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Friday, November 24, 2006

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 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 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the homey quickly became homely?

I'm sure Andy would be delighted to have you blink seductively in his direction. Who doesn't like a bit of honest flirting? Whether it would make him produce more Orris however....

6:01 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

I assume this is from Tom, though it's unsigned:) I feel very lucky that someone just swapped me a full bottle of Cuir V. Yay! (oh, wait, it's terribly, yucky--sorry:). And I have some Andy Tauer Orris coming in the mail. So I should be content, but. . . I really do need a FB of Aomassai, among other things; my mini is just about out! It never stops. . .

7:14 AM EST  
Blogger IrisLA said...

Besides the fun of sampling all the niche scents, the LuckyScent people are the nicest ever. They really know and love fragrance.

10:41 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Not only do I not have a scentbar where I live, I don't have a store that sells fragrances...none! I do have a feeling that's about to change since we now have another grocery store moving in (this will change our grand total to two!)... What I mean is that eventually, somebody will start selling smellies here!!!

I have testers of the PG line and there were a couple that I found interesting. One was the Hyperessence Matale (chock full of bitter orange) and the Coze (chock full of marajuana). I sort of liked the Cuir V. I thought it was strange! In a good way of course.

In your honor, Tom, I will wear Harmatan Noir today!

10:42 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If we all blink? Let's give it a shot..

11:13 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Yes, it's Tom.

I never thought in a million years that I would want a full bottle of Aomassai from the list of ingredients, but I did. And now I have one and the security of knowing there are backups two miles down the road.

11:15 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Well then it's for the best that all of the CV stay in LA where it won't bother you ;-)

11:16 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I could not agree with you more. They are very nice people and I am glad they are doing well.

11:16 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Nothing at all? Start one!

11:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, if you didn't smell PG's Musc Maori then you will have to go back there pronto and take in a deep whiff of the choco-musk delight... better thought just buy the damn thing, it's THAT good. Just ask Colombina!!

1:53 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tauer's orris has an interesting sting... you needn't fret it being ltd as this iris smarts (a welcome whip-crack-away from that insipid lonestar)... so for you and those oriented to cuddling up with their scents this one might prove a bit cerebral (quite artsy and austere)... it's brilliance will render you exposed... challenged... not opiated and indulged with batty-eyed ponder

2:08 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing Tom, I will just say this about the Profufum line. They all have incredible sillage and the bottles are very large, it takes forever to use them up. I think a couple of them are out of this world. I will happily shell out what I would pay for 2 bottles of smell good for 1 that lasts up to 10 hours on my skin... Like Betsey Johnson said, "Perfume is only as good as the compliments it gets you" So true! I want everyone to ask me what I'm wearing, and with Aqua E Zucchero they do.. all day!!!!

2:09 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Please, do bat your big green eyes at Andy so that he makes the Orris a permanent part of his line. It's just not conceivable that such a genius scent is a LE. Maybe we could arrange an international "Bat Your Eyes at Andy" day.
Oh, and I hope you get into SIP one of these days. I'd love to hear your views on them. Also remind them that their website is a *disaster*. I've already mentioned it to them a couple of times, but it wouldn't hurt for them to hear it again.

5:23 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I agree with you, some of them are really nice. I just wish they would sell bottles about a third the size

6:39 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

also- I didn't try Musc Maori, but I will...

6:40 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


my how you talk!

6:41 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I did get in there; my impressions were generally favorable, but I stupidly did not note which ones I liked. I'll have to go back, or perhaps they have landed at Barneys? (they are in the catalog and on the site)

6:44 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:49 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:49 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Thanks so much for pointing that out. There are also other typos in there. So kind of you to point them out for me.


I'll assume that you aren't the same anonymous as the previous (entertaining) anonymous, since you would clearly have mastered the semi-colon, or have posted a link on its proper use.


11:09 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom
hehehe...not frightened at all so far, love to flirt! ;-)

3:07 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Love to flirt too...

And of course if it'll make you keep doing what you do I will flirt shamelessy. I'm batting big green eyes as I type (which is harder than I thought...)

11:23 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Tom -- jealous jealous jealous! I would probably live in that store.

I make typos all the time, BTW. To err is human, to blog -- divine.

11:31 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's with difficulty that I don't live there. I feel like I stop by almost too often. But they are sooo nice!

1:10 PM EST  

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