Sapincense Figoudative from Woudacieux is, I will freely admit, a perfume I bought solely for the creepy-ass naked winged homunculus fairytale bottle. I did not read a single review, although I have since learned that opinions are divisive. I believe the fragrance is built around elements of oud and fig and spruce, and while I do initially smell something like the crisp, wintry evergreen woody crush of coniferous needles and bittersweet balsamic resins, it conjures for me visions of the oddly aquatic as well. Not like a sunny day on a tropical shore with waves crashing and sand in your hair, though–more like the deep sea twilight zone of the ocean floor, where not a glimmer of sunlight reaches an impossible Atlantean arboretum. Pale trees crusted with coral and kelp and blue algae, home to spider crabs and angler fish, and whose limbs rustle strangely in the currents, whispering maritime murmurs heard only by dreamers and poets. I am not sure what people hate about this scent, other than there are definitely no figs. Maybe they were so sweet and cold and delicious that they were stolen straight from the icebox by one of those poets before they even made it into the perfume.
Liis Studied is a super pretty, vaguely-but-not-obnoxiously gross fruity-floral, amber-esque cozy skin scent, in a similar vein as Glossier’s You and Diptique’s Fleur de Peau. But with its delicately syrupy pear note, I do think it sets itself apart from the other two. It is *almost* a little too sugary at first, and I think that maybe gives it a “bless your big ol’ heart, you sure tried” vibe, but then you sit with her a while and you find out she’s not as dumb or spacey as she looks; she’s just sweet and sensitive and maybe feels everything too much but what’s the point of feeling, otherwise?? And that sappy-bordering-on-cloying sweetness belies a gorgeously warm graceful heart. Do you remember the electric-blue-haired Stormer from the Misfits in the Jem and the Holograms cartoon? I wholeheartedly believe this fragrance is the embodiment of Stormer’s personality.
I have never before purchased something so swiftly as I did when I saw Gurjun Balsam on Scenttrunk’s Instagram account the other day. The caption waxed poetic of the betwix and between of twilight rituals I was just like SAY NO MORE. I just knew that it was going to be something really special, I was sure of it. And it is. With notes of black frankincense and cedar, tonka and balsam, carrot seed and amber musk, you already know it’s going to smell like a witch’s birthday cake glazed with goth tears. It’s running away to bake spiced, honeyed witchly loaves in a wildly enchanted cottage in the middle of a mystic midnight forest, never to be seen again. And I know I’m comparing this to baked goods, but it’s not a gourmand, I don’t mean to imply the a dense crumb, a yeasty rise, or a an airy sponge. It’s sweetness in the form of those rich, sticky resins, bewitching to the point of sinister but you know, that all depends on intent, and the hands of the one crafting the spell, the circles with which you surround yourself in its conjurations. Good witch or bad witch, or PSL decorative gourd season basic bitch, this is absolutely the one scent you have to have this autumn.
Malìa from Nobile 1942 is another one of those fragrances that I saw someone on Instagram mention and I was like yep, gotta have that. Malìa is a twisted and tragic sorcery of sour citrus and bitter woody green herbs, lush, velvet, exquisitely corrupt florals, and a bright, rosy psychedelic pink peppercorn that borders on utterly unhinged. This is a perfume that feels like a subversive folktale told in shrieking ballads via an experimental rock opera.
This is a thing I bought based on someone having recommended it on TikTok a fair number of times. And it was really inexpensive, so the fact that it’s both cheap and wonderful makes it especially nice, I think. Anyway, I am a huge believer and proponent of giving credit where credit is due, so a hat tip and a thank you to LC of nearlynoseblind for every time she mentioned Kumba Made’s Persian Garden fragrance oil. This is a really gentle, intimate scent, and when I say intimate I just mean it feels like a little secret, just between you and yourself and the soft skin on the inside of your wrist, and it’s no one else’s business. Imagine a vial of Egyptian Musk diluted in a bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo. That’s it. That’s the scent. It is perfectly lovely, and I cannot get enough of it.
LUSH Cardamon Coffee is less a rich steaming beverage than it is a thickly sugared, jellied candy. Almost like a gumdrop, but more substantial, something that you might have to slice out of a pan with a hot, damp knife. Imagine a confection comprised of sticky dates and palm sugar syrup, infused with the warm gingery pineyness of green cardamom pods, roasted coffee beans with notes of cinnamon note, a pinch of saffron, a scant teaspoon of cloves, and a sprinkle of rosewater. Spread thickly on an aromatic olive wood cutting board, shower with an abundance of equal parts smoky muscovado sugar and smooth, earthy Dutched cocoa powder, and slice into tiny nibbles. Except I guess this is actually a fragrance. You can’t eat this.
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