The Scent of a Blogger


Grape candy, specifically Japanese grape candy, is the glue that keeps our friendship together—my fellow blogger/photographer, Tommy Ton, and me. We exchange notes about new bon-bons we've found in Japanese konbini shops, airports, or Asian import stores as if they were fine wines: "I'm enjoying the sour finish of this particular confection. I detect some pinot noir and perhaps a bit of Red 40 and corn syrup," says Tommy.

"Ick, that was NASTY," I reply.

On our most recent trip to Tokyo, we stopped by the Sacai store and it hit us at exactly the same time: "Do you smell that? WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?!?!" It was the unmistakable aroma of artificial grape, and we traced it to a fancy glass bottle with some sticks fanning out the mouth. Is this for sale? What is this thing? All I knew was that it had to be mine, no matter the cost or collateral damage.

Well, fuck me, it turned out to be some crazy expensive Italian room diffuser by a Dr. Vranjes of Firenze. I'm sure their publicist would strangle me to hear me compare their "hand-crafted and meticulously researched" Fragranza da Collezione: Rosso Nobile to some chewed-up grape Skittles, but, to me, there's no higher compliment.

I've never had any sort of room scent or even a candle before, aside from the Virgin Mary candles I got from the corner store for hurricane emergencies, but those don't smell like anything besides Faith. Actually, I don't really have much of a relationship at all with Fragrance. In junior high, all the girls were wearing a perfume called Tribe and I would impulsively sniff at their necks in the hallways, at recess, or during 5th period math class, whenever. In high school, I may have shoplifted a bottle of Cool Water because I heard it in Snoop Dogg song. And then I had a bottle of that cologne every guy had in college—the blue and white stripey muscled torso? I occasionally wear a scent now, but it's super embarrassing to admit that it's a ladies perfume, which I guess no one would know except that it's also called "Portrait of a Lady." No getting around that one. Sometimes I make up a name when dudes ask what cologne I'm wearing. “Oh! It's um... Portrait of a Gender Neutral Homosapien… By Frédéric Malle. Ask for it at Barneys. It's exclusive, I think.”

But how could I justify spending $100 on a room diffuser, when that could buy me, like, 700 pieces of grape Hi-Chews? I hardly even have any furniture and I'm going to buy a bottle of glorified grape soda and bamboo straws? All my books are piled in the corner. Guests relax on the floor atop dirty pillows. And then, what if I like it too much and dropping $100 every three months becomes the norm for me? Maybe $100 isn't even a lot in the realm of room scents? Oh well…YOLO or whatever. (They didn't actually sell the diffuser at the Sacai store; the salespeople helped me track it down across town. Now I buy refills on eBay.)  It's awesome and I love it, and as the bottle empties, my heart sinks to depths proportional to the amount of "essences of fine wines" that remains—kinda like with my favorite bourbon, and this bottle of SK-II face stuff, and the Sriracha in my fridge. Anyway, yeah, this was the love story between a blogger and his grape-candy room diffuser. I hope you enjoyed it.
—Phil Oh

Photos by Phil Oh.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • alliemh29

    This was wonderful! In my ideal world, Phil and Mick will write a post together.

  • Jen

    This is the funniest post I have had the pleasure of reading. Absolutely brilliant!

  • bacardi chaser

    I just laighed so loud, my mom asked wheter I was doing okay. :)

  • A

    POAL is a perfectly acceptable scent for a man. In fact, I think I know more men than women who wear it! Also, $100 for grape happiness sounds reasonable to me. I purchased by Killian Sweet Redemption because it smells like an orange scented ink in a stamp set (also Japanese) that I had as a kid.

    • Leetoki

      Ah I love memory-scents. I have a honey and shea handwash at the moment that reminds me of my first boyfriend at 15 because of some god awful cheap Palmolive milk and honey soap my mum bought at that point in a budget 50 pack.

  • k8

    fake grape is one of my favorite flavors tbh, I'm going to have to hit this diffuser up

  • Couteau

    Great stuff.

  • nicolecontrol

    Well, fuck me...

    Hahahahahahahaha. yessssssss

  • kneelbeforetigers

    I laughed so hard during this piece, because I love candy scents, too. Thanks Phil! Love Street Peeper and glad to see that the blogger behind it has a great sense of humor. That SK-II skin and killer glossy hair is awesome, too. What hair products do you use?

  • Joy of Stranger Sensibilities

    He has such an awesome personality. Him and Tommy Ton are my personal favourites.

  • Phil Oh

    I just found that my downstairs corner-sto has 25cent Now and Laters. And 25 cent Grapeheads

  • Maya

    Has to be the funniest thing I have ever read on here!!! I loved this!

  • Morgan Peebers

    What a gem!

  • Misses Robinson

    Phil, you do take portraits of ladies, therefore the fragrance makes sense! I wouldn't be shy telling any "dude" who is comfortable telling you he likes how you smell that your wearing a woman's perfume. It is a great scent, I wear Carnal Flower and In Fleur de Cassis. You and Tommy are my favorites.

  • Jody

    I get what you're saying about the photography, although I kind of like that ITG isn't too perfect or polished. I know very little about photography, but some of the photos on here that have a bit too much flash going on or whatever, those are my favourites. There's only so much "textbook perfect" you can consume blog-wise before you start feeling like a scruffy mess in comparison.

    It seems like some blogs start out really honestly and then when they get to a certain level of success, polish and perfection, you can't relate to them anymore.

  • Georgie

    I actually think that ITGs typical photography style is perfect for the style of the blog, i.e. the minimal monotone site, and for the makeup style of most of their features, i.e. usually quite minimal. Plus the lighting is always flattering. I'm pretty sure it's done on purpose.

    (But then I know basically nothing about photography and couldn't identify noise and blown highlights in a photo.)

  • NancyJ

    Hi Chews ARE MY LIFE!


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Dr. Vranjes Rosso Nobile