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Who do you think has the problem here? My fragrances or ...

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This was published over a year ago, but I just found it a few months ago. There was a Part One, which was just as vitriolic... Just in case anyone thinks they might want to try their hand at perfuming, take a read. This was on Scent Signals by the mysterious Helg...



Michael Storer Perfume: An Individualist's Impressions, Part Two

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Part Two begins with Yvette. Yvette is a dyed redhead with a drinking problem. One of those women who is well-preserved, well-groomed and permanently pickled. She's always looking for someone to join her in a drink. She likes dark sweet Manhattans. She thinks they go with her hair. She always eats the cherries. Sometimes does little tongue tricks with the stems, depending on who's watching. When you sit next to Yvette, you smell the booze on her breath, sweet and dark. She talks a lot, so you constantly get little puffs of that breath.

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Then she opens her expensive leather purse and pulls out a lipstick and a compact. The odors of fine leather, lipstick and powder mingle with her sweet boozy breath as she talks and gestures. You watch her catch her eye in her mirror and quickly look away. She keeps talking, trying to distract you. You weren't supposed to see what you think you saw. You spend a few more minutes with Yvette, promise you'll call, and move on. Sweet sad boozy broads aren't your thing.

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We move outside for Kadota. According to Storer, Kadota is a creamy, green fig delight. And I do smell fig, especially at first. It's a woody fig, rather than green, but it's definitely a fig. From a fig tree. Thing is, there's something very distracting in the picture. There's the fig tree, but sitting beneath it is a gorgeous brunet named Matt. He is waiting for me, smiling. It's quite warm, so he's taken off his shirt and is leaning against the tree in his undershirt and jeans. When I join him, I smell his clean salty perspiration. And his leather biker jacket, which he has sweetly made into a pillow for me. The smell of this man and his leather fill my nostrils. Fig tree? What fig tree? Kadota has become the smell of a man.

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We flash back to the 1960s for Stephanie. Remember Marilyn from the sitcom The Munsters? Marilyn was the pretty blonde niece, the only "normal" looking one in a family of monsters. Suitors would get a look at her family and run for the hills. She thought it was because she was ugly. It never dawned on her that it was the company she kept. Stephanie is Marilyn. Wearing a gardenia. Pretty.

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The last Storer scent I want to talk about is the one he created for Heather over at Memory and Desire. She asked niche perfumers to create scents inspired by a poem - a wonderful idea I hope she revisits every year. Storer made a perfume called Poem. Heather was kind enough to send me a sample of it. It actually arrived before my purchased samples did, so my first introduction to Storer's work was Poem, not the commercial scents. Here is what I told Heather I saw and smelled in Poem:

"rain-soaked cement. a wide grey sidewalk just after a rain. both the raw and the cured sidewalk. raw wet cement is hard wet concrete. powdered stone smells sweet.

the sidewalk is in a big city with deep history. maybe paris. maybe toulouse. sopping-wet blossoms line the grey sidewalk. they are white and pink and droopy with raindrops. they are summer flowers but there is a chill in the air.

fast-moving clouds block the sun. men in black suits brush by the wet flowers. the flowers shower them. no women. just men. all in black. black wool. wet stone. wet flowers. wet men. close by someone is sipping pernod."

While I probably won't wear his scents, I do appreciate the fact that they were able to take me on interesting journeys. They each had a story to tell and they are anything but milquetoast. For those reasons alone, Storer's perfumes are worth sniffing. I'll be curious to hear your reactions to them - I guarantee you'll have them. Michael Storer's web site.

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