Saturday, May 30, 2015

Episode 51: Saturday Siesta! (or, Perfume TAG Take Two)

Hey, hey, hey how's it hanging? Since there were no scheduled posts this week, but I am home now and totally procrastinating on doing work, I figured - why not have a little Siesta? I've got some exciting posts planned for next week (well, exciting to me) so why not take today to just relax, chill out, and have a little chit-chat. By that I mean, another round of Perfume TAG questions. This one comes from the forums at fragrantica.com, a very helpful resource when you are researching scent. So let's start!

Perfume TAG x2

  1. What is your favorite winter scent? I answered this on my other tag... but basically, I look for very traditionally seasonal scents - a lot of spices and greens. Since I named some favorite indie scents, I'd say my favorite Mainstream/Boutique scent for winter would be Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger layered with Pomegranate Noir.
  2. On a lazy day I reach for... DarlingClandestine Noose Jewelry which I talked about in my May Favorites video (seen here) or Thierry Mugler Angel when I want something sweet. It'ss all about comfort scents on those lazy days!
  3. What would you use when you are going on a date? If it were a date with my husband, I'd go with Guerlain Angelica Noire or Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. If for some reason I was going on a date with a stranger, I'd probably choose Bath & Body Works Forever Red Vanilla Rum. It's sexy and appropriate for a night out, but not so heavy and strong that it gives the wrong impression..
  4. What is your high school signature scent? Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars. A sweet, sexy scent that wasn't inappropriate for a teenager. One of my very first "high end" perfumes! (AKA perfume from the department store, as opposed to Bath & Body Works or the drugstore.)
  5. What's your current love? Fully obsessed with Byredo and have more than one scent I want to purchase from the brand! If we're talking loves that I currently have in my collection, it would be Vice from Haus of Gloi. This is a permanent catalog scent that I wear every night when I go to bed - it's a warm, delicious gourmand and smelling it makes me so relaxed and happy. I love it.
  6. What is your favorite summer scent? Also answered on the previous tag... the answer remains the same - Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia. THE perfect summer scent. I also love beachy, salty, sandy, sunny scents - as long as the aquatic and the woody, sandy notes are prominent and there aren't too many overwhelming citrus notes. I recently picked up a lovely one, also from Haus of Gloi (shop them here) that is part of the Summer release - called Driftwood.
  7. Name a perfume that you regret buying. Love this question! Van Cleef & Arpels Feerie. I wanted it, and I tested it in-store and it was awful, so I passed. But that flacon, with that gorgeous, crystal cut blue glass and the delicate faerie on the top - I wanted it, so I bought it, and in the largest size, which is the only size that comes with the fully decorated flacon (something they don't tell you until you get there). I never used it. I never opened it. I returned it a few days later, kicking myself. I would still buy that perfume in a heartbeat if I could make it work for me.
  8. What perfume is on your wish list? Oh, oops, here is the wishlist question. So, I mentioned it several times and it's not like this is a push for an anonymous gift or anything, LOL, but I am totally lusting after Byredo Gypsy Water and to a slightly lesser extent Mojave Ghost. It actually might be the other way around, too, because I remember when I tested them the one I thought I would like more, I ended up preferring the other just a bit - based on notes maybe it's actually Mojave Ghost that I liked better? I have to test them again, me thinks.
Instead of linking each item individually, please remember that if you want to check out any perfume for yourself, a selection can be found at a discount at either 
FragranceNet.com or Perfume.com Both are affiliate links, and as always there is never any requirements that you visit these sites and/or make a purchase. If you choose to do so, however, I very much appreciate it!

So today's Saturday Siesta comes to an end. I'm the world's biggest sucker for tag questions, I apologize. Next week I'm going to try to get the long-awaited review of the Atelier Cologne Collection Azur, but I also have a DarlingClandestine haul... hmm... and then there's this issue with a giveaway... maybe... well, we shall see. Pleasant journeys~


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Episode 50: Five Epic Failures (and, An Announcement)

This is my 50th post! Whoooooo! I am really excited about this, because I have never stuck with blogging this long, and this diligently in the past. So I want to celebrate! I'm going to make my regular Five For All post, and at the bottom, a special announcement. So stay tuned!

Fragrance Flops

Of course, not every scent will work for every body chemistry, and even mass-market scents that are designed to appeal to a broader number of customers can have a fail. The Five For All today lists five major market scents that absolutely, utterly failed on me. Fun right?
  1. NEST White Sandalwood: This is definitely a scent that on paper, should smell amazing to me. It has everything I like, and nothing I don't. However, when I wear this scent, it just straight-up smells like body odor. Not a pleasing odor, either. Rank, unwashed body. FAIL.
  2. Marc Jacobs Daisy: I actually have yet to find a Marc Jacobs scent that appeals to me. The aesthetic of his fragrances just doesn't really "mesh" with me, and I always take a sniff, sniff, pass. Not to go all elitest on your asses or anything, but the fragrance line, and the Daisy collection especially, just smells so childish to me. I am honestly, genuinely shocked whenever I hear a woman over the age of 23 say she likes these scents. They feel like kiddy-grade body mist with a high-end price tag, just in my humble opinion.
  3. Tom Ford Black Orchid: I actually don't hate this scent but I just cannot get it to work with my body chemistry. It turns to deep, too hot and it just isn't for me. I've tried. I've really, really tried. I much prefer Velvet Orchid, if I were to choose.
  4. DKNY Be Delicious: Apple scents are just a big ol' no-no for me, so nothing in this line of scents has ever worked for me. Red Delicious was the worst - I smelled like someone had vomited sangria on me. Yeah, I avoid these scents like the plague and I always get a smug thrill when I see one on the discount rack at Marshall's or somewhere, ha.
  5. Estee Lauder Pleasures: I don't hate this in particular, but I feel like this is one in just a long line of very generic, lifeless fragrances from Estee Lauder, Clinique, Coach, Micheal Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Lancome, Stella McCartney, and on and on. Scents that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, that have no olfactory excitement. Scents that are daring, aren't eager enough to take a risk. If you as a consumer enjoy these scents, if you prefer these scents as a fragrance lover, then that is entirely and completely fine. I like to push the envelope a bit, myself, and if I wind up stinking because of it, then more's the better. :D
Okay that's out of the way - the announcement! Actually I have two. The first is small - I won't be blogging again this week, because I am not at home, so I don't have access to my fragrance collection, and thus can't write anything about it. Makes sense, no? So - no Face-Off, and no video post this week. Posting will return to normal on Monday, June 1st.

Second! In honor of fifty posts, and six months of being dedicated to blogging, I am thinking of hosting a giveaway! This giveaway would be entirely funded by me myself and I, and would include little fragrance items from my own collection. So, I need to take a look around, and see what I have that might be of interest, and then I will post the rules for the giveaway and open it for entries. Hopefully next week! So let me know in the comments below if that sounds good, or send me an e-mail at admin@olfactory-exploits.com and tell me if there are any scents you'd like to see and/or try for free - on me! Until then, pleasant journeys~


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Episode 49: Solstice Scents Samples & First Impression (or, Branching, Branching Out)

I'm one of those people who likes to stay in my comfort zone. I don't like to experiment, I don't like to deviate from brands and products that I know I will like, especially when my skin and my wallet are on the line. That's why, when it comes to indies, I have a tendency to stick with the tried and true. The last couple of times I branched out, it ended in disaster. (See, my excruciating ordeal with Debaucherous Bath & Body)

However, I've felt like it's time for some fresh blood lately, so on some recommendations, and some of my own volition, I will be testing and talking about some indie companies that I have either never tried, or that is has been so long since I tried them, I need to give it another go. Here is the first one!

Solstice Scents First Impression

I ordered a five-pack of samples from indie perfumer Solstice Scents based on the recommendation of some lovely ladies I chat with at http://allthesparkles.com. The scent descriptions sound too good to pass up, and I especially fell in love with the adorable theme of the website. As a new customer, I was also given my choice of two free sample scents, so I have seven that I will mention. I'm also going to touch briefly on the ordering process and customer service as a whole (if applicable). So, let's do the site and the ordering first.
Solstice Scents offers a variety of unique scents, many of them centered around the (fictional?) town of Foxcroft, Maine. The site its self is super cute and easy to navigate, and the Master Scent List is easy to find - no hunting for scent descriptions here. They offer perfume oils, as well as other bath and body products, but everything is made in small batches, so the entire catalog is not always available at the same time. They also offer seasonal and limited scents.
Checkout, for me, was a breeze. They offer a variety of payment options, and you earn points on each purchase, good toward a future gift card, if you make an account with them. You receive a free sample scent with every order, conveniently selected by drop down. For my order, I had to leave a note with my desired scents and there was no problem. My order shipped within 48 hours, and I had it in my hot little hands less than a week after I got my shipping notice.

via Olfactory Exploits
I'm pretty picky about scent, and I didn't want to go crazy, buying something outside of my comfort zone from a brand I've never tried. So, I picked up the following:
Cellar: Damp Earth and Stone, Wooden Casks, Cool Fall Air, Crisp Apple, Pear and Broom Corn. Part of the Manor Collection. This scent was so interesting - I could immediately smell the damp, earthy stones and the sweet apple. It smelled so nice and earthy, this is definitely on my "to buy" list.
via Olfactory Exploits
Covered Bridge: Woods, Moss, Leaves, Wood Smoke, Dirt, Ozone, Fir Absolute. Part of the Foxcroft Collection. This was a nice scent, definitely up my alley but was a little generic - I am almost positive I already own something similar to this, but I'm not sure what. The scent was nice, but I don't plan to purchase a full size at this time.
Black Forest: Agarwood, Nagarmotha EO, Tobacco Absolute, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Cocoa Absolute, Maraschino Cherries, Black Cherries, Hay Absolute, Sandalwood EO, Whipped Cream & a drop of Pink Peppercorn Essential Oil. Ohh my god. This smells nothing like cake, but is so sweet (but not sticky sweet) and chocolate-y and cherry-y and woody and sexy. I wanted to eat my own hand. This is going on my "buy immediately" list.
Foxcroft Fairgrounds: Cotton Candy, Cream Soda, Vanilla Taffy, Gridling's Funnel Cakes, Powdered Sugar, Crisp Fall Air, Woodsmoke & a Tendril of Incense. Part of the Foxcroft's Autumn Festival Collection. This was nice, but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped to. It was quite sweet, with just a hint of smokey air, and I mostly smelled the funnel cakes and vanilla. I liked it, but I don't plan to purchase a full size at this time.
Grey's Cabin: Smoked Cocoa, Cedar, Embers, Black Musk, Copal Bark, Tobacco, Spice. Part of The Woodland Collection. One of the scents I was most looking forward to, and probably my biggest disappointment. All I smelled from this was a heavy scent of artificial cocoa, and just the slightest hint of cedar. I was really hoping for more cedar and tobacco, with a hint of cocoa. Oh well, can't win them all. I'd not purchase this.
Old Havana: Tobacco, Woods, Spices, Sea Mist, Lime. Premium fragrance. DING DING DING we have a winner folks! This. Smells. Amazing. If you like tobacco scents, this is like - holy grail status. It smells exactly how I would imagine a little cigar bar in old Havana might smell - tobacco is the main note, but it's just a little salty and just a little crisp. Perfect. Going on my "buy immediately" list.
via Olfactory Exploits
White Fox: Vanilla Musk, White Fur, Wood Blend, Frozen Dirt, Snow. Part of The Woodland Collection. I think this was the most interesting of all the scents I sampled. It is a really unique mix of sweet vanilla, and crisp, snowy air with just a hint of raw dirt and musk. I couldn't decide if I like it or not, and then it grew on me and I definitely like it. So much so, that it is going on my "buy immediately" list.
Regarding customer service, I did not have to contact Solstice Scents about any troubles with my order. They will be on vacation until June 14, 2015 and both the closure dates as well as final cut off for placing orders was clearly stated on both the index page of the website, and their Facebook page. All in all, my experience with the company was good.
I am very happy with the quality of the fragrances, as well. Three I plan to purchase as soon as the shop re-opens, one will wait for a sale, two were good, but not amazing and out of the seven only one was a total dud - that's a pretty good ratio. Also, Old Havana, which is a Premium scent, really does express a higher quality feeling than the general catalog. The perfume concentration was denser, the scent lasted longer (five hours with just a teeny drop on the back of my hand) and the throw was greater. Although all the scents were of good quality, I'd definitely be willing to pay more for Old Havana because I can see the premium quality is there.
So, in total, my first impression of Solstice Scents was very good - good experience, good products (I only tried perfume oils in this case). I definitely plan on purchasing from the company again, and I would feel very comfortable recommending the products. A+

Oh shit, I meant to add pictures. Lemme do that now. Okay, yeah, sorry that one is sideways I am too tired to deal with these pictures having a mind of their own. This is a new type of post for me, and I will probably do more unboxing and first impression posts over the next few weeks, as I have several fragrance orders outstanding. All indie, too, so if you like hearing about indie perfume, keep checking back. If you see any scents you'd like a full review on - let me know! I'd be especially willing to go more in-depth on scents I didn't like, and why, to help make purchasing decisions. As always just leave me a comment if you'd like that, and pleasant journeys~


Episode 48: May Fragrance Favorites (or, I'm Sheeple, Baaaa)

Okay so here's the thing. I wanted to do a fragrance collection video but it would have to be done in like... four or five parts. I was going to film the first one for last Friday but some really upsetting crap has been going on around my house (stuff with the police involved and everything), and I just never had time to film it. So I filmed this, instead, highlighting a few of the fragrances I've found myself reaching for a lot, all through May and the past couple of months.






I've talked about Balenciaga Paris l'Edition Mer before and I have been loving it through spring. You can purchase it through Neiman Marcus who, as far as I can tell, is the exclusive retailer for this edition. Be careful if you think you see it somewhere else - Paris l'Edition Reflets has very similar packaging.

Like I said in the video, I am going to do a full review on the Collection Azur from Atelier Colognes, but I happened to have already purchased the rollerball of Sud Magnolia and I've been obsessed. I carry it with me everywhere! This scent is available at Sephora, as well as the Atelier Cologne website. According to Sephora's website, Collection Azur is exclusive to them, among those who distribute Atelier's fragrances.

I may have made mention of Noose Jewelry from DarlingClandestine waaay back in February, but I've been wearing it any time I want to feel comfortable in my own skin, and that says a lot. I can't even explain it (and I know I did a terrible job) because what words do you use to describe the fragrance that just smells like you? This is from DarlingClandestine's original listing for the scent:
Noose Jewelry features notes of true raw carrot, mulberry, honeysuckle and (yes, I went there) a nice dirty green patchouli. True unisex, boss level 8.
It's just so raw and loamy, a little sweet and a lot green. I just love it. Not available, of course, but Evonne has some other great scents currently available in her Etsy shop! Pyrotechnik is there (at the time of this writing), and it is one of my faves!

So yeah, I hope you enjoyed this terribly late post - I'll be back again soon (no rest for the weary. more like post your shit on time) with a sample set un... boxing? Unpackaging? Something like that. A mini review of the samples I chose, which I plan to order in full size, and my experience with the company. Look forward to it, and pleasant journeys~


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Episode 47: Fragrance Face-Off State of the Series (or, Affiliate Links Here, too)

Okay so the men's cologne has vanished into thin air and for the life of me, I can't find it. I'll have to try to get another sample. Honestly though, I've been struggling with ideas for the Face-Off, since  I'm kind of swinging the opposite way now - most fragrances I want to review as either individuals, or as parts of fragrance sets.

So I need help! If there are any two scents, brands, collections - anything fragrance related that you want to see compared to each other, let me know. Comment below and give me suggestions! I'm going to take this next week to consider what I might include in the Face-Off, and then next week I will either do another installment, or I will put this series on hold, and just do standard reviews on this day. Sorry y'all, but I'm in need of some real inspiration.

If you need something to help inspire you to inspire me, why not visit one of these sites, and see if anything catches your fancy! Using my affiliate likes always helps me out, and I appreciate it so much!

C.O. BigelowFragranceNet.comPerfume.comLinkShare_120x60_Button2v1


Sorry for spamming you with links - remember, there is no requirement to click or shop through sponsored advertisers, and I don't hold it against you if you'd rather not! What I would like, very much, are those comments - submit one on this post, or send it to admin@olfactory-exploits.com, and let me know if there is anything you want to see in the Face-Off!

Until then, I'll be wracking my brain and see if something good comes to mind. I'll have a video post tomorrow (or maybe Saturday, once again, if editing takes too long) and I hope you'll enjoy it. Pleasant journeys~

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Episode 46: Bath & Body Works Candle Faves (or, I had to narrow it somehow...)

This Five for All is pretty generic because it's after midnight and I forgot I was posting on Tuesdays now. Sorry 'bout that, hope it is fairly interesting anyways. Bath & Body Works very often re-promotes scents,, so if I know of an RP or close dupe, I'll try to mention that for you as well. Anyways, here it is.

Favorite Bath & Body Works Candles 

This list is ordered from lowest to my greatest love. Now - I've said this before, but I think BBW candles in general, offer the best value at the price (if you get them on sale) but I don't necessarily think they are the best on the market. However, since BBW home is hugely popular, I would imagine a lot of folks have one or two candles from them or are thinking of getting some when there is a sale. Hopefully this list will be interesting.
5. Bottoming out the list is one of the perennial Fall scents, Pumpkin Cupcake. It is pumpkin-ny, sweet, warm and not cloying or sticky-sweet like some of the other candles in the Pumpkin line. This scent is part of the BBW Fall collection, so expect to start seeing it in stores around August.
4. Next is Summer Boardwalk. This scent would have a higher place on the list, if BBW hadn't reformulated the scent in 2013. So - any Summer Boardwalk prior to that year (2012 only) smells of sweet, sticky taffy, caramel popcorn and a hint of salt water. After 2012, the caramel component smells more artificial (except in 2014's American Boardwalk, a re-package of the original scent launched as a limited Spring Transitional** line). Summer Boardwalk can launch as Summer or Summer Transitional, so look for this scent on shelves anywhere from March to July.
3. Coming in third is Party Dress. Launched as Winter/New Years Eve collection in 2013 this is a gorgeous scent for making your room smell amazing. It's a sweet, almost gourmand-like floral, with notes of orchid, white peony and jasmine. Something to note is that multiple reviews say this scent reminds them of Thierry Mugler's Angel. Also important to note, despite some suggestions to the contrary, the 2014/2015 New Years scent Sparkling Confetti is NOT a re-package of this scent. You will usually see this on shelves as early as November and held through the Winter Semi-Annual Sale.
2. Evergreen and Tis The Season probably tie for my favorite Holiday scent. Evergreen is a really nice Christmas tree scent, not as strongly pine-scented as Balsam and Fir but still enough that the scent of the evergreen is most prominent. Tis The Season is the best for imparting a truly "Holiday" feel - cinnamon, apple, evergreen wreaths. Both have returned for multiple Holiday seasons. Tis The Season is a Winter staple, on shelves in the first part of November. Evergreen was released as a part of the Winter Mid-Season collection in 2014, but that could change.
1. All time favorite is Seashore. Released as a part of the Spring Transitional collection in 2013, this scent is redolent of the beach. No other home fragrance compares, if you are looking for that indescribable salt air tang. 2014's Sydney Harbor is not a re-package, but is a very close duplicate, offered in that year's Destinations Spring Transitional collection. I would buy soooo many of these candles if BBW re-promoted the fragrance. It just smells fresh, invigorating and brings you to the seaside. One thing to note, the recently released White Barn scent Fresh Water & Sea Salt is not even close to being a duplicate of this scent. There are similar accords, but it isn't the same.

So that's my list! Please note that I live very close to a lot of high-visibility stores. I don't have test stores in my area, but my stores sell through merchandise quickly, and are usually granted leave to stock new collections early to keep the shelves full. Launch dates may vary.

If this kind of post was interesting, I am happpy to do a full candle collection. I also own home scents from different brands, whaaaat? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and pleasant journeys~












** Terminology such as "Mid-Season" and "Spring Transitional" are not official Bath & Body Works terms. I use them to distinguish personally when different collections launch. Feel free to use it, but don't expect any Bath & Body Works employees to know what you mean! XDDD

Monday, May 18, 2015

Episode 45: Black Violet Indie Haul (or, In This For the Long Haul)

Today I got in quite a substantial order from Black Violet Perfume Vault & Bathory, and since I needed to write about something, why not a haul? This is not an unboxing, but I could totally do those in my video posts, if there is any interest. Let me know in the comments!

A new disclaimer! All of the following were purchased by myself, for my own use, using my own funds. The only exception is the item indicated as gratis below, that was provided out of generosity, with no obligation review it or any other item. All of the opinions expressed are my own, and I receive no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for promoting these products.

Now that that is out of the way....


Black Violet May 2015 Haul

The first items I picked up were two of the 2oz mini jars of Detective Notes Body Butter. Detective Notes was a fragrance that was only made available to the Black Violet Blackbox subscribers in the inaugural edition of the Blackbox. I got a chance to smell it, and when I expressed to Leilani just how smitten I was with the fragrance, she offered to let me purchase the extra she had on had. I jumped at the offer, and I am so glad to have a couple of these now to last me!
The Butter smells like delicious praline, honey and a hint of pipe tobacco - a scent that is right up my alley. The Body Butter its self is very moisturizing, creamy and thick, and it holds the fragrance for hours.
My second score is the Black Violet Phyto Mist. I had previously tried the mist in a different scent, and I loved the product, but I had my eye on this particular fragrance. 
This is Bergamot Cedarwood. I haven't sprayed it yet, so I can't say for sure it smells as good as I imagine it does, but even combine those two scents in my imagination... damn. I cannot wait to try this. The Phyto Mist is amazing, on my wet hair it acts as a super light leave in conditioner. On dry hair it works for me as a detangler and frizz control. The scent doesn't last long, but I don't mind because I really just want to enjoy it as I am using the product.
I snagged a couple of the mini 2oz jars of Creme Soap, as well. The first is Secret Passage, another Blackbox scent that Leilani mention when I inquired about Detective Notes. She had an extra which I snatched up, because I am still kicking myself for missing the signups on the first go-around for the subscription. In the jar, Secret Passage smells gorgeous, floral but not overwhelming. There is a nice amount of sweet there, too, and something warm and a bit musky. A lovely scent for Spring!
The other item was included as gratis. One of the wonderful things about indie brands is that they often include freebies, and Black Violet is no different! I've found some of my favorite scents through her bonus gifts and this time I was gifted a mini jar of Valley of the Temples Creme Soap. Not sure if I've made mention before, but VOTT is my favorite Black Violet scent, surpassing even my love for Ginger & Lace, so I am super, duper excited to try this. These soaps are so, so creamy, beyond any other brand I've tried. I am looking forward to getting them on my body, ha ha, bow chicka bow wow.
Of course it wouldn't be right if I didn't get any perfume, so I picked up two of the sample drams. I selected Lavandula because I've been meaning to try it for ages. Black Violet does amazing lavender. It is crisp and herbal, not sweet like those sugary, cakey lavender scents. This is raw, the kind of lavender that makes people say they don't like lavender. I love it.
The second choice is a new scent to BV's catalog - Caffe al Vetro. One of the scents that recently retired, Affogato, had an espresso component, and I was interested to see how similar they were. Make no mistake, Caffe al Vetro is much, much more "coffee", but I think most fans of Affogato will like it as much as I do!
My final purchase gets me the most excited, TBH. I picked up the Black Violet Tonique in Chamomile Lavender (that lavender again, boy) and I am soooo excited to start using this. In a sample I had, I saw the results on my skin after the second use - my face looked fresh, my skin texture looked more even, and the scent was so relaxing right before bed. Since I haven't had it, I've been really bummed out, and I was more than willing to buy a full size.
So that was what I picked up in this round of purchases! I can't wait to get my hands on some of the Summer scents, I want to try pretty much the entire Summer '15 line. Also still hoping to score that coveted Blackbox subscription, so maybe I can do some on-camera unboxings! (If you want to find out more about Blackbox just head on over right here.)
 Thanks for checking out this haul - maybe you saw something that caught your eye? You can see the entire product catalog and scent library at http://www.blackviolet.net and if there is anything you'd like a more in-depth review on, just leave a comment below and I would be happy to do that for you! Pleasant journeys~








Friday, May 15, 2015

Episode 44: New Video Series - The Quickie (or, Bow-chika-wow-wow)

HiiiiiiiiiiiI'm done. Okay, so I didn't really know what type of videos to make, but I enjoy talking about perfume once in a while as opposed to writing about it, so to give myself inspiration I decided to start The Quickies. Since a lot of people get turned off when they see a video is longer than just a few minutes, these are mini-reviews of scents that I don't want, or plan, to create more in-depth discussion on but that I like (or hate) and want to give them a mention.

Each Quickie will be short - under five minutes - and will feature any number of scented items, from perfume to home fragrance to bath and body. Suggestions are gladly accepted, as always, on products to review. So here is the inaugural episode of The Quickie, in which my inappropriate humor rears its ugly head.



Annnnyways, hope that was interesting and/or fun, and I hope that you'll share this blog with friends and family who might enjoy it! I'm signing off for the weekend, I hope you have a fabulous one and until I see you again, pleasant journeys~


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Episode 43: Ylang-Ylang in Perfume (or, Scent Notes Holla!)

So you may remember me mentioning that today would be a Face-Off between men's scents? Okay well that obviously didn't happen. This was due to my complete and utter loss of one half of the colognes I wanted to review, and not having anything prepared as a back up. So instead of writing today's post off entirely, I'm going to do an edition of the Scent Notes series instead! Yaaayyy... I hope, ha. So, today's focus is on Ylang-ylang.

Cananga odorata

Cananga odorata is more commonly known as Ylang-ylang. It is derived from the flowers of the Cananga tree, which is native to the Philippines and Indonesia. The Tagalog mean of the root word ilang-ilang can mean "rare", perhaps indicative of the highly valued perfume oil extracted from the flowers. Ylang-ylang flowers are large, star-shaped and very fragrant. The oil pressed from the flowers is sweet scented, slightly yellow in color. In aromatherapy, Ylang-ylang is good for relieving stress and anxiety. Applied on the skin it can aid in the reduction of acne, as well as assist in the growth and treatment of damaged hair. It is important to note, however, that some people experience headaches and nausea when presented with Ylang-ylang oils, so it is possible that this is one of many potential migraine triggers in perfumery, and should be worn with that in mind.
Image via organicfacts.net
 The scent of Ylang-ylang is very popular, and both the oil and the flowers themselves have been used for thousands of years. A traditional Indonesian wedding ritual is to strew the petals on the wedding bed, and the oils have been used to smooth the hair and seal split ends. The fragrance evokes a sweet, slightly fruity, floral scent. It is very fragrant, but still maintains a delicacy of scent. Ylang-ylang is typically used as a heart or base note in fragrances, and blends well with bergamot, lavender, grapefruit and sandalwood, making it a common ingredient in chypre, floral and fruity-floral blends. Some well known fragrances with Ylang-ylang are Guerlain's Samsara EDP and Maison Martin Margiela Beach Walk. (wikipedia.com, aromaweb.com, essentialoils.co.za)
Image via Wikipedia
Ylang-ylang, in perfumery, is not traditionally a fragrance compound that I gravitate towards. I own perfume with Ylang-ylang in it, but I cannot personally put a description on the scent other than "sweet" and "floral". However, it isn't a compound I shy away from, either, and after reading about the aromatic benefits of using this in an essential oil format, I am definitely tempted to give it a try. Supposedly it can even lower blood pressure and reduce hypertension, which I've suffered from for years. So even though I don't particularly care for this scent in perfumery, I might find a very valid use for it in aromatherapy. That's another thing I love about scents - there are so many dimensions to every thing you smell, and so many different ways it can work on your body. I'm going to have to wear my perfume with Ylang-ylang more and see if I notice any headaches or stress relief!

So I hope that was informational, and made up for the lack of a Face-Off. Again, I am not going to be continuing this series permanently, but of course I will always revisit them on occasion! Feel free to comment below with any particular scent notes you'd like a short info sesh about and I will add them to the queue! I will have a video post tomorrow, but if I can't get it edited to my satisfaction, it may not show up on the blog until Saturday. You can keep an eye on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for updates when the video is live - all of those links are on the Random Facts page! I can't wait to see you tomorrow! Pleasant journeys~


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Episode 42: New Day, New Series (or, The Five for All)

Okay, so I kind of started this series in my last video post, but I decided to make it an official series. The Five for All is a list segment, each week with five items in the designated category, ranked by me. It can be five good things, or five terrible things. I'm also totally up for category suggestions (things like "Five Prettiest Flacons" et cetera) or scent suggestions (like "list these in order from least to most favorite" with five choices). As long as it can be evaluated in list format, I'm game! So I'm going to go ahead and get started with this week's five.

My Five Most Interesting Scents

Out of the collection of scents that I own, this is the list of the five that I can't stop sniffing. When I wear these, there is just something about them that is like a party for my nostrils. They are in no particular order, please note, and also note that this doesn't take into consideration the complexity of the scent - only the way it smells on my skin!
  1.  Supernova Sway by DarlingClandestine - I've talked about this before, but it one of my absolute favorites. This smells, hands down, like hot asphalt and metal in the summer. I was raised in a small town, but I am a city girl in my very heart, and I've had six summers here to absorb that smell. Supernova Sway isn't marketed as being for one particular season or another (it is part of DarlingClandestine's general catalog, thank goodness) but it screams summertime to me. With that said, I would also wear it in winter, to remind myself of those 115° days that I long for. Check out DarlingClandestine here!
  2. Womanity by Thierry Mugler - I have a mix of indie and mainstream so I am alternating. Womanity is a scent that can make you enemies - like, won't get in the car, move away on the bus, asked to leave the store level enemies. Don't wear this one to work, for sure. It's such a heavy blend of fig and that caviar note that it quickly turns into a lovely, human "musk", if you know what I mean. A feminine musk, if I dare get crude. But.... I like it. Not when it's too much, mind you. This is very much the "spritz and step into it" type of perfume. When it's good, though, it's figgy, sweet, woody, green and just a bit salty. It's fascinating. Just don't spray too much. Check out the entire Thierry Mugler catalog, or just buy Womanity here***.
  3. Lady Grey by Black Violet - You're wondering why I'm writing about a scent I don't care for, right? Well interesting doesn't denote approval, ha. So Lady Grey is a weird one. I ordered in blind assuming that it would smell much like the tea, and nothing in the description leads me to believe it shouldn't but on me it.... smells like I am a lovely old broad of Victorian times, sitting in my musty parlor, drinking black tea and having a smoke on my ivory-handled cigarette holder. No, really. I get a very faint hint of tea, but mostly this smells like stale cigarettes and rooms that aren't aired out enough. It's the damnest thing. Every now and then I wear it again, hoping for something different, but it never changes. Check it out at Black Violet, here!
  4. White Jasmine & Mint by Jo Malone - What do you get when you take a fragrance that supposedly smells of wild mint, peppermint, bergamot, chamomile, cardamom, coriander and black currant at the top, May rose absolute, jasmine, ylang ylang, lily of the valley and orange blossom in the heart and prune, Guaiac, vetiver and cedar at the base? Something that manages to smell like everything and nothing all at once. Seriously, I list this Jo Malone scent here because it is an anomaly. With every other scent I own, I am able to pick out at least one top note and one base note. I wouldn't be writing this if I couldn't. With most I can paint a fair picture of the composition, even if I can't name every single note layered in it. With White Jasmine & Mint I can't make out any individual notes. In fact, prior to Googling that list, I could have only said "white jasmine" and "mint" if put on the spot, ha ha. It smells good, don't get me wrong. I wear this in the fall a lot, because I love how sunny and floral it is, but it is a bit too heavy for spring, and definitely too much for summer. Now, knowing the scent notes, I could tell you that I can - sometimes - smell the prune. LOL, perfect for a granny like myself. Check out the Jo Malone catalog here
  5.  Feast Day by Alchimia Apothecary - This is the Granddaddy of interesting perfumes. It starts out sweet, and as it develops it grows faintly smoky with a hint of crisp bacon until at the end you have what can only be described as a delicious, smoked brisket. Now, I have to point this out. While I smell like food to my self, I have never had anyone mention food while I'm wearing Feast Day. Instead, I usually get compliments and questions about the scent (from as many men as women, ha ha) and people only notice the bacon if I point it out. I notice, however, and it makes it really fun. Check out Feast Day at Alchimia Apothecary, here!
Sorry this is a little late y'all, meant to finish last night and my stomach went nutso on me again, so I had to finish up today. I hope you enjoy this new series, and please comment below, or email at admin@olfactory-exploits.com any suggestions you have for this series! Tomorrow is another episode of the Face-Off, the first ever Men's Only version, muahaha. Then I will have a new video post on Friday, starting a video series! So be on the lookout. Until then, pleasant journeys~











As always the presence of three asterisks such as *** denotes a referral link. If you choose to purchase this product through this link, I receive a portion of the sale. Thank you!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Episode 41: Do You Think You Know Me? You Probably Do. (or, I Love Perfume TAG)

Heya. Sorry for the week of radio silence, as usual I was ill. I hope everyone enjoyed spending Mother's Day with their loved ones. I had a post in mind that I wanted to do today, and still want to do, but since I am still feeling like crap I am going to shelve it for now. Instead, have another TAG. This comes via Jasmin at Life Through Different Eyes, and be warned there may be affiliate links below. Read on!


I ♥ Perfume TAG

  1. What was the first perfume you ever purchased? The first perfume I ever purchased, with my very own money, from an actual department store, was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Until then, all of my perfumes had been gifts, but I thought I was seriously classy buying Chanel. To this day, that scent has a certain nostalgia for me. 
  2. What’s your signature perfume? I spend waaaay too much time trying different perfumes to be able to say there was one that was my "signature" scent but if I had to pick a scent that I wanted people to associate with me, it would be Angélique Noire from Guerlain's L 'Art et la Matière collection.
  3. What’s your most recent perfume purchase? Most recently I bought a slew from the summer release of my favorite indie perfumier, DarlingClandestine, but the most recent purchase I have made and received was from the TokyoMilk Dark collection, No.28 Excess. It may end up in a review soon, because I have a lot of thoughts about it, ha ha.
  4. What perfume would you wear at night time/date night? That I currently have in my collection would probably be the above mentioned Angélique Noire, or my Alkemia Apothecary New Orleans Love Spell. Very sexy! If I were choosing one I don't currently own, I'd go with Tom Ford Private Blend Shanghai Lily. That's one I'm dying to get my hands on, one of many, eek.
  5. What’s your favorite spring/summer perfume? For spring, you know I've been obsessing about the gorgeous Balenciaga Paris l'Édition Mer. The fresh, beachy floral is so invigorating in the spring air. In summer I practically live in Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia *** because this scent manages to be both warm and refreshing on hot summer days. It's my go-to.
  6. What’s your favorite fall/winter perfume? I don't know that I have a favorite, really. There are a ton of amazing seasonal scents done by indie perfumiers that I love - Horseman and Tabac by Haus of Gloi are two that I wear a lot during fall. In winter, Alchemic Muse does some of my favorite seasonal scents, Figgy Pudding and Wassail. I guess the scents I wear during the fall/winter are much more "seasonally appropriate", mostly because I prefer deeper scents like that to begin with.
  7. What’s your favorite scent category? (fruity, floral, fresh, oriental, woody) I love woody, I love oriental, I love musk, I also like some deeper gourmands. I try to stay away from scents that include a lot of "white" notes, so I tend to stick with deeper scents.
  8. What perfume are you currently lusting after? Quite a few. The aforementioned Tom Ford, Byredo Gypsy Water and Mojave Ghost, Le Labo Labdunum 18 and Bergamote 22, Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi, Bond No. 9 New York Montauk and Hudson Yards... that is literally just the tip of the iceberg. I can't even list all of the indie perfumes I'd want because those brilliant minds are always coming up with new scents!
I think there were some new-ish questions in there, with answers that I hadn't previously talked about, huzzah. I hope you enjoyed this, and if you ended up needing a new scent after reading this, I'd appreciate it if you checked out some of the great deals you can get on (legit) fragrances through the following advertisers.

FragranceNet.comPerfume.com

Thank you for visiting, and come back tomorrow for something new! I still haven't decided what series to run, so it will be like a surprise for both you and me. Pleasant journeys~


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Episode 40: For Mothers (or, Not a Suggestion Post)

May the 4th be with you! Okay, so I posted the new schedule and then realized - I don't know WHAT THE EFF to post about today. I didn't think that far ahead. So I thought I might do a mini review - whomp whomp. I can't find the mail to save my life. So instead, today, I am going to tell you a story, in honor of Mother's Day.

Redolent

In what world do the strange, twisting tendrils of scent become so thoroughly entwined with fate as to be indistinguishable? Where do we store those memories, the olfactory ones, that make up the bulk of our sensory processing? How does it become so difficult, yet remain so easy to pluck those strings of scent for the beautiful memories that are played back to us. Perhaps it is always such. Perhaps we only imagine it.
My mother was young, a strong-minded, strong-willed woman the product of Second-Wave feminism and a life time love affair with Tom Waits. She believed women had the right to all of life's pleasures, and that those pleasures included beauty, romance, and a little bit of vanity. She certainly had her vanities. She woke early, before five in the morning, every week day but on the weekends she would sit at the small bathroom vanity and apply her cosmetics, slowly, over an hour. When I was very young, I was content to ignore her ministrations, as I eagerly escaped to hot sun, green grass and the weekend. As I grew older, however, I became more and more interested in this weekly ritual. It was an event that took my mother from a businesswoman with a spine of steel to a creature I did not quite know as "mother", yet loved her all the better for it.
My father was gone, gone too young and my mother rarely spoke of him. Instead she prepared for weekends with friends one loving application at a time. Her face first, no heavy creams or liquids but a fine veil of Coty Airspun powder, followed by a dusting of rouge - CoverGirl. A wash of pale shadow on the lid, also CoverGirl, with brown eyeliner smudged in-between lashes coated in blue Maybelline GreatLash. It doesn't surprise me that I remember the exact brands to this day, for my mother only bought what few cosmetics were sold at our local Five & Dime. The money she earned from that suit and tie job she fought so hard for, went for a different vanity. That one, there, I see it in my eye. The box of powder on the counter. Elizabeth Taylor's Passion. My mother never wore perfume, not that I ever once saw. Instead, every weekend she would dust her decollete with her puff of Passion.
I was still a child when I first saw my mother use Passion, but she wore it faithfully all through my years as a rebellious teenager, to adulthood, to kids of my own. I remember watching her put on her face, then her "weekend red" lips and finally, her dusting of Passion. Then, she would hug me, carefully so as not to smear her lipstick, and I would breathe her in. This woman, who was as beautiful as a flower on two magical days, and smelled of musky, blooming nights. How odd that I once smelled Passion on a tester stick inside Macy's, and it smelled nothing like her. Perhaps what I smelled was only the powder. Perhaps it was only my mother.
In that moment she would hold me tight and whisper in my ear, "Savin' all my love for you." A line from her favorite song. Then she'd be gone, no longer a woman clawing her way to the top of a world dominated by men, or a widow saddled with a child who grew more and more rebellious by the day. No, she was that other, the strange beautiful other who turned the heads of men and women alike and left a trail of Passion in her wake.
I loved her. I loved her then, I love her now, and I loved her so strongly the day I patted Passion over her neck in the funeral parlor that my heart could have broke for it. This is what I remember of my mother. Softness and strength, beauty and compassion, relentless talent and drive. All of those memories, cocooned in a veil made of Elizabeth Taylor's Passion. So today, I get dressed and as I am ready to leave for work, I hug my children tightly, ever so tightly. I hope that they smell lavender soap and cigarettes, Chanel Cristalle and above all else, the love of a mother perfectly cocooned in her scent.
I'd trade off everything just to have you near, savin' all my love for you.
Fin.

I hope that you enjoyed that snippet of an olfactory journey, and that this Mother's Day you hug the women you love tightly, breathe them in, and keep that memory dear. Pleasant journeys~











"Saving All My Love For You"
Tom Waits
(c) Fifth Floor Music Inc.

 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Summer 2015 Posting Schedule

Okay, so we all know I can't stick to a schedule worth a damn, but I am going to give it my best shot. I'm shooting for four blog posts a week - three text posts and one video post. We'll see how that goes. Here is the tentative schedule.

  • Sunday - Dark day, no posts
  • Monday - Post, text, no set subject
  • Tuesday - Post, series (TBD)
  • Wednesday - Dark day, no posts
  • Thursday - Post, series (TBD)
  • Friday - Post, video, no set subject
  • Saturday - Dark day, no posts
Basically Monday and Friday will be something of a free-for-all... I'm not entirely sure what I will post, be it a review, a recommendation, a list... ehhh, maybe even upcoming releases and announcements that have me doing a happy dance. Things outside of perfume, like possible tags or non-related posts will show up outside of the set postings days, usually on Saturdays (as part of the Siesta).

Tuesday and Thursday will be continuations of series - I am NOT entirely sure which ones. The Face-Off will continue, because I like it, but Scent Notes will not, for now. That leaves  the door open for a new series... I kinda, sort of have something in mind, but I don't think the time is right for what I want to do, which means I need something in the interim. I'm thinking about either an a. Best Of or b. It Failed For Me. The first is simple and easy to do, and I like the second because I genuinely enjoy reading about why someone may or may not have liked a particular scent. Each option is based purely on my own personal preferences, though, which is something I wish I could pull away from, just a little. (I am going to try to do that in the un-named series I mentioned first.)

If you have any suggestions for recurring themes or series, or if there is a post you'd like to see in general (video or text), please leave them down in the comments, or e-mail me at admin@olfactory-exploits.com. I'd love to hear your suggestions! Pleasant journeys~


Friday, May 1, 2015

Episode 39: Fragrance Face-Off, Cartier vs Guerlain, Round 1 (or, Please Teas, Tease Me Pleasingly)

Getting back on schedule! Yay! I will also have a revised posting schedule coming up here when I iron the kinks out. Since school is ending for the semester I am going to try and post as often as I can.

This brings me to another point that I very much want to address. From here on out, some (not all) links made available for purchasing purposes will be affiliate links. I know that no one likes affiliate links, because we don't like the idea that someone is benefiting because of our hard-earned money, but hear me out. It would mean so, so much to me if you could use my links when you decide to make a purchase. The reason is two fold - firstly, I put a lot of work into this blog. Each post usually takes anywhere from three to eight hours to complete, depending on the topic and how much research has to go into it. Secondly, as I mentioned, I am a full time student and a stay-at-home mom. I do have a disability that prevents me from holding down a traditional job, although I worked as a retail manager for many years before my health became too poor. This blog, as well as my independent writing projects are my only source of personal income, income that I don't rely on my husband for. That is not a bad thing, and I certainly don't need the pocket money, but it make me feel accomplished, so I hope that by considering using my affiliate links to make fragrance purchases, you'll support me in that!

For here on out, any post containing affiliate links will be tagged with the "referral link" label, and each link that is an affiliate link will have an asterisk beside it, so that everyone can clearly distinguish which links are through an affiliate program, and which are safe. Thank you! Now back to the regularly scheduled post...

Another Friday Face-Off! Yayyyyy!!! I love doing these. Today I am facing off Guerlain's Teazzurra with Cartier's Declaration l'Eau. Okay so, disclaimer. I KNOW Cartier is a men's cologne and Guerlain is a women's EDT and I KNOW that despite the fairly unisex nature of both fragrances, for purchasing decisions, it wouldn't really make sense to compare the two as equals. So what this Face-Off will be determining is which of the two is a better, more well-rounded tea scent. If you watched my last video post, you'll know that I would say Commodity's Tea is the best tea scent I've tried. But these two ended up o my counter and I just wanted to pit them head to head. So let's do the thing!

Cartier Declaration l'Eau vs Guerlain Teazzurra

Composition: The Cartier scent is a more dazzling take on the original Declaration. It combines zesty lemon, pink grapefruit, pink peppercorn and warm cedarwood for a fresh, masculine scent that manages to never overpower, even on a female tester (aka myself). Although I traditionally don't like grapefruit in fragrance, for l'Eau it really works. Guerlain's Teazzurra brings it's hand at grapefruit to the party as well. Sparkling top notes of bergamot, lemon, yuzu and grapefruit give way to the sweet astringent heart of green tea, chamomile and jasmine. It is anchored by musk, vanilla and calone (a seashore accord). The citrus scents work well here, too - they seem to float off my body leaving the green tea, jasmine and musk behind. Both scents are much warmer on dry down that one would originally expect, but l'Eau has a simplicity that lends it a hand here, and it's slightly deeper base gives it a foot up as a staple scent.
l'Eau: 4
Teazzurra: 3
Anamnesis: A new category to the Face-Off, Anamnesis is similar to reminiscence, except that it is the calling to mind by a certain act or trigger. A tea scent, in my opinion, should be something that can bring back memories for many people, so I am bring this category in to see just which scent is more successful (for me). L'Eau smells fresh - not so much like a day at the beach, but a day at the lake with the sun shining hot and trees all around. You spend all day floating, and drinking and when the sun sets, that hot, wet sweetness of the sun and crystal waters surrounds you. Teazzurra is climbing the stairs to reach the Parthenon in Greece. It's the middle of August, and being so hot you could die, with the smell of the city (both sweet and rotten) rising all around you. It's seeing the Temple of Hephaestus in the distance and wondering how such a strange modernity could have become amidst such shocking tributes to times long gone. It's finally, finally getting a frappe and feeling the sense of disconcerting otherness fade away with each frothy sip.
l'Eau: 3
Teazzurra: 5

Image via Cartier
 Seasonality: Another new category, both of these scents are designed to be worn during warmer months, so I venture to ask, are the relegated to the higher temperatures only? Or can these scents fit into your wardrobe year-round? L'Eau, despite being the (arguably) warmer scent has a lightness that leads to a fairly short lifespan on my skin. This is not a scent that would take me well past fall, if that. Teazzurra does not fair better. It's greater variety of scent components leads to something that is a little deeper on dry-down, but it too, begins to fade on bare skin after only a couple of hours. These scents need the heavy body chemistry pulled from us by the hot weather to reach their full potential, so I daresay neither will work as anything more than a very light winter pick-me-up.
l'Eau: 2
Teazzurra: 2
Image via Guerlain

Final Tally: Cartier Declaration l'Eau - 9/15. Guerlain Teazzurra - 10/15. So, we have a very slight winner in Teazzurra. I'm not going to lie, I think it is a beautiful scent. When I read of it's release I called my Guerlain boutique and had them set a bottle aside for me, and I don't regret it. With that said, I love Declaration l'Eau and I plan to buy a bottle or my husband. It's a lovely, lighter version of some of my favorite men's colognes.
Guerlain Teazzurra Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - Although perhaps not the best of Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria line, many of those scents are discontinued, and Teazzurra is one of the best new additions, in my opinion, of the last few years, especially after the disappointment that was Limon Verde (on paper it seemed perfect, on my skin it smelled like piss). If you are familiar with the Aqua Allegoria line, and if you like a scent with a bit of warmth, Teazzurra might be right up your alley. Buy it here.
If you'd like to pick up Cartier Declaration l'Eau for you or your guy, you can do that right here.***
Whoot whoot! Look at me, all on time with the shizz. Okay let's keep the momentum going. I'm going to be posting the new schedule soon, so keep an eye out for that. The Face-Off will continue because I like it, although I might do separate reviews as well. I think I will be shelving the scent note series - it's fairly time consuming on the back end, so I'd rather devote that time to making sure I can get other content out as promised. What do you think? If you'd like to see the scent notes continue, in some format, let me know in the comments. Otherwise have a lovely weekend, and pleasant journeys~