… SOTD: Cuir de Lancome. Sprayed some on just before I left the house, and The CEO said, “You smell great! What’s that you’re wearing?” The level in my 50ml bottle is dropping; I love it; I’m not sure that The CEO loves it but every single time I put it on he asks what it is; Cuir is discontinued; Parfum1 is having a 15% off sale. That combination of facts leads me to think that a backup bottle is a wise idea, particularly since I can get one for about $33 with shipping.

Started painting the family room today: that turquoise blue color I mentioned last week. I’ve done three of the nine walls of the U-shape, including the long wall. The blue actually looks very striking with the browns and bricks in the room, particularly if I’m going to touch up the moldings and trim, as I need to do, in a glossy cream color.

Tuesday, Feb. 22: Sunny, but considerably cooler today at 46F. SOTD: Chamade, vintage EdT. My “eBay steal” bottle has wonky topnotes, but it is a lovely scent after fifteen minutes.

Painted another third of the family room. Am very tired.

Wednesday, Feb. 23: Cloudy, chilly morning sliding into sunny, warmer afternoon. SOTD: Xerjoff XJ Elle, from a carded sample Dear Daisy was kind enough to send. The notes include galbanum (squee!), but there is no actual galbanum to smell in here. It’s all crème brulee gourmand. Smells like a quieter version of the cotton-candy/caramel half of Angel. It lasts allllll day, too. I’m just not much of a gourmand fan, I suppose. I do really love Hanae Mori (Butterfly), but only in small doses and only at home as a comfort scent.

Side note: I thought about nabbing another small bottle of Hanae Mori Haute Couture, because it’s discontinued and ridiculously inexpensive. I was buying a pair of curtains at Overstock.com for our family room, and on a whim checked to see if Overstock had any fragrances I’d want. They have 50ml Haute Couture – beautiful aldehydic citrus-jasmine – for about $17, and I was tempted, but then I remembered I still have most of a 50ml bottle and some Ines de la Fressange (the Calice Becker one, aldehydes-peach-rose) and the lovely citrus-rose of Moschino Funny! for summer wear. Aaaaaanyway, my point was that I looked at the reviews at Overstock for Haute Couture and saw a comment from someone who’d bought it unsniffed because she liked HM Butterfly, but was “disgusted” by Haute Couture, calling it “heavy” and “smells like old ladies, not light and fresh like Hanae Mori.” I can see how the aldehydes in HC might be deemed old-fashioned, but Hanae Mori, light and fresh? Crazy.

Did some prep work – cleaning, taping, spackling – for painting, but didn’t have time to paint.

Thursday, Feb. 24: Same temperature as yesterday, but raining as well. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome again. Such a pretty thing. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps that vial of Xerjoff Elle was mislabeled… there’s nothing on the vial itself to identify it, just the card it’s stuck into. I floated the idea to some Facebook friends who’ve tried Elle; the consensus seems to be that Elle is very floral, so what I tried clearly must be something else, possibly Xerjoff Verona, a gourmand containing (yes!) caramel notes.

Bookworm twisted her ankle at a track meet about three weeks ago, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. The school’s athletic trainer has been taping her ankle up for practice, and she’s riding a bike around the track instead of running, but it’s still swollen. Took her to our family doctor, who says she has a mild sprain that nevertheless isn’t healing very quickly. She’s on anti-inflammatory Aleve twice a day for the next two weeks and forbidden to run for another ten days.

Respackled part of the wall – the spot just under the window where our cat, Silvia, used to leap up into the wide sill and sit. She left behind numerous clawmarks. She hasn’t been able to jump four feet up like that for a couple of years now; she’s 17 and arthritic. Getting old stinks.

Friday, Feb. 25: (This time next week The CEO and I will be on a plane to Rome! Very exciting.) Rain in the morning, changing to sunny and very windy in the afternoon. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. This had largely worn off by the time I got home from work, so I put on some Cuir de Lancome in the afternoon. I don’t know why I’m craving it lately, but I am.

Painted the wall behind the TV (hahaha, no TV! The CEO is grumpy) and the wall containing the sliding door. Almost done; only the wall behind the computer desk remains. I can’t move the desk by myself, so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, Feb. 26: Normal weekly cleaning day. It’s chilly but sunny outside. I usually don’t put on any fragrance until after I’ve cleaned up and showered, but I knew it would be later than usual today, so I put on a couple of goodly spritzes of Le Temps d’une Fete.

Finished painting! It looks good. (Just in time, too: Virginia Tech is playing Duke in men’s basketball tonight. Risking the Wrath of The CEO is not a Good Idea.)

Later, I sampled Carthusia Via Camarelle and Profumi di Capri Luna Caprese. The Luna Caprese is a nice quiet laundry-musk thing, rather pretty but not considerably different from a laundry detergent a coworker of mine uses. Via Camarelle is also quite nice, a more-citrusy version of Miller Harris Fleur de Matin, which I enjoyed very much on vacation last summer. I am still looking for a fragrance I’d like to buy in Rome and use for our Malta vacation – something “Italian” and light but not citrus-focused or of traditional cologne structure. This is turning out to be surprisingly difficult.

Put on some Mariella Burani just before bed and woke up in the most delicious cloud of benzoin-tonka-musk. (Wow, four fragrances in one day…)

GO HOKIES!  VT beats #1 Duke… The CEO is stoked.

Sunday, Feb. 27: Went to church wearing a sample of Bois 1920 Vento di Fiore, which sounds like it would be like its namesake, a “flowery breeze.” It’s so not. It is a bit of galbanum to start, and then an accord of woods, moss, and patchouli that reminds me quite a lot of Polo. I’m not going to wear it… unless… hey, this might work: if I layered it with a pretty rose soliflore like Tea Rose, it might approximate DSH Perfumes‘ lovely Rose Vert. (Well, minus some of Rose Vert’s citrus. It’s amazing to me how rose does a lot to counteract bitter green notes and make them palatable to me. And I’m sure that for some people, it would be the other way around – mossy greens do a lot to make rose palatable to them!)

Moved all the furniture out of the family room and vacuumed it, and then The CEO pulled up the old carpet. I knew it had been cheap carpet when we built our house nine years ago, but I hadn’t realized exactly how cheap… I’ll be so glad when we’ve got our modest upgrade carpet in.

SOTAfternoon: sampling Nobile 1942 Pontevecchio W. Now this is more like what I wanted: light and floral, quite feminine, with either a salty-marine or a citrus angle. It feels very much “me,” so this one goes on the short list. (I should go and check what a full bottle costs, and hope that it isn’t out of my range, because Pontevecchio W – there’s also a masculine with Pontevecchio in the name – is really up my alley.)

Image is from the collection of Morepink at Fragrantica.  Lower image is from hokiesports.com.





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Scent Diary: Feb. 14-20, 2011

Actually, today’s post should have been called something like, “Painting the Den, and the Lamest Scent Diary EVER.”

Monday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day:  SOTMorning: Gres Cabaret.  There’s something really… puffy about this one.  I like it – I like it a lot – but I’m slightly embarrassed that what I dig the most about it is that puffy musk, because it’s seriously puffy.  We’re talking puffy like Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt, or Melanie Griffith’s post-op lips.  I feel like an airhead when I wear it.

Made a delicious dinner (steak, mushroom sauce, baked potatoes, asparagus, rolls, molten chocolate cakes with dark cherries, yum) and got out the wedding china.  It was very nice.  Then we sent the kids to bed, and snuggled up on the couch.  SOTEvening:  Citizen Queen.

Tuesday, Feb. 15:   SOTMorning: SL Bas de Soie, which I’d been saving to test when we got some springlike weather.  It’s finally here!  Verdict?  Meh.  I was hoping for lots of hyacinth, but didn’t get it, BdS was all rooty pale iris and something uncomfortably metallic.  Sigh.   SOTA: Ulric de Varens pour elle and Iris Poudre, for Fragrance Throwdown review.

Wednesday, Feb. 16: Weather’s warmer… spring is finally here, I think.  Of course, we’ll probably get snow next week, just to show me up.  SOTD:  Ulric de Varens pour elle, Iris Poudre (one on one wrist, one on the other).

Thursday, Feb. 17: SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.   After three weeks of missing my community chorus practices, due to either throat problems or kids not feeling well, I made it to rehearsal tonight.  Things are going better, but… I don’t know.  You’d think I’d be grateful for the opportunity to sing.  I suppose it’s just that we’ve got some new members who’ve never sung anything more difficult than four-part harmony out of the hymnal, and they’re struggling a little.  I try to help in my section, but it still feels like running in sand.  I’m wondering how many of the newbies will drop out next fall, when we’re scheduled to do Haydn’s “The Creation,” which is fun to sing but not in any way what I’d call advanced.  It’s even in English, for heaven’s sake.   (Oh well, I should just get over myself.)  Sleep Scent: Mariella Burani.  So comfortably pretty, and I will smell fabulous when I get up… too bad it’ll be shower time then.

Friday, Feb. 18:  According to Eddie’s thermometer, it’s 71F today.  Sure doesn’t feel like it, due to the clouds and stiff breeze – it felt warmer yesterday, at 58F and sunny.  SOTD: Caron Aimez-Moi, such a pretty scent.

Saturday, Feb. 19: Warm, sunny, and windy, in the mid-60s.  The CEO hung sheets out on the clothesline today (they smell great)!  SOTD:  Crown Bouquet.  I love that juicy-crunchy green stuff in the opening, all galbanum and marigold, before it subsides into the very quite white flowers.  Did the usual Saturday cleaning, and finished clearing out the unnecessary junk from the family room, in preparation for painting it.  So grateful for Goodwill, I tell you…

This room is downstairs, in the walk-out basement, and the part of it that’s underground has mildew spots on the walls.  (Ew.)  Washed walls with TSP today.  The walls have always been off-white, because that’s how they were when we moved in, and I’m sick of it.  The rest of the decor: cheapo industrial beige-ish carpet and hand-me-down brick-brown sofa and love seat, brown upholstered recliner, two wooden desks, the kids’ Art Cart, our computer and TV, and a very nice brick fireplace.  It’s a Man Cave, is what it really is.   We have already bought new carpet in an attractive bronze-brown shade, but it will be installed after I paint.

When I was discussing paint with The CEO, I mentioned how bored I am with the paint, and he suggested light blue.  (Yeah, I know, but the man would paint every room in the house blue if I’d let him.  He keeps trying to talk me into painting the dining room a deep Federal blue… which I’d consider if it were a separate room.  It isn’t.  It’s part of the kitchen-living room-dining area, and the walls are high, and the feel of the area is open.  The white walls are appropriate there.)

We’ve compromised on a blue-green shade that I think will be nice with the brick, cream moldings, and brown furniture (there’s no way we’ll be getting new furniture any time soon, with Bookworm gearing up for college in a few years).  The closest I can get to it here on my computer is Bondi Blue – more blue than turquoise, but enough green in it that it will contrast nicely with brown.  The shade we picked is a bit less intense than Bondi Blue, but very similar.  I sincerely hope it works out.   What else would work?  It’s too dark in that room for anything darker than a medium shade, and as I’ve said multiple times, I’m sick of off-white.  The CEO nixed any shade of green, having grown up in a house with interior walls painted in a couple of varying 1970s earth tones… Grrr.  Well, we’ll see.   It’s only paint, I can do it again if I need to.

Sunday, Feb. 20:  Warm again.  SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum, which could probably be a signature scent for me if I still believed in that concept…  Covered the mildewed walls with KILZ (gah, paint stinks, even the low-odor stuff).  I. Am. Tired.  And must paint tomorrow…

Top image is from Gojira at Fragrantica.  Puffy shirt image from Wikipedia,  paint chips image from artquiltmaker.com.

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I’ve been trying to do a Seasonal Picks post four times a year since I started blogging, and this is the first time I haven’t really kept on top of the concept.  Why do I care about the Seasonals? Well, I do live in a place that has four distinct seasons, and it’s true that weather plays an enormous role in my scent selections.  Too, I look forward to wearing certain fragrances at certain times of the year. 

Last year, I posted my Winter Picks in January, mid-way through the season.  This year, I thought I’d wait until the end of the season and look back at what I actually wore over the cold months.  (I knew those Scent Diaries would come in handy for something…)  At least, it appears to be the end of the season here in the Virginia mountains, although I wouldn’t put it past Mother Nature to zap us with another snow in March.  The air is warmer, and it feels as if the earth is beginning to stretch and wake up: spring is, if not here yet, just around the corner.

Winter 2010-11 looks a lot like 2009-10 – not exactly the same fragrances, but the categories were very similar.  This past winter I wore the following:

Teo Cabanel AlahineOf course.  A repeat from last year’s list. It still smells like Christmas; it still smells like joy and golden bells.  I still love it. 

Mary Greenwell Plum: New this year, and one of the few year-round fragrances I have.  Elegant yet friendly, weightless but with presence.  I love this one too.

Woody and/or spicy fragrances: Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois, Chanel Bois des Iles, Givenchy Organza Indecence. These are all repeats of last year’s choices, too. 

Dark Roses: another repeat category.  Amouage Lyric Woman, Gres Cabaret, Caron Parfum Sacre.  I wore Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady several times before deciding it wasn’t “me,” but it was entirely appropriate for winter.

Tuberose scents: this category wasn’t on the list last year, but it should have been, given all the tuberose reviews I did last January and February!  I wore several different tuberose-heavy fragrances this winter, including Honore des Pres Vamp a NY and Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, as well as many many samples.

And a category new to the list this year, Aldehydes.   I’ve always liked them, but it seems I was drawn to them over the winter just as much as I was this past summer.  I notice my decant collection is quite heavy on aldehydes: Chanel No. 5 parfum and Eau Premiere, Guerlain Vega, Le Labo Aldehydes 44, Serge Lutens La Myrrhe, Lancome Climat, Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, Mariella Burani, Ulric de Varens pour elle

Anybody else notice going in a new direction with your fragrances choices over the past winter?  Feel free to share what your Most Valuable Perfume was over the chilly months.

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When I first heard of Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, it was early in 2009, and the reviews I noticed were for En Passant, the ethereal scent of green notes, lilac, and bread, and for Carnal Flower, the glowing white floral. Someone on Now Smell This mentioned going to the Malle website and filling out a questionnaire in order to receive a sample, and my ears perked up. I don’t live within ten hours’ drive of a location selling Malle fragrances, so I thought I’d try the website. I filled out the very nosy, somewhat incomprehensible questionnaire (“What clothing designers do you favor?” Uh, none.) and received a recommendation for Iris Poudre. I promptly discarded the suggestion: I’m not a big iris fan, and I don’t care for scents that remind me of baby powder, I said to myself. The second suggestion was for Une Fleur de Cassie, but that one sounded difficult too. I ignored the recommendation.

A few months later, after having tried En Passant and found it pleasant but not an emotional experience, I filled out the Malle website questionnaire again. This time the suggestions were for Iris Poudre and Lipstick Rose. I reply-emailed the Malle rep with a question about how I could find samples. “You could order them,” he said. “We sell them on the website.” Uh, thanks for your time, Philippe.

I did finally find a sample of Carnal Flower, and discovered it to be fully as wonderful as I had expected. I tried Lipstick Rose and thought it silly; I tried Lys Mediterranee and liked its salty aquatic lily. Une Rose charmed me at first with its stunningly lovely rose note, and then its woody amber base started chasing me around the house with a machete.

And then a friend sent me a sample of Iris Poudre that hadn’t suited her. I checked the reviews on Iris Poudre, which mostly said things like, “very girly,” “my dressed-up date-night fragrance,” “a pinup scent,” as well as “not very irisy.” I looked again at the notes listed: iris, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean, musk, vanilla. I don’t even like iris that much, I said to myself again. Or vetiver, for that matter. I sighed. I spritzed the sample.

And fell, hard. The snowy sparkle of aldehydes charmed me. The cool-warm character of the woody-vanilla base seduced me. Although no floral notes are listed at all, I seem to smell a faint sweetness of rose and jasmine; the satin of iris hides under the smoothness of sandalwood, tonka and musk. The whole thing is cream-colored and lovely, fluffy as angora. It lasts four to five hours on me, on the short end of average for eau de parfum.

I schemed and planned and finally managed to get my hands on a decant. I love this stuff. The drydown reminds me very much of Mariella Burani, which I also love, without the citrus angle.  (Funny how Mariella Burani seems something like No. 5, and something like Iris Poudre, all at the same time.)

I’d actually been planning a different throwdown for Iris Poudre for some time – versus Mariella Burani – but this comparison popped up out of nowhere when I was reading some older posts at Perfume Shrine. Elena calls her smell-alike reviews “Twin Peaks,” and she suggested that this fragrance I’d never heard of was a pretty good, if cheap, dupe of the wonderful Iris Poudre. I snapped up a small 1oz bottle online for less than $10.

When it arrived in the mail, I opened the box to find a stiff, translucent plastic package encasing one of the most adorable cheapo-bling bottles I’ve ever seen: it is shaped like a handbag. The bottle is glass, with a top made of plastic painted silver; it has a movable handle, cute as all get-out.

Ahem. We never buy for the bottle.

Ulric de Varens is a French company that produces fragrances for sale in what Americans would call “the drugstore market.” Downscale, you’d think, like Parfums de Coeur or Revlon? Pricewise, yes. But several of UdV’s scents were composed by Jean Claude Ellena and Pierre Bourdon. (Yes, I’m serious.) No perfumer is listed for UdV pour elle, which was released in 1999. Fragrantica lists notes of pear, rose, jasmine, lily, and white musk, which really gives no idea what the scent is like. I’d add aldehydes and tonka bean to the list.

Upon first spray of UdV, I can’t help laughing: it smells, unmistakably, of old-fashioned hair spray. The hair spray accord only lasts three or four minutes, and then I get classic soapy-powdery aldehydes overlaid with a light, synthetic pear note that also lasts just a few moments. From there, UdV is very much an aldehydic floral, a classic mixed-floral bouquet with a powdery sparkle. I can’t pick out the floral notes; “rose, jasmine, and lily,” you say? Whatever. It just comes across as just floral. It fades down to a skin scent, scarcely perceptible, after about an hour on me, even using the “sprayed wet” technique. At this point it is at what I’d call its prettiest stage: a soft musk, the powdery remains of the aldehydes, the smoothness of tonka bean, vanilla and woods. This stage lasts several hours on me, eventually fading into a very quiet vanilla-musk with a creamy-powdery texture very reminiscent of Dior New Look 1947.

It does smell somewhat like Iris Poudre, particularly in the aldehydic opening and the soft powdery-creamy drydown. There is an essential cheapness to Ulric de Varens pour Elle, a lack of natural ingredients that nevertheless avoids, to a large degree, the harshness of most drugstore-quality fragrances. The pear note is quite synthetic, and the woods, and probably most of the florals. However, the composition as a whole is very smooth and seamless, with a soft sueded texture that I find very enjoyable.  It also reminds me of New Look 1947, without the white florals – and yet I love Iris Poudre and don’t love New Look.  Couldn’t tell you why one and not the other.

Ulric de Varens is not comparable in quality to the Malle fragrance. And yet if you’re not flush enough with cash for a bottle of Iris Poudre, the UdV scent is at the very least a cheap, cheerful stopgap.

Other comparisons to Iris Poudre seem frequently to mention Ferre by Ferre, the black and gold “grenade” bottle, with the suggestion that the Ferre scent is easier to find and cheaper. Well, that’s not the case at the time of writing: Ferre is available on ebay if you are patient to sort through the Ferre fragrances for the one you want, but not much cheaper than the Malle. I have a mini bottle. It is not in good shape – the aldehydes have deteriorated, so that it smells like nail polish remover – so I have not worn it enough to write a proper review. When I have given it a thorough wearing, I’ll add Ferre by Ferre to the Fragrance Throwdown.

Image of wrestlers from Wikimedia Commons. Fragrance images from Fragrantica.

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Gestures of affection

Originally uploaded by Ed Yourdon


Well, it’s the big ol’ V D today… Valentine’s Day, that is. I have a hard time celebrating it – one really rotten Valentine’s Day experience, and it hasn’t been the same for me since – and of course it’s gotten horribly commercial, but still. I think it’s a good idea to express romantic feelings at least once a year, and some people need that kick-in-the-pants from the calendar.

I know people who hate the idea of being told to do something romantic, and it’s true that if you’re already doing something romantic for your significant other throughout the year, Valentine’s Day is pretty superfluous.  I don’t think there’s a great need for spendy presents of diamonds and huge bouquets of roses and $200 dinners at the fanciest restaurant in town – I’d much rather have a hand-written note and some Together Time.

I like the reminder that I need to spend some time thinking about The CEO and why I married him, and why I want to continue being married to him.  I mean, he can drive me nuts (and vice versa, I’m absolutely sure), but this is the guy that I said “for better or for worse” to, almost nineteen years ago, and I meant it.  Love you, J.

This evening, I’ll make a nice dinner, and then we’ll send the kids to bed… nudge nudge wink wink.  I’ll probably be wearing Citizen Queen.  I want to still be holding J’s hand fifty years from now, so we should do a little cuddling now, don’t you think?

Wishing everyone some romance today – even if you just treat yourself to your favorite little luxury.  (If you don’t love you, nothing anybody else does is ever going to make any difference.)

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Monday, Feb. 7: Chilly but not unbearably so today. SOTD: To go with my pearls and apple-green sweater, I wore Climat. I might like it best for the first hour, when it’s all green galbanum and cool white flowers, and yet you sense the civetty warmth lurking underneath.

Received a cheapie eBay purchase in the mail today. I found a mention on a blog of an inexpensive fragrance that, to the blogger, mimics a pricey scent that I just adore, and which I only have a small decant of. I spritzed on the smell-alike and laughed out loud: it reminds me not only of the one the blogger mentioned, but also of a newer fragrance, also upscale. I may do a comparative review later, and I’ll mention names then. There is an essential cheapness to the smell-alike, and the resemblance to the Expensive Niche Thing only lasts about fifteen minutes or so, after which the resemblance to the Upscale Moderately-expensive Thing (which I did not love) takes over. However, the scale of Fun: Cost is probably greater than the last experience I had at the movie theater. (I took Bookworm to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I.” The movie wasn’t bad, but the people sitting in front of us were up and down and up and down the aisle every eight minutes on average, and the doors at the back of this elderly theater let in light and noise, and the movie viewing was no better – and maybe less enjoyable – than watching a DVD at home on our 19” TV screen, with the lights on and people demanding food… Grrrr.) So, anyway, I’m working on a Fragrance Throwdown for this scent.

Tuesday, Feb. 3: The CEO’s bottle of Acqua di Gio is getting low, so he asked me to find him something new, “something that makes you want to nuzzle me,” he said. I’ve got a few samples of (so-called) masculine fragrances for him to try, and we’ll see how they go.

Wednesday, Feb. 2: SOTMorning: Parfumerie Generale L’Oiseau de Nuit, which was quite nice, if a bit derivative – it reminds me of Shalimar for some time. Eventually it develops that resiny-balsamy thing that I hate so much, and that I cannot quite identify. (Great name, though.)

SOTAfternoon: Alahine. Yum. Started a new small group Bible study this evening; I hope it continues to be as good as it started.

Bad news on the masculine fragrance front: I really liked Encre Noire, but The CEO tried it today, and commented that it smelled like smoke to him. “What, like you’ve been smoking?” I asked. “No, like woodsmoke. I don’t want to smell like woodsmoke.” It wasn’t at all like that on me, but SSS Winter Woods was, and that’s not a comfortable situation: to smell as if you are becoming ham.

His further comment: Hugo by Hugo Boss is off the list too. “This smells like old guys,” he said.

Thursday, Feb. 3: It snowed last night, all of half an inch, and school was closed today. I’m still baffled. I know that this was supposed to be an early-release day for parent-teacher conferences, but I’m so annoyed by the hit-or-miss scheduling. Temps got up to 36F today, so the snow was gone by 11 am. Grrr.

I started out thinking I should wear something new and review it, so I pulled out a tiny bottle of DSH Perfumes Cielle and put it on. It was ethereally pretty for half an hour, and then I couldn’t smell it anymore, so I gave in and just wore Mary Greenwell Plum. I’ll get back to Cielle in the springtime; it’s a very nice jasmine.

Went to bed in Shalimar Light, re-reading Elizabeth George’s “advice to authors” book, Write Away, which really is wonderful. I must get back to revising my NaNo novel… but first, I have to clean out the family room and paint it. Like, this week.

Friday, Feb. 4: Hard frost outside. No school due to more parent-teacher conferences – I didn’t need those this grading period, everybody came home with all A’s. I’m a little disappointed with the “effort” grades on Taz’ report card; apparently he’s figured out how to make decent grades without trying very hard.

SOTD: PG Bois Blond. A real weirdie, here – I’m not sure whether I like it or not, because it changes frequently. I went through several stages with it (and sprayed it again after the first drydown, just to experience it again). First, I don’t like it at all; it’s medicinal/herbal/cold galbanum green, very bitter. Then it goes slightly chemical for about five minutes (bleah) before turning grassy and sweet, and I like it. Then it goes away for awhile, and I can’t say if I like it because I can’t really smell it. Then it’s back, and I can’t identify it, and I don’t particularly care for that part either – is there patchouli in this? Finally, it comes up a lovely lightweight amber, and I like it again. Very wack. I don’t remember another PG fragrance being so schizophrenic.

Saturday, Feb. 12: Cleaning up the house again… again again. Trying to clear out the crap from the family room so that we can paint… it’s a rare warm day, but it’s low 40s and windy, so it feels colder than 42F. On the other hand, we have sunshine, which feels amazingly good. Stayed unscented most of the day, but in the evening, put on Organza Indecence. Gosh, that’s good stuff.

Sunday, Feb. 13: Warm and sunny today, in the 50s. Went to my parents’ house after church for a big family lunch. It was supposed to be in honor of my brother’s and his wife’s birthdays, but it turned out they couldn’t drive the five hours from Richmond, so the get-together turned out to be in honor of my brother-in-law, just back from Afghanistan, and a farewell lunch for him and my sister and their son, before their little family moves to Ft. Hood, TX this coming week. SOTD: FM Iris Poudre. Lovely.

I don’t even want to talk about how much I’ll miss my sister, a person I spent about fourteen years of my life, from age 5 until 19, trying to ignore, but who has turned out to be a truly wonderful friend. (Love you, A.)



Top image is from mmsmlzgud546 at Fragrantica.  Lower image is from A’s Facebook page.

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Perfume Review:i Profumi di Firenze Tuberosa d’Autonno

Date released: none listed

Perfumer: none listed

Sample provenance: sample from The Perfumed Court, 2010

Sub-category: Atypical (spicy) tuberose soliflore

Tuberosa d’Autonno opens up with the grape-candy effect that has become so familiar to us from Giorgio Beverly Hills – and from the Tuberose Monster par excellence, Dior Poison. (Elena at Perfume Shrine says this is methyl anthranilate; see her excellent post on aromachemicals and their effects here.) In fact, I have begun noticing this artificial-grape-flavor smell fairly frequently while testing tuberose/gardenia scents lately, and it always yells, “POISON!” pretty loudly in my ear. Giorgio BH may have been the first scent to pair it with tuberose, but Poison was the signature for this aromachemical, if you ask me. It’s almost medicinal in its artificiality – I think first of the Dimetapp my mother used to give me when I was a sniffly kid.

Within a few moments, a nice natural tuberose enters the room, and as usual, all attention follows, leaving the grape note off in the corner to itself (where it should be). I think there may be a small amount of orange blossom in the scent; at this stage, Tuberosa d’Autonno reminds me most of Fracas. It’s quieter than Fracas, but very creamy under the fascinating lilt of tuberose, which here has a “cool” cast. The whole scent spends a good long period in this creamy-cool-white petals mode, and I like it quite a bit.

After a few hours, the scent takes a noticeably spicy turn into warm spices under the cool white flowers, and it begins to remind me of Honore des Pres’ bombshell tubey, Vamp a NY. TdA lacks Vamp’s cheerfully trashy bubble-gum accent and overt sweetness, but it picks up on the spicy, rich, resinous goodness of the root-beer base of Vamp. This cool/warm dichotomy is enjoyable to me in both fragrances, but TdA is restrained and mysterious, where Vamp is limboing in her mini-skirt.

I’m aware that it’s probably not good form to review Fragrance X by comparing it to Fragrance Y. But this is my 18th review of a tuberose scent, and since tuberose is such a take-charge sort of note, many of these fragrances start smelling a bit alike after awhile. I apologize.

I can’t find any list of notes for this one anywhere; I Profumi di Firenze apparently plays its cards close to its chest. But if you want my guess: grape notes, tuberose, orange blossom, perhaps a hint of jasmine, a bare hint of clove, tolu balsam, myrrh and perhaps woods.  The website (Isabella Imports) says this about it:

(Floral) Bewitching tuberose scent. Enchanting, intoxicating, for late nights.
Tuberose Polianthes from Italy

Lasting power, like most white floral scents, is good on me: about six hours.

Quality: B. Good quality stuff in there, but accented in an unusual fashion.

Grab-scale score: 7. Winds up close enough to Vamp a NY that I didn’t feel I needed any (I have a decant of Vamp).

Short description: Tuberose spice.

Cost: $$

Earns compliments? Yes, once the Grape Dimetapp accord goes away.

Scent presence: Moderate, with moderate sillage. Lasts several hours; after 4 hours, the sillage is much less and the scent stays close to the skin.

Review report: No full reviews available, other than a brief mention by Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am, and another brief mention by Robin at Now Smell This.  Both reviewers found it “cooler” than I did.

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Monday, Jan. 31: Bookworm’s off at the District Indoor Track meet this evening. She did well, but one person can’t carry a whole relay team, so they didn’t make the regionals.

SOTD: Roja Dove Scandal. This is the fragrance described by Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide as “enormously rude.” My experience? Um… no. Definitely not. Granted, I am dabbing from a sample, but after putting on my customary dab amount and barely being able to smell it, I added quite a bit more. Still quiet. Also, it’s supposedly “rose tuberose” – two great smells that smell great together – but all I’m getting here is a big ball o’ soapy orange blossom. It’s not customary for me to have to search for tuberose, but I’m doing it here. Wonder if even this has been reformulated?

In fact, I think I’m going to quote the entire P:TG review, as it’s A) rather funny and B) the complete opposite of what I’m getting out of Scandal. Here goes (along with my customary admonishment to just go spend the $15 at Amazon and get a copy of The Guide in paperback, already!):

Scandal (Roja Dove), *** rose tuberose $$$$

Here is the Fracas tuberose perfume taken to the absolute limit, made preposterously intense by way of a liqueur-like rose streaked through with apricot and raspberry. It is enormously rude and will cause everyone sitting next to you to push his plate away after one bite and to lean back while talking to you as if you’ve clutched him in a tango. Good materials, very competently done, but frightening. TS”

I’ll say it again: Um, no. Not even close. (How come this was described as “frightening” and Insolence edp as “masterpiece”? Huh? Somebody explain that one to me. I’m still quaking in my boots from Insolence.) So am I anosmic? Or have I just been smacked by the OB stick?

SOTAfternoon/evening: Leonard de Leonard, which is a big 80s floral chypre, with that imposing sweet-sour balance of oakmoss and amber, all rococo with rose and carnation and… ylang, I think. Hard to tell which florals are in there, actually, it’s so layered. LdL reminds me vaguely of Prince Matchabelli Cachet, which I owned a bottle of and wore far less frequently than I did Chloe. This is pretty.

Tuesday, Feb. 1: Statement Day! And The CEO set off for the National Cattlemen’s Association conference in Denver. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

The CEO finally called, late at night, to tell me that he had made it to Denver just fine, and that it was 15 degrees F below 0 and windy there, and that he was going to get to his hotel and stay there.

Wednesday, Feb. 2: It rained all night. This morning, it’s in the low 50s, sunny and quite windy. I feel bad for the Chicagoians in their blizzard… the last time we had a blizzard, it was March of 1993, with tons of snow and raging winds, and the drifts got quite scary. The CEO had to go and stay at his uncle’s house and try to take care of the spring calves, and I didn’t see him for three days. It was cold – ice formed on the inside of the windows of our house in town!

SOTD: Alahine. Which smells just fine now, no weird topnotes like last week when I was complaining about it. I really think that some leftover spray from the last time I used that bottle had gotten air-exposed and damaged, and two or three good spritzes has now cleared out the gone-off bit. Whew. I was getting worried about it.

SOTAfternoon, on top of Alahine: a drop of Versace Blonde parfum. I’m not disposed to like Versace fragrances really, but this is actually quite nice. Well, it’s nice if you love Big White Floral Bombs, as I do. Must review. I’m probably wafting something fierce, what with the four sprays of Alahine and the Blonde.

Thursday, Feb. 3: Extremely windy today, high temps in the mid-40s. SOTD: Amouage Ubar, lovely rich lemon+white flowers+rich civetty sandalwood base.

Friday, Feb. 4: Sunshine! SOTMorning: Parfumerie Generale Brulure de Rose, a swap sample courtesy of Bonkers About Perfume (thanks, V!). I do love me some rose. I’d also recently realized that my favorite lipstick line, Milani*, smells like rose and vanilla; Bookworm says it’s milk chocolate. Brulure de Rose was very nice for about two hours, and then it started slipping into chocolate-milk-mix territory, so it’s not for me. I did manage not to scrub, but I couldn’t wait to get home and put on the fragrance that Brulure de Rose made me long to wear: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille. Which I really enjoyed this past summer, while finding it just a bit too-too for warm weather (here’s my review), but I notice I haven’t actually worn it since then. That was a mistake. It’s a beautiful desert (dessert?) sunset of a fragrance.

* Yes, drugstore lipstick. So sue me. My personal philsophy is that life is too short to spend the big bucks on something like makeup, which is why this isn’t a beauty/perfume blog. I do love lipsticks, and I probably own about nine of them, but they’re not emotionally significant to me the way scent is. Anyway, Milani’s colors suit me. Neither very-warm colors like brick or coral or peach, nor very-cool colors like bubblegum pink or plum or blue-red, look good at all on me. I need a medium-intensity warm pink or a tomato red, mostly blotted off, and Milani’s formulae work well because they tend to be thick and emollient without sliding off my lips easily.

Saturday, Feb. 5: Cleaned up the house. Took down some shelves in the family room and went through all the books, in preparation for finally getting this room painted. SOTD: SSS Velvet Rose, just a weensy bit, with a dab of modern Dior Poison edt on top. This combo is a lot like I expected Roja Dove Scandal to be: rose and tuberose duking it out, “preposterously intense” and “enormously rude.” Bookworm took one sniff at a distance of five feet from me, wrinkled her nose, looked horrified, and spent most of the day in her room. (I know, she’s a teenager, and might have chosen to be in her room anyway. She blamed the smell of me, though.)

The CEO got back very late, in the wee hours, from his Denver conference. Apparently the last leg of the journey was quite rough – either due to turbulence or a ridiculously incompetent pilot – and he was still shaking off queasiness after an hour’s drive home from the airport. He was very glad to be home, and I was very glad for him to be home.

Sunday, Feb. 6: Sunny and rather warm for this SuperBowl day. Wore Puredistance Antonia to church, enjoyed it. Reactions within the family were mixed, though. It was largely gone after lunch, so I put on some Mary Greenwell Plum. (squee!)

It’s difficult to know who to root for in the SuperBowl: I hate Ben Roethlisberger and his inability to keep his hands, and other body parts, off young women. But my brother is a rabid Pittsburgh fan, stemming from the days when the Pirates’ farm team was located in our hometown, so I can’t hate the Steelers. I don’t have any real reason to like the Packers, either.

(I do mean that my baby brother is a rabid Pittsburgh fan, too: he actually makes the effort to follow the Pirates and the Penguins, as well as the Steelers. This would be easier for him if he lived in Pennsylvania, but he doesn’t. He just perseveres. Within hours of birth, my nephew – known on this blog as Choppers D – was sporting a Terrible Towel in his bassinet. See photo at left… poor kid, but he seems to show no ill effects to date.)

Oh, well. This is the one day out of the year I cook labor-intensive junk food like chicken wings and pigs-in-a-blanket. We’ll be eating fun food, no matter how the game goes.

Top image is from the collection of nanano at Fragrantica.  I’m not a fan of Miss Dior Cherie, but the photo is so attractive and lighthearted that I thought it was adorable.  Second image, of my sweet nephew, from my brother.

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