Blackbird Incense ~ home fragrance review

Blackbird incense cones

The summer I turned seventeen, I had a new friend who liked to scent her room with incense sticks and cones, which she burned in an assortment of small pottery vessels that she had crafted in a ceramics class. I was impressed by her bohemian style — she also had wonderfully eclectic taste in clothing and music — and I soon adopted the incense-burning ritual for myself, at home and then in my college dorm room.

The incense we used in those days was run-of-the-mill stuff purchased at record stores or from street vendors, either heavy and harsh with synthetic sandalwood or sickly-sweet with fruit scents or soapy lavender fragrance. I later made the switch to candles, and I haven’t used incense cones for longer than I can remember. When I found out about the Blackbird Incense line, I remembered my teen years (and my strongly scented dorm rooms) with fondness, but I wasn’t sure whether I could pick up the incense habit again…

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Comme des Garcons Black ~ fragrance review

Black Comme des Garçons

After a long dry spell in which nearly every new fragrance I smelled was either boring or just plain awful, late spring / early summer 2013 is turning out to be a good time for perfume, at least for me — there are so many winners it’s hard to decide which to review next. I just about drew straws to come up with today’s subject, Black, from Comme des Garçons. I’m especially thrilled about Black because Comme des Garçons is likewise a brand with which I have gone through a long dry spell. As a new perfumista they were one of my favorites, but I’ve been less than enthused about the last few years’ offerings.

Black is a return to form of sorts — it’s satisfyingly weird, and some people may find it less than suitable as a personal fragrance. And I cannot claim it is new territory for Comme des Garçons, quite the opposite…

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Aftelier Ancient Resins ~ quick body product review

Aftelier Ancient Resins body and hair elixirAftelier Ancient Resins body and hair elixirAftelier Ancient Resins body and hair elixir

I’m not generally a big user of body oils, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought one. But a body oil with organic frankincense made for Leonard Cohen? Ok, twist my arm. Mandy Aftel of Aftelier says Cohen uses her Ancient Resins body oil and hair elixir every day, and I’m glad to hear it because he must smell lovely and hey, doesn’t Leonard Cohen deserve to smell lovely?

Ancient Resins goes on oily and thick, but the organic jojoba and fractionated coconut oil formula soaks in nicely…

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Comme des Garcons Play Red, Black & Green, plus Amazingreen ~ fragrance reviews

Comme des Garcons Play Red, Black & Green

A New Perfume, the latest from Comme des Garçons, is a welcome thing: I miss Comme des Garçons. They haven’t done anything under their own brand since 2010′s Wonderwood, and they haven’t done anything that I loved since their 2009 collaborative effort with Monocle, Monocle Scent Two: Laurel.

That was a quick summary I wrote when I reviewed A New Perfume [real name: Comme des Garçons Eau de Parfum] early this year, and since I didn’t love A New Perfume, or whatever you want to call it, it still stands. They’ve done four fragrances since then: a trio for their Play diffusion line, and the new Amazingreen for the regular line. In keeping with my penchant for giving away the ending, I didn’t wholeheartedly adore any of this set either, but I liked all of them better than the New Perfume thing.

Comme des Garçons Red Play, Black Play and Green Play

Comme des Garçons’ Play line launched in 2002, and features t-shirts, cardigans and other casual basics / accessories; most of the clothing would look like it came from the Gap but for the addition of the Play logo — the red heart with eyes that they also used on the first Play fragrance (2007). That fragrance had a likewise “casual basic” feel, which carries over into the new trio — Red Play, Black Play and Green Play…

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Robert Piguet Casbah, Nasomatto Pardon & Linari Fuoco Infernale ~ fragrance reviews

Robert Piguet Casbah, Nasomatto Pardon, Linari Fuoco Infernale fragrance bottles

I do not exaggerate; at this moment, I have SIXTEEN perfumes on my desk that ‘deserve’ reviews…for summer. The best I’ll be able to do (summer is going by fast) is combine these fragrances into four or five reviews; so today I’m writing about three fragrances I like and never got around to reviewing when they were released.

Robert Piguet Casbah

Robert Piguet Casbah (from the Nouvelle Collection and “dedicated” to Morocco) was developed by perfumer Aurélien Guichard and includes notes of cedar, iris, pepper, nutmeg, angelica root, vetiver, tobacco leaf, smoky floral accord and incense.

Casbah is a rich, leather-incense fragrance (it would fit in perfectly with the Comme des Garçons incense line). As I sniff Casbah, I detect pepper, nutmeg, smoke and vetiver (while wearing Casbah, the spice notes sometimes blend with the incense smoke to create the aroma of an exotic, well-spiced dish cooking on a hearth). Casbah is a well-blended incense fragrance; the note that stands out most forcefully is leather (a smooth, semi-sweet leather). As I wear Casbah, I notice a shift from the early “food-y” stage of the fragrance to a more “churchy” incense scent near the end of the perfume’s development…

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