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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another trip to ScentBar

Review by Tom

...This time at the behest of Lee, as part of a trade. Not that I need an excuse to go there, since they are of course very nice and very free with letting me spritz. Which I did with Il Profumo Chocolat Amere, but on the blotter, not on me. Chocolate is an iffy note for me, it can be gorgeous (Borneo 1834) or it can be less successful. Chocolat Amere started off as less so, galbanum heavy sharp dark chocolate. After a few minutes on the blotter it became a lot better, but not perhaps me. I can appreciate it, but I don't see myself wearing it. ($90 for 100ml)

From its opening Acqua Viva by Profumum seems like one I would wear in a heartbeat; if you've been, like me, hoping for a lemon scent that had a bit more lasting power and Ooomph that the ever-delightful Eau d'Hadrien, then this is right up your citrus grove. Opens with the most perfect simulacrum of freshly grated lemon zest I've ever smelled: it's giggle-inducing. As it develops, it becomes ever so slightly sweeter, and the drydown features a hint of cedar and cypress. Downside? I hate to write this, but the ending is just not that different than AG Eau du Sud, which I love and adore and own and is about $120 less. ($210 for 100ml)

Olibanum by Profumum At first sniff, this may be the first Profumum that I may actually be seduced into buying: Luckyscent refers to it as "Stone walls, gothic archways, flickering candles and chanting voices" what don't they mention is that they are up to no good. They are chanting for something very bad indeed and may be sacrificing a virgin or at least virginity to get it. Fades a bit as it developes into something less dark (and I wish it didn't) but little hints of that naughty slightly rubbery incense keeps peeping out. ($210 for 100ml is starting to make sense)

Montale Boise Vanille is interesting: the vanilla is very true to the bean with that curious glottal woodiness that anybody who has worked with vanilla pods will recognise instantly. It's almost an old-school vanilla, something you would imagine would preceed Veronica Lake's entrance to the room. It becomes woodier and slightly more lemony (and more unisex) as it gets on, finally adding a hint of peppery patchouli. Yum. ($95 for 50ml)

Montale Musk to Musk I can't tell about. Either my deskankotron skin totally ate it or it's the first aquatic white musk in history. Pleasant, light, slightly woody with the barest touch of aoud. The musk for people that think they hate musk. Perfectly nice, but way down on the list of things I'd reach for at that store. ($95 for 50ML)

Lee, these are coming your way, we expect a report...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROTFL - Tom, you invented a great word! "Deskankotron" is just perfect! I can't wait to work it into a sentence. :-D

I just loved the Montale Bois Vanille when I tried it - it really does have a unisex feel wothout being one of those smellalike citrusy "unisex because it's so neutral" ones, and I find it very wearable. (If I made people think of Veronica Lake when I wore it, that would be just icing on the cake.) More universally approachable than the Vanille Absolu, which I totally adored as well, but it's for real vanilla lovers only - that is some seriously powerful stuff.

2:01 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, yay! I am getting a decant/split of Olibanum soon, and I am so excited!! I just love those dirty monks! I seem to be one of the 2 people on earth that Hadrian doesn't work on, so I will give Acqua Viva a pass. And Musk to Musk did nothing for me either.

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Olibanum. *Want*. You've made it sound almost unsniffed purchase worthy. If it were just $100 less, I'd be buying it immediately.

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Olibanum sounds lovely. Glad to hear they're up to no good! And I giggled at your aquatic white musk. Are you perhaps anosmic? I end up asking one of the kids, can you smell this?, sticking an arm under their nose. Sometimes it's very much there and I just can't smell it.

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, great reviews as always. I am with March...maybe you are a touch anosmic. I remember when you sent me the sample of CB Musk and I tried it and thought...huh? I couldn't smell a thing! I bet you are totally shocked at that but it's true. I couldn't smell it. It took wearing it for several weeks (thanks for the generous sample!) before I got it. It now reminds me of the Tulsa State Fair in all it's skanky goodness. It is shocking!

10:34 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I liked Bois Vanille a lot- even though I usually don't care for vanilla scents. It's so slinky!

11:43 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'd love to know how you like Olibanum.

Try the Acqua Viva is you have a chance- the opening alone is worth a spritz!

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...



11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't think so (I hope not!)- I'd hate to think I went out all civety and couldn't smell it..

11:46 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Maybe, but I usually don't have that reaction to musk. I do know that I neuter it- I've had others sniff to confirm. Even Kiehl's stands no chance when confronted with my Deskankotron!

11:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Your description of Olibanum made it irresistible for me :-) I must sniff it!!

11:50 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


..and you must report!

12:18 PM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Good punchy reviews, Tom, thanks! I think I sniffed the Chocolate one by mistake and surprised myself by liking it and you've just given me the reason why that might have been so - galbanum. I'm often a sucker for that note. However the furtive monk scent sounds fabulous!

12:23 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I was surprised at how much I liked it as well, and I am sure that it will smell super on someone that's not me. Kinky Monks however might have to come live with me...

12:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review. Olibanum sounds like a great fall/winter scent for me.
As a Montale lover, I really appreciate your take on Bois Vanille. Sounds like two wanna/gotta/must haves! Hoping to make my way from Northern CA to Southern soon--Scent Bar and Beautyhabit here I come!

1:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom - you're a dreamboat going shopping for me, all for swappage reasons. I'm so glad then that you got something out of it. And you know what - I'm even more glad I'm getting some Olibanum to sniff. I feel aroused just thinking about it...

Big (terribly butch) kiss.


1:18 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


ScentBar is a must! Also within walking distance is All Purpose on Flores just north of Third (which has some CB I Hate Perfume, as well as a very nice staff) and Palmetto on Third Street, as well as Santa Maria Novella on Melrose Place, Apothia at Fred Segal, Paul Smith and Agent Provacateur on Melrose. Have fun and sniff away!

1:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


That's right, I was doing it wntirely for you! I wasn't in it at all.

Although I did think for a moment of saying that I tragically dropped the sample of Olibanum. That would have been tacky, though. Right?

1:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have let you get away with it, tacky or not, munchkin...

2:16 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

it's a good reason to go back.

4:00 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You neuter Kiehls?

That's just ... wrong.

Have you contacted the U.S. Dept. of Defense? Maybe they could use your deskankotron skills in some way.

Did you ever try Rien? (did I ask you this already?) The one that smells like a trip to the barn?

4:02 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Rien? I don't think so- not the Miller Harris one? Love that..

4:16 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

The Etat Libre one? Yes, I did and I did like it a lot. Was I neutering a crazy musk there too? I got a little buzz there, but not a barnyard..

I didn't buy it because it reminded me of MH Rien and I decided that I liked the Birkenness of the MH more.

4:25 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I was referring to the MH Rien (sorry, couldn't remember the house name!) So ... it was fine?

Yeeeeech. Over the line for your skank sister March.

8:53 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Miller Harris was gorgeous. I popped for a full bottle. It does have nice skank drydown...

9:33 PM EDT  

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