Three-Way Swap!!! Yeah, Baby!!!

lab.jpgPatty came up with the genius idea that she, Marina (of Perfume-Smellin Things) and I do a blind fragrance swap. We’d each send the others 6 to 8 sample vials of fragrances we’d selected from our collections, and then gather up their impressions and comments and post them. I’m going to do my Big Reveal on what I sent out today, tomorrow they’ll offer a rebuttal, and they’ll humilate me and each other in future posts, so stay tuned.

I tried to pick fragrances across the price and exclusivity spectrum. I think we all discovered that it was REALLY HARD to work blind like that. It’s one thing to sit down with a decant of Serge Lutens Gris Clair and the perfume notes from some online research and go, yeah, it smells like lavender and dry woods or whatever. It’s another to sit down with Sample A and try to talk about it.

I named my samples randomly, using the goofy Alphabet Wall Cards in the kids’ bedroom. I sent six identical samples to Patty and Marina. Here’s what they had to say about them:

Patty said
: Kind of a floral thing, a little tart? There’s a plastic-smelling note in there. I hope it goes away, because it’s not bad without it. Dries down fairly nicely, but still has that something in there.
Marina said: Smells very pretty and somehow very familiar. I feel as if I should know this one. I got so paranoid; I actually went to smell my Songes. No, it’s not Songes. But something along those lovely, feminine, rather tropical lines. Jasmine, orange blossom, ylang ylang, maybe orange or tangerines as well. Vanilla in the drydown. I quite like it; it may be full bottle worthy for summer. Please don’t tell me it’s Baby Phat Goddess.
It was Gap Scent Editions Spun Orange Blossom EDT (now half off the original $24 price). This is a decent orange-blossom fragrance which reminds me quite a bit of S-Perfumes Sloth. It’s got that same weird, mildly industrial note which P did not find pleasant. It’s fairly lightweight, not unexpected at this price point. Marina, if you want a bottle, get busy, they’re discontinued! Hey, at least it’s not Goddess.

Patty said: Is this Eau de Leopard in Heat? Nasty, I won’t be wearing this again. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to use that arm again, what a horror show.
Marina said: I tried it twice and had different, but still favorable, impressions each time. First time it seemed simpler, more linear, sort of herbal-citrusy. The second time it smelled like a sophisticated Perfume with capital P. Sophisticated to an extent that I am going to wildly guess this is a Guerlain of some sort. I think I smell bergamot, something green, maybe jasmine as well, maybe even a sweet rose, some fresh lily of the valley. I am sure I am completely mistaken here, but I am going to guess Guerlain Parure. Or, alternatively, Coty Emeraude.
It was Dior Diorella EDT ($50ish new), a fragrance classic that I believe Chandler Burr described as mint toothpaste on a mink coat. I adore Diorella, which is a citrus-bergamot-fruit-jasmine confection with an animalic undertone. Unfortunately it is great on me half the time, and half the time the drydown goes veeeery wrong. I am not surprised Patty loathed its skank, and good job Marina on recognizing a grown-up Perfume with a capital P.

Patty said: 4711!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or something equally as happy and light. Quetzal is fizzing too. Did you put baking soda in these vials first? I still like this, fizzy time bomb or not. Dries down to a not very memorial, but not obnoxious smell.
Marina said: I am guessing Guerlain here again. Or a vintage Caron. This has depth, this has powderiness, this has a little something animalic going on. This has skank. I have done a post on both once but I don’t own either and must admit I do not remember them very vividly, so,¦I am guessing Guerlain Vol de Nuit or Caron En Avion. Both had that dirty, dark, musky thing going on amidst all that classic sophistication. If I am mistaken (which I probably am), I am eagerly awaiting to know what this seductive, classic potion is.
It was vintage Coty lࢠOrigan (bought, not cheaply, on eBay and in excellent condition). My entry in the Vintage category. I have smelled the current iteration, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. When I think of the glory that was Coty, I guess it’s cry… Anyway, I spilled a ton of this down the sink using one of Patty’s early April Fool presents: a glass vial with TWO open ends. I don’t decant much (or maybe I’m just a moron) and it took me awhile to diagnose the problem while watching the juice run down the drain. Me: {spraying carefully}: “Dang! Why doesn’t this thing fill up?!?” Anyway, it is fizzy because the bottle is pressurized. I think it’s quite sophisticated in the drydown, and it has the dirty smell of an old classic, and I mean dirty in the best possible way.

Patty said: This one is gas fumes in a vial. Is this perfume or did you mix it up with paint thinner? I can’t leave this on, excuse me while I go find the Boraxo. The single worst thing I have ever smelled. The vial was mismarked, it should be “Nose Napalm.”
Marina said: Foxy little number indeed. Dry, herbal beginning is scrumptious. I am not sure what the herb here is. Thyme? Basil? Both? A slightly citrusy feel to this too, but it is very subtle. Sometimes I smell a lot of incense in the beginning and the middle, sometimes just a little. The drydown is always incensey, ambery, cedary and still a little herbal. This is full bottle worthy for me for sure. The scent has a Diptyque feel to it, and I am frantically trying to remember which one of the Diptyques I haven’t tried might fit what I smell. L’Eau Trois? Unless it is SMN Citta di Kyoto, or perhaps it is Laura Tonatto Amir? Parfums de Nicolai Maharadjah? Hmm.
It was Lorenzo Villoresi Piper Nigrum ($65 for 50 ml on Dill, anise, fennel, peppermint, citrus, pepper, olibanum, petitgrain, clove, rosemary amber, styrax, benzoin, balsam, myrrh, cedarwood. A dark, heavy incense and herb concoction, my entry in the Niche category, which was the hardest because Patty and Marina have smelled it all (and P owns most of it). As you can see, opinions on this one differed wildly! I liked it a lot, and I’m not surprised Marina was nuts for it (and she was spot-on in her guesses), but am a little surprised by how repulsed P was. She likes incense, but definitely not this one! I’ll admit it’s not timid.

Patty said: this thing fizzed at me when I opened it? Is it Alka Seltzer? Nope. Smells pretty good actually. A welcome relief from the feral cat in heat. Very light and pretty, I’m pretty much liking this. Except it just disappeared! Maybe the Fox crept up my arm and smothered it.
Marina said: Ugh. The scary thing about this one is, when you open the vial, it goes ‘pop’ rather loudly, and if you look inside, this concoction is actually bubbling. I swear. As for the juice itself, it is sweet and girly. I smell cherries or some sort of berries and/or fruits and anise. Rose. Vanilla. It’s not exactly offensive or vile, just very PINK and generic and sweet. Spears Fantasy? Very Resiter Irresistible? Or perhaps that Oilily scent, about which you once posted?
It was Coty Exclamation! Yeah, that stupid one at the drugstore with the big “!” on the bottle instead of the name. (CVS, spray bottle, $4.99) This was my entry in the drugstore category. It came in a pressurized container (it’s a body mist) hence the complaints about the fizziness. Good observation, ladies! Really, it could have been worse. Marina did discern that it wasn’t exactly top drawer stuff. I’m kind of with Patty on this one, though. I wore it all day and didn’t have to cut my arm off. It’s just really sweet, girly and inoffensive. Has approximately the staying power you’d expect for a $4.99 spray mist, which is why it comes in a hairspray-size can.

Patty said: Some kind of candy? Candy with mint? Mint candy? I actually kind of like it. It’s pretty light, refreshing, like one of those pretty white mint candies you get in a bowl, and it gets extra points because it is erasing the memory of Fox from my mind.

Marina said: Starts sweet, almost lemon-candy sweet. That citrusy sweetness grows smokier somehow, which is a quality I find very appealing. I am not sure what is reason for that smokiness and I guess ‘smokiness’ is not even a good word. What I am trying to say is that as the scent develops, it grows more ‘substantial‘, more complex. Perhaps there is an herb or two there, maybe some amber, something that gives this citrus a solid drydown. I am guessing Carthusia Mediterraneo, but it is probably some cheap Coty citrus from CVS. Heh.
It was Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat, my entry in the, uh, “I’m A Guerlain Whore” category (notice how many times Marina guessed Guerlain, she knew it had to be here somewhere!) It’s been around since 1920 and the notes are cedrat flower, lemon, verbena and bergamot. I don’t speak French and didn’t get to this one for awhile because I was (stupidly) translating Cedrat as Cedar, which is not a note that works well on me. Turns out this is Cedrat of the Rutaceae family, a.k.a. that creepy Buddha’s hand plant. I’ve never smelled the flowers, but as far as I’m concerned it’s Nirvana in a Bottle that lasts a whole 20 minutes, more or less, I just carry an atomizer and reapply. It does have a little smokiness, a bit of le Skanque Guerlain in there. I smelled this in a beat-up, ugly old bottle in a weird little boutique, grinned in wonder and did something I pretty much NEVER do: bought it on the spot. You can buy it online in the Bee bottle, but my disclaimer: my bottle is old (I don’t know how old) and, given how busy Guerlain’s been reformulating, I’m not sure whether they’ll smell the same.

So. Tune in tomorrow for Patty and Marina’s comments, now that they know what I subjected them to.


    Äâåñòè ðóáëåé ñïàñóò îòöà Ðóññêîé Äåìîêðàòèè ?

  • March says:

    S — hey, I sent you an email back, glad you got your package! I hear sending fragrance across the border is dicey.  Have a nice-smelling weekend!@};-

  • March says:

    Flora — thanks for stopping by! Glad we’re a day-brightener.:”>

  • cheezwiz says:

    This was hysterical! Mondo entertainment! I can’t wait to read the rest. I especially thought it was funny that everyone sorta din’t mind Exclamation – the ultimate eighties concoction!

    P.S. March! your package arrived today! you made my week – Hell my next few months even! Thanks soooo much . Check your e-mail for my rambling rhapsodic thoughts >:d<

  • Flora says:

    Oh, this is SUCH fun, I can’t wait for the next round. It really makes my day to read my favorite fragrance blogs after a hard day at the office, and this sort of thing is just the icing on the cake. >:d<

  • March says:

    Victoria O — hey, those Paris photos are the bomb. I loved Full Moon… heh heh

  • March says:

    Patty — honest, you never said anything about the PN. If I’d known you hated it that much I wouldn’t have sent it back!:)>-
    You definitely got even with me, though… can’t wait for your Big Reveal!

  • March says:

    Katie — I wanted your Pink Musk but they were SOLD OUT! No kidding. And I just couldn’t do the Jean Nate — man, I’d forgotten how bad it is. Exclamation is not as great as S&S, but it ain’t bad for what it is…

  • March says:

    Leopoldo — sweaty one-handed?!?! Eewwwwww:-&

  • March says:

    Judith — wow, Noxema!?! I didn’t get that at all. It is really strong, though. I sent LV Spezie to Marina, let’s see how she likes it.

    At this point, L’Origan has had more faces than Melanie Griffith.

  • How fun! What a great idea, loved the read!

  • Katie says:

    Ach, don’t judge Exclamation by the cansiter one – I promise it is much gentler and pleasurable in the regular bottle atomizer form! Truly. It’s still powdery and sweet, of course 😉

    Loved this idea – wonderful feature to do you guys!

  • Leopoldo says:

    I’m all for silliness and wenchdom. Keep up the truly marvellous work.

    Scent sluts would have been magnificent, but you’re right about the sweaty one-handed type problem….

    I’m gonna enjoy your next load of blinds.

  • Judith says:

    Fascinating! Do it again–make it a regular feature! Love the responses to Piper Nigrum (which I adore); interesting that no one smelled Noxema here:) And adding to the vintage l’origan confusing–I have two examples and they smell different (although I like them both); maybe it’s the aging, or maybe it was reformulated more than once.
    Thanks again for this!

  • Patty says:

    Diorella turned into classic pit on me. I smell it in the vial, and I don’t hate it there. Just once it gets on me, just pure-d horrific smelling.

    Same with the PN, I smelled it again in the vial, and I still don’t like it, but I didn’t have quite the virulent reaction at that point. it is only when it hits my skin that it turned into a foul, foul thing. But now I remember that from when I had it and why I packed it off quickly.

    I did try the L’Origan again, and it does dry down powdery, but I love the intial poof when it goes on, just so happy smelling!

  • March says:

    Leopoldo — when we were redesigning the site, Patty’s man suggested “Scent Sluts” but we were concerned that it didn’t convey our earnest professionalism.
    Plus we’d come up on people’s weird pervy googles, I don’t even want to think about it.;)
    We are kind of silly wenches, though.

  • March says:

    shifts — thanks for stopping by! Patty’s going to have to censor some of my responses to her, uh, “fragrances,” I think.

  • March says:

    Victoria — thanks for the compliments. We were laughing so hard doing this. It was tough choosing the scents. I’m going to look like an idiot when they do theirs, I think. Oh well.:o

  • March says:

    P, I was pretty darn sure I got the PN from you in the first Candy box. Gonna send Marina some LV Spezie too. heh heh she’ll probably like it
    Diorella is a CLASSIC, woman. A weird-smelling classic, but a classic. I think Chandler Burr was right.

  • March says:

    Marina — I’ve owned 4 (!) vintage l’Origans and they all smelled different, I liked this one the best.
    Will be sending you your bottle of Jaguar today or tomorrow, wear it in good health.
    The Cedrat — I couldn’t find an atomizer; it should be sprayed on. It is so beautiful.
    Cringing to see what I’ve guessed wrong on the stuff you and P sent!:-ss

  • Leopoldo says:

    What larks and japes! Keep up the good work you silly saucy ladies.

  • shifts says:

    That was great fun reading, I’m very much looking forward to the follow ups. Thanks!

  • Victoria says:

    Applause! This was so much fun to read about. I laughed out loud over some comments. Great selection, March!

  • Patty says:

    Hahaha! Of course! I gave away that Piper Nigrum because I ran screaming as soon as I smelled it the first time. I’m dying here. I’m not surprised about the Diorella. That thing had skank to burn, smelled like my arm had sex without me.

  • Marina says:

    Well I never!…The weirdest thing is…I actually have a sample of vintage L’Origan and I had my suspitions, so I tested my L’Origan and “Quetzal” SIDE BY SIDE, and they did not smell the same. 😮 I guess because they are vintage, perhaps the bottles age differently…or something. In any case, they did not smell totally different, but they were not identical either. How weird is that?

    As for Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, I have a decant and the fact that I did not recognize it just shows how seldom I wear this pretty thing!

    So that was Diorella…I wanted to try it for ages, and this is how we were destined to meet, her incognito, me smitten with this beautiful stranger. 😡 I love her.

    And finally, Piper Nigrum. Again, wanted to try it for so long. I love it. Must have a bottle. Thank you for introducing me to it, March!