Penhaligon’s Vaara

Last one of this set. It’s been really fun trying out all of Penhaligon’s interpretations of womans’ fragrance, and I didn’t think I’d like this company anymore than I did but this set was delightful and now I own at least a little bit of 7 of their fragrances, which is crazy! The only other quantities I have to rival it is my number of L’Artisans and Annick Goutals. I love Serge Lutens as well, but I have like nothing sample or FB-wise relative to the number of fragrances I could have.

Alright, no more daydreaming. Let’s get on with the last one, shall we?



  • Wet: mimosa (the drink), honey, fruit juice, sweet rose
  • Dry: sweet rose, peony, magnolia, iris, saffron, honey, sandalwood, resins

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Cheap Fragrances Review – Amazon Edition

Now that I’ve graduated school and have a job, you would think I would be less broke but that assumption is incorrect. Being a hedonist in a city is quite the balancing act, though I think I’ve been balancing it well, and my business school education definitely comes in handy when it comes to budgeting and restraint.

Because of my limited spending money, I think it’s worth taking the time to troll grey market sites and second-hand stores for gems. This time around, I stumbled around on Amazon and ended up picking out three that I thought would be diamonds in the rough.

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Twisted Lily Haul: My Favorites

Before I begin, I will say that these are probably my current favorite fragrances, and thank you Twisted Lily for introducing me to Apoketer Tepe (though I wish I could stroll into Harlem and talk to the source, but perhaps that’s an ambition for another day) Apoketer Tepe’s After the Flood is a new darling, but I have no idea what took me so long to write about L’Artisan’s Tea for Two. They remind me of the best quiet emotions of spring and autumn. Having one on each wrist brings me some odd solace that only makes sense if you’re as obsessed as I am about the physical portrayals of transitions as a literary motif.


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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.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Tour

This is painted on the left wall.

I took a tour of the Mast Brothers’ factory on Friday. It was brilliant. I’ve taken “chocolate themed” tours before, and visited the Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco when I was a teenager, and neither of those visits made me feel as excited about chocolate as the ~45 minute walk around the factory watching things being made did. I feel more educated now, and not in the way Starbucks or Teavana wanted its employees to feel and to make the customers feel when I worked for them (apologies to the, honestly, really great people who complimented me on how genuine I was), but more like when we visited the Kitchen at Grove Station and talked to the guy serving Modcup coffee near the door about how cold it was to be right next to the door during a late autumn grand opening. I still need to try honey processed coffee.

Sorry for the potato.

I tried to take some pictures, but my new phone’s camera is kind of a potato (thought apparently an improvement on the old camera), and my hands are not the most stable. I should ask for a new camera for Christmas.

I like the wooden flag. The bags with the color on them are sugar and the bags with no visible markings are cocoa beans. I convinced my boyfriend not to go lay in them, somehow.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures after passing the counter, which is understandable, as the ideas behind any number of their machines is fairly simple and easy to steal with a few good pictures, and they have a policy of a human touch being most important, which means many of their machines aren’t perfect automatons. If they did, I’m sure someone with fantastic business sense and fewer ethics could probably drive them out with a few tweaks to make the machines perfect. Although the idea of keeping the machines imperfect and stressing out the employees is a little odd, they did make a comment about how the latest they’ve worked until was maybe midnight, made it sound outrageous, and confirmed that their job was way, way better than retail in that regard at least. Anyway, the machines obviously don’t hold them back. Read More

Things about scents

Mockingbird by C-91

  • I learned today from an executive from Marriott that Marriott owns Bvlgari. I didn’t know that before today, and I’m still kind of getting used to the information. I don’t know why it’s so weird to me. But it kind of makes me want to stay in a Marriott hotel more, because their tea fragrances are some of my favorites, so I guess +1 to Marriott. (Also, their international digital marketing strategies are amazing. I knew China was a mobile-focused country, but I didn’t know about the constant-scroll preference. I also had no idea Germany doesn’t like scrolling. I really want to work with Marriott now, and I’ve never really given the company a serious thought.)

    Also, Westin’s White Tea scent is really nice. When I get a place, I’m thinking I’ll buy the diffuser. It’s just very gentle and IMO, encourages focus. The last time I went to a Westin was for a focus group/consumer good study dealing with pillows and sheets, and I didn’t fall asleep.

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