Serge Lutens is Not Your Bitch

perfumeSerge Lutens is not my perfume bitch. 

Neither is Chanel or Guerlain or Dior.  They don’t have to make the perfume I want them to make or think they should be making.  They make a bottle, and if I like it, I buy it, and I get to use the whole bottle or dump it out or swap it or sell it, but their duty to me ends once I’ve purchased it and the bottle doesn’t leak and the sprayer works reasonably well.  Our relationship is over. They don’t have to make a masterpiece every time they hit the creative perfume bench, nor do they have to make a perfume I like or want to wear.  They don’t even have to make another bottle of perfume ever again.  How they develop and execute their business plan is up to them.  If they’re making money, it’s apparently working out okay, and they don’t need me telling them what to do.

This thought crept into my mind as I was reading this discussion on Basenotes last week (with some help from Neil Gaiman).  Luca Turin gave an interview and said he won’t be updating The Guide anymore (and I’m paraphrasing some of this, you can read the actual comment by following all the links) because he can’t bear to smell so much dreck –  that 1500 out of every 2000 perfumes created are completely inept.

Note that he didn’t say just bad or not to his liking, but inept.  The conversation on Basenotes then delves into what perfume should be, what we expect, are they masterpieces or simply commercial items created to sell.  It’s a good discussion, as many are on Basenotes.  If you don’t visit that site regularly, you should. I just wish their women’s section were as vigorous as the men’s section.  But I thought we could talk about this here too!

We write about 5 days a week on perfume and cover 1-3 perfumes on average per post, sometimes more.  Over the course of 52 weeks, we probably cover 150 or so perfumes a year with at least a short review or impression.  If I were sniffing and writing about 500 of them in a year, it would be a job, not a hobby, and I’m sure it would lead to me feeling very differently about the crap they were making me smell just because they decided to release the fifth Paris Hilton flanker.  I think probably about half of what is released every year doesn’t even deserve a mention.  It’s something some people will buy because they love the celebrity or designer that made it.  Fair enough, but it doesn’t need a review.  It’s like reviewing Harlequin romances or some of the more formulaic science fiction.  If you’re a fan of the genre, you don’t really care much about a review as long as it stays true to the formula.  I’m not bashing either of those things with that statement.  I like a good formula book from time to time, I used to like them more, but I want to get what I’m expecting, and that’s pretty much it.  If that happens, they’ve done their job for what I want and owe me nothing else.

perfume pink fluffAll markets have segments in them that are created for various reasons.  Perfume has a low-end, budget market made for those who just want a little pick-me-up, may be young and plan to throw it away quickly and don’t want  to pay much for it, or they just prefer those types of perfumes, likely somewhat sweet, fruity floral.  I’m not going to judge their taste, people like what they like, and their tastes hopefully grow and improve with age.  If not, it’s okay with me. I can bear being in the elevator with someone doused in Pink Sugar for 5 minutes. Just relax a little and enjoy it for what it is – air syrup.

There’s the mid-range/department store segment that’s really geared  for the younger or professional person with not a lot of time or knowledge about perfume.  They aren’t looking for a masterpiece, they may or may not love perfume, and they don’t spend hours sniffing at Bergdorf’s or Macy’s.  Typically they find out about a new perfume by reading it in Allure or Vogue or from  their Sak’s or Neiman’s catalogue.  They want to find something fairly quickly that smells good.  It’s not that they want to smell like everyone else, but they sure don’t want to smell weird, and becauseof that, they can often be found trailing a trend.  They want to smell businessy or sexy or hawt or seductive, but they aren’t willing to spend a lot of time on this and tend to be swayed by marketing hype  or a name and associate how they want to be perceived with the perfume they wear.  Or they just want a bottle of fragrance that doesn’t suck.

Then there’s us, most of you that read this blog. We are obsessed by scent, and we’ve smelled  it all or are in the process of smelling it all, or we are just starting out on our obsession.  We want great, we want masterpieces. We don’t want dreck, and we often perceive ordinary and mundane as dreck.  We are a little snobby about our perfumes and are looking for the rare, unique, discontinued; the disappearance of the Gobin-Daudes still cause us much angst – more so if we never got to smell them; we swamp some poor Hermes boutique in Istanbul if we hear they have one bottle of Doblis; we have small vials of Guerlain Bouquet des Faunes regular and Jasmine in our desk drawer that we check every day for leakage; and every single one of us have Guerlain Djedi in our Ebay daily search.   Okay, I probably just listed stuff for me there mostly, except the G-Ds, which I did smell and still cry about.

The bar a perfume company has to get over with us is much higher than the casual sniffer that wants to smell good. We’ve sniffed a lot and have a whole catalogue of scents in our head to compare new things to, and we sort and sort and sort and find much of the new entries to have been done before, probably better, or it’s a scent that was never meant for us to begin with. In that case, I simply note it as that and stop the critique in my head. Except with Lola, I’m still not over that.

I don’t find perfumery to be any different from any other commercial market – shoes, makeup, skin care, clothing, books, paintings, music.  There is a target market inside of a commodity, and if the target isn’t me, I don’t really feel disappointed that I don’t like it.   I think the reason Lola made me so mad is because I was its target market.  I thought Daisy was fairly ordinary and somewhat innocent, but an easy to wear perfume that was made well enough that would find a lot of fans. Lola was supposed to be the more daring, floozy sister, and instead Lola was a spoiled, nasty, vain tramp with no taste. {March, de-cloaking: hahaha.  That one really got you, didn’t it?  Here’s the part I added in my review comments that day: “Lola stalked me for the entire evening, threatening to drag me to the food court and make me eat a Big Mac and a Blizzard. I could feel my face breaking out.”}

My bigger problem with Luca’s head-tossing at the horrible state of the perfume industry is the reviews he did of the Be Never too Busy 2 Be Beautiful line.  5 stars?  4 stars?  I’m not saying they were the worst smelling perfumes I’ve ever run across, but the highest I got on any of them was maybe a 3. They were pretty typical Body Product perfumes, what you’d expect to find in scents that were really intended to scent body lotion and hand cream.  I give a lot of allowances for taste and even came to accept that Tommy Girl did break some ground, even if I personally don’t care for it.  One man’s art is another man’s dreck.

I don’t mean any of this as a personal criticism of Luca Turin. I have loved reading what he’s written about perfume, and I wish he’d continue. I’ve learned a lot, tried some things he loved because of the way he wrote about it, disagreed with him, but learned even in disagreement more about what I did like/dislike and why, and I found him to be a source of information and understanding about scent.  He has enriched my understanding and love for perfumery.

I do agree, though, that the minute you do find yourself lamenting the lack of anything great or new out on the horizon for months at a time, the problem is likely in yourself, and it’s not really a problem. You just may have reached end game for your obsession, and it’s time to take a break from it for a while or permanently.

That’s all.  What do you think?

106 Comments
Disteza September 23, 2009

I get a little (okay, a lot!) steamed when people earnestly profess to be artists, but then go about creating and selling something that is clearly less than art. This is doubly true when the art in question is supposed to be a luxury item, thereby supposedly eliminating some of the constraints that the artist is supposed to be under (i.e. budget, lack of resources). I'm not saying that you can't make something beautiful using low-quality materials in 2 weeks, I'm saying that, in what is still a luxury market (you certainly don't need perfume to survive, despite what some of us perfumistas may think :O ), that should not be the norm.

Natalie September 22, 2009

So much food for thought here, but my favorite line of all is "Luca Turin is not your bitch." I'm waiting for Tania to pop in and say, "Actually, Luca Turin IS my bitch!"

Tara C September 22, 2009

Wasn't his previous guide published in 1994? So there was a gap of many years between the guides. I'm totally okay with that - I'd prefer to read something he wrote because he felt like it, not like he was pressured to crank something out. As for perfume obsessions, mine has waxed and waned over the years and when I start getting too obsessive, it stops being fun, so I back off for a while. Out of 100 perfumes I've smelled this year maybe only 10 were interesting enough to want to purchase, and that's fine with me.

Disteza September 22, 2009

OK, let me try posting this again--evidently it got dumped the first time.... I'm going to take issue with that opening statement: perfume houses are very squarely in the pocket of their consumers. Most perfume houses are owned by conglomerates, who outsource the creation of the juice to other conglomerates, so it's in their collective best interest to make something that sells well. You as a consumer form part of a trend, and it's the trends that the perfume houses follow, hoping to end up in the $$$. You can blame the ignorance of the perfume-buying masses for the proliferation of the marine/fruityfloral/pinkpepper/clean/roseberrypatch trends in perfuming. Niche houses may arguably be more interested in the artistry of their products, but it also comes down to the bottom line for them too (hence the Gobin-Daude tragedy). To ignore your customer means death in the retail world, all artistic ideals aside. I like to use my patented gun analogy when discussing the state of modern consumerism: modern businesses pepper the field with their products much like machine guns. Machine guns are inherently good at shooting while requiring less skill; bullets are cheaper than highly trained marksmen with good rifles. Most modern industries have embraced the machine gun mentality: get as many products out as possible while keeping them as cheap as possible. Quality, durability, artistry, individuality all end up falling by the wayside becuase, in the end, it doesn't matter how good the product is if you can't sell it. I'm willing to believe that the majority of perspective perfume buyers are, as you rightly mention, uninformed, and since they're not looking for art in a bottle, any old cheap thing will do. Isn't just unfortunate that mentality has proliferated into almost every aspect of modern life, being driven by corporate profits?

Nava September 22, 2009

Someone once told me that if I received my Ph.D. in Literature, I would never be able to read a book again. That thought ran through my head many times when I read and/or listened to Luca Turin's opinions on fragrances. When you're as stupid-smart as he is, the bar is usually unattainable. Perfume is like anything else one chooses to immerse one's self in. If you're hardcore, of course there is going to be a lot of "dreck". But, the beauty of it is that it is always subjective dreck. Like literature. I know plenty of literature profs who read all the formulaic science fiction, etc. I'd rather read good fiction and watch trashy reality shows. To each is own.

Sunnyfunny September 22, 2009

I totally agree with Louise's first comment up there. Patty, thanks for a concise painting of who buys what and where we fit into things. There have been some heated discussions on Basenotes regarding the modern market, and I'm constantly surprised at how many people are truly angered by what's coming out now. There are so many things in this world to be outraged about, to be proactive about and direct our energy towards, why allow yourself to get so upset about perfume? You guys said it best, if you start taking this too seriously....:) I like reformulated Caron, and I like certain department store offerings, too. That being said, I tried a 'fume yesterday that was so bad it could have potentially out me off perfume forever! I had to take an alcohol-soaked cotton ball to it at the end of the day to rid myself of it. I actually felt like I had missed out on something because I chose to wear this when I could have worn one of my fbs. I sort of got the disgust-- it is from a venerable house, but literally smelled of sacharrine to me (or maybe Nutra-sweet? Aspartame?). It had absolutely no development. I pictured a mid-20s, rich, trendy urban-dwelling non-perfumista wearing this with pride. I thought of two more dept. store 'fumes right off the top that smell very similar. And I, too, realised how much of it is all about competition. Vintage Tabac Blond is my daily ebay check. :)

MJ September 22, 2009

Good post. I remember Gaiman's post on how readers didn't own him, and am amused that made its way to Basenotes. [Neil, does this mean you won't be writing any more Holmes/Lovecraft pastiche? Would you if we got Amanda to ask you? Pleeeeeeeese???] I'm not a total fume obsessive, and at heart I still want to smell good (even if good = wood fire or tobacco or Mitsouko, which scares some people). But I totally get the "gems have lost their luster" feeling and don't know what the remedy is for that but time. About 2 years ago I started having a LOT of trouble with the music, poetry and literature I'd always loved. All seemed flat, dry, tasteless. I got into fumes, took a lot of walks, got into some other things. The fog started to lift...but it was definitely about me. Maybe LT needs some time off and a lot of birdwatching hikes?

Fernando September 22, 2009

I'm not sure. Luca/Tania got me started in investigating perfume, and they did it both by their wit and by their passion. That made their guide compelling to me. They were committed to perfume, to minimal standards of quality, to telling it as they saw it; but they did it with intelligence and they made it clear that they cared deeply. His use of "inept" is an illustration of that passion, and it doesn't bother me in the least. And given that emotional involvement, I can see that one might get exhausted with the process. I don't buy the "it's all just a matter of taste" argument. Clearly there's well-made and there's sloppy. We're free to argue about criteria and all that, and we disagree on specific examples, but it's just not true that everything is equally competent. Mozart really was better than Salieri. The typical guy or gal who wants into Macys and wants to quickly buy something acceptable is certainly within his or her rights. But I think it's true that some companies out there are trying to exploit them, designing perfumes that play to their weakness: a charming but not too exotic top note, for example, that might be all they smell before they buy. Of course, anyone reviewing masses of examples of anything comes to value novelty. If it smells different in a significant way, then at least it's not boring. I hope Luca and Tania do decide to put out occasional updated versions of their guide. And I also hope that bloggers everywhere will continue to argue with them.

Kristy Victoria September 22, 2009

I think I would be disheartened too if I felt I had sniffed, well, PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING. Where do you go from there? Additionally, I tallied up some of the 700 releases from last year and found that about 178 piqued my interest and I found "worth sniffing" and only about 80 of those I actually LIKED or would wear again.

Silvia September 22, 2009

I still look up LT's old blog and will miss the Guide updates, no question about that, but when a passion becomes a commercial project, it has to make commercial sense. Does anyone know how many copies of the Guide were sold ? Just out of curiosity. Great post Patty and great comments too.

Melissa September 22, 2009

Thanks for such a thought-provoking post. I don't blame Luca for tiring of an endeavor that, as Denyse points out, brings in little money for seemingly so little satisfaction. As for his statements about dreck and ineptness? Well, 1500 out of 2000 is a hard number for me to fathom in a short period, but I certainly walk right past 15 out of 20 in a typical sniffing trip at a high-end department store. That said, as a critic, one needs to wade through mainstream to high-end, and to sample the good, the bad and the occasional masterpiece. I appreciate the bloggers who can find merit in a mainstream fragrance along with the niche and the bank account-busting upscale. We can live without the updates and I'm sure that Luca will find other ways to contribute to the field.

Christine September 22, 2009

I LOVE this post! My perfume obsession is running at full-tilt at the moment. It took my years to amp up what was merely a keen interest into a complete and utter obsession and it makes me very very happy to be living this way! That being said......my husband owns a "Record Store" (well....that's what we used to call them, remember?) and for as long as I've known him ( 22 years) music has been an obsession for him. He has a mental catalog of artists and albums and sales record and concert dates. He was always thinking music. He knew what song was playing on the radio within in Name That Tune-like time. Lately,, that's all changed. "It's all crap!" he'll proclaim when one of our pre-teen daughters begs for a disc to be brought home to her. "There is no good music anymore" he laments. If I ask him what new releases are making their way to the store this week he says he'll check his list.....he no longer is interested enough to wait with baited breath like before. It's Oldies stations or Sport Talk in the car during road trips. Ask him what's playing on Top 40 and he's clueless. He claims they all sound the same. It makes me a little sad because I still like some of today's music......it's Daisy perfume to me......nothing staggering but pleasant enough. But to him......the Golden Days are over and everything is commercial dreck. I tease him and tell him that a hallmark of aging is hitting the "I don't understand young people and their music today" wall that everyone eventually reaches but his sadness over the decline is more than that..... it is disgust over the ready acceptance of Average and Below Average that seems to have happened while noone ( or almost noone) was paying attention. I am not looking forward to the day when my nose decides the same.

Ines September 22, 2009

I agree with everything you said. I've enjoyed the Guide enourmously eben though we differ on some issues. But it's fun to read, it's informative and I still find new things in there to try. But maybe they (or just Luca T) need some time off. I wouldn't want to think that sometime in the future I'll need a permanent break (very scary thought) :)

Louise September 22, 2009

Great post, Patty. Youse guys have already commented on many of my reactions. Just adding that I suspect that LT had more reasons to not continue with the Guide work than nose fatigue. He has tended to move from project to project, and does what pulls him most at the moment. No More Guide is consistent with this pattern-but might change at some point. I enjoyed the Guide as bedtime fluff, and a bit more. But with the availability of really good online reviews of new and older scents, I have no need for any guidance in what to sniff.

carmencanada September 22, 2009

Adding this: you *do* have to smell a lot of fragrances to review even a handful, because you never know what will seem worthwhile to cover -- you might find something great in a mainstream, obscure or unexpected line, there's no rule about this game. Also, the very principle of The Guide was pretty democratic as far as which brands were covered. Unlike bloggers, who pick their fights and darlings, LT and TS *did* aim for a very comprehensive coverage, and that does mean smelling several fragrances a week for very little financial return (for the newsletter at least), with a day job to boot.

Flora September 22, 2009

Bravissima, Patty! Very well said. I think poor LT must pretty burned out by now! I agree with several of the other commenters - they don't have to review everything! That would be like a film critic watching every straight-to-video release. I do appreciate a lot of perfumes that are simply not meant to be great works of art, they are just plain fun. (The entire CSP line comes to mind.) I do find some of the Guide ratings very puzzling - Sisley Soir de Lune gets ONE star yet Angel is a masterpiece? Really??

Kim September 22, 2009

Oh dear - philistine poster here!! (Give me Back over Debussy any day!) I too agree that a critic is not required to review everything - and that I have learnt just as much from those times when I disagreed with Turin & Sanchez as when I agreed. But I can also relate to becoming jaded - once I smelled vintage Shalimar, I was saddened by what we are losing with all these reformulations - wonder if that is part of it for the critics? But I haven't lost the love! I almost swooned when I walked by the Chanel counter at my local Nordstrom and there was the entire line of Les Exclusifs right in my back yard - bye bye budget! OK, they aren't all new this year but there is still beauty being made out there!! And selling very well according to my Chanel lady so there is hope for what we like to call the masses.

Natalie September 22, 2009

I agree with the above poster who pointed out that there's no earthly reason why Lucatan have to review every darn fragrance that comes down the pike, and I agree with you, Patty, that there's no point in bitching about the middlebrow-ness of middlebrow scents. No one's forcing us to partake of them, although one could argue that we help them out anyway, since the relationship between niche perfume and the downmarket stuff is at times akin to the relationship between haute couture and ready-to-wear: while haute couture makes much less money and has a much smaller clientele, its influence and prestige lend cachet to the mass-market offerings. However, I do think that from a business standpoint, the industry is doing itself no favors by cranking out 500 iterations of basically the same fragrance (and I think the numbers bear me out -- aren't sales of high-end niche fragrances doing much better than those of department store scents?). And for those of us who don't live in NYC, Paris, etc., it sure would be nice to have something interesting to smell in Sephora. Another counterpoint is that some perfume houses that used to put out interesting stuff are now catering more and more to the mass market, and it's only natural for perfumistas to be disappointed by that turn of events -- the problem is less the snapshot of current standards than the ongoing deterioration of standards, i.e. the ever-increasing catering to teenybopper tastes by houses that used to put out perfumes for grownups. As for "one man's art is another man's dreck," I've really been wondering lately about the concept of perfume as an art form. IS there an objective canon of great perfumes, or is it just too personal and too commercial a field for that? You're a hopeless philistine for not appreciating Caravaggio or Debussy, but am I just as bad for not "getting" the Guerlain classics?

Shelley September 22, 2009

Sometimes I wonder if it is harder to shut off our nose than our other senses, so we hit overload in a different way. We can close our eyes, refuse to touch, decline to taste, cover our ears...but we can't stop breathing. And being limbic, there are ranges of response we can't control/quantify...I'm rambling a bit, but the idea is that I wonder if the potentially unique status of olfactory processing is a factor. That, and what Musette said...sometimes, you just need time out. A sabbatical. A cleansing. A chance to approach things from a fresh perspective. Heaven knows *I* feel that way... I've been through that twice in my short fascination with perfume, and my fascination is a hobby, without a large audience or employer expecting regular dispatches. Joe's point about the NYT art critic is a valid one, too, when it comes to "professional" critiques...a critic isn't obligated to respond to everything. OTOH, maybe the dude can't help it. As our own tendencies to, um, collect perfume experiences show, sometimes curiosity gets the best of us--we become a bit compulsive with our urges to find out what this and that and that smell like. I think anyone who spends an amount of time marching through samples like Sherman through Georgia needs to take some time to just be. Otherwise, it becomes all about *more,* and you lose sight of what *is.* I also agree with your point, Patty, about the value in hearing what others' opinions are, and locating yourself in relation to their thoughts. Good post, btw. :)

tmp00 September 22, 2009

I'm sorry that he doesn't want to update "The Guide" but I would buy it more (literally as well as figuratively) if he just said he wanted to sell me another volume. I mean, he's a critic. Pick and choose. Architecture critics don't review everything from Frank Gehry's latest to the addition to the public library in Ferd, New Jersey. It's not incumbent upon him to slog through EVERYTHING, and frankly insulting to people working in the industry to sulk off into a corner stating it's all dreck. If that was the case every movie, theater and TV reviewer would immediately retire.

carter September 22, 2009

I think that the problem lies more in the fact that there are so freaking many releases nowadays, and that most of them are dreck. The sheer numbers are overwhelming, and it's not the same as back in the day when 50%-dreck-level or whatever meant only 20 or 30 duds, not 200 or 300, or more. I totally understand where Luca is coming from, and the fact is that he has a tremendously high batting average in my, er, book. Even when I don't agree with him, which certainly happens often enough, I almost always understand his point of view, even if not right off the bat. With Luca I don't hesitate to sample his recommendations because I never fail to learn something really worthwhile and therefore worth the investment of time and treasure. I also believe that there are far too many shoes on the market. I never thought I'd say that, but there it is.

Francesca September 22, 2009

I was sorry to hear LT is sorta fed up with the whole thing, too. We're just about to publish a paperback update to the guide with an additional 451 reviews, more FAQs, and and index by label, and the Sanchez-Turins seem to be in great form. Maybe Tania will continue to review, in some format? There really is quite a WTF quotient in the LT/TS reviews, isn't there. Yeah, well, you wouldn't really want to wear this, but wow, the notes are so interesting and unusual, and the way it develops... I loved this post, Patty. I'm very dilettantish when it comes to perfume. I'm so much more interested in it than I ever thought I'd be, but I also don't have hundreds of bottles and decants of every incarnation since 1947.

carmencanada September 22, 2009

I know for a fact that the newsletter didn't bring in enough money to jutify all the hard work. That *would* make you resent the dreck you have to wade through to get even to the nice, let alone the jewels. I do tend to make forays into the mainstream to find out how the other 99% live, but also to discover new materials that wouldn't be out there in the niches yet, and, I'm afraid to say, to find out which niche houses have been copying the mainstream. And there's also the hope there'll be an epiphany. I've found some: Rush, Poison, Hypnotic Poison... Admittedly not recent scents. I also try to see, honestly, why such and such bestseller is so successful, and I sometimes get it. Miss Dior Chérie, Coco Mademoiselle or La Petite Robe Noire: I get it. Please keep me away from that Light Blue, though. It got skin time, and that was way too close. I certainly wouldn't resent the perfumers for bringing out the dreck-to-meh-to-yeah,nice fragrances. They have to earn a living. But,though I don't have as many flying hours as Luca, I can feel his pain. "Oh, that's so beautiful" happens maybe 10 times a year, tops, with new perfumes. Not necessarily the most challenging: recently, the VC&A Gardénia and Iris made me say it. A little while back, it was Eau Première and Beige. Vanille Galante too... So I guess I'm not yet blasé, but being a blogger has certainly made me feel, at times, as though cruising the aisles at Sephora was a-dirty-job-but-someone's-got-to-do-it gig...

ggs September 22, 2009

Agree. Not sure why LT & TA can't just review what they want -- focus on niche perfumers that are more likely to make interesting perfumes, and skip the mass market stuff. So it's not a "comprehensive" Guide anymore? So maybe the audience & book opportunities would narrow, but wwouldn't it be more fun? Things change...we can roll with that. My assumption after the announcement that no more supplements to The Guide would be published, was that _perhaps_ selling the reviews online wasn't so financially rewarding. Couldn't get on basenotes this evening, their server is down. But I will be interested to read the discussion there later and LT's comments. He's at MIT now, right? (Those B2BTBB review raves baffled me too! I think LT DOES need to take a break for awhile...)

Joe September 22, 2009

I haven't been here in a couple weeks just because life has kind of intervened, but in taking a few minutes to see What's Up at the Posse... I just wanted to say that I very much agree with what you've written, P, and I think you did a great job in summing it up. Perfume IS like any other commodity, and it's not like the NYT Art Critic is including Thomas Kinkade's latest piece of crap ... I mean 'OPUS'... in this week's Lifestyle column, know what I'm sayin'? Literature/Film/Perfume/Painting is Dead. Right. See you here Wednesday.

Musette September 22, 2009

Hey, doll! Nice post. I think it's important that all of us (at least those of us who do not 'do' perfume for a living) stop and get a grip every now and then. Perfume is lovely, except when it isn't - but, at least in my world, I view it as something to enjoy - not something to obsess over (the word 'obsess' obsesses me. Is it obssess? of course not - but somehow it looks like it would like to be, if only I would let it...) anyhoo - yes, I lust after vintage Mitsy and I will be the first freak off the jetway in Istanbul (poor Jose at Hermes in Chicago - I had him running downstairs to the employee bathroom because he was simple enough to tell a scary monstra like me that there was a bottle of Doblis!!!!! in there (apparently they were just using it as - what? ROOM SPRAY? because it was discontinued). Alas, it was no longer there - or else he was afraid to bring it up to me? What? You think I would've snatched it out of his hand and threatened him with bodily disaster, should he try to retrieve it? Moi? But I digress.... Doblis, Djedi (and I have those on eBay, too:-D - whatever - everybody just settle down and enjoy it! Stock up on your faves so you don't have to adjust to reformulation and....well, have a good time! Okay: lecture over. Everybody back to your obssess..erm, obsession! xoxox >-)