I think I´m overdue on a post on buying on eBay. So here it is. Don´t buy any fragrance on eBay, particularly vintage. It´s all worthless crap – bottles, even “sealed” ones, are filled with substances like rum or vinegar or sulphuric acid. Or Angel. Trust me, you don´t want to take a risk on that stuff.
Because otherwise you end up bidding against me and I know one of you nabbed that bottle of Bakir, you shameless wretches!! Which one of you was it?!? Damn your eyes. I wanted that bottle, how am I ever gonna feel the Bakir love if you keep outbidding me?!? Wah wah wah. In consolation I somehow accidentally bought another purse flacon of vintage Femme, which I have decided has a mind control drug as its chief ingredient.
However, I also bought (and yes, look, in only three paragraphs I actually get to the point of this post! A Christmas miracle!) some Christian Dior Poison, the old stuff. Because in my Coco sniffage I wandered down memory lane and it was pretty clear to me that they´d been messing around with Poison as well.
There´s a limit to how much weight you can peel off Poison. Luca Turin described wearing Poison as “like road testing an Abrams M1 tank in the evening rush hour.” You can remove some exterior armor, and tie a thousand helium balloons to it, and hire Christo to wrap it in pink tulle, and it´s still pretty heavy. It´s still the world´s largest Fruit Cocktail Dipped In a Molten Syrup of Um, On Second Thought I´m Not Sure I Should Be Putting This On My Skin.
Notes according to Michael Edwards’ Perfume Legends include orange blossom, honey, wild berries, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, ambergris, cistus-labdanum, opopanax. The perfume was created by Edouard Flechier and released in 1985.
Poison was the launcher of a thousand office-fragrance bans. I can see their point. I put the teeniest dab on my hand and it created a Yugioh-like force field around me for the next twelve hours. If you can bear it, though, go give it a spray (not during work hours); Bloomingdale´s and Macy´s usually have it. I am interested to see that places like Sephora and Macy´s have frequently given up on Poison entirely and just carry a couple of its lesser spawn, like Midnight, which seems to have been pretty successful. For the record, Hypnotic, with its poisoned-almond smell, is next on my to-buy list — well worth owning, in my opinion, assuming one whiff doesn´t kill you like the cyanide it conjures.
It´s not that the current iteration of Poison isn´t strong – it is. And if you hated the original, you´d likely hate this just as much. But we fans love that long, resinous, cherry-cordial arm of evil reaching out to grab us by the throat, and really, what´s the point of Poison without that? The smell of Poison is almost indescribable, but I’ve always loved Marlen’s go at it: “Somewhere between a triangle of incense, cough syrup, and tanning lotion lies the olfactory pyramid for Poison.” It seems to me that the current Poison EDT has been slightly emasculated (defeminated?) — it’s less intense. It’s like the eau de cologne of its former self. It also seems to have been tilted in the direction of mere nauseating sweetness, while lacking the taloned viciousness of yore.
This New Poison quasi-gourmand EDT seems faintly ridiculous to me. I assume it´s some sort of money-saving measure, or a gesture toward the changing-tastes floral update Chanel Coco has clearly undergone. Trying to remake Poison into anything that would appeal in the current marketplace would be to render it unrecognizable as Poison (again, see the flankers.)
While I was at it, I bought a bottle of Poison Esprit de Parfum, which according to an old NY Times article (see link below) was the parfum version of the Poison EDT. (Brief aside: Esprit is pictured in Perfume Legends and I only find it and the EDT online, including eBay. Does anyone own an eau de parfum, or is the esprit the EDP?) Esprit is apparently aimed to satisfy those of us for whom … you know … regular Poison isn´t quite potent enough. Describing the difference between the two is like trying to gauge the difference in impact between a sledgehammer and a pickaxe. Esprit is less sweet, slightly animalic and more amber/incense. It is quite smooth, like many parfum iterations are. It is also astonishingly powerful. I had, at one point, a dot of Poison Esprit on my thumb I had applied with a toothpick, and the clerk at our corner store looked at me with an expression between suspicion and horror and correctly identified the scent. I think she’s hoping it’s not making a comeback.
If you´re interested, I thought this NY Times article from 20 years ago was fascinating. They´re predicting that perfume makers were going to stop making parfum concentration because it´s too expensive and nobody´ll buy it. Hah – this at a time when they quote a 1.7 parfum for $150, and a 1-ounce EDP for $25. I want Santa to bring me a time machine.