Scent Diary, April 27-May 3, 2020 (Coronavirus Edition #3)

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Apple blossoms

My apple trees are blooming. Well, two of them are: the Gala tree and the Jonagold tree, the Golden Delicious having bitten the dust sometime between last fall and now. I don’t know if they’ll pollinate each other or not; apples are tricky this way. I know for sure the Golden would have pollinated them both. Decision: pull out dead tree and replant, or not? The CEO is all for jerking them out and replacing them with pear trees, but I’m not in favor. We already have two pear trees.

Monday, Apr. 27: the weather started out chilly but became fairly comfortable later. SOTD: Safari. Again. #notsorry  Two of Gaze’s aunts have gently chastised us for not letting them know he was in an accident, and I’m not sure what to do about that, either. I did text my sister, to prevent myself having a loud meltdown, and I did later call his grandparents, but not any of my sisters-in-law. Was I wrong? Not sure.

The CEO came in at some point and told me I smelled nice. “Sort of rosy?” he asked.
“Um. . . lavender?”
I laughed. “Definitely not.” (Lavender gives me headaches.)
“Well, what is it then?”
“Green notes, galbanum, hay, and amber.”
“So none of the things I guessed.”
“Nope.” It’s a good thing he’s cute.

Tuesday, Apr. 28: Cloudy. Bleah. SOTD: Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet, that “greenest of all green flower gardens,” according to its PR materials. Big fat juicy smack of galbanum and marigold to start, then very quiet jasmine and hyacinth, all of it sweet in a very floral, inedible way — sweet and wet and green. I love this stuff. I bought two bottles. You can’t find it now, because Clive Christian bought Crown in order to use its crown-topped bottles, and then did away with all its existing fragrances. (To this day I’ve never tried a Clive Christian fragrance, and I never will.)

Wednesday, Apr. 29: Rain. Chill. Brr. Doesn’t feel like the end of April. SOTD was Lolita Lempicka Minuit.

Thursday, Apr. 30: More rain and chill. No SOTD. Very busy. Sigh.

Friday, May 1: May Day calls for Tauer Carillon pour un Ange. (I sold my bottle of Diorissimo; I don’t really miss it.) I’ve gone through two spray samples of CpuA, and it might be time to get another.

Since Hunter-doggle is SO INSANE that he likes to eat used napkins/paper towels/tissues — he will literally steal them from the kitchen table, and as of yet we have been unable to break him of the habit — I’m going to try using cloth napkins. Made a set of six from printed quilt fabric (double-sided) and another set from a cream cotton sheet I bought on a whim at Goodwill for fifty cents. I’m pleased.

Saturday, May 2: More Carillon pour un Ange. Gorgeous day today, too.

Gaze made arrangements to sublet his cousin’s (my nephew Curiosity’s) apartment in Blacksburg for the summer, so he can cut a 45-minute one-way drive down to 10-15 minutes, and better, avoid the road on which he had that scary accident. I am relieved. I hope Curiosity’s as pleased with the arrangements as we are. He’s got an engineering internship in the DC area this summer, closer to home, so his apartment was going to sit empty.

Sunday, May 3: Chilly in the morning, warming up to another lovely day. SOTD was beautiful peach-rose Ines de la Fressange, my Garden Party Frag. I love it so much. This little 1-ouncer is alllllllmost gone.



Scent Diary, April 20-26, 2020 (Coronavirus Edition #2)

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Claude Monet, Iris Garden at Giverny, 1899.

This seems to be another weird spring. At least it’s staying cooler longer, but when we have these long cool springs, they’re often also rainy/windy/unspringlike. I don’t really mind this kind of weather, but it’s not the ideal. The CEO is complaining, but that’s a farmer for you: never happy with the weather. Never.

Monday, Apr. 20: I have to say, this watching church service online is weird. Not bad, just weird. The whole week seems shapeless. SOTD was Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom, which I mentioned last week so will not describe again. Except to say that it, like my favorite OB scents, smells like both flowers and candy.

Tuesday, Apr. 21: Sunny. Windy, but sunny. I grilled burgers for dinner and made yummy homemade fries (thin-cut the potatoes, added just enough olive oil to lightly coat the cut fries, sprinkled with salt, pepper and paprika, baked at 450F for about 23 minutes). Plus green veggies, always.

SOTD was my brand-new mini of Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, via eBay. I’d tested this and liked it but never got the “sexy” vibe to it; I think that by the time I tested it from a manufacturer spray in 2011, the cumin had been toned down a great deal. It’s really pretty. Lots of sweet orange blossom, lots of tuberose, and no soap. Lasts for hooooouuuurs.

Wednesday, Apr. 22: Sunny/partly-sunny today. I’m in beautiful pastel Guerlain Apres l’Ondee today, even though there’s no ondee in sight. (Tomorrow.)

Thursday, Apr. 23: Chilly today, cloudy, Not Fun Outside. Well, okay, more fun than cold rain in late January, but still — not very April-y.  Wore lovely warm green Ralph Lauren Safari.

Friday, Apr. 24: WELL. Busy day today. Gaze went to work this morning at his new job with a landscaping company–except that he didn’t actually get there. He was driving down a narrow, curvy mountain road with very little shoulder when he met a semi coming up the road, “taking his half of the road out of the middle,” as my grandmother used to say. Gaze had to decide very quickly between A)  hitting the Mack grille and B) going off the side of the road.  He choose to go off the side of the road. And this happened:

RIP Sabrina.

But listen: he got out of this car and walked away. Not a scratch on him. If he’d chosen the Mack grille, I’m certain he’d be in the hospital, or worse. His guardian angel must have already had her caffeine today. My heart rate may return to normal sometime next week. In the meantime, I’m wearing soothing rose — YSL Paris Pont des Amours.

Saturday, Apr. 25: Rainy. Chilly. The CEO is still cleaning out the inside of the farm shop. Which is great, but then he wants to come in and tell me all the details of what he put where, and what’s going up to the old trailer for storage, and what’s going to the landfill, and . . . etc.  Sigh. SOTD was Lush Flower Market from a small decant, which I should love (green notes and carnation) but which I do not, and I cannot say why I don’t.

Sunday, Apr. 26: Chilly (again). CEO still cleaning out the shop. I’ve been making masks to send to my parents and writing stuff; the kids are supposed to be cleaning their rooms but I think only Bookworm is actually doing it.

Lemon Chicken for dinner. (SO GOOD SO GOOD!!! I oven-roasted green beans and whole mushrooms in the sauce to go with the chicken, and it was SO GOOD. Word to the wise chef: if you make it, make extra sauce. Trust me.) SOTD was 1000 Flowers Fleur No. 1, which is nice enough; it’s a green floral with hyacinth — and again, I do not love it. Sigh. (But trust me on the lemon-garlic-butter sauce.)

Gaze continues to claim that he feels just fine. I wonder whether learning to fall last summer when he was at Airborne school made a difference, or whether he’s just in such excellent physical shape that he’s bounced back from an impact other people would certainly be feeling. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure God had a hand in Gaze’s safety, though. I’m certainly grateful.



Scent Diary, at last, April 13-19, 2020 (Coronavirus Edition No. 1)


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SO yeah. It’s the middle of April and I’ve totally fallen behind on the weekly blogging I promised in January, so it’s completely understandable that nobody is still here reading. Oh well.

However, I miss being able to look back and see what I was wearing/doing/thinking over the past several months, so I’m going to try this, now that I have managed to log back in. (Eye roll. You’d think I’d have had this password saved somewhere secure, but no. I assumed my password manager software had taken care of it. Well, I have it saved now.)

I may also try to do a SitRep — see, I’m picking up all kindsa jargon from Gaze via his ROTC classes! that means a “situation report” — about the current state of things here on Thistle Knoll, but you never know what I may or may not have time to do. (Eye roll again.)

Blue Egg on Nest, from Pixabay. Image free to use via Creative Commons.

Monday, Apr. 13: Extremely windy after the torrential downpour that swept through here yesterday afternoon and last night, but clear. The redbuds are blooming. Hunter is regularly enraged by Insolent Squirrels in the front yard and barks his stupid head off.
SOTD is Papillon Dryad, nice cool green-mossy thing. Some people get a lot of florals out of this one, but I don’t; that may just be because I wear florals (or scents with a strong floral component) all the time.

Tuesday, Apr. 14: BRRR COLD. Woke up to snow on the ground. SOTD is Parfums DelRae Amoureuse, which normally is a spring wear for me, but it’s cheering me up now. I bought this thing back from another perfumista in, oh, 2013? and it is gorgeous, all swoony spicy green and BWF at the same time. I hear DelRae is out of business since last August, which just makes me sad.

Wednesday, Apr. 15: Still chilly, but sunnier. SOTD was Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom from a decant. Really enjoyable. You might remember I Haz OB Issues: either it goes all soapy or all candy on me, rarely floral at ALL. Penhaligon’s is more candy than floral, but I actually get a bit of the flower in there. And NO SOAP. It seemed to disappear after a couple of hours, but it popped back up later with a lovely light wood drydown. I think this one’s discontinued as well, but the discounters still have it (around $60/100ml).
The few orange blossom scents that don’t go soapy on me include By Kilian Sweet Redemption (candied OB and myrrh, weird but nice) and L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’Aube (floral OB, lavender I did not hate, and incense). Oh, and the Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, post-reformation and sans cumin, though that one is tons of tuberose as well as orange blossom.

Thursday, Apr. 16: windy and cold but sunny. The grass is getting scary-tall again. SOTD was beautiful Safari, all cut-grass and cut-hay and amber.

Friday, Apr. 17: STILL cold and windy with sun. This is a weird spring for eight million reasons. The CEO has been clearing out the shop lot yard this past week: firewood moved and stacked, scrap wood and old pallets hauled off, random big log hauled away, miscellaneous equipment parked neatly. Space made for a small garden, as opposed to the larger one we had at one time in the corner of the backyard (located right over the septic drainfield, which worked great in a drought but not-so-much in a wet summer, and also not a great idea to run a heavy tractor over it to plow it up because septic drainfield is why). It looks MUCH BETTER. He’s so proud. SOTD was . . . nothing. Because I was writing and I got distracted and forgot, is why.

Saturday, Apr. 18: More chilly-sunny. I started the day in two spritzes of Amouage Bracken Woman (a gift decant from dear Haunani, if you remember her from NSTPerfume days). It was lovely dry bitter-green for two minutes, and then I got a persistent horrible headache the way I get with lavender, though there is no lavender listed in the notes. I wrote all day but got my project submitted by deadline. I attempted to wash off the Bracken and cover it with PdN Le Temps d’une Fete, but was only partially successful — you know how when there’s a scent you don’t like, it overpowers the stuff you do like? That. Ugh.

Sunday, Apr. 19: Cloudy but warming up. The CEO is VERYVERYBUSY, going through stacks of paperwork and hanging out laundry. (Incidentally, I notice that my SIL’s HOA touts their “green-friendly” attitude but bans clotheslines, which seems contradictory to me. Anybody want to weigh in on that?) SOTD is lovely springy Parfums DelRae Wit.

I notice lately that SO MANY of my best beloveds are discontinued. This may have something to do with my disinterest in testing and reviewing new scents. I don’t know.



Scent Diary, Jan. 13-19, 2020

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Photo by from Pexels

Monday, Jan. 13: Y’all, it’s still warmish. I hate it. The FB perfume group theme for the week is Armchair Traveler, which I was excited about in theory but am not inspired in practice. Don’t know why, except that I’m still trying to use up decants and samples, so maybe that’s it. Decant of the day was CdG Incense: Zagorsk, which I bought a 5ml split of after looking forward to it for months, and then promptly went off it because there was a vegetal celery note in my decant that I didn’t notice in the sample. The celery seems to come and go. Today, it was there, so bleah.

Tuesday, Jan. 14: COLD. (Well, finally!) SOTD was lovely Shalimar Light. I was going to add “the blue juice” to clarify, but to be honest this one has been out of production so long that there’s no point in clarifying. Either version was good, and they’re both long gone. Sigh.

Wednesday, Jan. 15: Chilly but not ridiculous. Took The CEO’s mom to her doctor’s appointment today; she is getting around *so much better* this week. SOTD was DSH Le Jade, a pretty green-floral chypre that I would probably like much more if it had more presence. As it is, it goes faint within an hour and I might as well not have applied any.

Thursday, Jan. 16: Warm again. Dang it, this is dumb. It ought to feel like January in January! I was busy, and forgot to wear anything.

Also, I miss Taz. 🙁

Friday, Jan. 17: Still warm, thought we’re supposed to get wintry mix tomorrow. Wound up taking MIL to her doctor for a re-check of some blood work; rented that Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie on Redbox. (Our verdict: disappointing movie, but Joaquin was pretty amazing.)

SOTD was Prince Matchabelli Potpourri, from that $5 1-oz bottle I bought on eBay. (BARGAIN. Super-pretty spicy carnation amber scent, a lot fresher and less dry than one would assume given the name.) Made shrimp scampi and mahi-mahi with lemon-garlic butter for dinner — YUM.

Saturday, Jan. 18: Well, now it’s cold again. Cleaned the house, served as Bookworm’s sous chef as she made a Catalan beef stew from her Culinary Institute of American cookbook, wrote some stuff. SOTD was Shalimar Light again, not sorry.

Sunday, Jan. 19: Up early for worship team at church. Member meeting/lunch afterward, to amend the bylaws (a matter of some terminology changes and clarifications). SOTD was Cloon Keene Castana, an almost-gourmand thing that I really like.

Came home, wrote, had calzones from Verona’s for dinner, hung out with Bookworm and Gaze and Gaze’s girlfriend. Virginia Tech starts classes on Tuesday, so he will be back at his dorm tomorrow.



Scent Diary, Jan. 6-12, 2020

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Photo by from Pexels.  THIS is what winter should be like…

Monday, Jan. 6, 2020: Well, this weather is more like it for January: mid-40s and breezy. SOTD was Laurence Dumont Vanille de la Reunion, which is deliciously gourmand and really nice. Too bad it’s just a decant. On the other hand, it’s discontinued so there’s no point looking for more, and I’m not a huge vanilla-scent freak anyway.

Tuesday, Jan. 7: Frustrating day for the side project. Probably didn’t help that I forgot entirely to wear scent. The weekly challenge in the Facebook perfumista group I’m a member of (there are probably hundreds of them, but these are nice people) was to wear samples and decants. I’m falling down on the job here.

I did, however, enjoy watching another couple of episodes of The Last Kingdom with The CEO and Taz. (I am so going to miss Taz when he’s gone back to school. Sigh.)

Wednesday, Jan. 8: Quite properly chilly today! Yay! I’ve been playing in my sample vials, investigating. (Gone are the days when I would test things four at a time, because I just don’t have the mental space for it.) Today I wore DSH Perfumes Marzipan, which is really wonderful for half an hour, exactly the delicious almond-extract smell that I wanted, and then gets very flabby and Play-Doh-ish. I wound up disappointed overall, but the opening was fab.

Thursday, Jan. 9: More Laurence Dumont Vanille de la Reunion. Yum. (Incidentally, I found a 100ml bottle on German eBay for, like, $50, but I don’t like it THAT much.) I don’t know what’s up with me and gourmands this week, but I keep picking those types of samples/decants. Huh.

First community chorus rehearsal of the new year.

Friday, Jan. 10: SOTD was Chanel Bois des Iles EDP from a small decant, nice restrained gingerbready goodness that somehow isn’t gourmand at ALL. Also, you know? I have no idea why people are whining about Chanel changing their boutique fragrances, the Les Exclusifs, from EDT to EDP. I haven’t tried all of them, but the ones I’ve tried I’ve generally enjoyed in both iterations. I think the one people were most complaining about was 31 Rue Cambon — but I really liked the EDT, and I really like the new EDP, and maybe I’m insensitive to the changes but I thought they were both nice. Shrug.

Saturday, Jan. 11: It’s too warm. I was so hot after cooking dinner that I had to stand outside to cool off. In Jaaaanuaryyyy. (This is deeply wrong. I remember birthdays when there were two feet of snow on the ground.) At night, it started pouring down rain very heavily, and then we got lightning. Eep.

SOTD was a light spritz of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme, which is such a pretty rose chypre with narcissus. The kids gave me a pretty pair of earrings and The CEO chose a necklace that sort of goes with them, as well as a hand-painted porcelain bowl to put them in. We ate seafood pasta and Bookworm baked a delicious chocolate torte, which we had with dark cherries and whipped cream.

Sunday, Jan. 12: Another warm day. This is awful. SOTD was, um, nothing, because we were rushing to get out the door for church earlier than usual (Bookworm and I were scheduled to work in kids’ ministry). And then, after eating all the leftover Italian sausage, Taz had to go back to college for spring semester. I miss him already.

I’m going to continue working on that side writing project because I’m still mostly enjoying it, although half the time I don’t know what I’m doing.



Scent Diary, 12/30/19 – 1/5/20

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Photo by from Pexels

Monday, Dec. 30, 2019: It’s warm — too warm. I hate it when it’s 60+ degrees Fahrenheit in December, because a) that means we’ll have a frigid January, and b) it’s just wrong, that’s why. However, I’m enjoying having the boys home for college for the next few weeks. SOTD is beloved Teo Cabanel Alahine, my favorite Christmas-season fragrance. It grieves me to see the level dropping in my ca.-2010 bottle, knowing that Teo Cabanel has utterly ruined the formula by adding some nose-blasting aromachemical and that there will never be more Alahine as it should smell.

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019: I’m looking forward to the new year, but for the first time in several years I’m not nearly so disgusted with the year we just finished. 2019, and particularly the last quarter of it, was a relief to me in several ways. It wasn’t perfect by any means, and I see challenges ahead, but that’s okay.

The CEO and Taz and I have been watching “The Last Kingdom” on Netflix, and enjoying this historical-fiction tale of the Danish conquest of Saxon England, based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels. (It doesn’t hurt that Alexander Dreymon is pretty easy on the eyes.) I’m smelling root-beer-happy in Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, even though my favorite part of it, the cheery lime in the topnotes, is subdued these days.

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020: (Huh. “2020” seems for some reason easier to write than “2019,” both writing it by hand and typing it. Interesting.) I began the day by showering with the very last drops of my Lush Rose Jam shower gel, and layered By Kilian Rose Oud on top of it. (Goes great with a vibrant pink sweater, by the way.) It’s quite properly cold and sunny today, and I’m spending it doing some necessary maintenance on my blog here and my author website.

Thursday, Jan. 2: How are we going to have a proper winter if it never gets cold? How do Californians manage?? (I asked my brother how he managed January in Florida, where he lives now, and he just laughed at me. So I’m clueless here.

SOTD was Mariella Burani, comfortable as an old pair of jeans. I watched another episode of The Last Kingdom with The CEO and Taz, and worked on a side project I’ve got going.

Friday, Jan. 3: Another warmish rainy day. Dang, if we had normal temperatures, we’d have had snow. SOTD was Prince Matchabelli Potpourri, which is honestly one of the nicest carnation fragrances I’ve ever smelled. I paid $5 for this 30ml bottle (obscure and long discontinued, of course) on eBay several years ago, and I’ve never been sorry. The longevity isn’t great, but it’s labeled cologne, it’s in a dab bottle . . . and it’s something like 50-55 years old at this point, by my best guess. So I really have no complaints about it.

Saturday, Jan. 4: The Christmas decor came down today. We bought an artificial tree this year, having borrowed my parents’ artificial one last year. It’s a big change from 25+ years of cut trees, but meh, it’s not bad. SOTD was nothing; it’s a “reset my nose” sort of day. I decided to put up my strings of crocheted snowflakes instead, to keep the house from looking so bare; since I long for snow, this is sort of a physical wish.

Sunday, Jan. 5: We’re back to a normal church schedule, after a month of holding services in the evening at someone else’s church (meant to give our setup/teardown volunteers an annual break). I’m glad to be back at the YMCA in Pulaski. SOTD was Serge Lutens La Myrrhe.

My sweet MIL fell at her house today, and The CEO spent most of the morning and early afternoon at the hospital with her. As it turns out, she hasn’t broken anything; she was just shaken up. Her house has a lot of stairs, and we are probably going to need to do some renovations so that she can stay there comfortably.





Well, hello 2020!

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. . . and hello to my new webhost as well! I’m hoping for better tech support from InMotion Webhosting as well as a few new cool features.

It’s been a pretty relaxed New Year’s Day so far. I used the very last drop of my Lush Rose Jam shower gel this morning, so I had to top it with a couple of sprays from my last sample of By Kilian Rose Oud, which is a lovely rose-vanilla with hardly any oud in the picture. I smellz gud.

One of my perfume-related goals for the year is to use up samples and decants, so I’m beginning as I mean to go on. Of the four Rose Oud samples I owned, there’s only this one left, and it’s half empty.

Another goal is to test at least six new releases this year. A third goal is to post here weekly — Scent Diary every Monday, at the very least — and a fourth is to post a freshly-written fragrance review each month. I’ve been too far behind with maintaining this blog, and honestly, the fact that I’ve been behind has actually kept me from posting. Now that we’re starting fresh this year, I’m ready to take up the responsibility of regular posting, albeit less frequently than in the past.

In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of design stuff recently, with Canva and a few other online sites where one can manipulate images and add text. (I created the “2020” image above on Canva. Yay me.) It’s fun!

And I am of course still working on my fiction. I’m also still dealing with some medical issues, but I hope to be able to find some solutions this year.

Have you got some intentions for the year? Feel free to share. I wish all of you 365 days of awesomeness!



Changes, over Time

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POST EDITED January 2020

Y’all. It is halfway through November. Already.

I should probably let you know that I’m planning some changes for The Muse in Wooden Shoes.

I started blogging in 2009. That’s a long time ago, now. While I’ve also written about family and farming and literature, this blog has been focused on perfume. And I have mixed feelings about the truth: that perfume doesn’t consume my brain space the way it used to. I still love it, but I’m simply enjoying what I have and only sampling the occasional new-to-me scent that appeals based on notes.

That’s probably obvious, given that I haven’t written much beyond a few reviews over the past couple of years, and I’ve probably yapped on about my children much more frequently of late than I have about, say, my longtime fragrant love, tuberose. I have been spending far more time on novel-writing and on trying to get my life organized to pursue some professional goals.

I’m reorienting my focus toward fiction right now.

Edited to remove a link that does not work, and to say that I wound up choosing to change my webhost, with no changes to the blog site. All the old links SHOULD continue to work, but please let me know if they do not.

I do hope to post once a month or so, just to keep my hand in, even if everybody’s gotten tired of my not posting regularly and moved on to other fumehead blogs. Thanks for reading and talking about perfume with me over the past ten years.

Thanks for everything.



Seasonal Shift, Summer to Early Fall 2019

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Our daytime high temperatures have finally, finally dropped out of the 90s to the upper 70s level which is more seasonal for us, historically. I only turned off the air-conditioning on Sunday evening.

It’s super-dry. Even after the very-welcome rain we got over the past two days, we’re well under our typical monthly average of 3.7 inches. I’d complain to the management, if I thought it would do a whit of good.

However, as a hopeful effort, last week I transitioned from summer fragrances to the ones I wear more in early autumn — not the deep autumn, chilly weather, heading-into-winter ones, but the ones for my very favorite time of year: a blue-and-gold October, embroidered with red and orange leaves. I’m sorry to say we seem to be having more of a “green leaves on the trees until they turn brown and fall to the dead grass” sort of a month, which is such a bummer.

Anyway, these are the bottles that left the Hatbox of Current Rotation for storage in the bedside washstand:
Jacomo Silences edp Sublime 2012
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
Ines de la Fressange 1998
Hanae Mori Haute Couture
Arquiste Flor y Canto
Arielle Shoshana Saturday
Donna Karan Gold edp
Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete
YSL Paris Pont des Amours
Carven Le Parfum
Moschino Funny!
Hermes Kelly Caleche edt
Chanel No. 19 edp
Chanel Les Exclusifs 1932
Maison Lancome Jasmins Marzipane

It was surprising to me, given our miserably hot-n-humid summer, how little I wore my usual citrusy florals, like Haute Couture, Funny!, Kelly Caleche, and the Carven. I barely wore No. 19 and the BWFs (Flor y Canto, Jasmins Marzipane, and DK Gold) as well; it seems I stuck to rose and mixed florals.

Guerlain Les Elixirs Charnels Floral Romantique remained, and so did Mary Greenwell Plum. Those are sweet florals with a little edge to them, and since it’s remained so warm this far into autumn, they’ve been serving me well.

Moving from the washstand to the Hatbox:
Mariella Burani
Leonard de Leonard
Ralph Lauren Safari
Lubin Epidor
Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete
Smell Bent One
Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka
Jacomo Silences 1978
Fendi by Fendi
Cuir de Lancome
Balmain Jolie Madame (mini parfum)
Shiseido Inoui
Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea
Coty Chypre
(mini parfum)
Lanvin Arpege
(mini parfum)

It’s probably not cool enough yet for either Tabac Aurea or Arpege, but I’ve already been wearing the heck out of Safari, Le Temps d’une Fete, and Jolie Madame (which The CEO doesn’t like, but oh well). And Epidor you’d think would be too summery, but it smells like plums and drying hay to me, and it is gorgeous. I’ve been wearing that one to sleep in.

Do you do the seasonal switch?



Rogue Perfumery Part I: Champs Lunaires and Chypre-Siam


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I can’t remember when I first heard of Rogue Perfumery. It may have been on a perfume blog (which one?) within the last few years, or it may have been mentioned by another perfumista in a Facebook group discussion. I’m still not sure. One of my favorite sites for perfume research, Fragrantica, lists Rogue under Perfume Houses; my other favorite, Now Smell This, doesn’t reference it at all.

Briefly, Rogue Perfumery is the brainchild of Manuel Cross, a chef who became intrigued with creating fragrances a little over ten years ago. (Read more at the link above.) Rogue Perfumery, befitting its name, is defiantly and unrepentantly noncompliant with IFRA regulations.

In any case, a member of a perfumista Facebook group wore a Rogue Perfumery scent a few weeks ago and mentioned it as his scent of the day. I was intrigued, did some research, and immediately ordered samples.

Rogue’s website has a small menu in the top right corner: Shop, Collection, About, and Contact. “Shop” takes you to Rogue’s Etsy shop, where you can buy perfumes chock-full of intoxicating and IFRA-restricted ingredients such as oakmoss, nitromusks, and eugenol at $75 for 30ml, $110 for 60ml, and $150 for 100ml. You can get a boxed set of 8 samples (including a preview due to release in late summer of 2019) for $33, or a set of 3 samples of your choice for $15.50, which is what I bought.

I chose three samples (Chypre-Siam, Champs Lunaires, and after deliberation, Mousse Illuminee in spite of its “masculine” designation) and received a bonus fourth sample of Derviche. The samples are sturdy 2ml vials, each individually bagged with a gorgeous Art Deco-style illustration to identify the scent.

Tuberose by Moonlight, from Anya’s Garden Natural Perfumes’ blog

I started with Champs Lunaires, because tuberose, is why. I’ve long been a lover of BWFs, and in my opinion it is difficult to go wrong with white florals. This one is described as “moonlit fields of white flowers,” and how could I pass that up? Notes include tuberose, white rose, pomelo, sandalwood, coconut milk, and musk. Mr. Cross’s Etsy listing description says this:

The tuberose base I created for Champs Lunaires was based on three models: the realism of PK Perfume’s TNT, the amped methyl salicylate notes of Serge Lutens’ Tubereuse Crimenelle, and the lusty creamy fruit notes of Piguet’s Fracas.

Ironic that Tube Criminy was part of the inspiration for Champs Lunaires, because this deep into my BWF exploration, TC is still the only scent in the genre that I really cannot bear. I had the misfortune to have cleaned out the refrigerator the week I tried it, and that forgotten package of uncooked chicken at the back had an odor that (oh Lord help me!) I will smell in my nightmares forever. When TC echoed it, I nearly tossed my cookies, and did not even care about the lovely clear tuberose that followed the opening. I liked the wintergreen part; could not manage the decay.

You may be relieved to note that Champs Lunaires reminds me not in the least of the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle, which is both a relief and a disappointment. I liked that wintergreen thing, and I get very little of it in Champs Lunaires. It doesn’t remind me strongly of Fracas, either, which is probably good. Champs Lunaires is creamy and soft, but lacks the fatty-soapy orange blossom overdose that Fracas beats me over the head with every. single. time. I wear it. I never smelled PK Perfumes’ TNT (Tama ‘n Tuberose), though I counted Tama a friend and still miss her.

Champs Lunaires is simply lovely. It has a fresh, cut-stem greenness in the opening, and then it blossoms out to a full, rounded, creamy, gentle tuberose scent that is not so much a Big White Floral as it is a friendly one. It stays pretty a long time, about six hours, before fading away.

Side note: I’ve noticed recently that BWFs — maybe because they tend to “sink in” to my skin and get cozy — are the easiest no-brainer scents I wear. As in, I can put on something like Black Orchid Voile de Fleur and just roll all day and stop really thinking about the way I smell, or anything else for that matter. I mean, I literally go brain-fuzzy with comfort, like I’ve worn fuzzy slippers to work. I feel like there’s a lesson here, or a maybe a warning.

In any case, Champs Lunaires is gorgeous. If I wasn’t already stocked up with BWFs, I might buy it.

Jungle in the Philippines

The impetus for my sample order was Chypre-Siam, the fragrance my friend was excited about. The Etsy listing details its origin as a variation on Coty Chypre using slightly different accents, as if it had been born in Thailand instead of in France. Manuel Cross says that he was picking kaffir lime leaves for a curry dish not long after testing the seminal Coty fragrance, and caught a whiff of jasmine nearby:

I thought how novel it would be to recreate, not the original Chypre, but rather the experience of the original using Southeast Asian materials (namely kaffir lime, holy basil and lemongrass…)

My first sniff of vintage Coty Chypre (a well-preserved parfum from the late 1960s), following my surprise love of DSH Perfumes’ take on it in oil format (don’t bother looking for it on the website now, it’s been out of production for years), bowled me absolutely head over heels. I would never have thought it was my kind of thing, and maybe it’s still not, but it is stunning. Elemental, a perfumery Titan. It doesn’t give a fig what anybody thinks. So, a new take on Chypre? I had to smell it.

Also, that bottle is amazing. LOOK AT IT. Look at the angular, uneven Art Deco lettering in gold on green, look at the shape of the label, look at the cap decorated with gold baubles and green ribbon! So reminiscent of the Coty packaging, so gorgeous on its own.

It’s a far cry from Mall Juice, and a new variation on the original is right up the alley of a perfume outfit that calls itself “Rogue.” The Etsy page uses this description: Opening notes are kaffir lime and basil. Jasmine and ylang sweep across the forest floor and rest upon a warm base of oakmoss, sandalwood, spices, benzoin and civet. I’m fairly certain those aren’t the only notes, but the list is a fair representation of the smell.

The opening of Chypre-Siam is a tad difficult for me. Kaffir lime I am really not familiar with in real life, as Thai restaurants are uncommon here in rural Appalachia, and I only remember running across the note in one fragrance, Anya’s Garden Kaffir Cologne, which I did not like at all. I can see that someone might find the opening exciting and exotic, but it seems really brash to me.

After the opening, Chypre-Siam settles down to a truly lovely moss-edged floral glowing with jasmine. It’s very green and expansive, and I do find myself thinking of tropical jungles which hide not only exotic blooms among their luxuriant greenery, but also dangerous fauna . . .

(The jungle might just be on my mind at the moment because that’s where Gaze right now, spending a month in the Philippines as part of an exchange program between US ROTC cadets and the Philippine Military Academy. He’s already got some harrowing stories, and I am super-grateful he didn’t tell me about them until after they were over. Whew. This “mother-of-young-men” gig ain’t a walk in the park, I tell ya.)

I don’t get much in the way of civet; there’s just a tad there to soften some edges. The moss is real and plush, the sandalwood aromatic and deep. The labdanum is warm and golden without having that mildewed-tarpaulin effect that it sometimes has. The whole thing? Beautiful. Lasts several hours, even on me. Sillage, dabbed from the vial, stays fairly close to the skin, but would probably bloom better if sprayed. Chypre-Siam only comes in EDT strength, but it feels more powerful and richer than that.

I will confess that I tried Chypre-Siam on one hand and put some of my cherished vintage Coty Chypre on the other, for comparison. This was probably unfair of me, but I tried very hard to be impartial when considering.

The citrus notes of the Coty are faint with age, so in the first twenty minutes, Chypre-Siam with its aggressive opening stage blasts the Coty out of the water. Then for the next several hours, the two are remarkably similar. I do get a bit more rose and less ylang-ylang from the Coty, and the lonnnnng maceration time (according to the Coty’s packaging, at least 50 years) has buffed its surface satin-smooth. Chypre-Siam is, however, fully as excellent in quality, and it is a joy to wear. The Coty, hand-sanded as it were by that long time in the bottle, slides almost imperceptibly into its long lovely drydown. Chypre-Siam’s gear changes are more noticeable, but since I particularly dig the turn from the middle, very-floral, phase to the basenotes, when my nose is catching the blend of jasmine and moss and sandalwood with hints of leather, those changes are wonderful. If the melody of the Coty was entrancing the first time around, Rogue’s cover version, while putting its own spin on the classic, is every bit as good.

Hence, I say to you all, if you feel like you missed the boat on Coty Chypre, worry no more about it. Haunt not the eBay auctions; wager not a week’s pay on the vintage. Instead, hie yourselves Rogue’s Etsy page, and buy this. No, it’s not Coty’s Chypre rebottled — and I’m not going to say it’s better, having already loved the Coty — but it is amazing and wonderful and a worthy successor. Six thumbs up.

For another blog review of Chypre-Siam, check out The Alembicated Genie’s swoon here.

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