Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Friends, I offer you my most sincere apologies. Forgive my absence (again). I never wanted this to be a personal blog, nor do I plan to turn it into one, but I can say outright that I'm having a career-related crisis. Nothing earth-shattering--just the dreary in and out of the days at a job that brings little satisfaction. I hate how whiny that sounds, and I spend time counting up things to be thankful for instead. A dreary job is not the worst thing that could happen to a person, but it is an energy sapper in its own way. I am not looking for sympathy, and I know what I have to do is find something else. The prospect is daunting, but also exciting.

I have been wearing Dzing! for two weeks straight. I have not wanted to wear anything else. A few mornings I've thought of wearing a sample of something or other (this morning I almost wore Premier Figuer, which the very kind Nikki C sent to me), or getting back to the Penhaligon's I started trying so many weeks ago, but then I find I must wear Dzing! I find it so comforting and effortless, and I need a little of that in my life right now.

What have I been doing? Mostly hanging around with my nose in a book (The Emperor's Children is old news to me now...but a pretty good book!), or watching movies. So many movies! And I could not be happier that my only night of television is back and going strong: Earl, 30 Rock, Scrubs, The Office. Is anybody else dreading the end of Scrubs? I can watch the reruns of that one over and always makes me smile.

I promise to try to get back to posting more regularly. And I'll be continuing my giveaways, not, as some have snarked, because I want to get comments, but because I am working very hard to de-clutter my home (and I am obsessed with this blog). I sort of started this last fall when I was trying to figure out what perfumes in my collection to sell or give away. I think I've come to more resolution about that now. Part of the effort is giving away samples, and the full bottles will most likely go up on eBay. I can notify you all when I put them up for auction if you wish, but it would feel very strange indeed to have that sort of transaction with a reader! But then, I also like the idea of a reader getting a perfume she/he really wants. I might even consider trading. I hope to work that out in the next few weeks.

I will be back on Friday--to hear what you're wearing, of course! Have a happy rest of the week until then.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What's Your Friday Perfume?

Happy Friday everyone! I'll be continuing my Penhaligon's sampling with Artemisia, with notes of nectarine, green foliage, green apple, lily of the valley, jasmine tea, violet, vanilla, oakmoss, sandalwood, musk, and amber. Lovely for spring, no? I plan to post about this and Malabah, so I'll say no more. Shhh.....

What are you all planning to wear today? From the look of the weather forecast, spring is not being a cooperative season this year. Some of you are buried under snow, while we here in Atlanta are buried under pollen--for now. Early next week we are expecting highs in the low 50s and lows in the low 30s! I am sorry to sound like the Weather Channel, but this is unheard of! I'm so tired of my sweaters...I am ready to wear a skirt and sandals!

*image from Penhaligon's

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Penhaligon's Bluebell

Finally, in the first full week of April, after hemming and hawing my way through March with a post here and a post there, I am ready to get down to business. I've been randomly picking things up and putting them down again, spritzing on scent and then forgetting about it during the day, thinking of something fine to say about a fragrance now and again and finding myself without pen, paper, or occasion to write. I know for a fact, if someone were to look through my notebook at work, they would find notes scrawled in the margin like "mentholated vanilla powder--sophisticated and sort of fresh" or "truly the juice, real rep. of or." I also have all kinds of scraps of paper floating around in my purse with nothing but notes on them. If someone were to happen by my desk, he would see a sticky note with something like, "galbanum, muguet, cyclamen, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, clove."

At least today he would, because those were the notes I scrawled on a piece of paper this morning, the notes for Penhaligon's Bluebell. Penhaligon's was one of the perfume houses on which I chose to focus this year, so the coming week or so will feature these scents. The terrific Gail (and where is Gail, these days, anyway?) sent me their sample set, which contains generous samples neatly packaged in a cute tin box. I'm a sucker for this line for the bottles and the labels--I find them so charming. Luckily, in the case of Bluebell, the juice lives up to its appearance. It's both old-fashioned, like the label, yet streamlined a sort of modern, like the bottle.

From the look of it, you might expect something powdery, but this scent is--while flowery--also earthy and spicy in the best possible way. I've never traipsed through the woods in Britain during April or May, so I've no idea what a bluebell really smells like, or whether in fact it has a smell at all, but when I smell this perfume, I picture this exactly:
It has the exact smell of dense blue, of shadow, of the cool, damp ground, of the wood and bark on the trees. This scent seems to me the perfect representation of the thing, even if it were nothing like the actual scent of a bluebell (according to the Penhaligon's site, it is an "authentic" soliflore, so I'll take their word for it). I was excited when I saw this picture on Wikipedia, because it matched so perfectly the image in my head...or almost, because in my head, it was cloudy and raining a bit. The only other scent I can think of that brings me this amazing feeling of being comforted by cool blue shadows is Annick Goutal's Eau de Camille, which is a bit headier because of the lilac, but also more delicate in the base, more fleeting, where Bluebell holds its intensity quite nicely through the day, offering a peaceful glance of woods after rain.

*images from Penhaligon's and Wikipedia

Friday, April 04, 2008

What's Your Friday Perfume?

I thought this week would be a "comeback" of sorts. I had everything planned for my reviews this week, and then...another stomach bug. Half the office seems to have it. I make a solemn vow that soon I will have more than one post a week about perfume!

Today I'm feeling much better, and I've decided to go all springy and try Diorissimo, even though it's a bit rainy and not super warm. I'm hopeful.

What are all of you, my friends, wearing today...or this weekend? Are you trying something new, or wearing an old favorite? Either way, I hope it enhances a happy weekend!

*image from (which unfortunately has none of this in stock)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Parfums de Nicolai Balkis

I've encountered few perfumes that make my mouth water. Granted, I don't wear many gourmand fragrances, which I suppose would be the most likely candidates for getting those salivary glands a-working. I could be wrong. And please note, I'm drawing a distinct line between perfumes that make your mouth water, and perfumes that make you drool. Plenty of perfumes make me drool with desire, but this thing with Balkis--it's completely involuntary. I get a whiff and my mouth draws into a pucker, and I cannot help myself.

The notes in Balkis are raspberry, Turkish rose, black pepper, coffee extract, iris, benzoin, and vanilla pods. One whiff of the raspberry here, and I'm transported back to childhood. I loved (still love) sour candy. In the opening notes, this scent has the same effect on me as a sour lollipop. I want to unwrap it and roll it around on my tongue for a while, and then I want to go outside and ride my bike or play in the dirt.

The raspberry in Balkis comes across to me as dried and a bit chewy, the tang softened by the rose and the coffee. The pepper is underneath, but the strangest thing of all to me is that Balkis smells not peppery but salty. Even with a rather gourmand list of notes, there's something very organic to me about this scent on the skin, and I think that's partially what makes me think about childhood. As adults, many of us sit in sterile offices all day, away from our physical selves. We're locked in with a computer and a phone rather than out among the elements. As children, we rode our bikes and made mud pies and planted imaginary gardens. We carried the scent of the world with us wherever we went; we had leaves in our hair and grass stains on our knees. I'm not sure if today's children get the pleasure of being dirty--randomly dirty, not dirty in an activity-oriented, sanctioned way.

As Americans, we tend toward the squeaky clean. Everything from perfume to household products is lauded for being fresh. What I like about Balkis is that, to me at least, it seems to be the opposite, without having to go the route of obvious skank or animalic properties. The iris, benzoin, and vanilla pods (ever smelled a vanilla pod? it isn't sweet like extract, but a spicy and dirty vanilla essence) especially give the base an earthiness that's incredibly appealing. And it's strange to admit, but the one thing that Balkis--this perfume that makes my mouth water--most reminds me of is sweat. (Have I never told you my sweat smells like raspberries and roses? Ha!) I'm not talking about Olivia Newton John "Let's Get Physical" sweat. I'm talking about the scent of your own bed, the warm and familiar smell of the person sleeping next to you, the mornings you wake up and stay in your pajamas and read a book and can smell the coffee, the raspberry jam on your toast, the remnants of last night's fire. It is the subtle yet sour, salty smell of familiarity, comfort, and desire. It makes me think of the French phrase bien dans sa peau, to feel comfortable in one's own skin. If you really think about it, all that obsessive scrubbing and ordering and anti-bacterializing does not exactly scream, "I am at home in the world!" But I'm not here to change anyone's habits. You can bathe once or twice a day and still wear Balkis, at least.

*image from