One of the houses that I feel most closely reflect the inner me is Serge Lutens. There are several of them that I love and are wonderful when the whether is cooler: Muscs Kublai Khan is maybe number one in the roster. To some people it’s a roaring tiger, almost The rest, please…
This last year has flown by, and here we are at the holiday season once again. First, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.
I have so much to be grateful for this year, but one of the things I have been thankful for the last ten years are the friends and I’ve come to know through our shared love of perfume. I am grateful to all of you who drop by here daily or weekly or just when you remember. It’s fun to share with you and read your thoughts.
Also, that Cartier Oud and Musk, as Musette said, is gorgeous, as is the Aftelier Smoky Vanilla (more on those at a later date).
So I’m grateful for smelling so great all the time, too. And sometimes smelling funky. Sometimes making people look at me funny.
Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?
Winners of the two Le Labo samples from last week – Dina C, CC, jackie b and Baroness Octothorpe. Just click on Drop Us a Note at the top of the blog, send me your name and address and remind me what you’ve won. I’ll send you a quick “got it” e-mail so you know it didn’t drop into my spam filter and then get it sent to you.
My dad died on the 13th. He had a fantastic run – 93 years, most of them healthy, still living in the home my sister and I grew up in. We’re all local so when it came time to call hospice, it was easier (as far as these things go) than coping with the situation from out of state. My dad’s caregiver called us early that Friday morning and suggested we get over there quickly. My sister and I were with him all morning, talking to him and holding his hand, until he drifted away. We buried him last Wednesday. I did the flowers, and we read some poems which I’ll paste in here. Mostly I’m grateful (all those extra decades of time!), although I have those pangs of grief when I see something about astronomy or another topic of interest and realize I can’t call him any more to discuss it.
My sister and I were over there rooting around, doing a little necessary cleanup, and I found tucked into a decorative box a small flacon of Hermes Caleche (labeled parfum). I have no idea how it got there, or why; I guarantee you my dad never set foot in Hermes. That flacon must have been there for decades, baking in the heat of the upstairs bedroom. I opened it and threw some on (why not?) figuring it would be terrible, but I held out hope for the base notes.
It’s fantastic. Truly. I’m not even sure I’ve smelled Caleche while paying attention; Kelly Caleche is more “me.” Also looking at their website I don’t see any Caleche parfum available, which confuses me, although maybe they have it in the store? Caleche came out right around the time my parents bought their house, and that wee flacon has probably been there for most of that time (maybe my mom got it from someone in a housewarming gift? She wouldn’t have wandered into Hermes either.)
Here’s the blurb from Fragrantica: “composed by Guy Robert in 1961, this very feminine combination of flower, woods and chypre, whose name evokes the House’s emblematic carriage team, shines through the beauty of its primary ingredients, from the gaiety of its citrus hints to the modernity of its aldehyde notes, from its floral heart embroidered with ylang-ylang, rose and jasmine, to its woody chypre afternote, emphasized by the nobility of iris.”
Smelling the fragrance in the flacon, it’s got a demure, powdery top I’m not crazy about. On the skin, it’s a completely different story. Caleche might have read as “modern” in the early sixties, and it doesn’t read as vintage now, not my well-baked bottle. It’s… there’s something timeless about it. I wish I still had my bottle of vintage Guerlain Chamade to compare, because there’s some venn-diagram overlay with the base, after Chamade’s hyacinth-green topnotes wander off. Anyway, I’m viewing it as one final gift from them to me.
Here’s some of the poetry we read at my dad’s funeral – the first chosen by my daughter, and the second chosen by my dad for the occasion.
|You do not have to be good.|
|You do not have to walk on your knees|
|for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.|
|You only have to let the soft animal of your body|
|love what it loves.|
|Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.|
|Meanwhile the world goes on.|
|Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain|
|are moving across the landscapes,|
|over the prairies and the deep trees,|
|the mountains and the rivers.|
|Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,|
|are heading home again.|
|Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,|
|the world offers itself to your imagination,|
|calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -|
|over and over announcing your place|
|in the family of things.|
— Mary Oliver
Dirge Without Music
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, from Collected Poems
Hooray! A new place to buy the things we love! And just in time for the holidays, too. As I was poking around the Neiman Marcus Web site the other day, doing a search for something else, what should pop up among my search results but a product by Frederic Malle? Maybe you all knew about this already, but I sure didn’t. Last I heard, you could get some Malle products at the Saks in Houston, but that was ages ago. Anyway …
Excitedly, I searched Mssr. Malle’s name on the Neiman Marcus site, and 91 items came up, everything from the actual fragrances to body products to candles and other home fragrance items. From the sleek $45 travel spray container in red or black to the whopper $380 Carnal Flower 3.4 ounce/100 ml. spray, and everything in between, including those divine candles and the fairly new shower gels (Carnal Flower, Eau de Magnolia, etc.).
At this rate, can the line arriving in stores be far behind? Well, maybe not in MY store, but still. And even if not, I am thrilled to be able to order the items online, because if for some reason I need to return something, I can take it to the store, instead of having to securely pack it up and mail it back. Like I would have had to do had I bought a Frederic Malle item from Barney’s or one of the FM boutiques. Especially this time of year. And Neiman Marcus always has free shipping, which also helps.
So even though it may sound a bit like a plug for NM, it’s not – I’m just so happy when our buying options expand and it’s easier to get fragrances we love. I was equally happy to see Byredo come to Luckyscent earlier this year. And Byredo also to NM, which bodes well for the Malles, as Byredo first debuted at NM online and about six months later landed at my store. But you never know, as my location is not in one of the major U.S. hub cities.
Have those of you who have a Neiman Marcus near them seen the Frederic Malles there? If so, do let me know. Or have any stores near you started carrying a line or products that make you deliriously happy? What Malle are you wearing these days or what’s your favorite FM scent? Or anything Malle you’re hoping to receive during the holidays?
BTW, wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving week! Even if you don’t live in the States or celebrate this holiday, we all have so much for which to be thankful, and it’s a great time of year to stop and count our blessings.
Ho Ho Ho POSSEEEEEE! It’s so close I can taste the credit card debt. 5 weeks. I am already here in Sydney getting into the Christmas Spirit, not spirits: though it was a very near thing. Just for fun I dug out my La Folie de Noël to help get The rest, please…
Hey, this week we’ll cover two things – Le Labo The Noir 39 and Le Labo Laurier 62. Sorry about flaking last week. I was in Costa Rica, told I’d have internet, but — eek!! — that was not internet. Yeah, that was my view from the front porch for a The rest, please…