Lez Nez (no need to hold 'em)
Review by Tom
The Unicorn Spell
This starts off with a sweet hit joined by spice, something that reminds me of cumin and sage. Almost immediatly starts to become green, like the smell of flowers that haven't opened yet, or better yet bulbs. Bulbs that still have a bit of the earth stillclinging to them.
Then they open. I get the violets that Colombina gets, still with the bulb. I also think I smell the faintest iris. It's still sweet, but has nothing of the gagging powdery parts of the usual violet, and has a minted coolness that's a bit like the camphored rosemary in Daim Blonde: you can't really make it out on its own, it just serves to cool. It also has the most surprising sillage; it sometimes stays close to the skin and then jumps out at you. It stays cool, but starts to soften. It dries down and the violets soften a bit and the cooling mint becomes just barely strong enough to discern on its own, with a bare, clean-skin musk.
I normally really don't like violet in perfume. Don't like as in "Get that sh&t away from me". This one I actually like
Let me Play the Lion
This starts off with the sweetness and woodiness of anise seeds, the sweet blast (well blast is a bit much, there's nothing in these that blast) quickly joined faint cedar and sandalwood. The cedar and sandalwood dance around each other as if cavorting, then freeze as a wonderfully dirty incense drops in, like a lion at the waterhole. Now that I've written that, I also smell a bare hint of aquatic.
Luckily the lion is a friendly sort and after a while starts to dance around with the cedar and sandalwood. The anise seeds come back again adding piquance (if you hate anise, you won't care for this stage) as the scent starts to settle into its drydown: the cedar mutes, the sandalwood comes forward, warmed by the musky incense and sweetened by anise. This would have been my favorite if I hadn't already tried:
On me, the first spritz is the strong smell of Vodka. Potato Vodka to be exact. As soon as it dries, I get the barest whiff of fresh mint. Slowly it starts to dry to the scent of fresh clean sheets. I never thought I'd like to smell like fresh clean sheets, but oddly, I do. These remind me sheets hurriedly taken off the line ahead of a summer storm; there's ozone, but it's not the dreaded aquatic. (Do any of you also have the almost insuperable desire to jump in and roll round a freshly made bed? Or am I the only nut here?)
Slowly, amber starts to sneak in: an oddly cool one(perhaps it's the mint). It's the antithesis of Ambre Sultan's resinous heat, but just as wonderful. Finally there's the barest hint of something like musk: but dusty, not animal. I could recognise it, but not place it. Finally on a hunch I went into my bedroom and sniffed the satin-trimmed wool blanket I got at Saks on sale a few years ago: Voila! Fresh linens and the ever-so-slightly musty smell of wool blankets.
In an email exchange with Colombina, she nailed it: a diluted L'Air de Rien. I'd say not quite diluted, just stripped of any of the ghosts that would haunt the dusty house that L'Air de Rein inhabits. L'Antimatière is that lonely disused house thrown open, scrubbed down and welcoming; if there are ghosts they are there only to look kindly over your sleeping form, perhaps tuck a corner in and smooth a furrowed brow.
Any of these are well worth the money; they aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, but they are giving a singular (and singularly wonderful) take on things; these whisper rather than shout. I'm looking forward to see what else they have up their sleeves...
Image source, LesNez.com.