I wrote the folks at Parfums M. Micallef recently, inquiring politely as to the possibility of purchasing some samples of their product. Alternately, if no samples were available, could I make some arrangements to buy a full bottle, and in that case, what would be the price?
Here is the reply in its entirety: Sorry we don’t sell by internet and our fragrances are not available in United States
Now, isn´t that the perfect, breezy Gallic blow-off? I never got used to it in Paris, and I´m still not used to it, really. After all, I´m an American. We may not be able to adequately house and educate our poor, but we shop like gods. What does he (she?) mean, I can´t have any? I have my Mastercard right here, locked and loaded. I´m indignant. We have invaded countries over less. In fact, he´s lucky I´m not Mrs. Dick Cheney, or we´d be parachuting our boys into Cannes right now. Then we´ll see who gets to try Les Exclusifs, hmmmm, monsieur? Let us see you try and stop us from sniffing your oudhs…
But this will not happen. For one thing, I would rather gouge out my eyes with a spoon than marry Dick Cheney. I will have to come up with a more workable plan. (Do I really have to go to Dubai to sample it?) One thing´s for sure – I´m not giving up. Their website is worthless. Does anyone have any idea if Micallef is sold in, say, London or Paris? Or down the block from your house at Chez Parfums Le Snob? I´m particularly interested in Avant-Garde, Pomelos, Gaiac and the oudhs, although I´d smell any of them. Do let me know.
Coty Chypre This was the first fragrance on my Must Smell Before I Die List. Having discovered that one of my favorite eBay Sellers, Dragonfly Scent Me, sells it in decants (how did I miss that one?) I bought a sample of the EDP. I have no idea what vintage it is, but it is vintage, having been out of production at this point for decades. I was anxious, honestly. What does the Mother of All Chypre smell like? The sillage of Dorothy Parker? The famously dangerous jus of girls gone wild? Coty Chypre is all bottom – like turning the bass way up on your stereo – and was fascinating to smell. It´s sweeter than I expected. It´s also less shocking – and this makes sense, of course. To my modern nose, tripping along the niche trail daily from birchtar to barnyard, what was I expecting? It also has essentially no development — just a three-part harmony of pickled grapefruit, dirty suede, and oakmoss – that perfect, humpy thrum of chypre that makes my knees weak. Nobody smells like this. I could go off on one of my ten-paragraph tangents about my longing for the time of fully clothed women broadcasting their ripe sexuality via perfumes, but instead I´ll stick a link here to my post about Houbigant Apercu and say in closing that if I were Empress, the house of Coty would be blowing the dust off its old recipe books and whipping some of this up for the masses.
Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige – proving unequivocally that, having spent years (lifetimes?) smelling baby powder, breast milk, Balmex and barf, I never want to smell any of those things again. Ever. Your powdery comfort scent is my own personal hell.
Matthew Williamson Incense – another one of my long-fantasized-about discontinued fragrances. The first five minutes are really the only “incense” part – afterwards it settles into mostly creamy saffron and (I´m winging it here) some woods on a base of gentle musk. It bears a passing resemblance to Chaos, so of course I was pleased by the smell and I liked it very much. But I did not swoooooooon, and I can give up mourning its unavailability. On me the chief annoyance is the lasting power is poor, an hour or so, and that´s generally not a problem I have with scents. We´ll see. I´ll finish off my generous decant and maybe by the end of it I´ll need more, but probably not.
Guerlain Bois d´Armenie – the whole L’Art et la Matiere part of their line is starting to resemble some elaborate practical joke to me. Or maybe I should set up a new blog and call it Perfume Contrarian? What everyone else got: the delicate smell of sweet powder, woods, smoke, vanilla, and/or benzoin, inspired by the scented papers you can burn as an incense alternative. What I get: Vicks Cherry Cough Syrup, erasers and, okay, benzoin. Ugh. If you burned this in my house I´d hit you with something. I hear that brand-new Nuit d´Amour at Bergdorf in New York is insipid. If Voilette de Madame doesn´t smell amazing, or at least interesting (Madame´s unwashed undergarments?) I´m hanging up my stupid Guerlain spurs and never pimping for the house again. I mean it. I have had it with Guerlain. But let´s not judge. Instead, let´s move on to the happier note of…
Jean Paul Gaultier Classique parfum – You know the bottle – vulgar, Madonna-esque corseted dress-dummy with the big boobs, decorated over the years in various ways. Ina reviewed this and sent me a sample of the parfum, which she characterized as “Eau de Posh” and “opulent.” It is, in contrast to its trashy container, extremely expensive-smelling, sexy rather than stuffy. I wouldn´t call it Classique. More like Vixen. Or Bombshell. Notes are orange flower, Bulgarian rose, Italian mandarin, star aniseed, orchid, iris, Ylang-Ylang, ginger, vanilla, amber. The most pleasant surprise to me (follow along here) is: parfums with this level of opaque richness tend to smell almost like sweet liqueur to me in a way I don´t care for. JPG parfum manages that level of va-va-voom but moves in the direction of sharp/tartness, what I´m guessing is orchid, a pretty neat trick. If you have some tolerance for over-the-top sillage (think Joy, Fracas or Poison), give this a sniff.
An aside on L by Lolita Lempicka – Patty sent me her Little Mermaid bottle (I love you, Patty!) In person, those bottles are adorable – heart-shaped rather than the weird lumpen look they have in photos, and all the bling is actually kinda charming. So I take back all the mean things I said about the bottle based on the photos.
The winner of the night with Andersoâ€”uh, the Chaos sample, chosen by the filthy (but morally unsullied) hand of a toddler was… Natalie! (#28). Please email me with your address. For the rest of you … okay, these drawings are starting to make me feel guilty. Maybe I should start giving away crappier stuff? I certainly own some. Anyway, if you check on eBay, often there are original sample sprays (which is what I bought) for sale for $10ish under Buy it Now, and there are always decants. Or go look at that stunning icicle-shaped 15ml bottle of parfum on there for $499 and weep at the sheer beauty.