Monday, February 27, 2012

Smell Like Me!

I have donated some of my samples, and a full, unopened bottle of Solstice Scents "Jack and the Devil" to a raffle for a fellow blogger and friend. It's an awesome raffle, and I recommend checking it out.

The raffle is here.

The items I've put in, are the full size perfume and the following samples:
Red Roan
(Fresh strawberry flecked porridge with maple syrup and adulterated with a splash of white cognac)
Brier Path
(Sun drenched trail leading to a day dream of ripe berries and woods’ rose, rich forest loam, ozone, dark amber and cream.)
White Raspberry
(Tart raspberry and a clean cream accord.)
(A welcome respite: Muskmelon, coconut water infused with bergamot flower, kaffir lime, polished ho wood and sticky benzoin)
Peach Mama
Lavender Sugar
Insalata Nocturna


(You’ve been bewitched! Lecherous: brackish amber, aged vanilla bean and three dark fruits, veiled in darkness and otherworldly secrecy )
Narcosa (A thick haze of tonka and black vanilla, three jasmines, tuberose and ylang ylang.)

Lassi (bad label)
(Fresh mango cream, orange blossom water, black ginger to ground, splash of green tea and a soft squeeze of lime juice.)
(Freshly turned earth, wet leaves, and a spectre ridden wind.)
Haus Amber

Sweet Anthem
Nell (Black Tea, Cardamom, Carnation, Creamy Milk, Peach, Rose)
(Amber, Benzoin, Cardamom, Frankincense, Honey, Myrrh)

Solstice Scents
Cherry Vanilla Amberosia


Gulf Breeze

Violet Truffle

Della Morte

Witches Cottage
(Warm Baked Goods, Dried Herbs, Sweet Annie, Soft Woods, Fragrant Hearth Smoke)
Harvest Moon

(sOzone, Rustling Leaves, Rich Black Soil, Chimney Smoke & Woods)
Gingerdead Man

Linen and Ivy (
Fresh sun-washed linens hanging on the clothesline in the spring breeze meets crisp green top notes of English ivy and a touch of new green spring leaves.)

Garden Gate (
Voluptuous Lilac blossoms in the foreground combine with faint traces of cascading wisteria and subtle, fresh, green grass notes.)

The Morbid The Merrier
Dessert Absinthe
75% full
Saucy Jack 50% full 
( Deep, dark, and resinous... redolent of stained and tattered petticoats, damp brick, and spilled blood in a London alleyway....)
Quoth the Raven


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow! Sorta. Maybe a little. Or not.

I've heard a lot of people talk about Demeter Fragrances. Apparently they are one of the better midrange commercial perfumes. They're one of those companies I think I'd like to try every now and then, but tend to forget they exist when I'm actually perfume shopping. However, I just happened to see a display of Demeter holiday scents when I was in Rite-Aid picking up Pepsi the other day, and my little brain went "Hey - don't you want to smell that?" Since one of the bottles was 'Snow', which is on my must-try list, and it was only 5 bucks, I tossed one in the cart.

Demeter describes this scent as "the essence of snow in a scent; chilling, cool, clean and fresh, with a touch of dust (necessary to form flakes) and earth (upon which to rest). There is literally nothing like it outside of the Demeter Fragrance Library." Apparently it also won several major perfume awards.

I'd like to state, for the record, that snow doesn't actually have a smell - unless your pollution levels are beyond imagining. There are scents we associate with snow, but snow itself smells like nothing. Even some waters (especially well water) have more smell than snow. Usually snow smells are represented by something to mimic dampness - a melon or ozone-y scent, something we associate with cold - minty scents - to give you that frozen nostril experience, or moist earthy scents. Snow has a hint of dampness from what I suspect is an ozone note, a light earthiness and an overall aroma of white flowers. It's very, very subtle and light, but I wouldn't have thought  'snow!' If I didn't know that was what it was called. Snowdrops, maybe, but not snow. It's definitely got more of a very early spring/late winter feel than a Christmassy, icy, snow-covered ambiance.

It's  a nice, simple scent - pretty, pleasant and unpretentious, but nothing to write home about (though technically, I'm doing just that). I'm fairly stumped why it got so many awards. It's nice, but  not something that jumps out at me and says - keep smelling me! It's also very weak, I had to layer quite a bit to make out the fragrance on my arm. If I'd paid more than five dollars for it, I'd probably have been annoyed.  It reminds me a bit of Haus of Gloi's "Something Hopeful" from Valentine's 2011.* That was an incredible scent, everything Snow wants to be when it grows up. Light, fresh and an absolutely perfect rendition of the first stirrings of spring; damp earth, melting snow, a few hesitant blossoms and the promise of more to come, even though the sky is still grey and ice still rings the lakes and streams. Sadly, Britton didn't bring that one back this year.

I'm not sure I'd try another Demeter fragrance after this one. Well, if it's cheap enough. It's possible that I just hit a particularly underwhelming scent with Snow. It's not amazing, it's not unique and it's not very snowy. It's just...kinda nice.

*Perhaps the first stirrings of the spring to come. Warm sakura blossom green tea with the tiniest droplet of plum juice, red mandarin and crystallized jasmine essence.

 All products were purchased by me for my own use. My opinions are my own and always will be. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cherries and Chocolate

So tomorrow is the day before Cheap Chocolate Day, otherwise known as St. Valentine's Day, where we celebrate the torture and murder of some old Roman guy by passing out little heart shaped pieces of paper. Or by shooting mobsters, but only if you live in Chicago.

Winter and Valentine's is probably my least favourite smell season, as I'm not crazy about fir and piney scents, and far too many Valentine scents overdo the rose base. Too much mint, too much pine and too much chocolate rose for my taste. Well, for my sense of smell that is. 

Anyway, I'm hesitant to admit to this, for fear of having my second X chromosome revoked, but I'm not actually that crazy about chocolate. I'm good with a chocolate/other flavour combos, like filled chocolates, or chocolate drizzle on a cheesecake, but as far as eating just plain chocolate, not so much. I prefer white chocolate, which isn't chocolate at all, or caramel, or toffee. I do like the smell of chocolate, though. Like coffee, it's one of those things that I prefer as an aromatic over a flavour. 

Sadly, not too many companies do a decent chocolate fragrance. Most of them smell like cheap chocolate flavouring, as opposed to the scent of genuine cacau products. Solstice Scents is one to the exceptions. Last year, I picked up two of her V-Day fragrances, Violet Truffle and Cherry Vanilla Amberosia.
from Solstice

Violet Truffle is, obviously, chocolate based. The official description is: "Dark Chocolate, Violet, Violet Leaf & Vanilla Absolute"  Now, in my book, you can't go wrong with violets. They're my favourite flower and one of my favourite smells. I don't think I would ever have thought of pairing it with chocolate. It works, though. The initial burst is a deep, powdery dark chocolate smell with just a hint of sweet violets. In fact, if I didn't know it was violet, I might not have been able to pick it out, it blends that well.  It stays like that for quite a while then slowly morphs, as the chocolate fades into the background and the warm, creamy vanilla scent picks up, with just the faintest earthy edge of violet leaf. By this time, the violet is clearly identifiable, but muted, so it fits smoothly into the undertones. This particular blend is sweet, but not unbearably so, as the additions of dark chocolate and violet leaf give the mixture a nice, earthy bottom note. It's odd, but quite wonderful in its own way. I've never had an actual violet truffle, that is, a chocolate with a either a candied violet on top or with violet syrup* inside, so I can't say if this is how it would smell, but it is nice, sweet, and feminine, but not in a little girl way. Something like a box of expensive Petit Fours, or a really high-end chocolate candy, the kind served on a silver tray with a real lace doily. You might like this scent even if you don't care for violet, but you definitely need to like the smell of chocolate. If you love the smell of chocolate, you should absolutely check out this perfume. Solstice Scents is one of the few parfumiers that can truly capture the scent of chocolate in all it's complexity.

The second fragrance I got was Cherry Vanilla Amberosia and it is, indeed, very ambrosial. "Sweet Cherries, Rich Vanilla, Amber & Mandarin Orange Slices".  The vanilla and ambers make up the base of the scent, like a rich, creamy custard, while the maraschino and black cherry add a tangy punch to the mix. The scent maintains itself for quite a while, just until you think you've gotten everything it has to offer, then the orange sneaks in for a last minute twist. It's a warm, buttery-luscious scent with a dark, sexy fruit edge to it, like a puddle of golden velvet dripping with pearls and sprinkled with rubies. It's intense and exotic and sweet and not at all child-like. It's sexy and dangerous and delectable all at once. It smells delicious without smelling like a candy shop or a dessert tray. Wearing this on a frosty-cold night out would be amazing. Wear a dark red dress with it.

Both of these fragrances are wonderfully indulgent and rich, just the thing for when February has you curled up in the fetal position begging for something not covered in snow. Currently, Violet Truffle is available in rollerball perfume and 4 oz. body ganache, and Cherry Vanilla Amberosia is available as rollerball, 4 oz. burnishing glace and 4 oz. body ganache. Both scents are available as perfumes in the general catalogue, but were originally released for Valentine's Day last year, so they are listed along with the other Valentine's releases this year.

* sells them, but I'm not that adventurous.