I don’t have many perfume reviews for the month of August, as midway into the month I got sick and my sniffer stopped working. Still, I think there were definitely some fun scents that I tested, and some very pretty ones, too!
There is a lovely painting by Gaston Bussiere of a pair of frolicsome nymphs bathing in a pool of purple iris. If you could bottle that scene and its cool, playful atmosphere of ephemeral spring florals, the greenest violet leaf, and some sort of woody-musky-powdery mystical fairy soap flakes, you’d have L’Iris from Santa Maria Novella.
Ganymede by Marc-Antoine Barrois is briny saltwater and shiny leather and two craggy stones rubbing against each other in a vaguely suggestive way over the course of a thousand years; alternately, Aquaman x Tom of Finland mashup fanart interpreted as a Chuck Tingle title.
Celestial Gala by Scent Trunk. Milky gossamer wings, the effervescent glimmering frost and fizz of stardust, and the pearly aura of Glinda the Good Witch mingle gigglingly in this opalescent, sparkling Venusian fairy-spa water fragrance.
This version of Burberry Hero begins with the fleeting season of apricots and musing on how easily they bruise, how you’ll never again know the childhood euphoria of that pretty smocked easter dress the color of rice powder and coconut with ruffles and lace and three pearly buttons but you will never forget the unabashed joyful flavor of a mouth crammed full of jelly beans. What Hero where and who is it that smells like the sour cream powdered sugar sweetness of picnic ambrosia salad, all pools of Cool Whip, and marshmallows soaked in the juice of tiny mandarin oranges and pineapple syrup, but not that really–rather the phantom of that atomic summer fruit confection, the faint lingering fragrance of it, at the bottom of a polished cedar bowl.
Marrisa Zappas Annabel’s Birthday Cake. I tell you what, for the longest time, for years, I was like no, no sweets or gourmands for me, thanks, not my thing! And now it’s weird, it’s basically all I want. And yet…I don’t actually want to smell like literal cake. Like a baked good. Yes, the smell of glaze drizzled atop freshly fried hot doughnuts is mouthwatering, but I just don’t want that to be the scent that clings to my clothes or that precedes my bod with I walk into a room. I also don’t ever want to use the word “mouthwatering,” again. I am sorry. I don’t want the smell of leavening agents or the chemistry of eggs and flour and sugar, or really even, a sweet, fluffy crumb. Simply put, I don’t want to smell like food. I want the artistic rendering of cake, a cake run through the filters of someone’s imagination, and maybe in the end it’s not really cake at all, but still, you know it when you smell it. Annabel’s Birthday Cake is a bit like this. This is the fragrance from the elusive flowering cake vine, a rare species of flora that only blooms once a year on the date of one’s birth, pearly pink petals that exude the scent of rich, fruity vanilla bean and heliotrope frosting and closes after a brief 12-hour window with a soft, powdery breath of white chocolate musk.
Libertine Sweet Grass is a scent that ticks all my boxes and tickles all my fancies and I am not trying to sound like some sort of horny perverse gremlin about it, but those are the phrases that best describe how perfect I find this particular combination of notes. It’s a dusty honey, dried tobacco, and a sort of balsamic oakmossy ambery situation that all smells very much like something glamorous trying to play it lowkey. Like Sofia Loren in a farmgirl apron napping in a hayloft in the heat of a late summer afternoon. Sure, that’s a threadbare gingham dress she’s wearing and there’s chicken feed in her hair but come on, you can’t pretend that’s not Sofia Loren. And that’s a bit how this fragrance makes me feel, both uncomplicated and easy-breezy, but utterly beguiling and drop-dead gorgeous at once. And actually…now that I think about it, shouldn’t that be the criteria we use when looking for a fragrance? Something that feels so simple to slip into and yet yields an incredible wow factor? That’s what Sweet Grass does for me.
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