Candy, Take Me Away!

You don´t know what you´re missing until it´s gone. As recently as two months ago, I visited the Chanel counter in Macy´s and smelled No. 22, giving it a chance to dry down to its lovely incense base, which I´d never noticed before. I stopped by last week and No. 19, No. 22, plus Cristalle are … gone. What does it mean? I sort of understand 22; I think they´re releasing it as part of Les Exclusifs. But the others? I´m feeling a bit sad. Is this the first baby step toward abandonment, at least on our shores? I hope not. But let´s dwell on what´s here in front of me:

Fath de Fath parfum and EDP – notes via Osmoz are: Blackcurrant, Tangerine, Lemon, Pear, Lily of the valley, Heliotrope, Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Patchouli, Vanilla, Benzoin, Tonka. The EDP you can still buy online; I think the parfum is vintage (Patty?) I’ve read various definitions of what makes a fragrance a “classic” — in this case, it’s absolute smoothness. Nothing sticks out, nothing jars or snags. It’s a golden orb of sweetness, from the berried, faintly indolic orange blossom of the opening, hitting a high note of muguet, before descending in pitch to the rich, vanilla base. The parfum is creamier, but the EDP has monster sillage and is lovely in its own right. If you like the bombshell, naughty Patous — Sublime and/or Sira des Indes, and aren’t afraid of vanilla, this is right up your alley.

Anne Pliska – one of those fragrances I had somehow never managed to run across, until Victoria O sent me a decant (I believe it´s the EDP). Notes via Luscious are: vanilla, mandarin, geranium, jasmine, bergamot, patchouli, amber, and musk. I was a little reluctant to try this fragrance, as I have a mixed relationship with full-on amber. But this! No wonder Robin at Now Smell This nominated AP on her list of cult perfumes. There´s enough going on, from the fruity-green bergamot/mandarin opening, to keep it from developing that unhappy boozy note amber can develop on my skin. It also goes through an interesting cinnamon stage, and a hint (just a hint) of Play-Doh, but I´m not complaining. Ultimately it´s a surprisingly cozy comfort scent, with sillage that stays close to the skin but lasts a long time. Sign me up for the cult. I haven´t tried the parfum, but the bottle for that one is particularly fetching.

Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur – I was wishing for a less intense Sables, because I love the smell of immortelle, but Sables can´t be applied lightly enough to work for me. Eau de Monsieur is the oldest AG on Basenotes, and the published notes from the AG website are citron tree, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood, amber. No immortelle, right? But I swear … I swear it´s in there. Once you get past the opening salvo — a guy-cologne smell so powerful and conventional it almost seems like a jokey parody – and move into the drydown a half-hour or so, something immortelle-like sticks its head up. Maybe it´s a combination of notes on my skin, but it´s got that sort-of-maple-syrup smell that thrills me to the marrow. I´d love to know if anyone else (besides Tom, who pointed it out) gets that smell in there.

Donna Karan Gold isn’t growing on me, now that I’m smelling it in the elevators and wafting through the mall on people who’ve sprayed it on enthusiastically. Can people not smell how strong that juice is? There I am, walking along minding my own business, and I get poleaxed by a big bunch of lilies. Maybe I’m being punished for my own fragrance sins?

Hermes Parfum des Merveilles: I understand the love people feel for this, particularly folks who couldn´t quite get enough traction with the original Eau, with its notes (via Imagination Perfumery) of Elemi, Bitter Orange, Italian lemon, Indonesian Pepper and Pink Pepper, Ambergris, Oak, Cedar, Vetiver, Balsam of Peru and Tears of Siam. While I love Parfum de Merveilles, I consider it an alternative to rather than a replacement for Eau (the Elixir smells like chocolate orange to me, and I´m not going to say anything further.) The Parfum is not a jacked-up Eau; it´s a much stronger, richer fragrance, with a strong note of patchouli and much more emphasis on the woods. While it retains that spectacular ambergris note of the original, it loses some of its former sparkle, what feels like an absence of the original citrus and pepper notes. PdM is a statement, and sometimes I feel a little like it´s wearing me. The Eau cleaves to me like a second skin, one of the few fragrances I actually wear like a normal person on a regular basis.

Parfum d´Empire Ambre Russe – so, does anyone remember waaay back, when I hated this with the burning passion of a thousand suns? And thought it was too boozy and ripe and just too … much? Well, I was wrong. Notes via Luckyscent are: tea, incense, vodka, champagne, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ambergris, vanilla, leather. Given those notes, it isn´t as overwhelming as it sounds. It´s got that vague feeling at the start of an ugly night of hard drinking, culminating in the Walk of Shame, but it´s pretending. I guess that´s what took me awhile to figure out. Really, I could wear this to church; it would be wrong, probably one of those minor sins (what are those called? amiable? menial?) and Patty would have to dig out that indulgence book she mentioned to me, but I could do it – the opening salvo of liquor and cumin and other spices settle down pretty quickly, leaving me with a smoky, leathery tea and amber. I wouldn´t smell any more vice-ridden than any of the other nice Episcopalians around me on Sunday morning.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Cimabue – I´ve been on a saffron jag lately, and one thing led to another, and eventually I was smelling Cimabue. Notes from the DSH Website are: bergamot, bitter orange, cardamom, clementine, neroli, lemon, nutmeg, carnation, cinnamon bark, clove bud, rose geranium, jasmine, honey beeswax, Moroccan rose, Mysore sandalwood, saffron, tuberose, ciste, sandalwood, labdanum, opoponax, benzoin, vanilla. It starts off with a fairly strong burst of saffron, which makes me happy. But the really great news was a surprise. After 20 minutes or so it´s a dead ringer for a smell I have been aching for, to the point of blogging about it several months ago: the inside of the old Pier One Imports, before they repositioned themselves as a downmarket Pottery Barn. I mean that as high praise. Cimabue captures Eau du Pier One: cinnamon sticks, powdery herbal sachets, mysterious baskets of chai tea with faded labels, scented wax, wooden baskets, and dyed Indian cotton. Come on – think back. Remember that amazing smell? It was impossibly exotic to me, a white-bread girl from the suburbs; it hinted at travel to far-flung places, if only I could manage to pass trigonometry, get my braces off and graduate. Happiness comes in odd little packages, and Cimabue gave me an absurd thrill on a recent miserable, sleeting, gloomy February afternoon.

Image: lisafrickgallery.com

  • Solander says:

    Hi March, thanks for the visit to my blog! I’m afraid I can’t help you with the Juozas though. I’m not anywhere near Berlin, I’m in Sweden and I very much doubt it will ever get here. Although there is this one chic perfume shop in Stockholm, if Juozas would ever come to Sweden that would be the place…
    I got my sample from Fragrant Fripperies – I was thrilled to see Patty sold them since I was convinced I would never get the opportunity to try it. Then I found an Ebay seller who sold samples too, perhaps you could check with her how she gets it? There’s a link from my blog post.

    • March says:

      Solander — what a dummy I am. I KNOW you are in Sweden. Why can I not retain that information? Must be the fumes…:-w

  • Katie says:

    Muahahaha – I knew you’d love FdF. :> The EdT, oddly, is my favorite concentration of the 90s FdF. Usually I’m all about the parfums or EdPs, but here I make an exception since the EdT shows off the opulence of FdF best of all. I think you’re dead on that you have to be fearless with vanilla, though, since it really packs a wallop of it. That patch in the base cuts into it really nicely, though, and it’s kind of a secret skank lurking in FdF, heh.

    I know, somewhere (oh that awful somewhere of sample “organization!”) I have a sample of Cimabue that someone passed my way… off go dig it up…

    • March says:

      Katie — we were skating right on the EDGE of my vanilla tolerance. Do you think the EDT is even more so? Not sure I could take it…

      Look on top of your dryer. That’s where my renegade samples turn up.

      • Katie says:

        Oh no, no. In the EdT, there’s a more distinct “blackberry leaf” type note, which oddly adds a kind of glimmer to the vanilla-patch-ness. In truth, I think the vanilla is kind of tamer in EdT, but the overall feel is brighter.

      • Katie says:

        My mystery samples that I know I have somewhere have yet to turn up anywhere near the dry. Silverware drawer, car “ashtray” (it’s a loose change and gum wrapper tray really, but that phrase never turns up in the schematics), bookshelf, kleenex box (which is sad, because you know they went there on a day I couldn’t likely smell a durned thing), and coffee cup cupboard have all rendered me surprises, of course. My husband has a dream, a small dream, but a dream nonetheless, of me one day being able to possess a gigantic “perfume room” with specially designed organization possibilities, so that he might never again have to stumble across random bottles and vials again. I’ve tried to explain that as much as I too desire such a personal warehousing room, the random stray vial syndrome is symptomatic to every perfume addict. But he dreams…

        • March says:

          Hah hah! They’re everywhere. I try not to leave the really horrifying ones within reach of the twins, but you’re right — eventually they’re all over the house. I have some in my car ashtray too!

  • Fragrant Funster says:

    sorry March! I’m on brain-fart mode this afternoon.

  • Emotenote says:

    Looorrrdy Lord, what HAVE you two been up to with your blog. I believe I feel a Fifi Chachnil moment comming on!

    I, too, have heard the “Oh Yeahs” for Pliska. I guess I’ll just have to search some out. ‘Course, I do have my eye on that old giant jug of Angelique Encens everyone seems to still have in stock so I may have to wait. (did anyone else see the special on NASCAR on National Geographic the other night? If not, they explained that NASCAR was an off-shoot of boot legging. I think there should be a perfume version, like NICHCAR. The attempt to see who can get to Europe and grab unexported lines and get back sans tarif.)

    • March says:

      I like Nichecar!!! I do think Patty’s probably win, though.;) She’s durn competitive about that stuff.

      So do you think this looks like Hot Topic? I’ve been a little worried ever since someone mentioned it.

  • tmp00 says:

    This was in response to March’s suggestion that my bottle of HE might spill. Damned newfangled threaded comments (hitching up old man-pants)

    • March says:

      Hah hah! Hey, there, sonnyboy, I was screwing up them threaded comment whatsits while you were still wet behind the ears… for instance, I keep typing in the name of the person I’m RESPONDING to in the top of the comment form where it says “Name” — so when it posts, it looks like people are replying to their own comments.

      I believe our faithful Queen of Skank is working with the Blogmistress and the League of Minions to get the comments section to automatically retain and display your name and email.

      • tmp00 says:

        Yeah? well back in the day I had to fight my way to school through three miles of blizzards, uphill, both ways. And hordes of man-eating clams.

        Actually, from home, Safari auto-fills that info that when I enter a few letters. Thansk Steve J.

        If only it would resize thigs properly. Does the same with PerfumeSmellinThings. Job;s evil plot to get me to let go of my 7 year old key lime iBook.

  • tmp00 says:

    Spill it on the floor? Cross my eyes and spit (or something). I would seriously have to move….

    @-)

    • March says:

      I almost kicked my bottle of CB Musk over on the bathroom floor, when it was open. The fear took ten years off my life.b-( We would have had to rip it up and replace it.

  • Maria B. says:

    Darn, I’m going to have to try the Anne Pliska. Amber–that’s my territory. And geranium? I’ve mentioned being a member of the International Geranium Society. Darn.

    • March says:

      Maria — I was surprised — I myself am not the queen of amber. BTW you will be featured (yet again?!) in a post next week. Start shopping for your tiara.;)

      • Maria B. says:

        A friend informed me that now that I’m 55 I can get discounts at Ross. Perhaps I’ll find a tiara there. :d

  • Robin says:

    Did you see that they have repackaged Anne Pliska? And someone will disagree with me I’m sure, but I think it is just as ugly as the old packaging.

    So glad you liked Cimabue, and what a great description!

    • March says:

      Robin — you cracked me up with that one. I wasn’t going to say anything about the Sacred Pliska, :-” but you’re right, I thought the regular EDP bottle is an eyesore. Haven’t seen a photo of the new one, will have to go look — they can’t have made it WORSE?!?! The parfum bottles (as Elle pointed out to me) are the lovely Yosh bottles.

      Adding Cimabue on the list of things I love you for introducing me to.:x

  • Tigs says:

    I like the Fath de Fath, which I recently got in a swap (hurray for A!) It *is* smooth and fruity but there’s something very stinky in there (the patch?) that I love. As for the Merveilles – I have not had my conversion yet. Really enjoyed the post, March: a little olfactory tour from cosy comfort to hangovers in church through to import stores.

    • March says:

      Tigs — well … yeah. I think it goes without saying that, at the heart of every really great Goddess perfume, there’s a little skank. I’m putting my money on the Orange Blossom as the source. The parfum is particularly gamey.

      The Merveilles stinks in a completely different way. A good way, but a different way.

      Where would we be without Skank? We’d be wearing Vera Wang Princess and smearing our bodies with cumin, maybe?

  • Fragrant Funster says:

    the little peccadillos would be considered “venial” sins (in Western casustry) whilst the big ones are the so-called “mortal” sins. But with a fragrance invoking “Russe” in its name there is no such split. :-“

    • pitbull friend (Ellen) says:

      No, no, no! I want March to be able to commit “amiable” sins. And then tell us about them, too!

      • March says:

        Ellen, it’s true. I’m a sinner, but an amiable one.\:d/ I’ve got some sins coming up next week…

    • Patty says:

      With that combination of notes, vodka and amber… that perfume is going straight to hell. I know, i looked it up in the Raccolta, there is no indulgence or forgiveness offered. 🙂

      • March says:

        I’m going to be remembering all of this when, six months from now, you’re swooning over Russe, talking about how wonderfully evocative blahdy blah it is.:d

    • March says:

      Funster — can I tell you how hard I laughed at that?!? It was sort of embarrassing. Clever perfume humor invoking Orthodoxy and Christianity is hard to come by, my friend.^:)^

  • tmp00 says:

    Cimabue sounds wonderful- I do remember that smell. I miss the old Pier One.

    I of course get the immortelle in EdM. I swear it’s in there and I love it on days when Sables is simply too much.

    I hate practically anything when someone is wearing too much of it. I have a friend who is a chronic over-applier and sometimes, hoo boy! The other day we stopped at Agent Provacateur and DRENCHED herself in the stuff. I literally could not get within three feet of her the rest of the afternoon. Oy.

    • March says:

      Tom —- Eeeeeewwwww! Drenching yourself in Agent P is grounds for permanent eviction, in my opinion. Of course, this is coming from the woman who wears CB Musk in public …

      hey, how are the Human Existence experiments going? Is your house still standing? Don’t spill it on the floor!:-ss

      • tmp00 says:

        I’ve been busy with other stuff, most recently Patty’s Etat Libre. That SE is something. I may have to layer that with HE. On some part of the body I don’t mind amputating…8-x

  • Patty says:

    Ambre Russe… you changed your [email protected]?!?!?!?? We are no longer friends, you traitor. :d

    But because you sent me that Anne Pliska sample, which I finally put on and sniffed, we can be friends again. That is pretty awesome. ABout the first wearable amber I’ve run across. See Paragraph 1 again.

    • March says:

      Uh, P …. didn’t you just do a post called, and I quote, “I Can Too Change My Mind”?:-w

      It thrills me to no end to actually have sent you something you hadn’t tried before, and you liked it. That is a dang hard thing to do!

  • Teri says:

    Shazzbat!! That snotty little icon was NOT the one I intended to use to finish my comment. Hmmph.. I hate being iconically challenged. >:p

    • March says:

      I think they have a mind of their own. I’m still looking for a way to work (~~) and/or :* into a comment. Hey, I guess I just did!8-} Also, I think :^o should get more play…

  • Solander says:

    I have only tried the budget DSHs but I’m thinking of ordering some samples of the “fine art” ones… Mostly because Cafe Noir sounds swoonworthy (A coffe without lavender and green herbs? Yes please!) and because ginger scents are rather hard to find and she has two of them. I don’t share your memories but Cimabue still sounds very interesting…

    Patty sent me Fath de Fath as a freebie and it is indeed smooth! It has all the qualities that normally make a scent end up in the so-not-me-pile: it’s womanly (not feminine, although that’s not very “me” either, womanly.) floral, fruity… Heck, even the smoothness is something I’d normally hold against it, I like some edges and roughness. But it’s just so damn well done I had to keep the sample.

    • March says:

      Solander — that P — such an enabler!;) Her generosity still blows me away.

      I’ve heard several people say the DSH Cafe Noir is their favorite coffee scent. I’m now thinking I need to order some samples from that part of the line.

  • Teri says:

    I know precisely what you mean by Eau de Pier One and I, too, have fond memories thereof. Our local Pier One was housed in the barrell house of an old brewery which had been converted into an eclectic boutique shopping enclave. Nothing was better, on rainy fall days, than spending an hour nosing around all the exotica at Pier One. With the dampness on the outside and the heat on inside, the ambiant musk of decades of brewery barrels oozed from the walls, mixing with the omnipresent Eau de Pier One to create the most wonderful fragrance. My youthful brain used to think that this was what a waystation for caravanserai would have smelled like.

    Perhaps I need to try the Cimabue with a stein of dark beer in hand. [-(

    • pitbull friend (Ellen) says:

      Teri, that sounds great! There’s a great old brewery here in St. Paul up for sale after a couple of attempts at reuse — I can only hope they’ll do something like that so we can enjoy that smell. And they can sell the fragrance “Waystation for Caravanserai.” (OK, too many syllables, but nice phrase.)

    • March says:

      Teri — wow. I’m jealous. You’ve created a variation on the Pier One Scent that sounds even better. Maybe it would be the Pour Homme version?;)

  • hausvonstone says:

    March – absolutely love Cimabue that someone (a fragrance angel!!) sent me a little
    vial of. It is amazing. I do recall the old Pier One smell, but I thought it was a little
    woodier. Ambre Russe. Okay, I swapped my sample, because I did not love it the wayIO
    I thought I did. Maybe I needed a little more time…

    • March says:

      S – so you think it’s a little woodier? Well, you may be right. I just loved that smell… the Ambre Russe I did NOT love, the first five (or 15) times I smelled it. We did a blind swap and I loathed it. I seem to have come around, though. It’s less odd than it pretends to be.=:)

  • Marina says:

    Glad to hear you saw sense where Ambre Russe is concerned. :d Parfum des Mesrveilles …yes, I agree, it is not a replacement, but an alternative to Eau. Although related, it smells differently – and better, he he!- enough to be considered a completely different scent, not just a different formulation. Cimabue is nice, but so overpriced, ouch!

    • March says:

      Marina — one of the joys of sampling (as opposed to bottling);) is that I tend to be completely unaware of the prices — duh. You’re right, it’s expensive. I should pay more attention to that.

  • Judith aka lilybp says:

    Anne Pliska smells like a creamsicle to me (not an entirely bad thing, but. . . ) and DK Gold makes me queasy. I LOVE Parfum de Merveilles and Ambre Russe, and (somewhat shockingly), I’ve never had the opportunity to try either Fath de Fath or Cimabue.
    But–I want an icon, too!!!!! You didn’t happen to see any with curly hair did you (preferably shoulder-length, red or red-brown)?:-j

  • March says:

    Chaya — good morning! I hope you have your tootsies all wrapped up; it must be even colder where you are.:)

    Glad for the confirmation about the immortelle. Yes, I think you’d like Cimabue a lot — it’s complex but not muddy, if that makes sense. I don’t think it’s just my weird Pier One fetish; it’s lovely (although the saffron does die down, which is either a plus or a minus depending on how you feel about saffron!) Elle says several from the Beaux Arts line she likes. PdM — it *will not* go away. 24 hours of patch starts to grate on me, no matter how lovely it smells.

    Hah hah on the SM! I wouldn’t say I like it, exactly, but I’m not getting the Cum Accord, either, so I’m not shooting you.<):)

  • chayaruchama says:

    Mornin’, March !
    I’ve been remiss, in not telling you how funky fun your new look is…SO “Night Porter” !

    Fath, Pliska- yummmm.
    AR- right up there.
    DKG- right you are-elevator punishment for olfactory infractions past…
    PdM- too STRONG for YOU ? Just let me scrape a liitle tissue from inside your cheek…this won’t hurt a bit!
    AG- I smell it, too- but you do have to wait awhile.

    Dirty confession : I just received my samples of ‘Pud’ yesterday- and I think I LIKE SM- don’t shoot.
    I need help.

    Soooo-
    I should try Cimabue, you think ?

    Keep warm, babe.

    • March says:

      Chaya — still getting used to threads, my reply is below. PS someone commented earlier that the new look reminds them of Hot Topic, which totally cracked me up. I can see it.

    • Maria B. says:

      “Night Porter”–that’s it, Chaya! A similarity to something was rattling around in my mind unnamed. Charlotte Rampling–now there’s a sexy dame. I wonder what fragrances she wears.

  • Elle says:

    Anne Pliska truly is a stunner. However, am not feeling much love for the parfum bottle right now, since after Robin’s post I went to retrieve mine from its state of semi-quarantine and when I pulled the stopper out, a significant chunk of the neck broke off. I take it that was its diva like way of expressing displeasure w/ me for not having paid enough attention to it. It’s the same bottle that Yosh uses and, heaven knows I have enough of hers and nothing has ever happened w/ them, so I assume this is a one off diva incident.
    Love Cimabue! Well, at least I think I still do. I’ve really gone off of gourmands, so I’m going to have to go check it out. Hope I do. Love DSH and think several scents from her Beaux Arts line are brilliant, but they tend to not get much respect.
    Am definitely going to have to retry Eau de Monsieur and wait for the immortelle note.

    • March says:

      Elle — that’s absurd! Wonder if they’d send you a new bottle? Sigh …probably not, huh. I feel a little of your pain — I had my precious vial of Juozas Statkevicius in my hand, dropped it maybe 6 inches on to my wood floor, and it shattered like fine crystal. {sob} My closet smells great, though. Anyway, how does the AP parfum differ from the EDP, in your opinion?

      I’m a DSH Virgin!!! I always go on the website, look at everything, am unable to choose, and give up. Since you and I like so many of the same things, what should I sample?\

      Please let me know whether you get immortelle from Monsieur.

      • Elle says:

        Oh, how awful about the JS! Quite a heavenly room freshener, though. 🙂 The AP parfum is somewhat richer, but not radically different from the edp. My main issue was the astoundingly, almost amusingly ugly bottle the edp used to come in. Just saw Robin say there is new packaging – must go check it out.
        DSH. Hmm. Have to say I’m not sure which ones you would like since you don’t care for rose and I think that’s one of the notes she does her best work w/. Can’t remember if Caron Poivre is one you like, but DSH’s Oeillets Rouges definitely gives it a run for the money. I think Giardini Segreti, Essenza dell’Ibisco and Gelsomino are brilliant lush floral scents. Also loved Il Bacio di Firenze – beautiful, low pitched scent w/ moss, woods and iris notes. Objectively, Piment et Chocolat and Gingembre are first rate gourmand scents and I loved them deeply at one time, but no longer. But I’m still a spice and honey sl*t, so Mahjoun hasn’t been banished. Indochine is a fantastic light summer ginger and lemon tea scent – might be good for Bikram classes. So would The Vert – fantastic scent, but quite fleeting (might last longer sprayed, but I only had a sample). DSH is the *nicest* person and often answers the phone herself and will chat at length, but she needs some help w/ marketing. Wish she would make the web site more user friendly and do something about her packaging. And sell the essence line on a totally separate site since it gives people sticker shock when they see her Beaux Arts prices and don’t realize the difference in quality of ingredients. This coming from someone who is *disastrous* at selling anything of her own. 🙂

  • Lee says:

    Man, I wouldn’t mind a blast of that DSH right now… and I’ll have to dig out my Eau de Monsieur sample later today to see if I concur with your assessment.

    As a by the by, I had a brief spell of anosmia yesterday which seems to be clearing as the snot runs free, and I’m giving Secretions a go. You know, I don’t like it, and it’s as powerful as nuclear fall out, but I don’t find it over-objectionable yet. Maybe it gets worse…

    • March says:

      Lee — glad you’re feeling better! Those etats … I will say they all seem to have exceptional staying power on me, and whether that’s a good thing depends on the scent. That’s really slowed down my sampling of them! Don’t want to be a spoiler (I’m going to do a post on several next week), but I have to say I share a bit of your feelings. Vague enough?/:)

      • Lee says:

        Ok, I won’t talk about SM any more other than to say I see marching penguins all around me… Calone/ ozone-a-rama.

        I have three tiddly drops of DSHs here – man that woman’s prolific. One smells of head shop (Silk Road), one smells of summer lady soap (thÊ sur l’herbe) and the last of vetiver EO (Vetyver).

        And the immortelle hasn’t poked its head through the greenery yet, but my nose may still be a littl off.