So You Want To Smell Like... The Moon?
I've learned over time that traditional perfume reviews—the ones that meticulously break down the notes in a fragrance—are only helpful to perfume nerds. For everyone else with a mild interest in smelling nice, these write-ups may as well be in another language. Their eyes glaze over at ingredients like "frangipani" and "benzoin"; descriptions like "balsamic" and "animalic" only confuse further. Ask someone "what kind of smells do you like?" and most of the time they won't know. But ask them "what do you want to smell like?" and it becomes a lot easier to find the words.
That's why, instead of posting fragrance reviews here, we'll be focusing on what different scents evoke—the kinds of images they summon and the places they take you to. For the first post in this series, we're going to the moon!
One of the Apollo 17 astronauts described the moon as smelling like "spent gunpowder," which is what this scent most closely approximates.
It's earthy yet otherworldly. You pick up on the cold, metallic scent of flint and a chemical "ozone" accord, which combined is borderline industrial—but the overall coldness is tempered by a human warmth, which comes from the musk and benzoin reacting to your skin. There's also a bit of smoke, from tobacco. It smells like a kind of loneliness that reminds me of Space Oddity: the smallness of an estranged astronaut looking back at Earth, pining for the home in the blue marble in the sky.
On the other hand, we have Moon Dance, which is an emotional wallop, a big skirt twirl of a fragrance. It makes me think of night flowers, and the way the moonlight always seems to catch on their ghostly petals. If you think of the moon as a symbol of romance, or do your fair bit of swooning in the dark, this is the fragrance for you.
It opens with a sweet, blooming brightness—bergamot and violet—that becomes very glamorous and dramatic, heady with rose and tuberose, before a powdery dry down on the skin. It's an old-school floral that smells expensive and beautifully unpractical, like wearing a designer velvet dress on a summer night, which is sometimes just what the evening calls for. Wear it for watching the city lights, for new beginnings, and for falling in love before the sun rises.
Hailing from Iceland, Andrea Maack is a visual artist who wants to extricate the notion of nostalgia from perfume. As a departure from that, her scents are clean, modern and futuristic, and Craft is the perfect example.
The scent is sharp and brisk, almost sparkling—like the way snow shimmers in the sun. Off the top it smells really cold (a refrigerated spoon comes to mind), but it warms up into a soft, woody heart.
There's also a metallic finish to it that reminds me of the moon, or the way I imagined it as a child: covered by a thin layer of powdered silver. In that way, this smells more like a scent installation than it does a traditional perfume, but that's what I love about it.
The name of this perfume translates to "The Orphan," which feels very a propos. It's stark and a little bit cold at first, but dries down into a subtle, tender warmth, the kind you want to fall asleep next to. This is the most wearable of the bunch, an elegant and slightly smoky musk that opens clear and fizzy with aldehydes and transitions into a creamy, woody finish.
If the other scents here smell like facets of the moon, this scent smells like the moon itself: the silent character in the story, a lonely figure turning towards then away from the world, its soft light always overpowered by the confidence of the sun. Still, it appears in the sky at sundown without fail—there to be noticed by those who, on a clear night, decide to look up.