Shelter from the storm.

For days, it's been ominously grey overhead. The atmosphere is as heavy as lead; no sweater seems adequate enough to keep out the damp. It takes creative tactics to ward off the blues. For me, this meant donning a succession of warm woody-suede scents in ever-increasing layers. Gimme shelter!

Black Mark Eau de Parfum (Jack Black)
Black Mark opens with an in-your-face, aggressively "fresh" masculine note that explodes out of the sprayer almost like THAT Jack Black at his most crazy-eyed. (I swear I heard it scream "Explo-SIVO!") Luckily that note peters out quick, making way for a comfortable and cozy saffron-cedar duet. But here's the rub: as much as I enjoy this, those first ten seconds tend to prey on my mind. It's like being slapped in the face only to find that your attacker is Mister Rogers-- cardigan, sneakers, avuncular grin and all. You forgive him, of course. But forever afterwards, you instinctively put your dukes up when he saunters into the room.

Scent Elements: Coriander, Kashmir saffron, red cedar, leather

C Eau de Parfum (Marie Saint Pierre)
Krista of Scent of the Day surprised me with a sample of C (and its sister fragrance B) earlier this year. (Here's her review.) Thank you, Krista-- and pleased to make your acquaintance, Marie! After one has encountered a number of saffron suedes, one finds that members of this species (if not interchangeable) cleave reassuringly true to type. A strong family resemblance is no liability when something smells as gosh-darned delicious as saffron suede, am I right? Maybe it's unfair that I don't cut fruity florals or celebrity candyflosses the same break-- but they just don't smell as good as C. Tant pis.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, African orange blossom, freesia, saffron, birch, Virginia cedar, leather, musk

Sandalwood & Ginger Body, Room, and Linen Spritz (The Body Shop)
Something about sandalwood's buttery-rich character begs to be contrasted with notes that offer zip, zing, and bite. Spicy-juicy ginger root proves as much a match for sandalwood as mandarin or clove (or for that matter cinnamon, which appears here as just a dusting, but an attractive one at that). Ever since my darling Bloody Frida sent me a sample, my body, my room, AND my linen have all benefited from this benevolent concoction. All it takes is one blissful inhale, and my core temperature gratefully inches up one notch.

Scent Elements: Almond, cinnamon, ginger, sandalwood, tonka bean, musk

Full bottle of Black Mark purchased from Soapmarket, formerly of Red Bank, New Jersey; now of the World Wide Web. Sample of Marie Saint-Pierre C gifted to me by SOTD's lovely Krista. Decant of Sandalwood & Ginger gifted to me by the fantabulous Bloody Frida. Thousands of thanks!