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Perfume reviews of this quarter so far

In the company of my lovely young cousin Sally ("young" for me now includes people in their 20s), I recently procured a bunch of samples from Blackbird Apothecary here in Seattle. Following are my notes upon them all, should you be curious.

Montale White Aoud: When I see "aoud" (or "oud" as it's often spelled), I expect spices and exotic woodsiness. Therefore upon spraying this one on, without having read anything about the notes, I went, "Whoa! Rose! Didn't expect that." It is however a Halloweenish, exotic rose--some eerie darkness and plenty of spiciness under it. Reminds me of something Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab would create. Am not sure yet I'd go for a full bottle, but I'm enjoying wearing the sample.

Montale Full Incense: Yep, full Catholic-mass incense. Almost identical to Comme des Garçons Incense Avignon--I even put them each on, one on each arm, and tried them side by side, and still could barely tell a difference. Which is to say, I love them both and will probably have to decide which one to get a full bottle of, one of these days. I do get the feeling Full Incense lasts longer and has more "throw," while Avignon costs less (accordingly, perhaps). It's a tough choice.

Comme des Garçons Play Green: Supposedly it's got all kinds of "green" notes such as basil, lime, juniper, and more, but I get almost totally spearmint and vetiver. And it's a pretty good mix actually. The vetiver doesn't go that strange burnt-firework-smoke place on me that vetiver sometimes does; the mint keeps it in check and makes it fresh. Meanwhile, the vetiver does deepen and darken the mint enough that it's more mysterious and interesting than simply "summer and gum." Really good for when I'm in a mint mood.

Blood Concept AB: Hmm. There's a freshness throughout which is interesting and appealing. At the beginning I caught a decent apricot-like smell, and later on hints of an incense-like smell, both of which were surprising. But overall I couldn't shake the cool/metallic note that dominated, and made me think I'd probably not wear this on a regular basis. 

Comme des Garçons Incense Ouarzazate: From its notes and description I ought to love it, but...I don't. It doesn't come across as authentic enough. It reminds me of things like those berry-scented cheap incenses that don't actually smell like berries, or "sandalwood"-scented soaps that don't actually smell like sandalwood. If your chemistry mixes with it better than mine, I can see how it'd be mystical and exotic, but it isn't mixing with mine. I do love Incense Avignon, though, and want to try the others in the Incense series to see how they compare.

Comme des Garçons Red Sequoia: An initial blast of hairspray and Sharpie marker settles into rather pleasant fresh-cut woods. But the cosmetic sweetness sticks around too much for me, making it feel false rather than natural. I do love my cedar scents, but on this I'll pass.

Meanwhile, I also obtained these two from L'Occitane's online site:

L'Occitane Cedar (labelled Cèdre de l'Atlas on the bottle): As befits its very green-dyed juice, this scent is as green as cedar can be and still be called cedar. It's like the whole living tree, boughs and all, with some of the surrounding green forest too, rather than the dry wood chips or pencil shavings you may expect from a cedar. It reminds me almost of Diptyque Philosykos, another full-tree perfume, though that one is the full fig tree experience while this is the full cedar tree. In any case, I love cedar whether dry or green, and this is a lovely perfume. Easy to wear for either men or women, and fresh while still being woody and sexy.

L'Occitane Labdanum (Labdanum de Seville, on the bottle): I love the rockrose/cistus shrub's scent, which is called labdanum in the perfume world, and I had to buy this after smelling a friend's bottle of it. It doesn't actually resemble the shrub too closely, but it *feels* similar to the scent wafting off a rockrose's sticky leaves: resinous, warm, dry, and sweet, all in an attractive balance. As with the other L'Occitane scents I've smelled so far, it's very approachable and wearable, not too crazy or daring. But it's pretty enough that people have complimented me while I'm wearing it. A keeper.

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