Perfume Pen Pals: Nasomatto China White, Comme des Garcons Hinoki, Le Labo (various) and CB I Hate Perfumes (various)


Instead of buying more new bottles, I've gone sample-crazy, replenishing an almost fully ‘plenished supply of tiny vials. And I'm finally dipping into Le Labo with its Discovery Set. But what should I discover?

Have you tried anything from the line other than your beloved Labdanum 18? And would you recommend that as one of my samples, considering it's classified as a "female"? Based on Turin's review, I'm definitely trying Patchouli 24, but I must pick two more.

I did the unthinkable and ordered a whole pile of samples from CB I Hate Perfume, a line in which I had little interest right until the moment I typed in my credit card number. That's how things go sometimes. CB gets mostly slammed by Basenoters, but I must say I like At The Beach 1966 (in sort of the same way I like Kettle Corn and miniature ponies).

And I have a large sample of Burning Leaves, which is oddly comforting. (Odd because it smells exactly like burning leaves and I can't explain why such a thing would be comforting to someone who panics in the country.)

And I've already gone through my sample of In The Library, which is more depressing than comforting. It's the smell of inertia. Which, oddly again, I like. So I bought a bunch more CBs.

And I'm eyeballing The Perfumed Court sample list like a hungry coyote eyeballs a bunny rabbit. Like you probably, I'm going to smell like something different every day for the next three months.



Listen here - Patchouli 24 is one of those "experience" smells, rather than a personal fragrance, (perhaps like Burning Leaves, which I haven't smelled), so be warned that you're in for eye-smarting levels of smoke and little else.

OK, from what I know of your tastes, I'd nudge you towards Iris 39, Neroli 36 and Rose 31. I don't know how you feel about iris in general, but Iris 39 feels like the most neo-classical, gorgeous perfume they have, and I know you'll appreciate it. Don't know if Labdanum 18 is for you, but might be if you're exploring Dzing! and like powdery leathers in general. So if that's the case, swap out the Rose 31 with L-18.

Also, I think it's a lot less lady-ish than all your other ladyboy peachy prom queens you love, like By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses. (But I did smell Tom Ford Italian Cypress today, that's pretty after-shavey, I thought.)

Vetiver 46 is pretty similar to Comme des Garçons 2 Man. Mark Buxton did both. Pass on that one. And people get excited about Rose 31, but I think you've been there and back with The Different Company Rose Poivrée.

Today I spent in Beverly Hills on a happy sniffing orgy. Which became not-so-happy when I found out that not one, but TWO of the fragrances I thought I was going to buy had been disconFUCKINGtinued. Creed Angelique Encens, which I could never wrap my head around buying because it was over $300 and 8.4 oz, and Rosine Rose Kashmirie, which I knew I was playing Russian Roulette with since it was a limited edition.

But in the meantime, I’m getting seduced by Nasomatto China White, a frosty-powdery, smoky-rose iris. Cold and suffocating at the same time. Someone open a window - I can't breathe! Brrr...and bring me a blanket while you're at it!

Just tried one of your decants, CdG Hinoki. It smells like pink leather. I'm thinking of unworn ballet slippers right out of the box. And I haven't tried it on my skin yet, but I think I love CdG 2.

“The smell of inertia.” Hah! Have we discussed the fab David Bowie/Gary Numan-esque number in the original Bedazzled, with Peter Cook doing a turn as a disaffected pop star? I love the deadpan contempt of his kiss-off, "You fill me with inertia."



Oh no, I can't believe I asked for your help and then didn't wait long enough for your response. (And you mentioned Bedazzled! I haven't thought of that movie in ages.) Okay, so I didn't do as you said. Or rather I did pick Neroli 36. But, indeed, I've tried enough roses and so I passed on Rose 31.

And I'm not crazy about irises, even Ellena's Bois d'Iris, so I passed, too, on Iris 39. Instead I picked Patchouli 24, which does seem to scare the pants off some people, Neroli 36 and Labdanum 18, which many describe as a more easygoing Musc Ravageur. Anyway, they're just 5ml samples so it's no big risk.

With Hinoki, I only get pencil shavings out of the bottle. It's on the same continuum as 2 Man (all of Buxton's scents seem to be on the same continuum), but I prefer it. But 2 I like less. It has that high-pitched metallic note that other CdG's share, but not much else to my nose. Maybe I'll give it another go tomorrow.

I've not sampled anything from Nasomatto. But I love those little '70s-styled bottles. Maybe tomorrow I'll order a bunch of LuckyScent samples, too. You definitely like your winter scents, don't you? I imagine you all bundled up in a Christmas sweater with your hot cocoa by the fireplace. While it's 75 degrees outside!

Now I'm worried about Italian Cypress. I had read it was the most masculine of the line and I do need a few more masculine scents. And it's often compared to Hinoki. (One of the blogs said Italian Cypress was greener and less sweet.) And Nathan Branch loved it. Still, there's no excuse for buying blind. And if I get away with it this time, it will only encourage me to do it more often. I'll be better off in the long run if I hate Italian Cypress. Fingers crossed.


P.S. Here's my complete review of In The Library: "This lonely little scent quietly warns you that life isn’t one big sock-hop, that all of us are in for a good many dull and depressing days sitting on uncomfortable chairs in corners of dim and dusty rooms. If you don’t desire this kind of blunt language from your eau de parfum, if you require a fragrance that lies to you instead, then stick with Tommy Girl. The smell of inertia."


  1. Dan, Liz Taylor had a fragrance many years ago called Passion (I think...) that was in a big purple bottle with a gold top. I think it was before White Diamonds. It was my first stab at a replacement for my all time fave, Flora Danica, which was discontinued. I think Passion must have had some note or other I recognized from FD, but it was HEAVY on the patchouli. It was best worn in minute spritzes but even that could be overpowering. Did I mention it was overpowering? It wasn't really a good match to FD but I dutifully wore it so as not to waste it. And when it was gone, it was gone. But your interest in patchouli might make that one worth a sniff.

  2. I, for one, am so glad you dropped the f-bomb in your post. Maybe I wouldn't like to see everyone do it all the time (hmm, or would I?), but it certainly cheered me up. Because that is exactly how I feel about certain things.


  3. Pino, Of course a Liz Taylor perfume would come in a big purple bottle with a gold top. I bet we could all accurately describe that bottle without having seen it. If it's emblematic of Liz, then it's big and purple and gold. No gold top and Liz doesn't even get out of bed in the morning.

    But I have no passion for patchouli generally, though I do love Chanel's Coromandel, which, yes, is a patchouli. Patchouli 24 is as close to patchouli as Liz Taylor is to professional wrestling. Le Labo is sometimes tricky that way. Or irritating, depending on your mood. Patchouli 24 is a rich smoky vanilla, with emphasis on the smoke. And on the vanilla. Everything is turned up to eleven. Except the patchouli. Still, I'll look for Passion, if only to experience a Liz Taylor patchouli, which can only be HEAVY, I'm certain of it. As certain as I am about that gold top.

  4. Har-har, Dan, I like how you tap-dance around Patchouli 24, describing it as a "rich smoky vanilla", as if it's a bottle of Shalimar. Let's not leave out that eye-stinging birch tar! (leaves to apply Visine to eyes reddened just thinking about it)

    Okay, I'm back. Of course, I tease. Patchouli 24 is Bulgari Black for boys, except that Bulgari Black is already supposed to be for boys. So Patchouli 24 must be for the new, super race of boys.

  5. dea, glad you got a kick out of my little outburst. I basically had a Veruca Salt-style meltdown ("Don't care how-w-w-w, I want it NOW!") over a flippin' SMELL in a BOTTLE. Get a grip, Puckrik!

  6. Le Labo tap-danced first! (Though the company probably worried over the sales potential of something called Birch Tar 24.) But you're right, Veruca, Patchouli 24 is Bulgari Blacker. Continuing the Spinal Tap theme, "How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black."

  7. Dan, Krista was commenting on the Chergui post about her preference for Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque, and it made me think that you might get a boot out of it, given your thing for Patchouli 24. F. Turque is a lovely little link between Chergui and P24.