Surprise, surprise – I decided to take my own Signature Scent Challenge! Since I can’t try anything new this week (I started on Saturday), here’s a bit about what I didn’t pick, and why. Don’t forget, meet me here next Monday November 8 for the Signature Scent Challenge results, in which you all report in on how a week of wearing one fragrance worked out.
I’m not going to go too much into the process (saving that for next Monday) but wanted to say I had a lot of the same issues others of you mentioned. Picking something innocuous, what I call my wallpaper scents, seemed like a cop-out. I didn’t want to commit to something I loved and then turn that into loathing by the end of a week. I didn’t want to overthink it, but a certain amount of research was necessary. I did some quick and dirty test-driving…
L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer. There’s a soft spot in my heart for Passage d’Enfer, the first L’Artisan I sniffed and the first bottle I bought, I think. PdE was an early-on revelation for me in terms of redefining what a perfume could be. That said, I don’t know if my bottle has changed or I have, but that lily note seems much soapier to me than it used to. I found it grating, which is sad.
Chanel Bois des Iles fits me like a well-cut pair of trousers. But like a well-cut pair of trousers it seemed too safe a choice for this challenge. My signature scent, for better or worse, needs to be “bigger.”
Fendi Theorema. I had high hopes for this one as well – fruital and syrupy, just the way I like ’em, apparently. As much as I love it (and I do love it), I didn’t spray it on and think, this is it! Theorema marked the point at which I started to worry I wasn’t going to be able to pick anything.
Guerlain Mitsouko. After making some long-overdue samples, I reeked of three different vintages of Mitsouko PdT, Cinnabar parfum, and Chamade PdT simultaneously. (I am a sloppy decanter). It occurred to me that I could stop torturing myself and pick Mitsouko a.k.a. the Queen of Everything, but I simply became even more bull-headed and said no, something else.
Shiseido Feminite du Bois. Another obvious choice that eluded me because – follow this twisted reasoning – there are so many variations (in the Serge Lutens Bois series, not to mention Dior Dolce Vita), I couldn’t bring myself to commit. Still, though. Stunning, especially in parfum.
Malle Carnal Flower. I hope one of you picked this. I love it and yet I decided seven days of this right now (fall allergy season is particularly brutal) might ruin the scent for me.
Donna Karan Signature (remember that cool robo-duck bottle?) was sitting next to the Passage d’Enfer. Since it’s her original “signature” I thought, what the hell. I couldn’t even remember what it smells like! Well, it’s not my signature, but what an amazing deep suede note – on me it’s almost entirely suede, austere verging on bitter, with a hint of dark floral (plum?) You folks who’d like a dry suede that isn’t all smoky birchtar should check it out. I want to wear this on a snowy day. It’s now a part of her regular collection in those tall cylinder bottles, but I’m sure the robo-duck’s still out there on eBay, and probably some discounters.
Public Service Announcement – the rumors appear to be true that Donna Karan Gold has been discontinued. Gold, that fabulous Casablanca lily scent from 2006 – four short years ago! — done by Calice Becker and Yann Vasnier, among others. It’s not on the DK website any more but can be found in abundance online at discounters and eBay for a song ($10 – $20 for the EdP). If you love it and don’t want to be kicking yourself in two years for not stocking up, now’s probably the time.
photos: have nothing to do with today’s post but they’re cool, no? Big Cheese has now decamped to Pokhara, Nepal, having spent some time in Kathmandu. The top is the view of Fishtail Mountain which towers over Pokhara (and I believe the rest of the range is Annapurna); the bottom is Phiwa Lake, facing the other direction. He also sent me some amazing pictures of their flight through the mountains on the way.