cathodera

Epic Woman by Amouage

This is clearly a perfume that was made for me, which is odd, because I don't remember meeting any of the artists who are credited with its invention, but that must have happened.

First squirt out of the bottle, it smells almost like olives that are a bit past their freshness date, but within ten minutes, magic happens, and it transmogrifies itself into a completely different and uniquely and incredibly complex fragrance every time, but with two constants:

It always lasts until I shower it off, and within a few hours it glissades into a prettier medley of my 3 favorite scents - oud, sandalwood and damascena - than I've ever achieved playing around with essential oils.

Even then, it doesn't stop. It moves around within the 3, giving each one a little solo here and there, then launching off into yet another crescendo of harmony.

I read somewhere that this perfume was inspired by Turandot, so it's fun to think that my 3 favorite scents represent the 3 riddles.

The vanilla, which I know is there only from reading about it, never appears, which on my skin the last few years, is nothing short of a miracle.

Every fragrance will have at least subtle differences when in contact with different skins, but this one is so changeable that I really hesitate to say a whole lot about it.

I'm completely head-over-heels in love with the stuff, and you probably will be, too, but for completely different reasons.
Feb 15, 2011


No. 5 by Chanel

My skin chemistry, always unpredictable and capricious, has changed so much that I've learned to be very cautious about re-discovering scents I haven't worn since 1967.So I was delighted to find that Beauty Encounter would, for $25, send me a little 5-pack, with parfum, EDP, EDT, and a couple of the variants.It was with great hope but also trepidation that I dabbed on a few drops of the EDP. Would it smell awful on me now? Or smell great and disappear in 20 minutes? Fresh from similar disappointments at other Fragrance Reunions, I held my breath for a second, then realized that holding one's breath is probably not the best strategy for assessing the reaction of a perfume to how kind or cruel the years have been to that complex, ever-evolving biochemical Party In My Epidermis.I inhaled. "You haven't changed a bit!" gushed No 5. What a relief! I was able to return the compliment sincerely.The evening was warm, and I just sat and let it continue to look at me for a while. It walked around in a circle, looking thoughtful, a finger on one cheek."Actually," it purred, "You are even more fabulous than ever!"I sniffed. This was true! The aldehydes that some of the young folks perecive as being "old lady," or "chemical," had rushed in, exclaimed a hurried greeting, and dashed off to confuse the neighbor's plump Fluff-Cat, enjoying its nightly role in the tangled pile of catmint we let spread out between a couple of spindly "show roses" specifically for its amusement.Almost immediately, something citrusy - neroli, maybe? - emitted a brief fanfare then stepped aside, and to my surprise, ylang-ylang glided in, one delicate hand draped across the arm of a handsome sandalwood escort."Yes," they nodded to me, then to each other, and then to the air, "we're going steady!"After they had waltzed around for about an hour, sandalwood stepped away to get ylang-ylang some punch, and she leaned over, and whispered to me from behind her fluttering fan, "it's serious."Sure enough, sandalwood returned with the punch, and playfully tossed a cupful into my face. "The same jasmine as always," sandalwood called over his shoulder, as he danced away with ylang-ylang.As they came back around, flushed and laughing, ylang-ylang fluttered her fan again. "You know he spiked it," she confided. "Yeah, with that baby vetiver," I retorted, drawing in a long slow breath, to catch a here-now-gone-now whiff of it. "But you love it anyway," sandalwood winked, and he and his new girlfriend settled down beside me, in a rustle of taffeta, to enjoy the rest of the evening, now and then refilling our punch cups and flicking droplets out into the night, to the delight of the aldehyde-addled Fluff-Cat, who was as enchanted as we all were by the gentle fireflies of something mysterious from a summer garden that twinkled like stars around us.
Jul 3, 2010


Bijan by Bijan

A young family member proudly presented Mr cathodera with a bottle of Bijan. He picked it out all by himself and bought it with his own pocket money. (I suspect his choice may have been swayed by Bijan being the only available fragrance that did not cost more than the pocket money).But it was an important rite of passage, and to honor it, Mr cathodera wears his Bijan on occasions when the little giver will be present, and I tend to spend as much time as possible, on those occasions, as far as I can get from Mr cathodera.Maybe it's because I've never been a big amber fan. I don't really like "sweet" fragrances very much, so Bijan probably never had a chance with me. It reminds me of a long-ago accident incident involving a simultaneous spill of Hove's amber and their carnation.Though to my knowledge Bijan doesn't have any carnation, there is just that sweet spiciness of carnation there, that with the amber, makes me think of looking down on that oh-so-fashionable avocado green shag carpet, thirstily gulping my two least-favorite perfumes that Hove makes, and frantically wondering how long and with whom I would have to couch surf, because there was no way I was going to sleep in that apartment until it had been thoroughly aired out.I guess the takeaway from that story is, if you love Bijan, but can't find any, just dump some Hove amber and carnation on yourself, and your nose will never be the wiser.
Jul 2, 2010


Habanita by Molinard

I'm ashamed to say I had forgotten about this delightful little perfume, till NebrakaLovesScent was kind enough to send me a sample of it - and I fell in love all over again!For a little while, it makes me smell for all the world like a fine Puro. It takes me back to ancient humid evenings, steaming slowly into faint crackly kilohertz of night, lulled to a fitful doze by drone of grownups talking about revolution and raita, religion and rum, real estate riots Raj relativism and rum redux, the sweetness of Puros stolen from stashes of stately old uncles who smelled like Puros and oud, Puros and a kiss of khus, then gently as those nights bloomed into roriferous dawn, Habanita blooms, too, smoke shape-shiting into vague flowers and old cracked-leather suitcases stuffed with Stories, every one of them cien por ciento Puro. On through the petals of soft-scolding Aunties tiptoes Habanita, in Stealth Mode now, and gone before it's here, a mango maybe? still warm from yesterday's sun smirks up from the smoke and swirls to a distant wisp of unclechuckles. An exciting time to be alive, an exciting time to smell like a Puro.Now and then, then is now.
Jun 18, 2010


Youth Dew by Estée Lauder

I received some Old School Youth Dew as a gift, many years ago, and I still have it.I want to like it, it smells fabulous on some people, but unfortunately on me after about 5 minutes the only fragrance that meets the noses of those in my vicinity is vanilla, a scent of which I am not particularly fond (unless baked goods are involved).On my sister-in-law, however, it morphs into a sort of a hanging lyric poem garden, and I would give her my bottle if she didn't have one.So what I do is squirt visitors with it, and like Cinderella's slipper, one day, the Right Princess in Disguise will arrive, the Magic will happen, and I will present her with my bottle of Youth Dew. I still have a couple of newly-grown-up nieces who haven't been squirted yet. I'm pinning all my hopes on them.
May 17, 2010


Jungle Gardenia (original) by Coty

I think this is the right one, the bottle said Tuvache, not Coty. It didn't smell a bit like gardenia to me - or on me, but I think the previous reviewer's characterization of it as "excruciatingly sweet and cloying," and "scary stuff" describe it much better than I ever could.Nevertheless, I miss it. With no offense to anyone's mother who wore it, I remember it as being the fragrance of choice of twelve year olds who, it was hmmphed, were "trying to grow up too fast."But Jungle Gardenia was much more than that. It was what even the nicest girls from the finest families wore to sneak out, to skip school and ride in cars driven by children without licenses. It was the only perfume that could be counted on to camouflage cigarette smoke.It was the go-to perfume for steamy, hormone-and-stolen adult beverage-saturated nights of clandestine summer vacation resort rendezvous, when secret things happened that no one would ever, ever tell.Because as strong as it smelled, it would wash right off, and you could spray your Good Girl Ambush back on and smile and be polite to all the grownups and hear them boast about your grades as you quietly excused yourself and went up to "study," washing the Ambush off with Sweetheart soap and reaching down under your awful schoolgirl knee-socks in the third drawer of some venerable and giant carved thing, and lift her out almost reverently, because in that long long ago of near and far and east and west and secrets and meetings of twains in city after continent, she loved them all, did Jungle Gardenia, loved to come out of the drawer at night, to play and make more memories, keep more secrets, forever...
May 16, 2010


L'Heure Bleue Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Whoa! OK Just the first few reviews have made me cry. I don't know what I can add that hasn't been said better.This was my signature scent when I was 16. Yes, I was kind of odd. I had raced ahead of my peers a little in outgrowing the standard Ambush-Canoe-stolen-from-some-male-English Leather triumvirate of what today is called Middle School, or the Tween years.I was 16, and I knew everything there was to know about everything, I was immortal and invincible, and L'Heure Bleue, being the only fragrance capable of conveying such superlatives, was the only perfume I could possibly have worn. In retrospect, I understand that, but at the time, it just "drew me." It smelled like everything I was, everything I wanted to be. That hasn't changed, though I was sad to note that apparently L'Heure Bleue has. Luckily I laid in a good stock before Reformulation, before the Economic Transition.Another thing that hasn't changed is my perception of L'Heure Bleue as a winter fragrance. In summer I spray myself with copious amounts of Hove Vetiver, but in winter, I open frosted windows, and a frosted glass stopper drops a little cool, wet kiss just behind an ear, the pulse of a wrist, and runs to meet the icy breeze and tell it tales of far away lands and air thick with spices and flowers.In many ways, this is the most eastern of all western perfumes. Go ahead. Go "whaaaa?" but then open your bottle, look at a globe if you need to, and think about it. It's a spirit thing.
May 16, 2010


Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder

I really love this stuff, but it's a good news and bad news story.On me, the gardenia is very fleeting, which is a good thing, as only the mushroomy earthy part of it is perceptible.After about 5 minutes of that, my skin sort of sucks the jasmine out of it and spits it back at everybody who comes near me until I take a bath.I don't know how long it would last if I were not a frequent bather.The bad news is, it is way too expensive for me to buy.The good news is that I can almost duplicate the effect of it if I douse myself in enough Jasminum Grandiflorum essential oil.
May 16, 2010

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