Before I get onto today’s topic, please tell me why I am so suddenly craving a sniff of the new Parfum d’Empire scents? – especially the horsey one and the Bengal Fougere… Oh yeah, baby! They’re not out yet (September sometime I think), yet I GODDAM NEED ‘EM TO BE, ALRIGHT? Look at those bottles, wouldja? Holy guacamole! I think my Cuir Ottoman frenzy lies behind this one, alongside Robin at nowsmellthis and her finger on the pulse of all that’s scented (my fault for reading through her archive on a slow Monday afternoon)… What autumn numbers are you jonesing for, with desperation?
Actually, I can segue into today’s post quite easily from the previous paragraph, as I have Tom of Perfumesmellinthings to thank for Cuir Ottoman. I got it from him in a swap: he received three two-thirds full bottles of SLs for a full bottle of CO and one of Costes – on sale at Barney’s – why the hell not? So yes, I did make the lovely man be my personal shopper for the day… He also threw in a stack of samples, hence the focus of today’s post. When I picture him schlepping across town in the LA heat, I feel a tinge of guilt…
As I meet more perfume fans online and in real life (would you believe it? *that* place still exists), I never ceased to be amazed by their generosity. It’s not simply down to glut – folks who love a scent and only seem to have a tiny sample vial of it to hand, willingly hand it over with a smile and a wave… I imagine the last part of course, but I’m sure that’s the case. Which is why I’ve ended up with Tom’s sample of Profumum’s Olibanum that he picked up at Scent Bar. If you read his review a couple of weeks’ ago, you’ll remember it suggested gothic orgiastic reveries to the poor lad’s febrile mind. Well, hoping for some fun, I liberally poured some on in front of Matt, my long-suffering SO, and laid next to him on the bed… and waited.
Now, in spite of his occasional anosmia and frequent lack of interest, Matt does seem to have a gift for, sometimes at least, pinning down a scent. ‘It’s a room with wood in it – polished wood – and there’s a pipe. It’s still warm from being smoked but no longer has the tobacco in it’. He was right; there was a sense of tobacco remnant to the scent, if not tobacco per se. As the top notes faded, I was expecting the fragrance to become more incense heavy – it didn’t. In fact, although not listed anywhere I can see, it became more cedary – Matt said ‘Someone’s chopping wood.’ It has that oily resinous feel you get from fresh log piles… So, perhaps if lumberjack outfits were our kink, it would’ve got us going. Which means I will be investing in some plaid pretty damn soon.
Another wonderful person who sent me samples recently is Judith. I shamelessly declared how I wanted to try Berberiades – she offered me some. She also sent me at least eight samples of Montales – in vials so full, they squirted a little when I closed them back up. Judith – you’re a marvel. I’m going to save the Montales for another time for a couple of reasons – first, I’m new to aoud (except for M7 and a couple of other places) and need to get my head around it; second, you need a long time to appreciate the facets of these scents because they take you on a journey and a half. I’ll stick with Berberiades for now, and my testing on Matt. I’d given up on the idea of frolics by now, as I was too busy with nasal eroticism for anything else. I thought this understated scent started like, of all things, a hesperidic gourmand – somehow both creamy and citric. Matt claimed it was lemon sherbet. However, as it dried down, the saffrony aspect became stronger, alongside soft, somewhat feminine spices. It’s one of those lovely, easy-to -wear scents, like Costes actually, but smelling like a less nausea-inducing sibling of Safran Troublant. I really like it.
One of my biggest enablers in this perfume malarkey is Ida aka Chayaruchama aka Bostonian lovegoddess and houndchaser. You’ve probably come across her, and once you’ve broken through her introversion and natural diffidence….(ha), you’ll know that she’ll offer you a sample of anything at the drop of a hat. Truly, a heart of gold. So, recently she mentioned Santa Maria Novella’s Muschio in an email, saying how it ended its life smelling like one of her guinea pig’s bellies. She offered me a sample; it would’ve been wrong to say no, wouldn’t it? This is where Matt’s ability to define a scent goes pear-shaped – he claimed it was cleaning products and wax – nothing more. Crazy fool! This fragrance is a beauty. It’s the earth and dried vegetal matter and hay (yes, I know I’m repeating myself; it’s for effect) and the outdoors in September as the sun rises and the light is sepia-hued. I felt like I was in ‘The Go-Between’, looking at Julie Christie backlit in the early morn. *sigh*
Finally, regulars will know I met Louise a couple of weeks back. She handed over a hefty (10 mls? More?) decant of Bois 1920’s Sushi Imperiale. Now, if you’ve smelled this, you’ll know it’s about as shy and retiring as the aforementioned Ida (love you I!), but without overwhelming the sniffer at any moment. Or having a mackerel or any other fishy moment either. To M it was ‘an exotic milk pudding with a glug of booze’ from the outset, transforming into something more broody and masculine as time moved on. I left the room for a few minutes and returned. It was all pervasive, impossible not to smell, an envelopment of spices and booze and vanilla and glorious milkiness. I asked Matt what it was like now – he couldn’t detect it at all, or at any of the subsequent ten or so times I asked him, that wild obsessive look lingering in my glittering eyes… He’s now gone to the gym.
Thank you to all those people who have shared with me. My life is all the richer for knowing you, and not just richer in fragrance. Even if it does occasionally make Matt run from the house in terror.
So then, what have you sampled recently, and what’s your judgement on it?
Oh, and that’s me, by the way, looking daft and tired.