Thoughts From Me, To November, To You

So I just read Luca Turin's latest review, this one for Amouage Sunshine, entitled "Chemical Floral," an attribute given to any floral composition he dislikes, it seems (Amirage and Cabotine spring to mind). I've been enjoying the Good Doctor's reviews lately, probably for two simple reasons above all others: (1) he has been missed, as it's been a few years since his last major publication, and (2), he seems to be getting less poetic and more cantankerous in his old age, letting the ivory tower invectives fly with more abandon than I recall.

Take this sentence, for example:
"Sunshine feels like the sort of 'safe' white flowers fragrance that bean counters demand to replenish coffers depleted by artistic license."
Translated, that's saying something like, "This perfume is unfortunately designed to save Amouage from the dire financial straits it has found itself in after years of foisting borderline unwearable, buy-once-for-prestige, faux pas orientals on women who would rather just smell good." Kinda makes me want to run out and try Sunshine for myself. It can't be any worse than Epic Man.

Anyway, it's November, one of the drabbest months of the year, that block of rainy grey sandwiched between the fiery opulence of October and the electrical festivities of December. Boredom rules here in Connecticut. The only thing I'm doing is starting work on my kitchen, which will eventually look exactly like this:

I'm not even that enthused about Thanksgiving this year, not because I can't muster an appetite, but because the holiday has been inadvertently hijacked by invisible forces beyond my already tiny cosmic purview.

If Thanksgiving existed to do my bidding, I'd have family and only the closest of close family friends for dinner, but reality dictates that people I've never even met before can come to the table, all in the name of "giving thanks together," which is better in theory than in practice. Hell, I'd sooner have Bigsly over for dinner than total strangers.

My folks used to entertain friends of theirs, a very pleasant (and sadly childless) middle-aged couple, having them over for Thanksgiving every year for about ten or eleven years, until they retired and moved to Florida last year. My parents thought their "goodwill" and "sharing" would at least buy them occasional social contact from the Sunshine State, but their investment has not once reached out, nary a single phone call, and it has them feeling a bit bitter, if you know what I mean. Out of sight, out of mind, apparently. This year a couple that my brother's partner knows from sometime way back in his past will visit us, and I can't say I'm very sure what to think of it. I'm all for sharing and being friendly, open, communal, whatever, but when you toil in the kitchen for a combined total of eighty hours cooking, basting, table setting, the least a person could do is call once in a while and ask how life's been treating you. And just popping up randomly as friends of a friend? That's already one degree of Kevin Bacon too far removed for me to do much more than nod and grin as I sit down to eat. If I were calling the holiday shots, these people would be better off ordering Chinese takeout.

One little tidbit from all the November boredom involves my recent infatuation with an old fifties classic, Wind Song by Prince Matchabelli, which I've already given a complete review on this blog. I've never owned a bottle, but I saw the stuff at Walmart the other day going for $14, and figured it might make a good aftershave for a certain feminine I've been wearing lately. That's the difficulty with wearing feminine fragrances, really - there are no shave sets for them. The scent in question is Guerlain's Mitsouko, which puts me in a Catherine Deneuve, Belle du Jour, rolling in the leaves state of mind every time I wear it. The stuff is gorgeous, but I don't have anything to complement it on my shave days. Enter Wind Song.

The trick is to shave with either the citrus or the original Gillette shaving cream and then spritz Wind Song on my freshly-shorn skin, followed by a copious cold water wash, to literally remove 95% of the Wind Song from the equation. The remaining five percent of the fragrance is basically a dry, woody citrus afterglow that blends beautifully with the rich bergamot/iris/labadnum accord in Mitsy. Would I just full on wear Wind Song in lieu of Mitsouko? Actually no. It smells great, but without utilitarian application it smells a bit dowdy, frumpy, grandmotherly. In this manner, however, with the hot razor resting nearby, Wind Song has a very specific, very Francophile-icious purpose.

While I'm talking about shaving creams, I just want to devote a few words to the original Barbasol. I don't know if any of you wetshavers out there are Barbasol users like I once was, but after buying and using the original the other day, I must state for the record that the fragrance of Barbasol shaving cream has been reformulated, and reformulated badly. I haven't the slightest idea what they were thinking, but the product now smells like some sort of makeup creme. It stinks. It in no way resembles the anisic, spicy sparkle of old-school manliness that I knew and loved. I am now using Gillette cream exclusively - the original Gillette in the red can is a dead ringer for Old Spice - although Burt's Bees may get a fair shake. I gave it a sniff this morning at Stop & Shop and really liked it. (Very expensive, though.)

Looking forward to wearing Garner James' Cathedral in Flames in December, a month when I shall deck my halls with all sorts of things that people thought went out of production thirty or forty years ago.

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