Diptyque – Olene

source: one-small-world.com

Olene is a jasmine bomb, with a sillage so nuclear that it would melt the olfactory glands of jasmine-phobes within 10 metres of its wearer. It doesn’t apologise for straight up punching you in the face with indolic fervour, nor does it care that you’re probably being smothered by a million tiny white flowers waving their petals like protesters would at a riotous revolution. As Tania Sanchez described, it is “death by Jasmine”.

Thankfully, I like heady jasmine fragrances.

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Question Time with The Smelly Vagabond

source: keepcalmandposters.com

I’ve been sorely lacking in inspiration to write in the past few months, which I suppose comes along with having to write an economics dissertation and a sociology essay about the art critic, the latter of which I’m trying to bring in something perfume-related: What is the role of the critic in the production of art? How did the critic come about in the first place? What is the interaction between the critic and the artist? How have technological advances changed the nature and content of criticism? The essay is coming along fairly nicely, albeit nowhere near complete, but when I do finish it I’ll probably rewrite it for a perfume audience (at the moment, it’s just about art critics in general), and maybe even get it published somewhere 😉

I’ve just returned to New Haven from a weekend trip to New York, where I got to meet perfumer Hiram Green at Twisted Lily as well as attend a macaroni and cheese takedown competition! More on them at a later time…

In the meantime, though, how about some Q&A? Since I’m lacking in inspiration, why not you help me out by asking me some questions, and I’ll answer them as best as I can? It doesn’t necessarily have to be perfume-related. I’m hoping it will be fun, and I’ll update this post as we go along so that the questions get featured in the post. Time to get creative with the questions!

You can post your questions in the comments of this post, on Twitter, or on Facebook. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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Aether Arts Perfume – Holy Hemp!

One of my neighbours in my Yale dormitory is a severe pothead – pretty much every other day, the odour of burning weed fills the corridor where I live, its tendrils creeping along the walls rather insidiously. Whenever I step out of my room, I am hit by its smell like a sledgehammer on the head. Allow me this little gripe. I am by no means a moralizing prude, and don’t care what people do to their bodies so long as they do it just to themselves. But as luck would have it, I somehow get a migraine from the smell of weed, and so it really bothers me that said neighbour constantly smokes weed.

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Guerlain – Santal Royal

source: dubaidutyfree.com

First negative review of the year, and I’m sorry that it had to be a Guerlain. I’m sorry that I hold you [Guerlain] to a standard that is higher than most brands. After all, you are the one who brings me much joy with masterpieces such as L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Shalimar, Après l’Ondée etc. etc. You are the one that I own the most bottles of, more than 30 at last count. You are the one that I actively seek vintages of, my heart bursting with joy when I find some. You are the one of whom I’ll happily buy the EDC, EDT, PDT, EDP, Parfum of the same perfume. You are the one who creates magic. You are the one I’ve splashed out ridiculous amounts of money on. You are the one who gives me crazy special memories, such as finding a brand new, sealed in box bottle of Gourmand Coquin in Nordstrom Rack for $40 (Yes, you read that right). You have my heart.

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Best of 2014 + Andy Tauer Sotto La Luna Gardenia

I’m not one to do Best Of lists, although they sure are fun to read. Don’t ask me why, I just never get round to doing so. However, I did say in my article on MiN New York that I’d written a short review of Andy Tauer’s Sotto La Luna Gardenia for Basenotes. You can find it here, along with other my fellow perfume stalwarts: Basenotes Best Fragrance Discoveries of 2014. I have also reproduced my own mini review here:

Andy Tauer’s Sotto La Luna Gardenia was this year’s love-it-or-hate-it fragrance, and it fell resolutely in my ‘OHMYGOODNESS THIS IS MAGICAL I LURRRRVE IT’ category. I had been more than disappointed with this year’s releases, with most of my perfume budget going towards vintage scents. Legend has it that when the full moon hangs high in the sky, the witches come out to play. And Sotto La Luna Gardenia is indeed a witch’s brew that casts its spell upon all who smell it. Forget about a plain, boring soliflore: the gardenia goes into the cauldron, for sure, but along with it go a narcotic jasmine to amp up the sex, a clump of earth to keep it grounded, some cheese to keep it edgy and an overripe banana, which leaves us with a potion that teeters on the verge of decomposition – a quality that made Diorella so compelling to me in the first place. But Tauer doesn’t stop there; he throws tonka bean and vanilla into the mixture, whose gourmand natures leave me wondering if Sotto La Luna Gardenia belongs in the trash or in my mouth. The answer, as with any other perfume that is considered a masterpiece, is that it belongs on every inch of skin that I can spare.

Have a Happy New Year and a great year ahead!

Elizabeth Taylor – Gardenia + Happy New Year!


source: vermontcountrystore.com

Elizabeth Taylor‘s fragrances are a common staple of the TJ Maxxes and Marshalls of the world; in other words, their target audience isn’t the fancy dandy who pays an exorbitant amount of money for a pretentious cocktail at a speakeasy, or the trophy wife whose job involves checking out the latest Hermès scarves (no harm intended if you’re one such person, heaven knows I daydream all the time about being able to have champagne daily while having a personal assistant attend to me as I casually shop at Chanel – fine, I’m kidding, I’ve never harbored such illusions of grandeur, despite spending far too much on fragrance, which my mum deems “impractical” – or wait, do I?), but bargain hunters like myself, who excitedly pop into every discounter they see in the hopes of discovering that cheapie that will turn out to be a treasure. Case in point – over the past week I must have been into at least 10 of such establishments, some more than twice, in the hopes of scoring that elusive deal.

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Chanel – Bel Respiro

source: mkalty.org

source: mkalty.org

The Blossom

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom 
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.
Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom. 

– William Blake

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MiN New York

© The Smelly Vagabond

© The Smelly Vagabond

Around 3 weeks ago, on the Saturday after the day of crazy mad shopping stampedes also known as Black Friday, I dragged my luggage behind me as I trudged around SoHo, New York, in search of MiN New York, a perfumery that I had long heard of, but never had the opportunity to visit until now. I had taken the train down to Manhattan a couple of days before with a few objectives in mind:

  1. To visit a friend and celebrate Thanksgiving over the Thanksgiving break (although in my case the “break” involved plenty of studying)
  2. To keep in my tradition of participating in an annual celebration of excessive consumerism (Boxing Day in London, where I was previously based; Black Friday in the US)
  3. To meet up with Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies and the rest of the gang (more on that later!) for some sniffing and catching up at Osswald NYC later that very same Saturday afternoon

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Rochas – Femme (Vintage Extrait)

© The Smelly Vagabond

© The Smelly Vagabond

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”

– Rumi

I’d posted this on my own private Facebook page, but I thought I’d share it with everyone. This was one of my recent eBay treasures. I first opened it during an Econometrics class, because I had visited the post office just prior to class, and being the impatient, instant-gratification, self-mollifying silly-billy that I am, I couldn’t help but to pop it open the moment I grabbed my seat. All throughout the class, I couldn’t help but keep my nose pressed to my wrist. It didn’t help that I was sitting in the first row, in a class that was perhaps 30-odd people full. I wonder what my Professor thought of it.

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Bottega Veneta – Knot

source: thechroniclesofher.com

The bottle of Bottega Veneta‘s Knot is drop dead gorgeous. Unfortunately, that’s the highest praise that I can accord to it, since the juice is, by all accounts, utterly yawn-inducing.

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