Thursday, January 22, 2009

Surreptitious sniffery: Vol de Nuit vintage parfum

Sadly, there comes a time in every perfumista's life when the self-indulgent, gleeful exuberance of exploration and waftage is interrupted, and I've been going through such a break. No it's not because of the economy. I've got enough perfume to keep me happy for decades without buying anything new. No, the problem is a combination of two factors: I find myself relatively more content with what I've got than in trying new things lately, and (dum dum DUM) I've got a scent-sensitive coworker in my work team.

I've had to go covert in my work-a-day perfume life, and it's not fun, people. It's stifling and frustrating, in fact. The day that this scent-sensitive coworker told me my precious Joy parfum, amplified during a meeting in a tiny office with five copyeditors gathered around one computer screen, was making it hard for her to breathe, I have to admit I struggled with a combination of sympathy and irritation. I'm an awful, horrible, no good person, but there it is! Wearing perfume is...a part of me. I feel like there's something missing all day if I'm not wearing something. But there are positives to being covert as well. It's put the mellow, luxurious parfums in my collection front and center, because of course there's little sillage to worry about my coworker objecting to. A little Cuir de Russie, a dab of My Sin, or one drop of Miss Dior is the sort of thing I wear at work lately. I'm always surprised at how sustained these classics are at low volume.

So today, for instance, I am wearing a teensy tiny little smidgen of Vol de Nuit parfum on one wrist. Thanks to Alyssa for the sample! And oh dear, I wish I had more to say about it. I have tried and failed to write a review of this perfume before, and I still feel stymied. So let me compare it to my beloved L'Heure Bleue (vintage parfum to vintage parfum).

Whereas L'HB starts out with that anise-heliotrope-scented Band-Aid (which I love!), VdN is sharply tomato-garden-and-spice green from the galbanum and woods, and perhaps the daffodil is an element in that first note as well (but honestly I'm not sure I am discerning that note correctly). Jasmine, iris, and woods are in the mix, as well. I'm a huge fan of galbanum, and I just love, love, love the stage in which the bitter greens struggle with the base notes of amber and the signature Guerlain vanilla. However, the base notes very quickly take over the composition on my skin, which is probably why I can't love it quite as much as L'HB, which continues the juxtaposition of bitter aniseed and carnation to sweet heliotrope, vanilla, and musk long into the drydown. It's that baroque contradiction that I love in the vintage Guerlains, so the longer that effect seems to last on my skin, the more I love the perfume.

Work is still crazy, so posts will still be few and far between, but thanks everyone for the lovely recent comments, and happy sniffage, all!

Image originally uploaded by Perfume Shrine.