I like many smells: most of them not on me, though.
Food, drinks, flowers, old books, proper libraries, local BC cedar forests in the rain or afterwards, the sea (pretty much anywhere), old-fashioned herb-gardens in damp weather, spices being cooked up in the morning, some humans, wet wool or leather (yes, a pretty rare “like”), mothballs (ditto), cedar and other woods up close, beeswax, freshly-cut grass (until sneezing sets in) and green-ness, earth/soil and earthiness, and of course ginger.
But: there’s issues. Some allergies. Some lower-grade irritation from certain ingredients. Add in skin that turns scents sweet, often saccharine sweet. And a preference for solid perfume balms, cos of alcohol irritation.
Also, even if I find something I like the smell of, it’s also got to feel like “me.” And be compatible with other scents around me, especially edible ones. I eat out quite a lot (Vancouver being a hotbed of gastronomy) and will often go scent-free, so as to be able to smell and thus taste food and drink properly.
Old stuff I’ve used before, including usual alcohol-based perfumes, earliest ones first:
- Anaïs Anaïs
- Crabtree & Evelyn Lily of the Valley
- Floris Lily of the Valley
- Floris Elite (men)
- some old Body Shop men’s stuff
- Floris Fleur
- Dior Dune
- Clarins Eau Dynamisante (the one I’ve worn off and on for longest, in various forms, inc. the lovely but rare oil)
- Origins Ginger
- Roger & Gallet Ginger
- Jo Malone: Nutmeg & Ginger, Wild Fig & Cassis, Black Vetyver Café
- Acqua di Parma (various)
- and a bunch of colognes: 4711, Neal’s Yard, Santa Maria Novella, etc.
- and some vetyvers and fougères
- L’Occitane Thé Vert & the Jasmine version
- L’Occitane Eau des Quatre Reines / Rose
- L’Occitane Eau des Baux, Vetyver, Cedar (and at least one other of their men’s, ages before, name forgotten and possibly extinct)
More recent solid ones:
- L’Occitane Thé Vert
- L’Occitane Eau des Baux solid deodorant, used as a perfume solid
- Pacifica Mediterranean Fig
- Pacifica Lotus Garden
I’ve liked Mediterranean Fig for a while: it works well with what gets politely called my “body chemistry” a.k.a. personal perverse skankifying screwing-up of perfectly lovely scents (in the bottle, on a wafty bit of paper, on someone else).
But to err is human. Not claiming that to be fickle is necessarily female; I do resent that sort of pathetic excuse for thinking. Nope: less gender-specific: a change is as good as a rest, and other stuff along similar lines (also: these and these, without going the whole hog into the Personal Growth Industry–no, NOT Viagra: minds out of gutters, please…). Anyway: recently, I got together with some friends and tested out a bunch of stuff, mostly but not all off Etsy. If buying sample / tester-sizes to try out, clubbing together is a very good way to do it. We each found at least one thing to like. Here’s a largish list, a mix of my own favourites and others I quite liked; still thinking about what to do next on the purchasing-decision side (and I admit that I still like my cheap and cheerful Fig): hope it’s useful for anyone else out there looking out for no-alcohol solid perfumes:
- Aromi: solid cologne
- Astrida Naturals
- Baroque Body
- The Birdcage and the Labyrinth Steampunk
- (Bodyspell solid oil spray)
- Davis Main
- Forest Apprentices: Old Growth Cedar
- For Goodness Grape: solid perfume sticks
- For Strange Women
- Goat Rock: Happy
- Illuminated Perfume: Aumbre, Chaparral, Green Witch, Hedera Helix, Q, To Bee
- Man Cave Soapworks: solid cologne
- Midnight Gypsy Alchemy
- Morning Valley Soaps
- Paint Box Soapworks
- Pears and Poetry: Murasaki
- Peculiar Potions
- Pink Parchment Soaps: Serenity
- Pixxxie Pie and Posie
- Providence Perfume: Chiffonade
- Sweet Violets Delirium: Victorian Library
- Tattooed Geek
- Ten Digit Creations
Bonus links to fab sites on the art of perfumery coming up later.