The French called this time of day “l’heure bleue.” To the English it was “the gloaming.” The very word “gloaming” reverberates, echoes—the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour—carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone.”
— Joan Didion, Blue Nights (via alighthouseofwords)
So I got a sample of a new L’Artisan yesterday, Skin on Skin from the Explosions D’Emotions trio (the other two being Armour Nocturne and Deliria). Of course, my life being what it is, I have a cold and yesterday my nose was too blocked to do any reviews. The sample (along with a few other tempting little vials) sat there taunting me all day while I sniffled away into a tissue.
Luckily though, this morning I was feeling much better so right out of my shower I splashed on a few precious drops of Skin on Skin and took a deep, congestion free breath.
Was the wait worth it? Now Smell This lists the notes as iris, suede, saffron, whisky, lavender, rose and musks, and at very first whiff it was like all of these differing scents were competing to be heard, resulting in something loud and confused and almost screechy. The leather came out on top, fuzzy and dark, followed closely by a light iris-musk that seemed a bit out of place. The whisky was lurking there too, alcoholic and a bit abrasive, although the lavender , rose and saffron got lost in the background. The opening? WHOA BUDDY.
Luckily, the melange settles down fairly quickly, and Skin on Skin resolves itself into a rather lovely suede-iris, with the iris losing its fustiness and smoothing out nicely. The whisky is almost lost entirely, and the florals raise their heads - still in the background (you wouldn’t really call this a proper floral scent), but there to lend depth to the rest of it. It’s a little sweeter than I expected - that would be the musk - and I swear I can smell vanilla in there even though it’s not listed, but so far I’m enjoying it very much.
Enough to covet a bottle? Mmm, probably not. I was mostly drawn in by the promise of leather and whisky notes, and like I said, the leather is soft and light and the whisky almost none-existent. I have been looking for something with a good iris, but really, I’ll probably end up with Prada Infusion d’Iris or even Chanel No.19 Poudre, both of which do that green little note great justice.
It may be that my sense of smell is deserting me as my nose blocks up again (quick get me my cold and flu meds!), but as the dry down wears on, Skin on Skin seems to be fading fast. It’s light and airy and pretty, something for people who maybe don’t like perfume-y perfumes, and who are cautiously interested in the idea of wearing leather as a scent. As soft as it is, it would probably make a good office perfume, if, unlike me, you’re not the kind of person to subject your coworkers to vicious wafts of Angel and Rush.
In the end, Skin on Skin is lovely, soft and pretty, sweet but not overly so, leathery but still feminine. I’m going to ration my sample vial with care, though, because I don’t think I’ll ever crave a whole bottle.
raincityruckus said: is there a place i can look up what scents have what notes? like what green scents there are, what indolic scents...
There are a few good review sites that I check religiously, those are pretty useful. My fave is Now Smell This, which lists perfumes by house and has really great reviews. I also enjoy Basenotes and Luckyscent (although the latter is mostly for niche perfumes, you won’t find the bigger brands there). And The Perfumed Court is fantastic for both notes and buying cheap samples and decants of otherwise very expensive perfumes.
Thierry Mugler’s Angel and why it’s the filthiest perfume out there
I hated Angel when I first tried it.
I remember it distinctly, spraying it on the little blotter because I was already wearing something else (Thierry Mugler’s Alien, in fact), wincing away from the instant rush of sugarsugarsweet, cautiously putting the paper to my nose and rearing back in horror. I threw the blotter down, and then used up another few trying to scrub the smell off my hands. “This is awful,” I thought. “This is like dipping my fingers in a vat of fairy floss (cotton candy for you American plebs). How do people stand this?”
Oh, how things change.
At the time, I was a rookie when it came to perfume. I’d just started reading perfume blogs like crazy, just started putting together the tools I’d need to know what I was actually doing. And I made one of the first mistakes a budding perfumista will ever make - I sniffed on paper and left it at that. I almost never do that, these days. I’ve learned my lessons well.
Angel is a masterpiece of perfumery, but it doesn’t work on paper. Angel needs skin.
On the tester, Angel is overwhelmingly sweet and sticky, glossy like melted sugar, empty and high pitched. There’s nothing to it. And I couldn’t understand why so many blogs raved about it. I honestly thought it just wasn’t for me. For anyone, really.
I can’t remember what convinced me to give it another try, but for some reason - months later, maybe years - one day I decided to spritz some on my wrist and see how it went down.
Damn, it went down nice.
Angel is sweet on paper, but coming off skin it’s like the olfactory version of candy flavoured porn. Angel, in a word, is filthy. There is something lurking under the sugar, something deep and wet and musty, almost jarring. It’s kind of earthy, definitely warm, somewhat like sweat, a lot like sex. The sweetness is still there on top - chocolate and caramel and melted sugar, yes - but even that’s deceptive, tempered by a huge, deep whack of patchouli. It’s not a high, screechy sweetness, and it’s definitely not pretty. There’s nothing delicate about this scent, it hits you over the head and says ‘HEY, here I am, sit down and shut up.’
And then it gives you a lap dance.
I’ve noticed that a lot of strippers - an unusual amount, really - wear Angel. It works in a strip club, under the red lights and pumping music. When I catch a sniff of it out in public - brushing past someone in a bookstore, whipping my head around as I cross the street - it almost makes me blush. It seems too intimate, too vulgar for those kinds of settings. It’s like abruptly having your nose pressed against the nape of a woman’s neck. If you smell someone wearing Gucci’s Rush, you wanna give them a high five, you smell an obscure Chanel you want to give them a sly wink. But smelling Angel wafting off someone’s clothes is startling, not exactly erotic but certainly…evocative.
I, being obnoxious, wear it to work all the time. It’s nice having it there, under your clothes, like wearing fishnet stockings under a prim pencil skirt. I get a lot of compliments when I wear Angel, but people always seem surprised when I tell them what it is. They know it as that sweet little foody scent, they’ve only tried it on the tester. Their loss.
A little goes a long way with Angel. I pumped on two sprays this morning, and I can still smell it now. The dry down is calmer, less overt, but it’s also dustier, the loud, mulchy sweetness turning into a soft musk. The vanilla starts standing out above the patchouli, the chocolate wafts back in from a distance. The earthiness is still there, but it’s not as wet. And just describing that now, just the last traces of the scent, reminds me of how complicated this perfume is. It’s honestly masterful.
Perfume is art, and Angel is proof that art isn’t just pretty. It has layers and depth. Sure, you could take a sniff of Angel and say ‘oh, that’s sweet, that’s girly, that’s gourmand.’ But you would be missing the point.
Don’t buy Angel for your little sister or your mother. Wear it to bed in a cheap lace negligee, wear it under your most conservative work suit, wear it and watch people blush.
DID YOU KNOW that tuberose in perfume has a smell that’s a little bit fecal and a little bit like blood? I have a sample of By Killian’s Beyond Love, which is a tuberose soliflore, essentially, and it’s so intense that sometimes I hate it and sometimes I adore it. But yeah, definitely has notes of warm blood in there, and sometimes, just a whiff of something really off. Just underneath all the sweetness. And even though, obviously, in a soliflore it’s gonna be all amped up, most scents with tuberose in them are gonna have those characteristics.
~THE MORE YOU KNOW
reblogging to my perfume tumblr, sorry about the double double to anyone who follows both!
camshaft22 said: I was wondering what you thought about Lady Gaga's perfume. I find I really, really love the scent but I wasn't sure if it was kinda considered a joke like most 'famous' perfumes or not. Thanks.
I haven’t had a good sniff yet! I keep meaning to, but I never got around to it. But here’s the thing with celeb fragrances - they’re made by perfumers and focus groups and marketing execs just like any other perfume. They tend to be skewed to have more mass appeal and less experimentation, but so do most of the major scents coming out of the major houses these days. So really, if you like it, like it, famous face or not. For example, the Hilary Duff perfume? With Love? One of my all time favourites. Yeah. HILARY DUFF. The people she was working with put together a damn good scent, and it wouldn’t matter if they slapped her name on it or anyone else’s.
With Gaga, I’d kind of been hoping she’d work with Thierry Mugler, because I’m pretty sure they’ve worked together for other stuff, and she helped promote his Womanity scent. I think she’s done runway work for him as well? They would have been a great fit, but I guess he’s a fashion designer not an actual perfume house, so.
Anyway, here’s a review for it I just found on my favourite perfume blog. Hope that helps!
I wore some Oud Cuir d’Arabie by Montale today. It’s for men, technically, but it’s one of the few masculine fragrances that I feel really great wearing. The notes are oud, obviously, and leather and…leather, and some more leather, and then a dry-down of leather. I love it. The best way I can describe this is…imagine there’s a man you’re really, really into. And he always smells really good - kind of sweet and spicy and warm at the same time. And then one night you have really hot sex, and when he leaves in the morning he forgets his leather belt. This perfume smells like that belt. I am pretty much always actively turned on when I smell this scent.
I wore my sample of By Kilian’s Beyond Love today. It’s such a weird perfume. Every time I put it on, I can’t decide if I love it to bits or if I want to go and scrub it off my body - it’s not a particularly subtle scent, and it’s hard to ignore. So if I’m wearing it, I’m THINKING about it, and like…is that what I want from my perfume? Hmm. Also, it’s not a pretty scent. It’s interesting, but it’s essentially a tuberose soliflore, and tuberose has such an odd smell. When you first dab it on, there’s this almost overwhelmingly sweet blood scent. Yeah. Blood. But without the coppery, metallic tinge. Really warm and sweet and flowery and kind of really dirty. Not a fresh floral! Also a bit of coconut and jasmine, but mostly just big, waxy white tuberose. I dunno. I don’t wear it for months and months and then I’ll get all !!!!! about it and put it on and spend the rest of the day deciding if I even like it. Weird.
Perfume Wishlist (my birthday is in October, just putting that out there)
*Pretty much any Guerlain except Samsara or Champs Elysees. Seriously, I’ve liked just about every Guerlain I’ve ever smelled, even the ones I’m not supposed to, like Mahora and L’Instant and Insolence. Give me all of the Guerlain!
*Womanity, Angel and Cologne by Thierry Mugler. And some B*Men for my fiance, too.
*Hypnotic Poison by Dior, but not any of the other Poisons, none of which I like. Also - Miss Dior Cherie (which I thought I didn’t like, but today I realised I was getting it mixed up with Chloe, which a co-worker used to wear and which I find sickening. Maybe it was the little bow on the bottle), but not Miss Dior.
*Parisienne by YSL. But definitely not Paris.
*Chanel No 19 or Chanel No 19 Poudre.
*Prada Hard Candy (I haven’t actually smelled this yet, though, so it’s subject to change. It just sounds like something I’d like).
*Bvlgari Black. Which - okay, I legitimately like this, but also it’s what Angelina Jolie wears (or wore, once, at some point in her life) and that’s mostly why I covet it.
*Zen by Shiseido, except there are like a million and I don’t know which one I want yet. I just smelled it on someone the other day and they were like ‘Oh, it’s Zen!’ and then I went by the Shiseido counter but I didn’t have time to sniff them all to figure out which was the RIGHT Zen.
*By Killian’s Beyond Love. Sort of. It kind of smells like blood and rubber and something horrible, and it also kind of smells amazing and I can’t decide if I love it or hate it.
*A selection of L’Artisan Parfumeurs including Havana Vanille and Mimosa Pour Moi, but not Mure et Musc, because it smells like cough syrup.
…I could go on and on but that’s a good start for now!