What’s on your list?

After reading all your amazing stories here, I’ve reached the realisation that I’m no longer a proper perfume addict. What in some ways might induce melancholia, also brings relief: I no longer worry too much about trying everything, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, godammit, and can count on one hand (I think) the number of new releases I’ve sniffed this year. At least, that’s what my ‘convince yourself it’s true’ mind tells me.

Hell, I’ve even gone a couple of weeks without wearing perfume. Partly that’s the fault of oinking swine flu, which came and went with two days of fever, aches and soul-weariness, followed by a tail of coughing, headaches and wheezing. I was lucky: one of the kids next door followed it up with croup and pneumonia. He’s fine now though (very mild pneumonia – when I saw him last, he’d just spent the night in hospital and was running around imagining he was a doctor, coughing that deep pneumonic cough as he attempted resusciation -or something – on a teddy in the hallway). Back on topic, please.

But also, the not-wearing-perfume thing is part of my usual summer malaise where my obsession slots get taken up with my other interests (growing stuff and home improvement, seeing as you asked. What I can’t paint, wallpaper, or plant I have no interest in. And armchairs, fabrics and blankets currently make me delirious in an entirely non-flu like way).

However, in spite of all this, I still have a list of things to sniff on a post-it on the desktop of my laptop, which I’m currently typing on in my sitting room on the oak table with Queen Anne legs on the wool carpet which we’re planning to change after I’ve painted the ceilings down to the picture rail an off-white, the walls a tertiary green and wallpapered the alcoves on either side of the chimney. Then I’ll move onto the study – French grays, sofabed cunningly concealed as an old fashioned couch, oak ladder desk, winged French armchairs, rug. See, I’m off again.

So the list. Here it is. list

Fourreau Noir – even though it has the dreaded dihydromyrcenol (think nasty modern men’s stuff – for me, the throat-choker chemical) according to the ever-sagacious Carmencanada of Grain de Musc, old Serge remains a must-test for me, even though I detested Serge Noire and continue to vacillate over El Attarine. Though sheaths are new, I’m very bored of Noir in perfumes. Thrill me, Sergy, please.

Fille en Aiguilles – a sample will shortly be winging its way to me. Now this sounds lovely, from what I’ve read elsewhere (Happily, Hellenic Helg raved over at Perfume Shrine). Yes please.

Wazamba – I wonder, I wonder. Hilarious name. We had a drink in the UK in the 80s called Um Bongo, and this perfume name reminds me of the same facile and colonialist attempt to speak for all of Africa in one word, and get it wrong enough to be very bad indeed. But, at the same time, it does sound funny. And the ingredients – incense, fir, cypress (and apple. wtf?) – pique my interest.

CDG Laurel – I know nothing about this other than it makes me think of cooking and Caesar.
L’Artisan for Scent Bar/Lucky Scent and Havane Vanille – what’s happened to the Scent Bar release by Bertrand Duchaufour that’s supposed to smell of the LA hills? Wasn’t it due for release in October last year? Who’s fallen asleep at the wheel? And why didn’t Liberty send me a sample of Havane Vanille when all I’ve heard from Sniffa folk is ‘Oh it’s so lovely’, ‘Gosh, darn it, it’s the best vanilla ever’, ‘Streuth (an Australian, I imagine), it’s a beaut’, ‘Strikealight, sugarplum, it’s got me multi-orgasmic’. And I’ve bought from Liberty for years too. Snarl, snarl, and whimper.

The Different Company Oriental Lounge – another quiet one, but it’s Celine Ellena and seeing as I swear by her Sel de Vetiver, admire her Sublime Bal(l)kiss(ing), and am captivated by her jasmine at night, this ‘un should also be good, even if that name is a little too 90s chillout for my tastes.

Fahrenheit Absolute – I wore the original as though my existence depended on it back when I though secondhand suits with desert boots and braces was the best look evah!, and therefore this ‘need-to-test’ combines the best bits of nostalgia (saudade if you want to get Portuguese or pretentious about it) with the driving need of the reformed sniffaholic.

Oh, and a late addition. Patricia de Nicolai is releasing  Patchouli Homme in September. O.M.Freakin’.G. That might just be a blind buy. Read about it here. And let’s end with a few of that wonderful woman’s words:

‘I´m a bit fed up with the whole “100%-natural” thing. If some people want to go back to Marie-Antoinette´s perfumery, fine, it´s up to them. But as far as I´m concerned, I don´t believe in 100%-natural haute perfumery. We absolutely must need to change the way we look at synthetic molecules; journalists need to be brave enough to talk about them, to break the taboo. Way back in 1952, Ernest Beaux said, “Perfumery´s future lies in chemistry”…’

So, what’s on your list.? Share one, share all.

The image is of a random list found on the internet. I quite enjoy trying to make sense of it.

  • Christine says:

    Hey Lee, I’ve nothing to say re: perfume…I’ve been too busy at work to really worry about it. BUT I am so happy you’re back! Be well friend, be well.

  • mariekel says:

    Yay, Lee, you’re back! Glad you are on th mend. The basset was definitely worried.

    I was at Aedes in NY last week and got to check out the Killian Oud and — yes — the Wazumba. love the name. I think it should be a new verb or noun or both, as in “damn, did I get Wazamba’d last night” or “the stock market took a serious Wazamba today”…

    Love the Oud, which is dryer and smokier than the Montale Ouds –finally, a Killian I acutally like! I am on the fence about the Wazamba, which to me smells like a cross between Ormonde Jayne Man and Byredo Chembur. I get a dash of celery in the top notes, followed by cumin and frankincense and then lots of sandlewood. I should love it, given all that, but somehow it smells, well, a bit derivative.

    • Gretchen says:

      Haven’t sniffed the fragrance yet, but my definition of the word “wazamba” has more positive connotations than yours (“took a serious Wazamba today”– wince!). “Wazamba” in my thesaurus slots in with “hot damn!” and “boy howdy!” and the evergreen “wahoo!”. I like the way it suggests both “shazam” and “caramba”– but probably won’t be lucky enough to like the scent as much as I do its name.

  • Nina Z. says:

    There is supposed to be a perfume that smells like the LA Hills? Because that’s where I grew up, in one of the canyons, and the scent there was very strong and distinctive. I often try to conjure it up. Please tell me more, someone!

  • carter says:

    Oh, except for the foxhounds. Because my old foxhounds are totally worn out and I could definitely do with a few fresh replacements.

  • carter says:

    Lately I find myself spending more time gazing in the rear view mirror than with eyes fixed on the road ahead. I have a list of classics — some rare, some not so much — that I am itching to own, partly out of a low-grade but ever present panic at the prospect of them vanishing off of the face of the earth before I’ve had my way with them.

    I think it’s an odds thing — the new fumes will be around for a while, whereas who knows about the others, so I have made the decision to focus on the ones that are going, going, nearly gone.

    • Sunnyfunny says:

      Sweet! I’ve been on a bit of a vintage bender myself! In that case the list is a lot longer and the whole thing basically involves taking my chances. I checked out a local antique shop and found *sealed* boxes of Arpege and My Sin but they were empty! 🙁 Sooooo not cool! But I did get a Tabu mini in a violin bottle. 😀

  • ScentRed says:

    Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique, Estee Lauder White Jasmine Moss, Miller Harris Fleur de Sel and Divine L’ame Soeur are on my most wanted list. But I’m since I’m trying hard not to blow any more money on samples, these are just wishes for now ;-(

  • Shelley says:

    Hmm…I don’t think of my time-outs from scent as malaise…though heaven knows I can fall into a general malaise! I kind of like the breaks; lets me process, come back fresh, discover what remains the same, and where I might have gone through some shifts. Truth be told, I can get a little, um, manic…so when it gets to the point where I have a week where there are 2-3 patches of scent on each arm, and maybe one behind each knee, I’ve got to stop the merry go round and get off. 😉

    Plus, I find I’ve shifted to really enjoying spending time with a given composition, finding out how getting-to-know-you, and weather, and mood, and hormones, and whatever, all play into how I experience it. (An added benefit is that this goes easier on the pocketbook, and on sanity.)

    Which leads to not having much of a list right now. Off the top of my head, there is the Killian Oud, a Caron that Octavian unearthed (118?), a return to Heely Sel Marin to see if I like it as much as I did the first time, Havane Vanille, the original Lalique Encre Noir. The list changes, because I try not to have it be too big… Aftelier comes on and off, as does vintage Chanel 19…Bois 1920 Come le Luna…

    But right smack at the top, and not moving, is SL Bois de Violette. For reference, but more so for happiness. Someday…

    • Shelley says:

      BTW, I thought at first the list was yours, too…making a certain item having interesting dual possibilities…Louise, I love that exercise…

      Also BTW, am glad you are feeling better. Hope the gardening is going well and bringing joy. Here in the Great Lakes midwest, it’s been like the Pacific Northwest. Perennials are going like gangbusters, and the veggies are stalled with the caution flag flying for 7 weeks now.

      • Lee says:

        Well, it’s hit and miss. Veggies generally fine though the normal glut of zucchinis has been stalled by some bastard virus. Dahlias, zinnias and other hot coloured late-summer flowers are going great guns, and the tomatoes are ripening (and I’m hoping for no blight this year…).

    • Lee says:

      Kilian Oud – was ignoring that just because…


      Manic? I have no idea what you’re talking about…

  • Billy D says:

    I’ve also recently gone weeks without wearing perfume…consumed by work, a summer course in chemistry, and all things decorative. I’m currently negotiating a purchase of some prints that I hope will make a big splash over the headboard.

    For the past week though, I’ve been obsessing over Prada’s No. 4 Fleur d’Oranger extrait, and its been magic. It has the old-fashioned, apothecary-esque quality that I’ve heard about Fille en Aiguilles as well. Here’s hoping you can give it a proper review.

    • Lee says:

      Nothing like apothecary style to get me excited. Pray tell about the prints.

      • Billy D says:

        They are actually a set of 14 gouaches or watercolors by Madame Panizon, who did all of Poiret’s hats. They’re from the 1920s and have a very graphic quality that I think would look great grouped together. Plus, any info on Panizon is quite precious. The only problem is the seller wants an obscene amount of money.

  • Debbie R. says:

    I’ve got a couple lists going….one for things I want to buy and the other for things to sample. The latter is shorter….so far, it is only EL White Jasmine Moss and Havanna Vanille. Pathetic, right? Kinda sampled out. I *must* buy MKK when it is released to export. I’d like to buy: Iris Ganache, Fumerie Turque, NM Cathedral, Mystic Dragon, Burnt Amber, Prowl, Trance, Rose of Khali.

    Sorry the flu got you. My husband and I had something before everything hit the news. It was different than other things we had, flu-like, so we’re suspicious that we had that. We didn’t contact a doctor about it. Just groaned thru the days.

    Did that kid really do that stuff? If so, how adorable and funny!

    • Lee says:

      That kid is pretty damn hilarious (and adorable in a totally rascal way. He;’s a twin, so there’s double the laugh/wince for your buck).

  • Sunnyfunny says:

    Glad you’re feeling better!:)
    I’m not doing a ton of sampling at the moment, but off the top of my head, here’s my list…
    Caron Narcisse Noir. I have a lil vial and am waiting for the perfect opportunity.

    Piguet Futur and Mandragore Pourpre. These are the first two new releases I’ve really been *aware* of in this, my rookie year. I feel so ‘in the know!’ 😉

    • Joe says:

      Oh damn, forgot about Mandragore Pourpre. The list grows. But for sniffing only, not buying… I have plenty o’ regular Mandragore in the snazzy “men’s” bottle.

    • Lee says:

      Mandragore Pooper does sound good, except in my morphing of the name…

  • March says:

    I love that list! I thought it was your list and was scanning your review for an explanation!

    I too want to try Fourreau, even though I think I’ll hate it, and Wazamba cracks me up.

    • Musette says:

      I thought it was your list, too!

      Glad to know you’re recovering.

      I’m into vintage Cotys right now and JMadame. Haven’t given new ‘fumes much thought beyond what catches my eye at the Barneys counter. To be honest, I am a bit overwhelmed with ‘fumes right now. I KNOW! But it’s bizarre – sometimes I simply cannot handle the overload, even though they are all organized in their little cupboard now – you should see it! it’s so ….orderly! I love order. get so little of it in my life.

      (humming merrily ‘ little ammo boxes, all in a row – and they’re LABELED! yeah, baby!)

      okay. all done!


      and glad you’re on the mend.

    • Aparatchick says:

      I was thinking, “oh, that clever Lee! Which word does Wazamba match?”

      Havane Vanille is calling my name. Other than that, I’ve been sampling my way through a number of lines (PdN, mostly).

    • Lee says:

      Wazamba sounds all soft and gentle though, after reading D’s review… I though it’d come on with the power of a ten ton Tessie, or be like going five rounds in the ring with Klondyke Kate.

  • Nava says:

    Out of all your choices, it’s Havana Vanille that’s got me most curious. Wazamba in name alone makes me giggle, but your “I wonder, I wonder” is “I Wanda, I Wanda” for me, courtesy of “A Fish Called Wanda” and John Cleese. I should dig out those “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” DVDs this weekend…

    Life gets the better of all of us on occasion. Trust me; I know of what I speak, er, write. I’ve recently gone months without wearing fragrance, but knowing the bottles are there waiting for me is always a comfort. 🙂

  • Olfacta says:

    Congratulations on your recovery!

    I keep a list on my desktop and add to it when I read about something that sounds interesting. Here are the first ten: Havanna Vanille, 7e Sense, 
Philtre d’Amour, 
Les Nez L’Antimatiere, Aqua de Parma, ProfumoFendi for Women, Odalisque, Parfums de Nicolai (the line), Eau de Turquoise, Manoumalia –and any vintage I can get my hands on. Actually, I do have some “My Sin” coming, and the $6 Del Rae Parfums sample package. And a backlog of swapped vial to get through. And and and.

  • karin says:

    Hi Lee! Glad to hear you kicked that swine flu.

    My short list – definitely anxious for that Havana Vanille. Also interested in PdN’s new Vanille Intense, and looking forward to YSL’s new Parisienne. As for other fragrances, my list is LONG! There’s so much I haven’t sniffed and NEED to! I’m WAY behind on the SLs – having only tried Daim Blond, Un Lys, and Ambre Sultan. Bois des Iles, veroprofumo scents, the Kilians, Vanille Galante, CB I Hate Perfume (anything), and I’m curious about Heeley. Also need to get my nose on Vol de Nuit and Nahema…and probably Shalimar parfum.

  • I am so happy to see you up and running again and making lists of things to sniff! :-)) A sign of true recovery.

    Random lists make for quite a bit of fun, trying to pry into the mind of someone else who is either prioritising or is having a stream of consciousness (mine usually are the latter kind, for what is worth)
    As to the perfumes, Wazamba is a funny name (I wonder how well it will go because of that!) but it sounds weird scent-wise, so it might actually be surpringly good. As to Oriental Lounge I am having some coming my way I believe so more soon, I hope.
    Eager to see what you make of Fille en Aiguilles, it’s such a warm, summery-sands scent to me…

  • Louise says:

    Glad you’ve fully recovered from the Flu A, and preceding house guests, sweets. You are quite right to allow your obsessions to float to other important arenas, and you must, must do the green wallpaper next to the chimney. It might be a little difficult to hide from Matt at first, but he’s sure to love it 😉

    My urge to sniff is down atm as well-but only because it’s so satisfied with recent sniffing adventures. I’ve smelled the new L’A at Liberty during Sniffa, and do find it verrrrry nice. I have in hand (er on table) the Filles en Aiguilles, which brought back childhood forests to me, as it did Helg, but my woods were strictly Oregonian. Love the stuff, so resiny and balsamic. CC also has a lovely writeup on Grain de Musc of this goody. It went in a slightly different direction on her skin; I pulled a lot of nice sweet from it.

    On a sweet note, I got the Givenchy 2008 Jasmin Sambac-it seems to have a pronounced star anise note, though not listed, and I’ll certainly wear it for all those fancy evenings out this winter…

    Other new stuff? Not much, though I did try the Kenzo Essentielle at Sephora’s flagship, and found it very plastic-y on me; I much prefer the Oriental. I swore I tried the Farenheit concentrate at duty free last night, but don’t trust me-the jet lag is profound here.

    The new Guerlain city scents were really dull, and I believe I’ve given up on the house nearly entirely. I’ll just did into my vintage goods, and expect nothing further from them 🙁

    Wazamba is calling my name, or at least some odd stranger’s. Another oddly named fume is on NST today-Nooka by Nooka…have fun with that! After Hinoki turned so ordinary for me, I am afeared to get excited by Laurel, but will give it a spin. CDG does have some bright flashes, non?

    PdN can do or say little wrong by me, especially after my recent decent on her factory and outlet store-full of discounts and discontinueds. This is one line with no true ringers that I’ve found.

    Kisses to you, and hope your delish veggies are surviving the rain.

    • Louise says:

      your internet list has all the makings of a good “found” poem used as an writing exercise for our 11th graders here…Evenings with the foxhounds left the Johns’ leg in need of resupplying with…aw, you finish it!

    • Lee says:

      I think it’s fair to say yuou didn’t actually buy much perfume on your recent Europe trip, did you…? :-O

      I think Wazamba out-nookas Nooka, don’t you? Denyse has reviewed it and it sounds goooood.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Greetings from London! I sniffed the Havane Vanille or whatever it’s called at Liberty’s during Sniffapalooza but we were told it wasn’t out until October, so no samples, just a bottle to spray while we were there. They never send me anything either and I’ve been shopping there for 30 years.

    I’m not absolutely desperate to sniff anything new at the moment but like Joe, I would like to have a go at the new Guerlain Idylle. 68 Champs Elysees is sending me samples of London, New York and Tokyo (which most people seem to think are mediocre at best) but as they are Guerlain, I do at least need to be able to form my own opinion.

    Glad the swine flu has gone away!

    • Lee says:

      You’re so loyal!

      I know about Liberty – I was being flip/sardonic/stupid… (but at the same time believing myself).

  • Joe says:

    I’m also not absolutely *dying* for anything, but it seems I read about something every day that I mentally file away. I’m trying to tamp down the cravings, and enjoy what I have, but the internet always whispers little lemmings in my ear.

    You’ve named many of the good ones, so I’ll repeat some of yours and add my own:
    – Amouage Epics (both men’s and women’s)
    – Byredo Blanche
    – Havana Vanille
    – Kenzo Flower Essentielle
    – Guerlain Idylle
    – AdP Magnolia Nobile
    – Lalique Encre Noire pour Elle

    Finally, I’m not sure why PdNicolai needs to be so “fed up” with anything — the way I look at it there’s enough room for everything. “All Natural” isn’t putting any aromachemical-based product off the shelves anytime soon, so I don’t see the need to be so defensive. In any case, I love her creations, and your mention of Patch Homme is the first I’ve heard. Thanks! Enjoy your first week of August!

    • Francesca says:

      I conflated Guerlain Idylle and AdP Magnolia Nobile when I ran my eye quickly down your list and thought it said “Guerlain Indole.” I almost snorted my tea onto the keyboard.

    • Lee says:

      She’s only a ‘bit fed up’ Joe. I think it’s more an irritation with spurious claims for naturalness by designer brands (and more specifically their SAs) than natural perfumery per se. Though I agree with her on the Marie Antoinette front…

      Good listage!