Sneaky Scents and winners

judgeWayWAY back, I was given a bottle of Paloma Picasso, the ovalish black bottle with the amber middle, wrapped in a black velvet bag.  I put it aside, being sure – absolutely sure – that it was going to have a Opium/Cinnabar vibe, all spicy and incense-y and headache inducing and stuck in my nose for eternity.   Because Black Velvet/Black Bottle/Black eyeliner/Black hair/DadwasDrama, right?

I love making those visual snaps.

I was wrong.

The first spritz was confusing, because I had to unclench my jaw & nose from the anticipated spice blast (Opium can send me into a migraine in .02 seconds.  Last time I got some on a fingertip I ran down Michigan Ave like Alan Arkin in The In-Laws (“Serpentine, Shel!  Serpentine!”) scrubbing my finger with Clinique Number 4 toner.  To no avail.  Because, in a nanosecond, it had gotten behind my soft palate and lodged there.  For all I know it may still be there, like when a mouse dies behind a wall.  The smell is gone, but….

…anyway, this is not a review of Paloma Picasso which is a nice, inoffensive citrusy-floral, vaguely reminiscent of Jean Nate (not a bad thing).  This is about deciding ahead of time what a perfume will smell like based on packaging or celebrity branding – I mean, really!  Paloma Picasso does not engender visions of nice, inoffensive perfume, does she?  Britney Spears’s Midnight Fantasy is the flip side of that – I know very little about Ms Spears because I am old and Do Not Care but I presumed that she would have a bubblegum scent wrapped in a 13yr old’s version of what a Midnight Fantasy would be.   Instead, it’s a rather sophisticated gourmand, heavy on the fruit, but bypassing the Bazooka altogether.  At the other end of the spectrum is Cartier’s Baiser Vole.  Without any note information I would’ve bet serious money that it was going to be along the lines of The Dragon.  Instead, it’s one of my favorite light-green lily florals ever!

I am always doing something pre-judgy, like with the lemon and dark chocolate which I was sure was going to TASTE AWFUL.  Ha.    Or, when I wasted 10 gustatory years of my life, being absolutely sure that shrimp would taste awful (I was 8 – but it wasn’t until I was 18 or so that I finally caved.  Oh,my wasted Yute!).    I was terrified of Guerlain until I was nearly 30 (my mom bombed the hell out of our house with Shalimar edt)  – it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that Mitsouko stole my heart.

What about you Posse?  Is there a perfume (or something) that you prejudged, only to find yourself hoist on your own petard?

And hey!  I haz not forgot!  I haz WINNERS!




c’mon down to gmail and tell evilauntieanita all your mailing details!  I will get some goodies out to you, pronto!

annnnd…..I may just have The Girl pull a giveaway for today.  Tell me some fun stories!







  • maggiecat says:

    I think I tend to prejudge based on a list of notes. Ooh, notes I know I like – I’ll love this. Notes I don’t like or feel “meh” about – not for me. I’ve proved myself wrong often enough now to be skeptical of these “informed” prejudgments. Case in point: I was at an event featuring Mason Francis Kurkdjian at Neiman Marcus one day (I met him! I have A Picture.) and was studiously avoiding Lumiere Noire, as I knew it had cumin in it. Roses are boring, patchouli is meh, and cumin is ick, at least until, apparently, the right person puts them together. A friend sprayed it on herself, and I swooned. I wondered if it would smell that good on me. It didn’t – it smelled BETTER. Wow. Still a favorite, still gorgeous. Still has cumin but apparently that works in the hands of genius (did I mention how much I like FK? And that I have a picture, and everything, as well as many of the perfumes he’s ever created? Oh, I did? Never mind…)

  • Tiara says:

    I think many of the Noir types get pre-judged and because they aren’t as expected or desired, they’re slammed. Sort of like the stock market. Analysts decide where earnings and sales should be. The lead up to the earnings report often brings a rise in the stock price just on the anticipation of wonderful news. The actual numbers get released and kaboom, there goes the price per share, downhill. We aren’t supposed to pre-judge people so perhaps we (me included) shouldn’t pre-judge a perfume.

  • Ann says:

    Hello, sweetie! Great post. My tale: Years ago, I had made up my mind that I was not EVER going near the Clive Christian line — too expensive, too boastful, too everything. But one day in Neiman’s, an SA that I’d known on and off for years turned up repping the line. Not wanting to offend her, I took a small hit of C for Women on my wrist and after some chit-chat, slunk toward the ladies room. But somewhere between the counter and the loo, I fell hard for that that rich, plush, sexy scent. So that was my lesson in finding love in the unlikeliest places.

    • Ann says:

      Dagnabit, darling! Now you’ve made me want to break my budgetary vows and go dig my CC out of the perfume fridge! 🙂

  • dinazad says:

    I’m very sorry to inform you that the dark chocolate/lemon/black pepper bar isn’t available anymore. Which makes me very, very sad.

    In other news: I’m off today to smell the new Louis Vuitton scents. I dislike LV intensely, but I’m told the scents are really, really good. I’m trying to keep my expectations in a neutral mode….

  • ChristineB says:

    I would have expected Stephen Jones to be more twee than it was, but on me it’s mostly dusty Violet’s with a metallic vibe that I’m really into.

  • I remember someone (probably from this site) comparing smelling Mitsouko for the first time to biting into asparagus or some other bitter veggie for the first time. I was horrified the first time I smelled it. Unfortunately, it was the the EDT. But the bottle! The beauty of that bottle. And as a history lover I found it so romantic that it was the same design as L’Heure Bleue’s. L’Heure Bleue to me was so beautiful and represented so well the innocence of pre war Europe. I expected Mitsouko to be more sophisticated as it was born into a post war ravaged Europe that had given birth to the tantalizing stories of Henry Miller and others. But it was worse than asparagus. It was bitter brussel sprouts. Yuk. A scrubber. My disappointment at age 35 was palpable. But now, at 42 I have finally tried the extrait and have never smelled anything so exquisite or sophisticated. I am in love. So deeply in love! It is indeed deserving of that lovely bottle it shares with another gem, L’Heure Bleue. If only the extrait was easy to find…

  • Rina says:

    We must share a Mom, as mine does that with Shalimar too. Makes me sad when it dissipates, since that means she’s gone back home… I fell in love with Mitzah and realized one day that it’s VERY close in DNA to Shalimar! Can’t escape family…

  • HeidiC says:

    For years, I avoided L’Air du Temps — between the overly-precious bottle with the glass birds on the stopper, and the way Hannibal Lector associates it with Agent Starling’s cheap tastes and hillbilly past, I guessed it would be some dime-store dreck. But I discovered a fellow perfumista in the administrative secretary at the department where I used to teach, and she was a big Nina Ricci fan. That was the first time I ever gave it a serious smell, and it’s actually quite lovely!

  • Jeanne says:

    I remember the girl who sat across from me in high school, freshman year. She was constantly dabbing on her Blue Waltz perfume. AND she wore white lipstick! This was 1960. I’m old! By the way, any suggestions for a replacement for Estee
    Lauder’s Estee perfume. I swear if my husband asks me to put on ” his favorite” perfume, again, I’ll jump ship. Yes, I’m old, but I don’t want to smell that way.

    • Maya says:

      Hi. I had totally forgotten about girls wearing white lipstick!!! LOL. It had changed by the time I got to high school. Well, the curiosity that keeps me sampling perfumes also made me check out Estee. I found one on ebay and one on Amazon. Good luck, 🙂
      PS I think the “age is just a number” has been overused, but I do think age is, to a certain extent, a state of mind. At least that’s my choice for the way to go.