A Weekend Trip to ScentBar
Article by Tom
At the risk of rubbing it in (sorry Colombina), one of the joys of living in the big city is that there are excellent shopping opportunities, and of course the one I care about most are for scent. In dowtown LA, there are bunches of discounters where I can walk out with a four bottles of name cologne (Guerlain, Creed, Caron; the one's I'd be interested in) for a hundred bucks. Barneys has all of the Lutens that are in the states, right down the block is Saks, ready to fix me up with Miller Harris, then it's a short sidle up to Neiman-Marcus, from which I have been buying so long the last time I was in there I practically had to vault the Kiehl's counter to get away from an over-agressive Clive Christian SA who was determined that I must try whatever 5 billion dollar concoction he has out now. There are aslo some nice niche shops, Strange Invisible Perfumes has it's store on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and on Melrose Place there is a Santa Maria Novella shop that also sells Lorenzo Villoresi. The one that I always gravitate to is ScentBar, the brick and mortar store for Luckyscent.com. Even though I have bought only about four things from them, they have never been less than super-friendly and polite, willing to uncork anything and spritz away. I had to stop in to see if they carried a perfume a friend wanted for Christmas (Commes des Garcon Palisander, and they do).
Of course, the big news is they now have Perfume Generale's scents, including the wonderful Aomassai and Iris Taizo. Aomassai, as I wrote earlier starts off toffee-sweet: a deep, rich almost burnt caramel with hazelnuts yumminess that is quickly supplanted with woods, vetiver and resin. Iris Taizo is one of the few Irises that work on me: usually Iris elbows it's way to the forefront and keeps up there, waving it's fronds and screaming "I'm Iris, dammit!" This one is woody and supplanted by incense, almost like the funeral for Iris. In a good way.
They also have the wonderful Harmattan Noir, starting with a blast of bone-dry spices as if a sudden Santa Ana had swept over a bodega an the way to you, while a later cool mint comes in to drop the temperature. As a matter of fact, it smells exactly like today's LA weather acted; a hot dry blast of an afternoon and an evening chill.
One that they did not have in stock but yanked out for me to sniff was the delightful Cuir Venenum, which runs against what I think the name should mean, onomatopoeically, that is. It's a surprisingly homey leather, a long-cared for coat, the yummiest glove leather covered down-filled sofa with perhaps the best orange flower I've smelled in years. It also has a berry like musk that reminds me of CB I Hate Perfume's Musk. Oh wait, this one sucks. It smells of old boots and orange peels and feet. Stay away from it. I said stay away!
I also sniffed the Profumum line, but frankly thought they'd be fabulous at $75. At $180, I'll pass.
One of the standouts? Botrytis by Ginestet It's supposedly based upon Sauterne wine, but I get a rich honey scent: rich comb honey, slightly musky; resinous and wonderful. For those of you who wanted honey but were scared off by Miel de Bois, this Bud's for you.
They are also going to carry the limited edition Andy Tauer Orris, which I almost afraid to try, since it's a limited edition. I'm terribly afraid that I will be forever in thrall to it, as I am to Lonestar Memories and L'Air du desert marocain, and then what am I going to do? I'm not rich enough to bribe him and not at all sanguine that batting my big green eyes would do the trick (Your cue to chime in with how great I look. Yes, I know you've never seen me.) So here's the deal. If we all try it and love it, and can't entice him into keeping it, we'll threaten him into keeping it. All over the world, Andy, men and women will bat their eyes at you. Just sayin.
All of these of course are available at Luckyscent.com. The ones that I liked all were in the $60- $100 range, and they have their sample program. I am told that they are fairly generous with samples when you order a full bottle online. They don't in the store, but then again I must have spritzed about half their inventory, so we'll call it square.
And yes, I did get a full bottle of Aomassai. Just a reminder, Cuir Venenum smells like dog breath and dead cats, so back off.