ViVi Patchouli Musk Vintage Perfume Oil (New York Pencil Company)

When I picked up this delightful relic at the antique store, it had been mellowing in its curvy little bottle (still emblazoned with a Woolworth's price label) for about as long as I've been alive. Produced by the charmingly-yclept and most assuredly defunct New York Pencil Company Inc. (doesn't that sound like a Janis Joplin side project?) Vivi Patchouli Musk must have screamed 'Lower East Side Yippie' way back in the day. But age has refined this wild-child fragrance into a scent which speaks with quiet authority... and maybe even a fair amount of poetry.

Believe what you've heard about patchouli maturing in a manner similar to wine. Whoo, this is the stuff! Smooth, chocolatey, indolic as all get-out, Vivi is a surprisingly mellow perfume oil that has benefited from its long sojourn on the shelf. All of that in-your-face acridity for which patchouli is so notorious is gone, baby, gone-- replaced by beautiful, shadowy nuances, like a Rembrandt for your nose.

Though I retained a sample for myself, I packed ViVi off to Carol of WAFT, a true patchouli connoisseur whom I knew would give it a good home. I agree with her assessment that ViVi puts hair on your chest-- but that's no reason for my earth-mother cleavage to pass up on the benefits!

Scent Elements: Patchouli and musk, exactly as advertised.