It´s January. It´s cold. You need to get your blood flowing; let´s have an argument.
Louise and I get together at the mall periodically and sniff fragrances, sometimes things we´ve brought with us to swap. If that´s the case we end up sitting at a table at the mall café outside Nordstrom, in the semi-open air. I might bring vials or atomizers to make samples from our bottles. Sometimes we meet up at a Starbucks instead. Sometimes, when we are really reeking, or hoovering each other, or I am making samples, people look at us oddly.
Last week we met at the Starbucks in
“I just ran into the Wildwood Starbucks (aside from March: a different Starbucks) to pick up some beans after work, and there, huddled over his laptop was the Greek professor dude we gassed out at
So. Is it criminally inconsiderate of us to meet at places like Starbucks, where you could argue the citizenry would not welcome our sampling and sillage with their mocha crappacinos? Are we inherently more offensive than the folks who use Starbucks to conduct interviews, have book club meetings, yammer on their cel phones (“hi, I´m at Starbucks!”), escape from the house on dreary afternoons with their badly-behaved toddlers, etc.? If we buy two large drinks and a mocha brownie to tide us over while we try on five (okay, 10) fragrances, are we worse than folks who sit there all day taking up space, nursing a small coffee and using the wi-fi? If we sit far away in a corner and someone sits next to us and we whip out the Musc Ravageur to sample, were they, you know … Asking For It? What say you? Are we being rude?
Okay, on to today´s perfumage. This is another post on
I was pretty sure, playing
My favorites in the line move around with the seasons and my changing tastes, but pretty much from the get-go the line has divided itself neatly for me into the majority of likes and the small number I don´t wear at all, mostly because I think they smell terrible on me, not because they are terrible.
One I´ve never liked one bit is Mure et Musc, one of L´Artisan´s oldest, most popular scents (with the pretty, niche-for-the-mass-market-smelling La Chasse being, I believe, their biggest U.S. seller). Mure et Musc has left me absolutely cold for years. I have retried it umpteen times and stand there with my head cocked, trying to discern what part of that slightly bitter, diffuse muskberry combo would appeal to anyone with a sense of, you know, smell.
So while Marina and I were laughing and teasing each other about our favorites and not-so-favorites, I sprayed some on again just to confirm what a mediocrity it was.
And I loved it. Why? Why? I have absolutely no idea why.
Mure et Musc is an idealized blackberry – not sweet, not tart, not natural. Nobody´s pretending to be leading you through the brambles. The other note is musk, and that´s it. It´s a simple, perfect combination. And now I´m going to cheat and admit that after my change of heart I googled the fragrance and came upon Bois de Jasmin´s review, where she pretty much nails what I like about it: it´s not remotely foody, with the balance of the slightly animalic musk perfectly tempering any jammy tendencies in the fruit. She prefers Extreme, which has a stronger fruit note. I prefer the regular, which – go ahead, hate me – lasts approximately forever on me, like most fragrances. It also does that aura thing on me, which I’ve decided for the time being is my single favorite characteristic in a scent — its sillage is subtle but omnipresent and long lasting. I can smell it over an entire day without having to sniff at myself, but it’s not strong enough to start grating on my nerves or irritating people around me. That’s a tough balance to find in perfumery.
My take-home lesson? You never know what previously-spurned fragrance might suddenly take up room in your heart, your wallet, your shelf. If a line as familiar and comforting to me as L´Artisan can still provide me with surprises, I know I´m in good shape.
Okay, your turn. Should Louise and I keep our perfume habit out of other people´s lattes? (For various reasons, visiting each other’s homes is problematic). Do you have a favorite L´Artisan? Is there one from the line that seems completely out of place to you, or one you´d ax? (I can think of a couple). Any you´d make them resurrect and release more widely? (Fleur de Carotte!) Do you think if I buy that bottle of Mure et Musc I´ll go back to hating it immediately?
images from L’Artisan’s website