If I had to rank all of the loves in my life, “webcomics” would probably come just after “perfume.” So, perhaps unsurprisingly, when I saw an advertisement for ZOMG Smells on Kate Beaton’s Hark, a vagrant, my curiosity got the best of me. I ordered a few bottles (at only $12.00 a fragrance, what was there to lose?) along with several other cosmetica, and popped them open to see what was what.
The perfumes come packaged in brown glass 5 mL bottles, without atomizers. Being essential oil-based formulas, I have a feeling an atomizer would rapidly get clogged, so dabbing with your fingertips is definitely the way to go. I do wish the bottles were a bit larger, but only because I really, really love most of the scents I received. Do note, however, that being natural oil and botanical-based formulas, ZOMG Smells’ scents will most likely have less staying power than an eau de toilette or Eau de parfum, however, this can be a boon to people who have a skin sensitivity to alcohols or other ingredients in conventional perfumes.
First up, and my personal favorite of all of the scents I’ve tried, was Camping in a Vanilla Forest. It absolutely lived up to its name, with a wonderfully warm, smoky complexity with immediate notes of vanilla, amber, and incense. During the dry-down, the deeper, smokier heart of the scent emerged with a smell pleasantly like pipe tobacco and vetivert. I couldn’t stop smelling my own wrists while wearing this, luckily it was also the longest-lasting of the fragrances, for me.
Next on my list (though, to be fair, I didn’t pick this one up for me) was Vory v Zakony. I picked this up for my boyfriend, and he’s received compliments on it ever since. Described as having notes of black amber, vetivert, tobacco, and woody char, this essentially amounts to a more masculine version of Camping in a Vanilla Forest. It’s warm without being cloyingly sweet, deep and earthy without being overpowering, and had a very pleasant drydown reminiscent of sandalwood with a touch of vanilla and tobacco. I would certainly recommend this to any man, or any woman who finds herself looking for something different.
Hatshepsut’s Beard, I wasn’t quite as enamored of. It certainly lived up to its description as an androgynous chypre, but I was hoping to detect more of the sandalwood and resins, while, on my skin, at least, the rose seemed to dominate. This persisted the whole time I had the perfume on, which, not being a fan of strong rose scents, I didn’t enjoy. Despite the strong floral overtones, however, this fragrance may make a good scent for a man.
Another scent I had fun with was Dastardly Banyan (though, having never seen a banyan, I couldn’t help imagining the world-choking Baobabs from The Little Prince). Another warm, unisex scent, this one had the kind of earthy complexity I was hoping for from Hatshepsut’s Beard. I love sandalwood, so the fact that it was a primary player in this perfume made me happy. It paired extremely well with the earthiness of the patchouli, while the fir-pitch offered a woody, slightly astringent scent that balanced the sweetness from the sandalwood and coconut very well. This, like Vory v Zakony, would most likely make a fantastic fragrance for a man, as well… I’d probably be able to say so definitely if I’d let my boyfriend anywhere near my jealously-guarded bottle of it!
Now, for some Soft Lavender Cake. This is a fragrance I think could work extremely well… on someone else. As much as I love lavender and nearly every permutation thereof, I found this mixture to be too cloying for me. The sweetness of coconut and buttercream could have used something to temper it a bit, I thought, while I didn’t detect as much of the white musk as I would have liked. Fortunately, this scent didn’t last very long for me. Unfortunately, it gave me a bit of a headache, something I had never experienced with a lavender fragrance before.
As often as I’ve gotten compliments on Wrestling Tigers While Calling Your Mum Long-Distance, I’ve gotten people who don’t believe me when I tell them the name. I actually received this one as a sample, and, having read the description online, I was a bit skeptical about how good a perfume containing cola could possibly be. As it turns out, fantastic! The cola is the first note I could detect, a unique, rich, fruity, warm scent; then came the frankincense and incense. The drydown was pleasantly reminiscent of sandalwood and oak, though enough of the fruitiness of the cola remained to keep this perfume from smelling too masculine.
Green Bubble Tea, unlike its drinkable namesake, was another that didn’t really wow me. I absolutely love tea fragrances (they seem to be so bright, fresh, sweet, astringent, and woody, all at the same time), and I thought this one could have gone farther in that area. The top note had a faint whiff of matcha, but this all-too-quickly gave way to sweet tapioca and remained so during the whole time wearing it. Not an unpleasant smell, but not really what I was hoping for from a fragrance with green tea.
All in all, I consider my foray into the world of ZOMG Smells a rousing success- Camping in a Vanilla Forest, Dastardly Banyan, and Wrestling Tigers While Calling Your Mum Long-Distance have certainly earned permanent spots on my perfume shelf. Next, I’d love to try Kuiper Belt Objects (black pepper, amber, and black grape skin, oh my!), Lemonbomb, Spacebat (Godspeed, Spacebat!), and The Large Hadron Collider Produce a Strangelet.