Friday, May 6, 2011

Wanting What I Have

I am a lucky, lucky woman, both in life and my perfume hunt! I have been thinking this week: I can't even believe I've had the good fortune to own two different bottles of Lanvin Scandal, in two different states of preservation. I haven't been wearing them nearly enough. I'm taking advantage of the cool, spring weather here in Austin to wear the better-preserved of the two. Whereas one is tarry leather cat-o-nine-tails studded with clove buds that I wear in winter, the one I've been wearing recently is the soft floral leather everyone talks about when they talk about Scandal. It's a supple, bring-the-Bentley-around-I'm-going-to-town floral leather.

I have plenty of many wonderful perfumes. A collection many would be envious of, even. Why do I keep wanting more and different smells? Sometimes it seems like pure greed. For instance, I realized the other day that that bottle of Rosine's Secrets de Rose I'm so coveting? It has nothing on the gloriously weird rose in Magie Noire parfum I already have sitting in my cabinet. That almost-certainly awesome leather I've never smelled yet? Can it really hold a candle to the Cuir de Russie parfum and vintage Lanvin Scandal? I already know the answer to that: hell, no, it can't. I bought Etro Gomma as a blind buy before I realized that. Thank goodness for return policies! And take that lovely white floral on my wish list: Van Cleef and Arpels Gardénia Pétale. Is there really any reason why I would choose to wear it over Balenciaga's La Fuite des Heures, or the reissued Le De Givenchy, Ormonde Jayne's Champaca, or Goutal's Un Matin d'Orage? (Hmm, I might still have room for another white floral in my collection...) Finally, why do I find myself lusting for Agent Provocateur at all, when I have so many lovely chypres and musky sexbomb orientals that I barely wear them? I won't bore you with starting a list--just take Miss Dior alone. Sometimes I don't know why I bother with any other perfume at all, and I've stockpiled enough to keep myself marinating in vintage Miss Dior for years to come.

You can say it's all about the new experiences, the journey, and that's why we keep craving new things. And I know enough about myself now I can say finding the holy grail perfume is not the point. But sometimes even a devout perfumaholic needs to say: enough's enough--I have to give my attention to appreciating what I have already!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Very Different Spring Flings: Week-end à Deauville and L'Heure Fougeuese

Two spring perfumes I've been testing lately are Week-end à Deauville and L'Heure Fougeuese. These are very different takes on a spring perfume. One is an uncomplicated month-long holiday in a bottle, and one is brainy and rather challenging for me. Both are worth a test, though!

Week-end à Deauville, Parfums de Nicolaï
I thought I'd get lily of the valley out of the gate, but instead I get a men's cologne opening. A soft, classy one, to be sure--salty sea air keeps it from starting out as an Eau Sauvage clone or from having any relation to those chemically "brisk" notes of cheap violet leaf colognes. Then the lily of the valley sneaks up on you, but at the same time something warm and mossy, so this is no screeching lily whatsoever. Those of you who are LotV-averse, the floral element here could almost be a water lily or cyclamen. A gentle floral, a bit aquatic, but nothing "China Rain"-ish. Oddly, even though this is purported to be a lily of the valley, it's mainly the hint of mossy undergrowth that reminds me of the structure of vintage Diorissimo, not any resemblance to its iconic LotV. The light-green mossiness purrs away on my skin for a nice long while for a cologne. Uncomplicated and lovely.

Octavian of 1000 Fragrances likes it lots, too. So does Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am.

Verdict: Makes me ache for a European beach holiday to wear it on.

IV: L'Heure Fougeuese, Cartier Les Heures du Parfum
I know that the top notes are supposed to be a tannic mate tea, but it smells for all the world like bitter, dried-up orange peel to me. Then it turns into a recognizable tea, but not any tea I'd like to smell like. (Actually, the only tea I'd like to smell like would be jasmine tea.) Not a very pleasant smell for me, sadly--just dank tea. Then later it morphs into dank hay, like a hayloft that's gotten rained on and a little rotted.

Don't get me wrong--I love weird scents, I love to drink tea (the danker and murkier and more fermented the better), and a hayloft in the rain is one of the most romantic places there is. But frustratingly, the magic just isn't there on my skin.

Grain de musc loves it. It's on Patty at Perfume Posse's best of winter list. It's even got narcissus, which is a new obsession of mine. Drat.

Verdict: This certainly is a compelling, evocative spring smell, but I want to visit this damp hayloft, not smell like it.