This week both Cinnamon and March have talked about the holidays, the weather and what we do around now- the holiday traditions. I’ve talked about some of this before, and since we have had a slew of (very much needed) rainstorms lately, it’s been cold and with this darned flu that seems never to quite go away, but linger sort of just around the edges, I’ve been taking it as an excuse to stay in under the bankies and binge watch old movies, Prime and Netflix.
Not that I need an excuse.
Of course, “cold” is a relative term here, especially in Southern California. Believe it or not it will get down to freezing here, even in the Hills of Beverly, where it may be illegal under local ordinances. Thing is, California homes are, for the most part, designed to keep the heat out, not in. You may have an air conditioner that would be great for keeping meat for a family of five but heat could be a gas-fed wall contraption that will work for about 11 minutes before giving up the ghost. Or exploding. My old place on Maple had one of those and it was a joke, until you got the gas bill, when the joke was on you. My new place has electric radiant heating, which will make you warm and toasty while bankrupting you. And so it goes: blankets, duvets and the desire to rent a couple of large fuzzy dogs will be my winter. Preferably St. Bernards trained to walk themselves, pick up after themselves, and deliver food like Postmates (since I don’t drink the casks would go untapped.)
But, as usual, I digress.
One of the good things about the cold weather is that you can pull out some of the heavy hitters that could actually smother people if worn liberally out in the heat of summer. Annick Goutal Sables was one (is one? Does it still exist?) that’s a delight in cool weather: the maple sweetness being carried by hunky woodsman vibe is wonderful at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At 40 degrees Celsius it would feel like hunky woodsman was trying to smother you with a plate of waffles.
Guerlain SDV in the old version was sort of in the same boat: its glottal vanilla cloud was, to some, just Too Damned Much. It was for the late and lamented perfumista who gave me the bottle, ¾ full after she decanted to friends. She found that I liked it and generously gave it to me. I still have the bottle and it still is about 1/8th full, but I got a bug up there (and it’s Christmas, dammit!!) and decided to use my zero balance on the store card to purchase a bottle from Neiman Marcus, blind. Would it be the same? Reformulated? Watered down?
Well the answer is yes, and no. I tried the new one after having put on the old one, which is. I think, never a great idea. The old one had time to set on my skin (and when this one gets a foothold it ain’t giving in without a fight..) so the new one seemed disappointingly thin. The next day after my morning ablutions I gave the new one a second try. It is lighter- whether this is from reformulations or just the older bottle having had years to settle in I don’t know. It is still Double Vanille, still with that slightly yeasty, bourbon-soaked quality that I loved in my older bottle. I would say it was a slight difference, an adjustment really: just turning the dial down from 11 to, say, 8. I don’t think it will win over people who were not fans of the initial release, and personally I’d like to have it back up to 11, but I can just spritz more and enjoy it myself. At home. In the winter. As it should be.
I am sure that wherever you are (except for the southern Hemisphere) it is likely colder than the temps I am whinging about. What are you reaching for, and what are you getting yourself for the holidays?
Images are from Pexels, except for the candid of the bottles, which is mine.