Darlings! November came in like a wrecking ball.  I’ll be back December 1st with thrilling reviews of really super fancy perfumes. We will even have a guest blogger and a holiday smell guide.

Stay frosty!



In an old lady’s greenhouse: Aerin Waterlilly

Waterlillies remind me of ponds and ponds remind me of two things: 1) A really murky swimming hole from my childhood that was known as Sherwood’s Pond  (that might have been a toxic runoff for all I know)  and  2) A cute wishing well with lilypads.

I love a wishing well! I wonder if I could start one around here as passive income.

This sample of Aerin’s Waterlilly Sun is one of the more adorable things I’ve encountered in 2017 (not that there’s been a lot of opportunities for adorable in 2017, although I suppose there’s still time ..)


It has a top made of magical dragon jade:


And it smells like.   Like, grass clippings and generic bodywash and scented stationary.  It’s almost pleasant but not as bright as I would have expected from a scent with a jeweled top on its sample size.

I had a chance to ask a friend and fellow fragrance connoisseur what she thought and she said, “It smells like an old lady’s greenhouse room.”

Not a new lady’s but an old lady.  It has some heft – I think they call that musk.

There’s one old lady’s greenhouse room that I know of and I’m confident that her greenhouse encapsulates the essence of Aerin’s Waterlily Sun:


It’s the old greenhouse lady from Minority Report!


Lois Smith plays Dr. Iris Hineman who keeps killer plants and knows everything (as any old lady in a greenhouse should). She’s the one that is like “Dude, Tom, find the minority report and you will be free.” And then gives him an anecdote so he doesn’t die from being attacked by one of her poisoned plants. 


I’m not the only person that is obsessed with this scene (or this movie).  If you haven’t seen it, check it out. The whole thing looks like Aerin Waterlily Sun smells, but better.

What makes it smell this way? Let’s check out the beauty store description:

Like sunlight reflecting on water, bright Sicilian bergamot and lush dewy greens entice the senses for an invigorating, luminous first impression. Delicate yet alluring waterlily and soft, exotic jasmine sambac add layers of depth and intensity, warmed by sweetly inviting musk. The effect is bright, dewy, and fresh.

Notes: Sicilian Bergamot, Jasmine Sambac.

Style: Floral. Watery.

Bergamot. Blech.

My friend who gave me the green house line told me she had a couple of the Aerin fragrances and that Aerin was related to Estee Lauder.  I fact checked this and would like to report that the Aerin website “about” section says:

Aerin is a global luxury lifestyle brand inspired by the signature style of its founder, Aerin Lauder (of the LAUDER family as in Estee Based on the premise that living beautifully should be effortless, the brand develops curated collections in the worlds of beauty, fashion accessories, and home decor. With a passion for art, travel, fashion, and design, Aerin’s own lifestyle serves as a focal point of inspiration for the brand. Classic but always with a modern point of view, every piece is created to make life more beautiful, with a sense of ease and refinement.

Reading this, I a strange urge to see Aerin accidentally tumble into Sherwood’s Pond while wearing a $3000 kaftan.  That would be so classic!

I hope the next sample smells better.  To be fair, the temp is changing here and even though I had a pleasant week and weekend, my sinuses are exploding in my face and it makes me a little cranky. I bet Dr. Iris Heinman would have a cure for me.

Until then:

Sixteenth Sample Breakdown

Terms or concepts learned:   Nepotism as “classic but always with modern ease and refinement.”

Things to work on:  A greenhouse. And getting more of those American greens yaknowwhatimsaying?  Speaking of this scent costs $170 for a 1.7 oz bottle.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me: I was so lucky that I got to meet up with a friend who reminded me of old lady greenhouses. I got a free pass to a real swanky food and wine event and I ate a turkey burger with someone I care about and I caught Turner’s walk-off three-run homer just a few hours after purchasing Hulu Live so I could watch the game.  So this scent may be stanky but it may have powers.

Websites discovered: A Jezebel article confirming what I’d already gathered from reading the barely-100-word “about section” of Aerin’s site.

BLACKOUT: A Dangerous Tea

Not much on the sample packaging for this one.  Very minimalist black and white: Derek Lam 10 Crosby: BLACKOUT Eau De Parfum.   That’s it. High style if you ask me.  

When I first caught a whiff (side note – Whiff would be a great name for a This Stinks-related postcast)  I was like OH NO – it’s like rotted Shalimar!   But after one minute the Shalimar took a back seat and sexy woods lady came out. It was like a sassier Little Red Riding Hood picking forbidden forest flowers while eating peppered snacks.


Fragrance info from Sephora:


Fragrance Family:

Earthy & Woody

Scent Type:

Fresh Woods

Key Notes:

Osmanthus, Chai Tea Essence

This comes from Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby fragrance line (which happens to have a lot of really interesting sounding fragrance combinations).  What’s the big whoop about 10 Crosby? Well it’s a street in NYC:

“There are so many great moments when I see a girl walking down the street and she’s super stylish and very inspiring. Crosby Street is so unique—it’s one of my favorite in New York City.“—Derek Lam

If you don’t know, Derek Lam is like a big deal:

“Leading New York–based American fashion designer Derek Lam is known for his modern approach of blending minimal designs with feminine sensuality. His acclaimed collections are defined by his distinctive take on luxury.”    

LUXURY! There it is. No mention of femininity. He chooses to tell us a story about the fashionable woman and what she is doing when she smells like this:

Fragrance description: A blackout on Crosby Street. Downtown has gone dark. Tonight, all bets are off. A deeply romantic pairing: complex osmanthus and chai tea essence…the sweetness of the flower with the passion and danger of the spicy chai tea.

The danger of spicy chai tea? Talk about an opportunity to reframe a memory.  When I think of chai tea I think of working at Starbucks many years ago, back when baristas used to pull espresso shots by hand. You know, the good old days.   I think about those certain women that would come in wearing thick tan cable knit cardigans and how I knew that, before they even opened their mouths, they wanted a Chai Tea Latte.  If a particular coworkers was there I would have to hear yet again how the term chai tea is redundant all while I pulled out the yellow box containing our proprietary concentrated chai tea mix. I’d pour some out, add water and steamed milk and hand it over.  The woman would either give a “mmmmmmm” shrug while smelling it or she’d whip off the top and tell me she ordered no foam. This all sounds pretty straightforward but trust me. It’s a depressing drink. I would have never thought of it as dangerous.

Things can change though.

Eleventh Sample Breakdown

Terms or concepts learned:  

How spicy chai tea can be dangerous.

That Crosby Street in NYC is very short but very famous. 

Things to work on:  

Reframing scent memories and being open to new possibilities, my comedic delivery

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:

I got a straight up unsolicited “you smell great” from a friend. That is the first time in ThisStinks sample history.  I did open mic stand up for the first time. I won a live storytelling contest. My personal relationship got eclipsed, un-eclipsed, and then eclipsed again. Confused? Don’t be. Blackout is the scent of intrigue and complexity.  I think it is powerful.

Websites discovered:

Untapped Cities 

The Eclipsed Scent: Exotic Coconut

I’m back!  You’re eyes are not deceiving you – this blog experienced an eclipse the past few months. It can happen to even the best blogs and sometimes it is a sign that they should be permanently retired but I dig this concept and I still have a crapload of perfume samples so I’ll be here until the last tuberose has been sniffed.  

I was really getting into learning all about scents and was so inspired to branch out into all other kinds of writing and then – then I got busy with producing an art show and then I got a job, job.  It all happened so fast that I lost sight of what got me through the hard times: teeny perfume samples!

I’m back now with a less aggressive posting schedule.   In honor of eclipse season, specifically the recent lunar eclipse that asked us all to shed what is not serving us. (Or something like that).  I’ve decided to take it way back, to dig into a vintage scent. The discontinued “Exotic Coconut” from Bath & Body Works.   

I know Bath & Body Works scents are known for subtly, freshness, or delicacy but every once in a while they have one that hits.  And I’m not the only person who is into this scent. Look how much just a bottle of some crappy lotion is selling for on the internet:

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.13.30 AM

You’re seeing that correctly – one bottle can sell for up to $230! And it’s just a bunch of parabens and mineral oils and coconuts.

There’s been a cloudy bottle of Exotic Coconut lotion with about about .5 OZ left, just hanging out on my vanity for a couple years. Yes.  I was saving it for some reason. A special date? A beach trip? Just to have and smell when I want to feel nostalgic? The smell reminds me of a trip to Maui with friends, the outlet store near my parents house in southern Michigan, and the summers of the 00s.   Maybe it wasn’t about saving it for some day, but not wanting to say goodbye to outlet malls and low-rise jeans?

Time to say goodbye. In honor of the last time I (tried to) use it, here is a slo-mo video I now call “Desperation Squeeze”:

Scent info:

Exotic Coconut (retired twice by Bath & Body Works):

  • Top: Papaya, Guava, Pineapple
  • Mid: Toasted Coconut, Milk Accord, Vanilla Bean
  • Dry: Creamy Musk, Warm Sandalwood, Tonka Bean

A tropical getaway to a balmy island escape. (Must be the Tonka Bean)

Let me know what you’ve been holding onto, what scents make you nostalgic, what you are doing for eclipse season.

I’ll be back with a perfume sample review in a few days.

A safe Nest in a storm.

I thought this would be a good scent to wear the day after one of the worst storms in (my personal) Memphis history. Called Hurricane Lawler Hurricane Lisa Marie or Hurricane Jerry Lee depending on who you believe (or prefer).   Winds of nearly 70 mphs hour tore through my neighborhood and left a wake of fallen trees, blocked roads, and 150,000 people without power.   But that doesn’t mean it has to stink!    NEST fragrances are all very botanical, earthy, I had this sample of Indigo so I thought I would use spray it on before taking to the streets on my bike to assess the post storm damage.


Nest: the perfect accompaniment to your post-storm tourist trek.

2017-05-28 16.32.20

I smell bergamont!  Everyone was out and about:

Polaroid CUBE
So many blocked roads!

Trees fallen like wild figs:

2017-05-28 16.15.42-1

In case you can’t gather my interpretation of the essence of the scent from the photos, here’s the official Sephora description:

Moroccan tea, Kashmir wood, and black cardamom are enhanced with hints of wild fig and bergamot. These notes combine to create a captivating fragrance that transitions well from day to evening.

Inspired by the works of 18th Century British artist Mrs. Mary Delany, Laura Slatkin collaborated with master perfumers to translate these works of art into luxurious fragrances that capture the essence of each of the botanicals that adorn the products’ striking packaging.


Moroccan Tea, Kashmir Wood, Cardamom, Wild Fig.


Warm. Aromatic. Mysterious.

You’ll notice there really isn’t much fuss with the fragrance description here. Sephora did try stretch it out as best they could using the old beauty-writing stand by of “day to night”.

The Nest site doesn’t take it any further. It relies on a style I’d callnStoic-Chic. Their only words about Indigo?

Moroccan tea, kashmir wood and black cardamom are enhanced with hints of wild fig and bergamot.

Apparently NEST, doesn’t give any F’s about beauty and fragrance marketing lingo. Just like mother nature doesn’t give any F’s about what you had planned for Memorial Day weekend.   I admit I’m already a fan. One of my regular fragrances is Nest Citrine. And citrine, the stone, also happens to be my favorite power rock and makes a great gift for people.

Nest says they make fragrances that capture the essence of the art of Mary Delany. Mary was a badass maker of paper-mosaicks of flowers.  Meaning she used cut paper to make beautiful flower art. Something we should all aspire to do.  Her biography said she had cutting skills, was known for “lively correspondence”, and hung out with Letitia Bushe, a watercolourist and miniaturist.

I’m officially setting an Indeed job alert for “miniaturist” and meanwhile, I’ll start creating a miniature version of my neighborhood post storm. With giant puddles near my building entry way, power wires strewn about like a drunken spider just came off a weekend tear, and of course little trees fallen everywhere.


Tenth Sample Breakdown

Terms learned:

‘Mosaicks’ – Obsolete form of mosaic.

Cardamom  –  one of the world’s very ancient spices and also the third most expensive one next to saffron and vanilla.   Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance.  Cardamom was well known in ancient times and the Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth, while the Romans used it for their stomachs when they over-indulged. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople, and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day.

Kashmir wood:  Synthetic material which is also known as Cashmeran, a musky-woody component, popular in many modern compositions.  The diffusive, musky-woody scent is reminiscent of concrete (especially the abstract woody scent that concrete gives when hit upon by rain, a cityscape in the rain), also lightly spicy, lightly powdery.

Things to work on:  

Cutting skills for paper flower Mosaicks

Remembering to bring goggles when running an errand during massive storms

Always remembering: flowers are beautiful and powerful. Allure magazine – recently wrote about how flowers are a symbol of resistance.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:  While the rest of the city tried to save the contents of their fridges and freezers, and tried to stay cool and connected, I got to watch TV in AC…





Replica: Smells like somewhere I used to know

The sample card for Replica: Flower Market says: Reproduction of familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods.


I’m already interested. I stared this blog to not only use up my fragrance samples, but to examine topics like scent memory and scent inspiration (and of course the use of ad-speak and advertising to define femininity) maybe even scent therapy. Anything to keep the ol’ nose and brain busy during these wacky times.

The front of card looks more like a report. It has a photo of a flower market and info in typewriter font. It’s saying, “should you choose to accept this mission….”

Originally: Flower Market

Provenance and Period: Paris, 2011

Fragrance Description: Crisp petal freshness

Style Description: Female Fragrance

So THIS is what females smell like.   


My spritz thoughts: I do wish I smelled like this all the time. Sometimes I get people thinking I’m someone else. Just last night I was out with my boyfriend and someone called me Kathy. I told her no. She said, well do you have a twin sister?  And I said not that I know of.  I get that a lot. It’s the price you pay to be a brunette with bangs. Anyway – if I smelled like this people might think that they have had a pack of carnations shoved in their face, or maybe that they fell into a field of poppies, and it just wouldn’t matter if my name was Kathy.

This scent may remind some people of a 2011 Paris flower market, but I’m sent back to the mid 90s and one of the first legit (as in not Designer Imposters) bottle of perfume I bought: Givenchy Jardin d’Interdit.    Apparently I’ve always liked florals.

I was working for Shiseido at Famous-Barr and living in a Motel 6 room with my at-the-time boyfriend. It’s not as destitute as it sounds, he had a construction job remodeling Motel 6’s, but it was still two youngin’s living in a motel working for near minimum wage. Working at a make-up counter by day and sleeping in a motel by night was just the kind of Gemini-midheaven game I liked going on.  I bought the perfume with my Famous Bar employee discount.  I remember smelling it and thinking how great it would be to have access to a floral bouquet at anytime.

We shared a car which was ok because he worked um – on site.  The car was a late 80s Cutlass, I’d guess 87 if I had to. It was a pretty hot car; shiny black and in pristine condition (I come from the land of car people and his dad worked at GM). If it were a scent it would smell like a bear rug, spiked lemonade, WD40, Marlboro Reds, and frankly – a well-used hotel room ifyaknowwhatI’msaying. One day I was a little close to a semi truck at a light and it started to roll back. There was a line of cars behind me and I was pretty much helpless watching this giant trailer roll back on the hood and crush the hood ornament. A guy in a car next to me saw the whole thing and chased after the driver who didn’t even know what he’d just done. I drove back to the motel with a caravan of the truck driver and the witness to tell my boyfriend about the whole thing.  He was pretty pissed despite the awesome parade/caravan I’d assembled. 

You could say this perfume reminds me of Motel 6’s and Cutlass Supremes (before they adopted those horrible round-body styles). It reminds me of having a super fancy frosted pink bottle of perfume that I stored on the same counter as an electric hotplate next to a pile of construction tools and cup o’noodles.

So, yeah, I liked this one.

I thought it’d be interesting to check the perfume notes and see if the two fragrances have any similarities.

Givenchy Jardin d’Interdit

Notes: Pear, Kiwi, Cranberries, Peach Blossom, Rose, Red Berries, Rose Hip, Heliotrope, Orchid, Sandalwood

Replica Flower Market

Notes: Crushed Leaves, Freesia, Sambac Jasmine, Jasmine Infusion, Tuberose Infusion, Rose from Grasse, Peach, Cedarwood, Oak Moss.

You can see that there are not many similarities in the scent although, peach and roses should count for a lot.  I’m not too discouraged in my smelling abilities, scent memory works in mysterious ways. Maybe it was just the sweet floral that scent me back. Ha – get it? Scent. Sent. 

I figured that the original Jardin d’Interdit blend might be a tad dated and some of the ingredients might possibly obsolete. Once again, the internet told me I was right.  

Check this out about synthetic heliotrope:

“Currently heliotropin is under reduced ratio of use in perfumery, according to IFRA regulations, because safrols in food have been proven to be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic. Therefore concerns about the inhaled and skin-absorbed quantity from scented products have resulted in a preventory measure, rationing heliotropin to much lower ratios than before. This may be why your favourite fragrance with heliotrope might start smelling less deep and almondy in the coming months.”

Carcinogenic and hepatotoxic. Well, sometimes a scent can take us back to a flower market or a motel and sometimes a scent can remind us that we are lucky to be alive.

Seventh Sample Breakdown

Terms learned:

Olfactory memory:  the recollection of odors. Studies have found various characteristics of common memories of odor memory including persistence and high resistance to interference.

Heliotrope: almond-smelling, vanilla-like note with very hazy, flou contours, recreated via heliotropin

Orchid: usually a synthetic note in perfumes giving a powdery veneer to floral bouquets, sweetish and clean

Things to work on: 

  1. Getting better at identifying differences in florals
  2. Remembering that if I can live at a Motel 6, I will probably be ok

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:

In addition to sending me on a trip down memory lane, I almost crushed a writing test for a job as a dating profile ghost writer.

Websites discovered:

The Department Store Museum