Adventures in Decanting

As I mentioned earlier this week, the two lovely angels that decant for me are on vacation this week, so my youngest son, Harry (20). and I are taking over that task.  I had forgotten how many callouses I used to have on my fingers from pushing in those 1 ml stoppers and how many bleeding wounds I had to tend when one of the bottles would crush under firmly applied pressure to get the lid on.  Also forgot how much it hurts to get alc0hol-based perfume in a freshly healing cut.

Ah, memories.  What’s been the most fun is listening to Harry’s running commentary on perfume as he opens bottles and smells them. I jotted a few down:

Tom Ford Amber Absolute – (this was in a smaller decanting bottle instead of that big 250 mls behemoth) “What is the shelf life of this stuff, 3 billion years?” after he had tried 14 times to wash his hands after getting  some backspray from it on his hands.

“Lots of this stuff smells like shit.”

Rochas Tocade – “This will scare men away. Well, not necessarily bad, just strong.  Wait, it does smell kinda good. Oh, I do like it, once you get past that ferocious smell when you uncap it.”

“I have better handwriting than you.”  Oh, what?  Like I haven’t heard that from every person on the planet, except coming from him, I’m still in shock. He scribbles and calls it handwriting.

“That is just solid Baby Diaper.”  I think this was Penhaligon’s Scented Night Stock, which I just have no idea where he got that from.

“You have to be &*%^ kidding me” when I pulled the missing Zadig and Voltaire perfume out of the middle of the White Book.

It’s been a fun week so far – we’ve avoided most arguments, which is a shocker. We’ve talked a lot about perfume, and he’s asking for men’s scent recommendations (anyone want to suggest some things?), we’ve laughed, bumped into each other too many times trying to get to the Chanel drawer or the Jo Malone drawer, reached up, over, across, only for the whole thing to come down in a wreck.  By the end of the week, he should be able to walk into the perfume room and find any perfume on his own.

Now you know a little about Harry. He’s also 6’4″, lifts weights, and has a great math/engineering/scientific mind. We need to scent him. The one thing he has the he wears so far and likes is Le Labo Patchouli 24. He wants some other stuff, so let’s help him out!

  • Harry says:

    So I decided to look through these comments and start sampling. After about 30 minuets of searching I realized its going to take quite some time for me to get through this excellent list. Right now I’ve smelled the Blvgari Black and the Rose 31.

    The black is unusual as it smells very familiar, like if I were to combine everything I would smell in a given day, take the most intriguing smells and combine them together this would have been borne. It smells like cutting wood while sitting on a fine leather chair listening to Kashmir(Led Zeppelin). There are several scents that I don’t recognize but smell floral/earthy. Definitely something I will wear.

    As for the Rose 31, its definitely similar to the pat 24 with the smokey scents but different, its like cooking with a smoker, definitely a lot of scents I recognize but cant name. I know there’s a song that describes it but can’t figure it out yet. Anyways I’m tempted to take my mom up on the offer of smelling every perfume she has and blogging about it, beside it would be great to know exactly what a women is wearing!

    Anyways thank you for the suggestions/comments I’ll be sure to check them all out.

    Ps. It probably is weird that I enjoyed helping my mom decant… when I was 10-14 I would have cringed at the mere suggestion.

  • nozknoz says:

    Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte for summer, SL Chergui for winter. And congrats on having a son with with perfume sense! <:-p

  • sharyl says:

    Hi Patty, my baby boy is 24 years and 6’5′ and he likes Le Labo Patch also (he used to work for LeLabo here in L.A.) His absolute perfume love is Creed Imperial Milleseme, but alas it has no longevity and so makes the very expensive price a bit hard to swallow. Other than LeLabo Patch, he is also presently into Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche.

  • Disteza says:

    Surprised nobody else threw up the possibility of Hilde Soliani’s Bell’Antonio. Also, there’s a whole bunch of the Abdes Salaam Attars he might dig: Tcharas, Hindu Kush, Oakmoss, Tartar Leather…heck, have him try that whole line. He might even like Gipsy Queen (I know my SO does, and he’s into the manlier scents).

  • Anatole says:

    L’homme de coeur!! It’s my sunny days alternative to Patch24, Bulgari Black, Encre noir.. And Lonestar memories of course.

  • Dusan says:

    Hm, I have a feeling he’d be into Chêne, Miel de Bois (yeah, a long shot, but still…) or Lonestar Memories.
    And in the mainstream dept, how about Black XS?

  • Jared says:

    Now, we need a follow up post to see what he thought of all these recommendations! That could be quite the post!

  • Tara C says:

    Here are my BF’s favorites: Fumerie Turque, Muscs Koublai Khan, Fahrenheit, Tann Rokka Aki, Black Tourmaline, Joop!, and Heeley Cardinal.

  • maidenbliss says:

    Such a visually refreshing post, I can picture the laughs, bumping into each other, sniffing with the son….love his comments as well. He sounds like a lovely man! Maybe he’s already found his ‘career’ and doesn’t know it yet.
    My recs would be Santal Noble, Tom Ford Noir de Noir, my sample tempts me to go fb.
    Derby, although it is $$$$, Habit Rouge, l’ homme de coeur and Coze-the last two are Lee’s fault.:d

  • pyramus says:

    Your son sounds like an adventurous type, but every gentleman needs a department-store scent, something he can buy quickly if he needs a backup bottle, something he can direct his friends to (or his friends’ girlfriends when they say, “How come you smell so good, and where can I get it?”).

    So. Clinique Chemistry. It’s insane how good it is: classic without being stodgy or done to death; subtle, quiet, masculine, magnetic. And not everybody’s wearing it.

    Also, L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme, which I think is probably one of the best men’s scents of the last decade.

    Any gentleman of any age could feel at home in either of these. Trust me.

  • ScentRed says:

    It’s a very special son who helps his mom decant perfume :-) What a sweetheart.

    I think he would smell great in the following.
    • Terre d’Hermes (totally agree with Maggiecat – all men should wear this)
    • Jardin Sur Nil
    • Let Me Play the Lion
    • L’Artisan Mechant Loup
    • SMN Nostalgia
    • and in winter L’Homme Sage and Ormonde Man

  • Tiara says:

    I’d love to see pictures of your perfume drawers and room–that would be quite interesting!

    Have to agree with you that Micallef deserves more love as there are several I adore. However, their price points and availability make it tough.

    This was a great post. Not only amusing but helpful as I jotted down several ideas for my own son who is 19. I’ve tried to steer him away from the garbage his friends wear (and they’ve noticed!). L’Instant de Guerlain has been his favorite so far but he also liked Kenzo Air because it reminds him of Philmont Boy Scout Ranch and the time he’s spent there hiking.

  • Rappleyea says:

    What a heartwarming post, Patty. And I’m with Joe – I too had pictured a 10 to 12 year old boy! Your son sounds terrific!

    If he likes Patch 24, I’d recommend some of Sonoma Scent Studio scents, especially Fireside Intense, but also Amber Noir and the new Incense Pure.

  • Fernando says:

    Out of my collection, these are the ones my wife likes best and recommends:

    On summer days, Le Vetiver from Lubin.

    When he wants a woman to sniff his neck, Lutens Ambre Sultan.

    Just to impress everybody: Guerlain Derby and L’Artisan Timbuktu.

    Other favorites are Montale Black Oud and Lutens Fumerie Turque.

    She also points out that I’m a mathematician, so perhaps these will work for him. Me, I recommend wearing perfumes your wife likes!

  • Ari says:

    Well, my extremely professional recommendation would be “Eau de Ari is a 4’10” engineering student who loves tall guys”. I think it would suit him quite nicely :x

  • Nina Z says:

    I love Tam Dao on a man. And love Habit Rouge on anyone.

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    Hi Patty,

    My husband is 6’, lifts weights, and has a great math/engineering/scientific mind, and he loves CdG Laurel, Lonestar Memories, Navegar, and Egoiste (not Egoiste Platinum). I don’t know how old the Egoiste is–it’s probably at least 4-5 years old by now. (As you can guess, he’s not a heavy user).

  • Vasily says:

    Another vote for Lonestar Memories and Derby (if he can afford it) … also he might try Tauer’s Vetiver Dance. Some of the SLs might work for him: Chene? Chergui?

  • maggiecat says:

    Payy – usually you just create lemmings for scents – but this post has me lemming my 25 year old Marine, who’s currently overseas (firefighter, martial artist, inheirited his mom’s desire to smell good at all times….). Sigh. Oh, and second the Terre d’Hermes, which I think all men should be required to wear at least some of the time.

  • Olfacta says:

    ALL of the above.

  • Louise says:

    My vote for scenting Harry is a slight change in direction-CdG Play for men-still smokey, and just yummy on all guys I’ve sniffed it on : )

    I love his commentary! Nice, unusual mother-son bonding.

    • Patty says:

      oh, crap, I don’t have any CdG Play, I don’t think. But i think I’ll grab some other CdGs and have him play in those a bit

  • Musette says:

    What a nice way to spend time together! Harry sounds like a great guy and an excellent son! With excellent taste.

    My vote is for Carnal Flower. Yes. Have him try it (sparingly) one day – see what the laydeez think. I spritzed El O with Fracas and the women went WILD. Very sexy (maybe more than his mamma wants to hear – sorry!). The bigger and ‘guyer’ the guy, the more intriguing, it seems when they wear a BWF!

    xo >-)

    • Patty says:

      I am going to try and get some tuberose on him, and I think CF is the way to go or the Nuit de Tubereuse. It’s unexpected, and I don’t think of Tubereuse as being feminine so much as just hot as hell. In a good way. All guys should wear it.

      • Ann N. says:

        Hi Patty, love your post! It’s so wonderful that you and your son can have some quality spritzing time together. This will make for some great memories that you’ll laugh about for years to come (and maybe even tell the grandchildren about someday).
        Sure wish I could come and be one of your decanters — that would be my dream job in a perfect world.
        As for scents for him, I’m with you on the Nuit de Tubereuse: I just sprayed a bit on yesterday and thought, “Now this could be really great on a guy.” Also think SL’s Fumerie Turque would be dandy, and as someone else mentioned, Micallef’s Gaiac.

      • Madea says:

        Tell Harry to watch a movie set in the seventeenth or eighteeth century. Those guys in full makeup, wigs, etc. waving fans around, dripping with lace?
        They were doing it to attract girls. The theory ran that a woman of fashion would want a man who could show good taste and refinement, and so the men copied the women slightly to show those qualities off.
        After that, he’ll want to bathe in NdT.

        Also, Twill Rose by Perfumes de Rosine. A nice dry, salty rose.

  • Melissa says:

    Along the same lines as P-24 (smooth, burnt, smoky notes) although way more refined, how about Cartier’s La Treizième Heure? I’m not sure why I haven’t spritzed this on my own son. And, as mentioned above, l’Eau du Navigateur could be interesting, as well as Timbuktu.

    Harry sounds like a kind and patient young man! How many 20 year olds (30 year olds, 40 years olds), would sit still for hours of decanting, unless they were fragrance-addicted themselves.

    Oh and the Night-Scented Stock/baby diaper comment? I kinda get it. I don’t associate the scent with dirty diapers, but I think that it has that powdery baby butt smell. Good nose!

    • Patty says:

      I think he would like the Treizieme, yes. On the list. He did like the Timbuktu, but I need to hunt down some Navigateur. Why do I not even have a small decant of that?

      He really is a lovely and helpful human being. And he does have a great nose. He doesn’t always know exactly why he’s smelling things that way, but I have learned to trust what he says. Sometimes I want to run all my fragrances past the Harry-o-meter because he just doesn’t interpet things the same way, even though he’s smelling what I’m smelling.

  • John says:

    Carven Homme. Woody, Moody. Always a fine choice.

    • Patty says:

      Agree. The first time I smelled that and remembered the whole bottle was like $14, I almost fainted. Someone needs to seriously market that scent, it is perfection on every level.

  • Ceil says:

    He might like to try Tom Ford Grey Vetiver.

  • Jemimagold says:

    Since he likes Patchouli 24, he should try AG Encens Flamboyant. I’d also recommend Terre ‘Hermes and Cartier Declaration.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    I second Escentric 01: feels young and “scientific”. And I bet Nuit de Tubereuse would smell great on him too.

    • Patty says:

      I tried to talk him into Nuit de Tubereuse, but he’s got all those hiccups about what is a girls’ perfume and what isn’t. I mean, he’s a hulking monster, if he can’t get by with wearing Tuberose, what guy can? I’m going to try again today just to have him sniff it because I think it’s very unisex and would be amazing on a guy.

      • Masha says:

        I tried it on my DH, who’s also a very big, athletic guy, and he laughed and said, “Oh, RIGHT!”
        I think it’s a tad on the feminine side for some guys, but some might really rock it!

      • Masha says:

        I should say his daily wears are Terre d’Hermes, the CdG incense series (especially Oauarzazate), and the original Gucci pour Homme, the smoky one. And hey, he loves Borneo! (now there’s a man after my own heart)

  • This was very entertaining :d

  • K.R. says:

    The Harry posts have been the highest of comedy. I would be happy to send the young man samples of Artisan Voleur de roses, l’eau du Navigateur and le Méchant Loup. Original Dior Jules would be nice, but I’ve none to offer.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thanks. Living with him is highly entertaining as well. he did find a couple of the L’Artisan he liked too, Timbuktu. I don’t know if I have any Navigateur around, but I bet I have a sample in a drawer. I’ll definitely put those on the list. Dior Julies, of course!!! I have some, never fear!

  • annie says:

    Man…he has GREAT taste already…yum,slobber(oh,Lord,pardon me…I’m old enough to be his Grannie,but,at times,I still lose it),Ahem….Perhaps he would like some CBIHP,or Escentric 1,and Molecule 1….if he had on the last 2,I’d follow him anywhere,even in my orthopedic shoes…hope he can run….carry on perfumistas….8-|

    • Patty says:

      I know! I put all guys in Patch 24 if they don’t know what they want. I think I have some Escentric around here, but I’m going to have to dig for it, but I think he would like that, definitely! He loves working in the CB drawers because he doesn’t hate anything in there, thinks it all smells interesting.

  • cinnamon says:

    Ohhhhh!!!! A man who actually likes good perfume and appears to have a discerning nose. Good on him — and you.

    My suggestions: Tauer Lonestar Memories, Aqua di Parma Colonia Absoluta, Dior Eau Noire, Lalique Encre Noire, and what about YSL Kouros(?). Oh, and Caron Le Troisieme Homme.

  • Jared says:

    Patchouli 24? Perfect. In my book he already has great taste! I agree with the Bulghari Black, too. I think guys can’t go wrong with vetiver; for some reason, it just smells intelligent to me. I’d go with Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire, Sycomore, or Encre Noir. The Guerlain is just too citrusy-soapy for me, but on a hot summer day, hey, it works. And on the topic of Guerlain, I get massive compliments on my Derby when I wear it, so that might be worth a shot. I initially felt it a bit “mature” for me, but it sure smells like nothing else. I think things like Derby and Equipage fall into that trap with their leathery-smoky, wood panelling in the study kind of vibe. And try out Geranium Pour Monsieur- I’m loving the synthetic minty-musky-anisic qualities of that! And Jicky. But we might be getting back into diaper territory with that one…

    Forcing myself to stop now.

    • Jared says:

      I was just thinking of Rose 31, too, as it always seemed nicely woody and masculine with just that hint of rose. It’s been a long time since my sample ran out, but I recall enjoying it, and it always got me compliments. However, it might be a little too Oedipal for him to smell like his mom’s bedding/:)

    • Patty says:

      Great recommendations. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled Derby, or it’s been a really long time. I do need to put some Rose 31 on him. He’s completely unaware I use it as laundry detergent for my sheets, so let’s be quiet about that!

  • Joe says:

    Get OUTTA here! The other day when you wrote that your “youngest son” was helping you and he was better than he was two years ago — so I’m picturing how cute it is that a 13- or 14-year old is helping you or something. HA. Well, it’s still cute — and great — that he’s helping you, but funny compared to the mental image I had. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but who could belieeeeve, dahlink, that your youngest is twenty!?

    Anyway, as for the scent… I think Patch 24 is one I don’t care for, so I’m gonna have trouble thinking of things that might be similar, if that’s an issue. However, the man scents that I dig and which come to mind first are:
    – Terre d’Hermes (always and forevah)
    – Micallef Gaiac (swoon action)
    – Bond9 Brooklyn
    – AdP Colonia Intensa

    I also thought about Sycomore (how can you go wrong unless vetiver makes you hurl?), and agree that Black Aoud smells great, but can clear a room with two drops too many.

    • Jared says:

      Funny you should bring up the Gaiac…I was just scoping out that line and saw the Gaiac and was curious. I have no idea what gaiac smells like. What’s it like Joe? I hope it’s not brilliant because those scents aren’t cheap, but if you’re swooning over it, I’m sure it is.

      • Joe says:

        J: Sent you a note. I also just noticed that the price of Micallef on Lucky Scent shot WAY up since I bought my bottle in winter. Egad.

    • Patty says:

      Joe, you are too sweet. No, he is all grown, has done a year and a half of college, but has no idea what to do with his life because he wants to do everything!

      i’m not sure how he is on Vetiver? I’m going to introduce him to a couple of them and see. The Chanel and the FM VEt Extra would be good starters. I might have some Micallef around? I know I have a couple, but not sure on the Gaiac. Micallefs need more love than they get seriously.

  • Datura5750 says:

    Nothing smells better than Patchouli 24 on guy, he can only smell different….
    Chanel Eau de Cologne, or a nice citrus chypre….

    • Patty says:

      Oh, good call! Summertime wear. I know he’s smelled that before and liked it, but it’s been right after it first came out and I made him help me get all the Chanel orders out the door.

    • Rappleyea says:

      I think Colony would be a great citrus/chypre on a guy.

  • carlene says:

    After hitting Bulgari to try the Black, he should also try Bulgari Pour Homme.

    Let us know what he ends up liking.

  • March says:

    1) Aren’t his hands enormoose? How does he even hold those vials? But it must come in handy for Les Exclusifs.

    2) He’s right, a lot of this stuff does smell like sh!t.

    3) Does he think it’s a completely weird thing he’s helping you with? I mean, would … I don’t know, filling orders for handmade potholders be less weird?

    • Musette says:

      You. Are. A. Nut.


      Barney Fife >-)

    • Patty says:

      Monstroos hands, but he’s an amazing guitar player, so has great dexterity and isn’t clumsy at all. I’ve spilled and dropped more than he has. Some of those small bottles get eclipsed in his hands though.

      Handmade potholders? You know, maybe!

  • sarah says:

    Bois de Portugal Creed

  • Tara says:

    It is wonderful that you two have this “working” time together!

    • Patty says:

      We think so too. I’m glad he’s on summer break and trying to figure out what to do with his life, which has him finishing my greenhouse, putting up fence, fixing my sprinkler system. He’s a seriously gifted rennaisance man, he can do anything at 20, and it shocks me, because he’s completely unafraid.

      • Tara says:

        I have two boys and when they are 20, which is not that far away, I hope they’ll want to hang out with me!!

        Your son sounds like a great kid (man).

  • Likes Le Labo Patchouli? Sounds like he needs a spritz (or 7) of Bulgari Black too.

  • Heather Barton says:

    Some masculines that are my personal favorites are Black Tourmaline (acrid smoke, sweet incense,leather), Bois d’Ombrie(expensive liquor, leather, resins, majorly earthy iris) and CBIHP Black Tea accord. PG L’Ombrie Fauve is a cuddly patchouli. I would also like to smell a dark rose on a man, like Rose de Nuit or Montale Black Aoud. Good Luck.

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, heather! I have a couple of those. I’m making a list and will have him try all these and report back next week!

    • Rappleyea says:

      What about Voleur de Rose for a dark rose, especially if he wears Patch 24.