The boy goes weekly

We fourplayed for quite some time, didn’t we? To be honest, it wasn’t always a fourway thing – once in a while, one of us would be away, but in general we managed to keep it going. Much to Patty’s generosity I might add – those samples didn’t often come from other routes. She’s a marvel, that woman. But we felt more recently that we were stretching it a little, and you know what? Fourplay and fourways are exhausting! We thought we’d rest the fourmat (see what I did there?) for a while. Which gives me an opportunity to go solo every week, instead of twice a month. What the hell am I gonna write about? Who knows, but I have to tell you today’s will be messy and unplanned and disjointed – I’ve not given myself time to write. Ditherationsville here I come…
Today, I’ve been out for a walk in the rain. Typical that on my day off, when I want to dig and plant some winter vegetables, it is unbearably wet outside. And the rain, as it falls, seems to wipe all smell away. There are no longer wafts of honeysuckle, rose and sundry other florals anyway, no longer the baked earth aroma of midsummer that smells so much like salty skin. Only the dismal bloody rain and that suggestion of decay – a proliferation of fungi on every surface. There isn’t a scent for that as far as I’m aware – even those CBs have’t quite captured that ditchwater accord.
I said I liked autumn; I’m not quite changing my mind. The burning brilliance of leaves, those low rays of sunlight in the morning that dazzle, the mists which seem to cling to grass like some secret long lost lover, only dissipating when the couple are caught together in startling noonday brilliance. But there is also something sad about this time of year, a natural melancholy of loss and the feeling of time moving ever faster. As a child, remember those summer holidays that stretched out like a gold and orange forever? And now, a whole year goes by in less internal time.

Many of use perfume freaks think of our scents in terms of seasonal wardrobes, and I did indeed shift my bottles around at the end of September. Away to the back of the bureau went Balle de Match, Navegar, Declaration and their friends – their hesperidic or wet accords no longer required. Forward marched my favourite scent types – the orientals. And really, I’ve only worn a handful of these, getting trapped, as usual, into a cycle of favourites.

And this year, my cycle has included two that I’ve been wearing to death all summer too – Chene and Santal de Mysore. Which must, I imagine, make them close to being on my desert island list of 10 scents I could not live without, in desert or monsoon.

Santal de Mysore is in fact close to perfection. There’s often talk on blogs and elsewhere of how Serge Lutens’ perfumes are sweet – too sweet – syrupy in fact. I’ve never got it. I must have skin that absorbs sugar as very rarely do I find them making my teeth sing. I turn dry scents into a world of dessication. Something like Gucci pour Homme makes me feel like that guy I’m writing next to. Chergui, often seen as one of the worst culprits, is more smoky when I wear it; Arabie, spice and fruit and, er, leather. Daim Blond on me at least is the fruitiest and sweetest of the bunch. Santal de Mysore is just perfection. Yes, it is curryish. But it’s also soft, rounded, a voluptuous scent in name and make up. If I could only have one, daft thought though that is, at the moment it would be this ineffable wonder. Gawd, I love it.

Next week’s post will be more coherent, engaging, and exciting, if you leave me comments telling me your close to perfection scent of the moment. Honest. Oh and Billy – you won the Ormonde Jayne samples – get in touch!

  • tmp00 says:

    well, we have finally moved into our fall- it’s not going to break 70 and there’s a 20% chance of rain on Friday. So we cue worried looking (as worried looking as a face full of botox can muster) anchors darkly intoning “Storm Watch 2007!”, while I start refilling my decants of the fall/winter scents. Chene is of course one of them as is Borneo, no sweetness on me at all from them. Some of the leathers will start being trotted out as well; I am wearing Knize 10 today and I’m sure that a decant of Kölnisch Juchten or Le Labo patchouli will be coming with me to New York. I might even start to trot out some of the sweeter ones that usually really appeal towards winter. like PG Aomasssai or Rahat Loukoum.

    Now that I don’t have to deal with snow shovels and temps that can be deadly I love winter: who wouldn’t love being able to pull out the flannel sheets, the cashmere sweaters and the winter musks that in summer would fell an elk at 15 paces? :d

  • Teri says:

    Lee, we’re delighted to have you (well, your writing anyway lol) on a weekly basis. As stated repeatedly above, you have a lovely way with prose and your pieces are always a pleasure to read. This doesn’t mean I won’t miss the fourplay articles and hope they resurface at some point in the future. As I’ve gotten to know the four of you and your tastes through your writing, I am able to get quite a clear picture of a fragrance from your four takes on it.

    Summer has been hanging on rather tenaciously here in the Rockies this year. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. I haven’t really broken out the fall fragrances just yet. However, I’ve found one that is serving nicely as a summer-autumn bridge fragrance, MPG’s Rose Muskissime. I had bought a barely used bottle at an estate sale for a mere $20, figuring if it didn’t wind up being ‘me’, I’d swap it. But the more I wore it, the more I found myself liking it. Although I’m usually not fond of an orange fruit note in my fragrances, there’s just enough darkness to this one that I’m able to carry it off. The brassiness that I dislike in traditional orange citrus notes seems to be missing from the blood orange note, and that is making the difference for me.

    God giveth and he taketh away. While my capricious skin turns all Guerlains into sour messes, the musky base of the MPGs (which I’ve read many of you here say you dislike and can’t wear) is just lovely on me.

    Is RM my Holy Grail? Naaaah. But at least until the weather changes, I’ve been reaching for it several times a week. I think that qualifies as a fav of the moment. 🙂

    • Kim says:

      You have just described what happens to Guerlains on my skin as well – thank you for pinning it down! I’ll have to try the MPGs. I haven’t been able to understand why so many love Guerlains but now I get that it is definitely sourness I smell on my skin with Guerlains. Isn’t skin amazing!! 🙂

      • Teri says:

        Oh nooo, Kim. 🙁 I feel so sorry for the both of us, banned from worshiping at the altar of Guerlain. Since Guerlain = sour for you, too, I hope you do give the MPGs a try. I’ve tried four of their scents to date and they all smell great on me. :d

    • Lee says:

      Let’s be honest – we’re all more likely to find a holy snail than the perfume grail. Still, it’s process, not product… I’ve never sniffed that MPG> Will do, next time I’m in Les Senteurs or Liberty.

      You want Guerlain sourness? Try Habit Rouge! I love it…

      Enjoy the remnants of your indian summer…

      • Teri says:

        The Holy Snail??? I love it! Trust you to come up with the perfect term for those sneaky little scents, those stray cats who keep showing up day after day at your door until before you realize it, they’re inside curled up on your hearth.

        So what does a Holy Snail wear? I keep picturing one in Virgin Mary white and blue. I can feel Sister John Joseph rapping my knuckles with her ruler as I type. 😉

  • Carol says:

    Just thrilled to read this morning that we’ll get more Lee posts in our future! They are always thoroughly enjoyed!

    My close to perfection scent right now, and pretty much always, is Jicky parfum, especially since I’ve finally gotten a full bottle. However, Nuit Noire is coming in as a close second, followed by Chergui. Chene and Santal de Mysore are 2 of the very few SL’s I haven’t tried yet and will be the first clicked right into my TPC shopping cart later today!

  • donanicola says:

    The jury is still out on Chergui for me. Too sweet to begin with then better. I read somewhere (BdJ?) that Chergui is T42 as made by Guerlain and as I love both I should love Chergui, right? Still working on it. My current pash is Delrae’s Bois de Paradis. Rose, fig, blackberry and cinnamon dusted woods. Perfection to my nose!

    • Lee says:

      *runs off to find Bois de Paradis sample*

      I didn’t know that about Chergui. I used to love it; now I sometimes love it. I OD’ed, basically.

  • Billy says:

    Hi Lee!

    I hope I’m the Billy that you’re speaking of! I’m not sure how to get in touch with you, but I think you should be able to see my e-mail. The scent I’ve been wearing the most of lately is Poivre Sacararaamanda (or whatever) by Hermes. I love it, if only it didn’t disappear in about 30 min. I’ve also JUST gotten into Terre d’hermes. ::ducking for cover:: I’ve heard so many people say that it’s “genius” but all I ever got was dirt. But my boyfriend bought it recently, despite my protests, and now I’m stealing it more often than he wears it:-)

    I’ve actually fallen out of love with Chergui for right now, but like Judith said, Fumerie Turque is still perfection.

    • Lee says:

      Well, people here probably know that Poivre Samarcande is one of my great loves on Matt, my bf. It lasts forever too…

      And Terr d’Hermes divides em all, but I love it.

      You are the winner Billy. i’ll be in touch tomorrow or later today!:-j

  • Louise says:

    Lee-I know where the sweetness you pull from fragrances goes-straight to your sweet heart@};-

    There are several SLs I just can’t wear due to sweetness overload-Chergui, Daim, and Cedre, especially. Right now I’m fixating on my on-sale Montale ouds-Rose Petals, and Damascus. And a new one-got a decant of Nejma, the replacement line of the Swiss shop whence the Montales came. Nejma’s nice-spicy, patch, a touch of plastic that lasts awhile, vanilla woods drydown. Lasts on me (are you listening, Maria?).

    • Lee says:

      Nejma sounds interesting, you crazy splurger…

      Actually I think the sweetness gets sent transatlantically to you…:x

  • Kim says:

    Looking forward to reading you weekly! Lately I can’t get enough of amber scents, in particular Tom Ford Ambre Absolute and Lutens’ Ambre Sultan. Also, Fumerie Turque and yes, Borneo 1834 – no sweetness there on my skin! And, as always, my beloved Chanel No 5 – it works on my skin in any weather.

    • Lee says:

      You’ve got great taste but it seems we’re quite different on the scent front – tho I do need to give Borneo another go sometime.

  • Christine says:

    Now that the weather finally feels like it’s autumn in Philadelphia and a nice foggy one at that, I’ve been reaching for Coco Chanel. It’s gorgeous and classic and I love, love, love it in the drydown.

    And more of you? That’s always a good thing.

  • helg says:

    Should have said Diorling… Duh…8-|

  • helg says:

    Dear L,

    I am sorry rain has dampened your spirits…I wish we had some over here. It’s a rare commodity.
    I am surprised you don’t find Lutens scents sweet, because they often are. But I am not complaining, because they are in the best possible sense.
    You left out Fumerie Turque (which does have a tinge of sweetness, arguably). Don’t you like that one? I very much enjoy it. That and Vetiver Oriental (admittedly a sweeter vetiver than most)

    My latest “discovery” for autumn weather is EARTH by Apivita: very earthy, with lots of patchouli and wood. It’s also great that they come in cute little 10ml sprayers so they are really economical as well. Let me know if you want me to send you a sample! b-) Will review it on the blog shortly.

    I am also now enjoying Fifi and Dioling.

  • Suzanne says:

    Lee, you don’t need to promise that “next week’s will be more coherent, engaging, and exciting,” because the post that you wrote today is so very lovely, as are all your posts. My hat is off to all of the perfume bloggers that I read, both here at the Posse and at other sites. The quality of the writing is quite high, and I am always awed by the passion, humor, and eloquence of “perfume people,” as I call them. 😡

    As for my scent of the moment, it’s been Chanel Coromandel, which is such a gorgeous combination of frankincense, amber and patchouli on my skin. When I’m not wearing that, it’s been Chergui and Nuit Noire of late, also.

    • Lee says:

      Well, that’s good of you to say, but I hate rushing writing. Once a week is good enough for me – I watch in amazement at other who do it far more frequently…

      3 great scents.


  • Elle says:

    Maria’s right – your posts are always brilliant, even when unplanned.
    My skin also appears to vanquish sweet notes and scents that are painfully cloying on other people (DH) are perfection on my skin. Lately I’ve been going for hard core comfort scents and Fumerie Turque (which I thought I had fallen permanently out of love with, but, obviously not), Chene, Nuit Noire, A Maze, Diorling and Cuir de Russie are topping that list. Must go get my Santal Mysore out. Adore it madly, but it just slipped into the background somehow.
    The bog people always make me sad. Can’t help but focus on the rather unfortunate ways most of them died. The one w/ the nipples cut off. Aargh! Please let him have been dead first.

    • Lee says:

      I love virtually all of your list.

      and I’m with you on the bog people. Reading about em breaks my heart.

  • Glad to read that you’ll be posting more often!

    Got a sample of Santal de Mysore and wow! I’m having a little affair with it–shhh don’t tell Tam Dao.;)

  • sybil says:

    Hooray! I second Maria, I’m swooning and so happy to read something so beautiful so early. As for the desert island scents…Probably Vetiver Oriental is first on the list. It’s a sleeper, not to everyone’s taste for sure (the weird rubbery thing in the beginning! the musty chocolate!), but it works for me. Also Chergui, and the not-generally-loved (and discontinued, I think) Slatkin Black Fig and Absinthe.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, thanks to L I get to sniff the Slatkin soon enough. My thoughts will be shared. And VO – I’m on and off with that one. I need to refind the love (saying that, I have got through half a bottle in the past two years… not bad going for someone with plenty of others to choose from).

  • Divalano says:

    Lee, they’ve stolen our fall here in the northeast. It was summer hot here on Mon & the leaves are all green, green, green. I keep looking at my fall-ish scents – Cedre, Fumerie – but they’re all still too heavy.
    My skin is the opposite of yours, I magnify sweet. There are some Lutens that send me screaming for soap, like Daim Blond. I want to like Arabie but it takes an hour or so for it to calm down before I can bear it. Haven’t given up yet. Chene is quite dry on me. It has some odd chokey moldy aromatic thing happening but I’ve not given up yet on that, either.
    My perfection scent in the past weeks has been Dior Bois D’Argent (finally found bottles for sale at the Dior boutique). Today, craving fall, I layered it with a dab of CB Burning Leaves. My first real layering success … it’s making me very happy right now.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, Bois d’Argent is awesome. It’s one of my standards in the ‘I don’t know what to wear’ category. Like l’homme de coeur, it’s very rarely wrong.

      I’d love to do a side-by-side sniff test with you, my opposite number.

  • Judith says:

    Wonderful–more Lee! My most recent obsession is probably Chergui. For ages, it stayed in the “nice but too sweet group”– and then suddenly moved into “Incredible! I love it! What was I thinking?” I’ve been wearing it a lot. Also Fumerie Turque, which was always in the “incredible” category. And then some of my leather loves, which continue to surprise me with their absolute perfection every time I wear them: Chanel Cuir de Russie, Doblis, Tabac Blond, Diorling. 😡 Must retry Santal de Mysore–haven’t smelled it in a long while!


    • Judith says:

      Hmmmm. . . I couldn’t get the “heart” icon (or the characters that stand for it) to show up when I was writing, and then it appears I put a million of them on the bottom as I was trying. Oh, well, I DO love you! My secret is out! 😡

    • Lee says:

      Let us know how you get on with that J! Would love to sniff you sometime (I was going to type ‘sniff your leathery self’ but that sounded oh too wrong. I put it in parentheses for shock and awe humorous effect)

      Love you back


  • Anne says:

    Been obsessing with? on? Mitsouko. Took over a year to finally get it, now I can’t let it go. Others I cannot even think of living without are Coup de Fouet layered on Poivre, and Bois Oriental.


    • Lee says:

      Oh, a truly marvellous mix! great taste. Bryan and Patty persuaded me to buy Mitsouko in parfum – I got it for a steal and you know, they were right. It smells amazing on me (even if I do say so myself).

  • Marina says:

    The more of you(r revioews), the better. 😡
    The close to perfection scent of the moment…I have three, will tell you two: White Aoud and Une Rose.

    • Lee says:

      M – you’re changing in your scent profile aren’t you? so exciting…

      I’m pondering the third… Next you’ll be loving the licorice.;)

  • chayaruchama says:

    You KNEW I couldn’t resist !
    How I love them- with Mysore first !

    [Clever Dusan ! Right on the money !]

    Maria- I’ll second you on the Kretek, madly.
    For someone who can’t be bothered with ‘extras’. I have the cream, EDP, and extrait. I’m fond of Cafe Noir, too- but the AL ambers have got me humming, and her Honey is luscious.

    • Lee says:

      Another person who is email-due. My bad, as you americanos say (I’ve no idea what that means).

      You always smell wonderful I. You glow.

    • Maria says:

      Among the AL ambers I’ve tried, I’ve come to love Amber Essence. I have it in the ultra moisturizing lotion. I spread it all over myself, and I’m all right with the world.

      Lee, I hate the expression “my bad.” I don’t know who’s responsible for it, but I think he’ll have to answer for it in the next world.

      • Lee says:

        You’re not alone in the hating…

      • Louise says:

        As an unofficial slang ho, I like the expressionn-it’s in the category of language color and shift for me. I think it started to be used a few decades ago, in street b-ball. But also, from Shakespeare-see this-

        Your love and pity doth the impression fill
        Which vulgar scandal stamp’d upon my brow;
        For what care I who calls me well or ill,
        So you o’er-green my bad, my good allow?

  • Maria says:

    Hello, Lee! You write beautifully even when you haven’t planned anything: “The burning brilliance of leaves, those low rays of sunlight in the morning that dazzle, the mists which seem to cling to grass like some secret long lost lover, only dissipating when the couple are caught together in startling noonday brilliance.” Is that gorgeous, or what? I’m swooning at your poetic prose. 😡

    I’ve been wearing two scents a lot lately with the changing of the season. Both are from Ava-Luxe. One is Cafe Noir, a marvelous concoction of coffee, patchouli, chocolate, allspice, lavender, benzoin, cedar, ambrette, and many other things. I know you don’t like coffee scents, and I understand, but I do love this one. The other fragrance is Kretek, which contains a big dose of clove bud, along with cinnamon, cardamon, sandalwood, tobacco leaf, and incense. I’ve been coming down with the cold the students are sniffling around with, and the clove bud and cinnamon in this baby are more sinus-opening than Tiger Balm and much more attractive. It’s sooo comforting.

    Still no Chene on U.S. shores! I keep haunting the possible providers.

    • Divalano says:

      Eep, everywhere I turn this week, someone is praising one Ava Luxe or other. I am soooo intrigued. Yesterday I got seduced into their site & found at least 8 things I want to try. I tore myself away before the credit card came out but jeez woman, you’ve got me teetering on the edge of spending here.

      • Maria says:

        The thing that will really hook you is the reasonable prices. “Oh, it’s only $35 for a small bottle of parfum,” you’ll say. Several bottles later… :d

    • Lee says:

      Like D below, I haven’t tried Ava Luxe beyond what an angel (aka Chaya) once sent me. I keep delaying; I’ve no idea why…

      Thanks for your lovely words and I’m thinking of you fighting off the sniffles in the battle of learning!

    • Louise says:

      Maria-got to try those two Ava Luxes-I have had mixed results with the line (just samps til now). Isn’t it funny how we can justify 6 $20 purchases, but (sorta) balk at $120. It’s a lot like eating ice cream out of the fridge-surely there are less calories that way!

      Also-remember that any fragrance that is sinus clearing also masks unwanted student odors-I like wearing a heavy patchouli around my charges…

  • Dusan says:

    Oh dear, you’ve been watching “Silent Witness” again, haven’t you? 🙂 Joke aside, it’s precisely that feeling of loss and transience that plagues me every September. I just can’t help it. You know, I don’t see myself as morbidly sensitive but, much as I adore Chêne, the first impression I got from it was the smell of decay, wet undergrowth and the heave woody scent of coffins. It took me a while to shift these olfactory visuals to a wee less melancholy one of solitude in uncharted forests. I guess what I’m trying to say, in plain speak, is I find most SLs to be very intimate. (La Myrrhe) 🙂
    Can you here me panting all the way from here? Santal de Mysore, which strangely I associate with Chaya, has forever been on my to-try list (all SLs have, for that matter).
    Remember when I said how my skin amplifies sweetness? Happily that is not the case w/ Chergui. There is a dollop of syrup at first (which I don’t mind at all) but mostly it’s dry, spicy incense; it is sweet, mind you, but not sticky.
    OTOH, Arabie would probably send me into a sugar coma.
    Lovely post!

    • Lee says:

      As I’ve never watched Silent Witness, I’m assuming it’s a reference to the poor old mummy – it’s one of those post-Patricia Cornwell things, isn’t it?

      I’ll respond to your email in a bit D – you have a range of SLs heading your way.

      • Dusan says:

        Yep, SW is phorensic stuff. Check out at least an episode for the lovely Emilia Fox.
        *resumes swooning*

  • Rita says:

    I have some SL samples on the way, Chene among them, and I can’t wait! I have been wearing Arabie all week, I think I have to buy a full bottle, because I did sweet talk DH into dabbing some on, and it was just freakin’ spicy fig heaven. I will have to add Santal de Mysore to my next order from the PC. I also have to add that their sweetness is why I love them, and Chergui is one of my favorites(ok, I have like 10 favorites!) I am sticking with Rose de Nuit as my #1.

  • Gaia says:

    Seriously? People think Chergui is sweet? My skin and nose declare it almost as dry and wonderful as Andy’s L’Air, which is the closest I ever get to perfect. Others in my Greatest Love of All category are Fumerie and Cedre. There are also a couple of PGs (right now it’s Iris Taizo), a Mazzolari or two, CB Revelation (one fig to rule them all and in the darkness bind them), Shalimar (well, that one is sweet even on my freak of a skin) and probably Dzing!.

    That guy above gives me the heebie jeebies, but even he won’t stop me from trying out Chene and Santal de Mysore the very first opportunity I get. I wish they’d tell us when Chene is going to show up here.

    • Lee says:

      Well I wish I could go with you on the Cedre and FT love but those two just don’t work for me. Cedre – too raspy in that juxtaposition of honey, tuberose and wood (and you know me, I’d happily juxtapose wood any ole time); FT – too thick somehow in the drydown.

      So it seems we’re not perfectly in harmony after all though I have no doubt you’ll love those other two Serges, SdM in particular.:x