Get Bent Part 2: smell bent Little Miss Panda, Commando, Mama Cassis and Blimey, Limey... and a Draw
As I wrote earlier, I had the chance to sit down with the young founder and nose of the house smell bent, which launched last month here in Los Angeles. The brainchild of Sarah Lawrence graduate and self-described "scent obsessed" Brent Leonesio, smell bent was created with the idea that "perfume should be fun and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg".
I met Brent at The Abbey in West Hollywood, where he showed me his line. I usually try not to try scents in front of the person responsible for them, in case I hate them. Luckily there was nothing to hate here: even the ones that had names that gave me pause were completely different than what my preconceived notions made me think: Frosting Monster for instance is grassy rather than sweet, Lemon Cowboy is almost equally focused on the saddle as on the citrus, Hungry Hungry Hippies manages to have both a giggle-inducing pot-brownie opening with a surprisingly urbane finish while Lucy Fur (limited, and shouldn't be) has a creamy muskiness to it that delightful.
Blimey, Limey starts off, well limey. Limey and sweet, a literal lime-ade. The lime becomes truer as it develops, becoming more peel-like becoming finally tinged with musk. It's very youthful and very fresh. I'm neither of course but I do like that it becomes more suave and less literal as it dries to it's lovely skin musk conclusion. It's not me, but then I opened..
Commando is a handsome blend of tonka and musks that he writes of as being "as close as it gets to wearing nothing at all". Actually, it's as close as it gets to wearing the impeccably clean skin of a child without skinning one to do so. Needless to say I could bathe in this.
Mamma Cassis actually made me say "wow" out loud. I was expecting a load of cassis but the initial impression is of fresh chopped mint. Black currants join in but never get too thick, being cut by the mint. A bit of Lemon Cowboy's lemongrass boots seem to stomp in near the end and that's a good thing, taking this from "whoo hoo" to immensely wearable.
Little Miss Panda is listed as pikake flower and fresh soil. Pikake is a type of jasmine grown for leis and I have to admit I have no idea what it smells like. I love a good soil smell in perfumes, and this is a good one. Panda is lightly earthy and very green: it gives the impression of bamboo without being too literal.
I'm enjoying this line a lot. The price point ($20 for 1/4 oz) is these days the new free and there are quite a few I can see myself wearing a lot of. There's certainly a lot of thought, taste and a fair bit of wit here. For all his youth (and he made me feel about 136 years old, damn him) Mr. Leonesio has a line that's wearable and fun, but not frivolous or over-the-top. One of the things he mentioned he was working on is a cumin scent; I am very much looking forward to seeing what he'll do with that note, and to see what else he has up his sleeve.
I will be giving away samples of the four scents in the title of this review; if you wish to be included in the draw, please say so in the comments. Telling me how youthful I am in real life will have no bearing on the choice of the winner.
But it can't hurt.
Image source, smellbent.com