Sorcery in the Air

Black smoke trailing from some botched potion class at Hogwarts, that’s the reference point.  Just what does it smell like?  I would submit a combination of squid ink and licorice with a little dried dragon’s blood thrown in for good measure, but there really isn’t anything like that on the market these days, although back in the day some people said that YSL’s M7 smelled sort of like it.

There are some fragrances that I personally find awful.  Other people sometimes love them, and with perfectly good reason, they smell good on them, or remind them of something wonderful but they’re the fragrances that give me the fantods,  as Huckleberry Finn would say.

They are:

Alien: Brian of I Smell Therefore I Am had a favorable review of the new Alien Essence Absolue, and Brian knows a thing or four about fragrance, so I stiffened my sinuses and I smelled and – I ran.  Alien scares the heck out of me, it smells like the whole cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey bearing down upon me when I am in the passing lane of the Garden State Parkway (which is scary enough).  Nightmarish.

Interlude Man : This one is a very high grade smash up of quality ingredients and it smells like what would happen if I didn’t get out of the passing lane fast enough to accommodate those housewives; burning rubber, gasoline on fire, and New Jersey State troopers inspecting the mess.  Also the stuff of nightmares.

New York Oud Bond No 9: This one received an award, which shows how much I know, but I also know that it took me all afternoon to power scrub it off my skin because of the willies it gave me.  Margaret Hamilton would wear this.

Sensuous Noir Estee Lauder: This one I kind of like, but it still is scary as all get out.  I once made the mistake of watching Animal Planet wearing it, specifically a show about infestations.  A snake infested house was described as smelling bad when “the snakes released their musk”. I began to think that I smelled musk.  Was I releasing musk? Possibly yes.  Also I suspected “releasing musk” was a euphemism for passing wind.  Farting snakes, it’s an image I can’t get rid of now, and that’s what I think of every time I spray the stuff.  Which is very seldom; understandably.

Narcisse Noir: That one is creepy.  Yes it is.  It happens to be a masterpiece of sorts with the weird combo of orange blossom freshness over – what?  Incense nag champa?  I could never figure it out and yes I owned a bottle until that formula began to gaslight me just as badly as Charles Boyer did with Ingrid Bergman.  I had to get it out of the basement, eventually I had to get it out of the house. Some perfumes are just spooky.  That was one.

Five fragrances I never wear now, because frankly they scare me, but Halloween is the season of the irrational fear, and now you must excuse me as there are zombies at the back door.

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2 Responses to Sorcery in the Air

  1. Mals86 says:

    Gah. I really must try *proper* Narcisse Noir. I did get a sample of it from Posh Peasant once, apparently the modern EdT, and it was alllll Dumb Blonde. I swear, the thing GIGGLED at me. I doubt very much Abigail mixed up her bottles, either – I emailed her all bumfuzzled and what-tha-HECK-is-this-bubble-gummy-thing?, and she told me it was a ton of cheerful orange blossom on her, too, nothing dark or weird at all. Did they gut the house when they refo-ed? (Unless… *Caron* was the screwup here, and when she ordered Narcisse Noir they sent her Narcisse Blanc instead?)

    Magie Noire, vintage – now that is a spookfest. Donna Hathaway, who writes as Flora for Perfume-Smellin’ Things, wrote lovingly of it as being a “diva rose” along with Montale Aoud Queen Roses and lamented its reformulation, so of course I toddled off to ebay to purchase, unsniffed, a vintage mini. It arrived one day in spring, when the dogwoods were already blooming, and I dabbed some on my bare wrist. I’d been wearing my apple green short sleeve blouse and feeling all springy, and sat down at the computer to check my email. Half an hour I looked up, unnerved at the witchy bonfire taking place on my skin – all it needed was Margaret Hamilton – to find that the sky had gone dark with clouds and the temperature had dropped twenty degrees. This seemed rather eerily apropos. (I kept the mini, and occasionally get it out to scare myself with it, especially when the weather is cold and rainy and windy. Like, you know, today.)

    L’Heure Bleue in EdT struck me as the Medicine Cabinet of Hell. Later found that I liked the parfum… and still later realized that it sorta bored me. Probably should retry the EdT to see what my attitude would be now.

    You want Really Awful, though? Bois de Paradis on my skin. Srsly. Awwwwwful. The topnotes are supposed to be citrus, but on me they are somewhere between intensely-minty toothpaste and turpentine. I know my turps – my grandmother used to paint china, and she loved for me to sit with her while she did it, but it left me with an indelible memory of how her turpentine floated like an evil genie above the Duncan Phyfe tabletop. Worse, BdP then starts smelling like blueberry pancakes. Trust me, blueberry pancakes+minty toothpaste+turpentine is not something you intentionally seek out.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      It sounds to me as though they did send Narcisse Blanc instead of Noir. I’ve worn them both but while I loved old NB the NN is all strange smoky incense on me. Very Walpurgisnacht! The perfect thing to wear while reading Bram Stoker,which I used to do every year around Halloween.
      Magie Noire is quite vampy. I remember trying it and thinking, “This time it’ll work!” but no, if you are silly on the molecular level you just cannot masquerade as The Queen Shadows. Nope, it’s like expecting Elaine May to play Cruella de Ville.
      BdP is a stinker on me too!

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