“Whatever you do, do it GOOD.” Happy New Moon in Leo!


Hey now…the New Moon in Leo is here, and not a moment too soon! Any astro-newbies wanna know what New Moons are all about? Well, the New Moon occurs (monthly) when the Sun and Moon are stationed in the same sign, like what happened today: the Moon’s in Leo, and the Sun’s also in Leo. You can’t actually see a New Moon, it’s hidden, with more of itself revealed later as it ‘grows’ to fullness. I love the way it performs the same function in our lives, so you get fresh new information, especially in matters previously hidden: & that’s always exciting. So just how much Leo can we STAND, you ask? Depends upon your tolerance. I happen to Love All That is Leo: the HUGE personality, the creative spirit, the big kid sense of playfulness, the sunny, suave, yet somehow chilly demeanor (friendly yes, but in an ‘Us Royals Don’t Usually Fuqq With You Regular People’ kinda way). The big hair, and if not big hair, well…distinctive hair. Or none at all: these folks are often all or NOTHING when to comes to hair, so we’re talking either big, or bald. Whatever the case, it makes QUITE the visual impression, and easily appears wind-blown, even when there’s not one fan on in the room. Which, of course is all for effect, you understand. Think Beyonce-esque hair volume (Leo ascendant), the brown and glowing la tête of Isaac Hayes (Sun in Leo), or the definitive pixie-cut that Halle Berry (Sun in Leo) is known for. Leonine hair isn’t ever accidental-even their bedhead speaks to a cultivated, come-hither messiness. Often golden, tawny, or bottle blonde without apology: It’s a definitive statement about who they are, what they’re here to DO (create) and by the way, yes, you may watch, you should be watching: it’s what they live for. If you ain’t giving your full attention, there could be, well, consequences. Look up ‘drama’ in the Urban Dictionary.

So what’s this mean for the rest of us, who want to make the best of this 2 1/2 day double dose of The Be-Goldened Goodness, and the full month of Leo Sun? The first thing I did was get a real feel for the newness that this Moon phase ushered in: after the astro storms & retrogrades of late winter and spring, this fresh energy feels awesome. New Moons bring New Everything, and as Leo rules creativity, identity, play, the ego, passion, children & young people: we can’t lose if we pour energies into those areas. Me? Ima create as  much as I can: write stuff, make stuff, make my hair bigger, and wear my suede & gold sequinned ankle boots with everything. Going to the playground and getting on the swings-I need the playtime and all the kids around invigorate me. Sit in the Sun and absorb my Vitamin D: it won’t be this easy to do 6 months from now. Polishing off & shining up my triple-A game too: with these stars right here, you gotta BRING that! Giving everything we do our very best efforts is identity affirming, and who couldn’t use more of that? Know what else? Everyone’s taking notice of everyone’s visual presentation, so we may as well have fun and be playful with it. Presence is The Everything right now: strut your stuff. Give sincere compliments when you like what see, too, it spreads the brightness around. A great perk with this year’s New Leo Moon is that Mars stationed in Scorpio a few hours ago as well: MORE passion! Mo’ intensity! I’m not doing anything or anyone I’m not absolutely, passionately, gaga about. Yeah, that’s the usual mantra, but under Mars in Scorpio’s influence, my knees must really buckle, honey. If I look at the menu, and my mouth ain’t watering: neaux, and NEXT. That includes what I’ll have for dinner to buying a new chair to…you get what I mean. It’s a lovely time to release whatever you’re ‘Meh’ about, open your heart wide, and to begin magnetizing whatever makes you go “Rrrrowrrr!” and makes your soul just SING. Big sunny smiles & Happy Summer!


Alluring, enchanting, & yet, it means business: The Full Moon In Capricorn

'I'm learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.'

‘I’m learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.’ -Eartha Kitt

Hi Moonies! In just a few short  hours we’ll all be enveloped  in some of the most exciting and intensely pleasurable cosmic weather we’ve  seen in a long time! The Full Moon In Capricorn-let’s check out her background, shall we? Also known  as the New Buck Moon: July is the month when the new antlers of buck deer push through their foreheads, still coated with fuzzy fur. Northeastern Native Americans also called July’s Full Moon the Thunder Moon, due to the big thunderstorms this month can bring, as Arthur reminded us last week, (and in fact, there’s one brewing outside at this moment). All in all, July brings intense, dramatic, yet pleasant weather, cosmically and emotionally, in addition to little bumps and lumps of maturity akin to what young boy deer experience as they advance toward full-grown…buckhood, I guess.

I love all full Moons, believing that each brings specific gifts, or challenges that can evolve into gifts if we work them right. But this Moon is one I think almost everyone will enjoy. It’s in Capricorn,the planet of structure, lessons, and karmic reminders: on the surface, it doesn’t appear to be very much fun. But isn’t that just like a Capricorn? Anyone who’s ever been lucky enough to have a peek behind the iron Cappie curtain will tell you this: beneath the iconic bone structure, beyond the steely, no-nonsense facial expression, and just a basic, generic frostiness that terrifies their enemies (and some of their friends!) beats a heart brimming over with a warm, yet often dry, and bizarre wit. Of course, as with any sign, there are the no-nos: Things Not  To Do. Here’s a few things I’ve observed with my Cappies that are nearest and dearest. Of course, everyone’s astro is different: however, barring some really ballistic cosmic differences, avoid the following:

1. Do not fuqq with/over/around/near their money. Or even your own money. Or any money in the vicinity. Ruled  by Saturn, the planet of restraint, (among other things) they lose respect fast for anyone who plays with money/security and can’t seem to get/keep their financial shite together. If you happen to fall for one and your credit is jacked: forget it, and them. Think you’ll be able to hide it until after the wedding? Nope. They’ll hand you have their lawyer hand you copies of your background/credit check, highlighted in red Sharpie, at the pre-nup signing. So just end it now. Tell them it’s you, not them. Due to a superiority complex that used to be an inferiority complex, they’ll agree.

2.  Don’t be vague, weak, inauthentic, or unclear. Caps about strong foundations,  and they sense and react to the chinks in any structure, so in addition to making great architects and builders, they’re also able to sniff out areas of human frailty. We all have them of course, so why  not be honest  about yours? Don’t be in denial about a thing. A Cap already knows what your issues are-they like to know that you realize  them too. Don’t force them to point them out to you. They’ll take no joy in it. But they’ll do it. Just out of duty, and to help you rebuild your structure, you know?

3. Don’t touch them in public. Ever. Unless they want you to: for instance, if you’re a trophy piece (& come on: you already know if you are, or not) and they’re trying to impress a higher up. If this is the case, it’ll be discussed  beforehand. Otherwise, hands off. Super dignified, and lovers of a cool, controlled public persona, lots of Capricorns consider PDAs déclassé, and so very beneath them. Conversely though, never stop pawing them in private. They’re lusty, goat people after all: earth signs, and all about the physical world, and the delights that come with it. Besides, all that restraint has to resurface somewhere. The belief though, and it’s a strong one, is that there’s a time and a place for everything.

But I’ve digressed. we were talking about the Capricorn Moon, right?

Ok, in short: You may get some brilliant insights this weekend, so listen closely. They  may be pulling your coat about things you’re in denial about, OR be  previews of things to come later this year, or early 2015.

If you’ve been trying to get clear on some things that felt like they were at a standstill, you’re able to attract real answers now. Insightful flashes! Meditate.

Anything weak, or on its last leg, badly built, or anything you’ve been propping up, just goes ahead and collapses. Take care: it could be anything from an old ankle injury to a chair to a mediocre relationship.

Love’s energy is sensual and  intense, but clear-eyed. Dignified. Think comparing pedigrees and Harvard school rings over 80-year-old scotch at the private club. And then of course, crazed monkey-sex positions and tantric handstands later, à deux. A good balance, yes? I’ll say.

Voilà, your Full Moon cheat sheet. Enjoy accessing your inner Capricorn through Sunday, and enjoy it all.













































































the most





























Summer’s Soulful Solstice



Happy Summer Solstice to you, One & All!

This one happens on the eastern coast of the U.S. on Saturday, June 21, at 6:51 AM, and marks the first day of the summer season in the northern hemisphere. The word solstice is from the Latin word “solstitium”, meaning “sun-stopping”, because the point at which the sun appears to rise and set stops, and reverses direction after this day. This particular Sun stop is slightly more intense that what we’re accustomed to: Mercury is still retrograding, after all,and as of June 17th, retreated from Cancer and is now traveling backwards in Gemini, the sign of its rulership. Prepare yourself for plenty of charming double-speak, multi-faceted (even multi-faced) agendas, and, shall we say, fluid versions of that ever elusive commodity we call truth. But we’re so prepped: we’ve done loads of moonwalking Mercurys before, so we already know to keep the Qi high: acupuncture, salt baths, trips to the sea, power naps, green drinks: liquid and lots of it. I can just hear my Air & Fire signs now: “How BORING.” Well yes, a bit, but under the current planetary weather, boring is better. Much better than stressed out, and flinging our Mercury addled brains against the Great Unhearing Walls of The Multiverses: just because we happen to be late and the 4 train is suspended for the 3rd time that week. By the way, these periods of cosmic ‘downtime’ are beautifully designed and built into planetary patterns, and represent opportunities for us to get our minds, bodies and spirits refreshed and right again. So let’s use them-we’ll be slowed down anyway…flow with it. Most of Summer 2014 won’t offer us the same opportunities for relaxation and release-not at ALL!

Smile, though.Things certainly aren’t all double-crossing, Machiavellian motives, and snarky debates: as the Solstice ushers us into the Sun sign of Cancer until late July, let’s take advantage of the fact that dammit, we look pretty hawt wearing an apron. Why not perfect those complicated recipes you haven’t had time to try, invite your Beloveds over for film night, and feed them til they are stuffed? Also favored are home repair projects, quality time with children, crafting, a nice housewarming shindig. For some us it makes more sense to focus solo and research, refine, and reconcile anything from the past that needs to be addressed. That manuscript you started…I know: I keep bringing it up. But it could really benefit from your attention right now-especially with the double blast of Gemini/Mercury we’re getting! Both have rulership over words and writing: so what are you waiting for? (What am I waiting for?)

What”s not on: Squabbling with anyone, over anything. Don’t even fight with your computer-back everything up so he/she can’t ‘accidentally’ delete anything. (Yes, I  do believe that machines  possess souls, and the Japanese back me up on this!) Remember that everyone doesn’t have (or want) access to information about the heavenly bodies and how they affect us: but you do. So please don’t go dredging up Old Beef via text, especially between whiskey shots. Realize that Fatso the Exaggerator (that’s my nickname for Jupiter)who joins the Sun in Cancer until July 16, just loves watching mountains turn into molehills. Whatever happens, don’t allow this guy to Blow Up Your Spot. Emotional issues that have been marinating for ages can easily (and with little, or no provocation) boil over-don’t let it happen to you. Utilize his huge powers for good (he’s a merciful sweetheart, with quite a sense of humor, as well) and vibe serene when everyone else is losing their heads: ignore & forgive insanity, when you can. Laugh when you can, or probably shouldn’t: it’ll go over just fine. When we cannot: disengage. That’s when you cue the ‘fuqq you’ smile, accompanied by the finger wave, as you smoothly, quickly, and expertly glide your fabulous self out of the situation. We don’t have time for it-like the summer Sun, we’re too golden: what with all the awesome writing we’re doing, the gourmet meals we’re cooking, the silk drapes we’re designing, and The Big Plans we’re Hatching, right? Joyous 1st Day of Summer, Sun-Stopper!

Happy Full Moon in Sagittarius!

'I will say NOTHING.'

‘I will say NOTHING.’

& It’s a doozy! Welcome to the ‘No-Filter’ Full Moon in Sagittarius, which is all about telling-it-like-it-TIS, and this one’s further enhanced by Mercury’s backward trip through sensitive, ‘look at her weird/wrong and it’s ON’ Cancer, further nipped by Mercury’s slide into chatty ‘No Off-Button’ Gemini. Friends, I’m telling you: for maximum happiness and minimum dramatics, let’s aim our candid revelations to the One in the Mirror. Cue Sag Goddess Tina Turner: doesn’t she appear to have just swallowed the most perfect, soul-wrecking barb? Learn her. The 12 seconds of glib satisfaction after Getting a Few Things Off Your Chest really WON’T be worth the horrid aftermath: we’re talking power sulking, Facebook fights and tearful recriminations that could go one forever, and be nearly impossible to heal, thanks to the gnarled and raw emotional tenor of the times, at least until we get to mid-July. People seem to remember everything in this cosmic weather: Seemingly tiny remarks can start a war over a forgotten slight of years ago: do you really want to try explaining why you made that little joke about dreadlock comb-overs when you knew he’d gone off his Minoxidol in 2002? No, love, you don’t. So let’s save the sessions of sincerity for self. This is a productive Moon phase if you can roll with it, and yes, though Saturn is being a bit of an ass, as are a couple of asteroids, inner progress (if you do the work) can occur. And since you ‘do’ your stars, yeah, none of the prickly astro of the moment will trip you up at all. So just let The Unaware yammer on and on and…off the proverbial verbal cliff. Let’ em TALK. While you serve knowing smiles, cue up Richard Pryor dvds for your yuks, practice your archery, perfect your planks, maybe buy a lottery ticket (Sag ruling lucky Jupiter means that the planet of games, gambling, and surprise largesse may favor you today, but don’t overdo it: remember that Sagittarius is the ruler of excess too.) while filling your journal with All That Shouldn’t Be Said Right Now, and some positive notes to self. Same goes for love, lust, and all your various and sundry catch n release scenarios: if one of your darlings is feeling confessional and begins oozing revelations, enjoy, but your response is: sanguine graciousness, lots of affirmative nods. Keep it non-committal for now, and maintain a rein on all those squishy feelings that this Full Moon is inciting. Also keep in mind that we’re all having a bit of a wobble because Mercury is giving little pokes to the touchy Full Moon. So take care. Talk nice to others, and make your self-talk sweet and affirming too. We already know how to read the psychological weather because we’ve learned to talk less and think more, yes? So we emerge in July with: nicer abs, a new laugh line or two, and a fresh new perspective when the intensity lightens up a bit. Enjoy & rock your June!

Mercury’s Retrograde: This time, its Personal (Until it Isn’t)

clock1How’s Mercury’s backwards stroll through the cosmos treating you so far? This retrograde began yesterday, June 7th, but planetary watchers know this trickster’s shenanigans, and are here to let us know that this guy starts popping & locking days before his scheduled reversal: really, why would the rogue planet do what’s expected? That would be plebeian & predictable: hell, who do you take him for, some regular, reliable, honorable planet, like That Old Guy Saturn or something? We’ve all heard the Mercury Stories. They’re usually awful, but this time, we can relax, really. Yes, it’s true that this month’s retrograde is unlike any we’ve had of late, as it began in Cancer (personal, beyond belief) and concludes in Gemini ( fluid, but impersonal) yet we’ve got nothing to fear. This two-for-one promises the best of both worlds: as everyone will be mood-swinging while Mercury Rx is  in Cancer, let’s just expect lovely introspection and soul-searching, (let us try very hard, friends, to apply this to ourselves, instead of disassembling the psyches of others, ok?) love/hate scenarios, power sulks that morph unexpectedly into uncontrollable laughing jags, in other words, the Entire Loony (Lunar) Variety Show, followed by a return to All Things Gemini: books we bought and forgot to read, sparkling telephone calls, giggling convos with our bubbliest old friends, responses to 6 month old emails (I’m all set to take advantage of this one: it’s one of the few phases that allows us to get away with this without judgment!)  Let’s make life simpler for everyone by relaxing and returning to a slower pacing of things. Since June is a non-starter anyway, vacations, retreats,  and all other forms of not giving a damn are all favored. Let the backward motion of Life As We Know it in June do what is does, by easing ourselves into alignment: let things flow this month and go within for the retrograde’s 1st half, and then re-emerge for Uber-socializing and light conversation subjects for the last bit. What not to do: Push. Don’t. Not for anything. Whatever we’re burning for: the triplex, the freelance thingie, the girl/guy can all wait: that’s what the entire world is doing anyway during a retro! So any and all attempts to steamroll ahead could and will land us in hot water, be grossly misinterpreted, and weave a web so tangled we wouldn’t even believe our name is connected to it. (And it will be impossible to extricate!) So let’s spare ourselves the frustration and have a cocktail, dig up that book began last year and re-zhush the plot, create new characters, just go back: to something. (Not our grudge matches, though-let’s release those.) And do watch the communiques: as Mercury rules communication (and it’s devices, so let’s back up our computers, friends) AND we have the Foot in Mouth Full Moon in Sagittarius coming up on June 13th: we’ll want to take care. So, we’ll watch what we say, right? Especially in texts and emails. We’ll choose a better planetary phase to tell them what we think of their gender reassignment surgery results, clothes, Sugar Daddy, etcetera…yes? All while enjoying  and soaking up the cosmic benefits of the low-key time that the Universe gifts us with every few months to let go, rejuvenate, and just be.

When she drags her suitcase from under her bed, or, would Maya wear this?


Photo source: Vintage Black Glamour

I don’t know how many more thousands of words will be written about Dr. Maya Angelou, dancer, memoirist, activist, poet, journalist, Play Mama to Oprah and millions of others: in other words, a living, breathing, INSTITUTION: but here are just a few more. As much as we know about her dynamic and illustrious lifetime, there is, as with all legends, much that we do not. I’m someone who always relishes the smallest, most obscure details about a thing, anything. If  I’m watching a film, I’m the one that wonders why it wasn’t re-shot if an insect crossed the screen, OR, I will ponder the possibility of whether or not the bug was intentionally added, for…well, effect. Dr. Angelou always captured my imagination-not only because was she an exceptional storyteller, the best really, but  because she told her life, and it, and SHE were her favorite subjects. Unabashedly so. A TRIPLE Aries: she had the  Sun, Jupiter, & Uranus in the fiery Red Planet of Mars. Additionally, she had a Leo ascendant (& why didn’t I know that, from all the fur coats, dramatic headwraps, the fire red, throne-like dining room furniture, and shoulder baring evening gowns she wore? Talk about a Grand Fire Trine! She came here to set it off, and burn it up in the process!)  So yes, it was, always and ever, ALL about her: wildly divergent and absolutely atypical for a woman, and especially, a Black woman, born in 1928.  At her passing on Wednesday, my first,  (and selfish) thought was “Oh wow. Now I’ll NEVER meet her.” I had so many questions for her, and as it always is with Institutions, their permanence is, of course and mistakenly, assumed.  I was left with questions about The Little Things: What foods did she like to eat? What were her planetary positions? When did she give up dating, if ever? (Sources revealed that she still enjoyed good-looking people, flirtation, & was a charmer until the very end-isn’t that lovely?) And the question I ask everyone about themselves:  What was her favorite perfume?

Sometimes living in New York City has unexpected pay-offs that we take for granted: here, ‘regular’ spectacular people and famous spectacular people actually know each other, and quite often. After  spending some time combing the internet, with very few results, a lightbulb moment reminded me of some of my spectacular people, and had me emailing and phoning friends and acquaintances, anyone really, that may have experienced even the lightest brush with Dr. Angelou’s burnished, yet beaming genius. I wanted to quiz them on small things about her. So I could write a little something that had less to do with her immensity and significant accomplishments, and more with the daily lived elements and pocket-sized truths of the woman herself. Well reader, I haven’t gleaned much. But there is imagination, and I feel she’d approve of that.

On food, here’s what I found out: She LOVED eggplant. She was just crazy about it, and herself a prolific cook (“I’m a Cook’s Cook” she smiled, and proudly announced once in an interview)  liked preparing it herself, but much preferred  it prepared by very good Italian and Indian chefs. As author of two cookbooks, she  felt that great cooking and sharing food with loved ones was a natural extension of her autobiographical practice because “both require that you tell the truth.” I don’t know why the eggplant tidbit delighted me so, but it did. It’s so easy, and so wonderful for me to enjoy my visualization of her taking pleasure in a rich, fragrant eggplant dish prepared especially for her. While I sit across table, and just experience Maya Angelou.

About perfume: none of my well-placed friends had any clues here. However, I did read that Beyonce’s inspiration for her 2nd fragrance, ‘Rise’ was inspired by the Angelou poem ‘And Still I Rise’. Described as a ‘feminist fragrance’, (are there such things? Well, yes, according to the fragrance marketing briefs…) Admittedly, it was a thin link to Maya & scent,  (I would be surprised if she had ever smelled it) but I decided to track it down and give it a whiff. Unlike  many fumeheads, I’m not a purist:  I will sniff/try anything as long as some of the ingredients on the list (of course, companies would never list all of them) look appealing. Wearing or buying, though, is another story altogether, and dependent upon a long list of (remember my ‘thing’ with details? Yeah…) variables: You can hear about them in another post. But yes, back to sniffing out ‘Rise’. I took along a scent friend, and once we moved beyond the obvious jokes (“Does it smell like vagina? It’s gotta be fulla patchouli, right?”) I was able to discern musk, a sheer, mild, discreet one, as well as a lovely, smoky, even masculine Haitian vetiver. I love the scent of vetiver, but as it is a mainstay in mens’ scents, my friend and I frowned in tandem: “Do they think feminism means smelling like a man? Maya wouldn’t rock this!” But Friend advocated patience: “You know how perfume is, it’ll change.” And it did. First there were  prickly bits of  bergamot,  Sicilian, I’m almost sure, rising up alongside the woodiness of the vetiver. Citrus and very brightening, it managed to bestow a sweetening counterpoint to vetiver’s solidity. If I were to describe it in visual terms, I’d say it was like the Sun sending rays through leaves of tall trees in a forest. That’s imaginable, right? Next, the requisite  jasmine that approximately 98 percent of womens’ fragrances lean heavily upon, stepped in as if to say “Sorry I’m late, but yall knew I was gonna be here.” & we did: few things happen without jasmine, in fact the formulation was becoming girlier by the second. The drydown peaked with something green, licoricey, and gourmand: basil. The scent finally resolved as assuredly feminine, and I’ll fully disclose here that it actually smelled nicer than I thought it would. On my skin it never arrived at the Eternal Feminine vitality one would expect of a scent inspired by the Phenomenal Woman Herself, but it certainly didn’t offend. The sillage was about 4 hours: decent for the price point, and long enough to easily discern the top, middle and base notes as well as the vaguely floral transitional phases in between. So. Would the young woman above, who’d slid her well-worn suitcase from under her bed, (or was she replacing it?) located her worn, (but not jaded)

traveling shoes, (or had she just removed them?) and who looks to be (I like to imagine) compiling  (or unpacking) the books & writings that she can’t live without,  headed out (or just completing) her latest adventure: would SHE wear it? We can’t know. But don’t you think she’d be tickled by the idea of it? Just imagine!

Happy Sun in Gemini! Glitter for Everyone!

Happy Sun in Gemini! Glitter for Everyone!

Here Comes the Sun…in Gemini!

I’m just loving the Sun’s zip into light-bright Gemini, aren’t you? After a month of Serious Stability and Heavy Stuff with the Sun in Taurus, I’m ready for a bit of sparkle! Time for us to embrace fluidity and duality, while simultaneously comparing our options, laughing a lot, weighing up pros and cons, and often deciding to juggle, as in: two job offers? There’s no better time to accept both and see what transpires. Two beloveds and wanna keep them both, at least for now? Be above board with everyone and let the chips fall where they may: you just might get a big surprise! Meanwhile, this Gemini sun squares Neptune, so watch out that all this doubling doesn’t devolve into trickery, smoke & mirrors, and deceit, yes? All the while being careful of those (you already know who they are) who may hold intentions of skullduggery towards you & your amazing self. Keep it light, make it spumante: no big commitments, at least not until you’ve looked at the diamond under a jeweler’s lamp, with a loupe and checked out ALL the facets (symbolically, AND literally!) Charm, ambiguity and power coquetry are your best friends until late June, and no, this isn’t about coyness or game-playing, rather it’s you being the Architect of your own Vitality! Own it, and watch as it affects others too: give ‘em a buzz-they WANT it. Everyone’s craving effervescence now, bubbly conversations, nose-tickling cocktails, cheek kisses, bright green and yellow foods. Also expect lots of gabfests, learning words in new languages (and actually USING them), emails, and catching up…just remember to keep the subject matter fizzy like champagne, and save that heart to heart for next month’s Cancerian Sun. Go on and WEAR that bright splashy neon print you thought might be ‘too much’ a month ago: the planets approve! Glitter for everyone!

The Funky Truth

The Funky Truth

The Funky Truth

I’m excited about this section of my blog, and today is my first post! I promised you fragrant manifestos and that’s just what you’ll get: my biased, completely partisan ideas about fragrance: what I love/don’t, and my often frustrated attempts to articulate why: all based upon what blooms favorably on my skin. Got no loyalties because no one’s sending me their juice to promote (yet!) so I can Say it Plain. Be patient with me as I develop a vocabulary with which to talk/write about scent: our sense of smell is so primal that a random whiff can nudge the brain back into a pre-language state, so I’ll have to surmount that. & do drop me a line if there’s a scent you recommend I try. I’m always looking for new smellies!

Today I wore Jasmin et Cigarettes, by Etat Libre d’ Orange, a French house headed by the spirited Etienne “It takes a dangerous man to make a dangerous perfume” de Swardt, and established in France in 2006. Etat Libre, as we fumeheads call it, has one of the cheekiest, no actually, most insolent philosophies in contemporary perfumery, ever. Their motto is: ‘Perfume is Dead, Long Live Perfume!’ (They actually have a Declaration of Independence. For the ‘Free State of Orange’. Yeh:They’re STONE crazy. And downright subversive. You know I LOVE ‘em.)

It’s Grace Jones birthday and to honor her unconventional style, I selected a fragrance that I thought would reflect her magnificent contradictions. Something that combined sultry feminine power, yet with a bit of androgyny. Hence, Jasmin et Cigarettes, which begins exactly as you’d think: The jasmine note slinks in first with her sweet yet throaty vibe: think the olfactory version of Dorothy Dandridge serving her brand of simmering eroticism in Carmen Jones. Yes, it’s THAT sexy. It’s jasmine, people. Dubbed the ‘Queen of Flowers’ it is both narcotic and aphrodisiac. It’s powerful, and NOT a game. Nevertheless, it wasn’t whispering ‘Grace’ to me. Possibly because the jasmine, co-signed by apricot and tonka bean, was intensely feminine, leaving an almost honeyed impression on my skin. I struggled to locate the ‘Grace’ in it. While riding cross-town in a taxi waiting for the dry down, I detected smokiness and whipped around to yell at the driver for lighting up (don’t judge me: it’s illegal, alright?) but it was the perfume! Yep-and what’s even more fab is that the tobacco note rose discreetly-careful not to suggest a nasty-smelling Newport, instead offering a pure tobacco note- earthy, and redolent of woods and musk. Certainly not the odor of a cigarette, but rather the suggestion of clean earth, woods, and smoke. Here was the duality I’d associated with Grace Jones! And, much like the diva herself, a spectacular tribute to the charisma of contrasts.

Nose: Antoine Maisondeau