Dab Monday: When a spray’s not the way to go

dabAlthough many (most?) of us would agree that sprayed is usually the way to go to fully enjoy and experience a scent, I seem to hit a skid periodically where I find a fragrance that demands that I dab it. And I reached that point with a recent fragrance love: MFK’s Ciel de Gum (which Patty loved and wrote about last month). After going through one dab sample vial, I snagged another one, and midway through that one, I decided to splurge and get a spray decant. I was hoping it would live up to my previous experience and just keep the love going stronger longer, but …

Just as Amouage’s Beloved Woman sprayed seemed a little off-putting in its first spritz on me, so, too, does the Ciel de Gum. It seemed to be missing a tad of its charm and its smoothness, replaced by something a bit more sharp and brash. Almost as if the tippy-top notes disagreed and were having it out on my wrist when they landed straight out of the sprayer.

Thankfully, though, just as with the Beloved, Ciel de Gum settles down and returns to its remembered loveliness fairly quickly, into the middle stages and on through the home stretch.

With notes of amber, pink pepper, jasmine, rose, cinnamon and vanilla (per Fragrantica), it’s a smooth yet spicy floriental that starts out a little dark and mysterious but overall ends up hitting my craveworthy sweet spot (slightly gourmand but not too foodie, and very cold-weather comfy). When I wear it, I can hardly keep my wrist away from my nose. Not to mention that it has a plush, elegant feel to it that makes me think Ciel de Gum would not have been out of place had it been released under the Guerlain banner.

Now it makes me happy to know that I can keep getting dab samples, enjoy to my heart’s content, and my poor little wallet can sigh with relief.

So if any of you haven’t sampled this already, please don’t judge Ciel de Gum by my quirky, oddball skin. You might just fall in love with it sprayed. The truth is, if you try a scent first as a spray and really like it, there’s very little need to even venture into dab territory, right? Just spritz away and enjoy.

What about you — what scents do you wear that just seem to do better with a dab to the wrist and other pulse points?

  • Thank you for sharing. I’d like to try it. Hope to hear more from you.

  • Katrin says:

    I have a 0.5 oz bottle of the reissue of Lancome’s Magie. I use it every once in a while when I want to be transported back to the old days and its charms or experience something relaxing and reassuring that has a vintage vibe. It’s not a spray bottle. I cannot imagine it being sprayed. It would be suffocating, or just too much of the old world I guess!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Katrin! Oh, yes, that Lancome is some wonderful juice, but I’m with you — spraying would definitely be overkill. Now that autumn is in full swing and winter not far behind, it sounds like the perfect time to indulge in your elegant dab of the old world. Enjoy!

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I don’t own a lot of extraits, especially in the high end perfumery, and what I do have are tiny sample vials so dabbing is what I have to do. But anything that I can spray, I spray.

    • Ann says:

      I’m right there with you — I have a bunch-o little dab vials running around the place and most of them are fine that way. But it’s good that you can enjoy spraying most of the time. Happy spritzing!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I find that Cuir de Russie in extrait form is not one to be sprayed. I don’t think that anything in extrait should be sprayed because it becomes too much. I have no idea why Nasomatto has all of their offerings in spray form when it is in extrait. Serge Lutens offerings can be iffy depending on what I am wearing.

    • Ann says:

      Me, too — extraits just seem to be made for dabbing. And you are the second person to mention that some of the SLs are also iffy when sprayed.

  • Portia says:

    Nothing yet Ann,
    Still spritzing the shit out of everything. My frag motto seems to be Go Hard Or Go Home.
    Portia xx

  • Solanace says:

    Fumérie Turque!

  • mikasminion says:

    That happened to me with Korrigan. Drained several little samples and ordered a spray decant that I’ve been taking the lid off for every application. I almost always prefer vanilla-heavy scents dabbed or I get a weird scratchiness from them. And some perfumes are just too much if sprayed: as much as I love them, MKK, O Hira, Fracas, and Rien will always be in dab or roll-on form for me. I can wear quite a lot, but MKK gets an odd sweetness that bugs me if I spray it.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, dear! I agree — sometimes more is definitely not better, and those little dab vials are your friends. And I can definitely see Fracas and several others you mention being far, far better when not sprayed. A roll-0n sounds nice in some things as well.

    • Musette says:

      jumping in here, mikasminion, to say : YOU OWE ME AN EMAIL CUZ YOU IZ A WINNAH!

      back to Ann’s question: I like most perfumes dabbed rather than sprayed and the reverse for EdT. No5 parfum MUST be dabbed. Must. be. Chanel’s Cuir de Russie parfum, ditto. Sprayed would take the top of my head off! I prefer Carnal Flower dabbed, especially if I’m also wearing the body creme. I decant some into a dabber bottle. Much lovelier, imo.


      • Ann says:

        Howdy, sweetie! Amen to dabbing the No. 5 parfum — that’s the only way I can wear that classic baby, except for the Eau Premiere version. I’m liking your CF dabbed over the body creme, and now I must go dig up my teensy vial of CdR and dab that, ha! Hugs to you …

      • Portia says:

        Musette, I LOVE to spritz CHANEL No 5 parfum. It opens up and blooms even larger, the aldehydes get an extra metallic zing and the bouquet turns into something from another galaxy, they can probably smell me there too. It also allows me to get so much more on my skin so I am a virtual cloud of fragrance. MMMMMMMMMMMM
        Portia xx

  • furriner says:

    A lot of Serges benefit from dabbing. In particular, I’d have to say Gris Clair… certainly smells a lot better dabbed versus sprayed. Sprayed on me, it smells chemical. Dabbed, one of the most beautiful lavenders ever.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, furriner! I have to agree with you; many Serges really do better dabbed. I feel better since you mentioned the chemical note I often get when spraying; for a while I thought it was just my weird nose/skin, but if other folks are getting it, too… Must re-try Gris Clair again, haven’t sniffed it in ages — thanks!

  • tammy says:

    I prefer dabbed in almost everything.

    I have come to the conclusion that I must not like top notes. I am all about that base. :o)

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Tammy! I hear you loud and clear; base notes rock. And thanks for the fun earworm, too! 🙂

  • Heidi says:

    I keep meaning to try Ciel de Gum — I really should! Ones that I like dabbed better than sprayed include the parfum-strength versions of Vol de Nuit and Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. I love them both, but the spray gets a bit overwhelming.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Heidi! I’m nodding in agreement with your choices — I, too, think the VdN and the CdR are much better dabbed as well. Do try the Ciel when you can; it’s a great fall-winter scent, very cozy but also elegant.