What does happiness smell like? It smells like the weekend in
On Saturday I got together with Colombina of Perfume-Smellin´ Things and we revisited some familiar scents at L´Artisan. If you´re at the sniffage thing long enough, one of the great pleasures is the inevitable changes of heart and strength of feelings you might have for particular scents (or even entire lines.) This time around I learned: I am still charmed by Safran Troublant; Jour de Fete applied to the entire left forearm smells, essentially, like Play-Doh; and for the first time I find Mure et Musc alluring – a shimmery, slightly tart musk rather than a blackberry nightmare.
Sunday morning Patty and I started the day off right with a ginormous breakfast with a publisher friend, then off to the races – first at Comme des Garcons (here´s their door, how fabulous is that?) where I smelled the Luxe Patchouli, which to me is quite reminiscent of Borneo, and that is all I will say about that. Also, the Luxe bottles (like the Serge bell jars and certain men) turn out to be smaller than one would have guessed. Patty was horrified by the spicefest of the CdG original, and stood there next to me thanking her lucky stars she hadn´t bought the darn thing unsniffed based on my waxing all poetic about it awhile back. In the meantime, I was struck by the reality that several of the CdGs I found so peculiar in my early days of sniffage now smell just dandy.
Off to Aedes, where we petted various dogs and sniffed the Molinard chypre, then Bigelow, etc. Let´s skip the makeup porn and jump ahead to the juicy part – at Bergdorf we saw the display of the Estee Lauder parfum flacons, and can I tell you? The parfum version of Cinnabar is the stuff dreams are made of. Forget everything you may think about Cinnabar´s rough EDT edges. Notes are orange, mandarin, clove, rose, cinnamon, carnation, jasmine, patchouli, incense, sandalwood, vanilla. Original Fragrance Ladies – chime in here with laughter and ask me, what took me so damn long? The problem with writing about parfum-strength anything is that, at this point, “smooth” and “seamless” are flogged to death in my posts. Cinnabar is an extraordinarily elegant scent, a signature-scent candidate, a smell I want to smell on an Hermes scarf and have my children associate with me. I have never smelled cinnamon and clove worked so delicately, and the incense-vanilla drydown is potent and lovely.
And then. And then we slutted around the Guerlain counter until the fabulous and beloved Jason dug out the scents that got there yesterday and will be for sale at Bergdorf on February 15, some in limited numbers. Jason had no notes on these so we´re guessing, and I suppose at some point we´ll see how close we were. I think he said these were EdPs, but don’t take my word for it.
First up: Metalys, which will now be part of Les Parisiennes collection, meaning one of those beautiful, bumpy little bee bottles like Apres L´Ondee EDT comes in. So it´s not being killed off as an LE, just being reborn, and so far as we can tell it smells the same.
Second: Cruel Gardenia (joining L´Art et la Matiere line) which Jason and Patty practially wet themselves over. I´m not the Gardenia Queen, and those two say they aren´t either, but they are loving that one, which seems to be pretty much without the bleu cheese note and seems to me to have some sort of green additional note to it.
Third: L´Ame d´un Heros, the men´s scent, also part of Les Parisiennes, in the style of a more virile classic Guerlain offering like Derby rather than, say, Eau du Coq. I´m guessing leather, patch, pepper and musk. The opening is a little conventional and citrus-y but it gets richer, darker and more interestingly elegant in the drydown. Jason really loves this one.
Fourth – Purple Fantasy! Also in the Les Parisiennes bee bottle. Which has been ragged pretty vigorously based on samples of the scent from duty-free shops, which is I think the only place most people could find this thing. I can´t remember whether I ever tried it, and I don´t know whether it´s been reformulated for this release, but this! Again, a total wild guess – rose, jasmine, violets, Guerlinade and patchouli? Emphasis on patchouli? Something dirty and musky? Try calling it Fantaisie Violette and see if you like it any better. I´m now wondering whether this endorsement is going to come back and haunt me, but I´m willing to risk it.
Finally … Quand Vient L´Ete (which we are translating as When Summer Comes). I am not sure how to describe it. Here´s what it does not smell like – another pretty, powdery-heliotrope Guerlain Special like Apres L´Ondee and/or Quand Vient La Pluie. If I were a reckless idiot, I´d write that it smells (in the best possible way) like cinnamon, iris, butter, and the skin of a child. There is possibly crack cocaine or something even more addictive (is there something more addictive?) in here operating as a silent partner. Brief online research indicates that this may be a reissue/variation on Terracotta Voile d’Ete? And maybe it is, but it doesn’t smell like my bottle of Terracotta; it’s stronger, much spicier, and with a darker base. If it turns out to be Terracotta rebottled you can all have a laugh on me.
If you are trying desperately to decide whether you might like any of these: they are less sweet than several of Guerlain´s recent offerings, collectively they represent a trend by the house away from vanilla/heliotrope/gourmands that I´m very pleased with; and all of these smell a bit wan on the blotter and really need to be tried on, they bloom on the skin. For specifics, Jason can be reached at 212-872-2734.
My other favorite discovery of the trip: Mo´s Bacon Bar by
I have no idea if/when I´ll be checking in, probably not until later Monday night. Remember, we at the Posse have strapped on our, uh, sidearms and are riding our scent steeds hard in service of you, our loyal readers. Tune in tomorrow for Patty’s take on our trip, including our sniffage of the two new Armani prive scents!
image: entrance to CdG boutique, New York, egodesign.ca