5 perfumes: incense fragrances for winter

burning incense stick

In July, I picked 5 great incense fragrances for summer wear, and I followed that in October with 5 perfumes: incense fragrances for fall. Now that we’ve moved on from “a decent chill” to “polar vortex warning”, it’s time for the winter version. As always, do add your own picks in the comments!

Comme des Garçons Avignon ~ as I’ve said here before, Avignon is my gold standard for church incense. Developed by perfumer Mark Buxton, Avignon starts out foreboding but ends up meditative; it’s also wearable and makes a great layering agent. If you want something churchy but not quite that churchy, try Bois d’Encens from the Armani Privé line. For the budget version, try Demeter Holy Smoke

Read the rest of this article »

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy

My Burberry, Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez & DKNY MYNY ~ perfume reviews

Brief reviews of three recent designer fragrances: My Burberry, Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez and DKNY MYNY. Bonus points if you can guess right off the bat which I liked best and which I liked least (hey, I’m nothing if not predictable) and do comment if you’ve smelled any recent launches we should all know about.

My Burberry

My Burberry

My Burberry takes its cues from the iconic Burberry trench coat, worn in a London garden after the rain, and yep, that’s just what it smells like. Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has done up a dewy floral in the modern style, and given it just enough of a warm golden glow to justify an autumn launch…

Read the rest of this article »

5 perfumes: Great Moments in Top Notes

blood orange

As a Now Smell This reader, you likely view top notes differently from the average perfume consumer. A perfumista like you has learned to appreciate design in fragrance and to heap scorn on the scent that snares with a few fleeting bits of flash. You are shocked and dismayed when, mere moments after the sales assistant hands over a blotter, a time-crunched husband or brand-loyal shopaholic announces: “Wrap it up!” You would like to warn this impulsive stranger. You know this purchase can only end in heartache, a heartache wreathed in a pale floral laundry musk. You are a specialist, though, and you understand your message is complicated. Perhaps you should draw a fragrance pyramid on the back of this napkin you found in your pocket, or scribble down a quick glossary? Suddenly, you are assailed by the memory of that time a friend mentioned wearing Marc Jacob Daisy — “Is that a good perfume?” — and you forgot yourself somehow and ended up giving a short lecture on strawberry doll-head accords and the volatility of certain esters.1 (“I like the bottle,” your baffled friend replied.) Okay, so you’re probably not going to make much headway here.

The flip side of our suspicion of a great top note is… well, everyone likes a great top note. Many of us fragrance fans carry about atomizers or sample vials, so we can reapply and get that glorious hit of green/citrus/spice/fruit/skank again…

Read the rest of this article »