Friday, October 7, 2011

Indie perfume favourites

I'll admit it: I'm pretty confident when I review make-up. Colour preferences aside, there are qualities that indicate, well, quality - opacity, longevity, texture, presentation and to some extent, packaging. I've done some basic photography classes and I consider myself handy enough with a camera to get decent photos. I can structure a review well enough that I feel comfortable calling my posts "reviews" instead of just haul posts or swatches.

However when it comes to perfumes, I feel COMPLETELY out of my depth. I literally went from cheap-o Impulse body sprays to that weird musky ea de toilette perfume called Taboo (I still have a bottle knocking around somewhere, I think) and then staggered onto the indie perfume scene with a vague understanding of top notes and dry-downs and a definite dislike for powdery florals. Since then I've thrown money at several companies, sampled my nose off and generally tried to understand what and why some things make me smile after I sniff (since all the boyfriend can tell me is "I like that one" or "I don't like that one").

Perfume is so personal, my lack of knowledge aside, I'm just not comfortable reviewing it. But I didn't want to keep completely silent about the great experiences I've had with several indie companies, so I'm going to compile a list of favourites instead of actual reviews. This way I get to showcase the stuff I love without having to buy a perfume dictionary from Amazon, which means more money for smelly things! YAY!

For me, scents fall into four different categories. The first is tolerance. I don't mind smelling it, but I'd never use it. The second is like - those are the smells I might go for in a soap or scrub, but I wouldn't wear as a perfume. The third is enjoyment. Those are the perfumes I'll return to - that I have a strong memory of, and I get in the 'mood' to wear. The last one is something I discovered only recently - that is perfume love. When you find yourself reaching for the same perfume every day. When all you want to do is sit there inhaling its gloriousness. When you wish everything in the world would smell like that perfume. When you're tempted to drink it to see if it tastes as good as it smells. I didn't realise there was perfume love until I smelled this scent. Ahem.

Purple Almond
This is a definite enjoyment perfume for me. I adore lavender and this is mixed with the smell of sugared almonds - a rare treat. The lavender keeps it from becoming too 'foody' for me. It's such a calming smell. I turn to this perfume when I'm particularly stressed. I bought a full-sized bottle.

Nuee Ardente
I like spicy, incense-y smells and this perfume is amazingly so - but not musky or pungent at all. This scent is fierce and warm and the rose-y notes temper it into something beautiful. This is one of the 'boyfriend-approved' ones, so I didn't hesitate getting a full-sized one.

Wrestling Tigers While Calling Your Mom Long Distance
What a name! More incense-y, woody smells here, but this particular perfume opens with this amazingly realistic cola scent. It smells like a curious sort of medicinal drink. It's suggested as a perfume for "those days when you are doing absolutely everything", and I feel like I have those a lot, so I got a full-size of this one too.

Candy Mechanic
The backstory behind this scent was so charming, and anything vaguely oil/petrol, metallic or earthy reminds me of my boyfriend. I found the description of this perfume to be absolutely spot on. For me, this scent toes the line between enjoyment and like - I didn't get a full size of this, but I have reached for the sample vial occasionally. It's such an intriguing scent!

Visit Zomg Smells here.

Dessert Absinthe
This perfume was a surprise to me. I like liquorice but I never would have imagined wearing it as a perfume. I'm also not a big fan of citrus scents... but this perfume blends both in such a way that it becomes this sweet, effortlessly invigorating concoction. The evolution of this scent when worn is beautiful, too - it starts out with a strong anise top note, and then as it dries you can really smell the lemon - but it's a soft, sweet lemon, like lemonade cream or something. Not sour or reminiscent of cleaning products at all (which is the main reason I dislike citrus scents). The result a few hours later is this lingering sweetness - vanilla with a touch of something darker. I have a little of my sample left and also a tube of solid fragrance. I don't wear this as often as I'd like since my boyfriend hates liquorice. Lysa offers this scent as a milk bath and I'm severely tempted.

Offer me a fragrance with coffee or chocolate in it and I'm very likely to try it - as you'll see when I talk about indie bath goodies later. Baltus was as much of a surprise for me as Dessert Absinthe was. I wasn't sure if I'd like this fragrance... I definitely didn't expect to fall in love with it.

I want to bathe in Baltus. I smell espresso - rich and strong. I smell caramel and chocolate and a bit of vanilla - creamy, sticky, sweet. Then emerges the fig, mashed together with pumpkin - an altogether different kind of sticky-creamy-sweet, much more effervescent; pungent but not sour at all. Baltus is a wild smell. The name Baltus makes me think of Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, which is fitting. This scent is indulgence. It's sexy and selfish and I enjoy every second of it. I have an empty sample vial and a full-size of this. I've been checking the shop every week or so in case Lysa does bath salts with Baltus - I'll have to buy a few packets!

I tried several other perfumes from TMTM, which have received rave reviews from various other bloggers - and they just didn't do anything for me. Not like Baltus. I also have a few other perfume vials I haven't touched. That's the problem with perfume love; sometimes you can't even make yourself wear something else!

Visit TMTM here.

Next up, favourite indie soap/scrub/lip balm scents!


  1. Perfume is so crazy isn't it! Baltus is one of my favs too but I totally don't smell coffee in it at all hahaha :) I have never tried any of the absinthe ones as I hate liquorish hahahaha

  2. Perfume is strange in that it has the power to influence mood. I like be delicious by dkny and dreams unlimited by the body shop.

  3. I'm an indie perfume fan, but I've never tried ZOMG Smells - their website just annoys me. There's way too much going on there! However, I could possibly be tempted by Candy Mechanic...

    I've bought loads from TMTM over the years, oddly never tried Baltus. That's on my future list for sure.

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