My favorite gourmands

I don’t wear a lot of gourmands. I’m an ethereal or incense floral kind of girl. I’m also a fan of the weird stuff, like the fish market Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques and the fermented Byredo Pulp. That being said, tis’ the season! It’s cold and dark and dreary (or it would be if not for global warming), so wanting a bit of warm creamy sweetness is to be expected.

This is a list for people who probably aren’t really into gourmands. No big vanilla bombs to be found, I apologize. Read More

“Creative lifestyle brands”

Picture from VF article

I admit that I’m a sucker for stories in marketing. I love storytelling and I love creative angles and interesting packaging and pretty, pretty words. I’m optimistic and gullible like that.

When it comes to fragrances, there’s a lot of that. If you’re not already a household name, it’s not like the computer has smell-o-vision, and all you have is that story and the best graphics you can invest in and reviewers writing that they’re being taken to the moon by a whiff. It’s probably why this is my current expensive hobby over something more useful like tech or politics.

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By Kilian Addictive State of Mind – Light My Fire

“Here, Heracletus, did you build of fire
And changing stuffs your prophecy far hurled
Down the dead years; this midnight I aspire
To see, mirrored among the embers, curled
In flame, the splendor and the sadness of the world.”

– Princeton – The Last Day by Scott F. Fitzergerald

Light My Fire
Wet: nail polish remover, tobacco
Dry: tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, maple syrup

Really it just smells like a fragrant chewing tobacco, or the basement of a Chinese restaurant reserved for smoking and cards and gangster activity. Like a good chewing tobacco, which I have only been exposed to a few times and have never tried myself, it’s a little floral, but it lacks the sourness that tobacco can have sometimes. It smells like gangsters, but during Sunday mass or attending their sons’ graduations; whichever culture you want to use. As if they washed and scrubbed themselves and their suits clean, but the scent lingers, just like the consequences of their actions.

By Kilian Addictive State of Mind – Intoxicated

“So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ‘twixt a miser and his wealth is found.”

– Sonnet 75 by William Shakespeare

Wet: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, gasoline, patchouli
Dry: speculoos, lapsang souchong

This one is really yummy. I love speculoos cookies and the spread more than I love Nutella or peanut butter. And the dry down smells like speculoos served with lapsang souchong, a smoky black tea from Fujian, and it’s so nice. I know it’s unisex, but I can’t really see a guy wearing this. It’s very sweet, and it makes me want to lick my wrist, even though that’s a terrible idea. It reminds me of a girl I know who’s incredibly beautiful and warm, and she’s the only one who comes to mind when I try to think of a character profile to fit this fragrance.

By Kilian Addictive State of Mind Series – Smoke for the Soul

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a thousand things”

– High Flight by John Magee

Smoke for the Soul
Wet: pepper, cardamom, marijuana, tobacco, citrus rind
Dry: lemon rind, marijuana, tobacco smoke, medicinal herb, leather

Spicy, herbal, woody like an apothecary, except without that weird salty hit that you find in some places. The only non-apothecary smell is the citrus, and that really lightens it up where the other two are heavy and rich. Acts a little like the orange on a Blue Moon or a squeeze of lemon on some salmon. This one I think smells the most like leather. It reminds me of a young, attractive businessman at the airport lugging their expensive tote and their frequent flyer miles and their ability to turn their tiredness into disdain.

By Kilian: Imperial Tea and Love and Tears Review!

By Kilian won the Indie Fragrance Foundation Award for Amber Oud and Playing with the Devil, so perhaps I should have started with those two, but I’m on a jasmine kick at current, so this will just have to do until I go back.

Imperial Tea

Wet: magnolia, jasmine, green tea, water
Dry: jasmine, magnolia, violet, musk 

This one confused me when I sat down to review it. In the air, it turns into something closer to what jasmine green tea smells like. And I’ve sprayed it on other people and each time, I more or less received a black tea in a jasmine garden. Light, fragrant, tannic but not aquatic, and the jasmine took its place where it realistically would in a black tea: as a strong background character. Now it’s a green tea with jasmine and magnolia dropped in it, maybe a tablespoon of cream near a pond. I don’t take cream with my tea, so that takes the dry down away from the water and into the sun for me. It’s a great, uplifting scent, and not too sweet. I find it really comforting. This is perhaps for the librarian who doesn’t take sugar in his tea.

Love and Tears, Surrender

Wet: white floral, indolic jasmine, dandelions
Dry: jasmine milk tea, ylang-ylang, cedar, mulch

Mm, so I just read about the galbanum and petitgrain in this, and I’m almost positive they’re what leads to that realistic, piss-like under-bite to this. Does cedar, styrax and oakmoss together smell like mulch? Because the flowers I’m wearing are definitely still alive and feeding on something.

I feel like my head’s stuck in the roots of a jasmine bush in Asia because of the grassy and indolic facets of the jasmine, but it also reminds me of jasmine boba milk tea and I’m sure that’s due to the creamy ylang-ylang and soft lavender among other things.  It makes my nose feel funny. Now I’m light-headed, but it’s all good. I like it. Like really enjoy it. I sprayed this one a few times before as well, and this one was the one that earned me compliments like “That smells really good, is that you?” and “I need to give whatever that is as a present to someone.” It’s rather sensual and sweet, but still light enough not to trigger headaches. This is the type of scent you want to be rubbing into someone else’s sheets.

Perfume Adventure NYC Part 1!

The other week I wanted a break from the onslaught of final presentations and final papers and finals in general, so I poked my boyfriend really hard and demanded we go do smelly things. Like go to New York and visit things on this map. Because he gets headaches pretty easily from perfumes and I wanted to take my time and talk to people in each of the places I went to, we divided the places they listed up by area of the city to visit on different days, and because I like lists and Racked offers a pinned map, I put it in an Excel sheet.

I think you can guess where we hit first. And we went to Papyrus to pick up my Reddit Gifts card exchange gift.

I had a great conversation with the Aedes De Venustas guy about jasmine perfumes and the history of one of his favorite brands, Acqua Colonia, and I got the names of a bunch of stuff I might buy later when I have money, plus a refresher on brands I had completely forgotten about (BYREDO and Eau D’Italie!) and I’m fairly determined to go back and prove myself a customer that was eventually worth the time he spent on me. Sorry man, I probably should have just told you up front I was there for research purposes that day, but I will get you that commission! I got a bunch of people to say they’ll check out the place for gifts and already went through part of the choosing process with them so I hope I already earned some of your time back. I’m sure you guys earn on sales, and I know how that feels.

We went took a detour to Radio Shack to clear the boy’s nose because someone had accidentally sprayed some Amouge near him and that ish is strong stuff, and then headed over to Jo Malone because I thought he would appreciate how simple the scents were in comparison. Again, awkward sales rep avoidance ensued until we took haven with the Art History grad student named Kate making Christmas ornaments for people who purchased over $150 in the store. I did grab a few samples I liked though, like the Wild Fig and Cassis and Earl Grey and Cucumber that I’ll review another time, along with notes on other things I liked. We made off with the samples and a secret ornament that Kate accidentally messed up and then handed my boyfriend to finish, hehe.

I had by this time completely forgotten what Enfleurage was, so I wasn’t prepared for an essential oils distillery, and I just kind of ended up a bundle of awkward in that little store. I’ll come back with questions, and perhaps earlier, as the guy behind the desk seemed to be pretty tired. We didn’t stay long because I couldn’t think of any questions to ask, unfortunately.

But after we left, I realized that we still had time to hit the last of the stops I wanted to hit, and my energy was renewed from getting to pet some puppies in sweaters being walked. I was able to speak and think again without an overcast of uncomfortable. At our last stop, By Kilian, I got to meet Kimberly Waters of the reminiscent30 blog and Modern Urban Sensory Experiences, and we had a whole discussion on careers involving scents and the By Kilian brand, which was a lot of fun and pretty enlightening for my amateur mind, and it made me feel like I could do something I enjoy, for a living. She reminded me that, contrary to my belief, I was not running out of time. I guess I’ll just keep writing. Reviews for Imperial Tea and Love and Tears, Surrender coming soon!