Ipso Olfacto

fragrant musings


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Can’t Handle the Perfume? Buy the Lotion!

Aromatics lotion WEB

There are some fragrances that are just too much- especially those beauties from decades past. Heavy hitters like vintage classic Aromatics Elixir by clinique are wildly complex, overstuffed, and perhaps too bold for modern noses. Despite the current formulation likely being a tad tamer than back in the day, I still struggle with wearing this chypre powerhouse filled to the brim with oakmoss, woods, patchouli, and much more. Only one spray- a half spray even- is appropriate. Problem is, when you have to apply in pathetic little half-squirts, you don’t get to experience that satisfying, all-over feeling of the fragrance enveloping you. The solution? Buy the damn lotion!

I tend to forget about the body products for any given fragrance. I kinda get tunnel vision and all I can see is beautiful potions in pretty glass bottles. Lotion? Psh, my cetaphil is fine. Body wash? Eh, my dove soap works just as well. I dunno, to me, perfume is a luxurious indulgence, while lotion and body wash and such are toiletries- mere utilities. So, I’ve never really cared to spend my perfume-dollars on these products.

Buuuuut, the Aromatics Elixir body smoother is just… heaven, and worth every penny, in my opinion. It gives you that enchanted forest, chypre magic of the perfume, only in a much easier to digest form. Applied all over, it creates that perfect “cloud” of scent around you without it being overwhelming to you or anyone else. And it lingers as a skinscent for hours and hours. It’s such a unique aroma – I call it a “clean forest.” Earthy oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver, and various florals provide the “forest” while soapy aldehydes provide the “clean.” It’s definitely an old fashioned perfume, but I don’t mind. Sometimes old classics can be hard to grapple with, and I’m happy that I can indulge in this beauty all I want- while getting smooth, supple skin at the same time!

Aromatics cropv WEB

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Your Skin but Better: Bruno Acampora Musc

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I discovered Musc by Italian perfumer Bruno Acampora by accident.  It was one of those “wild cards” that I threw into a large sample order.  I was intrigued because YouTuber Katie Puckrik (come back to us, Katie!) said that it was her favorite perfume at the time- that it was a sexy, lived-in musk that smelled like “clean, slept-in sheets.”  So, I thought it was at least worth a sniff. And lo and behold, I fell in love!

What you first notice with Musc is that it’s, well, musty. It specifically opens with the distinct smell of mushrooms, fresh from the earth. Now, musty doesn’t really sound like something you’d exactly seek out from a perfume. But I find that dank earthiness to be addictive, in the same way that the sweaty, sweet earthiness of Mugler’s Angel sure sounds like it’d be disgusting, when in reality,  it’s what you’ve been craving all your life.

However, if you aren’t a fan of smelling like a mushroom forest, then you’re in luck. The musty-ness settles down considerably after 20 minutes or so, allowing dry, powdery sandalwood to emerge. There’s wisps of spicy clove and the tiniest hint of creamy vanilla. It smells a bit vintage, without feeling dated. But of course, all of this is wrapped up in a comforting, “lived-in” musk. This isn’t a clean laundry musk, nor is it a fluffy, candy musk that you find in a lot of generic gourmands nowadays. It’s human, but not dirty. And it effectively blurs the individual notes so that you’re left with a full, distinct scent.

I feel like Musc makes me smell like I’m staying in a cabin in the woods, and I’ve just taken a morning walk through the forest (maybe foraging for mushrooms!)  There’s morning dew on the vegetation, and in the air. So, I’ve been outside, but not exerted myself. Afterwards, I take a nap with the window open, letting the moist smells of the forest mingle with the ambient, cozy smells of home. Musc is how I think I’d smell after all that. Although it stays pretty close to the skin, Musc has great longevity, keeping me in my relaxing fantasy cabin all day long- and sometimes into the next morning!

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Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere- The Perfect Modern Update

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Updating a classic fragrance for the younger crowd is an intimidating venture on its own – let alone when it involves updating Chanel No.5, probably THE most iconic fragrance on earth. Now, I know Chanel released No.5 L’eau recently, but I think they already hit the nail on the head as far as updating No.5 with 2015’s Eau Premiere . L’eau is nice, but a bit too far removed from No.5- it ends up feeling like more of a neutered version than a cool, modern take. Eau Premiere is certainly lighter and easier to wear than the original No.5 EDT and EDP, but it still has that distinct No.5 DNA, as well as, most importantly, it’s attitude. 

Upon spraying Eau Premiere,  your nose is tickled by lemony, fizzy, aldehydes that are a genius modernization of the OG No.5’s often nostril-burning ones. Here, they feel buoyant and fresh, like a crisp glass of champagne. Buttery ylang-ylang eventually emerges, along with some light rose and Jasmine.  In the drydown, Eau Premiere skips out on the more dated notes of the original: the animalic civet, the musty oakmoss- and instead presents a slightly creamy base of sandalwood, vetiver, and vanilla. Think of Eau Premiere as the Konmari’d version of No.5- it gives you that classic smell, only streamlined (and probably more likely to “spark joy” with most of today’s noses.)

The magic of Eau Premiere is that it smells classic but not dated.  Let’s face it, No.5, although an icon, can smell kind if jarring to “the youths” of today – it just smells so blatantly from another era of perfumery. I mean, when was the last time we had a major mainstream release that was aldehyde-based, or that even contained civet? Eau Premiere is also incredibly versatile – it feels just as at home with a tee shirt and jeans as with a ballgown. So, even as a millennial-friendly update, Eau Premiere is still as chic and classic as ever.