Some days I retreat to a quiet room and read George Sand's Histoire de ma vie; other days I kick back with a two-pound Italian Vogue and look at the pictures. Some days I turn out the lights and get wrapped up in a Mahler symphony. Other days I get just as excited listening to Mama Cass sing Make Your Own Kind of Music. Some days I dress up: suit, tie, cufflinks, the works. Other days, shorts and sandals suffice. This post is dedicated to "other days" — days when you want to ignore the landmarks (Guerlain Mitsouko), avoid the trouble-makers (Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan, Caron Yatagan), shun the ‘high end’ (Amouage Jubilation XXV) and wear a perfume that’s SIMPLE, casual, “quaint” even, a perfume that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Possets Perfume Lamp Black & Adamus
Recently, when I lamented the lack of black tea fragrances on the market, a Now Smell This commenter recommended Possets Perfume High Tea. I hadn’t tried ANY Possets perfumes so I placed a large sample order. High Tea is a nice “black-tea-with-lemon-and-sugar” cologne (it gets an ‘honorable mention’ here; I’d love to have a candle scented with this perfume) but two other Possets fragrances caught my “nose”: Lamp Black and Adamus.
Lamp Black makes me laugh; it’s very Serge Lutens-ish (even the name), but only $10! Lamp Black is a dark, syrupy-sweet (on the verge of “edible”), spice-musk Oriental perfume. As I smell Lamp Black I detect hints of ‘bright’ amber, vanilla, perhaps some cardamom, and an undercurrent of cumin; it’s a tad ‘jammy’ at first but smells like “liquid powder” by the end of its development. Lamp Black’s listed ingredients are vague: black tea, spices and musk. It’s NICE! If it’s not quite ‘advanced’ enough for your tastes/nostrils give it to the little perfumista/perfumisto-in-training at your home to encourage good perfume habits in the future.
Adamus contains hay, tobacco flower and moss; it smells lovely and more expensive than its $10 price tag. This scent is almost pure golden “hay” with a bit of smooth moss and a touch of tobacco leaf. When I wear Adamus, I get into an “autumn” state of mind.
Possets perfumes are sold in oil formulations; I usually don’t like to wear perfume oils, but these are fine thanks to quick absorption (no tell-tale shine on skin). The lasting power for Lamp Black and Adamus is good.
Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom
Pacifica's Malibu Lemon Blossom has been a favorite of mine during Seattle’s scalding summer (a summer that has been so hot my LOTUS bloomed!) Malibu Lemon Blossom contains litsea cubeba, lemon and lemon blossom. The fragrance starts off with lemon peel and lemon juice notes and then presents flowers: citrus blossom and litsea cubeba blossom (litsea cubeba is a member of the laurel family). The floral notes are sharp and refreshing, and I’m surprised at how true the litsea cubeba note is — I remember smelling that delightful aroma each spring in Los Angeles. At night, during blossoming time, I’d walk my dog, Diego, to a park near my home where litsea cubeba grew, and we’d both stop under litsea cubeba trees and sniff the heavily (and heavenly) scented air.
Malibu Lemon Blossom fades on skin after 4 hours so you’ll need to reapply at least once during the day. A 29 ml Malibu Lemon Blossom spray perfume is $22. For buying information, see the listing for Pacifica under Perfume Houses.
(Note: if you love a particular Pacifica soap or lotion fragrance and think the perfume version of that scent will smell the same — beware. Pacifica Sandalwood soap is a favorite of mine but the Sandalwood body cream and perfume don’t smell like the soap; ditto with Tunisian Jasmine.)
Speziali Fiorentini Tè Nero (Black Tea)
I’ve been using Speziali Fiorentini soaps for a couple of years but just got around to buying their Black Tea/Tè Nero fragrance (after a few gentle nudges from March at Perfume Posse). There are two formulations of this perfume: Speziali Fiorentini Black Tea Body Mist Fragrance/Acqua Vivificante al Profumo di Tè Nero (200 ml/$28) and Speziali Fiorentini Black Tea/Tè Nero Eau de Parfum (50 ml/$38).
The Black Tea Body Mist is an invigorating, straightforward black tea fragrance that lasts all of 90 seconds on my skin. It’s great for a 'hose-down' after a shower in hot weather and also wonderful to spray on sheets/pillowcases before bed. Black Tea Eau de Parfum is more complex with citrus and tea top notes, a clean leather-tinged tea note in mid-development, and a vanillic-benzoin accord, a dab of patchouli and powdery musk in the base. I enjoy wearing Black Tea Eau de Parfum; it has very good lasting power (but minimal sillage). Now, I want to try other fragrances from Speziali Fiorentini.
Apart from samples and discount buys, 2009 has been a very frugal year for me and fragrance. I’m saving my money for autumn releases that seem GUARANTEED to appeal to me. Please, share your own “cheap thrill” fragrances; they fit in perfectly with the current economic climate, don’t they?
Note: unless otherwise noted, all images via flickr (Some Rights Reserved): Top left: Dollar Close UP (by shyb); top right: green bottle image (by ginnerobot); Youth from Antikythera (by agelakis); Lemon Trio image at Wikimedia Commons; and Speziali Fiorentini Black Tea Perfume bottle photo by the author.