Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pervasive beauty.

I have been OBSESSED with perfume lately. I've been ordering samples from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Possets, and Lucky Scent like a woman gone mad with, you know, obsession. I've researched how to make perfume. I've tried a scent that costs 240$ a bottle, even though I knew it cost that much when I ordered the sample. Because I'm a masochist. And it smells fucking fantastic, by the way. Luckily, the sillage (see, and I learned new words too! It means how far the scent projects from your body, how well others can smell it.) is almost non-existent and I like a scent that ASSAULTS people, so I'm not TOO tempted to talk myself into buying it anyway. Fragrantica.com completely rules my life right now. It's a site that outlines all the notes in different perfumes and has reviews and such.

Let's back up a bit. In 1998 I saw this ad:
I knew on instinct that THIS was the scent that Poison Ivy would wear and I considered myself a devotee. I can't remember what happened next, but I must have been at JC Penney with my grandma or something and I must have tried the fragrance. I knew nothing about notes or sillage, but I knew this scent was for me. My grandma has given me everything I've ever wanted my entire life, so it quickly became mine and I've worn it almost every day since 1998.

I now know that Hypnotic Poison has top notes of apricot, plum, and coconut, a heart of jasmine, rosewood, caraway and a flower called tuberose. Tuberose is sometimes called "corpse flower" because on some people it smells like rotting meat. On others, it smells sickly intoxicating. Every person that's ever had their face in my neck has been, dare I day hypnotized by this perfume. I can't say if it's that addictive sour scent Jennifer Lawrence was talking about on "American Hustle", but I like to think it is exactly that. Base notes are amber, almond, vanilla, and musk. The overall effect of this scent curls up into the pointy part of your nose. After trying dozens of scents the last few months, I go back to Hypnotic Poison knowing that I truly found my perfect scent when I was 16. I will always have a bottle of this evil angel.

In my perfume studies I also learned that Hypnotic Poison is made by Annicka Mendardo. She's made a lot of different perfumes, another of which is called Lolita Lempicka. Lolita Lempicka is actually a perfume house, but its 1997 premiere scent bearing the name was the one made by Menardo.
The ad above was one I saw in Seventeen magazine as a teen and used in collages, though I never thought to try the perfume itself until now. This scent it based on licorice. It has anise, vanilla, almond, vetiver (one of my very favorite notes-- kind of an earthy, wet-cave smell. It's used in a lot of men's perfumes, though I prefer it paired with softer notes or by itself in essential oil form.), ivy, and musk. When I read the notes and reviews, I ordered a bottle without even trying it. I tried to try it, but they didn't have a bottle at Ulta and I didn't want to brave department stores where sales associates might actually, *gasp* TALK to me. Yesterday it came in the mail alongside a bottle of Hypnotic Poison (I was out and have decided I can't EVER live without it again). If this perfume hadn't been called Lolita-something (Lolita is not a concept I'm drawn to, by any means) or maybe didn't have all that gold on the bottle, I would have wanted to try it based on my love of the ads. If I had tried this instead of Hypnotic Poison, perhaps THIS would have been the scent for me. I'm addicted to it. I think I might even be a little allergic to it because my throat gets a little sore the first hour or so after I spray it, but I cannot help myself. I have to stop myself from spraying it every few hours. It is arresting.

My entire identity is based upon dichotomy. I like sweetness undercut by decay. I like pinup girls with vampire teeth. I like babydoll dresses on Courtney Love. The temptress that bites, the rotten fruit, the cloying smell of blood. This search for a new perfume was driven by a need for a scent that would have such a personality that it repels in an intriguing way that makes you want to smell it again. I wanted licorice or root beer or Dr Pepper. I wanted sickly sweet earth, darkness mixed with piercing light. I wanted to be abhorrently intoxicating. In many ways Hypnotic Poison is already this scent for me, but Lolita Lempicka is a siren I may end up wearing almost as often.

If Hypnotic Poison belongs on Poison Ivy, Lolita Lempicka is the scent she wears as Pamela Isley. It's the daytime scent of a woman that smiles sweetly with a dark tendril of tumult swirling in her piercing eyes. Hypnotic Poison is the scent of the same woman at the moment that smile becomes a sneer. You are perfectly willing to follow her into the dark forest of your inevitable demise.

At this moment, I feel that my search is over. My intensity has simmered to that feeling of absolute contentment I get when I feel I have found the "ultimate" of something, like when I found my leather jacket. I would still like to try to make my own perfume someday, but I think I have a top 5 that will probably remain the same.

MixtressRae's top five perfumes:

1. Hypnotic Poison

2. Lolita Lempicka

3. Midnight Poison: this is my "going out" scent. It opens with bergamot and simmers into vanilla, amber, and patchouli. That bergamot punches you in the face! I wear it almost every time I go to a nighttime social event. It is so inextricably linked to socialization, drinking, and good times with friends that if I'm thinking of bailing, I can spray it on myself and be instantly ready to GO.

4. Malediction: from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. It's a mixture of patchouli and vetiver. Simple, powerful and comforting.

5. Gypsy Grave: from Possets. It has vetiver, musk, clove, flowers, incense. It smells like gravestones and dying flowers, like dust and damp earth...like the sidewalk after a rain. It truly evokes a cemetery, like ash, death, moss, and teeth-clanging hopefulness. I like this one a lot. This is a great "day off" scent. It reeks of languishing about listening to The Cure on a rainy day.

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