When the sun is burning bright and others are lounging by the pool, all you want to do is put the top down and drive. Drive too fast, drive too long. And while you drive with the wind blowing through your hair, these are the songs that make you feel impervious to whatever life throws your way. You feel free, you feel powerful, and as long as you can keep going forward, it’s gonna stay that way. So put the pedal down, and go.
This is the playlist for the journey. Songs that challenge, songs that shout, songs that are the auditory equivalent of Whitman’s barbaric yawp. Not shy, not afraid to be themselves. Powerful. Confident. Original. And fun to play really, really loud.
So says Poesie Perfume’s description of their Summer 2015 Playlist Collection. It’s full of unexpected notes; it’s louder, more playful, and more fun. There’s some hits and misses, but as with the 1928 Collection, it’s an adventure worth having.
Arctic Monkeys – creamy ripe banana, sweet amber, ethereal violet
What even…? This smells really… watery. Like fresh watery actual water, and I don’t mean that it smells like nothing. It smells like water. And then it turns into perfume. Look, I’m just telling you what happens, I can’t explain the how’s or the why’s of it all. And then there’s the perfume part of it: Banana perfume sounds like a terrible idea, but you need to trust me on this, it really is a good thing that we need more of in this world. It’s not banana flavoring, or banana candy, it’s actual perfectly ripe banana, from that exceptional produce store that you always forget about but when you remember, you’re like, “Ahh I really DO love fruits and vegetables! That flavor! SO good!” Violet is a note that always seems a bit too powdery to me, and I keep trying to tune it out here, because the banana in this is so interesting. The amber subtly and perfectly ties the fruit and the flower together into a nice perfume. I just wish I could turn down the powderiness a hair.
Cities in the Dust – a juicy melange of citrus fruit, sweet citrus blossoms, aromatic herbs, sacred olibanum
Anything “citrus blossom” or “orange blossom” is suspect to me. I always envision a fresh, juicy orange wedge and a waft of tropical flowers, and it sounds perfect. In reality, it usually means a cross between a citrus cleaning product and baby powder. I don’t think that’s the fault of the perfumers, because this is always what happens. I think that’s genuinely what citrus blossoms must smell like, those bitter little ugh-lings. It makes me think of citronella candles, in that it’s bitter, distinct, and unpleasantly flowery. I guess this is more of a rant against orange blossoms than it is a review of Cities in the Dust. Anyway, this is primarily a citrus blossom scent.
Echo – aqueous lychee, fresh rose, green coconut water, a drop of cardamom to keep things interesting
Refreshing lychee that’s not too sweet. It reminds me of a canned drink I used to buy every time I went to Chinatown. It’s either lychee “juice” (something negligible like <10% juice), or aloe juice with lychee in it. Either way, it’s super refreshing and sweet without being sugary. The rose is pleasantly like actual rose. Not a lot of roses, just a few. Luckily for me, the cardamom is undetectable. I think this is my favorite fruit or floral scent of everything that I’ve tried so far. Seriously, of everything. I want this in body wash* and shampoo and laundry detergent and I want an annual subscription to Echo Monthly.
The Bunnymen – toasted coconut, creamy coconut custard, graham cracker sprinkles
Rich toasted coconut macaroons, and graham cracker pie crust. This is nearly lick-your-arm-off territory, but there is a note that occasionally turns plastic. I expect interactions with skin chemistry to be a one-way change that alters or amps a note. But in this case, it keeps showing up and fading away, over and over again, reminding me that the dessert I’m smelling is definitely fake. And then it disappears again so I can enjoy my imaginary confection.
Strange Little Girl – tart blueberry, crushed summer leaves, moist earth
The crushed leaves are the first notes that I get, and rich dirt on the second sniff. Throughout wearing this, the blueberry note sneaks around, adding a subtle fruitiness but no sweetness. It’s never actually fruity, but it makes the scent more interesting than just dirt and leaves. I love the earthiness, dirt, and the unsweetened blueberry. It’s the leaves that I can’t decide about. Unfortunately the longer I wear it, the more they change from fresh and green like actually sitting in a forest, to “fresh” and “green” like fabric softener. This is simultaneously irritating because I prefer the initial scent, and exciting because my skin just totally transformed that scent. Why?! How?!
Tuff Baby – watermelon candy, spicy ginger, a twist of lime zest
Yup yup yup, watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It reminds me a lot of this hydrating mask, which is the only other watermelon-scented thing I own. I can easily handle immense amounts of ginger, both in scent and in flavor, so for me to be like, “oh yeah there’s ginger in here” it has to be like an actual boat load of ginger. There is not a boat load of ginger in this. It also didn’t last nearly as long as the rest of the the collection.
Just Like Heaven – delicate lavender, heavenly marshmallow accord, resinous incense
Even though this sounds like something I wouldn’t like, I was optimistic. Poesie Perfumes has worked some serious magic with notes that I thought I disliked, so if anyone can make this combo work for me, I believe it’s Joelle. And she does, mostly. Half the time when I wear it, I get incense but like really classy instead of reminding me of the crap I burned in middle school, and the calming lavender and subtle sweetness of the marshmallow complement it perfectly. The other half of the time, it’s incense that I dislike, lavender that’s not the kind I like, and no marshmallow to be found. I end up wearing a half-disgusted half-disappointed sneer until the scent fades. I don’t know why my opinion swings so wildly, why I’m sometimes more open to scents I don’t usually like. Is it the “things are different sometimes because periods” effect? I don’t know, but I’ll report back if I figure it out. Meanwhile, I did discover something perplexingly amazing: when combined with Cities in the Dust, the perfumes meld together, canceling out the worst in each other and bringing out the best. It’s just blowing my mind. Bright, citrusy, sweet, lightly floral, a hint of incense… all playing nicely together.
Lips Like Sugar – luscious frangipani, sugared vanilla, succulent mango
Frangipani (plumeria) is a light sweet floral that makes me think of Bath and Body Works very sweet and very flowery body sprays from the mid-nineties (that’s also probably the last time I was inside a B&BW, so for all I know they still smell like that). It eventually dries down to a less sweet floral with a hint of mango. I’ll probably end up laying it with a more watery or earthy scent.
And there you have it! This is only Poesie Perfume’s second collection, and it is unclear which scents (if any) are limited time offerings and which (if any) are permanent. The Playlist Collection Summer 2015 scents are all currently available.
*(When I wrote that I had totally forgotten that Poesie Perfumes sells scented shower gel. I am so excited that my Echo body wash dreams are achievable!)