There are times in your life when you’re the only one of your friends with a car, high school is close to being over, and you just need that one perfect mix tape to blast. The windows are rolled down, the sun is shinning, and you’re just driving with no particular destination. Maybe you’re singing along, maybe you’re thumping the steering wheel, maybe you’re just letting it flow over you as you contemplate the life, much like the road, in front of you.
This new collection by Sixteen92 – without even sniffing it – is nostalgia in a pretty box for me. Lots of good and bad things happened during the time this is reminding me of – but I’ve survived and now I get to look back on it with rose-tinted glasses and a heavy dollop of knowledge and just shake my head at my younger self.
Bells For Her (sweet basil, dandelion, star jasmine, green vines, mandarin, ozone, green tea, crushed mint) is a song by Tori Amos that came out in 1994. Here’s a link to the YouTube video I listened to while reviewing this scent. In the vial this is green, both in color and in scent. On my skin this is almost bitter sweet, like the song. Basil is prominent – I loved my herb garden and the smell I would get on my hands when I would pick what I needed for dinner. The dandelion is yellow and glowing while the jasmine is fragrant and sweet drifting on the summer wind. Mint isn’t very noticeable other than to give a slight cool breeze-like feeling to the scent. The mandarin adds a touch of sweetness and rounds out with the green tea, as though the two are mixed like a cool drink. The ozone is simply the wind and the sky and the sun all combining to add their unique scent to the mix. This is the height of summer when you are awkward – not quite a teenager – yet you’re almost too old to go out and simply enjoy yourself in your back yard. Closing your eyes, walking aimlessly, headphones on and cares brushed off, this is like walking to walk. Walking to get away. Walking to find yourself. The route nor the destination mean much, just the journey itself is what you crave.
Bruise Violet (red lipstick accord, dusting powder, white iris, violet leaf, damascus & bulgarian rose, red grapefruit zest) is a song by Babes in Toyland, released in 1992. This is the video I listened to while reviewing this scent. In the vial this is powder and lipstick. On my skin the iris and rose come blasting out ready to rock. This is like getting your first bit of makeup and playing dress-up in front of your mirror with adult clothes. After a while all the scents of the make up, the perfume your Mom let you take (or maybe you snuck) and those high heels that your friend let you borrow … it all mixes together while you blast your music. Got the house to yourself because the siblings had a soccer game and you convinced your ‘rents to let you stay home alone. This is a scent for red lipstick and stuffing your training bra with socks – ya know, just to see. Man this scent stays strong – like you sprayed too much of your Mom’s favorite perfume and you just know she will find out because there’s no amount of scrubbing in the next 10 minutes that’s going to take that scent away.
Shadowboxer (jasmine fleur, may rose, blond sandalwood, mango flower, praline) is a song by Fiona Apple which was released in 1996. Fiona Apple was a guilty pleasure of mine since I was into the grunge/goth scene in high school and she was so very not grunge or goth. This is the video I listened to while reviewing. In the vial it’s all sandalwood and praline – strong and almost overpowering. On my skin the jasmine comes out. I’m not entirely sure what mango flower smells like but there is something almost tropical about this scent. This is floaty and flowing – moving and changing and shifting with each scent. The praline isn’t nutty, at least not that I can tell – and my skin tends to do weird things to almond scents, so maybe it’s only almond and not all nuts. It is very hard to describe this scent it’s at once dark and bright. After a while the sandalwood takes the lead, the flowers sit back and relax, and the praline just adds a touch of sweetness. This is a beautiful scent and one I hope they release in EDP format.
New Radio (vanilla milkshake accord, maraschino cherry, pink lemonade, grass clippings, waffle cone) is by Bikini Kill released in 1993. The video I listened to while reviewing can be found here. In the vial this is all vanilla milkshake. Oh wow, this scent is like the first time your Mom let you go to a festival with your friends. No parents, no rules, all fun! You ate yourself silly, spent all your money and had so little to show for it but you had a freakin’ blast! The waffle cone is soft from the vanilla ice cream while the cherry is eaten first. The pink lemonade is such a contrast to the vanilla but it just makes it that much better. Somehow this blend is not foodie at all, despite all the notes and even my description mentioning food over and over again. This is just the aftermath of a summer festival spent with your friends.
Doll Parts (rhubarb, white cake, white peach, cassis, osmanthus, ginger flower) by Hole was released in 1994 and is such an iconic song from my teenage years. Here is the link to the YouTube video I listened to while reviewing. I am, doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legs. This is all peach in the vial while on my skin the cake, cassis, and ginger come out to smooth that out. This is so different. Juicy, fruity, almost like bubble gum this scent is almost innocent to an extreme. I want to take Doll Parts and New Radio and rub them all over. This keeps from going too innocent, or rather, it backs that innocent bus up a bit and realizes it’s supposed to be heading in a different direction. Another one that just gets better as it sits. The bubble gum association never completely goes away, but it’s more like a memory.
Finally, to round out this mix tape, we have Rid of Me (magnolia, sambac jasmine, ylang, white pepper, grapefruit blossom, ambrette, satin musk, oudh) by PJ Harvey which was released in 1993. This is the video I watched while reviewing this scent. PJ Harvey was my best friend’s favorite singer. I only ever listened to PJ Harvey while I was at her house so it has a strong association to her. In the vial I get a bit of pepper, some of the oudh and a touch of musk. On my skin the musk comes out more as does the magnolia. The ylang and the jasmine give this a heady and southern feel to the blend. The oudh (love oudh) is a wonderful woody and sweet base to this scent. There’s almost an incense quality to the blend. It’s light flowing skin scent that quietly sneaks up on you to steal your heart.
This is a wonderful collection and I’m so glad I was able to get samples and try them out! They should be released on Sixteen92’s site soon! Now to decide what I can’t live without …