Kids play make-believe all the time. When I was little I used to run around with a cape that my friend’s mom stitched for my birthday, pretending I was a knight, or a wizard, or both. My playmates would turn into princesses and mommy’s and teachers and all sorts of roles. Our playtime was a place of imagination.

     This week I’m tackling Imaginary Authors’ third scent, The Cobra and the Canary, which builds on the same principle of living life as somebody else.

Imaginary Authors The Cobra and the Canary sample

Imaginary Authors The Cobra and the Canary sample

     The Cobra and the Canary was released in 2012, and the story behind it goes like this:

When a tip from a clairvoyant leads 23-year old Neal Orris to a rural Connecticut barn housing his deceased father’s secret obsession, a pristine 1964 Shelby Cobra Roadster, it is the getaway ticket he was desperately searching for. After liberating his best friend Ike from his dead-end job on the family farm, the two hit the open highway. Aiming for the Palm Springs race tracks, their journey is a blur of seedy motels, cool swimming pools, hot debutantes, cocktails, and cigarette smoke. Each stop finds the friends inventing new pseudonyms and personas for themselves, their innocent game hurtling into the depths of decadence and desolation.

     I absolutely love the road-trip-through-America idea, especially with the assumed identities. The only thing I wish the story elaborated more on is, how does it end? Does Ike pass away in some horrific tragedy, or do they make it to the races? Another comment, on the name: I get the cobra, but where’s the canary in this story?

     The house’s website furthermore gives a suggestion for when it is appropriate to wear such a scent:

Hot, hazy weekdays when you can put your life on hold and enjoy a simple luxury like a fast drive in the country.

     This is the one I really didn’t like. It opens with a vivid manure, as if walking into a barn and getting hit in the face with the pungent aroma of, well, dung. This effect wears off in about five minutes and instead you’re left with a really intense leather note, which reminds me of the scent of a leather-bound notebook I use. There is an underlying sweetness to the leather, like a berry of some sort, or perhaps a minuscule citrus. The scent is not of an uplifting road trip, but of a hot night in the the horses’ quarters. Must be what Hercules smelled when he laboured to clean the Augean stables.

     Verdict: my least favourite of the three I’ve tried. The Cobra and the Canary is almost unwearable, and if you spray it you may find people trying to inconspicuously move away from you throughout the day. If you want to try something from this imaginative house, have a look at my previous reviews of The Soft Lawn and Yesterday Haze. I’ll be reviewing the remaining four Imaginary Authors fragrances in January, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!

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You can check out Imaginary Authors at or follow them on Twitter at


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