I Fell for Le Labo's Santal 33 Just Like the Rest of the World and I Don't Care if That Makes Me a Sucker
I mean, even Justin frickin' BEIBER wears it.
Maybe my nose has grown less sensitive thanks to the onslaught of allergen-induced sniffles I've grinned-and-beared through since my move 1,000 miles south several years ago, or maybe I'm slowly having some kind of stroke, but at some point in the past few months I've acquired a fondness for products designed to stimulate and scintillate my oft-offended olfactory glands.
I'm extremely sensitive to scents, which I think accounts for the disdain I've held for bottled smells in the past. Because of my hypersensitivity (scent-sitivity?), I've always been wary of perfume counters and their ilk. I'm sure I've missed out on plenty of perfectly good Sephora products on account of being located a bit too close to the fragrance section.
While traditional fragrance counters are still a bit overwhelming for me, I've been exploring perfumes in other ways. I've found some scents displayed discreetly and politely in small, local boutiques. Others, I've ordered blindly online.
I used to think it was a risk to order something sight unseen, or rather scent unsmelled, from the interwebs, especially when most fragrances tend to be on the pricier side. But whilst in the depths of some late-night browsing, I stumbled upon the website for Commodity Goods.
I was immediately intrigued by the site's clean, minimalist design; the look of the testers; and the simple names of the scents. As I perused the likes of Tea, Dew, and Moss, I started itching to smell them all. Then I discovered their Fitting Kit.
The Fitting Kits allow you to receive samples of Commodity's delicious scents for a super-low price. For $5 you can sample 5 scents, and for $9, you can sample all 10. I highly suggest not only fronting the $9 for the entire set, but going ahead and fronting $18 so you can sample both the men's and women's collections because the gender division seems a bit arbitrary:
Women's collection: Tea, Moss, Mimosa, Gold, Paper, Ivy, Rain, Dew, Magnolia, and Pinot.
Men's collection: Cloth, Moss, Cane, Wool, Gold, Whiskey, Paper, Gin, Book, and Oak.
After you receive your Fitting Kit, if you order a full-sized scent within 30 days, you can put the $5 or $9 toward that purchase, which essentially means you will have received the Fitting Kit for free! Yay for sort-of-free stuff! A full-size bottle (100mL) will run you $108, and a travel-ready rollerball (10mL) will run you $24. The Fitting Kit and fragrances ship for free within the US.
Their names are deceptively simple, as many of these scents are gorgeous, multifaceted, and complicated, which I love.
For example, Tea doesn't merely smell like a hot cuppa. It's vaguely citrusy with a slight musk to it. According to the site, it contains notes of citrus accord, sicilian lemon, bergamot, freesia, muguet, jasmine sambac, sandalwood, and white musk. It smells like a very expensive tea that I will probably never drink. It's has a demure sexiness--like sitting on your porch on a summer morning, reflecting on an evening spent with an exciting new lover.
I developed a soft spot for Magnolia before I even sniffed it, since I proudly call The Magnolia State home. Mississippi's state flower is the magnolia, and I can't walk two blocks without encountering a beautiful, huge, blooming magnolia tree. I get a bit sentimental about them.
This fragrance really captures the essence of those trees I love so much. It's floral and airy, with notes of magnolia (duh), water lily, violets, rose, ylang ylang, and eucalyptus along with a touch of citrus, caramel, and a slight bit of musk. It's delicious and refreshing, perfect for a picnic in the park or a lunch date at the cute new bistro downtown.
Another favorite is Moss. I hate to admit that the first thing I think of when I hear the word "moss" is Kate, but after that, I think of trees--specifically, trees in the forest. Moss captures that serene, outdoorsy aroma; it reminds me of the way the way the woods smell right before a storm. I've always loved how electric the world feels right before a good thunderstorm.
Top notes including essential oils from elemi and petitigrain, as well as ozone and Italian bergamot, combine with more subtle hints of eucalyptus, orange blossom, oak moss, cedarwood, white musk, and amber. I'm not much for camping, but this scent makes me crave the way it feels to be surrounded by nature. It's calm and soothing, but still a bit sensual. Wear this when you go on a date with that dude or lady who is really into hikes and camping, which you may or may not have found out by stalking their Facebook page.
Gold is in both the women's and men's collections, and let me tell you--it's the one I've worn the most since receiving my kit a couple weeks ago. This scent is so, so sexy. It's heavier than the other scents, but warm and sensual and makes me feel bold. (Ha, bold... gold...)
Gold is my favorite color and my favorite metal. I'm not about that silver life, yo. My dream wardrobe and home is all black and white with accents of gold. I love it. This scent manages to encapsulate what I love about gold--it's confident and sexy. Gold demands attention, but isn't obnoxious. (Unless you take it too far, of course.)
Commodity's Gold smells luxurious AF. I picked up on its vanilla notes right away, which is great because I'm mad about vanilla. After that, I noted the slight citrus (that would be from the bergamot), along with the notes of sandalwood, amber, and vetiver (Haitian Vetiver, to be specific). There was an exotic and rich note involved that I couldn't place, but the Commodity site let me know that it's "Nubian Musk." It's has a slightly masculine feel, and it makes me wanna put on sexy lingerie and dim the lights. This scent is ideal for a hot date, or maybe a night to yourself. Whatever you're in the mood for. Go for the Gold.
While I know you're probably DYING to hear about Gin, I'm saving my review of that for an upcoming story. (Yeah! Foreshadowing! Building the tension! English degrees!)
Like you might expect, Oak, in the men's collection, is a woodsy scent but it's also much more than that. Oak trees are WELL KNOWN to be some of the best for climbing, and I've always appreciated their scent. I like the way trees smell in general. (Except for Bradford Pear trees.)
Oak is intense and brooding. If an Oak tree were a person, I imagine she would be the strong and silent type and she'd wear this scent. It's woodsy and spicy, but tender. With stronger notes like chinotto orange, nutmeg, and, of course, oakwood, along with cinnamon, jasmine, patchouli, amber, and vetiver, Oak makes me want to take my beau out to a cabin on a lake, with no wifi or cell reception, and spend the whole weekend making out, lounging and sipping red wine. Or better yet--scotch.
As someone who's just breaking into the world of fragrance, this diverse and gorgeous Fitting Kit is the ideal way to explore what scents I favor over others. I'm slowly learning I prefer heavier, muskier scents to light floral ones, but I'm also starting to understand why people like to own so many different types of scents.
One more thing: The kits come with cards you can fill out as you wear each scent and record how much you love each one so you won't forget when it comes time to order a full size. These are called Notes for Forgetful Noses, which is hilarious and adorable to me.
Last, I have to say, I will fall hard for any company with an excellent social media presence. While I understand that many cosmetic companies are too large to respond to every tweet, hashtag, or comment, that's one of the joys of ordering from and working with smaller companies, like Commodity Goods. When I uploaded a photo of my Fitting Kit to Instagram, the company "liked" and commented on the photo. It was obvious I was interacting with a real human who believes in these products, rather than a robot, and I was officially sold. (No offense to robots. When you guys take over, have pity on me, please.)
Whether you've been buying top-of-the-line fragrances for years or whether, like me, you're just beginning to dip your toes into the gorgeous and weird world of yummy smelly spray things, the Commodity Goods Fitting Kit is your new best friend, or rather--your next obsession.
I know I've already convinced a couple other xoVain contributors to order a fitting kit, but have I convinced any of you? Let me know which scent appeals to you most!