Tag Archives: black pepper

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

10 Apr

Have you ever inflated a pair of plastic water wings, an inner-tube, or a kiddie pool using just the air from your lungs. This is the scent of the opening to Vetiver Dance.

Vetiver Dance opens with sharp green and plastic notes, along with black pepper and big fat vetiver. There is something very synthetic and almost toxic mingling with the earth, spice, and warm greens in the opening.

The plastic-smelling note is very familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on it. It reminds me of the air trapped inside of a bath toy that is too old and starting to deteriorate.

Once Vetiver Dance starts to calm down, lilly of the valley emerges and weaves through the green, plastic, and earth. At this point it has become considerably less peppery and sharp.

The dry down is the most redeeming part of Vetiver Dance. It reminds me a little of walking down a path through the woods after the rain. There are wet earth notes, cedar, and warm green notes as well as a bit of sunlight peeking through the clouds. The plastic is no longer present.The dry down is very pleasant. Projection is pretty good, longevity is excellent. It feels like a very Summery fragrance to me.

Is it worth all of that sharp artificial (albeit interesting) tumult for the beautiful warm, earthy green dry down? I’ll leave that up to you, but personally, I would go with Grey Flannel or Hermes’s Eau de Gentiane Blanche if I wanted a unisex-type, flowery, verdant bomb of a fragrance. I could do without that half-inflated kiddie pool.

Note: “interesting” and “beautiful” are not opposed to one another in my mind, but sometimes they can both be present without being equivalent. In the case of Vetiver Dance, it’s interesting qualities do not highlight its beauty for me.

Serge Lutens La fille de Berlin

2 Apr

People have compared La fille de Berlin to Red Roses by Jo Malone, and I do see some similarities in the presentation of rose, however there is much more sweetness and subtlety in the nuances of La fille de Berlin. I cant help but think it is in an entirely different arena, though if you enjoy one, you may very well appreciate the other.

Jo Malone’s Red Roses is straight, fresh, beautifully unadorned, robust and voluptuous deep red roses along with their crisp, wet, green stems and leaves. Just breathtaking. Now take those roses, tenderly envelop them in a gauzy black shroud, and you have La fille de Berlin.

Like JM’s Red Roses, La fille de Berlin demonstrates a certain clarity of vision within the rose genre and not just because it’s a soliflore, but because it gives me a sense of the heft and the texture of the flower; I can envision the appearance of the particular rose I am smelling. For this reason it is a unique and admirable fragrance which projects very well and sticks around on my skin for quite a while. The warmth of the pepper and sweetness in the roses make it an ideal fragrance for the bone-chilling, damp Spring morning when one wishes it would just be nice out already!

The amount of pepper in this is perfectly calculated. Just enough to set off the features of the rose: bright red petals against an off-black background. Much gratitude to Serge Lutens for my sample.

As it dries down, it does take on a sweet earthy/powdery quality and a good deal of the clarity is lost; I feel like the rose is naturally decomposing into some sort of powdery rose compost, though I would not go so far as to call it musty. The emergence of the powder is surprising and I could do without it (its absence in Red Roses is one of the many reasons it’s so gorgeous), but I will tolerate the powder here in exchange for the addition of pepper, which the Jo Malone rose is lacking. A soliflore depicted as an entire scene, suitable for both male and female rose lovers. Very well done.

LURK AS01

12 Mar

AS01 by LURK is a spicy hot rose fragrance with a dry woody base.


AS 01 starts with a cold green natural smelling rose note, which heats up quickly on my skin with dry/hot spices. The spices are not throat-tingling; they are in excellent proportion to the rose. The tuberose here is barely there, just enough to give the cold rose a tiny bit of rounded sweetness. Light, fresh cedar grounds the composition, and prevents the acidity of the rose from giving me indigestion. Thank you Lurk, for the beautiful sample.

AS 01 is very well balanced with all the notes surrounding the cold rose, to heat it, sweeten it, and plant it on the ground. Projection and longevity are pretty poor as it is an all-natural fragrance, and it does have an essential oil mixture quality.


AS01 is a beautiful middle-aged woman in a bad mood, sitting alone at a cafe. The young waiter approaches her table to refill her water but when she looks up at him, he is so moved by her beauty, that he just stares at her motionless. This amuses her and for the first time that day, her fiery red painted lips form a slight smile.

Bond No 9 I Love New York for All

10 Mar

I ❤ New York for All by Bond No 9 is smooth black leather gloves, cupping a generous handful of artificially flavored cocoa cereal with a dusting of instant coffee powder and black pepper. I wonder what the corn syrup content of this stuff is… or maybe they use Stevia.

There are slightly flowery and milky elements as well in the opening, though the above description pretty much sums it up for me.

When I smelled it on a test strip, my first thought was, “cinnamon toast!” because of the peppery aspect of the cocoa/coffee note, and the butteryness of the entire composition.

Now that I am experiencing its development on my skin, I can see that it is just as much a vanilla oriental as it is a gourmand. I do not want to eat this leather-gloved hand overflowing with unconventionally dressed chocolate cereal. I don’t entirely mind it either. It is very well blended but retains good note separation, and the vanilla/coffee milk becomes more prominent as it dries down.

The subtle floral in it keeps it fresh, and the milkiness keeps it from being too loud. The projection and longevity are very good. This would probably cling to clothing forever if applied directly to it.

I still feel like there is some cinnamon in there…

I’ll get over it.

Tom Ford Noir

27 Feb

Tom Ford Noir is the scent of being an outsider. It is walking in steel-toe leather boots through an industrial park where large gates and fences prevent you from seeing which materials are being stored and manufactured.

It is heat rising off the tracks as you wait for the commuter train to pick you up in Newark.

It’s Summer Sun on a tar roof of a house across the street from an Exxon Mobile refinery sans the sulfur.

It’s masculine in a Werner Herzog kind of way, which is not to say he would wear it, (I don’t think he would), but he might make a movie about a place that smelled from it.

It is salty, oily, black rubber (maybe a dark purple that looks black) with chemical heat and the sparkle of minerals. It has a sweetness that is suspicious, like an otherworldly stench floating down-wind from a factory.

It has fantastic projection and lasts forever. In fact, it will probably still be here long after we are all gone. It’s almost a sentimental fragrance in that way.

It’s memorable and surreal, like Winter train tracks in the distance, that lead to a depressed town in Connecticut, where once there was a thriving port, but now there is only the Coast Guard,a few dive bars, and a nuclear sub base.

LURK TBP V1

21 Feb

Thank you so much Lurk, for the gorgeous sample.
When I hold the test vial of TBP V1 to my nose, the first words that come to mind are: sour elixir.

TBP V1 is mysterious and grabs my attention. It slowly motions to me with one finger to “come closer…”
On first application, it is a spicy, dry balsamic floral, a powdery dry rose with a fluid black pepper opening.

TBP V1 is a quiet, metamorphic fragrance. It opens with black pepper stripped of its antagonistic properties. The muted florals fuse together with the pepper to create a tea-like harmony.

TBP V1 is a goodbye hug from the mother of my host family in Ankara. As I sink my nose into the fabric on her shoulder, I can smell the whole room, and the essence of my time there.

It contains the quality of a deep red rose that has dried, causing the petals to appear a cool matte burgundy that is almost black.

The dry down is a cool, dusty burgundy hue, more powdery than before, slightly bitter with a rose note, and something paler like peony, with twigs and leaves and some lingering spice. TBP V1 is a very natural interpretation of a spicy, dry balsamic floral.

Sillage is average, and longevity is quite good for an all-natural perfume. I honestly think it deserves some time to fully experience and appreciate, but these are my first impressions.

Tasha Pilot-Slow

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