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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fiddling while Rome burns

By Tom

This weeks post is I am afraid going to be more rambly that usual: I'm sure that all of you know that we've been having fires here this weekend that have put people out of their homes. I hope that they can all rebuild and get on with their lives, and once again am incredulous over the bravery of the firefighters fighting these blazes. So while some of this weekend was spent in air-conditioned indoors, a lot was not so I can't be 100% sure that some of the scents I tried were not being veiled by the smoky, choky air we were breathing.

As you know, Gaia, the Non-Blonde and I are scent twins, it's rare for us to react very differently to a scent to the point where I know if she likes something that it will smell very well on me and vice-versa. Gaia and her husband visited LA this weekend and we hit various sniff spots together.

First off was a store called Visionary on Melrose Avenue , where we were to meet Roxana Villa and try her new Chaparral scent. Stupidly, I got the date wrong and she would be there the next day, Sunday. Gaia did try Rich Hippie Psychedelic, which we would have like if it were about half the price.

Off to ScentBar. The scents we tried there kind of merge into one another as a blur, but I can state that Musc Maori might be a must-have. It's a divine comfort scent with an edge: scalded cream over dark, coffee infused chocolate with a generous helping of white musk in the drydown. Like Daniel Craig bringing you a nice steaming cup after he.. you get the picture. Gaia recommended it as one that always gets compliments..

Gaia triad on China White, which I originally thought smelled like ashtrays. I now think it smells like Cocaine. After a while it gets to Cocaine dusted roses, then roses. Not so much.

Then we went to Barneys and sniffed some more. I tried Dans tes Bras, and am torn: I like it as conceptual art, but don't know if I need to actually buy it. It's undeniable weird and quite beautiful: violets going to play-doh going to supple skin. Borneo is out there now, and it's a wonderful reminder of how talented, how out there, how crazy-genius the combo of Sheldrake/Lutens can be, and I'm sorry to agree kind of haven't lately. Even though I bought several of the last three. Love you Louve, but you ain't Borneo brilliant. but I may have to back-up my bell jars with Borneo . Chene too.

We had a lovely late lunch at a restaurant in my neighborhood called Il Pastaio. I'd never been thinking it would be pricey; it wasn't much more for our salad than Koo Koo Roo would have been and it was so much better. Funny it took someone traveling 3000 miles to get me to try a restaurant that's a short walk from my house.

Sunday Gaia and Ori were on their way back to the cold rainy East Coast and I made my way through the smoky heat to meet Roxana. She is a lovely woman, and her chaparral is a delight; even if it was slightly surreal smelling this distillation of California with it's herbal woodiness and hint of wildfires with the smell of actual wildfires so prominent in the air. She's also created a scent just for the store that's a delight of orange blossom but isn't so over-the-top femme that a guy couldn’t wear it. I don't know that she's going to be selling it through her website or if the store will sell it on their site. I hope it's both..

Of course, Gaia will be posting her take on the Attack of the Scent Twins on her blog, so please visit her for a no doubt far more lucid account. I'm off to, I think, invest in an oxygen tank.

The image, the view from the lookout at Mulholland near Cahuenga, taken on November 16th, is Tom's own.



Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Can't quite agree with you on Musc Maori, which I tried once and found scarily, cloyingly sweet -- pulling the chocolate-y facet of musk into hyperglycaemic territory...
But I do on Dans Tes Bras: it's so out there I can't decide if it's wearable, or wearable art.
And Bornéo, well... Now that's a weird, offbeat masterpiece.

3:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,
I really hope things will soon settle in California. Your concerns peek through your witty-as-usual post.
Must try Musc Maori now.
A friendly hug from Milan.

5:04 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom
compliments on your picture. It is -don't get me wrong!- beautiful which is strange, because you would expect this tragedy to produce horrifying pictures only. I can't believe how this smoke brings out the blue tones in your picture.
Nice picture or not: I just hope the fires will be out soon and that there is some money left in your city to help folks rebuild their lives.

7:05 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I can see where MM could go there. I wouldn't dare put on more than one tiny spritz!

11:43 AM EST  
Blogger Esri Rose said...

Love your descrip of Musc Maori, even though Daniel Craig doesn't do it for me (gasp!) Will add it to my list o' samples to get.

That's a lot of smoke.

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...



We have these fires with some frequency but usually not with many homes lost...

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It is oddly beautiful, and produces the most gorgeous sunsets. But..

11:46 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


there was more actually, it just didn't photograph on my iPhone

12:16 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

How wonderful that you got to go sniffing w/ your scent twin again!
Chaparral sounds truly lovely. But I can only imagine how strange it must have been to sniff it w/ the scent of the real fires in the air.
When I first tried Dans something was clearly off w/ my nose as all I got was violet. I've resampled it a couple of times since then and although it initially seems OK and even pleasantly interesting, I have to admit that by the dry down I'm out and out repulsed. There's an oozing, rotting association I have w/ the earthy part of it that I just can't get past. I confess, however, that I'm intrigued enough that I plan on continuing to sample it over the next couple of years and see if anything changes for me. It's one of those scents that *should* work for me...but doesn't. Yet.

2:53 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, I hope you guys are getting some of the torrential rain that blew in way up North of you! I thought my house was going to be swept away last night, and now we are being drenched.

I really must try Musc Maori, does it come with a side of Daniel Craig? ;-0

Your photo is really very good,BTW.

3:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom: I'm now calling my Santa Barbara neighborhood Tierra del Fuego. Less than two miles away is too close for comfort for wildfires, and I'm glad that the smoke finally dissipated. I packed up and evacuated as a precaution, and you can bet I had a box full of perfumes, since they're pretty much the most valuable things I own, monetarily speaking.

I'm not torn over Dans tes Bras at all, though I agree it has a "conceptual art" vibe. I think it's really nice and I would own it in a minute, but I'm a discount shopper, so I'll either wait a long time or settle for a decant. I've been really itching to try Borneo lately; must get a sample.

4:00 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am with you on the "not there yet" deal.

I must add that there was a sense of desperation about the SA'a at Barneys- I think sales are off a lot.

4:33 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am willing to send some of our sunshine up your way in trade!

The photo did come out well, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I pointed my iPhone and hoped for the best, since I couldn't see the display in the bright light.

4:35 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I was stunned looking at the maps of SB fires and how close to the center of town it got.

Two miles is waaaay too close...

4:36 PM EST  

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