First things first: yes, I’ve been gone a long time. I accidentally managed to delete a bunch of the reviews that I was working on, and in my frustration, decided to just take a break and regroup. Days became weeks, weeks became months, and now here we are.
Jumping right back in, though! Have a fragrance review, why don’t you?
Full disclosure: I am by no means a fragrance expert. I can’t tell you the chemical composition of an aldehyde. I don’t keep up with the hottest, newest niche brands. If that is the sort of person you need me to be in order to survive reading my thoughts on fragrance without clutching pearls at my ignorance, you will be disappointed.
What I am, however, is somebody who likes to both smell nice things and smell nice myself. I’m a bit picky as I am sensitive to smells and so many a time have had to reject a scent based on it being slightly too heavy or having a note that gave me an instant headache. To give you an idea: 75% of the perfumes that I sample, from all price ranges and brands, are too strong or headache-inducing for me. So I figured that I’d write reviews of the scents that actually work for me on the chance that people with the same sensitive noses might benefit.
With all that said, today I’m going to talk about a fragrance that I’ve actually had in sample form for about a year, yet hadn’t really experimented with until recently for no apparent reason.
“Almost Transparent Blue” is from A Lab On Fire, which is a pretty fantastic name for a fragrance house, if you ask me! While I’m sure for some people it sounds more silly and just begets mental images of perfumers screwing up and setting their chemistry labs ablaze, I just think it rolls off the tongue nicely and is unique enough that it sticks in your mind – a good thing for a brand name, no?
The name “Almost Transparent Blue” presumably comes from the Ryu Murakami book of the same name, but as I haven’t read the book, I cannot give any opinion of how well-matched the scent and novel may be.
I purchased my sample from Lucky Scent, which describes Almost Transparent Blue as a “futuristic urban citrus” alongside buzzwords like “strange,” “ultramodern,” “stark,” and “industrial.”
Well, Lucky Scent is prone to some flights of fancy with their fragrance description – and I mean that in the best way possible – but in this case I’m really not sure that I agree with their assessment. Ah, we’ll get to that in a moment. First of all, let’s look at the notes:
Top: Lime and yuzu
Middle: Thyme flower and aldehydes
Base: Hinoki, musk and cedarwood
I suspect that I found this perfume while looking for hinoki, as hinoki wood is one of my favorite scents – it’s just used so much more often in masculine-oriented fragrance. Almost Transparent Blue bills itself as unisex, which can sometimes end up meaning too heavy and heady for my tastes. A lot of perfumers seem to believe that for a scent to be viable as a “masculine” fragrance, they have to make it strong and overdo it (to my tastes, at least) with heavier notes like musk and woods and spice.
I’m relieved to report that Almost Transparent Blue does not fall into this trap. Well, I guess they’d have to avoid being too heavy with a name like that – you can’t call something sluggish and heady “transparent” without some serious dissonance.
For my full review, please click the read more if you’re on the main page. Otherwise, just continue reading!
At first application, Almost Transparent Blue is effervescent, almost carbonated. The lime is extremely dominant to my nose, with the yuzu and possibly thyme flower adding the lightest floral spice. I had a brief moment where I thought ginger was in the picture, but if so, it’s pretty evasive and fleeting.
After about five minutes, the lime softens a bit – while still being very much recognizable – and the musky woods start asserting themselves. On my skin, during this phase the scent amps up a LOT and is at its strongest – far more ‘vocal’ than even the initial application or in the bottle. The aldehydes bring a chilliness so distinct that I could swear I almost got brain freeze from smelling my wrist! However, it never gets too icy, as the warmth of the hinoki, cedarwood, and musk act as a comforting blanket against the aldehydes’ frozen element.
Twenty minutes in, Almost Transparent Blue has settled into a chilled lime with very light warm wood undertones. On my skin, it fades to being quite close to the skin while remaining well-balanced – you don’t feel like any part is overexerting itself, so there’s no feeling that it’s *too* clean or *too* woody, if you know what I mean.
Within a few hours, it’s a ghost of thyme flower, wood, and very subtle cool lime that stays extremely close to the wearer. Honestly, it’s lovely. I can’t decide whether I’d want to wear this, or if I’d rather have a boyfriend who wore it – I think that it would certainly be incredibly sexy on a man, and just as enticing on a woman.
For some reason, this fragrance reminds me quite vividly of a very specific memory: in my teenage years, I spent a month of my summer break visiting my cousins in a California desert. When I wear this, my mind takes me back to riding in my cousin’s friend’s convertible, top down with the cool night breeze starting to overtake the sun-bleached summer day – when you mix in the fragrant desert foliage, I think I can see how Almost Transparent Blue is managing to take me back to that moment. It’s a pleasant memory.
If Almost Transparent Blue was a song, to me it would be “Antarctica” by Simon Wilkinson:
Final verdict for my Almost Transparent Blue review:
Slightly futuristic and cool, but with a comforting warmth.
Definitely loved and recommended!
A Lab on Fire’s Almost Transparent Blue can be purchased at the following online shops:
- $4 for a sample or $110 for a bottle at Lucky Scent