I had these three ladies over today. They were pretty curious about the perfume thing. I walked them through the whole perfumista sniff-and-share routine – here’s where the sample packages come in the mail. (What perfume is in that huge box on the porch? I have no idea. Oh, never mind, it’s cereal bowls from eBay.) Here’s what they look like when you open them – the vials, the sprayers, here’s how you wrap them up so they don’t smell in transit. (Why does this package have a candy in it? Well, why does this one here have a hand-embroidered hanky? Well, because it’s from Musette.)
I laughed when I read the comments yesterday about misplacing bottles or samples. I have samples and bottles, literally, all over the house. I have a general idea of where to look for them, and I’m pretty good about filing them. But you would be hard-pressed at this point to search a room and not find some incriminating evidence of my addiction. There are two bottles of Annick Goutal on the kitchen counter, under the microwave and next to the sunscreen. There are sample vials on top of the dryer. (What is this unlabeled one? Well … I have no idea.) There are bottles in closets, in boxes, under the sink, in the guest bedroom… not that I’m complaining. As long as they’re not sitting in the sun, or in the heat, I’m happy.
We sniffed a lot, talked about perfume styles. The “old-lady” stuff and what types of notes lead you in that direction. The concept of gourmands. Modern perfumery. Who gets into perfumery as opposed to, say, shoes, or wine (although there’s definitely a food/perfume/wine overlap.) What we get out of sniffing scents together (a sense of community, the social aspect.)
At some point Etat Libre’s Secretions Magnifiques came up. I wasn’t sure I still had the sample, as I was so terrified at one point that Hecate would get ahold of it and spill it and we’d have to tear that part of the floor up (other scents that provoke similar fears: my stoppered 1.7 of Poison; my sample of Vero Kern Onda; Lutens Borneo.) Notes for SM via LuckyScent are: Iode accord, adrenaline accord, blood accord, milk accord, iris, coconut, sandalwood and opoponax. I’m sorry we’re still having image upload problems, but if you google the name you’ll see the erect member on the label on the front of the bottle (there’s another label with a boring red/blue design.)
I read the ladies Luca Turin’s review of Secretions in The Guide (five stars – “nautical floral … an elegant fresh floral in the manner of PdN Odalisque, given a demonic twist by a touch of a stupendous bilge note”… etc.) Then I popped the plastic top off the vial; I said I wasn’t sure you got the full effect sniffing the stopper, but that I didn´t recommend putting it on the skin. I invoked the scrubber rule, and noted that SM was really, really hard to get rid of. But one of the gals was game. She’s not “into” perfume at all but is interested in it the way we go at it. I touched the plastic dabber against her skin. We waited. Then we sniffed and talked about that horrifying part of it. The part that smells like, well, secretions – to my nose, the point of the meetup between salty tears, (euphemism alert!) male essence and Aunt Flo. Not to put too fine a point on it. After a few minutes of thoughtful sniffing, my adventurous friend volunteered that maybe she should try to see if she could wash it away because she was feeling like that smell was going to make her vomit.
So we ran into the laundry room and I tried the liquid detergent direct on the skin, followed by a rinse; next I was going for the seal-in via deodorant (which works pretty well, actually), and an offer of something else on top. But she seemed okay. I mean, she didn’t puke while she was still at my house.
I did keep getting this vague, unpleasant smell later in the day and I realized that – yes, you guessed it – I must have gotten some micro-amount (1/8 of a drop?) on my fingertip popping the vial stopper out carefully. That smell is still there, like I forgot to wash my hands after changing a diaper. Really, there is something very wrong with that picture. I wonder if there’s a person on the planet who really wears that thing?
Some good things came out of this. One gal decided that what she really needed was some Theorema. I wound up with a small bottle of Mandragore, which a) interested me because it doesn’t look exactly like mine, and b) thrilled me because it doesn’t smell like mine; it’s more peppery. But I don’t think anyone ran home and called up Bendel for Secretions.