A bizarre bouquet.

While wading through the Scent Cabinet to cull out consignables, I came across all those Olympic Orchids that Colleen sent me ever so long ago. And once again, I ended up berating myself for not giving them a fair chance even though I know precisely where that will get me-- nursing an exquisite migraine from that frighteningly powerful synthetic wood accord that must be perfumer Ellen Covey's go-to base. So This is IT, I promise. All but the final two vials have gone into the huge pile of 1ml. samples I've culled for a trip to the Grist Mill. I'm thinking that 25¢ apiece or five for a dollar is a fair asking price; at any rate, they'll become someone else's headache instead of mine.

A strange tropical fruity floral reminiscent of Sweet Anthem’s Roslin, but not as good. Opens on an intense, almost sickening fruit jam accord halfway between papaya and pineapple, then trails off into sweet smoke. Not novel enough to be worth it.

Scent Elements: Tuberose, pineapple, vanilla

This modern reconstruction of Egypt’s sacred incense is flat, waxy, and linear—evoking furniture polish more than ancient ceremony. After lending skin a brief, spicy topcoat, it proves quick to fade—no tragedy, since this is essentially an unattractive fragrance best left to the Ptolemaic Dynasty, or whatever’s left of it.

Scent Elements: Frankincense, myrrh, labdanum, calamus, beeswax, spices

"Pine Tree" Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, and a stunted example at that.

Scent Elements: Ponderosa pine, juniper, sagebrush, wildflower accord

Olympic Rainforest
For a fragrance predicated on one of the wettest woodlands in North America, Olympic Rainforest is a mighty dry article—but its weirdness marks it as a likely occupant of the Seattle-Portland circuit. Where else could evergreen boughs and fresh-picked morels intersect with Vicks Vap-O-Rub—and make it work? This is Arizona done right—with a sense of humor.

Scent Elements: Cedar, ferns, rhododendron, cepes, oakmoss, wildflower accord

Bay Rum
Owing to its proximity to parts Caribbean, the East Coast is awash with bay rum fragrances—which is why a reinterpretation by a Westerner is so refreshing. Ellen Covey’s Bay Rum is a savory delight with a pronounced (and very proper) cinnamon note and a good plug of salted butter melting away in that sweet hot rum. (Remember, the Pacific Northwest has its ports of call!) Bay Rum’s balance and persistence make it the most effective fragrance of the whole lot; its handsomeness is the reason it’s the only one I would wear again—and if I had a full bottle, I might empty it.

Scent Elements: Bay rum, rum accord, laurel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, orange blossom, citrus, Javanol (synthetic sandalwood), balsams