Perfume Pen Pals: Creed Angelique Encens, Montale Aoud Lime, Comme des Garcons (various) and CB I Hate Perfume At the Beach 1966


Generally, Creeds make me cranky. I find them sneezy and lackluster, and it was probably the handful of migraine-inducing ones I encountered in the 90s that scared me off the line. But at Neiman Marcus a few months back, the Creed lady waved me over, insisting that she could tell by looking at me that Angelique Encens was the one for me. I humored her by applying some, and wouldn't you know it, she was right!

I think my year of hardcore Tann Rokka Aki (peppery powdery amber) obsession a while back broke me in for Angelique Encens. AE is pretty powdery, but also has a cozy frankincense mmmm-ness that I love, and a faintly vanilla Play-Doh accord. But Efrem Zimbalist Jr! What's with the 8.4 oz "Big Gulp" size? I'm already pouring the 6.8 oz Chanel Coromandel into my bath, my cereal, my fishtank - just to get through the bottle! And I don't even have a fishtank.

Arrgghh! On a whim, I just applied a sample of Montale Aoud Lime. It's smelling like burning styrofoam! Asbestos lining in my nostrils would be handy right about now. I don't understand this one - everyone's oohing and aahing about it on the LuckyScent site. OK, now looking at Basenotes, where there is some dissent. And the ones who like it say you need to put in hours to get the whole story. Hours? I need my lusciousness NOW.

I’m off to exfoliate the esophagus-scorching Aoud Lime, and to sniff my Amouage Homage Attar sample as therapy.


Oh no, Katie, these days it seems like all perfume lovers eventually get tricked into trying Montale. At least you only had a sample. Me, I bought both Aoud Lime and Black Aoud. Burning styrofoam, bug spray, Band-Aids, burning bug-spray-and-Band-Aid-covered styrofoam, they're all appropriate descriptions. Those Montale ouds have all the subtlety of Ernest Borgnine reciting lines from "Romeo and Juliet." And I assert they smell no better than Ernest Borgnine.

I'm convinced people go on about Montale for the same reason people go on about lots of things: because they think they should. I'm not exactly sure how Montale snuck into the Academy of the Overrated, but I'm convinced no one really enjoys smelling like burning bug spray styrofoam Band Aids.

Having said that, I still own Montale Chocolate Greedy (I sold off the others on eBay), which is a perfectly pleasant cocoa-powder scent. Of course, Montale oud snobs would scoff and say favoring Chocolate Greedy is like insisting "Yellow Submarine" is the best Beatles song. (Though I say it's more like insisting "Touch Me" is the best Doors song. Which I do!)

As for your love of frankincense, have you sampled Comme des Garçons 2 Man? It's all woody and incensey and, name aside, I imagine it would smell great on a woman. I know you can find all the CdG's at the Scent Bar, but I'm happy to provide a larger sampling than those tiny vials. I've got all the ones with numbers (1, 2, 3, 53, 71, 8 88), Hinoki (another great woody frankincense), Calamus (green and sweet and subtle and milky), Carnation (carnation and red pepper, both screaming at the top of their lungs, fabulous!), Avignon (which I think you already have, right?), and Dry Clean ("futuristic," in the same way that sci-fi movies seem futuristic just because all the actors are wearing shiny unitards). Say the word, Katie. I start decanting in nine hours.



Oh yeah, Montale Black Aoud smelled like Comet scouring powder to me. But I genuinely enjoy their White Aoud. It's pooh-poohed by the hardcore crowd as the "beginner's oud", but so what? I want to smell pretty, not like a failed nuclear reactor. Next from Montale: Borgnine Aoud.

Comme des Garçons 2 Man: own it. I used to wear it more, but came to the conclusion that it triggers respect more than drool. It's the drool I'm after. I'm very familiar with Carnation - my beloved pal, the artist Georgie Hopton, used to wear it. And Avignon is one of my high-rotation faves. I wore it together with L'Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia for my wedding.

Are you going to be OK with all this decanting jazz? Seems like you'll be needing a meth lab's worth of equipment: test tubes, funnels, pipettes, goggles, HazMat suits.... Quite an undertaking! Could you add CdG Hinoki to my drug supplies?



My sincere apologies for the speedy responses. I haven't been writing much lately and so emailing at least gives the physical illusion of productivity. Basically, if someone were monitoring my progress only through security cameras, he'd think everything was hunky-dory.

Re your Avignon/Vanilia coupling: this whole blending of fragrances still seems reckless to me. I can't do it. I'm afraid. Too often I'm a rule-follower and not a rule-breaker.

Re my meth lab: Sally at Accessories for Fragrances always throws in various funnels and pipettes along with her atomizers. So I'm all set. It's a simple process that will take me no longer than fifteen minutes. (I'm all about minimizing my every gesture. Until I save an actual princess from drowning, I won't be happy.)

The plan is: decant tonight, mail tomorrow, a fiesta of scents before week's end. Including CB I Hate Perfume At the Beach 1966. The odd thing about At The Beach (other than it smells exactly like old-school Coppertone) is that, unlike novelty scents from Demeter, it does have some staying power. It doesn't develop exactly, but I sometimes wear it when I run and I'm surprised how after two hours of sweat and sun, I come back still smelling like Barbi Benton's Sweet Sixteen party in Malibu.



  1. Having felt slightly chastised for my love of old fashioned smells like Dark Rose, I thought I'd try these fragrances that the cool kids are talking about. I wish I had read these reviews first! Black Aoud is the smell of failing NHS hospitals! Seriously! A clinical start, leading to the memories of accidents and loved ones passing away. Maybe that's the ultimate in darkness? A scent that reminds you of death!

    Emir is enjoyable, however, with similarities to Amouage Lyric. Both make my nose run, sadly.

    1. Dark Mose, I remember being aghast at Black Aoud's bleachiness when I first smelled it. It was the first oud perfume I'd ever encountered. On subsequent encounters, I wore some instead of sniffing out of the bottle, and the cleaning product vibe did alleviate somewhat, and I could begin to tune into the rose. But it involves a lot of mind games to get there.

      I like Dark Rose! (You mean the Czech & Speake one, right?) It's in the same area as one of my current top faves, Clinique Aromatics Elixir.

    2. Czech & Speake, yeah! I am a fan of several of theirs (Neroli being a constant in my cabinet, Dark Rose, No.88 and Cuba in alternation).

      I'm enjoying two Le Labo oils at the moment as well: Fleur D'Oranger, in the neroli style (like sitting in an Italian garden) and the strangely more-ish Oud 27 (like being turned on by a musky sex-god that's just climbed out of a dustbin).

    3. Dark Mose, I enjoy all of those perfumes! I once wore Oud 27 to a big cat sanctuary, and I was really turning those panthers' heads with my animal odeur...