Random perfume/food musings and general foolishness from Musette, with a quick pop-in from Miss March!!!.
I hope all of you here in the States have a wonderful 4th of July holiday! If you’re out of the country, hoist a beer in solidarity and celebration! It’s in the middle of the week this year, which means a lot of our customers will be slacking off on the back end, which is BONUS for meeee! (now watch, as I get slammed with rush requests UPDATE: what did I tell you? I actually have a guy working today on a Giant Rush Job. Ka-CHIIINNNNG!). El O is off to visit his family down yonder so I plan to spend the day reading and revamping the perfume armoire. It’s a beautiful thing. What are your plans?
4th of July is one of those oddities for scent pairing. Christmas has its religious trappings (Messe de Minuit, Neil Morris Cathedral), as well as the whole ‘pine needles and snow’ connection (Neil Morris’s Dark Season comes to mind). Diorissimo has a lock on Easter…Valentine’s Day is off the charts with roses, sexy big white flowers and romance.
What goes with The Star Spangled Banner, beer and grillsmoke? If you had to choose a scent that says 4th of July...what would it be? Mine would be Coty Sand & Sable, all beachy suntan oil, raging teenaged hormones, stale beer and just a hint of the beachside concrete lavatory at 3p on a Saturday in July (thank your girl Gardenia for that one). Even though Coty was launched by the venerable Francois Coty and was for decades the personification of French Perfumery it has, like Bruce Willis and William Shatner, been reinvented numerous times and is now synonymous with American Drugstore Scents. In fact, I think most non-perfumistas would assume that Coty has always been an American company, schlepping scents at Walmart and Walgreens. Of course, M. Coty wasn’t always M. Coty, either. Born a Corsican, Francois Spoturno took a variant of his mother’s maiden name (Coti), moved to Paris and opened his perfume house (I got the book for Christmas so I’m all clued in to strange M. Coty (it’s not on Amazon anymore, which is weird. I thought Amazon had EVERYTHING. Always). His early ventures mirrors the success story of so many Americans who came here, looking for freedoms and an opportunity to make a better life for themselves. And since the French were gracious enough to give us La Belle Liberty I’m just going to say Thank You and try not to sob over the loss of La Rose Jacqueminot and Chypre (Chyyyypre! sob!). Okay! I’m over it. Sand & Sable and hot dogs it is.
While we’re on the subject of perfume and America, did you know there was an American Society of Perfumers? Of course you did. I’m probably the last dog over that hill (blushes). Despite IFF and their ilk (and there are some very talented people therein – no disrespect intended), when I think of American perfumers, I think of the extraordinarily talented pool of Niche perfumers who do such great work: Liz Zorn, Neil Morris, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Alexandra Balahoutis, Delrae Roth and many more, both established and emerging. The website for ASP needs some IT attention (the intro page just…stops…in the middle of a sentence -IT’S YOUR WEBSITE, PEOPLE! tighten up the ship a bit) – I yanked this off their website: The main goal of the ASP is to foster and encourage the art and science of perfumery in the United States while promoting professional exchange and a high standard of professional conduct within the fragrance industry.
Not a bad goal. Hoping ‘professional’ = decent behavior and courtesy within the ranks and beyond. Again, no disrespect is intended or implied. In fact, it’s not even directed at the ASP. This is just my crabbing here, born of a personal dislike of Professional Organizations in general. I dunno nuthin’ ’bout no ASP. Except I now know they have an annual Golf outing. Huh. I would’ve thought they might have an annual Wine Tasting or something but at the end of the day they’re probably sick to death of olfactory stimuli. Like Charlie Trotter’s first kitchen crew who, at the end of the night, used to go over to the Belden Deli for late dinner. When I asked his then-sous why, he said “I’ve been sauteeing truffles all damn night. I want a pastrami and a Coke.” Fair enough.
(see what I mean about ramblings? You Were Warned.)
It then goes on to list (and, I’m going to assume, in order of importance): Household products, toiletries and cosmetics before it ever gets to fine fragrances. I was going to snark on that, then I remembered reading a phenomenal article by Victoria of Bois de Jasmin about the challenges in perfuming everyday products. Read the article here. It’s necessary reading for anyone who recognizes that perfumery is an art and that art is not just confined to the crystal flacon. Of course, somebody should tell Estee Lauder’s folks that they don’t have to take this quite so to heart. I love the consistency and color of so many EL lipsticks – but wearing them is like clenching a big ol’ bouquet of aromachemicals between my teeth . But back to Victoria’s post: while not everyone wears perfume, it’s a safe bet to say that most of us use detergent, toothpaste and body lotion. Apparently most raw materials used in general household/body products STINK! Were we to attempt to smear an unadulturated cream on our face we would drop stone-dead from the stench. Perfuming such products, on a tight budget, is an art – and one that many famous perfumers are justly proud of having done. Read the article – you’ll be surprised at Who Did What! Denyse of Grain de Musc also wrote a great post about hair products and moisturizers, (and the best unscented moisturizer to use when testing perfumes) – I’m on the hunt for the Lenore Greyl shampoo that smells like Chanel No5.
Food! If there’s one thing Missy March and I love to yark on about, it’s FOOD! 4th of July food is pretty basic fare, no matter what foodies try to do with it. Burgers, dogs, brats, sausages, ribs. For March, that conjures that
Josef Statkus Kolnisch Juchten (I just edited this — March) sausage perfume and because I had no idea how to spell it (and neither did she) Googling around for ‘sausage perfume’ took me here. Who knew John Mayer was so HATED? Who is John Mayer, anyway? and further bopping around Google for sausage perfume, I came across this funny post from Laura Snyder, about smelling like pork sausage and beef burritos. If she’s right, then women hoping to attract men via perfume are doing it ALL WRONG!
Further yarking with Missy March resulted in these July 4th scent/food pairings:
Corn on the cob/potato salad (American – it is Independence Day after all): Bois Farine.
Cucumbers. She eats ’em. I don’t. I wears ’em. So does she. The granddaddy of all cuke splashes is Caswell-Massey which is, conveniently enough, America’s Oldest Chemist and Perfumery. 1752! (c’mon. You can do the math). Newcomer (good for him, as otherwise he’d be dust) Marc Jacobs makes a pretty good one, too!
Tomato Leaf: here’s where we diverge. I don’t understand tomato leaf perfume. I grow 5 different varieties of tomatoes every year, from seed and the leaves often make me itch. And I love tomatoes. Tomato leaf? hmmm…but apparently I’m in the minority. According to March, upon first sniffing CB I Hate Perfumes Memory of Kindness, folks have been known to weep! huh. Apparently it is a touchstone scent, conjuring up memories of childhood. Apparently those children never had to handpick tomato hornworms off their mother’s rather extensive array of tomato plants.
If you have any others, please share! Wonder if there’s a scent pairing for coleslaw?
Iced tea: Y’all already know where I’m going with this one. Agraria Bitter Orange. Nothing finer. I can’t imagine smelling like Diet Coke and if I want to smell like a gin and tonic I will wear Brillante. I think Demeter makes a G&T scent as well, for probably 1/10th the price. Ooooh! Gin and Tonic. Dang. It’s only 11am. Hey! It’s SUNDAY (I’m writing this early)….11am…that’s…that’s BRUNCHTIME!!! Ooooh! Gin and Tonic! I can have a G&T at brunch, right? It’s like a Bloody Mary without the vodka and tomato juice, right?
Okay, I’m going to Stop The Ramble right here, lest it be the 4th and I’m still not done with this post. Besides, it’s 11:59. On Sunday. I can have that G&T now. Right?
xoxoxoand Happy 4th of July!!!!!