I got a small vial of this in a trade, and it was love at first sniff. Pure, real incense, a hint of frankincense, more myrrh, and the growly roughness of copal. I have a habit of burning resin tears on charcoal, and that's what this smells like, to me. I suppose some might find it too big and bad, or, more likely, too ungentled, for them; this is a _remote_ kind of scent, without any sort of flirtatiousness or humour or warmth. Me, though, I tend to be put off by sharp, shrill overnotes more than anything, and the dark richness of this is exactly the kind of thing I like. Anyway. Discontinued. I mourned the fact that I would never have it, and tried other incense perfumes, most of which were too bright, too ambery, or too loaded with Iso-E Super for my liking. Nothing matched the NK Incense for me. Then Norma Kamali's people discovered a stash of the original 1982 vintage, somewhere. Reader, I bought some. If my sample was great, the vintage is swoonworthy. Opening the bottle was like opening an aged single-malt Scotch, an authoritative impact of fragrance that had been aged to a powerful, mellow perfection. The vintage juice is a dark, rich, glorious brown that matches the "colour" of the scent, in my mind. And this version has, in addition to all of the resinous beauty I loved in the first place, a kind of dry sweetness in wear that is extremely delightful. The bottle is terrifying. It's huge, with a base that's wide one way and narrow the other, just begging to be knocked over by a stray elbow. The opening is also huge, without even the smaller restricter hole of most splash bottles I've seen, and sealed with a rubber cork. However, I could not love this fragrance more. It is also an extremely successful layering scent for me; I find a lot of perfumes too surface, too light, too lacking in groundedness, and the Incense supplies all of that in bucketloads.
Pomegranate Noir was the main reason I consigned my box of Jo Malone minis to the closet in the first place. I hate this stuff. I really hate it. It gives me no "noir", only a blast of cheap generic fruit that wouldn't be out of place in dollar store potpourri. It gives me a headache, and makes me feel slightly ill.
Fragrances -Jo Malone - Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Cologne
windkey 12/1/2012 11:16:00 PM
Another from my long-neglected sample box. This is woody-incensy on me, with a bit of a sombre Oriental flowery note on top. I could definitely live without the flowery note, but as incense perfumes go (and I've tried a lot recently) this is actually one of the better ones on my skin. I prefer my scents darker, drier, and less femme, but I'm not displeased with this revisit.
I've had a set of small bottles of Jo Malone fragrances, purchased with my last full bottle of Wild Fig and Cassis, hanging around in my closet for years. At the time, I remember, I liked the Lime Basil and Mandarin (I don't know where that little bottle has got to) and thought all the rest were too syrupy, too fruity, or too sharp. And here we are; I'm bored of WFaC, after years of wear, and sampling other things, so I dragged my little sample box out of the darkness. Maybe my skin has changed, or maybe my tastes have, but I quite like the Grapefruit now. It starts off with a nice bomb of fruity fresh citrus rind, and then transforms into a very pleasant woody/citrus cologne smell. I find it rather like classic colognes, and it doesn't whack me with any of the sweet or floral notes I find so very annoying. It fades fast, and doesn't particularly have any great distinction, but it's attractive.
Fragrances -Andy Tauer - L'Air du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer
windkey 12/1/2012 5:49:00 PM
I didn't like this much on first sniff, but after that I read a lot of swooning reviews which persuaded me to try it again, in particular ones advising me that it "developed." I should have listened to my instincts. On my skin, I get none of the exotic spices, dry desert air, or "sense of open space." It's an overwhelming, old-fashioned, old-lady amber fragrance, nothing more. And it's been following me around all day like a mad, ancient actress waggling her badly-drawn eyebrows at me. I thought I could live with it this morning, despite its utter unsuitability to my tastes or person, but at this point I despise it cordially. It has not "developed" to anything; it remains exactly the same irritating, heavy, unsubtle thing it was when I put it on.
This was my "test case" after a number of disappointing experiences with musk. After this, the Musk Monster, I can confirm that for my nose, vegetable musk does indeed smell like wet Ivory soap. In MKK, the musk floats around in what strikes me as an old-fashioned, heavy, slightly manly "perfume smell", with just a hint of sweat (which is I assume the civet or the cumin or both). The effect is of an old Mediterranean taxi driver just beginning his shower. It's not terribly shocking, certainly not sexy to my nose, and only the heavy perfume layer is particularly overwhelming. After washing off, nothing lasted but the powerful soap smell, leaving me with Detergent Accord. One day, maybe, I'll try a perfume that actually does smell "animalic" in a genuine way. Maybe I should get a little sample of the legendary Secretions Magnifiques. Knowing my weird skin and nose, it'll probably remind me of cheap room freshener or something.
Slumberhouse Kere is described as having "milky notes of apricot, white chocolate and spicy plum that give texture to orange, honeysuckle, licorice and aldehydes." It's also described as "a fragrance for women." I admit, I'm rather charmed that this is Josh Lobb's idea of a fragrance for women. I get none of all that foody stuff (which, frankly, sounds much more like a description of my sample of Sova. Huh. Maybe my samples are mislabelled.) Anyway, one reviewer described Kere as smelling like immortelle; I'm not sure what immortelle smells like, but I have an idea that it is an aromatic resinous yellow flower of the wiry persuasion, so maybe. Kere, for me, is a real whack in the nostrils. I'm enjoying it, but I don't think I'd ever deliberately wear this. Now, I use osha (Ligusticum porterii) tincture as an allergy remedy, and this, to me, smells very much, not like the tincture, but like the steaming stage of the hard roots, so that they can be sliced for their alcohol bath. Osha smells like specially trained attack celery -- so, a perfume like it is an unusual, and highly medicinal, choice. (My Slumberhouse sample bag with all eight bottles did indeed whiff pretty much like a combination of an old-fashioned candy store and an apothecary with a touch of Christmas wreath.) I don't (yet?) have a full-size bottle of any Slumberhouse scent, but my samples arrived beautifully packed: generous spray bottles (yes!) in an envelope with my address calligraphed in a crabbed hand (oo!) wrapped in an internal velvet bag (awww!) with an extra couple of samples (thank you!).
Moisturizers -Kate Somerville - CytoCell Dermal Energizing Moisturizer
windkey 11/19/2012 10:40:00 PM
This smells just like my lost HG of moisturizers, Aveda's Green Science, but sadly, that is its only point of similarity. And for the price of this stuff, I expect a Broadway chorus to strike up in my bathroom while my skin magically returns to its twenty-year-old state and my pores close up one by one in a graceful synchronized dance. That did not happen. It's an inoffensive light moisturizer with a pleasant, unobtrusive herbal scent, and nothing more. It is certainly not worth the ridiculous figure Sephora is asking for a jar ($180CAD). I tried this for a week and a half via sample, but I did check out the packaging in store; I can't say that in general I am over-fond of this new fad for top-pump things. Sanitary, yes, but other products I have with that style of dispenser are annoying.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Escentric Molecules Molecule 01
windkey 11/19/2012 8:22:00 PM
"Molecule 01 is the first of its kind to pay homage to just one of these hidden delights—the not so sexy sounding Iso E Super. You know it as a sweet sandalwood/cedar-like smell…" Well, maybe I do. But not in this form. I couldn't smell the sample at all with my nose shoved into my arm -- but it drifted around me in a cloud of chemical Spring Breeze detergent scent, sickly and headache-inducing. Wouldn't wash off, either. Horrible.
"Oxygen, flash of metal, fire energy, washing drying in the wind, mineral carbon, sand dunes, nail polish, cellulose, pure air of the high mountains, ultimate fusion, burnt rubber, flaming rock...” Doesn't all that sound fascinating? I thought I'd LOVE this, and it would be the abstract, androgynous fragrance of my dreams. Alas, on my arm it was, perhaps, a dryer sheet allegedly smelling of "Fresh Mountain Blossom". Generic, dreary, tedious light floral. I'm not a fan of "floral" scents to start with, and this was, in addition, boring.
I had, in general, bad luck with my orgy of trying Comme des Garçons fragrances, but Artek Standard was one that even in the first round I quite liked. I thought it was a bit dry and remote; on my arm it was mostly dust and pencil shavings, but still, compared to the disasters that Tea, Odeur 53 and Hinoki became on me, it was incredibly nice. Soothing. Anyway, I tried wearing my sample properly, and found it much nicer that way. Allowed to marinate in body heat for a while, it became much warmer and friendlier -- an old cedar chest in the centre of the house, perhaps, rather than a pencil case in a cold classroom. Out of seven CdG samples, this and Avignon were the only two I liked at all, and I'll be ordering at least a small decant of each. I doubt that either are the "signature scent" I normally gravitate to, but they can be my Scents Right Now.
I... wish this smelled like patchouli. I enjoy patchouli. What it actually is like: There was this time, a few years ago, that I was making pralines for gifts, and accidentally let the pot boil over. Vanilla-laden sugar all over the stovetop, bubbling and blackening! (Severely scarred my smoothtop stove.) That's exactly what this smells like on me. It's an interesting effect, and I didn't mind it*, but I'm not going to wear it. *Not a "perfumista". I outright hate a lot of perfume. Not looking for "interesting effect", here, I'm looking for a new daily scent that isn't boring. Note that packaging rating is for the stupid little sample tube I got. I have no idea what the bottle is like. I assume it's fine.
Treatments -Estee Lauder - Perfectionist Correcting Serum
windkey 8/13/2012 2:46:00 PM
I got this as a sample size, and I think it's a great... primer. Lots of silicone, silky smooth finish, and it certainly did make my face look very good in the moment. I didn't notice any lasting effects though, and the >$100 price tag is far, far more than I'm willing to pay for even the nicest primer. It also has a slightly annoying flowery scent (to which, however, I was fortunately not allergic).
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - Jouviance - Essential Daily Protection SPF 30
windkey 7/5/2012 9:59:00 AM
I liked what I saw of Jouviance on their website, and bought two products from the line -- this, and the 3 in 1 lotion. Unfortunately, while the sunscreen tested out fine on the back of my hand (in the fluorescent lighting of my local Shoppers), on my face it was a dismal failure. This is the first sunscreen I've personally tried that has given me the "ghost veil" of white, turning my face an interesting shade of lavender. It's very fluid, and the opening of the tube is rather wide, which means it's quite easy to dispense way too much product, as well. I wanted to like it -- physical sunscreen, no scent, no terrifying ingredients, not tested on animals -- but, alas, this was very much not for me, and it's too expensive not to be perfect. I returned it for a refund.
I really like this. I used to use plain soap to clean my face at night (given my fussy, sensitive skin, it was easier than working my way through an array of cleansers). But I decided to give this a try after seeing a succession of articles about the new, miraculous "micellar waters". Well, it takes everything off, including my tubing mascara, with ease. But that's not much of a challenge; I wear barely any makeup on a regular day. However, my partner was recently in a show in which he was dressed as a woman, and wore very heavy makeup every night, including full foundation and wax to conceal his eyebrows. Nothing seemed to take all of it off; his pores were clogged with foundation and the eyebrow wax lingered, until I tried this. Removed the lot. And he has even more delicate skin than I do, thin, flaky and prone to eczema -- no reactions. The bottle is a bit expensive, but I found it lasted a fair while. I'm not so crazy about the lid, which is hard to close securely.