Slow Burn: a rant about perfume blogging, Part I of II

The Grudge, no. This isn't my car.

IRL, y’all, I am a touchy person.  A rude driver can ruin my morning.  If I call  The CEO’s cell phone to ascertain whether he picked Gaze up from track practice at the middle school, and he answers all my questions truthfully yet not completely, Bill Clinton style, obfuscating the situation and making me think ma blue-eyed bebe with his long eyelashes is standing on the school steps all alone instead of riding safely home with his sister, I am livid for twenty minutes.

Also, I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business.  I am the Repeat World Champion of Grudge-Holding.  I can cradle up my grudges like an armful of fluffy kittens and not let them go even when they are scratching me to ribbons. 

I am working on changing this behavior.  It is not easy.  Today I have failed, miserably.

Sometimes it takes me awhile to get my mad on.   I’ll hear or read some comment and be vaguely annoyed, and tell myself to just “let it go.”  So I’ll have, I thought, let it go, and six weeks later I wake up mad, and it takes me some time to figure out why.  And then I will need to address my feelings about whatever-it-was that annoyed me, and get the feelings all out in the open before I can really release the issue’s emotional hold on me.

So.  Here goes.  And I warn you now, toes will be stepped upon.  I have my big girl boots on today.  Names will be named.  I am prepared for the consequences.

I read this post by Dane on Pere de Pierre, which talked about “crap bloggers” and chastised new perfume bloggers for being unlearned and spreading misinformation.  It annoyed me, and I considered commenting, but then I realized that Dane has never once responded to any comment I’ve made on his blog, and that there was very little point in my saying anything to him.

Besides which, I get the feeling that he’d consider this blog a “crap” one. Continue reading Slow Burn: a rant about perfume blogging, Part I of II


Here’s your chance to help support the arts. And a fellow perfumista. And get the chance to try another Tableau de Parfums scent by Andy Tauer. What’s not to love?

Many of you already know Brian Pera, who writes for the perfume blog I Smell Therefore I Am and is a filmmaker.  He’s been involved with the Woman’s Picture Project for some time now and I’ve been lucky enough to see some of his work.  I love his writing and how it gets down to the emotions we feel – how we show, or don’t show, them, in particular. 

Go check out Evelyn Avenue for more on the project; see clips and read the film blog there.  You won’t be sorry.  I have really been moved by the short film DVD that came packaged with my bottle of Tableau de Parfums Miriam, which I adore (thankyouAndyandBrian!)

Right now, Brian’s raising money to film the next piece of Woman’s Picture, and you can pledge support for it now, here at this Kickstarter page.  Be sure to read down the incentives on the right side of the page, because some of the perks on offer include fragrances or soaps by Andy Tauer. 

Dark Passage, a very limited edition fragrance only available for the next few weeks, is a fragrance inspired by film noir, incorporating notes of patchouli, cacao, birch tar and iris.  If this sounds like your sort of thing, go grab it now because once it’s gone, it’s gone.  

Lola Montez, L'Enchantresse Espagnole (source

It doesn’t sound like my sort of thing, frankly, but luckily for me, the fragrance Loretta, based on a character from the Only Child film segment, is tuberose-based.  Here’s what Brian has to say about it, via ISTIA:

To say that Loretta is a tuberose fragrance is to me like calling Notre Dame a building. It isn’t that it’s a large fragrance particularly. In some ways, it’s quite soft. I wouldn’t say it’s grand in the way, say, Miriam might be. Like Cinnabar, for instance, Loretta has a smoldering, fuzzy warmth to it. The tuberose is laid out on a bed of woods and spices, and has a dreamy, moody quality. Like Loretta the character, it’s wrapped up in its own fantasies. Andy has called Loretta sensual, and it is that. I would say voluptuous. It has some of Loretta the character’s sweetness and childlike qualities – a bit of fruitiness throughout. But the sensuous aspects make it feel very adult and mysterious, and the plum note feels decidedly forbidden.

I’m a fan of tuberose, but this is no Fracas or Carnal Flower. Those scents, for me, are principally bright, however creamy the former, however rich and complex the latter. Loretta is a different kind of sensuality and a different kind of tuberose, like nothing I’ve smelled before. It’s the first tuberose I’ve smelled that truly takes things in the direction of dark mystery. I’m hopelessly biased when it comes to Andy, of course, but can tell you this is not only a different tuberose but a different Tauer. It’s one of my top five fragrances of all time, for reasons I’m probably just as hopelessly unable to describe.

Loretta includes notes of “ripe dark fruit, velvet rose, spicy tuberose, orange blossom,  patchouli, woody notes, ambergris, leather, and sweetened orris,” and will become available to the general public in September of this year. There’s also a tuberose soap created by Andy that I’m sure will be wonderful.  Andy discusses the tuberose and other floral aspects in Loretta here on his blog, and it’s fascinating reading.  I love seeing a perfumer’s mind at work – what effects he’s going for, what materials he uses to get them.

Go check it out.


Edits to the “Shop My Perfume Cabinet” Page

Some additions, some subtractions.  Will probably be adding a few more minis as time goes on.

I should probably warn you that I don’t intend to keep this a permanent feature.  I’ll leave it up another month or maybe two, and then BOOM! everything will go straight off to eBay.  Or the Miniature Perfume Shoppe, or some combination of the two, depending.  So if you see something you want, email me now and claim it.


Last chance to donate!

Today’s the final day to send pictures and descriptions of donated perfumes to Ari for the Smell Good Do Good Charity Sale at Scents of Self!  Do yourself a favor and pull out that ill-considered yard sale purchase, or the bottle that Aunt Lily gave you that you never wear… and do good for others as well.

I have limited Internet access today, but I’ll be back on Monday with a new Scent Diary and some more reviews next week.  I’ve been testing Serges, and things may just get interesting…


By Kilian sample giveaway

I have a lovely velveteen pouch, courtesy of the lovely people at By Kilian, with five generous 2ml sample sprays in it, to give away to one lucky commenter.  This pouch contains five of the fragrances from the L’Oeuvre Noire series: Love, Love and Tears, A Taste of Heaven, Straight to Heaven, and Back to Black.  (I reviewed these here, if you’d like a refresher on the notes lists.)

 To enter the drawing, you must be a real live human being living somewhere on the planet Earth, and leave a comment below mentioning either your favorite By Kilian fragrance, or the one you would most like to try.  I will face the inquisitorial crocodilian Visigoths at my local US Post Office to get this package to the winner, so non-Americans are welcome to give it a shot.  The drawing will be open until midnight Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Good luck to you!

Draw is now closed.


Donate and do good!

 Me and the smellies

Okay, so I’m feeling like I’ve got… wait for it… too much perfume on my hands!  (I know, I never thought I’d say it either.)  And I’m thinking that I need to divest myself of some items that I like but don’t love, or that I have too many of.

But what will I do with them?? I can’t take them to my local women’s shelter; they don’t accept used beauty products, including perfume.  Goodwill would probably take them and then stick them under hot lights where they’d languish until somebody bought them five years from now, utterly ruined.  I could sell them on eBay (don’t think I haven’t considered it).  I could sell them at a substantially reduced cost to perfumista friends, who at least would be happy to give them good homes.

Or… I could donate them to Scents of Self’s online charity sale in benefit of Refuge, an organization in the UK that provides safe housing and shelter to women and children escaping domestic violence.  The way the sale works is that Ari will post photos and descriptions of the items available along with suggested donation amounts, and the first person to claim each item will send payment (via account debit or credit card) to Refuge directly, through a JustGiving button.  The donator will then ship the purchased items directly to the buyer.  (Edit: final details on the charity sale have just been posted, go check ’em out here!)

 Yard Sale sign or Custom sign

I’ll be donating at least the following to the sale:

Guerlain Samsara edt, 30ml bottle, approximately 90% full.

Chloe Love, Chloe miniature bottle in box, 5ml, approximately 4ml remaining.

Annick Goutal Mandragore edt mini, 15ml, 98% full, unboxed. Square bottle with purple sticker, very cute.

Won’t you please think about donating that ill-considered TJ Maxx impulse purchase of Britney Spears Circus Fantasy, or your Aunt Lucy’s Christmas gift of Opium to you, when she should have known that you’re more of a Jo Malone fan?  You know you want to save some space for, um, that Serge Lutens bell jar of La Myrrhe when you finally save up enough money for it.  Am I right or am I right?


Welcome to the new blog site!

Happy Birthday

In honor of the inaugural post on The Muse in Wooden Shoes, I give you this stunning and delicious-looking cake from Georgie Sharp on Flickr.  (Well, actually, it has to be virtual cake.  If I could pass out slices of what looks like a very rich chocolate torte with burnt-sugar caramel pieces, I would – after I got my slice, of course. WANT.)

And because I am a self-centered and tiny-minded human… and because the timing was reasonable… the new blog site opens on my birthday.  I’m giving myself some virtual gifts today, so you get to enjoy them vicariously with me.  Continue reading Welcome to the new blog site!


More news on upcoming blog changes, and the inaugural TBR post

Woman cooking in a kitchen, from Wikimedia Commons

Mals has been cooking up something!

First: after hours of slaving over a hot computer yesterday, I managed to set up my blog at its new webhost and port over all the posts.  Yay!  I will need to do some tweaking of it, like adding the sidebar widgets, updating the blogroll, and choosing a new theme (since this one is no longer available, for some reason).  I’ll also be adding page breaks so that a longer list of posts will appear on the main page; to read the full post you’ll need to click once on the title or the “click here to continue reading” jump link.  

The new blog will probably go live next week.  I’ll leave a redirect up on this site.  I plan to maintain this blog site rather than delete it, but no new posts will appear at this location after the official move.

Second: ads will appear gradually on the new site.  I plan to keep them confined to certain areas, like sidebars, headers or footers, and will not use pop-ups because those things annoy the fire out of me. They will be content-linked, so I assume they’ll relate to perfume and books.

Also, I have a new weekly posting plan.  When I started blogging in 2009, the plan was to offer three reviews a week.  If you’ve been reading for awhile, you’ll notice that that idea fell by the wayside about the time that I started doing NaNoWriMo in November of that year, and from time to time all I’ve regularly posted has been Scent Diary.  However, since I would like to get back to posting more frequently, I have worked up a new schedule, as follows:

Continue reading More news on upcoming blog changes, and the inaugural TBR post


Upcoming blog changes, and winner of the Harvey Prince drawing


Uhh... I HOPE not. (Image from

I will probably be moving to a new hosting platform soon, with an accompanying change of domain name. I have been concerned for some time about the wisdom of having my brain-property on a site not owned by me. The free blog hosting sites like and Blogger actually own the content of all the blogs they host, so if for some reason I get on somebody’s bad side at and they decide to yank my platform, then I will not be able to own, control, and/or access my own blog. Copyright issues may be at stake here, too (though I’m not positive about that).

I am looking into monetizing my blog by adding something like AdSense. Since I’m not working at the moment, I could use a little income boost. The content on this blog will continue to be mine, not directed by any other agency whatsoever, and I’ll continue to love or like or have mixed feelings about whatever it is that I want to write about. I haven’t sold out. I do notice that several of the major blogs, like Perfume Posse and Now Smell This, have sponsors and allow ad placement, and although I am far, far smaller than those blogs, nobody’s thinking that Robin and Patty and their teams of respected reviewers are anything less than objective about what they choose to review and how they review it. I hope I’ve got that kind of credibility, even if I don’t (yet) have that kind of readership.

Look, I blog because I want to. I just feel that when I’m spending time researching and writing for my blog because I want to do that, it’s not wrong of me to want to pick up a little bit of spare change for doing what I would have done anyway. That may help to support the family while I am working on the novel. We go through a whopping four gallons of milk every week; you can think of the ads as sponsoring my family’s calcium intake, if you like.

These changes will probably occur gradually over the month of January. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be changing the theme; I like the one I picked two years ago and I’m inclined to stick with it. But who knows? I may find another theme that suits me better.

I’ll also be getting back to more regular posting and more frequent reviews. In some cases, this may be collections of mini-reviews. Look for a return to the Tuberose Series, as well. I’ll also include recipes and literature reviews from time to time.

And now, the announcement of the winner of the Harvey Prince full bottle giveaway drawing: RusticDove. Please email me with your mailing details and I’ll forward them to the Harvey Prince people to send you the bottle of Eau Flirt.

I will be asking for feedback as the changes occur, and I hope readers will stick with me. Thanks so much for reading this far!


Six Harvey Prince fragrance reviews, and a giveaway

I knew very little about Harvey Prince when I received an email from a PR representative, offering a giveaway on this blog. Right away, I went to the Harvey Prince website to scout around a bit.

The website says that HP was founded by two brothers who didn’t want perfume to be “overwhelming, overpriced, and full of toxic chemicals,” and after composing a fragrance found inspiration in the person of their mother. The website also points out that certain smells have certain effects on our mental processes, and that each of the Harvey Prince scents have been created to take advantage of these olfactory receptor-to-brain linkages in order to affect behavior and perception.

While I am not opposed, in theory, to this version of aromatherapy, some squinty-eyed part of me is rather skeptical. Does this sort of thing actually work, I wonder? And whether or not, as reported by scientific study, men actually become, um, interested in a woman smelling of lavender and pumpkin pie, will these scents actually smell good?

Because I have to say, I don’t think I want to throw this Man Bait lavender-pumpkin-pie scent out there on my skin and having guys follow me home. I’m quite certain The CEO would not approve. Sure, I’ll try it on him and see what he says. Or does. (I may actually report the results, depending.)

I’ll also point out that although the website claims that the Harvey Prince fragrances are hypoallergenic, and do not contain “parabens, phthalates, PCBs, BPAs, GMOs, sulfates or other toxic chemicals,” these do not seem to be all-natural perfumes as that category of fragrance is usually defined. They do not smell like the natural fragrances from independent perfumers that I have worn before, coming far closer to smelling like mainstream perfume house releases. And to be honest, the marketing research is so all-pervasive that the “no synthetics” spiel comes across as a ploy to appeal to customers who like the idea of their fragrance being different than all those accessible scents that just anybody can buy at Walgreen’s, or at Macy’s.

But I put aside my skepticism to test these scents and judge as dispassionately as I could how they actually smell, and whether I would buy them for myself. The results were mixed; I’ll explain.

Continue reading Six Harvey Prince fragrance reviews, and a giveaway