I hurt my finger and it’s hard to type (isn’t that pathetic?) so I’m going to just do this and not endlessly redraft obsess over typos. Mea culpa. Today is part perfume review and part nattering, please join in.
One part of my perfume relationship I’m a little ashamed of is: I admit, I can be a snob. Example: if I went to Macy’s and smelled Paris Hilton’s newest scent and it was called … I don’t know … SLUT BY PARIS, and I loved it, and I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (or CdG Avignon) the truth is: I would have a REALLY REALLY hard time wearing it. Or buying it. Because that would mean that Paris spoke to me deep in my soul, right? And I’d rather shove bamboo under my thumbnail, it would pain me less.
Conversely, I have this wishful image of myself as (in part) The Traveler, The Mysterious Stranger, The Lonely Wanderer … whatever you want to name the persona. I want to be that mysterious girl you see on the train to Istanbul. I want to be six feet tall, deeply tanned, with broad shoulders and a hawk nose and washboard abs and long dark hair that falls to my waist, wearing some kind of faded, uber-cool backpacker duds. I am not holding my breath.
But. Why can’t I at least live part of that dream through my perfumes? I am a sucker for a certain kind of exotically named fragrance. It started with L’Artisan Timbuktu. I wanted to be That Mysterious Woman who Wears Timbuktu (since it doesn’t seem likely I’ll be visiting.) Notes are mango, pink pepper, cardamom, incense, papyrus wood, spices, patchouli, myrrh, benzoin, vetiver. It was done by Bertrand Duchaufour, as is most of the rest of their travel series, and for me it was the start of my unhappy relationship with Monsieur Duchaufour. Don’t those notes sound yummy? Timbuktu smells like ballsweat and litterbox on me, and not in a good way, either.
Next up: Dzongkha, also by L’Artisan. And … really, Dzongkha?!?! I was lusting after that in the worst.way.possible. Notes are peony, lychee, cardamom, tea, vetiver, incense, papyrus, cedar, leather and iris. Come on, don’t you want to buy that unsniffed? I finally ran across it in a cool little shop in Vienna, so it was extra special!!! There I was, the World Traveler! The Mysterious Stranger! And now, I would wear a fragrance associated with Bhutan! How great was that?!?! I could already imagine myself purring, oh this? Dzongkha … let me spell it for you. But sadly, Bertrand was punking me again. Dzongkha smells like hamster cage and stale tea on my skin. And so once again I bid Mr. Duchaufour adieu…
Bringing us to Wazamba by Parfum d’Empire. Okay, so we’d dodged the Curse of Duchaufour, and … I don’t care what wazamba means, okay? I don’t need to know. I don’t even care that it sounds a little bit like shaZAM! Wazamba was going to be perfect for me. I could feel it in my bones. I get along pretty well with the line. Notes are Somalian incense, Kenyan myrrh, Ethiopian opoponax, Indian sandalwood, Moroccan cypress, labdanum, apple, fir balsam, and if that doesn’t have ME ME ME written all over it, I don’t know what does. Except for the mildly suspect apple, those notes are perfect.
And … that’s pretty much where the love ends. I am still puzzling over Wazamba. It wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t great, either. It was kind of null. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I smelled something that was… basically okay? — that left me so utterly cold. I mean, not even a resniff. Not even, file that away for another time next week. It smells like incense, but not that much better or more complex than my $6 frankincense essential oil from the co-op, and it also smells a little bit like Pine-Sol. There, I said it. I want a bottle of Fille en Aiguilles instead.
So. First off: if you love any/all of these scents, please take no offense — it’s not you, it’s me. Second, YMMV. Third: so, what about you? Are there fragrances or fragrance concepts (e.g., femme fatale) that you try to make work for you, because you really want them to, and it’s just an epic FAIL?