Patch Test Bunny reporting for duty! 2011 Summer of Patchouli Love.

I am so totally loving being a Patch Test Bunny! Not only am I getting to try some amazing natural perfumes, but I'm falling in love with patchouli all over again!

I'm going to review most of the scents here, but first I want to tell you which I've selected as my Top Three!

Remember: each Patch Test Bunny (bloggers, experts, famous friends) got 13 un-numbered samples of natural perfumes constructed around a minimum of 25% patchouli. Each perfume is 100% natural. Otherwise, it was up to each perfumer to decide where to go with their scent. Some buried the patch in light, bright florals, while others reveled in the patchouli and honored its darker side. 

In my opinion, each and every one is bottle-worthy (no, really!), but I had to pick 3 favorites. They were...

Here are a few notes about them:

#11 - My first place choice, though it was an intense struggle to choose. This one opens strong and tough, but then pulls me in close and hugs me, just like I like it! I didn't immediately notice the leathery aspect until Nathan Branch (one of my imaginary BFFs) pointed out, but indeed there is a nuance of leather. I enjoy a bit of badass in my perfumes, so this doesn't surprise me too much. But I also love the wafts of florals and mellow patch. I'm really diverse and this scent works for all of my sides!

#2 - I love the meatiness of this one. Not like a side of beef. More like deep and complex. Over time a bit of a smoky vibe starts to come out, which adds to the complexity, richness and beauty of the scent. There is a little bit of a flirtation with the gourmand here - something vanilla? Maybe chocolate? Is that anise? Wait, it's gone. I can't wait to read the notes in this one - you know my baby, newbie nose isn't great at this game!

#3 - You know how sheer curtains catch in the breeze, billowing out nice and full and then pulling back in, tight? That's kind of how this perfume moves. It's light much of the time, with a hidden darker base tinged with spices. There's coconut in there, I'm sure of it, and even though I wouldn't call this "tropical" its lightness and simply pretty presence is going to be with me at the beach on vacation!

One thing all of my top choices have is noticeable patchouli. Well, there's 25% in there, right? Not so fast! Not all of the 13 placed the patchouli out there, front and center. Some had hidden the patchouli pretty well, which is fine, but I love the patch and want to smell it.

Most of the testers have returned their ballots and many have shared some thoughts on the scents they enjoyed most. As soon as all of the votes are in, Monica will announce the three winners (most overall votes) and share the scent breakdowns. Then we can all buy the ones we love, just in time for late Summer-early Fall (my favorite time to wear patchouli).

Stay tuned for more Summer of Patchouli Love.

Peace, Love and Patchouli (PLAP)!
* jen

Get up-to-speed on all of the PLAP happenings here, on Perfume Pharmer.

Got info? No. 4711 Geranium Rose Eau De Cologne Mystery...

A few of you may have seen me post about this on Facebook a few weeks back. This adorable bottle of No. 4711 Geranium Rose Eau de Cologne came home with my husband one day. I had never heard of it before. Apparently, neither had anyone I talked to. Well, turns out even the 4711 company knows nothing about it!  Here's what they told me...

"XXXXX XXXXXX forwarded me your e-mail. Unfortunately we do not have any information on the Geranium-Rose series. We only know that there also was a soap under that name and that it probably dates from the mid 1960s. But I could not find it in any of the catalogues or price lists. "

How cool, odd, and awesome is that? I have a truly rare bottle of perfume! And completely on accident. I knew it was atypical when he called me and read the bottle label to me. "Buy!" I yelled, like a Wallstreet trader. $2 later, it was ours.

Have any of you ever heard of it? Had a neat vintage find?

PS: How does it smell? Like burning acetone at first, followed by a sweet lemon-rose. It's short-lived, as I expected. Very pretty and sweet.

A short review, perhaps to get me out of my slump. Perfume Review: #6 Mandarin and Ginger Lily (Trish McEvoy)

original image via

Quick Recipe:
Spinach + slices of strawberries +
a handful of blueberries +
some mandarin oranges + almonds +
balsamic vinegar=
Refreshing Summer Salad

I have An Issue with mandarin oranges. I love them. Clementines are lovely, of course, but there's something about the uber-juicy mandarin orange slices "fresh" from a can. Especially if those slices are chilled... Mmmmm.


image is my own
Naturally, citrus is a go-to refreshing zing in hot weather (hello, lemonade?!). Not just limited to gustatory chilling, citrus is utilized in a ton of Fresh, Light, and cologne-style scents.

Exhibit A: #6 Mandarin and Ginger Lily. This perfume is part of the line of scents by makeup guru Trish McEvoy (she of the clever makeup binder). It's not new, but new-to-me.

My initial thoughts? I really, really want to love this! I would love a dozen fresh, light citrus scents based on lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, and mandarin.

I know citrus burns off quickly, relegating its use to top notes. I'm at peace with that (for now).

I spritz Mandarin & Ginger Lily with wild abandon every time, and it smells like everything I'd hoped! Zingy! Clean! Juicy! Mandarintastic!

One that delightful mandarin chill disappears, we're at the Ginger Lily phase, one assumes. What does Ginger Lily smell like? I had pondered this question as I looked at the (exquisite!) bottle the first time.

Lily, Ginger

Well, if anyone knows, please tell me. On me (everyone?) the mandarin is followed by the distinct scent of... Nothing.

Once the zip is gone, I get zilch. Air. Skin. Not a "skin scent", friends: skin. Mine. Nuthin' but nothing.

I'll still burn through this bottle, though, using Mandarin and Ginger Lily as a cologne-style freshener. Each spritz and happy mandarin snuffling is laced with a twinge o' sadness, however, because I'm just left wanting more.

Do you have a favorite citrus? Citrus perfume? Do you have any idea what a ginger lily smells like? Have you tried any of Trish's other scents (or this one)? Do you keep your makeup in a binder? Why are canned mandarin oranges so damned good?

Disclosure: This perfume was provided -for consideration only- as a press sample.
That fact did not influence me at all when writing or forming my opinion.

A rut?

When I go to a restaurant, I have a tendency to order the same dish over and over. When I find a shirt I like -and this is especially true with pants and jeans!- I buy several colors.  I know which beach I like for Summer vacation and I don't want to try new ones, thank you very much.

On the other hand, I'm always up to try a new restaurant,  travel to a new place, or try something new.* I'm not shy, not afraid of strangers or strange places, and not so self-centered as to say that things familiar to me are the only way to do things.

But I do like my comfort. The familiar. When I enjoy something, I like to snuggle into it and revel.

Lately, I've been in a perfume rut. I think the tumbleweeds blowing through this blog are a pretty substantial hint that perhaps I am not feeling inspired. So... I thought I'd write about it!

As a budding perfumista I have ordered aproximately one bajillion perfume samples. One vial often leads to the next, like one web page takes you somewhere new, then another, and another...  The blogs stir my curiousity, too. A rave review, and evocative description, even a flaming rant can all send me off in search of a sniff.

I'm brave. I'm curious. I'm pretty fearless about trying new samples (but haven't had the nerve for Secretions Manifique, yet!).

But then -is it olfactory self-preservation against the onslaught of New?- my need to burrow kicks in. I find one, maybe two new favorites and stick with them. I order them up daily, like a favorite dish at a familiar restaurant.

Most recently, I've been sticking close to these amazing scents:
  • Citizen Queen (Juliette Has a Gun)**
  • Gold Woman (Amouage)
  • Lyric Woman (Amouage)
  • Ubar (Amouage)
  • Mitsouko (Guerlain)
  • Musc Ravageur (Malle)
  • Gris Clair (Serge Lutens)
The truth is, these are amazing, stellar scents and I don't feel at all ready to give my impressions on them. Most of them are legitimate masterpieces, in my opinion. I am not worthy!

While I have no desire for "a signature scent", I find this pattern of exploration and monogamy suits both sides of me.

Do you go through exploratory periods? Get in long ruts? Or are you pretty balanced?

*As long as it doesn't involve long (read: painful for me) plane ride,
extreme heights, or spiders and large bugs!
**funny- my early Spring found me running to JHAG's Calamity J.