Memoire Liquide – More Buried Treasure

The purpose of this essay is twofold; first, I want to relive a bit of Sniffapalooza glory since the festivities are this weekend in New York (and I do miss New York, damn it!). Second, I still have not gotten the opportunity to do any real sniffing yet here in Toronto, mostly because of my new job. For the past three weeks I have been performing “SEO”, search engine optimization, for a couple of guys who run a content management company. Boiled down, I am writing content for websites; the SEO part is the art of using keywords in such a way that you optimize the sites´ ability to appear at the beginning of a search on Google. These are not the “sponsored” sites that pop up first every time you perform a search. They are the sites that appear “organically” after those sponsored sites, due in part to extensive keyword research and writing the most searched-for keywords into website content.

For all you tekkies out there, I am aware there are “black hat” SEO operations that just want to spam the living daylights out of you. Rest assured I am not working for one of those outfits.  The guys I work for are painstakingly “white hat” and SEOing for them so far has been more difficult than any paper I ever wrote in my last career as a student. Milton and Donne ain´t got nothin´ on this stuff. But the research is downright fascinating. So the next time you´re on Google, performing a search for whatever it is you are looking for, think of me. I´m watching you…

parfum_5_1About 2-1/2 years ago, I attended a private Sniffapalooza event at Henri Bendel to get a sneak peek at the Memoire Liquide line of fragrances before they were unveiled to the rest of New York City. It was an unseasonably warm night at the beginning of May, and since it was right around the time I turned 40, I was pretty hell-bent for scent. I knew nothing about the line, other than it was brought to Bendel´s by Robin Coe-Hutshing, and her sister, Jennifer Coe-Bakewell, the other creative forces at Fred Segal (the other one being Ron Robinson) The line has been in existence since 1984 and it is deemed a “bespoke perfumery.” Mind you, this is not the same “bespoke” as paying tens of thousands of dollars to commission a scent that will be yours and yours alone. Memoire Liquide is an extensive line of perfume oils that can be blended, mixed and matched in infinite combinations. The sheer number of scents they had when I first discovered the line was overwhelming; it was the most fun I had shopping for perfume in my life. It was fascinating talking to Robin and hearing all her insights on fragrance and the industry. And it was really nice to be at a more low-key event than the Fall Ball or Spring Fling. I had a blast talking with The Karens and the other Sniffa ladies who were there that night. And, I bought 11 different Memoire Liquide scents; 11 out of a possible 200, if I recall correctly. The oils were hand-poured into adorable 15 ml black glass bottles with roll-on applicators. They were $45 each back then, and 2-1/2 years later, they´re all still fresh as daisies.

My favorite ML lately has been Soixante-Six. That´s the number 66 in French, and it is Robin´s fragrant tribute to the Summer of Love in 1966. I remember joking with her that I thought the Summer of Love was in 1967, the year I was born. She said for her it was 1966, and given the fact that I was either non-existent or an infant during that time, I didn´t argue the point. The scent is this gloriously musky-patchy concoction that is not at all head-shoppy. Hippie, yes; crunchy granola, no.

My other choices that night were, in no particular order: Ambre Ancien, Voile de Soie, Nudite Absolue, Café Royal, Mystique, Figuier, Musc Lumiere, Sensuel, Exotique and Vanilla Moire. Believe me when I tell you it was tough to narrow my choices down to just those. Honestly, I could have filled a suitcase.

Check out the notes for the scents I chose as well as an extensive selection at You can also find a well-edited selection at and in person at Fred Segal, Bloomingdales 59th Street flagship, Henri Bendel, and in the MD/DC/VA area at the lovely Art With Flowers at Tysons Galleria.

All of you lucky ladies going to Sniffa, have a glorious time. Please give my love and best wishes to the Karens and everyone else.


LILY HAS CHOSEN: In all her purring feline glory, Lily has chosen to bestow the sweet Si Lolita 5 ml miniature on HollyGolightly! (Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka, October 1, 2009). Please hit “Contact Us” at the top left and leave all the pertinent details. Lily promises to mail it right out as soon as she finishes those last bits of apple fritter and poutine gravy.

  • melanie says:

    I live north of Boston. It’s been cold wet and windy here this week. Yesterday morning Cabochard by Gres seemed like the appropriate perfume. I bought this bottle in Bermuda in 1989; it’s almost empty!. Where do I find another? Who can I trust on-line? Ebay? Help!

  • Kate says:


    this line is really interesting. I got a sample when at last Fall Ball at Bendel’s gwp, I must admit I find the huge line with identical bottles a bit overwhelming when they were lined up at Art With Flowers. Must try again!

    Congratulations on the job! Except for the diversion from sniffing, it sounds fantastic and rather inflation-proof since everyone and their cat has a website. Or rather all business need them! Yay!

  • Samantha says:

    I’ve never used the word fascinating about my job…it’s great that you feel that way about yours, I’m a little jealous!I like almost all the Memoire Liquide frgrances that I’ve tried with the exception of Crystal Glace, it smells like fabric softener. My favorite has to be Ivoire…I’m crazy about it and always get compliments when I wear it.

    • Nava says:

      It’s really wild to be both fascinated and frustrated at the same time, especially when it comes to writing, which I obviously love to do. The voyeurism associated with the job is at once fascinating and scary. Very Big Brother-ish. I wonder what George Orwell would think if he was still around? 😕

  • meggie says:

    Aside from actually spending the day with you and Jessica, discovering Iris Pallida was the best part of that day:) Haven’t quite made it to my 6th bottle yet, but my bottle *is* almost below half full…yikes, it will be #1 on my letter to Santa this year:d

  • meggie says:

    ack, how do I change that angry face next to my name?? LOL:)

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Megs. That was an amazing day. 😡

      By the way, are you on your 6th bottle of Iris Pallida? :d

  • meggie says:

    I still have my Soixante-Six lotion and my Mystique oil from our trip there together…I shall wear Mystique today and remember that wonderful Spring day. So glad to hear that all is well in Toronto! XOXO

  • aubrey says:

    Oh! I do SEO, too. It’s both the best of jobs and worst of jobs. Good for you for being white hat (black hat is just plain dumb, because of the risks)

    • Nava says:

      Wow, that it so true! It’s great to see your stuff in “print” but getting there is sometimes so freakin’ frustrating. I’m still a novice, but getting better.

  • Louise says:

    Hi Nava-

    Glad you are Lily are faring well :d/ and congrats on the new job!

    I like several of the Memoire Liquides, but two are favs-Black Tea, the best dark tea scent I’ve ever sniffed-spicy, a bit milky, rich; and Souk Nocturne, a spice fest. Both are nicely long-lasting, with good sillage-surprising for oils.

    In fact, It may be time for refills-but those darn black glass bottles mask all attempts at peeking or checking slosh 😕

    Happy Weekend to all :p

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Louise; SEO is definitely not what Isaw myself doing, but it is interesting. Just goes to show, you never know!

      I’d love to add some new MLs to my collection. The two you mentioned in particular. I love those little black glass bottles. Even though they’re a pain when you try to determine how much is still in there, they’re opaque and keep the oils from turning. Works for me!:)