Central Park – It’s Easy Being Green

Kicking off the Bond No. 9 marathon, I chose to…choose the fragrances at random, and I’ll be mixing in my as-yet unreviewed fragrances out of my wardrobe and the Bond No. 9 fragrances for your reading pleasure. This also takes a lot of that pesky thinking out of the equation; I now can tell you what I’ll be wearing on any given day for the next month or so (and I’m working on a calendar to show you as such).

Central Park was the first of the Bonds to test, and unusually for me I began completely blind; no reviews, no ideas what to expect, nothing. The opening blast was a very green one, with citrus being the most recognizable thing right off the bat. I knew something was coming to me so I stared at my wardrobe for a minute until my eyes settled on Creed Virgin Island Water. I’m not calling them similar, but the lime and verbena were a very high-quality much like VIW. What Central Park has over the baby Creed is a lush assortment of woods in the background, it’s not a straight cedar but there’s plenty of cedar present in the base and you guys know that’s a good way to get my attention. There’s also a fair amount of musk but it doesn’t stick around terribly long, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It has a definite progression, the “crisp edges” so to speak fade and you’re left with a very nice cedar drydown, sweetened with lime and a whisper of jasmine, it wasn’t until I saw it listed as a note and actively went looking for it that I noticed it. It’s marketed as unisex but this one, I believe, leans toward the masculine side rather heavily.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I made the connection with woods and the park. Does Central Park really smell like limes and cedar trees? I sort of doubt it but I love the idea of using fragrance to tell a narrative, and it’s something that Bond No. 9 really does aim for.

Sillage seems excellent, longevity is also above average. The initial blast might be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect; I wasn’t displeased but simply surprised with the strength and potency of the fragrance, a little can go a long way here. This was a good start to the Bond marathon, Central Park is a quality offering though it reminds me more of sunny days back on Miami Beach than I imagine New York would smell like. Definitely sample worthy.

Baldessarini Ambre – Easy Drinkin’

While I’ll be the first to admit that for the most part Hugo Boss offerings haven’t done much for me (I’ll also admit my experience with them is pretty limited), I have yet to find a fragrance in their Baldessarini line that I didn’t like. The original Baldessarini (which will be reviewed in the future) was my first experience with fir and pine in a fragrance and is probably partly responsible for my affinity for the notes. Baldessarini Del Mar I just recently tracked down and I have to say it’s quite pleasant. To me, though, it’s their latest offering, Baldessarini Ambré, that is best described as a home run.

It’s got a ton of good qualities, starting with the bottle itself, it’s nice and simple, understated but elegantly cut. The juice is a pleasant amber color as well. The opening blast is great, one of my favorites. It’s surprisingly unique for an Amber fragrance, with the dominant notes for most of the progression being a sweet whiskey and apple combination. Seriously how often do you see those two notes at all, much less together? I don’t have anything to really compare it to, so you’ll have to use your imagination. It’s very rich, and projects very well. Something about the composition leaves it obviously masculine despite the sweetness, and despite that I don’t wear it as much as I should, Baldessarini Ambré is easily my most consistent compliment getter. Every single time I wear it (including today) I get positive reactions from those around me.

The progression is slow but consistent, the whiskey/apple combo fades out and the amber fades in, but by the time it’s completely dried down (some 5 to 6 hours) the amber is still tinged with that boozy accord. Really a well-done amber scent, especially for the money. Baldessarini Ambré apparently hasn’t sold too well, and you can occasionally find it at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for $20 for a 50mL bottle. Or, you can do what I did, and get it on eBay. It’s on there all the time, and you can make some positive steals, such as $9 shipped. Which is what I managed. So there’s something to shoot for, right?

Is it a good intro to Amber fragrances? Probably not, it’s not as blatant about the amber note as some other fragrances, but again for the money it’s a great addition to a wardrobe because it’s just so unique. Amber is one of those notes that, once you start getting into perfumery, is ubiquitous; everybody has an amber fragrance. Some are simple, some are complex, some are anything but amber. And some are truly unique, like this one. Go try it, or if you find a steal on eBay, buy it blind; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere…

Alright I got about halfway done with the cleanup that I wanted to accomplish. The fragrance reviews are now all organized down the sidebar, and placeholders have been set for forthcoming reviews in both Niche Experiment One and the Bond No. 9 Marathon. Still to be done is a comprehensive set of tags, which will serve double duty for another forthcoming project. And of course I still have to write the reviews, I’ve still got 45 to be written just to get caught up, never mind the other little samples and the like I have that I wouldn’t mind sampling. The truth is a lot of them won’t be that bad as they’re ones I already have strong opinions on (Dirty English and Platinum Egoiste should be written very quickly for instance). All in all I’m okay with the stuff I accomplished on here today, slightly less so with my accomplishments here at home. Still a lot of stuff to be done (cleaning, chores etc.), and I’m hoping I can get it done tonight and tomorrow night.

EDIT: Ooh, also, my bottle of Palisander arrived today! It’s pretty damn tiny for a 75mL bottle. D: I’ll take their word for it though. Also the 2.5mL atomizers got here today, thanks Sally at Accessories for Fragrances. If you ever need decanting supplies she’s very highly recommended by not just me but many of the Basenotes crew.

Nerdcore Part II

Oh man, as much as I liked having a 32″ TV for a monitor there are plenty of downsides to it, the most notable one being the resolution is a meager 1360×768. Lucky me, then, that my 32″ TV asploded today. As backwards as that sounds it was the best thing that could’ve happened. See, my video card’s been halfway dying too, randomly blacking out during 3d stuff. And I haven’t written about it because frankly it was frustrating the hell out of me and writing about it would only exacerbate my pissed-off-edness.

To make a long story short I returned the TV, bought a new 22″ monitor, and had enough left over to upgrade my power supply and video card. So I’m now running the vaunted ATI Radeon HD 4850 on a Samsung 2253BW monitor, with a ThermalTake power supply. Still running my Q6600 quad-core processor too.

I suddenly have a respectable gaming rig. It’d been so long since I’d seen good graphics on a computer that I forgot what they look like. Suffice it to say “holy #(*&ing #$&!”. I lost track of about 7 hours playing Spore and UT2004. And I have a new game in Dungeon Runners to play (an MMO spoof of WoW/Diablo), but what I think I’ll be doing is revisiting one of my favorite games that I never quite completed in Half-Life 2. On highest quality. :D

The sad thing is I have so much to do, lol. But taking a day or two to revel in awesome new tech isn’t so wrong is it?

Updates for 9/12

Well life’s weird. Starting Monday, ready or not, I’m working two jobs that stretch basically from 8 AM to 10 PM. The second job (working for a domain registrar) will look damn good on a resumé, nevermind the catch (the domain registrar is my landlord and I’m working from home). This means a lot to me, making all of this work. If I can do it, I may just be able to handle this “real life” thing. Of course that’s not terribly fair to myself, I’ve been doing alright before this, making the rent and whatnot. But there’s a lot of bills I’m still not paying, my dad’s doing a lot of it (car, car insurance, and phone namely). The car I could manage, the phone I could probably go prepaid on (though it would kill me), insurance I could probably cheap out on. So theoretically I could manage just fine.

What does this mean for the blog? Not much, the delay in content has less to do with real life and more to do with the fact that I’m waiting on some atomizers to get here so I can transfer the new Bond samples into spray bottles instead of vials. I also have some content to come for the website proper, which sadly you guys won’t be able to see as it’s for private use. :P

The re-design and WordPress upgrade are on hold while I look into some possible compatibility bugs, my comment spam eater (the amazing Spam Karma 2) averages 10 to 20 blocked comments daily and I don’t really want to lose that protection for an upgrade that extends me personally no extra functionality.

So there’s your status for the moment. Monday begins another chapter in my life, I should also have the atomizers by then and we should be business as usual starting then or Tuesday.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I wore Thierry Mugler Cologne and got some flak for it. Too strong, they say, and I’m inclined to agree with them. I took a shower when I got home and it’s still there; that is some tenacious stuff.

Dear Mr. McCain

I understand that you were a P.O.W. The actions that you took in Vietnam represents the kind of heroism that makes America great. However it’s not really a viable platform to run for president, is it? Perhaps we could discuss silly things like the economy, education reform, healthcare reform, alternative energy, and global warming (as soon as you can convince the GOP’s counter to the black vote in woman form that global warming does, in fact, exist). Good luck with that, by the way; I would think Alaskans would see the damage first-hand but what the hell do I know? This is not to say that you do not have an opinion on these issues, but I don’t know what it is because it’s never made mention of when you have the opportunity to speak. Basically that’s it, I hope this finds you in good health, and I hope that you stop listening to the PR gurus that think you can coast into the Oval Office by using the same patriotic pseudo-scare tactics as your predecessor and take a stand on the issues.

Thanks,
The Management

Floodgates

In a stunning development, at least one of you doesn’t find me terrible. That person would be Elena of Bond No. 9, who sent me a press kit for their new creation, Lexington Avenue, as well as samples of about 13 other men’s offerings. So what you’re going to see is a mini-marathon of Bond No. 9 reviews. To be more precise, every other review for the next 28 reviews will be over a Bond No. 9 fragrance. The blog is getting a little unorganized so I will probably take some time tomorrow to reorganize things so there may be some design changes. I’ll also likely be taking the opportunity to update the WordPress core to the new 2.6.2.

More info to come tomorrow. I’ve also apparently lost two reviews from the niche experiment so I’ll be revisiting CdG Incense Kyoto and Straight to Heaven by Kilian.

Cruel Intentions – Cologne to $$$ to.

With the niche experiment winding down I’m hitting the second of three by Kilian Hennessy, Cruel Intentions, and this one was recommended explicitly for me out of not only the Kilian line but all of perfumery, by the Basenotes crew. Well, how am I supposed to not sample it when you get a recommendation like that?

Now, I’ve been wearing these fragrances to work, all of them, even the sugary-sweet concoction known as A Taste of Heaven. I wore Cruel Intentions two days ago on Sunday, hoping to see why it was recommended so highly. Still in high spirits from the job situation I elaborated on a few days ago, I entered work with a level of confidence and high spirits that I haven’t had in weeks (months?). I was more relaxed, smiling more, taking a deeper interest in customer issues. And Cruel Intentions was almost transparent, and this is where it’s gonna get hard to explain. I definitely smell it, a sort of refreshing mint gourmand that I’ve gotta describe as the olfactory equivalent of having a word on the tip of your tongue. It was so familiar to me, but yet so fleeting. That Sunday ended up being the busiest Sunday I think I’ve ever worked with the possible exception of the weekend after Christmas. I mean absolutely slammed to the point that even taking a lunch break was entirely out of the question.

But there was something strange; anything I tried to sell, the customer was buying. They just would not say no and I racked up sales (and commissions) all day long. By the end of the day I exceeded my typical commission payout by a mind-blowing 1,000%. I did better in one day than I typically do in the course of an entire good week. On the downside, we were so busy that I never had the chance to really see how Cruel Intentions was developing. But obviously something was working!

I am not normally a superstitious person but when you have a day that good, you want to repeat it. I was in the same time the next day (yesterday) and I wore the exact same clothes, including socks and (yup) underwear, followed the exact same morning routine, and of course wore Cruel Intentions for the second day in a row.

And I exceeded my sales and commissions from the first day in the first two hours I was there.

I don’t want to startle anybody, but by the end of the second day wearing Cruel Intentions I’d made two weeks worth of pay in commissions alone (not to mention eight hours of time and a half $$$). Part of the reason I had a hard time describing Cruel Intentions is that it meshes perfectly with my skin, it’s the best interaction with my natural chemistry I’ve ever had in a fragrance. The Basenotes guys got this one absolutely right, this is me bottled. An essence of personality. Rose, vetiver, styrax, pure castoreum, violet, sandalwood, and more make this thing a paradox in a bottle and, dare I say it? It takes a place alongside Aramis Havana in that most coveted clique, the Holy Grails. Let that sink in, as much as I’m a fan of such amazing creations as Hermessence Vetiver Tonka, Amouage Jubilation XXV, CdG Palisander…I’m putting Cruel Intentions at the top of the top with only one other bottle.

I am not promoting this as a universally lovable scent, it’s still very mysterious to me but an amazing ride, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to try it, Luckyscent will provide 1mL samples for $4, not a bad deal considering it’s actually cheaper than buying a bottle if you bought a bunch that way. It is highly expensive at $245 for a 50mL bottle. Looking at Kilian’s website I thought I spotted a typo (missing decimal) but I was damn wrong, who wouldn’t want to buy a 34 ounce, 1 LITER fountain of this stuff for a mere $2,900?

Try it. Do it for yourself. Do it for the $$$. Oh, and today I didn’t wear it and I didn’t sell a damn thing.