Talk Some Scents Into Me – Summer 2016 Edition

Myrna Loy


In all honesty, I’ve felt a bit burnt out by perfume for the past couple of years. I mean, if this blog were a child, it’d be in 2nd grade. That’s a long time to talk about the same thing. I thought it may not even be “perfume” but life and personal obligations…stress. A lot has changed in my life during this time. We’ve moved across the country, we work different jobs and there’s all sorts of other things that have occurred that have me thinking about life differently. I actually thought my disinterest in perfume was perhaps something more clinical like depression. But, I realized it’s not me; it’s perfume. Despite all these life changes, I’m the most content I’ve been in ages. I have other hobbies that keep me engaged and that I enjoy. When I stepped back and observed my life, I’m like “Dude, you’re burnt out on perfume because perfume industry is crappier than ever”.

OK, I’m dramatic. But, really, I think the industry is more annoying than ever. Over the past few years, it seems like some really disinterested, borderline cynical “niche” brands have popped up overnight launching a collection of a dozen or more perfumes that are predictable. “Oh, we need a rose. Don’t forget the oud, that sells! We need a leather so people think we’re edgy. Oh, yeah, and a classic floral for those that don’t like to take chances. And don’t forget to slap a $375 price tag on it!“. There’s also the fact that niche is arguably no longer niche since brands have been bought up by large corporations like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal. Personally, I’ve noticed not much of a difference with the brands BUT I’ve felt this has encouraged some boring brands to launch in hopes they’ll sell their brand off for millions to one of these mega beauty corporations. Even the packaging of niche lines has becomeΒ more homogeneous (think like Byredo-esque minimalist labels and bottles). The inspirations all feel the same. it’s so predictable and uninspired.

And don’t get me started on all the luxury designer labels coming out with exclusive, expensive collections that really offer nothing new to the perfume world. I mean, elitism, that already existed and I thought we were over that. Apparently not.

I’ve been a long supporter of indie perfumes on my blog, but I’ve noticed that has changed as well. There’s a lot more brands than there were 7-8 years ago. I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I’ll try things and I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but I feel they may have rushed to market. On the flip, the indies that I’ve supported throughout the years like DSH and Providence Perfume Co. have only gotten better with time. These “tried and trued” brands have really been the only thing keeping me engaged during my “disinterested phase”.

Designer perfumes have been really boring but in all fairness, I haven’t tried to many over the past few years because they sounded so boring. There’s only so much pink pepper and ambroxan a person can stand in a lifetime. But, you guys, something has happened. I think designer perfume may have rekindled my perfume obsession. Can you believe that?

This past summer, designer perfumes have launched the sort of perfumes that I want to wear. These perfumes are pleasant but they’re also a lot more interesting than the Niche Nouveau that has been boring me to tears. They’re also more affordable which is so nice when everything seems to come with a $300+ price tag in Perfume World. It’s like niche became the new mainstream and now mainstream is starting to smell like it’s niche.

Currently, these are the perfumes that have me obsessed with perfume again. I want bottles of each of these.

summer perfume launches 2016


Tom Ford Orchid Soleil – This is such a love it or hate it perfume. It’s loud. It has things that don’t sit well with folks like mentholated white florals and sweetness. But, it sits well with me. Plus, I love the bottle. I can’t wait to wear this weird, sweet floral under layers of bulky coats and scarfs.

Thierry Mugler Angel Muse – My expectations for this one were low because I’m bitter and old and don’t want anyone messing up Angel. I think I may actually like Angel Muse better than the original! It’s very similar but has a noticeable dacquoise accord. Instead of that dark, earthy patchouli of Angel, there’s a dark, earthy vetiver. Hazlenut and pavlova goodness. Need a huge bottle.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Rose – Being that the other Elizabeth & James perfumes are good, I had high hopes for the new launches, Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon. They lived up to my expectations. Both are good but Nirvana Rose is much more of a Victoria perfume. It’s rose and blonde tobacco. I should get the big bottle because this is something I’m going to bathe in. Side note, Nirvana Bourbon is a great dry vanilla but I have that base already covered with fancy perfumes from Serge Lutens and Guerlain that I never wear. I’m not someone that really wears straight-up vanilla perfumes.

SJP Stash – I haven’t even tried this one yet but I know I want it. It sounds exactly like what Sarah Jessica Parker wanted Lovely to be. I love the idea of an affordable incense musk. I’m a sucker for the vintage-ish ad campaign and bottle too. I don’t like the name which makes me think of mustaches and/or smoking. The question now is do I get the EDP or try the perfume oil?

You can try to be a voice of reason and talk me out of buying these. In fact, my limited space will love you for that. But, I have to admit that infatuation feels good. I miss that fluttery fragrance feeling.

In the past three years, I’ve bought maybe 3 perfumes (excluding the ones for my Drugstore Divas series). The perfumes I bought weren’t new launches. They were older perfumes that have been on my list for ages (like Serge Lutens La Myrrhe). And then suddenly over a month in 2016, there’s 5 full-size bottles of perfumes that I want (the fifth being Jardins D’Écrivains George). And I have a feeling that Chanel No. 5 L’eau is going to be added to my wishlist.

What about you? What’s on your “To-Buy List”? Any new launches that you fancy?

*Myrna Loy pic from Somebody find me this dress.

42 thoughts on “Talk Some Scents Into Me – Summer 2016 Edition

  1. Niche perfumery is something I’ve basically written off, pretty much exclusively for price-related reasons. I just can’t (and don’t want to) spend $300+ on a bottle of perfume. There are a couple of exceptions on my “maybe someday” list, but… maybe, someday. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve found there are plenty of less-expensive offerings that smell great and are fun to wear. I’ve gotten great stuff at discounters. Things like Pink Sugar, Eau de Gaga, the 24 Gold and Silver, etc. A lot of the rollerball offerings at places like Sephora are a good compromise, too. I don’t really want 3 oz bottles, anyway, so I’m happy to pay $25 for a 0.25 oz rollerball that will probably last me years.

    To answer your question, I just got a rollerball of Stella McCartney POP and it’s fun. Maybe not a classic but it’s got tomato leaf and violet leaf and I love both those notes. As for other launches, BPAL’s annual autumn LEs are about to come out and I think that’s one of their consistently best collections, so I’m on the lookout for that. I’m also excited to try the Nirvana Rose & Bourbon scents. Nirvana Black didn’t quite work on me, but I love rose and vanilla so hopefully that will be more successful!

    1. I hate even trying that stuff because I feel like such a jerk praising something that costs that much. But, people can make that decision for themselves. For me, I have never paid that much for a bottle perfume because I won’t. And I’m happy with my cheaper stuff.

      There’s so much good stuff out there that is more affordable. That super-expensive stuff won’t make me 10x as more happy/content. I was in Sephora this week and couldn’t get over how most perfumes are available in rollerballs now in the $30 range. For me, this is ideal. Small bottles last me forever. There’s full-size bottles that I bathe in that I haven’t even put a dent in yet! I’m even surprised by how long I can make a sample last.

      I’ve only tried the scentstrip in a magazine of POP so I need to sniff it in peson. Tomato leaf sounds great!
      I’m so in the mood for some LE fall fragrances.
      I like Nirvana Black but it’s not for me. It smells better on other people than me. These two new ones are great. I like Bourbon but the Rose is more “me”. But, if someone were to give me Bourbon, I’d wear it!

      1. The BPAL fallen leaves note is seriously the best I’ve found yet, in any brand, and it’s always there in spades in their Halloweenies!

    2. If you like tomato leaf, then you might like the eau de parfum version of L’ombre dans l’eau by Diptyque, because that note in it really jumps out

  2. I have been dying to get your opinion on Nirvana Rose because it seemed so you.

    This might be the first real large bottle of perfume I’ll buy in ages. Right now I’m using the rollerball and i too want to bathe in it. I hope they come out with bodycare too so i can buy that. There’s something so dark and sexy about it but clean too. It reminds me of my Grandmother but in a good way. Like her dark brown marble bathroom that has a giant fancy bathtub with expensive soaps.

    I can’t stop smelling my wrists when i wear it.

    I’ll have to hunt down Stash too because I’m so intrigued by it!

    1. Well, you’re right. It is so me πŸ™‚

      I want body products in it too. That would be so amazing. Wait, something just hit me. I bet these will have gift sets if I hold off buying for a month, closer to the holidays….hmmmm.
      Anyway, it is “dark” but it’s also fresh. It’s a great fragrance and has soared above my expectations. I do like Bourbon as well but it’s less “me”. This Rose is something that I’m going to wear the heck out of.

      Your grandmother’s bathroom sounds like my dream bathroom.

      I keep telling myself I’ll go to an Ulta to sniff it but I hate going to Ulta in north New Jersey. They are a mess (and it’s a holiday weekend so I should avoid it). I’m better off ordering the rollerball online but I’m so curious about that oil since SJP is a big fan of those musk oils.

  3. I hear you! I am still buying perfume these days but all of them are older releases. I have also stopped following some perfume blogs since it’s only overly expensive crap they write about and the number of new perfume houses makes me feel dizzy πŸ˜›

    Really like your “it’s like niche became the new mainstream and now mainstream is starting to smell like it’s niche”. And no, I won’t stop you from buying the cheap thrills. It’s good that you feel excited about perfume again and now I am curious about them, too.

    1. There’s so many! It’s overwhelming. I go into Barneys or look at a site like Fragrantica and I’m like “Where did this come from?!”

      OK πŸ™‚ Thank you for encouraging me to explore my cheapies!

      Another thing that I didn’t mention is that I had more fun sniffing old drugstore perfumes this year than I have trying expensive new niche lines :S

  4. You’ve expressed so much of what I have been thinking over the past few years, down to the suspicion of clinical depression and boredom over Lego-constructed nu-niche lines. I guess we have been on the low arm of a wave, coming back up again. And I agree that some recent designer releases are more interesting than ever. Balenciaga B. has restored my faith in perfume or rather in the perfume market. Released in 2014, it has passed completely under the radar but it has recently become my ray of sunshine. Welcome back.

    1. I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling the same way. I know for me, I was getting no joy from perfume (and I used to) so I had to step back and evaluate other aspects of my life/mood. Even my doctor was like “You’ve outgrown a hobby. I don’t think it’s depression”. There’s been a lot of duds over the past few years.

      I actually really like Balenciaga B. It’s so fresh but not in a boring way that we associate with a lot of designer releases. I actually bought my mother the rollerball (she wanted something to travel with) because she loves it too. She used to wear things like Jessica McClintock and Molinard Muguet so Balenciaga B. is the perfect “upgrade”. Now I want a bottle πŸ˜‰

  5. Ahh, I went to Twisted Lily over the summer and I was SO bored. Every “edgy” niche line was totally just delivering up the niche cliches: woody, boozy, the rose, the oud, like you say. It was like all “expensive aromachemical” smell. I didn’t even ask for samples of anything. I left and don’t remember anything I tried.

    Almost all my bottle purchases this year were older bottles of “old lady” scents like Heure Exquise, Opium, Knowing, 24 Faubourg….I just wanted to smell like an old lady this year. But actually I do want to try all the mainstream scents you mentioned. Been meaning to make a Sephora/department store type trip.

    1. There’s been a batch of really, really predictable lines.

      My favorites to wear are the “old” perfumes: Cinnabar, Opium, Cristalle, Aliage….

  6. I have, of course, a wishlist that has been building for ages and things fall off and jump back on depending on my mood. Most of the niche stuff I’ve tried lately has been either awful or just okay, but there have been a few nice surprises. I think I’m going to go ahead and buy a bottle of Taklamakan. It’s not priced astronomically, lasts forever, and would mean that Coromandel and Korrigan could be moved way down the list because it reminds me of my favorite aspects of both, only better.
    I haven’t been to Ulta or Sephora in ages and the last time I was in either, all the testers were empty or missing sprayers. I am looking forward to the new No. 5, out of curiosity, so might have to try a slow day and go in determined to get samples from the SAs.

    1. Oh, I need to try that!

      I actually hate going to those stores, especially in North NJ because they are a mess. Everything is out of stock, empty testers, etc. The Sephoras in Manhattan are usually much, much better.

      I need to figure out when the new No. 5 comes to the US. I usually like what Chanel offers so I’m hopeful.

  7. I echo everything you said at the start. Lately I just try things I have easy access to, are easy to wear and come in small sizes. All of that adds up to Ulta/Sephora/Nordstrom only. The only exception was a sample order I placed to Indigo Perfumery so I could try Dilettante and a few other things. I was very pleased that all the samples were sprayers with plenty of juice to wear on multiple occasions.

    Thoughts on your wishlist:
    1. Stash – a scent strip arrived in the mail and I can tell it’s a powerhouse. Most people will find it very masculine. It reminded me of the ‘feel’ of Tom Ford Oud Wood. I left the strip sitting on my dresser and the next day, did that whole ‘double-take, sniff the air, what smells so good??’ thing. I’m definitely excited to try it.
    2. I *really* want to try both of the E&J too. I like Black, but sometimes wish it had a touch more something. And the bottles are gorgeous.
    3. Muse – also, via a scent strip, it smells wonderful, much more agreeable to me than the original (which I can handle once a year).
    If all 4 smell good, rollerballs are in my future, yay!

    1. OK, now Dilettante is perfect and I feel bad for excluding it. But, otherwise it’s been hard to even find anything “good” to talk about it with these new launches.

      1. If I can get something like Oud Wood at an Ulta price, I’m going to be very happy. I still haven’t tried it πŸ™‚
      2. I like Black but it isn’t for me (smells better on others). I do like the body products though, I guess because they benefit from some layering?
      3. I know! I actually think it’s better than the original (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I like Angel but I don’t wear it very much (1-3 times a year). But, I see myself wearing something like Muse frequently in the winter. It’s not as “loud” and something about it seems “rounder”/softer.

  8. I fell out of love with perfume for a bit as well and it was actually freeing. Then I decided to sell a bunch of them on eBay and of course I would fall back in love with a particular scent. So now I’m into perfume again. (The love affair does not extend to eBay. Apparently the saying “Hell is other people” is true even online.) But I guess that’s how it goes.

    I do have the tom ford one because I love a loud white floral. I also have Angel muse because the original is too heavy for me and I was surprised by how much I like this one. The e+j scents are both likable but I wish the vanilla bourbon would last long/have a greater silage. The rose one is nice, too but it turns to rose and bandaid on me, which is actually kind of interesting. I’m also curious about stash. I did buy the newer moschino because of the cute “cleaner” bottle. This is how I have too many perfumes and the cycle continues!

    Also, to echo Lani, I love what Bpal offers. I’m fortunate to live close to the the original location and I love going to the full moon events. I’m always shocked by how much work Elizabeth and crew do for each season and Autumn is especially heavy. So many good smells! I do love autumn in general, though! I had my first pumpkin spiced latte today and I don’t care if that makes me a basic bitch!

    1. Oh yeah, I also have my autumn/Halloween Haus of Gloi scents in the mail, too. And, lord help me, I got a few pumpkin scented soaps from bath and body works earlier today. I might have a problem…

      1. So, I’ve never really been into “pumpkin spice” scents but omg, right now that’s all I want. I want spicy scents. I think that has to do in part with how I’ve felt like this summer was never ending. I want to move on!

        I’m actually going to stop by a B&BW today to pick up some novelty pumpkin-y stuff.

        1. For real! I think everyone is like fuck this heat, bring on fall! There is something so comforting about pumpkin pie/autumnal smells. I can’t wait to start baking! And b&bw definitely hits the spot sometimes. Cheap thrills!

    2. Oh gosh, eBay can bring out some real difficult people…one more reason why I haven’t tried to sell off my collection (the other being that I’m lazy).

      When I tried Bourbon, I was surprised by how light it is. I didn’t know if it was because I had tried it on a super hot day or what.

      Oh, that Moschino! Yes, that’s another I need to try. That bottle is so much fun and “So Moschino!”

      It must be awesome to be able to sniff BPAL in person. My issue is that there are so many that I get overwhelmed. I need to remember that I can just ask for your suggestions πŸ™‚

      Girl, I was just talking about how this pumpkin spice “shaming” needs to stop. If something is delicious, it’s delicious, right? Like are we going to make fun of people for liking chocolate next? If liking delicious things makes one a basic bitch, then sign me up.

      1. Right? Good food is good food. Who doesn’t want delicious things?! Ooh, I let you know about bpal scents if you let me know how gorgeous the northeast is in fall. Just think of all that foliage! Is this a weird thing to be excited about? I live is SoCal so we don’t get seasons like everyone else does :/ Any plans to visit Salem?

        1. I had no idea I’d be so into the 4 seasons, but I am. In fact, I see myself living in a place like SoCal and then I’m like “But, there’s no seasons!”.

          Yes! I have family coming up from the bayou and we’re hitting up Salem πŸ™‚

  9. I think I’m at that phase in my life where I know what I like and just want more of the same hahaha spring/summer – fruity/beachy/floral, autumn/winter – earthy/dirty/gourmands. Angel Muse sounds like something I might want to sniff πŸ™‚

    1. Nothing wrong with that! When I’m not trying new stuff, I wear the same ‘ole things and I’m fine with that.

      I can see it being something that you may like πŸ™‚ I’m surprised by how much I love it.

  10. I briefly sniffed Stash yesterday at Ulta. I was already wearing something else so couldn’t try it on skin. It was okay on paper but honestly, I’ll be shocked if it does well. It’s a far cry from the fruity crap that people still seem to be buying. I could see perfume people loving it but not necessarily the average Ulta shopper. Unless we are nearing the time when people are wanting something a bit different and the pendulum is starting to swing away from the sweet stuff.
    I’ve been seeking out cheap stuff because I’m sick of the inflated price tags on the niche stuff too. It’s gotten ridiculous. I also can’t stand the fact that some of these niche perfumers actually think their perfumes are worth that money. Like you, I think a lot of them are rushed to market and smell somewhat unfinished. Although I guess what I see as unfinished, they call it edgy, and innovative.

    1. I can’t wait to see how it does too. I feel like (and I haven’t sniffed it) that this was what she wanted Lovely to be but it was deemed too much of a risk. So then Lovely was made and it was a hit. I’m sort of hopeful that people’s tastes are changing/expanding. I think people may be ready for something “different”. It has been like 15 years of the same fruity-floral nonsense. But, then again, maybe it’s been 15 years of that stuff because that’s what people genuinely want :S

      “Like you, I think a lot of them are rushed to market and smell somewhat unfinished. Although I guess what I see as unfinished, they call it edgy, and innovative.” <- Singing praise to this statement because EXACTLY how I have felt about a few brands. I see it as unfinished but they are marketing that "offness" as edgy and like I'm old, unhip and out of the loop.

  11. I think the mainstream fragrance sector has been the best it has been in a long time. I have reviewed more this year than ever before. All four of the ones you’ve featured are great examples of why this is true. Although I am a Nirvana Bourbon guy because I can never have enough vanilla. One thing I am hopeful for is this helps rekindle a desire I the general consumer to stop and try fragrance again.

    1. Great point. I hope the more accessible perfumes get people into fragrance. I feel that these newer designer scents are actually great “gateway” scents in that they are different. It may pressure some of those niche brands to step up their game πŸ˜‰

      You know what? You’ve also inspired me to get David to wear Bourbon and see how it wears on him.

  12. I tried the Nirvana Bourbon last week and it smelled amazing at first and dried down to “heavy vanilla” on me – so disappointing! I’m going to give the Rose a chance. Your reviews of the Orchid Soleil have me super excited for this!

    1. I think Bourbon will do well for them since people tend to like vanilla. And as far as vanilla goes, at least it doesn’t have that plastic-y thing going on!

      Orchid Soleil is a love it or hate it one. Still worth trying even if you end up hating it πŸ˜‰

  13. Hi Victoria,
    You’ve echoed my own feelings exactly!
    Odiferess has been redundant since spring, partly due to an unfeasibly stressful house purchase, a change of job and general chaos. But primarily, boredom and disillusion. Your analysis of the niche bandwagon and the extraordinary price hike ‘exclusives’ from mainstream brands is spot on.
    My scents of the summer have been Clarin’s Eau Dynamisante and Bottega Veneta EDP, neither of which market themselves as exclusive in any way but are each characterful, unique and not led by familiar note trends. I adore them.
    I really hope my enthusiasm revives swiflty and I feel that you might have inspired me to put fingers to keyboard. There is still hope!

    1. I didn’t realize you were going through so many stressful events all at once. I wish you luck!

      My daily wear is so gosh darn boring. It’s stuff like Eau Dynamisante πŸ˜‰ And I only jokingly call it boring because so much new, expensive stuff is arguably more boring!

  14. Haha, I’ve purchased about 3 or 4 discovery sets over the past year, and the only thing I’ve discovered is that I’m “meh” on everything.
    Even Stash left me nonplussed. I hadn’t heard anything about it when I saw it at Ulta last week, I sprayed, walked around the store, and then promptly forgot about it until I saw you tweet something about it recently.Maybe I didn’t give it enough consideration, but I can tell you that without any prior priming, it did not stand out to me. Full disclosure: I felt the same way about Lovely,
    Only 2 scents have caught my attention lately
    1. Clean Reserve Amber Saffron
    2. Hermes Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate

    I’ve used up samples of each of them, however, I realize that I have to budget for all the Les Exclusif bottles that I have to buy now that Chanel is going to discontinue them. So I think all the others are going to have to take a back seat until I’ve sorted that out.

    1. It’s been a real dry spell for me.

      Regarding Stash, which I still haven’t tried, I sort of wonder if it is going to suffer from seeming generic because a lot of people have done that sort of idea since she first had it (like that scent Boyfriend). I wasn’t a fan of Lovely at all at first. I’m a new recruit to it. Covet was awesome though.

      I’m stocked on all the Exclusifs that I wear. I’m actually intrigued with the new ones being EDP because that’s basically what I wanted the Exclusifs to be anyway. I’m naive and optimistic and hope that the EDPs will be even better.

  15. Myrna Loy!

    Formerly Chickenfreak, just drifting in mostly to say howdy. I’ve drifted away from perfume obsession….mostly. I have bought several bottles this year, but they’re all almost nostalgia purchases–things that I wanted when I was really into the stuff, and now have finally gotten around to buying. Caron Alpona, for example.

    My obsessive hobby shopping these days is about…vegetable seeds. Somehow, vegetable gardening is satisfying in a way that perfume stopped being.

    1. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      Really there’s no reason to even try new if you have a backlog of wants like I do. Stuff like Caron Alpona is going to be better than anything new coming from that house or any others.

      I love that you moved on to a new hobby, a rewarding hobby. I’m someone that kills everything I try to grow, but I can see how gardening can be so satisfying. Perfume feels so focused around consumption and there’s nothing “to show” for it (unless you are attempting to make your own). I’ve enjoyed weaving and language learning so much because I feel I have produced something from my time spent doing these hobbies. And yes, I went through a phase of buying fancy textiles/yarn.

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