The Posse Storms Chicago

For many of us, Saturday morning’s Chi-Cocoa Scentsation started off with some coffee and a mad dash to the nearest Walgreens for an umbrella, because the rain appeared to be setting up for a constant barrage for most of the day.   Patty and I got to the meeting place (Ethel’s Chocolate at 900 N. Michigan Ave. next to L’Artisan) pretty early to meet Anita/Musette, and I was already wondering how many people might take a gander at the rain and decide, sensibly enough, to stay home.  Fortunately fragrance people aren’t too worried about some rain, so we were delighted when most of the attendees had arrived by the 10 a.m. kickoff.  I couldn’t get anyone to stand still long enough to count, but I think our attendance was in the low 30s — not bad for a day with an agenda that involved walking from place to place in that super-soaker downpour!

Can we digress for a minute and discuss how incredibly stylish many Chicagoans are?  Of course, since they’re from Chicago and the surrounds, the first thing they do is modestly downplay their stylishness.  And come on, ladies.  We could have been lunching in some swank joint in D.C., only you all were much more stylish.  From the hipster gals to the foxylicious foursome of Vida, her mom Rima, her sister Elena and their friend Kristina, I am talking some nice threads.   In the words of Christian, our ladies were fierce.  Also in attendance were three actual males!  Anyway, here we go, and all you readers: feel free to correct/add to my report.

So: first stop, L’Artisan Parfumeur (left).  The lovely ladies there gave us a nice swag bag, and they had a drawing for goodies.  I think all of us had a great time sniffing and resniffing favorites from the line, and since that’s a stand-alone L’Artisan boutique they have gloriously oddball things like Oeillet Sauvage and Fleur de Carotte, both of which I think are “discontinued” but seem to be hanging around nicely.  We smelled the new Fleur de Liane, which is a light melon-y aquatic thing that reminds me of Hermes Mousson, with less of the stuff that summons the grim reaper.  My favorite finds: the Bottega Veneta candles and room sprays (Nos. 2 and 4 are extraordinary), their other room sprays, including the delightful Ile Bourbon, a vanilla/citrus/spicy nutmeg deal that had me moaning in ecstasy, and perhaps my favorite: L’Eau de Navigateur!!!  I had never even smelled this thing, and honestly, I thought it was GONE.  As in, GONE.  Am I nuts, or is this the one people lament about having been replaced by the (inferior) Navegar?  It’s listed as d/c’d on Basenotes, and is not at Lucky (which has many/most of them, including the LEs,) but here’s a grab from the Perfume Shoppe in Canada: “Created in the honor of the King’s adventurers and buccaneers, L’eau de Navigateur is a powerful marriage of exotic woods, resins, tobacco and rare flowers enhanced with the unusual note of coffee. A richly dark and smokey fragrance.”  I thought they told me at the shop it was done by our favorite homeboy Jean-Claude Ellena, but I can’t find independent confirmation of that anywhere, although it’s certainly been around long enough (1979) and he did some others for L’Artisan.  What I get: coffee and sweat.  Stunning.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  I’m gonna call our gals at 312-787-7788 and order some.  BTW they’re having a fragrance event on Sept. 26 from 7:30 – 9, with nibbles and champagne, call them for details.

Next up: Barneys (right).  Their fragrance area is so spread out, we fanned out and sampled it all.  Big draws in the store that I could see were the Malles and the Serge Lutens fragrances.  Many people were, I think, sampling parts of these lines for the first time and it was wonderful to see their reactions, particularly to things like Serge Noire and Chypre Rouge.  Therese still smells like cilantro to me, but I am amused to discover I am developing some tolerance for the heavily spiced SLs like Arabie and Douce Amere.  It was fun sniffing the CdGs as well, and I think Luxe Patchouli was a big hit there, as well as their weirdo scents like 2, 3 and the Guerillas.

Then we staggered up the street to Hermes in the downpour, only some of us stopped first at Sarah’s for their incredible black-and-white cupcakes, a little treat in all that rain.  I was sitting at a table (ahem) polishing off my second b&w when suddenly Anita and the first part of the group were back.  Apparently when the 12 of them arrived at Hermes, a sales person approached them and said they didn’t have authorization to be there as a group and asked them to leave (!) and that they should have contacted the store first.  Anita pointed out that she had contacted the store, I think via 3 emails and 2 phone calls, none of which were returned.  Well then, the harridan psycho employee said, and I wrote this down so I could quote it correctly, the store must have “declined the event.”  Like you need a special pass to enter the hallowed halls of Hermes.  Or a fricking secret handshake. I mean, God forbid they get a bunch of perfume nuts in there on a day when it was raining so hard there were almost no other shoppers out.  I knew they could be heinous beeches but that really takes the cake.  I wasn’t there to witness, but Musette gave her some what-for in the ensuing smackdown, and btw I wouldn’t pick a fight with Musette, if I were you.

Next we did a quick run by the fancy Chanel boutique, where they treated us as if we were human (!) and I know two or three bottles from Les Exclusifs left with our party – paid for, not stolen.  They did ask us very nicely not to take photos in the store.  Maybe the folks at Hermes could call them up for some tips on customer service.   At that point it was pouring so spectacularly we hung out in the lobby for awhile, but it wasn’t really going to get much better, so we jumped out running and laughing and screaming and hustled up to foodlife in Water Tower Place for some hot food and a welcome sit-down.  How big is their famous chocolate cake?  Our table of six split a piece.

In Bigelow I was flagging just a bit, thinking, yeah, this is nice, but what I really want is a cup of coffee — and voila! — they appeared with a giant tray of cups of coffee!!  Bigelow as I think most of you know is a big apothecary-style store, so while some folks stuck to the perfumes (Floris, Carthusia, Keiko Mecheri, etc.) others of us wandered off looking for foundations, sunscreen, etc.  Let me put a plug in here for the Lipstick Queen line.  It turned out there are several hardcore Lipstick Queen fans in the group, and their lipstick is awesome with no aftertaste (a lipstick pet peeve — for instance, Bobbi Brown and NARS have that waxy flavor, and some folks hate the perfumed taste of Lancome, although it doesn’t bother me.)  Anyhoo, Lipstick Queen is the Poppy King stuff, and they come in two lines: Saints (sheer) and Sinners (matte opaque).  They are lovely.  I am now going to make an Allure-worthy pronouncement: the color Saint Natural is one of those universally flattering tones.  It turned out three people in our group were wearing it that day.  It’s the proverbial bite-your-lips pinky beige that is a little sexy rather than boring and seems to brighten everyone’s complexion.  The Sinners have 90% pigment and wear like iron.  Great stuff.

From there it was Neiman-Marcus, where they gave us an energizing drink and another great gift drawing and showed us the Creeds, and I … failed to take any notes!   Oh, wait, here they are.  The new Annick Goutal Musc Nomade … heh heh.  That’ll peel the paint off your barn.  It’s a skankfest, much more so than I was expecting.  Gives MKK and CB Musk a run for their money.  I sniffed the new Ferragamo Tuscan Soul, which smells pretty much like Light Blue, and something is wrong with that picture!  (Isn’t that the one Chandler Burr wrote about in reference to fragrances being designed/released for the Asian market?)  It was also a reminder of how gorgeous Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere is — now that it’s being released more widely, I run into it more.  It’s warm where the original is cold, and I find myself wanting a bottle.  I am pretty sure they had the Hermes line including Mousson, which seemed appropriate for the weather, although I am so grateful nobody sprayed it anywhere near me.

On to Saks, where people spent some time with the Bonds, including the new Lexington Ave, and I trolled furiously looking for someone in our group to buy what might have been the last bottle of Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily in U.S. stores, and Catherine humored me and did so.  By the way it layers beautifully with JM Black Vetyver Cafe. In the meantime, Patty picked up the gorgeous new Chanel Eyeshadow Quad which I think is exclusive to Saks, all lovely shades of gold, definitely worth checking out if you are one of their makeup fans, she blogged on this yesterday.

We finished up at Nordstrom, which has a huge range of fragrance from the Amouages to D’Orsay and lots of other things you don’t see too often.  Can fragrance make you cry?  One of our group, Rima, Vida’s mom, was so overjoyed with the Nordstrom exclusive Herve Leger that she wept — wept — tears of joy!  I get all verklempt thinking about it.  (That’s her up there carrying her shoes, it was so ridiculously wet outside.)  We were so happy for her fragrance epiphany.  It’s wonderful watching someone fall in love.  Nordstrom served some Mexican hot chocolate (they know a caffeinated customer is a happy customer.)  That Nordstrom is amazing, so we might have also spent some time in their outstanding shoe dept., and someone might have bought a new watch.  Maybe.

Then came the afterparty at Outsider downtown, and I still can’t figure out how Anita squeezed that amazing spread out of our meager $20 registration fee.  Neil Morris fragrances were available for sniffage, Liz Zorn came from Cincinnati to present her line and chat, and we all attacked the Miracle Brownies that Anita made for dessert, which somehow kept reappearing on the platter now matter how many we ate.   After I’d had a few glasses of wine, Vida’s sister Elena scared the crap out of me (see photo above) by reappearing in a power suit with her hair up and a pair of big, rectangular, blingy glasses as Sarah Palin.  She “introduced” herself, shook all our hands and reported in a chirpy voice that she could see Russia from her house.  Tina Fey, watch your back.

Patty and I rolled into our hotel room around 10 p.m., more than 12 hours after our perfume day had started.  We both said to each other (and to Anita, Shelley and Erin the next day) how nice it was to really get a chance to chat with so many people, the advantage of a relatively small group.  You can’t find nicer people than perfume people.  Thanks to all of you who made it such a wonderful day.

PS Thanks to Vida and Anita for these photos; soon we’ll upload Patty has uploaded other photos on the photoblog in the left-hand column.

  • bbj says:

    Hermes stores!!! I remember, when I was a teenager, trying to get inside the one on Maiden Lane in San Francisco, just to see if it was really that amazing. (I read a lot of Judith Krantz as a teen.) They wouldn’t let me in.

    Jeez, you show up with a dozen women with money in their pockets, and they ask you to go away? Same people who wouldn’t let Oprah in after hours a few years ago. Do they just not want to make a profit?

    I hear great things about Lipstick Queen, but they only have it at Barneys, and while we have a Barneys in SF now, the one time I tried to shop there I was just too freaked out by the staff to even FIND the damn Lipstick Queen counter. Anyway, I live in my Bobbi Brown.

    Is there a Bay Area equivalent of this shindig? Does anyone want to start one?

  • Lee says:

    What larks you lovelies had. Sigh.:x

  • chayaruchama says:

    Hey, sweets !
    It sounds like a blast !

    That Vida is a hoot; I’d have killed to hang out with you all.
    DANG !………..

    • Musette says:

      Next time, momma, next time… and we’ll pray for better weather!!!

      ….emailing some photos to David today as well as a reminder to go to this posting to see the REAL photos (mine make everyone look >:)

  • sweetlife says:

    So glad a good time was had by all! You ladies know how to party…

  • divinemama says:

    Is there a drool emoticon?

  • divinemama says:

    Dang, coffee, chocolate, perfume, homemade brownies, great food spread, jewelry, make up, scarves, good company…Hermes drama!…I am totally drooling with envy here in California.:)

  • Quarry says:

    Coffee beans — Is anyone else going crazy for the smell of their coffee bean bag from CS? Mine got tossed around with some mouillettes (sample blotters) and absorbed a hint of perfume. Mmmm. Sooo good. Please tell us, what kind of coffee beans are these? Thanks!

  • tmp00 says:

    dropping in from NYC to write that I can’t believe the stones of the witch at Hermes. What you should have done is each one of you stop your transaction or immediately return whatever you had bought and have them write down exactly who was responsible. Trust me, with visions of commissions flying out of their little Fwench heads, they would have made a bag out of her. The new Birkin. Now in bitch.

    Musc Nomade really that skanky? Geeesh, and I just not smelling these? I’m going to have to wear it around Marina and Gaia this week to confirm that I’m the one neutering them and that I’m not gassing people off.

    I’m going to see the waterfalls tonight on their new schedule- they aren’t turned on until 5:30. Whatever. Off to the Met! :d

    • Musette says:

      “the New Birkin Bag. Now in Bitch”



    • March says:

      Birkin comes in bitch? Put my name on the wait list.

      Hon, that Musc Nomade was all dirty and humpy and screetchy on me in an interesting way, whereas the CB purrs. Skin chemistry? Yeah, ask people if you’re neutering it. /:)

      • ering says:

        How did we miss the AG Musc Nomade? I adore Rien, which though dirty dirty dirty, has no edges, at least on me. I’m heading right over to TPC to get some…

        It was so much fun to meet all of you! I had a soakingly fabulous time, even though we missed the Hermes brouhaha. I would pay good money to see anyone throw down in an Hermes boutique. Musette did an amazing job pulling everything together, and I clearly need to make it to Chicago for mini-sniffathons more often.

        • Lindsey9107 says:

          Erin – it was hard not to miss something. As for the Musc Nomade, when I sniffed it at NM I couldn’t smell musk at all. I did try it again at home, though (thanks for the vials!) and I smell the skank. I think I like it though.

          My nose must have been fatigued on Saturday. It is a tenacious fragrance – a dab on my hand this morning survived a shower and a lot of soap!

          • March says:

            Nose fatigue — CHECK. I went to sniff Cartier Baiser Dragon and could barely smell it, at which point you know your nose is dead for sure. :d

        • March says:

          It was at … somewhere. NM? Yeah. Past the Creeds in the direction of Lipstick Queen, which is how I found it. I was punting the section, to be honest (AG) and then saw them sitting there. But it’s a weird location, almost underneath the escalator.

  • kealle says:

    Catherine, allow me to second your thoughts. Although I do live in the city and have the luxury to explore, I rarely take advantage. It’s just not the same without people to share it with–and I got plenty of amazing companionship on Saturday to tide me over!

    Because I am a petty, petty soul, I confess that one of my highlights was getting treated with dignity at Barneys for once. Just 2 days before the Scentsation, I’d popped in to ask about Serge Noire and the SA, quite literally, turned her back to me. Never mind that I had just talked a stranger into buying Fleurs de Citronnier; apparently earning her a commission by proxy didn’t merit eye contact. Her fellow SAs had to interrupt her playing with lipstick testers to suggest that she acknowledge me, at which point she insisted they had no Serge Noire, no testers, and no idea what I was talking about. Then turned around and gave me that lovely view of her back again.

    Flash forward to Saturday, when I reappear with the purchasing power of 30 other perfumistas, and suddenly the same SA greets me with “Oh, weren’t you just here the other day? I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding–I thought you wanted something else! Here’s Serge Noire, and let me pull out the brand-new Byredo Pulp tester from behind the counter for you to sniff!”


    A huge thank you to Musette, Shelley, March, Patty, and all the super-amazing attendees who were so fabulously patient when I kept forcing them to sniff the posh candle that smelled like gunpowder on the surface of the moon.

    (I will be buying that Serge Noire, incidentally–it’s super-fantastic deliciousness and it was positively made for me. And I will shamelessly talk up the event and its influence on my buying decision.)

    • Catherine says:

      Yes! Sniffing and playing with others–that’s where the fun is. And I bet I can guess which Barney’s SL rep treated you like that. On the flip side, when hubby and I went to other SL station (they have two! incroyable!), a different SA ran up to us–grinning, grinning, grinning and saying how *much* she just *loved* Serge Lutens. She sprayed hubby and talked and talked–and even offered to make us samples if we had little vials on us. Darnit! I didn’t, and her face even fell a bit. I’m going to remember her face–as well as the wonderous lady at Frederic Malle–for the next time in the area about to buy perfume. Hubby liked something from each line, and I’d love to get his Christmas presents from those gals.

      • divinemama says:

        Note to self:

        ALWAYS carry little vials…everywhere!

      • Lindsey9107 says:

        I totally agree with you ladies; there’s strength in numbers. It was a delight to hang out with other fanatics, sniff each other’s arms, etc.

        Kate, you rocked the Serge Noire. I’m going to give it another try when I can give it proper attention. Personally, the best thing I put on all day was that No. 19 parfum!

        • kealle says:

          Coming across that little flacon of No. 19 was a great surprise. I think maybe my nose was too overloaded at that point to really give it fair attention. But if we start carrying those little glas vials with us everywhere, as these wise ladies suggest, I bet with a little craftiness you could make yourself quite a long-lasting sample from that wee little parfum bottle…

    • March says:

      Hey, glad you had such a good time too! And also happy to hear you got the service you deserved in Barneys. I was surprised how cumin-y that Serge Noire was on me at Barneys, but maybe that’s my nose? It smells different on different people.

      I am still drying my luggage out, btw.

    • Shelley says:

      That was an awesome candle. Peculiar as all get out, but kept on drawing you back in for more…

  • divinemama says:

    Did this Hermes woman even KNOW who she was throwing out? Only a group of perfumistas who write and post on an internationally read and highly popular internet perfume blog. C’mon, write to the head office and get her ‘replaced’. :-\”

    • Musette says:

      I’m firin’ up my pen just as soon as I get my house and business back in order (El O’s version of vacuuming (we have 3 dogs) is an exercise in fantasy and don’t get me started on the bathroom.

      but it will be interesting to see if she is replaced. As I mentioned on an earlier post, it is likely that this is a corporate mindset and she just took it a bit farther than expected. We’ll see…

      FWIW, all the stores made a bit o’ bank from us, which is a nice thing. L’Artisan alone made three heavy-duty purchases in the 40 minutes we were in the store, which thrilled them no end!

      “Nice” letters will be sent, too, to the stores who were so welcoming to us. Goes both ways.

      • divinemama says:

        Oh yes! How wonderful that the other people treated you so well! It sounds like you all made it worth their while with massive purchases. Kudos to you, Musette, for all your groundwork and baking to keep the perfumistas happy. I wish I could have made it too.

  • Quarry says:

    Hey, Quarry/Joy here–I’m finally dry! I love that photo of Rima. Maybe you could sent a print of that to Hermes along with a letter pointing out that this is the sort of shopper they turned away en masse.

  • Catherine says:

    Such a wonderful recap to a wonderful day! Living in the hinterlands, I don’t often get a chance to widely explore perfume lines or chat incessantly about notes and effects. That single day offered much contentment to take me into the winter months ahead!

    I loved meeting everyone!

  • Jamie says:

    OMG – that trip would be my idea of a dream come true. But let me get this straight, a perpetually rainy day, and twelve potential purhasing customers come out of the rain into the store (which probably never get twelve customers inside at one time to begin with, specifically to be in that store, and they get asked to leave?!? Wow, I wonder if the powers that be on “Mahogany Row” for Hermes would like to know that their store is turning away business. Amazing.

    Other than that small “blip” – sounds like a great time had by all, and I really, really, really want to go to the next one.


    • March says:

      When we were putting this together, once we realized we’d have a decent group Anita let the stores know about the event so that (we hoped) they could do goody bags and/or a raffle, which most of them did, because that’s nice for us (along with coffee etc.) But the other reason was that, at minimum, even stores who offered us nothing would be given the courtesy of knowing to expect a group of people. No surprises. As far as I know, barring exceeding the fire marshal’s numbers, a store cannot *ban* us from entering, assuming we are behaving ourselves. But then that’s Hermes. The Chanel folks, who IMO have as much right to be snotty on a boutique level, were perfectly friendly. Bizarre, right? But a good story.

  • Maura says:


    So what’s the official size of a *group* that would need special clearance to enter Hermes? Are we talking more than…four? I guess you could always wait your turn outside while playing with your Barney’s bag…in the RAIN! Crazy…

    I came here for perfume lemmings and now leaving with a need for new lippie and eye goodies…thanks…


    • March says:

      You’re welcome! We had a wonderful time, and the Hermes thing is funny enough to be worth it. Glad to provide some entertainment.

  • Divalano says:

    You know, I can’t smell that AG Musc at all. I mean, nothing, it could be water. Skank, huh? Imagine that.

    Hermes. Piffle.

    Lipstick Queen. Very nice stuff. I got one of the Sinner hues (no comments, please) at Space NK & love the way it wears. Wish they’d come out with a line of lip pencils to match (I’m using a Shiseido one with it) & more colors.

    Eager now for the Oct NYC Sniffa :-w

    • March says:

      Interesting comments on here, clearly there is an anosmia issue with the Musc Nomade. Based on the other three I was expecting something softer, and was I surprised! 😮

      I definitely want a Sinner or two, but I was rushed and tired. I’ll wait until my next jaunt to NY. It’s not like there’s any shortage of lipstick over here. And I sorta liked the fact that there aren’t that many colors. I find the lipstick selections at most places kind of overwhelming. :”> That’s part of why I started playing with the Lipstick Queen ones — sort of, which of these 12 (or whatever) will work?

      • Divalano says:

        Funny about your “softer” experience on the AGs. The only one I like, Ambre Fetiche,is way up in your face don’t wear to work strong on me. It’s one of my favorites but I do use it judiciously. Weird how all that plays out on different skin.

      • Divalano says:

        and oh yeah, total anosmia on the musks. not at all surprising, happens to me all the time.

  • Louise says:

    Ah, what a lovely recounting of a lovely time had by all:d/ I thought of you all this weekend, and it sounds like it all lived up to my fantasy expectations.

    I’m with Matt, really intrigued by the Musc…another dirty musk..oh my!

    Lipstick Queen totally rocks. It was you, dear March, that encouraged me to buy the sheer rose one at the Spring Sniffa, and I just got the Natural-I reach for it all the time, fantastic color and wear.

    Let’s storm the Tyson’s corner Hermes with 20 local perfume enthusiasts, see if they welcome our invasion-I suspect they’ll be happy for the business $-)

    Most importantly-Musette, darling, will you post your killer brownie recipe, please, please, please :> ?

    • March says:

      Musette’s brownies — omg. First off, she made a bunch of different kinds. Second, she has some secret trick (I think she freezes then thaws them?) and of course I wonder, how do you keep them around long enough to do that? 😉 Some sort of electric fence?

      I’d forgotten about the Lipstick Queen, you’re right! I’ve been wearing Natural since I bought it and what a great color, and it seems to work on everyone nicely.

      PS I miss you. I am waiting for things to get a little less chaotic (we are still settling into our school routines) and then let’s get together?

      • Louise says:

        Miss you, too, sweets. Let’s make a date… 😡

      • Vidalicious says:

        What’s with salt on chocolate? OMG, I knew I’d died and gone to heaven when I tasted Musettes brownies with the salt on top!!! Almost like the Vosges Goji bar…Oh, wouldn’t THAT be a delish brownie? Dried cranberries, chocolate chips and SALT? (can you say PMS?)

        • Musette says:

          Salt intensifies the taste of chocolate. Chocolate sables (little sand-like cookies) are incredible when sprinkled with a bit of sea-salt. I just adapted that concept to dark-chocolate brownies. And Recchiuti Fleur de Sel caramels are the stuff of dreams: FdS swirled into the chocolate couverture rather than sprinkled on top. I don’t know exactly how to do it yet but the overall effect is a ribbon of saltylicious crunch! Oh, mama!!!

          Give your mom a kiss for me!:x

    • Musette says:


      I’d be happy to if it’s okay with Patty and March? I’m just a bit nervous about hijacking the blog with a recipe (Musette the Nervous). If not, I’d be happy to send it to you off the blog – it’s an easy-peas one.

      • divinemama says:

        I for one vote for you to post your recipe right here! I am sure I am not the only one who wants another great brownie recipe. 😡

        Shaking head at ridiculous Hermes woman…

        • March says:

          I’m gonna put her recipe up in a separate post. She made eleventy-gazillion different TYPES too. I am assuming she made the batter and then added stuff to batches? Coffee, chocolate, nuts, pepper, etc. They were AMAHHZING, like that nutbird says on TV.

      • moongrrl says:

        Another vote for the recipe so I can torture, I mean, *reward* my coworkers with those lovely brownies. It’s true that “you can’t eat just one”.

  • Erin T / Tigs says:

    Okay, March dear, don’t buy the Navigateur. I sent you a sample long, long ago, when I was a newbie and you said “It’s got cedar and cedar smells like B.O.” Yes, it’s true, honey, there was a time when you minded smelling like human sweat. I will send you some decants (or the bottle – don’t wear it much anymore…)

    Great report! Miss you all tons! On the last day, bought sunscreen, a boatload of Armani cosmetics from a lovely lady at Nordstroms and some Vosges, ate some great pizza and got kicked out of the Art Institute by harpies for the aforementioned Vosges, which I was not allowed to either carry or check! Worse than Hermes! But what a great city! Love Chicago and all of you…

    • moongrrl says:

      No way! They have lockers *and* a coat check at the Art Institute; the person at the coat check couldn’t watch your bag for you? Harpies indeed. I’m sorry that you missed out, Chicago has a world-class collection of impressionist paintings. Maybe next time, eh? 🙂

      • March says:

        Hey, hon! Nice to meet you! And I share your shock, they wouldn’t let her check her chocolate? What’s up with that?

      • Erin T/Tigs says:

        m_g/MK: That was the other thing – the impressionist wing was under construction. I dared to ask which sections were closed (as a sign instructed me to do) and the ticket seller actually rolled her eyes at me and tried to direct me out of line to the info desk. She didn’t tell me about the food rule – the check boy asked me to refund my ticket when the chocolates came to light. It was a very odd experience. One day I shall get there, though, looks like a wonderful museum.

    • March says:

      Hahahhahahaha!!! You are kidding me, they threw you out of the Art Institute?!? And seconding moongrrl’s comment, when I was there they had lockers… you sure you didn’t smear chocolate on the walls or something?

      It was so great meeting you. >:d< I am glad to hear you got some sunscreen so you can remain 16 forever. Glad you got the Vosges. I thought Nav was bad?!? I deny it. (Scurries off to delete incriminating blog evidence to the contrary).

      • Musette says:

        Good Griefamighty! If it’s not one thing, it’s another! Erin, I’m SO sorry about that. Da Mare must be putting something in the water besides green dye:-? Chicago isn’t known for its snootiness – quite the contrary, as one used to be likely to get a snoot beatdown. But this may be part of the ‘world class city’ persona Da Mare is trying to project…….???

        But you got the ‘manis home okay and the Vosges!! If B is going to SF you must guilt him into stopping at Recchiuti for the Fleur de Sel caramels. Worth their weight in platinum!

        And you already KNOW how I’m feeling about my goodies, you incredibly generous woman, you! Hope M was unshorn when you got home! I thought about you and March when I got home and saw my house:o

  • Elle says:

    SOB! :(( Just confirms how much fun I *knew* it would be. Still grumbling to self about not having been able to go. Even the Hermes insanity – just adds to the stories that can be told afterwards and you still were able to sniff them all at NM. Thanks for the Lipstick Queen rec! I’ve read great stuff about them on MUA and *almost* purchased a few unseen from their site when they recently had a sale, but refrained in the end. Now I wish I had. Am definitely going to get Saint Natural. And you can actually smell Musc Nomade?! I can’t. 🙁 Nada. Am clearly completely anosmic to its magic. Anyway, thanks for the wonderful report!!

    • March says:

      Well, yeah! The Hermes thing is just a little spice to add to the day, and it’s not like they spit on us. Plus I think all of us are old/whatever enough to find it humorous rather than some personal indictment.

      We ran out of time (of course there is no Lipstick Queen HERE) and I really wanted one of the opaque ones, but now I don’t know which one! I will have to go to NY to try them on again, I guess. 😉 As I noted I tend not to buy w/o trying because I hate that lipstick taste.

      I am shocked you can’t smell Nomade! We are usually so similar in our perfume reactions. I know I have musk anosmia, but not to whatever they put in that gamey little bottle. 😉

  • Carol Sasich says:

    awww…sorry to have missed it . What’s a little rain ?
    I am so totally lemming the Chanel Beige and now the QUAD too…thanks for the report . You know , chocolate melts in the sun , so you were lucky ….

    • March says:

      I’m still sniffing my Beige samp and trying to figure out what to write. It certainly is very pretty — as is that quad, and I am not even that much of an eyeshadow nut. Those colors are gorgeous.

  • violetnoir says:

    Amazing! I can’t wait to see more photos.

    Hey, Hermes threw Oprah out, so what can one expect??? Really, how stupid can you be? They must not like making money. x(

    On the bright (or rather sweet) side, isn’t Sarah’s delicious?

    Congratulations on a successful and memorable day. Chicago rocks!!


    • March says:

      I was pretty sure that was Oprah, we talked about that. Sarah’s … I decided not to bring anything home (although they ship). If I worked nearby it would be a crisis. I have no self control in that department.

      And Patty’s already uploaded the photos!

      • violetnoir says:

        Whoa! Those photos are amazing!

        Did you say the registration fee was $20? No way, because that looks like a deluxe affair!

        • violetnoir says:

          P.S.-March, you are totally rocking the nails, too. I love it!

          • March says:

            I, uh, got into the girls’ nail polish. :”> Can you tell? /:) I put that on and thought, I can’t wear THAT. But I did. It was a brown metallic which was boring, and I put that pink glitter on top and thought … ruh roh.

          • ering says:

            That’s good to know–Tessa and i were totally admiring your nails, but figured it was some kind of fancy-schmancy color (the likes of which you don’t wear in a lab). So all we have to do is find a well-supplied teenager?

          • March says:

            I asked the girls — it was a chocolate brown shimmer finish from Milani covered with a hot pink glittery shimmer from Icing (Claire’s big sister at the mall). Et voila. 😉

        • March says:

          Yup, $20. And we only charged that because we needed a place to host Neil and Liz and then decided we might as well feed people.

  • carlene says:

    Thanks so much for the report! A pox on the Chicago Hermes shop, and I’d boycott them if they didn’t make one of my favorites (Jardin en Mediterranee). Okay, I’ll boycott them until next spring. Isn’t that Nordstrom fragrance department the best!? I don’t know if she’s still there, but there was an SA there named Nicole who was fantastic. Also, awww @ Rima’s tears of joy. I know that feeling.

    • March says:

      Nordstrom in general blows me away, and the Chicago store makes our own Nordie look like Sears. But in general the customer service is outstanding, friendly sales staff, etc. And yes, tears of joy are always welcome.

  • Patty says:

    Pssst! lots of photos up on the photoblog.

  • Francesca says:

    What a fantastic report. I’m happy you all had such a great time, and what the heck was wrong with the Hermes people???? Hello, this economy and you are offending potential customers? And OMG the Palin lady, that’s enough to scare you off your food, let alone perfume.

    • Musette says:


      Wow! We really DID have a great time, didn’t we?

      Francesca – not ‘potential’ customers. What made this so incredibly stupid was, as this moron girl had the temerity to chastise me for bringing ‘people’ into the store, said ‘people’ were actually BUYING stuff. Two of our peeps bought scarves, etc and one of us was contemplating dropping a rather hefty chunk o’ change on a cloisonne bracelet! I must say that the one saleslady who waited on me was extremely gracious and was nice enough to sprint up and get a shopping bag for Patty after her Barneys bag exploded, throwing her camera etc to the floor (unharmed! Blessings!) And my regular salesperson, Jose, was apparently extremely gracious to everyone. So either this young woman was psychotic or fish really does rot from the head down and Hermes Corporate countenances this kind of behavior from their employees. We shall see….

      But it gave us lots to snark about and we told EVERYBODY! on the Avenue!!! Simply everybody. ;))

      • Tania says:

        I’m so jealous of all the perfumey fun you had! :d If I was on that side of the pond…. oh well. Maybe one day there will be a London Scentsation. We have lots of good perfume stores…. just sayin’…:x

        The Hermes story made me think of a line from Ab Fab, when Edina told a snobby SA – ‘…and you can lose the attitude – you only work in a SHOP!’

      • MattS says:

        Damn. I hate that I missed a battle royale between Musette a shopkeeper. That alone would have been worth the price of a plane ticket. Sounds like a wonderful blast; I’m glad ya’ll had fun.

        That Musc Nomade has my attention. Tell me more…I wasn’t expecting a total skankfest at all but I think tmp00 loves it. I believe he reviewed it a while back but now I can’t find his post. I think I’ve gotta sniff this.

        • March says:

          Well … interestingly, several people on here said they can’t smell a thing, including Elle, who is generally my fragrance twin! So clearly there is something funny with the musks. It made me jerk my head back. Let’s see … it’s SHARP. Dirty, like rough? I find CB Musk very smooth, and even Rien (which I wouldn’t wear) is barnyard, but creamy barnyard, if I’m not making you ill with that description. There’s something sour and unwashed about Musc Nomade that I wasn’t expecting, although that’s not a complaint. :d Not sure whether I would wear it. Clearly based on the comments here YMMV.

      • MattS says:

        Oh Musette, you didn’t have to reach into your boot and pull out a blade, did you, love? :d

        • Musette says:


          It took me a moment to process that visual!:o I wonder if that’s ever happened in Hermes – wouldn’t that be hysterical? Luckily I was armed only with my vicious countenance – that sort of Lady Catherine de Bourgh thing that makes morons quail. I didn’t employ it in the extreme because I didn’t want to upset everybody (our everybodys – wasn’t too worried about their everybodys by then). In the end,though, it made for a fun snark.

          Missed you mucho. It really was a fun day.

      • March says:

        Yes, I should have added that. Members of our group were busy buying things until they kicked us out! What a dimwitted move by Hermes. I’d forgotten the purchases.

        Hugs to you again, for all your hard work. >:d<

        • Musette says:


          Just sayin’ right here and now that this was ALL YOUR FAULT:d and I, for one, am thrilled about it! You and Patty are so incredible – I won’t go into just how nice and lovely and so much fun and wonderful and smart and witty and charming you both are…….

          …and Patty can ROCK a pair of socks!!!!!

          Hermes is absurd. Makes me want to go buy a knockoff!

    • March says:

      The Hermes folks were craaazeee; they’re a bit much over here too, although the one time I went by the store they were nice enough. I don’t know. I have never understood the snobby SA thing, they used to be rude to my mother-in-law at NM and she was a good customer. 😕

    • Chicago L says:

      Well, we are THRILLED to have been a part of the Chi-cocoa Scentsation! Thanks for including us. We are true perfume lovers ourselves and if we weren’t working in the boutique, we would have wanted to join your Scent adventure! We also LOVE telling all of the stories behind each fragrance and truly enjoy sharing all that we can… and most especially with such enthusiasts as yourselves.

      • Chicago L'Artisan Parfumeur says:

        The message above was from the Chicago Boutique. Message continued below. Thanks!

    • Chicago L'Artisan Boutique says:

      We also wanted to confirm that according to our Training Guide here at the boutique, the L’Eeu de Navigateur was indeed created by Jean Claude Ellena in 1978. Currently it is a boutique exclusive and comes in the 100ml size. There was a rumor that it was discontinued, and perhaps it was discussed (we don’t know for sure), but we can confirm that it is alive and gorgeous here at our Chicago Boutique coming now in the new L’Artisan bottle. I just love March’s description of it… “Coffee and sweat. Stunning”. The accord is Coffee liquor, cedarwood, myhrr and leather. It is also described as the scent of spices and resins down the hold of a wood ship, warmed by the sun in the Southern Seas. If you breathe deeply you can smell the ocean air and the wet wood. If you missed it at the Chi-cocoa event, we would be delighted to show you at our boutique.

      And March is also correct about us carrying a few discontinued fragrances. We have all sorts of L’Artisan Parfumeur rarities to share with you when you stop by.

      Thanks again, all of you! You were a true delight!

      Lydia, Darcie and Rebecca

      • Musette says:


        Thank you SO much for your hospitality! You are absolutely the bestest!!!!!@};-^:)^ and it’s good to know where to come to get the rarities!