Even though we never actually had a spring this year (Lee: speak for your Yankeedoodledandy selves, ladies. I’m having a supersmashinglovely spring across the pond), we’ve decided to go ahead and do the Top Ten post. Patty, Lee, March, Nava and Musette/Anita crunched the numbers and discovered they each got to pick two…
Patty – Me first? Yikes! My favorites for this spring are Byredo Gypsy Water. I ‘m not sure it’s very springlike, but it has a soft addictiveness that’s really gotten under my skin since the moment I first smelled it. If I could find it anywhere, I think I’d break down and get a bottle.
My other new spring favorite for 2009 is CB I Hate Perfume’s premium Accord of Wildflower Honey. I’m never entirely certain if I love or hate the smell of honey in perfume, though my mind has flipped on Serge Lutens Miel de Bois where I tolerate it fine now and used to run screaming for the Borax to scrub my skin before. Wildflower Honey still has that rich honey note in it, but the wildflower softens it, and it just smells like spring with all the abundance of the earth flowing from it. It’s pretty magical.
Lee – I’m going for the sublime and the ridiculous.
First of all, though it’s really all about the heat of summer rather than the fickleness of spring, I’m choosing Parfumerie Generale’s Harmatan Noir. It’s as close to warm weather green as I get in perfume (barring my one exception, Philosykos, but that’s STRICTLY SUMMER ONLY), but it’s dusty green, dried herbs, parched air. As a counterpoint to all that aridity, there’s a mint tea accord singing a different tune from start to finish, never resolving itself with the dry elements, but always a melody apart. Somehow though, they make a marvellous harmony together. Add in some cedar, a touch of something almost floral, and it’s the perfect embodiment of summer heat, which is at its best when you hope for it, and somehow never quite right when it finally arrives. Unlike summer heat in Britain – sticky, brief, variable, and transient – this perfume, in spite of the complaints of others, lasts and lasts for me.
My second choice: not yet released. But when I saw this, I knew I had to have it. In celebration of all things geeky, ridiculous, and absurd, it’s the only thing I want. Move over Geranium pour Monsieur, you have serious lemming competition. If like me, you’re a nerdy bonk with glasses and a penchant for space opera, you’ll have a hard time deciding between Tiberius and Red Shirt. The copy from Now Smell This for Red Shirt swung it for me:
“‘Because tomorrow may never come.’ Red Shirt is for the young, modern man of the galaxy who doesn’t hesitate; who revels in being alive today. Red Shirt Cologne instills confidence, showing the universe your strength, your valor, your devotion to living each day as though it could be your last. Bright, clean and direct with top notes of green mandarin, bergamot and a hint of lavender, Red Shirt finishes strong with base notes of leather and grey musk. It’s a daring men’s fragrance for those brave enough to place no trust in tomorrow.”
If you don’t get it, that’s fine. If you do, you’re geeky enough to know why I want this so much, seriously. And that’s enough said. Sounds like a spring fragrance though, doesn’t it?
March – Lee, one of the many reasons I love you is you can make me look like the soul of brevity. Live long and prosper, my friend. My picks are:
Strange Invisible Perfumes’ Lady Day/Untitled. You can special order it, $250 plus shipping for 7.5ml. I think that works out to $33/ml. I picked this out of pure orneriness; in the depths of our financial depression, why not select something ridiculously expensive they don’t even stock anymore? Lady Day begs the perennial question: is there a dollar amount for a perfume that is is simply too much for any rational being? I invite you to ponder that. In the meantime, I’ll acknowledge that a) it’s easily the most expensive thing I’ve bought per ml, and b) I have no regrets. I’m not even rationalizing it, except to say I don’t buy many bottles, and I have nothing — nothing — that smells like this. Gardenia, incense and green notes. I don’t even like white flower fragrances particularly, but if there is a greenhouse in the afterlife it smells like this. Like most SIPs it takes ten to fifteen minutes to get itself going, after which the sillage is extraordinary.
Chanel Bel Respiro – and thus through my magical perfume mojo I render one of Les Exclusifs an utter bargain – you get, what, a 200ml bottle for $200ish? Such a deal compared to Lady Day! Heck, buy two!
Ever since Les Exclusifs were released, bloggers and commenters have discussed the glory of 31 RC, debated the iris merits of La Pausa and the strangeness (or not) of 18; is Coromandel headache-inducing; is the Cologne worth it; what did they do to Bois de Iles, etc etc. In the meantime, Bel Respiro sits unloved in my decant drawer. In Perfumes: the Guide, Luca Turin describes Bel Respiro as having a wonderful old Vent-Vert-style top that fades into dullness. I have the opposite experience – a mannered (if uninteresting) floral falling away on my skin over half an hour to leave a not-too-sharp, herbal greenness with a touch of Chanel cologne. It’s like watching someone slowly snip the blooms off the top of the bouquet, leaving you with the stems. I don’t like many green, grassy scents, a staple of best-of-spring lists; this is a galbanum scent even I can love.
Nava – I so need to get a life it’s not funny. I also have to stop writing about fragrance as if I’m writing research papers; a habit that may well be harder to break than quitting smoking. Is there a chewing gum for this?
My very favorite new release is Apothia Pearl. I’ve fallen so hard for this one, I’ve already drained more than half of my 50 ml bottle. As I stated in my recent review, it goes from fresh and light to warm and cuddly so seamlessly, it is a wonder to behold.
A stalwart in my collection, Nana de Bary Green is another warm weather favorite. It was re-introduced last year as an eau de parfum, minus the evaporation inducing bulb atomizer. Green is the nearly perfect blend of citrus and spice that doesn’t leave you smelling for all the world like a living, breathing gin-and-tonic. My only gripe is that even as an EdP, the lasting power is still somewhat suspect. I’m more than willing to live with that one tiny disappointment.
Anita – Unless you have been living on my home planet in the Gamma Quadrant you know that I fell hard for the new Liz Zorn scent Violets and Rainwater. The name suggested it would be this watery, Debussy-like dream. Well, yes and no. It does have a pastel-violet, watery open but just as I’m getting over the gauzy bits this nice whump! of damp dirt settles in and gives the violet an unexpected gravity, then it changes again. You’re slightly chilly and damp in front of a Lexington Avenue florist, with the cold rain hitting the concrete, and a pot of violets has been overturned and trodden on the pavement. Just as you are thinking about feeling sad about the violets and the cold, wet afternoon, the rain slackens, the sky lightens and a warm wind carries the promise of a lovely evening and you realize that if you just pick the damn pot up and put the violets back they’ll be just fine. And so will you. Full Bottle, bay-bee. Full Bottle. And maybe another when this one is gone…
Not New but New to Me: Rochas Femme in both iterations. Femmmmmmme. This one is Missy March’s Fault, bless her soul. What can I say without blatheration? umm, let’s see:
New Femme: perfect, totally female (how obvious. I am ashamed), warm, way more nuanced than many fragrances trying twice as hard, a scented silk stocking sloooowly pulled off a shapely leg.
Vintage Femme: A mother-of-pearl stiletto slid into the top of that scented silk stocking.