Perfume Review: Strange Invisible Perfumes Musc Botanique
Strange Invisible Perfumes is a house that for various reasons kind of stayed off my radar. I trekked once out to Venice to their shop, where I was wholly ignored by the young man behind the counter. Being a naturally huffy person, since he wasn't asking if I wanted to go on his trip to Palm Springs, I huffed on in a... huff. The website used to be of such aggressive unusability that I would have to force quit Exploder to get out of it (that, and it was unreadable). I had been back once or twice and met a very lovely lady who looked like Maud Adams and who showed me the line; there were several that I liked, but on me they faded fast and I'm cheap: I like my fumes to last the day. I've always meant to get back there, but it's all the way in Venice (please insert Wendy Whiner voice), which when you work in Downtown LA and live in Beverly Hills might as well be Acapulco or New Hebrides: at least an hour and a half in traffic if it's moving then the fight for a beach-adjacent parking space. Or the MTA bus that will take a week. Not that I'm lazy. Or spoiled. Not at all.
When is ScentBar going to deliver like Jacopos?
Then QWendy set up this little trip out on a Saturday morning. For those of you who are unaware of her, Wendy has her own blog and has a business making shoes. Yes, that's right. She makes shoes. That's like me mentioning that when I am not blogging I'm busy knitting Automobiles to spec. There're some talented people out there in Perfume-land...
So the deal was that we would meet at 10am on Saturday AM at the Abbott Kinney Store, which would open early especially for us. The MTA gave me directions that were within reason, so I didn't even have to drive there, and even arrived with time to spare. Upon my arrival I saw several familiar faces, including IrisLA and Robin, but I will leave the rest of the recap for Wendy to cover on her blog (linked above). I also had two glasses of Champagne, which added sparkle to the morning if not to my ability to speak coherently.
I did find the answer to why the ones that I liked in this line seem to have no lasting power: most are only available in perfume strength, but the testers are EDP's. I don't think it's a matter of saving money as much as it is that EDP's develop faster and you can wash them off when you're unable to expose any more skin for testing without years of Yoga and the risk of an indecent exposure arrest. I did mention that perhaps it would be a good idea to have both strengths available, so that when one narrows it down to two or three that one would have more of an idea of the lasting power and the development from the concentration actually sold.
Now that I know that that last impediment to my enjoying these (or my cheap-a$$edness) was out of the way I was able to test with abandon. There are several (Vine, Galatea, Narcotic and Moon Garden) that I really liked and several more that I wouldn't exactly cry over if they showed up in a stocking.
But the one that I kept coming back to was Musc Botanique. Through the alcohol haze I remember the nice girl telling us that it was meant as a sort of riff on the idea of plants seducing each other through their smell, like the musk that animals produce to attract a mate. This makes immediate sense in its tart opening: the woody, almost harsh geranium mixes with sweet angelica to make me think of berry patches. It gets earthier and earthier as the frankincense and amber come in, until the whole thing gets surprisingly, delightfully slutty. But slutty in a wholly different way that you would imagine: not human and not even animal. It's as if you're walking in a night-time garden and suddenly the whole place starts giving you the glad eye; the woods, grass and flowers are waving their little fronds at you with a decided "Hello, Sailor" attitude. Not in that somewhat confrontational Satyr-of-the-berries CB I Hate perfume way (which, as you all know I adore) and not in some Majicky, Sci-Fi way either. It's different: it's also entirely wearable (I would and did wear it to the office) but definitely, wonderfully.. odd.
Musc Botanique will be available at SIP in September, I believe it's $135 for the EDP and $165 for the pure perfume but don't quote me on that. I will write that as one of the line that is designed to be sold as both EDP and pure perfume that the lasting power on the EDP is great and that strength might be better for day wear or for guys. The perfume is that much more. I might need that much more...