Blog Comments

  1. Hojji77's Avatar
    I have not read The Secret of Scent, and am not overmuch tempted to. Perhaps that is because I like the two authors together, and a steady diet of him alone seems less appealing. LT's prose is somehow very male, despite its many nods to cosmopolitan androgyny--even when it's funny it tends toward bombast and repetition of phrase and image (shampoo, airplanes, dismal Eastern European locales). He can be dazzling, but one marvels as much at the effort (which shows) as at the effect. She writes less, and if her effects are sometimes trivial, they delight by a kind of casual, Dionysian rightness that leavens her partner's Apollonian exertions.

    As to New York, I need to give it a second turn--I am quite certain that there are notes that I am missing, and I doubt the juice is at fault. Still, refo is likely in any case, or batch-to-batch issues.

    I really like your observations on context--I'm messing about with a post on SMN's Nostalgia and AdP Colonia Essenza that considers some of the same territory. Thanks for the nudge.
  2. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    I wasn't into New York either! I could see its solidity, but that citrus was so much, and I did feel it was referencing something more standard but with too much oomph: that reference may have been the familiar Stetson, now that you mention it. A possible problem: I hear New York was reformulated. I'm pretty certain my sample was from the reformulation, as it came from a busy online niche perfume retailer. Maybe yours was from the reform batch too, or maybe we both wouldn't have ever liked it?

    The Guide is still so much fun. Even when I completely disagree, the spirit of adventure and irreverence with which most of the reviews are approached is infectious. Turin can be campy and eccentric, but he does approach fragrance democratically and with honesty about reformulations while Sanchez balances out some of his outliers (ELdO's Secretions ... ). Have you read Turin's The Secret of Scent? I need to get around to it.

    As for Bvlgari Black: at first LOVED IT, and now I really only like it. It may well be that Bvlgari Black holds more appeal for ladies, since something rubbery and transgressive among all of the fruity florals really does stand out as a treat. It seems like context can account for a large amount of a scent's appeal.
  3. Hojji77's Avatar
    As a codicil to the above, I should add that my experience with Tania's pet Bulgari Black was not much better--I got rubber (of course) for fifteen minutes, and then something passive, powdery, soft, and sweet for the duration. So much for the wonders of The Puck.
    Updated 28th August 2012 at 12:08 AM by Hojji77
  4. Hojji77's Avatar
    I like your initiative to explore and rehabilitate critically-unloved fragrances. It seems to me that there are perhaps fewer masculines than feminines that are really loathed by the cognoscenti, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's that there are not as many truly loud men's scents; the ones that get panned suffer for being "timid," "banal," or "clones," seldom for being outrageously awful. The current whipping boy seems to be AdG, which strikes me as an unremarkable perfume whose primary sin is its overbroad popularity.

    It has sometimes crossed my mind to see if there is anything good in the widely-dismissed men's category of "sport" or "ice" fragrances, but it's not a project that I feel inclined to spend much $ on...
  5. Hojji77's Avatar
    Thank you! I shall have to try the NU edp. I have a bit of Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer, which I love, but you're right that it doesn't quite correspond to the above brief. Fahrenheit, though, may in fact be about right now that you mention it, or at least close to the mark. I had a bottle of '01 Fahrenheit that I was going to sell on Ebay but my daughter became so obsessed with it that I ended up giving it to her for her birthday. I was tempted to decant a little from it but I couldn't uncrimp the top and didn't want to savage the bottle. Perhaps it's time to hunt down one of the earlier refos and see if it's my Prince Charming.
  6. Hojji77's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by anomie et ivoire
    Couples sharing Vetiver: such sweet romance. Sounds like a great trip!

    Holt Renfrew is a nice surprise. Always such artistic selections in clothing and beauty in the bigger city HRs. So about the Diorella, does that mean the reformulated version is still worth a darn? If so, I'm going for it! Had been holding out for a vintage or decant of such.
    I can't vouch for the comparative quality of the current Diorella, never having smelled any of the old ones. It's been a few weeks since my encounter with it, but my mental notes on it were roughly:

    a) It's BIG. Hits like Norell or one of the other Rusty-Nails-and-Tareytons era powerfemmes, but with more finesse. I don't remember the notes. Flowers, in general. It must have been colossal in the nitro musk era.

    b) After thirty seconds: date-night panties, the morning after date night. Was not about to explain the reason for my visible surprise to my seven-year-old.

    c) It's fabulous. However, it didn't seem like it would line up that well with the other feminines that work on me.
  7. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    Some of us see depths in concrete while others see it as something off which rain bounces ...
  8. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    Couples sharing Vetiver: such sweet romance. Sounds like a great trip!

    Holt Renfrew is a nice surprise. Always such artistic selections in clothing and beauty in the bigger city HRs. So about the Diorella, does that mean the reformulated version is still worth a darn? If so, I'm going for it! Had been holding out for a vintage or decant of such.
  9. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    Is the wearer the beholder, the tenant, both, or neither? Fragrance has a tenuous relation to its host, a sort of catlike belonging-but-separateness, and the wearer is only fictively its point of origin (unless your natural excrescences just happen to smell like Shalimar). On y pense.
    Once one establishes a signature scent, and one knows how that scent melds with one's own chemistry, personality, actions, and presence, then, perhaps, one becomes the tenant. That reminds me of the Roman Polanski movie The Tenant, during which at one point he dresses in the clothing of a woman who previously lived in his apartment but who has committed suicide. He seems to become her and repeats her fate, is haunted by her. When I wear certain scents that I associate with another person or a certain type, that haunting takes place, and I wonder if I can become the tenant and share the house or if it's time to move right on...

    What I like about fragrance is that one becomes the microphone, the stereo speaker, instead of the listener or the singer or the song.
  10. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    Always great questions to ask! Considering fragrance is this business that combines science and technological innovation, analysis of the psychology of the masses, and a constant chasing of the times, such analysis is in no way out of context! Scents both reflect and shape their times, it would seem. Look of course at the Big Bad 80s. I thought I didn't even really like perfume until about three months ago because my mother's post-80s scent wearing habits were so breathtakingly extreme as was the norm for women in the 80s-earliest 90s (I don't mind loud fragrances, but a loud fragrance sprayed 3+ times then refreshed throughout the day and layered with lotion and powder? WOAH, Blossom!).

    I have often heard that economic hardtimes actually produce more reactionary optimism. The 80s were a time of elegance and wealth only for the very few but apparently full of recessions and layoffs for many others, yet cheap perfume brought everyone's spirits way up, and it seems many went out of their price ranges to have the latest it-fragrance (Giorgio once being expensive).

    People I know do not wear any fragrance whatsoever. It would never cross their minds. That kind of austerity seems to be common in the post-9/11, info-hyped world. The very few people I know who go for scent go BIG though, and they are optimists. I wear scent more as a silent sensual terrorism to undermine the need to fit into the times, which afterall, are always changing.
  11. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    What I want is the unexpected cold snap, distant chimney smoke, the strange way that visual distances seem to elongate and darken in autumn in the city. The high, fast-moving clouds. Early twilight; the distinctive smell of asphalt as it cools.
    Enormously evocative bit of writing! Makes me long for urban autumn to come. So much of fragrance is pastoral or wealth-bound pastoralism rather than atmospherically urban.

    Nu edp by YSL, though a women's scent supposedly, sort of gives me the feeling you describe, but it is very heavy.

    Many things by Tauer, though they are often seen as more countryside I think, smell urbane to me. How about the gasoline and wooden plank scent of Dior Fahrenheit?
  12. anomie et ivoire's Avatar
    Azzaro gives me the same cat relieving himself on my grandmother's jewelry case. That is to say, despite its swagger, there's something oddly soft and mumsy underneath this frag, a mellow pastel, that undermines its premise and disturbs me. Yet I can tell that in its way it is a great bottle: multilayered, quizzical, elusive.
    What an excellent description! I haven't tried to fragrance, but can, unfortunately, imagine it so much to almost smell it.

    Are there scents you genuinely acknowledge to be in some way "great," but that you don't actually like?
    Samsara is a great wide-appeal comforting oriental that I don't at all like.
    For some reason, almost every single Hermes classic scent is obviously great in that each smells original and classic, but I dislike them all: a bit musty, strong, and generic rich lady. Most of the other sacred holies I end up liking, but it'd be sort of satisfying not to! One less thing to buy. Kilian, L'Artisan, and most Lutens are underwhelming but I can always see their appeal.

    I had a similar experience not long ago when given ten seconds to name the three greatest figures in post-WWII American music--I came up with Bob Dylan, James Brown, and Hank Williams. They're reasonable-enough choices, and I might respond the same way even if given more time, but I don't really love any of them.
    Good point about how thinking of things in terms of ranking, "bests," and classics irons out subtleties too much and shortchanges the careful connections of personal taste in favor of an often dull and simplified accepted historical narrative.

    I've been on a little quest to try some of the most critically-panned cheapo-hated fragrances recently and have found a few are really not as bad as they're made out to be: Estee Lauder Spellbound (clove-o-rama--many people hate cloves, I love them), Ex'clamation (weird, loud, sodapop rose cheer but not awful), and Elizabeth Taylor Passion (the women's one, classic incense velvety moodiness) to name a few. The trick is to apply very, very sparingly these heady 80s-type concoctions. I can see that they're all strong and not terribly expensive smelling in the top notes, but the drydowns are all pretty satisfying, that is for cheap juice. I certainly enjoy them all more than L'Artisan anything. Or well, at least I like them as time capsules of what were popular scents in their day that are 10x better than the popular bore-fests around now.
    Updated 21st August 2012 at 01:25 PM by anomie et ivoire
  13. Scent-imental's Avatar
    I like what you said about your nose, it makes me feel less embarrassed about being a smoker, and still wanting to wear fragrance. Hardly dare admit to smoking on here, in case I am thrown out for havng a dreadful sense of smell, and quite unable to separate and distinguish between the various notes in a fragrance. I almost feel like an impostor, fit only to wear drugstore scents.
    Ah well, a cigar has a lovely fragrance too
  14. antiqueRose's Avatar
    You have good insights into this. I think that socio-economic environment may play a part in trends, but I certainly wouldn't let the date a particular perfume was released play a part in whether I buy it. If I like it, I will wear it. End of story!
  15. verycharlie's Avatar
    It sounds like you're looking for Yorkshire in scent form. The place in the British psyche that's forever the melancolic joining point of romantic pastoral ideal and industrial revolution, where it's always 'fall', there's always a cold snap, high fast moving clouds in the big Northern sky, smoke rising from the dark satanic mills and the whopping great asphalt slab of the M1 carving through it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZAgf...e_gdata_player

    I don't think anyone bottled Yorkshire yet.

    Charlie