Devilscent – Part Three


– Meanwhile, from the producer and his accomplice…

I never know when I’ll look up from my notebook or my laptop and there he’ll be on one of my kitchen chairs, tipped back against the wall, giving me his best dirty-boy look. He’s usually looking at the increasing pile of samples in boxes piled up on my printer. To be fair, I haven’t seen him in a while. Sometimes, he looks like himself, sometimes like one of his many disguises. Last night, he looked like himself, or at least that self I’ve come to know.

“You’ve got a surprise coming in the mail, baby.”

I looked up from the blog I was reading, and considering the bombshell I was trying to imagine from the words on that blog, that says a lot.

“I do?” This had been known to happen. Surprises usually came in windowed envelopes and were also known as ‘bills’. On rare occasions, they came in bubblepack envelopes from remote locations and had been known to cause spontaneous whoops of joy and a flurry of air guitar. “Oh, hell. It’s you again.”

“Yeah. Miss me?” The grin on his face was nowhere near five years old, but more like fifteen. It would be better described as a leer.

I’m not stupid. This was an entity – or a muse – that could cause writer’s block, imagination overload, impulse CD and DVD buys and the creation of a certain type of literature I could only publish under a pseudonym. “Always.”

“Cool! As I said, Doc Elly’s been busy. She’s found a few things to…throw in the mix. The ball is rolling, baby. This will be good.”

“Really? Like what?”

The chair landed with a thud on its legs and he leaned closer. His voice dropped lower. “Stuff no one else has ever used. And stuff that’s rarely used. Special stuff.”

“Oh! Did she say anything else?”

“Well, not exactly. She posted a cute picture of a satyr playing the pipes for a swooning mortal.”

“I saw that. I don’t know that you make me swoon.” I closed my laptop with a click. “Maybe you should.”

“Maybe…” The Devil helped himself to my lone glass of Friday night prosecco. “And maybe you should watch a little less TV and write a little more, read a few less blogs.”

“Oh, c’mon. It was one documentary. It was Sir Richard Burton, the explorer. I had to see that.”

He laughed. “Here’s what I know. I’ve been asleep on the job. There’s a perfume to make. We’ve got…something going on in that little black box.”

“The bass line. Wasn’t that what you called it?” It was more like a hard rocking lineup to die for, but I didn’t say that. He was the Devil. No reason to point out the obvious.

“A little drum, a lot of bass…we need more…percussion. Some rhythm, the beginnings of a riff, a melody line. A perfume that’ll make the whole world swoon.”

“I thought that was your job.” I reached out for my glass of prosecco, but he refused to hand it over.

“It is.” He drained the glass and placed it back on my desk. “Here’s your job.” He opened up my laptop, typed the password I didn’t need to tell him, and I found myself looking at an empty Word page.

“Write about it, baby.” He stood up, walked over and whispered in my ear. “You know you want to.”

When I looked up again, he was gone. I knew he would be back. He wanted to smell what happened next with that little black box.

Image: Hezico’s Tarot

Zeta Winners!


I’m beginning to see the appeal of random.org! Choosing a winner was agonizing, since all of your replies were so compelling, so creative and so…darned good, it was nearly impossible to make a decision! If I could have had my way, I would have had samples for each and every one of you, and alas and alack…I have only two!

So before I incriminate myself further, let me say this:

Thank you, each and every one of you, for all of your creative, inspiring odes to Spring and your comments on my review. I had to choose two, but if I could have…

The winners are:

Undina and a.k.a Warum

Congratulations to both of you! Please contact me with your address information at tarleisio at gmail dot com.

Life’s a Peach!


A review of Etat Libre d’Orange’s ‘Vraie Blonde’

Scandinavia, any red-blooded male will tell you, is the natural habitat of The Blonde. Tall, short, silver, bronze, amber and every shade not even L’Oreàl has discovered yet. Pixie blondes, mermaid blondes and suicide brunettes with fair roots.

Blonde may be a state of mind or just a moment, and blondes have more fun, right?

I doubt it, but bear with me. I’m having a moment and I am…a blonde.

There are even perfume blondes…Daim Blond, Bois Blond, Tabac Blond, or even Chanel no. 5 by way of association with one of the world’s most famous ever (bottled) blondes, which is beyond horrible on this particular blonde. Scents of suede, woods, tobacco or aldehydic florals, they’re not really about being blonde at all.

Which is not something you could ever say about Etat Libre d’Orange’s Vraie Blonde.

Etat Libre is a line that tends to make a lot of people, well, nervous. Nervous to have their scented bubbles burst, their preconceptions challenged by whatever true-crime movie ELdO bottles up and unleashes upon an unsuspecting planet.

If that’s your idea of Etat Libre d’Orange, stop right there. Vraie Blonde isn’t one of those.

Instead of distance and glacial perfection à la Grace Kelly or Catherine Deneuve (my all-time favorite blonde), this blonde is flirty, peachy, utterly and completely approachable. Instead of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this is the best kind of Thirties screwball starring Carole Lombard. Blonde, yes, kooky, yes, but smart and sassy too, and if all she wants is to have a good time and let her hair down, who am I to argue?

I was…surprised, and that’s a good thing. I like surprises. I like knowing that there are knock-your-socks-off, opulent Orientals, I like knowing about immensely complex perfumes that are never the same from wear to wear, I like instant sex appeal and I like happy-go-lucky florals, too. I like don’t-mess-with-me leathers and chypres. Help me, someone, I love them all.

Do you know, sometimes I just want to let my own hair down, drink slightly too much champagne and be…well, blonde, too! Certainly if champagne is involved. Among other things.

Out of the bottle, Vraie Blonde is a bubblefest of aldehydes and a hint of champagne. Rose and white pepper are in the mix, too, says Fragrantica, but what I get is…peach. Not too sweet, definitely not canned, but sun-warmed, perfectly ripe and right off the vine, ready to slice into the chilled glass of bubbly on that golden summer evening when your most pressing intellectual concern is to savor the moment and dish all the off-color jokes unfit to print.

Later, the bubbles fizz and soften to a slightly smoky finish where I can detect a suggestion of patchouli and a hint of myrrh that stays close to the skin, but not so close someone else can’t appreciate it. On my skin, it lasts about three hours, which is just right for two bottles of champagne, a pound of peaches and my repertoire of dirty jokes.

Vraie Blonde makes me laugh. Laugh at the absurdities of life and the seriousness of love, laugh at myself and laugh in good company. Laugh because this is a good night, and great champagne, and peel me another perfect peach, would you, darling? You are a peach of a guy. There’s more champagne and life’s a peach, and did I ever tell you about the time I pulled a Lady Godiva by accident when the horse rode off with my clothes one day at the beach, so I had to chase after it, right, which was when these two dishy police officers showed up. So I said to the horse, and whoever says that horses can’t laugh is dead wrong…

What did you expect? I am a blonde, after all, ornamental topiary included!

Thank you, Etat Libre. I shall henceforward never write you off as gimmicky again. I didn’t expect to like this so much as I did, and I certainly didn’t expect this reminder of one very important fact.

Sometimes, life’s a peach!

Thanks to Dee who sent it…tongue-in-cheek and with a wink!

Notes according to Fragrantica: Aldehydes, Champagne Cognac Liqueur, Rose, Vine Peach, White Pepper, Myrrh, Patchouli