Sometimes I run into a fragrance and wonder “why haven’t I had you in my life sooner”? This is one of those scents. Sometimes I smell something and it is so me. Despite my extensive fragrance collection, I see this (10 Corso Como)  is the kind of scent that I will keep going back to and using again and again and again. I flirt with many, many types of fragrances, but at heart my fragrance personality is “woods”. Especially, dry warm woods.

10 Corso Como doesn’t possess a certain in your face “wow” factor. It isn’t a chameleon. It doesn’t contain a collection of strange  “isn’t it ironic notes”. It’s just really pretty and a must have for the woodsy fragrance lover. It’s for those that love the richness and warmth of sandalwood, musk, oud, frankincense but don’t want to smell like hippies or like they stumbled upon a Grateful Dead tribute band concert when they were just trying to have a romantic picnic in the park. Don’t get me wrong. I adore a “headshop” fragrance oil, but I don’t want that from a $115 perfume. I want it to have some class, some beauty, some refinement.

10 Corso Como is one of those fragrances that you love or you hate. If you love sandalwood or oud, then you will most likely this one. In fact, you won’t find this very strong at all. You may find it too “weak” and “pretty”. The wearer that doesn’t reach for a woodsy scent may find this one too strong, too animalic, too smoky. I find it woodsy in a feminine way. It smells almost of a wood carved jewelry box where one would store their dainty perfume oils and aromatic elixirs. I can barely pick up the rosy elements. I get more a fresh, balsmy wood at first. It is a little strange. It’s very woodsy and balmsy. It smells like a clean, tidy recreation of an evergreen forest. When I say “clean”, I mean there isn’t any grit, moss, dirt, moisture. It’s the foresty perfume equivalent of those unadulterated “aquatic” based perfumes. It’s pure but it is not a synthetic forest scent that would remind someone of Irish Spring soap or a men’s cologne. I pick up on smooth woods and vetiver. It is very resinous and slightly “green”, but green like a mustard green or chicory (this I think is porcini raised in their pine needle beds, this aroma takes me on a mushroom hunt. I am an amateur mycologist, this does smell mushroomy). That’s the weird part of the fragrance. The strange forest, pine/vetiver, mushroom-ness. This stage quickly passes, about 5-15 minutes. It then becomes a turpentine-ish woodsy fragrance. It still smells like lady-like sweet woods such as sandalwood but with a bit of evergreen/turpentine edge. It really reminds me of the sap from an evergreen, mainly pine. A buttery sweetness is present among the woods and slight turpentine-ness (most likely the reason that I love it). This woodsy blend wears for some time. So to sum it up at this stage: Buttery sandalwood sap next to a a dried out piece of smooth evergreen wood. It’s much prettier than it sounds. I don’t really get the “smokiness” of this fragrance. I get an incense like aroma but no smoke. Frankincense provides an incense sans the smoke aroma. It smells rich and exotic but I feel it is there but in moderation. This is definitely more of a balsamy wood scent than it is a resiny oriental scent. The frankincense and musk is more apparent as the evergreen/porcini a.k.a turpentine fades. It becomes a sensual mix of sandalwood, frankincense, and musk. It becomes very elegant and almost too pretty. This happens after about 45 minutes of wear. It smells like a classic dry woods perfume. But, there is something a bit “off”, a certain strangeness that doesn’t scream at you but makes you realize that this isn’t your regular sandalwood obsessed fragrance. I think it is the oud wood/agarwood, one of my favorite notes in fragrance ever. I didn’t realize that I loved oud as much as do until about 2 years ago. It is such a weird note. It can smell like pretty dry woods, oil, floral, and even like porcini. Of course I love this wood for the fungal factor alone. It’s mesmerizing. I think why I like this fragrance so much is because the prized oud wood is there. In the beginning, I think this is what is making the top notes so strange. That spicy mustard/chicory must be the porcini like aroma of oud wood, it then gets a sandalwood warmth and really rounds out the sweetness of the buttery sandalwood present in this mix. It adds a bit of an unusual character that makes this scent glamorous and in my opinion worth the price.

Some people complain that this fragrance doesn’t last long. Yesterday when I wore it, it wore for 16 hours. Today it wore for over 14. It is the kind of fragrance that lasts a long time but just very closely to the skin. That is typical of woods heavy fragrances. They are there, you may not notice it, but others will. Woods make a fragrance last.

Notes listed include: rose, geranium, vetiver, frankincense, musk, sandalwood, and Malay oud-wood. Prices range from $85 to the 1.7 to $115 for the $3.4. Bath products are available in this line as well, oh, and a solid perfume. Have I mentioned that I love the 30’s vintage feel of this bottle? Since I have been renovating our 30’s home, I have been all about that era’s design. This bottle is right on and based on a flea-market find antique perfume bottle. It is available at beautyhabit.com.

This fragrance is what the name implies. It is a rich, warm, and seductive scent. The packaging is perfect and contains a skull and crossbones, suggesting the poisonous side of the product. (Who doesn’t love the antiquarian styled packaging?) Initially I wasn’t attracted to the product despite its cool packaging. To be honest, I found the name dull and boring. “Sexy” is an overused and bastardized word. I mean if it is being used by some slimy designer on HGTV to describe a ceiling fan, then it is dead. Yep, dead is “sexy”.

However, I am so pleased that I was talked into and had a chance to try this fragrance. Dead Sexy is warm and comforting without being overly sweet. It is perfect for these chilly and drizzly and moody western Washington days. This fragrance is the epitome of the “modern woods” fragrance genre. In the beginning this fragrance is a high quality vanilla liquor and a dry, rare woods blend. It is almost oud-ish but less abrasive. It has a bit of a smokiness which is what I think makes this so sexy. It reminds me of being in an Old World “bordello” filled with the abstract incense smoke and fine wooden furniture and the softest linens, surrounded by ebony panels. It’s luxe and goth in An Interview With A Vampire way. Once it starts to dry down, it is more of a “woods” scent. The vanilla is there but it isn’t as “liquory”.  The vanilla is smoky and incensey. It just smells of a melange of  rich and slightly sweet “modern” woods. These woods aren’t dirty. They are round and robust and very feminine. There is the faintest aroma of delicate white petals. It smells more like your in this “bordello” and you pick up a whiff of little white flowers in a vase next to a candelabra filled with burning candles. The florals are there but almost ghostly, you catch their cold “feeling” every now and then amongst the warm woods. In fact, this blend is a great balance of “warm” and “cool” like a rich mahogany bed with crisp, smooth sheets. It has a mix of exotic and precious woods, smoky vanilla, rich amber-like resins, and a dash of flirty petals. It’s a beautiful thing, really. This scent reminds me of vampy Theda Bara. This is a must have fragrance for all the real-life vamps and working goths out there.

This fragrance is a sexy (not my favorite adjective but fitting for this scent) scent that isn’t overwhelming like most “modern woods”. I wear it during the day. It is soft but very rich and bewitching. It wears closely to the skin for a few hours. I say about 4-5 hours of wear. It contains notes of deep vanilla, exotic wood, white orchid, and ebony. I would say to give this one a try if you like dry woodsy scents, Tom Ford Oud Wood,  Tom Ford White Patchouli, Estee Lauder Sensuous, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Prada EDP, Calvin Klein Euphoria, and/or Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté.

The 1 ounce spray retails for $28 (a steal) and can be purchased at b-glowing.com.

I always find stuff when I am broke or well, buying my first house. How badly I want this little box of Tom Ford fragrances! It contains 12 private blend fragrances that Tom Ford describes as, ” My own scent laboratory; it’s where I have the ability to create very special, original fragrances that are unconstrained by the conventions of mainstream scent-making. Private Blend is designed with the true fragrance connoisseur in mind.” Haha. “This line isn’t about pleasing the mainstream to make tons of money but by marketing a few million fragrances as “original” so that I can sell them to fragrance whores for $180 to $450 a pop and since big department stores carry them as well I’ll get the people that like “mainstream” fragrance because I am a “mainstream” man!” Brilliant really, Mr. Ford. Anyways, I still want it. It wasn’t that I was or wasn’t blown away by any of the Private Blends when I played with them in store, it was just that I didn’t want to pay a minimum of $180 for something that I just liked or didn’t have the time to experience. I am a fragrance flirt so I want to have as many fragrances as possible. This kit contains 12 .05 fl.oz EDPs (I think that’s the size, I had to zoom in on the product and the number got blurry): Noir de Noir, Amber Absolute, Black Violet, Velvet Gardenia, Tobacco Vanilla, Oud Wood, Moss Breches, Bois Rouge, Purple Patchouli, Tuscan Leather, Neroli Portofino, and Japan Noir. Many of these are pretty nice blends since I have a thing for leather and mossy scents. And a few of them I really did want to spend more time with. They come in a little brown, almost cigar box. I love the entire vibe of this. It is very turn of the century Belle Epoque apothecary. (That is what Tom Ford’s Private Blend has done best, the whole antique apothecary vibe. Even thought the $180 range bottles are boring and all the same to save money, I like the apothecary look.) It’s a wardrobe of fragrance and something very fun to sniff when cuddled up in the chair by the window on a rainy, dreary day. I would so rather spend a few evenings doing this than anything else. And if I fall madly in love with one of the blends, then I will make the smallest available bottle my very own. I wish more companies would offer these kind of coffrets. It seems that everybody “niche” or not launches like a million fragrances at once, all in the same bottle, and it’s much too difficult to keep them separate. We addicts can’t afford to purchase them all and we forget about half of them because there are at least 30 launches a month and our lists keep expanding. Sometimes we simply forget. This coffret goes for $180 and is available at neimanmarcus.com.

What I really wish it was in.

What I really wish it was in.