Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Foggy Hour and the Frugal Perfumista

I just came back to Austin from an impromptu five-day trip to San Francisco, where I stayed with very kind friends and enjoyed a few days away from the miserable 100+ degree heat. From 100 degrees to 60 with a three-hour JetBlue nonstop flight! It was awesome. Highlights were many, and included: going on a pilgrimage to Muir Woods via ZipCar with a critical stop at the In-N-Out Burger in Marin (the people-watching is awesome), Dynamo Donuts in the Mission (the Caramel de Sel donut blew my mind), City Lights Bookstore, Ten Ren Tea Time in Chinatown, getting good sushi and udon at a neighborhood joint (impossible in Austin) called We Be Sushi, getting in some wonderful geeky friend time playing Settlers of Catan and listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with my hosts, and the list goes on!

I did what I could to buy some new perfume, but it just didn't happen. I talked to the very sweet SAs at Diptyque, who sent me off with some samples. Vetiverio may get a review soon. I used up the entire Eau de Néroli sample on my winter pajamas, which smelled musty after bringing them out of storage for the trip, and it was very nice and not a thing more to be said about it, really.

At Barneys I tried the new L'Artisan Parfumeur, Coeur de Vétiver Sacré, but didn't have my wits about me to ask for a sample, so all I can report is a very nice first impression, darnnit. I know how much I hate it when other people make slight mention of eagerly anticipated new releases, so I'm sorry! I also finally tried Lutens Fille en Aiguilles and was impressed. I expected the fruit compote aspect I'd heard about to ruin my enjoyment of the dry pine needles and incense, because I'm just tired of that stewed fruit thing in Lutens fragrances. I wore the original Féminité du Bois to death in Boston, and it just doesn't work in the climate I now live in. So further testing in Austin would be required, but I really thought the Fille en Aiguilles was excellent--the fruit just gives it a tanginess to offset the dry qualities of the fir resins and incense. I almost pulled the trigger on a long-desired bottle of Une Fleur de Cassie, but after teasing the SA and deciding against it, I may have redeemed myself by helping her sell a bottle of Sel de Vetiver to somebody else.

At Saks, the highlight was Dior's Bois d'Argent. They were very lovely SAs at the Dior perfume counter. Oh WOW, that stuff is so breathlessly beautiful and just keeps going and going... gah, I almost whipped out my credit card for an entire ridiculously priced bottle. It was a close call, but decant it will have to be. I also had a quick sniff of the new Eau Claire de Merveilles, and liked it very much. The original Eau de Merveilles is another perfume I can't ever wear again after loving it to death at a different point in my life, but I suspect that once the Eau Claire hits discounters I may be happy to have a bottle of this.

Well you may not be able to tell from this report, but I actually spent very little time on perfume sniffing in this trip -- it's not a huge thing in San Francisco, from what I could gather. But I did have another perfume love on the trip. I brought a travel-sized decant of my vintage L'Heure Bleue parfum, and as I suspected, it went perfectly with the foggy weather and gave me a chance to love on it during my vacation from the heat. A spicy, sweet, baroque masterpiece to complement the grey fog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Sandalwoods: DSH and Eden Botanicals

I've been on the hunt for sandalwood, and have been sampling two oils that purport to be sourced from East India. As I understand it, the production and harvesting of true Mysore sandalwood is now so restricted as to make it, if not impossible, at least highly unlikely as a commercial perfume material. Of course sandalwood doesn't only come from the Mysore region or even India for that matter. But having heard so much in the blogosphere about the differences in sandalwood quality, it made me highly curious about said material, so I found some on which to train my shnozz.

DSH Mysore Sandalwood
Impressions: initially pale, astringent cedar-shavings; dusty floral undertones; austere. This is the "white musk" version of sandalwood. I can no longer find this on the DSH website, but when I ordered the sample I believe the description indicated this was a sandalwood essential oil, not a blended scent. If so, it may be very low in concentration.

Eden Botanicals Santalum Album essential oil
Impressions: powerfully rich, creamy and comfortingly scratchy all at the same time; slightly plummy undertones; seems to give off a comforting, heated glow more than a sillage. OK, you can easily figure out my preference: this is amazing stuff.

What's also amazing about the Eden Botanicals oil? I have a teensy amount of very old, dark, congealed vintage Bois des Iles parfum, and pretty much all you can still detect of its once-certainly-breathtaking beauty are the base notes. Those base notes, I swear, have a distinct similarity to this stuff. Am I tripping? Can I say for sure this is the real deal? Nope. But I have decided that my little vial of this oil stays with me in my purse at all times, and the dear boyfriend periodically gets whiffed right out of bed when I accidentally overapply at bed time. Oh well, he always comes back! And in the mean time, I have my santalum album to keep me warm.