Weekly Fragrance Picks January-April

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At the beginning of the year, I shared that I would choose a spot in my home that I see every day, and use it to set out a few choice fripperies and fragrances selected for the week, so that I’d wear more often the lovely things that I own, wit the hopes that they wouldn’t languish, unworn, in a dark cabinet for all eternity.

I will admit, I haven’t exactly been consistent with it; sometimes the same scents remain artistically placed, a fragrant mise-en-scèn, eye-level, atop my chest of drawers for weeks on end without me switching it out (either because I’m lazy or uninspired or else they’re so good that I can’t bear to wear anything else!) But I really have been trying!

If you ever peek at what’s going on with me over on instagram, you probably will have seen my weekly choices posted at various intervals–or maybe not, what with that crazy algorithm and all–but I thought it might be good to do a quarterly check in here on the blog, and show you what I’ve been wearing and enjoying since January.

January 11

January 11: Week two consisted of switching between Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Antique Lace (light, lemony tea cakes and a lace shawl into whose delicate stitches have been knit sugary breakfast cereal crumbs) and an enormous decant of what I believe is Amouage Opus VI (a huge, handsome, peppery-boozy amber); the scents couldn’t be more different but I love them both! Also my dazzlingly fierce rose gold dagger earbobs from Arcana Obscura and a small bracelet from some relatives in Tijuana. I think someone’s kid made it in school.

January 21January 21: I’m a little late with sharing last week’s frippery and fragrance choices, but here we go! Two scents and a sekrit snek mirror by Flannery Grace.

Monarch by Solstice Scents is a sharp, green incense that is balanced out by rich, warm woods, and is for me, personally, is the olfactory equivalent of the golden glow that spreads through your chest after a few sips of whiskey on a winter evening.

Ambre Narguilé by Hermès gets a lot of apple pie references from perfume reviewers, but I don’t quite sense that myself. Pie filling, perhaps. Sans flaky crust. Dried fruits–raisins and plums, stewed in honey and rum and spices, and left on the stove very nearly too long. It’s been cooked down to a syrupy essence of its former self, and if you hadn’t pulled it from the flame, the caramelized sugars might have started to smoke and burn. I don’t know if I smell the tobacco that people mention, either, but then again, many people think tobacco smells like raisins, so…
This is as sweet as it gets for me. It calls to mind a cozying up by firelight with a charmingly old timey book, while wearing an oversized sweater with thick cables and toggle buttons.

February 11

March 12: The last few weeks’ frips & fragrance picks were so nice that I haven’t the heart to change them out yet!

Scent no.1 is Laveau from Seance Perfumes: a soft, simple, gently musky fragrance with notes of sandalwood and bourbon, and which also smells fantastic in candle form on an early spring night, with the breeze (or maybe ghosts) softly ruffling the curtains.

Scent no.2 is Fate for Woman by Amouage, which is described as “a chypre oriental with a rich floral heart intensified by a dark and destructive accord resonating with the tumultuous unknown.” Fate opens up with cool, nose-tickling pencil shavings and spicy, peppery florals follow soon thereafter, just the barest wisps of jasmine and rose. A bronzed and leathery labdanum slinks in and gives way to billowing quantities of powdery vanilla. What remains is the intensely scented blend of talcum powder cut with that opening note of pencil shavings, which seemed to play into every phase and facet of Fate, despite the fact that cedar isn’t even listed in the notes. The tumultuous unknown, it would seem, is a powdery abyss, teeming with the souls of number 2 pencils.

Frips are comprised of the lunar landscape ring from Chase & Scout Jewelry, which is pretty much a permanent fixture on my finger, as well as a simple obsidian pendant from Laurel Whitting that I received as a gift with purchase and which I have found myself wearing almost every day since receiving it.

March 1

March 1: This week’s study in frips and fragrances had me so pleased to rediscover some beloved favorites from past years! Ornaments: my jaunty eyeball necklace from Flora and Fauuna and my glimmering, good luck cicada from Flannery Grace.

Aromatics include Ambre Noir from Sonoma Scent Studio, and which is dense and intense and the darkest amber you could ever hope to meet. Somber and smoldering, with notes of labdanum, rose, incense, moss, leather, and woods, it is a blackened forest fireside frolic when the veil between worlds is thinnest. See also: the final moments in the film The VVitch. I got this in 2009 or so, and I just read that Sonoma Scent studio is closed as of last year. That’s a bummer, I think so many of you would have loved this fragrance.

Holy Terror from Arcana Wildcraft is one of my top ten forever scents. A blend of frankincense, deep myrrh, and beeswax candles, it smells of gentle resins, lofty sandalwood, and less of the fearsome spirits known to haunt certain long-deserted abbeys, than it is curling up and reading about them in a horrid novel by the warm glow of candlelight.

Absinth by Nasomatto is bitter mosses, green woodsmoke, and sinister woods. It’s a bit of a nose-jarring scent at first sniff, as if the punky-poet green fairy quit bohemian Paris to live amongst the ancient dryads and they didn’t get on well but eventually formed an uneasy friendship. It’s a softly surreal, slightly subversive scent that is definitely worth seeking out.

Incidentally, I just finished In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt and Nasomatto’s Absinth is most certainly the fragrance with which I would scent this witchy forest fever-dream of a tale.

March 12

March 12: I am currently switching out last weeks frips and fragrances, and I barely just remembered to take a photo to memorialize them!

Annick Goutal’s Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a soft, minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get. It’s a lovely, (softly) zingy scent that calls to mind some sort of mildly alcoholic herbal shandy one might drink to refresh one’s self at the close of a balmy June afternoon. Unfortunately, much like the buzz from this weak cocktail, the scent lasts but a moment and is gone.

Velvet Tuberose, is a discontinued Bath & Body Works scent which I originally purchased because my Best Good Friend wore it, and it smelled amazing on her. With an opening somehow both airy and earthy, it’s a creamy white floral that dries down to a lush cozy/woody/musky scent, and of course, it never smelled quite as good on me as it did her, and I still associate it with her even though she probably hasn’t worn it in years. I have linked here to a bottle on amazon for $145 if, you know, you absolutely gotta have it.

This lovely butterfly wing pendant was a treasure I picked up at Paxton Gate PDX, though I have long forgotten who the designer is. The ring is of course from Blood Milk; it’s the moonstone version from the Belonging To The Darkness part II collection.

March 18

March 18: Clearing out last week’s frips and fragrances to make room for this week’s picks…

L’Eau by Diptyque is a scent is perhaps discontinued, and one that I am perpetually on the fence about. I think I am probably one of those people that office workers and elevator takers complain about…I like bombastic scents with big personalities, you know, mind-blowing, room-clearing stuff. And L’Eau, well. Hm. It’s initially a massive puff of clove but it’s also an airy clove, a clove phantom. A clove ghost that drowned in a scant puddle of citrus-herbal toilet water. It’s a bit too subtle for me to think of reaching for it, often.

Mississippi Medicine by DS & Durga opens with an astringent, peppery cypress, and gives way to a pine-crackling, smoky fire, sweet birch, muddy grass and scorched leaves… and dries down to a sweetly herbaceous, woody, incense; strange smoke-scented hair upon waking, and the vague dream of descending into the dark, dancing and divining with ancestors, and having been part of rituals older than you can imagine.

The sweet eyeball ear-bobs are an eerie amber favorite from Loved To Death.

April 10

April 10: It’s been maybe two or three weeks since I have switched out my revolving corner of #weeklyscents–I’ve just been enjoying these two lovelies so very much!

Coriandre by Jean Coutrier is a gentle chypre that’s somehow both soft and slightly crisp, and reminds me of a hazy 70’s Polaroid. A warm, grassy summer day recalled through the yellowed veil of memory. It’s dry and woody and musky and I think it smells a bit like a lovely little secret that you might never be ready to share.

Labdanum de Saville by L’Occitane is a lovely resinous amber that is probably categorized as an “oriental” and some might refer to as “sensual”, but I won’t because that word grosses me out. It’s fairly linear, and just the right balance of sweet and dry, with some benzoin and citrusy notes. It’s one of those scents that doesn’t stand out as terribly unique or complex, but it’s also not super boring. It’s a good one to reach for on the days when you want to smell vaguely interesting but you don’t actually care enough to go all-out. I am afraid this one also may be discontinued. I am sorry!

Fripperies include a large moth ring from Blood Milk and a pointy-fingered hand pendant from Burial Ground.

….Which brings us up to current times! I was traveling all last week and only brought one scent with me (quel horreur!) Tom Ford Oud Wood is fine and well and is pretty great, actually; a very handsome fragrance, all cool, slightly bitter, peppery woods. A coniferous-rosewood-sandalwood combo; a tiny, weird, creepy statue of a scent. The kind that might show up in an MR James tale and that moves in the corners of your vision when the eye is focused elsewhere, inches eerily closer to your bed when you’re at the knife’s edge of wakefulness and dream. I truly love it but after wearing it for a week straight while I was in New York,I am quite sick and tired of it, so I must tuck it away for a while.

Other than all that stink-related stuff, did you see I’ve finally got a subscribe button, visibly displayed in the upper right hand portion of the blog? So that you can be notified of new posts? Yeah, I sure do! It only took me four years!

1 Comment on Weekly Fragrance Picks January-April

  1. Elle
    April 26, 2019 at 10:01 pm (3 months ago)

    Love this so much! Check out Empire of Scents on netflix when you have a free evening, you’ll be dreaming of going to perfumier school in Paris :)

    Reply

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