When life gives you lemons you put them in perfume, of course. What could be more delicious than a lemon perfume? Sadly, many of them end up smelling more like Lemon Pledge, or that goofy Love Fresh Lemon I wore as a kid. Actually, I just googled images of the original Love Fresh Lemon (made by the Baby Soft people, remember?) and there it is! $4.50 on Amazon. Worth it just for the trip down memory lane
But now I’m all grown up, and here are two of my favorite lemon fragrances, opposite ends of the lemon spectrum:
James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket
Philtre d’Amour, Guerlain — If this fragrance were a painting, it would be a Whistler nocturne, a burst of gold dazzling in an inky sky. I owe my impossible adoration of this one to Columbina, who reviewed the 1999 discontinued version. She mentioned it had been re-released, but Boisdejasmin said she had a sample of the new juice and was underwhelmed. I got a dab of the original 1999 vintage just to add it to the Guerlain Reject Pile, and I fell in love, isn’t it always that way? I asked Boisdejasmin to do an actual side-by-side comparison of the original and the re-release and she said: your (vintage) sample wins. It is longer lasting and richer. Carnation/isoeugenol is gone in the new version (no doubt, to comply with IFRA regulations) and the entire thing is as interesting as …. well, not very. If I were to buy, I would definitely go with the old one.
So I did. It took me awhile to get my mitts on a bottle, I kept getting outbid, and I ended up paying some stupid money, which I sat around regretting until the phial showed up and I swooned all over again. Notes: lemon, bergamot, verbena, jasmine, petitgrain, neroli, myrtle, patchouli.
Philtre smells like heaven, a heaven made primarily of Lemonhead Candy as rendered by Guerlain. It opens with a glorious burst of citrus that is admittedly more ReaLemon than real lemon, brightened up by the sparkle of the classic Guerlainade, with a tiny dollop of the Skank which I prize so highly in my preciousssssssss, er, my Guerlains. The last bottle I watched on Le Bay went for $132 for 30 ml (approximately 1 ounce). I paid more than that, and it’s worth every damn penny.