When Bombing Semi-Stinks: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

Flowerbomb!!  I almost didn’t get this in before this week bled into the next. Life can be tough kids and it takes time to stop and smell the flowerbombs.

So, check it out – another sample in a plastic podbag:

FlowerBombFrontSample

I went straight to the source for more info – Viktor & Rolf’s site – turns out they have a whole story (well, most fragrances do but let’s pretend to be awed):

When working on the Flowerbomb fragrance, Viktor&Rolf wanted to create something new. They dreamt of a fragrance that had the power to spread a positive message. 
A profusion of flowers as a weapon to spread the world with beauty and fantasy and to transform the negative into positive.

A profusion of flowers as a weapon to spread the world with beauty and fantasy and to transform the negative into positive!

So naturally I used the sample to spread some positive beauty on the Dodgers during the World Series:

FlowerBombTurner

And to hex the Astros pitcher:

pitcherHexFLowerBomb

It worked. I hope it continues to work.  I may mail this sample to Kikè and see if it helps him break his own playoff homerun record.

Truth is, he can have it. Despite the fragrance having the very best name I can think of – combining my two favorite things: explosives and flowers, I really didn’t love this one. In case you have been reading this blog, that makes two fragrance samples in a row that  I didn’t dig!  Come on sample bag! Give me something I can work with

The fragrance profile from Sephora gave me a few clues as to why the flower explosion didn’t work for me:

Fragrance Family: Warm & Spicy

Scent Type: Warm & Sweet Gourmands

Key Notes: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Patchouli

About:

An explosion of flowers, Flowerbomb opens with subtle traces of bergamot and mandarin, leading to a heart of an exquisite floral explosion, comprised of sambac jasmine, freesia, centifolia rose, and osmanthus. Deep amber, woody, and patchouli notes combine with warm vanilla and praline notes to complete a truly addictive fragrance. Wear it for a night out on the town with the girls, a romantic dinner, a spontaneous adventure with no definite destination. Flowerbomb ensures you’ll leave a trail of allure wherever you go.

I don’t dig the gourmands or the patchouli in this. I don’t want to be walking through a garden and have an undeodorized hacky-sacker shove an elephant ear in my face. That’s a little bit of what is going on with this one.

“Fashion is a dream…Fragrance is a dream in a bottle”—Viktor & Rolf

Fashion IS a dream! Fragrance is a dream in a bottle. I just don’t want this to be my dream. Keep your Allure Best of Beauty Award. I like my flowers delivered by the Olsen Twins.

Seventeenth Sample Breakdown

Terms or concepts learned:  Gourmand:  A gourmand fragrance is a perfume which consists primarily of synthetic edible (gourmand) notes such as honey, chocolate, vanilla or candy.[1][2] These top and middle notes may be blended with non-edible basenotes such as patchouli or musk. They have been described as olfactory desserts.They are also called foodie fragrances. Gourmand scents can be worn by women or men.  

Also new term: Flowerbombing (see below).

Things to work on:  Turning the negative into the positive. I really should have read the story of this fragrance earlier this week. I don’t know if it is the weather change or being asked to actually work at work or someone getting hater juice all over me or what, but this week was tinged with mehs.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:   Now that I have all the complaining out of the way I will say I was able to do a whole 10, maybe even 11 minute set without bombing – only flowerbombing.   I also got to see some fab friends this week and went to a fun open mic.

Flowerbombing will be the new term for when you actually do awesome.    In a sentence, “I flowerbombed the F out of that job interview.” or “You know the conversation wasn’t going well until I started flowerbombing everything they said.”  Try it out now!  Let me know in the comments how you use this new valuable term this week.

Websites discovered:  I found a farm that is into flowerbombing.

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Call Me Sexy Ruby (just don’t make me smell like one)

I found myself in a Macy’s this past weekend.  I had to make a return but I decided to wander around the make-up counter area first.  I was surprised at how few people work at them anymore. You know how late-capitalism forced companies to combine jobs? I bet they just have someone from the shoe department come over and match your foundation if you stand at the Clinque counter for long enough.

I came of age in the mall era and I still find them very calming. High ceilings, odd lighting, creepy mannequins – I love all of it. I believe that malls are the weighted blanket of 80s children.

Ever notice how, despite the fact there there are thousands of products at a department store make-up counter, they always smell the same everywhere and have for decades?  Well I do. Probably because I worked one of my favorite jobs at a make up counter back in my salad days.   I found myself over-inhaling like the scent memory would have enough power to transport me back to applying eyeshadow on the crepe-y lids of an elderly woman sitting on a stool near my Shisedo counter.

Then I came across the fragrance counter and a display for MICHAEL KORS SEXY RUBY.  I said to myself, oh wait, now THIS is the answer to my troubles: sexytimegemstones.    And I spritzed and sprayed and waited for some magic.

SexyRubyDisplay

It’s too bad it really stinks. I love a floral but I hate when it’s smothered in the wrong warm somethingorrather.  Like someone stored their rose petal stash in a box of Nag Champa.

It really, really smells like some perfume that was trending in the early 90s.  I want to say Exclamation, but I haven’t smelled that in awhile. I remember the bottle so well, don’t you?

exclamation

I am also not writing the name correctly – ex’cla -ma’tion, got it?  And who knew? Khol’s still sells it – here’s the fragrance info:

An ecstatic floral splash. Exclamation by Coty is a candied flower shop in a bottle, with bright notes to excite your senses.

FRAGRANCE NOTES Apricot, green, peach, bergamot, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, lily of the valley, rose, sandalwood, amber, cinnamon, musk, vanilla and cedar.

 

Well well well,  now I want to do a side by side comparison of that with Sexy Ruby to see what is making me think of the 90s. Looks like ol ex’cla -ma’tion had apricot and rose and lily of the valley all mixed with some amber and sandalwood too (eeesh…not my fave).

But let’s not focus on the negative! I love a ruby. It’s my birthstone and I consider it one of the more goth-royal birthstones. I also think more people should be named Ruby and that we should do a study on old ladies named Ruby to see if their lives have been rich and sexy.

Speaking of sexy – even though I don’t like this scent, I can’t help but appreciate how nonchalantly the word Sexy is used its name.  That’s a pretty hilarious word, try it out in front of anything you’d like to have in a fragrance: Sexy Daisy, Sexy Dynamite, Sexy Ocean.   Fun, huh? But this works because rubies, are indeed, sexy and also very expensive.

Remember this movie?

Well, it’s a pretty unsexy story about turtlenecks, boring arranged marriage sex, and rubies.

MICHAEL KORS SEXY RUBY page says:
A jewel of a fragrance inspired by Michael’s unique interpretation of sensuality, strength and glamour.  Boldly luxurious, brilliantly faceted, and mesmerizing to encounter.

Fragrance deets from SEPHORA

Fragrance Family: Floral

Scent Type: Warm Florals

Key Notes: Raspberry, Apricot, Indian Jasmine Sambac

About: A scent as brilliant as the jewel that inspired it. Michael Kors Sexy Ruby is a modern chypre that sparkles with sensuality. The temptation of velvet apricot and juicy raspberry gleams like a fiery ruby with the striking display of lush florals. The beguiling charm of luscious rose petals invites you in, while intoxicating Indian jasmine sambac pulls you close. It’s enveloped by the sensual warmth of cashmere woods for a boldly addictive experience.

CASHMERE WOODS – Wait a minute. Haven’t I seen or smelled that somewhere before?

GladeCashmereWoods

CashmereWoodsBath&BodyWorks

Oh that’s right. It’s a Glade scent and one of Bath & Bodywork’s popular fine fragrance mists (remind self to do a post on fragrance mists).

I don’t know if I ever need to smell this  or smell like this again. All I did after spraying it on was go home, fold some stained tattered kitchen towels, mourn the end of a relationship, and watch the devastating Whitney Houston documentary Can I be Me?  Why didn’t anyone ever let her be her?

Fifteenth Sample Breakdown

Terms or concepts learned: Orris Root!  According to this GQ article it is one of the most expensive materials to produce.  So, naturally, it is found in Coty’s $24 Ex’cla -ma’tion.

Things to work on:  Getting a real ruby and following the advice; “Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.”  If I can’t follow that advice I think I might just put that on one of those text-stagram posts so someone else can be inspired by it.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:
I was at Macy’s to return an item I purchased online. It went so quickly I’m sure it is because the clerk wanted me to get my Sexy Ruby out of her face.

Websites discovered:
I found a very comprehensive blog post about Jasmine.

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.

BlackoutPerfume

Fragrance info from Sephora:

BLACKOUT

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 

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.

01NestCover

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.

Notes:

Moroccan Tea, Kashmir Wood, Cardamom, Wild Fig.

Style:

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…

 

 

 

 

Hot Fruit & Rare Flowers

The modern blog knows no time constraints or limitations

                                                              – Imade Thatup

I’ve returned from a totally unearned blog-hiatus!  My last unposted fragrance notes were about Tom Ford’s Orchid Soleil:    

I like orchids, my friend gave me one as a gift a few weeks ago when I kind of hit the height of the current hard times.   When you are talking about hard times it’s important to remember a few things:

  1.  hard times don’t last
  2.  hard times happen always
  3.  hard times come and go
  4.  the hardness of times varies

I also think I liked this perfume. My first reaction was yum (and I kind of dislike that word), smells sensual (another word I try not to use unless I’m doing a character voice or something), and it’s like a deep woodsy floral but with a bit of lightness (must be the soliel part) warm with some fruit.

TomFordOrchidSolFRONT

Warm fruit! But not like a cobbler. Maybe more like a piece of pineapple left in the hot sun on a beach towel next to an orchid.

TomFordOrchINSIDE

So far in this sample journey I’ve liked the scents that either smell like good flowers (roses, honeysuckle, jasmine) or the scents that confuse me.  This is a little of both.

I’m not the only one:

Tom Ford’s New Orchid Soleil is Confusing the Hell Out of Me: I can’t decide how I feel about this metallic white floral.

But who am I kidding. I know how I feel. I like it!

Here’s the  description on Sephora:

Introducing the solar side of the elusive TOM FORD Orchid. A radiant and sensual force of nature, the new scent captures the seductive warmth and reflective bare skin of the TOM FORD woman.

In Soleil, the original Black Orchid accord becomes illuminated by an aura of deftly worked tuberose, marrying the creamy, molten floral sensuality of that iconic flower with crisp, floral, and spicy elements. The tuberose petal glows against this dramatic backdrop. A high concentration of salicylate compounds offer a spicy, metallic glint.

Notes:

Tuberose Petals, Black Orchid, Headspace, Spider Lily Accord, Vanilla, Chestnut, Cream Accord, Patchouli.

Style:

Radiant. Sensual. Warm.

 

Headspace: perfect for regrouping.

Ninth Sample Breakdown

Terms learned:  

Salicylate compounds – an ingredient that produces an opening or warming effect on a fragrance

Headspace – “Headspace technology: a method of “capturing” the odor of a substance using an apparatus resembling a bell-jar. This has allowed perfumers to mimic the notes of flowers, plants, and foods which do not lend themselves otherwise to extraction. The different fragrance & flavor companies have their own fragrance capture systems based on headspace technology, including ScentTrek (Givaudan), “Jungle Essence” (Mane), NaturePrint (Firmenich).”

Metallic notes – I dig it.

Things to work on:   Posting on this blog, finish the task of using all of my fragrance samples.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:   Well, let’s put it this way. Soone after my last post, I spritzed this on and sprung back from hard times with vim and vigor and a new job. 

Websites discovered:  Perfume Shrine

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.

ReplicaFRONT

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.   

REPLICAinside

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  

POP: not fearing social norms or losing sophistication

So I lapsed a few days. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been using up perfume samples every which way but loose. I just haven’t been able to get it all down on wordpress because I’ve been held captive by life’s bullshit and also there was the weekend and shopping for discount paper products…  Anyway, on to my report!

I liked the last scent I tried so much that I didn’t want to be disappointed so I thought I’d go with someone I could rely on: Stella McCartney.  Or so I thought.

One of the few perfumes I have and wear that isn’t in a sample spritzer is Stella, the rosey fragrance in the purple bottle. Yeah, you can tell how well things are going by my excellent choice of descriptors.

This sample is of Stella McCartney POP.   I like the metallic hot pink thing going on with the packaging:

StellaPOP

When I first smell it I think Bath & Body Works, unwanted Christmas presents. But it seems to brighten up.

Inside the sample card – in ALL CAPS in two languages:

THE NEW FRAGRANCE BY

STELLA McCARTNEY.

BRIGHT TUBEROSE BALANCED

WITH SANDALWOOD NOTES.

BOLD.

AUTHENTIC.

IRREVERENT.

#POPNOW

I’ll spare you the reposting of the all the text in French, but I had to share the last three descriptors because they are such great words in any language: 

AUDACIEUX

AUTHENTIQUE

INNATENDU

IMG_9074

INNATENDU!!   Unfortunately, even after letting it set for a few minutes it’s not jiving with me.  The name doesn’t really fit the scent, this smells a little old. Like a gift shop full of seashells (or maybe I just went to one of those). It might be the sandalwood.

Because the last scent I tried was all indie and natural I’ve started to miss all the corporate perfume marketing jargon of the past samples. My Adjectivefication of Femininity project will never get traction at this rate. So was hoping to find something about the bouquet of femininity in POP.

I should have known better.

Notes on POP from Sephora:

Stella McCartney POP is a bold, authentic, and irreverent fragrance. It creates an authentic circle where women can inspire, create, and be themselves while not fearing social norms or losing sophistication. It is the perfect scent for empowered young women.

Notes: Tomato Leaves, Violet Leaves, And Green Mandarin, Violet, Tuberose, Plumeria, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musks.

Style:  Bright. Contemporary. Positive.

One more time: It creates an authentic circle where women can inspire, create, and be themselves while not fearing social norms or losing sophistication. It is the perfect scent for empowered young women. 

Don’t F with us Sephora.  I can imagine an aunt coming in to the fancy makeup store for a nice gift for her niece and asking someone “Is there something that can make her smell empowered?” 

And the helpful beauty rep will say, “Of course, right this way. You want to know what #banbossy smells like?  We have something that stinks just enough that people won’t want to stand next to her and she can pretend that it’s because her thoughts and opinions are too powerful, or maybe that everyone is just jealous of her. The secret? You just mash tuberose with sandalwood.”

There’s something so suspect about the marketing of female empowerment. Reminds me of the latest episode of Call Your Girlfriend where they talk about SHE-EO’s.

From Stella’s Site:

POP is a bright, modern and irreverent scent combining the vibrant floralcy of tuberose with sandalwood.

POP reinterprets tuberose, chosen for its iconic bold scent, by emphasizing its brighter, crisper, more solar floralcy. This newfound vibrancy is balanced with sandalwood; the unexpected combination of the floral and woody notes results in an undeniably feminine scent that makes a statement.

NOTE: My spellchecker flagged the word floralcy but I’m going to start integrating it into daily life.

With all the insane political bs going on right now, there are so many things I have been wondering about. Like how bizzlllionares convinced millions of working people to vote themselves into an oligarchy and why so many people still watch college basketball in March, and now here is something I’ve been wondering for awhile: WHAT IS TUBEROSE? How can you reinterpret it?

I’m not the only one wondering such things. I found an article titled “Things That Smell Like Things: What Exactly Does Tuberose Smell Like, Anyway?

Other fragrance sites confirm that tuberose is a really waxy and strong smelling flower. Stella McCartney thinks you can wearing it and not fear social norms.  I think not stinking like a dollar store candle is something to fear.

Sixth Sample Breakdown

Terms (or fun facts) learned:

Tuberose: it’s waxy, it’s strong, some people love it.

Floralcy:  from Now Smell This Floralcy is ad-copy-speak for “smells of flowers”, as in “a burst of floralcy“, and it is a useful term as many fragrances do, in fact, smell of flowers without smelling like any flower in particular.”      Ad-copy-speak!

Things to work on:  

  1. My attitude, obviously
  2. Being more AUDACIEUX, AUTHENTIQUE, and INNATENDU!
  3. Smelling empowered

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me: 

I wore this to a job interview. Technically it was a phone interview. It was not great, the woman was 20 minutes late and I don’t like to work for hectic people. Having the power of POP with me enabled me to pretty much take control of the situation without “losing sophistication.”

Websites discovered: Now Smell This

Your Hidden Alien

I picked this one out of my sample batch thinking of all of us outsiders and because I love the movie Alien.

sigourney-alien
Sigourney and her space cat (image from amc.com)

Not to mention, I was planning on seeing an arty documentary about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that evening, so it really came down to picking the one sample with the coolest and weirdest name. 

AlienFront

Thoughts after first spray: Crushed velvet. Bell sleeves. I’m in the woods next to Sansa Stark. It’s a heavier scent, maybe even mature.  I kind of like it and I wonder if aliens would like it which makes me wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to ask one, proving that a good scent can take you anywhere. 

AlienINSIDE

Written on the card in four languages: “Enhance yourself with Aline Eau de Parfum. The magic of an everlasting precious stone bottle, thanks to the Refill Bottle of your perfumer’s Source”

I love translations with mysterious capitalization. And there’s no mention of femininity or anything of the sort, just: enhance yourself.  I like this.  Of course it’s French! I really want the everlasting precious stone bottle and I wish the sample was made of precious stone but we can’t have it all no matter what Sheryl Sandberg and perfume marketers tell us.  

I’m only four samples in and already addicted to reading the glamorous wordcasserole descriptions of perfumes so I checked the web hoping to find more information. I found a very satisfying description on Thierry Mugler’s site:

“Feel extraordinary… Mysterious and fascinating, ALIEN perfume has the power to illuminate and reveal a radiant, feminine aura. ALIEN fragrance brings out the solar goddess in every women. The rich and bewitching ALIEN Essence Absolue is captured in an everlasting drop of gold that radiates a divine nectar. This new fragrance is a modern and decadent interpretation of ALIEN. Thierry Mugler ALIEN perfume at the ALIEN perfume Source, or with refill bottles and ALIEN eco-refills!”

WHOOAAAAA.  Yes I want to feel extraordinary mysterious AND fascinating. 

A radiant feminine aura. Solar goddess. Divine nectar. Refills.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I click on the video titled “Celestial and Mythical Beings

 

The whole video is magical.  In only a few minutes it manages to give a full creative background on Mugler while convincing me to buy three more fragrances and move to France to join the underworld of alien insect fashion.  The background info says something about how “the star” has long inspired the designer but I don’t know which one they are referring to or if they mean “star” in the royal sense or if it is just lost in translation. I love stars. I could totally hang on a spaceship with this guy. (I don’t know much about him and now I’m so hoping this dude isn’t known for racism, sexism or brutality because I’m digging his galactic sense.) Apparently Theirry is a former dancer and a worldly imaginative dude. He scores his fashion shows with Edith Piaf, has other fragrances in bottles shaped like stars and totem poles, and his fashion shows include robots and insect women.  His goal? “Extravagant and immoderate creations for women that put nature and fantasy within one’s reach.”     

May we all strive for immoderation. #blessup

ALIEN
Fragrance Family: Floral
Scent Type: Warm Floral
Key Notes: Jasmine Sambac, Cashmeran Wood, Amber Gris
About:
Alien is a floral-woody-amber fragrance that borders the realms of spirituality and sensuality. It exudes a positive energy, charged with sensual and intriguing mystery.
Alien is a radiant fragrance, and its deep purple-hued glass bottle is designed to mimic an amethyst, a precious gem that symbolizes femininity and refinement. This sacred talisman can be layered with any Alien Body product.
What else you need to know:

“It is named Alien because inside every woman is something so unique, so special, it is Alien to everything around her.”

Fourth Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Jasmine Sambac (Arabian jasmine): A species of jasmine native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas in Bhutan and neighboring India and Pakistan. (wikipedia)

Cashmeran Wood:  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.  (part of description from Fragranctica – I like the mention of concrete, particularly light, powdery concrete)

Ambergris:  Used as a fixative to help scents last much longer and its perfume can be best described as marine, animal and sweet. (Found on GQ of all places) 

Things to work on:   

  1. Magnifying the goddess within.
  2. More contemplation of the star (or stars).
  3. Resistance of Russian radio waves and other negative forces.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me: 

I feel like this scent increased my magic, but  also feel like I still have powers that are alien to those around me.  Maybe I need a few days with this scent. Maybe I need to spray it in the face of people that don’t get me or won’t give me a job or funding for my films. It was a generally powerful experience wearing this though – I got to hang with my boyfriend, see an excellent (if not terrifying) documentary, and celebrate a friend’s landmark birthday. 

Websites discovered:   Frangrantica  and of course Thierry Mugler

Attracting Spirits with Stinky White Musk: Prada’s CANDY

I was feeling protective of things and people that can’t protect themselves so I chose the day’s fragrance sample from the few I have that had lost their sample folder homes.

Prada’s CANDY.     I like candy. Who doesn’t?

PradaCandy

Maybe me?  Notes after my first spray:
Yeeeeck and get me to the drydown ASAP.
Smells musky and reminds me of the type of perfume people would be mad at you for wearing to a theater. I can’t wait to learn more about fragrance to be able to communicate what it is I don’t like about this.

Here’s a stab: Is this supposed to smell like a macaroon or a half-used Werther’s left in a coat pocket next to a satchel of potpourri?

I saw my boyfriend around lunch time and after the past two days, I’d grown tired of waiting for people to comment on my scent so I asked him what he thought. He said “I didn’t notice at first, but now that you pointed it out I have to go.”

I bet you that the femininity adjective in this perfume description is something like “disagreeable femininity” or a “confrontational femininity” or maybe a “geriatric femininity”.

Without a fragrance card to confirm how right I am, I had to check the Prada website:

“Bright, sensual and bold, Prada Candy fragrances are delightfully addictive scents inspired by a new facet of Prada’s femininity, where more is more and excess is everything.”

Oooooh I GET it “Prada’s” Femininity. They have been around enough to have their own take on it. I had to research this because I thought that maybe I should be ripping off some Prada femininity. I learned that Prada’s Fall 2017 line “explores feminism, femininity, and femme fatales.In a poster-covered set, the designer explores the idea that the personal is political”  Allure wrote that “Prada makes a powerful statement about feminism and make up”  A quote from the article: “The Prada woman is a very powerful woman. Even if she’s super feminine at times, she has some sort of empowerment to her and her beauty look always reflects that.”  

Yes yes I see, makeup and power and feminism are all opposing forces. Where does fragrance fit in? I took a moment to pause and appreciate that women still manage to live and work and grocery shop and care about others despite the exorbitant amount of contradictory messaging thrown at us every day.

I still needed to know what notes in this scent are buggin me out so I went to Sephora’s CANDY site:

Fragrance Family: Warm and Spicy
Scent Type:
Warm and Sweet Gourmands
Key Notes:
White Musks, Benzoin, Caramel Accord
About:
Prada Candy is a fragrance with a novel olfactory balance combining exceptionally high-quality ingredients in excessive proportions. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature.
Prada Candy is impossible to ignore.

They are right. Something that stinks is hard to ignore. Something that smells good makes you feel good. And looks like I wasn’t wrong about the Werther’s (hello caramel accord…) I decided to spend the day doing something stinky: more taxes.
Third Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:
Olfactory balance
Benzoin: a balsamic resin from the Styrax tree. It has a sweet odor that is sometimes described as smelling like root beer. 
Gourmand: in perfumery, describes fragrances which evoke food smells, such as chocolate, honey, or fruits.
Caramel Accord: Couldn’t find industry definite other than something about burnt sugar. I love caramel cake. It’s big in the south.

Things to work on:

  1. My dislike for musk.
  2. My preconceived notions abut what CANDY should smell like.
  3. Think about how my “some sort of empowerment”  is reflected by my beauty look.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:
Got to see my BF at lunch, got tons of editing done, got two unsolicited job leads, had a friend over for Tarot Tuesday and both of our readings were DEAD ON accurate (obviously). I attribute this more to the ghost of the House of Prada than all that white musk, burnt sugar, and benzodine or Benzoin or whatever. Maybe the ancient tarot spirits like musk. Wouldn’t that just be the case?

 

Evoking warmth and pleasure: “Deep Euphoria”

I picked the first loosie in my stash: Calvin Klein’s “Deep Euphoria”.   

DeepEuphFRONT

Right away Calvin Klein makes me think of TJ Maxx and euphoria reminds me of the website bluelight.  This fragrance claims to be deep euphoria.  We’ll see who is the expert on that one, but a search on bluelight for euphoria will turn up more results (about 101,000 results actually) than on Sephora (8 products, 4 videos, and 1 article). 

It’s in a typical fragrance sample mini-folder (this reminds me to look up the industry term for this). The cover is all black with a nice hot pink labia slash across the front. Inside it’s very maroon and very 90s, but the absence of capital letters on the packaging (aside from the C and the K in Calvin Klein) really advances the style to the mid 2000s.

DeepEuphInside

The text inside the card:

“liberated, empowered, sensual; an alluring freshness gives way to a steamy magic, rose of the heart; leaving a trail of undeniable femininity”

Hmmm, unfortunate that the copy team used the term “undeniable femininity” in the midst of a cultural shift redefining gender.   Surely there are cultural studies academics looking into fragrance terminology and feminism.  I wonder, what perfume does Gloria Steinem wear?

Before looking anything up online about this fragrance, I guess that “undeniable femininity” means flowers and musk and I sprayed it on my wrists and neck. I know how risky a neck spray can be if it really stinks.

But I happen to like it because it is floral and smells like roses. That’s good for the Venus retrograde right now so I sprayed it on all my chakras, including the in-between ones. 

After I checked the CK website I realized I probably do have a gift for fragrance identification: 

Deep Euphoria is a new expression of euphoric fantasy. The scent opens with notes of cascalone and black magic rose enhancing the signature of sensuality and modern femininity. The drydown of musk brings a smooth, sensual texture immersing you deep within the fragrance, evoking warmth and pleasure.

Musk drydown. Eurphoric fantasy! Is it any coincidence that I watched Amy Schumer’s Leather Special later that night? 

First Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Drydown: This term from the world of perfumery describes the last stage in the evolution of a fragrance. After the top notes have faded (usually 30 minutes to an hour after application), the middle and base notes remain to mingle, forming the body of the scent.   Thanks POPSUGAR

Texture: Haven’t found an internet definition but I will say it is how much the fragrance burns or graces the nostrils. 

Cascalone: a fragrance ingredient which has been created or synthesized in a lab. It adds a fresh aquatic feel to fragrance compositions.

Things to work on:   My own euphoric fantasy expression.  

Magic, luck or compliments this fragrance brought me:  The text on the sample card had me ready for a euphoric, sexy day but it was more a warm and friendly one. I had a lunch with a good pal and the waitress checked on us 12 times. I also got a spontaneous text invite to go out for cocktails. I did leave a wake of undeniable femininity at Circle K, three different parking lots, and in a rock shop where I picked up a spear of kyanite so we’ll see what happens. 

Websites discovered: One stop shop for all fragrance terms: Oo La Lab