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.