Perfume Perversity & wacky matchups

o-ring, you make my heart sing

Just got back from a crazy trip to Des Moines.  All because of this:  ? 

My entire world revolved around this little guy.  They hadz it in Des Moines.  I haz it now.  I iz verrra verrra happy (so is Bruno, who got to ride all over Iowa today). 

But!  O-rings do not a perfume post make, so…on to perfume!!!


Perversity?  Perversitude?  Perversitivity?  Perver….oh, forget it.  However you want to say it, there are some perfumes that seem inextricably linked to certain types of occasions or demand a certain ‘look’… for example, I can’t imagine wearing Amouage Beloved to clean out the chicken coop.  Or Chanel No5 parfum to wash the windows.  But…why is that?  Why do we ‘save’ our best perfumes for rare occasions?

This weekend allowed me the opportunity to reflect upon this, as I was doing some massively heavy lifting in the garden – both literally and figuratively.  The Polar Vortex did a serious number on the gardens around here, destroying usually hardy evergreen shrubs yet leaving untouched the usually fragile David Austin roses.  Hauling out  several 8ft buddleia, blasted into lethal Sticks of Doom, takes some work.  I fully expect to be back to a size 6 by Tuesday.


In the middle of all of this, sweating like (to quote my friend Bob) a rented Egyptian mule, I said ‘feck it’ and decided if I was going to sweat, I would do so gloriously!  I tidied up a bit for Round Two and in a fit of perfume perversity, spritzed not one, not two…but 6 SIX SIX!! sprays of Guerlain’s Encens Mythique d’Orient.  Why that one?  Well, it was close at hand and, important to this story, it is one of those fragrances that I equate with LUXURY.  And yes, it is extremely luxurious, richly scented with spices and incense, the hallmark of so many Middle Eastern perfumes that have to hold their own against stupefying heat.  It was aslam-dunk!  Encens ate my garden’s lunch!  And there was something so bizarre about wearing this exotic, luxurious perfume to haul bushes & hoe rock-hard dirt, realizing that it is more than just a pretty face – it’s got bones, baby – BONES!  And it lasts forever.  I don’t like to feel crunchy so each time I took a break (lunch/dinner) I took a quick shower.   If you want to get Encens off you, ‘quick shower’ ?  No.  In fact, I would anticipate LONG HOT, were I you.  Then again, it might’ve been the six SIX sprays. 

I have to do a thorough Spring cleaning of the chicken coop (removal of all the bedding, washing it down with vinegar, etc, lay several cubic yards of sand in the coop run….)…..I dunno….what do you think?  Should I try six SIX sprays of Beloved?  Or should I blast that coop open with six SIX sprays of No5 parfum?  If you were going to be that Rented Mule, what would you wear?


Oh!  the wacky matchups?  Those were fun.  I have a little sample of Etro Relent  (you can read Portia’s tell-all here)  and every time I spritz it I get … sauce?  Growing up, we shook hot sauceon everything!  This particular hot sauce has a pronounced vinegar base, it takes me back to 1968 and I love it!  So….I was planting peppers.  Guess what I wore?


Post-planting pairing.  It was a rough, hot day.  Ready to settle in the nearly-done side garden, I had a rare urge for a gin & tonic (hey – ‘rare’ is relative)…….y’all know where I went with that one, right?  Before I poured the Bombay Sapphire, before I sliced the lime….I spritzed the Cartier Brillante!  The perfect Summery fizzy!!!


photo stolen:


  • I can’t tell you what a delight it was to hear your voice 😀 I know what you mean about the garden. Some of our shrubs are looking pretty pathetic this year, and the lilac blooms were few in number.

    Next time we SHALL meet in person!

  • Ann says:

    Wowza, sweetie — you really knocked it out of the park with six (Six, SIX!??) sprays of Encens! I am quite happy with just one dab, so I am officially in awe of you 🙂 BTW, so glad Bruno is doing better, and glad you pulled out the Cartier and can still enjoy it occasionally. I need to find my little scrab of it for this summer, too.

    • Musette says:

      hey, doll! You wanna know a really great combo? Brillante over Fougueuse! Stellar! xoxoxo

      • Ann says:

        Mmmm … sounds scrumptious! I will give it a whirl tomorrow morning. Thanks! Big hugs to you and Bruno!

  • Tiara says:

    Your post reminded me of the time Mals sprayed herself with vintage No 5 (as I recall with my faulty memory) and ended up having to chase a wayward cow through one of their fields. I cannot imagine 6 sprays of anything….except perhaps Escale a Portofino. That disappears almost so quickly I could probably do 12 sprays and be fine in 10 minutes.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! I love that image. I am normally a careful applier…..but in heavy (solo) working conditions? ‘feck it’. Spray away! xoxoxoA

  • Flora says:

    I wear my best stuff on the weekends anyway – some things you just can’t wear to the office – so I end up doing chores/shopping/gardening while bathed in Bal a Versailles, Parfum Sacre, a Shalimar Ode, L’ Arte di Gucci, Lelong pour Femme and all my vintage frags that are not polite enough for work. But the best part is getting cleaned up afterwards and THEN spritzing on a ton of whatever rocks your world. I have been known to overdo it, just a little… 😀

  • Lisa D says:

    I haven’t consciously chosen a perfume to wear with a particular task, but I love the idea of wearing a super luxurious scent during mundane (or otherwise tedious) jobs. I especially enjoy the thought of Anita lavishly spraying Beloved to clean out the chicken coop! And, really, why on earth not? In fact, I think I’ll go raid the perfume cabinet for some luxe myself right now…..

  • Dina C. says:

    Since I am a SaHM, I don’t wait for special occasions to wear my nice scents. It’s all about seasons, weather, and mood for me. Examples: Mitsouko is November, Bottega Veneta is February, and Gucci Envy is spring. That’s not set in stone, but that’s just my general feeling about those scents. Today I’m wearing Envy extrait, and doing dishes, reading stuff, and just hanging out at home.

    I lost two plants in my backyard because of the polar vortex. But this spring, everything else is growing like gangbusters. I’m full of admiration for all your hard work and manual labor to whip your yard into shape and restore the chicken coop to health and cleanliness. Are last year’s gals still with us, or are you starting with a fresh batch of poults this spring? Is poults the right word? I’m really reaching here because I’m a child of the suburbs and know nothing about farms. 😀

    • Musette says:

      I dunno on the terminology meself! I just call them chicks. And these are last year’s girls (including Chicken Little Butt, who is indistinguishable from her sisteren!) …they’ll probably lay well for the next couple of years.

      I think the PV separated the wheat from the chaff in the garden. That which survived is going great guns! And a lot of things are juuuuust beginning to emerge, so I have been very judicious in my removal.


  • AnnS says:

    It’s great to wear extravagent frags for the chores of every day. Unlike fine or good or nice costume jewelry or accessories, or a cocktail dress, or crystal or china, or a manicure, you can wear a gorgeous frag and not totally ruin it/break it with mud, sweat, heavy tools, cleaning supplies, bending/ stooping, slopping around. I love to wear vintage Vol de Nuit extrait when I shovel snow. Nothing smells as good with the scent of fresh cold snow as VdN. And I wear No 5 in all incarnations around the house when I do chores. It makes me feel put together before I get put together. I love to spritz myself liberally with Eau d’Hadrien or Grand Amour before I weed and water my garden. (I believe very strongly that Goutal loved dirt and gardens and nature, because you smell it in all her early frags.) Heck, I’ve convinced myself that *any* major citrus based “eau” I own will fend off bugs better than OFF, or nosy black bears for that matter. There is no limit to my own space for air, no coworkers to complain (and the family wouldn’t dare). I regularly spray 4711 around the house after I clean because it just smells so good, and less costly than a fine air freshener. I spray it in closets to refresh clothes. I love it. Fragrances are part of the chore of life. Load it on, and go for broke.

    • Musette says:

      that is a beautiful way to live! And I’m with you all the way.

      Except for the ‘nosy black bears’ part. That…….


  • AnnieA says:

    Wearing Encens Mythique d’Orient today to cope with the work week…

  • foxbins says:

    Doncha just hate it when the part you need can’t be found? I drove all over the east bay of SF looking for a sink popup assembly a couple of weeks ago. As far as perfume goes, I’m with the “wear it whenever you feel like it” group. I find that Gold Woman goes particularly well with the dog park. I like how it smells in the great outdoors. I wore Beloved yesterday to paint the foyer. For chicken coop refurbishing, maybe Aromatics Elixir? Shalimar?

    BTW, I am stealing that phrase “like a rented Egyptian mule.” I love it! Thank your friend Bob for me.

    • Musette says:

      I love GW in the outdoors!

      And I will thank Bob for you. And for me, too. I use that phrase at least 5x day! xoxoxoA

  • Debbie R. says:

    I started to say one thing but was interrupted by, “Wait! You have a coup?!” Chickens! What breed and how many? For eggs and eating or ?? I would wear something strong and green. Or maybe Lyric. “See. I can get down with nature. Roses, right?” LOL!

    The thought I Interrupted: dare I ask: what’s an o-ring? Birth control? Automotive part? Something you douse with perfume oil and put on a lamp? Okay, probably not the latter as one wouldn’t travel all over a state for something like that.

    • Musette says:

      omg. you made me nearly swallow my teeth! LOL! You are too funny!

      Chickens. For eggs. When they’re done laying (several years from now): soup. They are not my pets. I don’t pick them up or coo to them, as a certain El O does. I say ‘thank you’ when I gather the eggs. I clean the coop. I give them fresh water and food. That’s it. And I’ll eat the living daylights out of them, come the timely time. 6 Rhode Reds 1Leg and 1Buff Orpington. I love the Leg best. Reliable layer, not too loud. The Buff is my least favorite – she’s extremely loud and can be a bit skittish.

      O-ring. LOL! on the birth control (she says, clinging to menopause like a drowning woman – I think I’m totally THROUGH it!). It’s for a large gearbox that powers a centrifuge. There are elebenty-billion of them, all necessary, each one a different size. sigh.


  • Shirley Munoz says:

    After a grueling night of MMA training, I wear my best perfumes so I can go to sleep in a haze of glorious scent.

    • Debbie R. says:

      Shirley! MMA? I did some jujitsu years ago…best years of my life. I’m curious as to which perfumes are your best.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’ve got some pretty strange perfume habits. I won’t wear vintage anything to work but yet, I don’t exactly hoard them. In that respect, I wear a lot of Chanel no 5, L’Heure Bleue and to a lesser degree no 19 and no 22 to work and on off days, I wear what catches my fancy for any given day. On Monday, I wore vintage Mitsouko to work and it helped people clear out of my department faster at work but it was one of the few occasions that I wore vintage perfume to work. But I do stick to a handful of scents when going to work. But if I’m gonna be that rented mule, I’d pick the current version of Mitsouko or I might wear Courtesan.

    • Musette says:

      oooh! You’ve got me craving Mitsouko! I think I’ll make that my bedtime scent!


      ps. that Courtesan. You and March can HAVE it! LOL!

  • jirish says:

    If I was the rented mule, I would wear 6 sprays of the Chanel. Anything that’s survived that long has already had to clean out coops (or the equivalent). And talk about good bones! I’m with Rosarita, if I waited for special occasions for my good perfumes, they would wind up great bargains at my estate’s sale, and I plan to use them up before that happens. Sorry about your garden. We’re been similarly hit hard in Chicago. All my lavender plants died, and I had 8 of them lining the path to my door. Now it looks like a witch lives here – nothing but dead shrubbiness. My husband is hoping that if we cut them down hard, they will come back, but I’m all for pulling them out and starting over, maybe with a hardier variety.

    • Musette says:

      All lavender died, too. I’m so happy I harvested last year’s blossoms. Lavender won’t come back from that (I gardened in Chicago for 30 yrs). Pull ’em up. If you have a woodburning fireplace, soak them a little bit, then throw them on the fire for some goooood smellin’!


  • rosarita says:

    Hi doll, great read as always 🙂 If I only wore my good stuff based on occasion or wardrobe, they would never be worn. There are few Events in my life so I wear whatever I want when I want. Yesterday it was vintage #5 to run the elderly parents all over town; it helped. Give us regular updates on the garden and the girls, and be careful with your back, m’love.

  • Becky says:

    I was really hoping your opening your opening paragraph was going to deal with some niche perfume available in Des Moines. Though I guess at a few hours away, it’s not exactly easy access, either. Curse you, Midwest!

    Encense Mythique sounds lovely!

    • Musette says:

      LOL! If only……

      and yes, Encense Mythique is lovely! If you get to Chicago? It’s at Saks! If not, it’s at – and well worth the trying (try all 3) xoxoxoA

  • poodle says:

    Winter was tough on my plants too. Thought I lost all of my butterfly bushes as well but I cut them way back and they are sprouting from the ground. Granted, they won’t be as big as they were last year, but at least they are starting to grow. I did loses small dogwood tree and a few other perennials. My hydrangeas took a beating too. I always wear wacky perfume choices. I’ve painted the kitchen in Habanita and scrubbed toilets in Amouage. I find it makes the task at hand much more enjoyable.
    Mmmmm…..gin and tonic…..

    • Musette says:

      we waited and waited..and waited…no joy on the buddleiea. They are as dead as a stone. A friend lost her redbud. Trees and shrubs took a beating.

      mmmmmmm…gin and tonic…..I need to stop ogling that photo! xoxoxoA

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Your voice is so great to hear, Anita. I’ve been fighting the black dog and just trying to get on with life but your post is reminding me that sometimes you have to do things just because. And roll with it. And enjoy it. So, as I prepare to shift furniture and de clutter in preparation for a new wood floor I will wear 5 sprays of Dia. Wish me luck!

    • Musette says:

      You tell that black dog to go take a hike! Dia will get you through. That – and a brisk walk while they are laying that gorgeous new floor! xoxoxoA

  • Laurels says:

    As a reformed serial perfume monogamist, I used to do everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in Opium. Scrub toilets, attend weddings, babysit my nephew, grocery shop, see an opera, you name it, I wore Opium. The only danger I see with pairing an extravagant perfume with an unpleasant chore is forming an association between the two. You’ll just have to be sure to wear said perfumes on more glamorous and/or relaxing occasions as well, which of course makes both more perfume and more fun necessary. (That’s just math.)

  • tammy says:

    Well, I am of no use here, because I tend to wear very extravagant perfumes anyway, so I am often by default wearing them at the most mundane times. Jubilation 25 is my daffodil planting fragrance, for instance, not that there is anything mundane about planting bulbs, which is one of my life’s greatest joys. I will say that iris is one note I doubt I could wear whilst scrubbing the toilets or mopping the floors.

    I’m so glad you got your O ring taken care of! (ahem) Not real sure all that schlepping around in the garden is going to do your back any favors, though. Are there no strappin’ lads looking to earn some cash out there in the countryside?

    That G&T looks fantastic and I don’t even like gin!

    • Musette says:

      I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and stretching (remember that whole series from Yoga for Healthy Aging? Who knew? wow!) – my back is actually feeling pretty damn GREAT! Mah feets? Whole ‘nother…..