Sunday, February 5, 2017

Perfume descriptions from someone who doesn't know anything about perfume

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I like to smell things that smell good. I know that much. I'm one of those "I know what I like" assholes. But I don't exactly have the most sophisticated taste in fragrances, and despite all my efforts to learn, I'm not great at identifying various notes in a scent. I do, however, have a bunch of perfume samples, and I tend to associate fragrances with certain things, like we all do. Apparently those are reason enough for me to offer my totally amateur and completely unhelpful descriptions of all the mini perfumes I currently possess, without any regard for what perfumiers claim they are supposed to smell like. I doubt you are going to want to buy anything based on the information provided here, but I've added links for informational purposes, if nothing else.

(Disclaimer: If I'm talking shit about your favorite fragrance, please don't take it personally. Individual tastes and all that, plus perfumes react differently to everyone's body chemistry, so I'm sure the stuff I'm complaining about smells delightful on you.)

I've used a sophisticated ranking system, in case you can't tell whether or not I like something. Y=Yes, I like it. N=No, I don't like it. Y/N=I don't mind how it smells, but I would never buy it.

Here we go. First up, miscellaneous fragrances in no particular order:

TokyoMilk Dark Novacaine No. 85: Smells like an (imaginary) candle from Bath & Body Works called something like Christmas Ginger Cookies. Not in a bad way, but you've got to be really, really into that. (Y/N)

Miu Miu: I bought this solely for the bottle, which is absolutely perfect. The fragrance itself is super generic. If Pretty Perfume Barbie came with a perfume-scented bottle of play perfume, this is what it would smell like. (N)

Bulgari Omnia Paraiba: First it's a tart citrus scent, but it becomes gradually more masculine. Like a single orange, floating in cologne, served in a man's hat. (Y)

Marc Jacobs Decadance: This fragrance is what you would get if you kept some sangria in your fridge for several months until the fruit all turned brown and dissolved into goo, and then you mixed it with a bubble bath called "Ocean Breeze." (NNNNNNNNNNNNNN)

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White: Smells like a 22-year-old who wishes she were in a meadow wearing a flower crown instead of in her dorm room studying for her organic chemistry final. Or like what I imagine Alexis from Schitt's Creek (which you should definitely watch) smells like. (Y/N)


Michaels Kors Wonderlust: Flowers. Flowers flowers flowers. All flowers, no edge. Probably my ideal perfume when I was 6. (N)

Chloé: Rose-scented soap. (Y/N)

Paco Rabanne Olympea: The trendiest perfume your mom owned in 1996 (plus a little artificial watermelon?). (N)

Okay, now we're getting into a whole bunch of fragrances by Atelier Cologne, and so far I have not met an Atelier Cologne fragrance I didn't like--even their vanilla scent, despite the fact that I usually despise vanilla scents. Oddly enough, I found it much more difficult to come up with descriptions of perfumes that I really like.

Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée: Dark vanilla and whiskey and leather.* (Y)

*I know these are actual fragrance notes, but they are not the ones in the description of this perfume. Supposedly it has lime in it? I don't get any of that at all.

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme: This is what a badass princess in a feminist retelling of a fairytale would smell like. (Y)

Atelier Cologne Manderine Glaciale: Five Alive (what up, Canadians?) garnished with mint. (Y)

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine: Mandarin oranges, which we called "Christmas oranges" when I was growing. Just straight up, unadulterated Christmas orange. (Y/N)

Atelier Cologne Pomelo Paradis: As one of my all-time favorite fragrances, this is also the hardest to describe. Very tart citrus with some burnt sugar in the background. But a little serious and sophisticated. Business fruit. (YYYYYYYYYY)

The second group of samples I have is from Juliette Has A Gun, who also make perfumes (and not-perfumes) that I really enjoy.

Juliette Has A Gun Mad Madame: An overwrought artisanal cocktail that is nonetheless delicious. (Y)

Juliette Has A Gun Miss Charming: Also a cocktail, but a less complex cocktail that's garnished with a flower. (Y/N)

Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance: The name is perfect. Like a beautiful, femme assassin. You'll get a whiff of this 3 seconds before you're dead. (Y)

FYI, if you want a more accurate and useful description of Lady Vengeance (and a lot of other fragrances), you should read Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick.

21 comments:

  1. Oh my god, this is amazing. I especially loved the Decadence description: I definitely do not want to smell that.

    I also like Atelier Cologne! I bought the full sample set from their site ($35 for 33, I think?) ostensibly to give to NY brother for his birthday, but I'm going to poach the ones I don't think he'll like (florals in particular). Fun little adventure for me!

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    1. Ohhh that sample set sounds great. And you get a $35 voucher? I am so tempted THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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    2. Lol! Always happy to help 😋

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  2. I have never, ever liked a perfume from TokyoMilk. It's so weird. I've smelled probably dozens of their perfumes and tried on a few, but they're all fails for me somehow.

    Thanks for reminding me that I have a sample of Lady Vengeance! I was wearing it pretty often earlier this winter. I wouldn't buy a full bottle (it's a little heavy/mature for me), but I rarely meet a rose scent I don't like. I should get around to seeing Sympathy for Lady Vengeance one of these days...

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    1. ALSO full points for an excellent classic Simpsons allusion. Love that episode! (Especially because my advisor is an English guy named Nigel.)

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    2. I know that you mean about the heaviness of Lady Vengeance, though I have been thinking of buying it for a while. This vial has lasted so long, because it's so powerful. In fact, I put some on yesterday and accidentally used a drop or two too much, and it was really overbearing.

      (Ha! My dad's name is actually Nigel. :)

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    3. Haha, what a coincidence! Your parents are Canadian, right? I have yet to encounter an American Nigel.

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  3. "a single orange, floating in cologne, served in a man's hat" - I have to applaud this comparison. Actually, this whole post was very funny. I've never met an Atelier Cologne scent that I enjoy, but that's just based on two sample vials - maybe I need to expand my repertoire.

    Also, I love Schitt's Creek! No one ever listens when I recommend it to them, which is a shame because they are Missing Out.

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    1. I love Schitt's Creek! I've only watched it on Amazon Prime, though, so I am sad that I can't see the new season yet.

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  4. Fucking A+++. best perfume reviews ive read in awhile. Made my day. The wonderlust still sounds nice - all teh flowerz!!! and dammit, i wish i could get juliette has a gun and atelier cologne here!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed! I actually got these Juliette Has A Gun samples sent from France from the brand. I don't know if they do that anymore, though.

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  5. Hey, thanks for the shout-out! Atelier Cologne really does make some nice shit at an affordable price.

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    1. I am in awe of your fragrance knowledge!

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  6. Haha great compilation of descriptions! This is exactly how mine would go. And I can't stand the Chloe fragrance! Your description was spot on :)

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    1. Thanks! I don't mind that Chloe, but it's definitely not "me."

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  7. This is wonderful! I have completely unsophisticated taste in perfume - like, as I've gotten older, I've gravitated more to 'immature' perfumes like VS LoveSpell. I used to wear this higher-end drugstore scent called "Unruly" that had watermelon and musk and who knows what-all that was more 'mature' in taste than you'd expect a high school girl to want, but I associated it so strongly with my high school/college boyfriend that after we broke up, even though we didn't hate each other, I decided to switch.

    Basically my rule these days is, if it doesn't smell like candy (particularly citrus candy) I probably don't want it. (Currently when I do wear perfume, it's either LoveSpell, C.O. Bigelow Lemon, or L'Occitaine Verveine.) So I'm really interested in BUSINESS FRUIT.

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    1. I do like citrus, though I'm not big into sugary scents (or "gourmands" I guess?). You should definitely check out the Atelier citrus fragrances, though! You might like Orange Sanguine--it's the most candy-like of the ones I've tried.

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  8. This was so much better than reading about perfume from someone who 'knows what they're talking about!' I love the Miu Miu bottle so much, but it does smell totally generic. I exclusively use roller balls and sample vials right now, but for the future when I hope to own a full bottle of something I love it makes me a little sad when perfumes I love have ugly bottles and vice versa :/

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    1. I once housesat for someone who had an amazing collection of vintage perfume bottles. Maybe I'll do that some day and keep wearing perfume from ugly bottles haha

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  9. I am sure people who know the names of every type of scent don't need a review like this, but I don't know what vetiver (sp?) smells like but I understand "business fruit."

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    1. I don't know what vetiver is either! Huh.

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