Weekly Cheap Secret:

Oh, Old Spice. I know it is low-brow but I really do enjoy its scent. Every fall/winter, I purchase a bottle of Classic Old Spice Body Wash. (Let me emphasize Classic here, those other varieties can go to hell. I thought Axe already had that market covered). This is an inexpensive  fix for my need for spicy scents when the temperature drops. I like spicy scents but I usually don’t want to smell like them all day or I only crave them for a short time. That’s why I would rather use the body wash than the cologne. The fragrance is mix of bitter citrus and every spice in your cupboard: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. It’s the “classic” and I think everyone is familiar with it. Old Spice is aware of the kitschiness of this scent with such slogans as “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist” and “It will still be around, even after a nuclear fallout”. I do find this comical because it is a classic fragrance that has been a part of American pop culture for some time. However,  some of their ad campaigns border on being chauvinistic. It’s all about the “swag” and attracting bodacious babes. I wish that they would realize that there are many, many females out there (some even bodacious) using their product. Sorry guys, but spice is a pretty unisex thing in the fragrance world. Spice for men is cheap; however, spice for women is expensive in the fragrance world.

The shower gel doesn’t smell as nice as the cologne. It does have a strange “chemicalness” to it that fades after a few seconds.. The gel lathers nicely and a little goes a long way. It’s a bright blue gel. I’m not wild about this because it makes the lather a pale gray, giving me a temporary zombie-like/corpse complexion. I guess their male target group doesn’t mind this? The fragrance lightly lingers and doesn’t interfere with any of my other fragrances that I choose to use. It isn’t very moisturizing. It appears that dudes aren’t interested in that.

An 18 fl. oz. bottle retails for under $5. This is a great deal for this shower gel. My husband and I have both been using a bottle for months now. I must add that I do love the smell of Old Spice on him and he even likes it on me.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Cafe Noir is a moody, rich fragrance. I love it. I call it “beatnik in a bottle”. It’s smart and sophisticated and a bit counter-culture (if a perfume can be described as such). It reminds me of a classic French perfume created for the kind of gal that spends late nights/early mornings reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti by the fireplace, sipping on midnight black coffee.

DSH describes this spicy oriental luxury perfume as “a Paris night…Dark and sophisticated, it evokes late concerts in smoke filled rooms…sipping coffee and listening to jazz.” I love when I create an “impression” in my head when I wear a fragrance before I read about it and it actually “fits” what the creator was going for. I haven’t spent late nights in Josephine Baker-ish Parisian jazz clubs, but I have spent many insomniac moments at 4 o’clock in the morning reading “A Coney Island of the Mind” turning each page with fingers decorated with deep merlot nails. This scent reminds me of “beat” poetry.

My first impression of this fragrance creates a bit of confusion in my mind. I know that I like it but I find it very odd. It hits as if it is a spicy, mossy, dirty, chypre. It smells a bit wild and untamed and actually hot. It reminds me of all of those classic Guerlains like Mitsouko but Cafe Noir is much dirtier and grittier and with a kick of spice. It reminds me of moss and Atomic Fire Balls. You just know like beat poetry, that this is a fragrance with so much to say. Once my mind finally gets that this is a dirty, spicy chypre, I get an unexpected “shot” of bitter coffee beans. To add to even more complexity, I get lovely “classic” perfumey. I get rich, thick Parisian florals of rose and jasmine. But, it isn’t classic because of the bitter coffee. The dry down is moody and fairly simple. It has smoky incense like copal rich sweetness with grounding notes of vanilla, labdanum, and balsam. It is like being in a room where incense was once burning. It is slightly smoky but mostly you get the sweetness of the smoke floating through the air. I can not imagine my perfume collection without Cafe Noir in it. This one is very special.

This blend contains 99% botanical ingredients. Notes listed include: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam, and vanilla. I would say to give this fragrance a try if you are looking for an interesting and moody fragrance or if you like Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne, Mark Buxton Nameless EDP, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Iles, L’Artisan Parfumeur Eau du Navigateur EDT, and/or Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio EDP. I must say that the biggest difference between those listed and Parfums des Beaux Arts Cafe Noir is that Cafe Noir is rich and long-lasting and natural. This is no cologne. An 1 ounce parfum spray goes for $135. It is available on the fragrance house’s website. More sizes are available.

This is an all natural fragrance that is in Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH “Gaia Perfume Collection”. This is as the name applies, a spicy fragrance. I really do like spicy fragrances but I think I have “low-brow” spicy fragrance tastes. I seem to always use Old Spice as my spice fragrance point of reference. Well, Epices d’Hiver is spicy and citrusy like Old Spice but much more high-brow. At first it is a wonderful winter citrus explosion. You can smell bitter oranges, blood oranges, perfumey bergamot, and grapefruit. It is citrusy but nothing like the “citrus” you would grab in the middle of summer. This is definitely a “cold” citrus blend. I mean that it doesn’t smell like fresh citrus juices but more like citrus essential oils. I then smell lots and lots of star anise. This is a good thing because I love the smell of star anise. I know other spices are present but I pick up on the star anise the most. I get a hint of cloves and nutmeg. The spiciness of this fragrance reminds me a lot of Pae-lo or Chinese Five Spice. Or Sambuca mixed with a bay rum aftershave blend or Old Spice. The dry down is  soft, warm, and resiny. It reminds me of non-burning incense. It is “round”, mellow, and wears closely to the skin.

This is a nice scent for cooler weather. It is spicy without smelling “Christmasy”. It has been a great fragrance to wear during this past week when the temps have been about 19° F. It reminds me of a beautiful bay rum (I guess because of the davana mixed with citrus and spices) with a dash of Pae-lo. This is a spice fragrance that both sexes can wear. It is a great “classic” scent for the kind of male that spends his winter holiday eating clam chowder by a fire in a wool sweater that he got in Novia Scotia last year before he goes out yachting. I also see it for the kind of confident female that wears Old Spice, Hepburn-ish pant suits, and red lipstick. I see both wearers as an “adventurous” type.

This is a long-wearing scent because that wears closely to the skin most of the time because of the expensive essential oils used in the blend. I really do like this scent and I don’t mean it any harm by comparing it to Old Spice. That is just my low-brow reference for spicy blends. For a “spice” blend this one is beautiful and complex. It reminds me of anything from warming Sambuca cocktails to “faraway”, “exotic” spice blends. I really do like this fragrance and I find it very easy to wear for a spicy fragrance. I wear it and it doesn’t wear me. My husband also likes this one. He says it smells of Compari and Sambuca. He says that this is the most sophisticated bay rum in the world. I would say that this means a lot coming from a guy that wears bay rum in the winter and has a very limited scent vocabulary. Notes include: bergamot, bitter orange, citrus oils, coriander seeds, davana, pink peppercorn, star anise, cinnamon bark, clove bud, jasmine, Moroccan rose, nutmeg, spice notes, ambrette seeds, labdanum, Siam benzoin, tolu balsam, tonka bean, Arabian myrhh, and vanilla absolute. A few sizes are available. The 5 ml bottle in an antique inspired bottle goes for $90. I recommend this fragrance for the person that loves spice fragrances, The Different Company Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs, Annick Goutal Madragore EDT, L’Artisan Parfumeur Fou d’Absinthe EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Navegar EDT, Byredo Parfums Fantastic Man, Etro Anice, Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique EDP, and/or Old Spice 🙂  It is available on DSH’s website.

gingercollage

Mmmm, ginger. It has a great flavor and a great fragrance. This rhizome is spicy, warming, but still fresh, earthy, and a bit “green”. It is a note that works well in warmer climates and it is a note that does well in cooler weather. Now that the nights are getting cooler, I am more attracted to the “warmth” that ginger gives. Right now I am craving “spicy” ginger/gingerbread-ish scents. I know that in the middle of summer I’ll love some of those “green” ginger scents.

Bargain Ginger Scents: For some reason I think when other people think of ginger scents they automatically think of Origins Ginger Essence Skin Scent. It is a very nice scent and one of my favorite ginger scents on the market. It is refreshing with citrus and warming with ginger. It’s therapeutic. The 1.7 oz spray retails for $37. The price is nice too. A  beach friendly ginger scent is Urban Rituelle Beachcomber Coconut & Ginger. The travel sized spray goes for $10. Apivita Spice Fragrance is what the name says, “spice” which is a blend of ginger, bergamot, caraway. The travel sized spray goes for $12. Demeter has three colognes worth mentioning: Gingerale (one of my favorite Demeter fragrances, smells like the real deal, fizzy and everything), Gingerbread (great winter comfort scent), Ginger Cookie (a sweeter version of gingerbread, also nice for winter), and Fresh Ginger (smells like the real thing). All of these come in a 1 oz for $20.

More Expensive Ginger Scents (over $50): Lush Ginger Perfume is a slightly fruity-floral ginger blend with classic florals and juniperberry. The 1.3 oz. spray goes for about $60. Yosh Ginger Ciao is an interesting ginger blend with black coconut, ylang-ylang, and neroli. It is like a tropical ginger scent, an island ginger. The perfume oil goes for $130. If you want a spicy ginger scent, try Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger Cologne. It’s warm, woody, and zesty. I like it for cooler weather. The 3.4 oz bottle retails for $100. A spicy, woodsy ginger blend is Van Cleef & Arpels Exclusive Cologne Noire EDP. It has cardomom (one of my weaknesses), bitter citrus, and woods. It retails for $185. It is more like gingerbread with hot tea and that is why I love this scent for winter: Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre. It’s a warming, comforting fragrance (that’s an understatement). The 1.7 oz bottle goes for $120. Cinq Modes Pluie d’Aromes Ritual de Kyoto, Japan is a ginger floral with ginger and rose. I do love a spicy rose scent. The 1.7 oz goes for $85. Montale Ginger Musk is a romantic ginger blend with berries and white musk. The 1.7 oz goes for $95. A nice summer ginger is Hilde Soliani Freschiiissimo. This is a fresh blend of lime, brown sugar, and ginger. Doesn’t that sound like it would make a great mixed drink? The 3.4 oz goes for $175. If you want a green, almost foresty, ginger try Vero Profumo Onda. It has vetiver, ginger, mace, and coriander. The perfume oil retails for $185. Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH (neither pictured) has two ginger based scents. Gingembre (my review here) is a spicy, wintery, warming gourmand. The 1 oz. EDP goes for $70. The other is more of a summery, citrus ginger, Indochine. This one is loaded with citrus, basil, and white flowers. The 1 oz EDP goes for $65.

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Shower Gel is one of those comfort products to have around during cool weather. Like all of the other Korres Shower Gels, this one has a nice lather that doesn’t dry out the skin. It’s a very nice natural product. It doesn’t feel slimy or separate in the bottle like some natural products. A little bit of this gel goes a long way.

The scent is sweet. But, not like a gooey cinnamon roll. It reminds me more of eggnog with spicy woods. It’s more a milky vanilla base with a hint of cinnamon spice that boarders onto spicy woods. This is not a scent that I would like in the dog days of summer. It would be repulsive at this time. It is a great winter scent. It’s comforting, creamy, slightly spicy and woodsy. The scent doesn’t linger on the skin. I wouldn’t want to smell like eggnog all day anyways. It is just a “fun” product because it really scents the shower and makes it a bit of a holiday oasis but you don’t smell like that all day. It’s the perfect holiday scent of sugar and spice.

The shower gel retails for $13 for about 8 fl. oz. and is available at DERMAdoctor.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Mahjoun is a decadent gourmand that is a must have for the honey lover. I love the scent of honey. It’s sweet but raw. This makes it difficult to wear. If you are one of the lucky and confident few out there that could wear a heavy honey based scent then this is a must for you. The fragrance’s website describes Mahjoun as “exotic, sensuous, and delicious“. Oh, it is. And it is based on the Moroccan delicacy (an ancient cannabis confection). I have never traveled to Morocco. Mainly because I love the “exotic” vision that I have of it in my mind and I don’t want to be let down. I want it to always be that “faraway” place. I love to picture the textures and smells of Morocco. I imagine bold spices, dried fruits and flowers, and precious resins. This is what I imagine and this is what Mahjoun delivers. It makes my mouth water. It is much sweeter than what I would imagine the streets of Morocco being like. This is much more dessert and gourmand and intoxicating, as the name implies. I usually can’t (or won’t) wear “sweet” fragrance but I see myself wearing this one frequently. It is sweet but it has so many other things keeping it interesting and “raw” while remaining beautiful. It is so sweet like honey as soon as you put it on. It’s sweet but very musky and sexual. At first spritz, it is a all about the sweetness of raw honey with a heavy dose of bitter almonds and zesty citrus juices. You can pick up a bit of lavender. This makes this is a crisp but sweet scent. Lavender honey is one of my favorite treats, especially in a black tea with a squeeze of lemon. The crispness fades fairly quickly and you are left with the “heart” of this fragrance. The heart is much like a sweet, sweet confection. It is heavy on the honey. It’s rich and golden, syrupy. It is mixed with dried fruits. I pick up on the dried dates and the dried pipe tobacco like aroma of dried figs. It is far from smoky, it just smells like a mix of honey and dried fruit flavored pipe tobacco. It has a dusting of sweet spices like nutmeg. It isn’t really “spicy”. The spices just add to the richness of the honey and sticky dried fruits. They are very understated. The “heart” has a bit of toasty nuttiness. Hazelnut in fact. My favorite. This makes this scent almost masculine/unisex and a must have for the lover of L’Artisan Parfumeur Mechant Loup EDT (my review here). I imagine it as a very intoxicating scent on both males and females. It’s really for anyone who has dreamed of being swept away by Rudolph Valentino as The Sheik. (This fragrance really does embody that Silent Film obsession with “exotic” and “sensual” and “forbidden” Bedouin culture).

The dry-down is less smoky and resiny than I would of imagined/predicted but it is there. It is an oriental blend of “exotic” resins and precious woods. It remains honey-ish but more in a beeswax with honey way with lots of amber, myrhh, sandalwood, frankinsence. It smells of exotic incense. I have to say that this is my all time favorite honey based scent that I have tried throughout my many years of sniffing. It is less “pissy” than L’Occitane Honey & Lemon EDT. It is sweet without sweetness being its soul purpose of existence like Lush Honey I Washed The Kids Solid Perfume.

Notes include the following: bitter almond, cardamom seed, cherry blossom, lavender, lemon, sweet orange, Bulgarian rose, fig, hazelnut, honey, nutmeg, orange blossom, sugar date, amber, atlas cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, sandalwood, and Arabian myrrh. Many sizes are available. It’s a rich fragrance that wears for many hours closely to the skin. An 1 ounce EDP spray goes for $65. It is available at the Parfums des Beaux Arts website. I would say to give this one a try if you are a fan of complex honey scents or L’Artisan Mechant Loup, L’Artisan Havana Vanille, Tokyomilk Honey & The Moon EDP, Serge Lutens Chene, Arabie, or Fumerie Turque, Napa Valley Cielo EDP (my review here), just to name a few in the honey oriental genre.

So far I have not met a Diptyque fragrance that I dislike. They are one of my favorite fragrance houses. The fragrances are simple and beautiful and so easy to wear. L’Eau de Tarocco is a beautiful fruity/citrusy but spicy fragrance. It can be worn all year round but I find it to be the perfect winter/cool weather citrus scent.

L’Eau de Tarocco is spicy but nothing like a pomander. It doesn’t smell like Christmas. It’s spicy but not heavy on cloves, nutmeg, etc. It is mainly lush citrus and a hint of spice such as ginger and cinnamon. Citrus scents are perfect for summer because they are light and refreshing but I do think of them for winter since this when they are in season. Having citrus in the dead of winter is such a treat. It opens up as a citrus juice explosion. It has all of the juiciness of sweet tarocco orange (sweeter than a regular ole blood orange), oranges, and a drop of tangy grapefruit. It’s the actual juice of an orange, not sweetened like orange juice.. This is an EDT so this explosion is just an explosion. It fades fairly quickly. I am then left with a bit of “tang” from the memory of citrus juices, a tad bit of spice like ginger and cinnamon. The spice isn’t overwhelming or Noel-ish. It adds some warmth and highlights the certain something of the florals present. This cinnamon/ginger plays so nicely against the orange blossom and softness of other dewy petals. The dry down is light and warm. You can smell the amazing cedar that is used in Diptyque fragrances. The white musk grounds the woods, keeping it “skin like” in quality. It is pretty, clean, and fresh at the dry down. This is a light wearing fragrance, refreshing and energizing. L’Eau de Tarocco contains notes of sweet Italian tarocco orange (yum), Florida orange, grapefruit, saffron, ginger extract, cinnamon, curcuma extract, Bulgarian rose, orange blossom, cedar wood, Somali frankincense, and white musk.

I would say that you would like this or if you like this you should try Parfums des Beaux Arts The Color Orange, Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange, Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cocoa, Fresh Bergamot Citrus, and/or Guerlian Exclusive Cologne de 68. I would also say that you would like this if  you like light, citrus scents or want something that is “friendly”, not heavy or over the top.  The cologne retails for $98 for the 100ml or $135 for the 200 ml and it is available at beautyhabit.com or barneys.com.