Friday, June 23, 2006

Today’s Sample: Etro Messe de Minuit

You win some, you lose some. So far, every sample Victoria sent me has been a winner, and I would consider buying any of them (well, except Anne Pliska, which I already bought)—until today.

I’m just not sure how I feel about this one.

How to explain it? My dad and stepmother used to live in this house in Dallas near White Rock Lake. It was surrounded by huge trees (yes, there are trees in Dallas, and some of them are quite large). The house was older, built in the mid-50s, and like a lot of houses in that area, was pier-and-beam. When it rained, some water would run under the house, and stay in puddles in the yard for longer periods because the trees would keep the sunlight out. Combined with the humidity, well…let’s just say, things could get a little musty.

Back in the early 90s my stepmother went through this whole southwestern phase. (Yeah, okay, I’m not going to stop and explain the whole south versus western versus southwestern thing right now…Let’s just say the southwest starts over near El Paso and leave it at that.) Kokopelli earrings, little wooden brightly painted snakes, t-shirts with howling coyotes on them, paintings of adobe houses, yadda yadda. So one year for her birthday I bought her a little incense burner shaped like a cute little adobe house, along with some incense that smelled very strongly of sage and cedar. I think she burned maybe a half of a piece, and ten years later, the den still smelled of it.

Etro Messe de Minuit smells just like the den in their old house. It smells like musty incense. The notes are myrrh, amber, and vanilla. I kept waiting for some sweetness to come through in the dry down, something to take the edge off. But there isn’t anything. If when you think of incense you think of something sweet, this is not the incense for you.

Amber? Vanilla?

Where the heck are they?

Altogether, this isn’t a bad thing. I have some very fond memories of that den—I got married in there, after all—and this brings me a clear picture of it. And I’m strangely attracted to the scent. I keep smelling my wrist, and I’m feeling quite hippie-ish wearing it. (Not "Rich Hippie," real hippie, like I haven't bathed and I've been rolling around on the forest floor with the rest of my friends at a Rainbow gathering, and I need something to cover up the smell.) I even listened to the Grateful Dead (American Beauty) on the way to work this morning.

Would I wear it every day? No. Would I buy a whole bottle? Mmm…maybe. More likely, I would buy a decant, just to have it around to satisfy my inner hippie.

Read a review of this scent at Perfume-Smellin’ Things. Update: You can also read Victoria's review at Victoria's Own.

*photo from