The Box of Possibilities

by March

I have a box from a perfumista friend sitting on my desk.  I just checked the label; it’s been there for two months, unopened.  Why?  Because I like the idea of the possibilities that box contains.  It thrills me to the marrow, just looking at it.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  Maybe it’s her unloved bottle of JAR Bolt of Lightning, right?  Maybe it’s gourmet chocolate and a bunch of samples, one of which will be my Holy Grail.  (Hopefully it’s not a bonsai tree or a live weasel, that would be sad.)  It’s like the empty picture frame a friend sent me this summer, a small, square white frame that lived in my office at home and now lives at work.  A few of my co-workers have gazed at it, curious, but they haven’t said anything.  Why do you have an empty frame on your bookcase?  That frame … that frame is a picture of the future.  And the future is unknown, isn’t it?

Last June I fell down the rabbit hole, and I’m still falling.  Falling – the process of falling – has become its own wonderful destination.

I have my uniform at work, and perfume is part of the uniform.  With everything up in the air, I need my perfume to be a known quantity – not because I’m worried about offending someone (I’m not) or because I’ve lost interest, but because I love perfume so much.  My job is too fast-paced and requires too much focus to lose myself in an unfamiliar scent.

I got bored with Chanel 19 Poudre (quelle surprise!), so I’ve been wearing my spring favorite, my custom fall-back blend.  It’s my patented layering secret, so I can’t tell anyone, because what if they copy me?  So my lips are sealed, but I’ll whisper it to you, I know you won’t tell.  I like L’Artisan Mure et Musc (I have a couple of bottles), but it’s a hair too sweet on its own.  So I layer it with my beloved Annick Goutal Mandragore, which to me smells like delicious grapefruit and to x percent of the rest of the general population smells like pee, and not in a good way.  Layered, they’re sweet and tart perfection, perfect for this time of year.

Email conversation during SwapMania:

Me: Thanks, I got my bottle of Mandragore (lol, I think it’s my fourth backup bottle?)  By the way, something in your sample bag leaked, it smells sweaty.

Swapper: Oh, I’m so sorry.

Me: No, no, it’s great!

I love me some sweat.  Further investigation revealed the culprit: Aziyade Eau de Parfum by Parfum d’Empire.   Notes via LuckyScent:  pomegranate, crystallized date, almond, orange and prune, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, Egyptian cumin, carob, frankincense, vanilla, Madagascar vanilla absolute, patchouli, musk, cistus.

How is it?  It’s … fine.  I guess.  Sort of.  It’s like the Eau Fraiche of Vero Kern Rubj EDP.  It’s all sparkly and summery and just a hint of sweat (cumin), with a whole lot of fruity cologne that collapses into a hot, muddled mess of orange crush.  It’s a sweaty cologne for people who don’t really like sweat.

I love sweat.  I love sweat, in the winter and in the summer.  I love it in a box, I love it with a fox, I love it here or there, I love it everywhere.  I love it in Lutens’ El Attarine and the (reformulated) Rochas Femme… and if there’s not enough sweat,  I just hit it with a decant spray of Eau d’Hermes, which smells like cologne on a suit that’s about two months overdue for a drycleaning, and that’s a total compliment.  Sweat?  Go big or go home.  On my skin, Aziyade isn’t nearly enough sweat for me.  YMMV.









  • nozknoz says:

    I’m not that fond of sweaty perfumes, but I really enjoy the scent of actual sweaty pits, at least on some people. And I’m totally ready to check out the ones in that photo ;-9

    • March says:

      Another sweaty pits fan…. I won’t tell. I don’t want it to knock me over or make my eyes burn, but short of that, I like that smell!

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    There is just something about getting something in the mail. I should expect a shipment of Tazo Chai concentrate in the mail probably on Friday. Even though I know what is in the box, it’s the anticipation of the whole thing. Right now, I’m eyeballing two of Andy Tauer’s perfumes on Luckyscent.

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Ms. March, so happy that my Evil Scent Twin is back! Yes, I’m one of those poor souls — cumin is my nemesis. But I’m thrilled that you and so many others love it. (BTW, haven’t forgotten the solid I promised you — just waiting until the temps get out of the 80s before I mail it — you don’t want incense soup, right?)

    • Ann says:

      P.S. I hear you on the empty frame — I have several that are so beautiful and elegant that I don’t think I have a photo that will do them justice, ha!

  • sweetlife says:

    Lovely. And skanky. The way only you can write it, March. I’ll be keeping that empty frame in my head now…

  • pam says:

    Of course I love perfume–and constantly look at the possibilities of the ones I haven’t met yet. My other love is quilting, and the Possibilities are what I see when I look at my Stash. What quilt can I make with that one? and by next week I’m re-designing using the same fabric again. I love the possibilities. But an empty picture frame just makes me think Elvis Has Left the Building.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Pam! How cool that you are a quilter! A great hobby that creates wonderful memories. I am absolutely all thumbs re: sewing skills, but my darling mother-in-law was a big quilter (can’t see now to do it, alas), so we have some beauties that she made for us. She used to buy material everywhere she went and it went into her quilt closet of possibilities.

    • March says:

      Ooooh! I went to the fabric store for lining for a jacket sleeve and spent an hour in there…. could easily imagine becoming a fabric addict.

  • mals86 says:

    Uh-huh. Miss Marchele is back, with the armpit sweat…

    I love the Box of Infinite Possibility. I was just saying to Musette the other day on her lovely post about spring and death and rebirth and grave dirt – I was always just that teensy bit sad about giving up the imagined baby for the real one. Sometimes it’s that wide world o’choices that gives us hope.

    Hmm. Thought: wonder if that isn’t, at least partly, the reason why gift cards are popular? “I could get THIS thing with my card… or I could get THAT, or THAT, or even THAT. Heck, I could get anything!” Three cheers for your Box of Possibility.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Mals, I’m SOOO with you on the gift cards. I know people often think of them as “no thought” gifts, but I adore them and, as you said, all the possibilities they contain.

      • Musette says:

        the card generators love them, too! All that looooovely interest!

        (fwiw, I’m not snarking – I love me some gift cards meself!!)


    • March says:

      Here, let me wade in and disagree, just for grits and shins. I HATE gift cards. I want someone to choose something for me. But I get the idea.

  • Musette says:

    You know I’m nervous about the ‘sweat’, right? I wore that sweaty, slutty Femme to a conference – and I had on a cashmere sweater. And I felt…very unprofessional. It was the most distracting combo, like I’d walked the Walk of Shame to the conference, with my panties wadded up in my handbag.


  • jen says:

    RIP, weasel. Long live the sweat!

    • Musette says:

      Ha! That weasel would’ve chewed his way out of that box in no time flat. Then he would’ve bitten everyone within a 2mile radius, he would’ve been Just That Pissed.

      Try as I might, I can’t quite get with the sweat. A little bit is good – but more than a little and I start to want to take a shower and soak myself in Pamplemousse Rose.


    • March says:

      That poor weasel! Although Musette is right. Fear the weasel.

  • Rena says:

    Aziyade smelled like really good quality Christmas potpourri on me so not full-bottle worthy at all. I like the idea of an empty picture frame as a picture of the future. Think I’ll go contemplate one now–my frame is all sparkly and pretty… (and I could never figure out what photo. Was compatible with the frame)

  • Yup, sweat can be good. Better than most folks think.
    I love all the perfumes you mention (Aziyade, El Attarine, Femme reform., Eau d’Hermes, Rubj) and find Eau d’Hermes in particular supremely elegant in a lived-in manner, like tabac-hued brogues which have cracked a bit, not shining patent leather shoes.

  • dinazad says:

    Oh, don’t you just LOVE skin chemistry? Aziyade I adore – it smells of Coca-Cola with coriander on me, refreshing and fizzy. And Eau d’Hermes? The most restrained, office-compatible, quietly elegant fragrance ever. On me.

    On the other hand, I have to keep my beloved incense perfumes for the days I’m not going anywhere. If I wear them outside, I make even the supermarket smell like a cathedral on a high holiday. Not everybody can see the appeal of that, I’m afraid.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Coca-cola with coriander? I like the sound of that! I’ll have to track down a sample.
      And, yes, skin chemistry is AMAZING

    • March says:

      That’s so funny! Other than the Norma Kamali, incenses are rather subtle on me. I think.

  • sunnlitt says:

    OK, now I know why Armpit Guy’s photo is up there.
    Had a little trouble figuring that out at first.

  • Patty says:

    Holy crap, you use eau d’Hermes as a chaser?!?!?!??!

    *bows to the queen*

  • Lisa D says:

    All you had to say was, “It’s like the Eau Fraiche of Vero Kern Rubj EDP.” Really? Like Rubj, my “once I invent the new post-it note and make a bazillion dollars I’m going to buy me a bottle of” Rubj? Wow, I’m going to have to track some of this down, and soon.

    The Box of Possibilities is what keeps me trying new perfume. The concept really appeals to me, as I consider hope, optimism and the sense of possibility to be very strong driving forces in my life.

    Thanks for the post!

    • March says:

      Well, you should save up your simoleons and buy the Rubj. Life is too short to live without it.

      PS SORRY EVERYONE I don’t have work access to the site and I’m catching up…