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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Opus Oils Jitterbug Perfume

By Tom

Okay, I have to admit, I always told myself that I didn't like perfume oils. I think this prejudice comes from bad memories of growing up in the 70's in what can only be called a capital of hippie earthy-crunchiness: yes, there were the preps all over the place but there were also a big arty contingent that lived in incense-burning, patchouli-oiled, tofu-chomping, loft-dwelling splendor, making art out of old bathtubs and opening food co-ops. Lately however, thanks to Strange Invisible Perfumes, Ayala Sender (I will be reviewing your generous package soon, I promise) and Opus Oils, I think I am going to have to change my tune...

The lovely and talented Wendy was the impetus for my visit here, since she literally ran across the Hollywood Blvd. shop in her peripatetic travels. She set up a date for a bunch of us to drop in. Lazy putz that I am I decided to stop on my way home from work rather than stick around downtown until 8 or go home and come back. I'm just that way.

In any case, I stopped in at about 6-ish and was greeted by a strapping, handsome man who invited me in and introduced me to Kedra Hart, the strikingly attractive Master Blender behind the scents. She walked me through most of the line, including the Absinthe line (which smell of wisteria with a breath of wormwood, preferring not to go with the obvious anise, and I say "thank you" for that..), Burlesque and Fetish among others. I was happily surprised by the fact that these were wonderful to a scent: balancing bright and dark with depth and an almost ludicrous lushness to them that comes across as intense and yet wonderfully playful.

Then she brought out Jitterbug.

There are a few notes that I am a total sucker for if they're done well and jasmine is one of them. I adore the smell of it; it's one of those scents that I love about and associate with Los Angeles, as I've written about before. Unlike Sarrasins, the opening of Jitterbug seems to be more of the jasmine of the South than that of the Southland: it is more fulsome, with almost a bubblegum sweetness to its opening that's quite captivating but quickly becomes deeper with the addition of ambergris and brighter with orange blossom. I wrote of Serge Noir as reminding me of a sort of Summer's end at the Connecticut shore, in my minds eye this is what some lovely young thing in a fringed dress would smell like in Savannah in the 20's; a good girl enjoying the effect of her newly bobbed hair and Patou gown on the local boys. Blooming youth and innocent sexuality.

Would I wear it? You betcha. I find that the oil isn't a sillage monster (and if it is, please don't burst my bubble) so I can dab it on my wrist and have some olfactory armor against the daily attack of the drabs. Another spreadsheet? A PowerPoint? The car needs to get smogged? Fine. I've sniffed my wrist and I am in Jitterbug heaven...

Jitterbug is available in an array of sizes and products including scent, body butter (yum) and bath salts, all of which are available at the website. The store, if you are in Los Angeles is at 4959 Hollywood Boulevard near Barnsdall Art Park. This might be the perfect scent to wear there...

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Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, "Jitterbug Perfume" is also a novel by Tom Robbins (came out in 1990), and in it there is a great section about jasmine. I wonder if that was the inspiration behind this scent and the name of the shop?

12:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...just cruised over to the website and can't seem to find Jitterbug in all the piles of images and collections. Their aesthetic is not mine, but it looks like they're having fun.

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


first- great to hear from you!

yes, I read that book when it came out and I didn't even think to ask...

10:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep... i've always preferred that blast of alcohol to effervesce the flavors... oils seemed so suffocating and sticky UNTIL last year when i got into the malaysian and indonesian ouds... what a discovery... this gunk explodes on the skin like some atomic camphor and does not stop

not sure i'd like that effect with jasmine tho... i hate that flavor (and i'm from the south)... give me jungle woods

11:56 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same automatic response to oils, partly from growing up in the 70s, partly because hell, I keep trying them, they keep being horribly dull, heavy, or hippy-oil smelling, etc on me. But jasmine ... I could try a jasmine. Jitterbug sounds nice ... if I lived locally I'd stop in to sniff it, I would.

12:11 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Where do you get these ouds? I'd love to try them..

12:25 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Will have to try this line. I'm w/ you in loving jasmine and this sounds fab. I think I missed the oil prejudice thing in not growing up in this country and I am a huge fan of Yosh, Regina Harris, a few of the Jalaines, SIP and, like Ghostranchguy, aoud oils (Oriscent is my "go to" line, but Arabian Oud would be if they were more accessible in the US).

1:11 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am going to run off and research those...

1:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Oh, YUM! So delicious a description, Tom! I am a huge jasmine fan too, and I have been wondering about this line. I did not realize that there was an actual store one could visit - do they ever part with samples? I might dare to buy this one unsniffed after your review though...

4:26 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'd give them a ring and see about the samples- can't think that they wouldn't..

9:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love, love oils!! I can't wait to smell all of them. I will definitely ask them for samples as i live in san francisco.

4:48 PM EDT  

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