Good Things in Small Boxes

Who says money can´t buy happiness? As it turns out, a little money — $12 including shipping – buys a surprising amount, in terms of the beautifully-constructed sample 4-pack from Ineke Perfumer.

As shown in the photo, the four spray minis come lovingly papered and wrapped in individual miniature matchbook-like boxes, which are then wrapped in another paper, in a pouch, in an envelope along with a gorgeous full-color mini catalog explaining the scents. Really, I would have been impressed even if the fragrances were mediocre.

Which they are not. They are low-key, charming scents rather than bombastic, look-at-me fragrances, but every wardrobe needs a few things that are easy to wear. We´re heading into the long weekend here, and I´m not going to review each scent because I couldn´t do any better than Cait´s extensive reviews of these four fragrances on Legerdenez. My quick summation of the scents as they registered to my nose:

After My Own Heart – berries at the top, lilac, and musk on my skin; the lilac in the air was first-rate – you lilac-lovers, take note
Balmy Days and Sundays — honeysuckle and mimosa on a delicious, dusky chypre base, my favorite of the bunch along with Derring-Do
Chemical Bonding – citrus, tea, amber in a late-summer combination that reminds me of an amped-up L´Artisan The Pour Une Ete
Derring-Do – the “men” scent, which I´m going to declare deliciously unisex if you have some tolerance for a citrus-y fougere

All four fragrances are worth smelling. They have surprising presence for scents that go on with such delicacy – there is a wonderful sense of the perfume in the air around me, rather than emanating from a particular patch on my skin. They stick around decently without wearing out their welcome.

The last $12 purchase that made me this happy was the cup of coffee I bought at the Caffe Florian, so I could sit and watch the crowds wade by at high tide on the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

The winner of the Blind Sample giveaway is … Justine! Send me your address via: Contact Us and I’ll mail them to you.

I´ll leave you for the upcoming weekend with this final note of joy: my last few visits to various palaces of perfumage have been greatly improved by the fact that many, many people around me seem to be wafting the understated but instantly identifiable Guerlain Insolence. Can I tell you how delighted I am to get bits and hints of the Guerlinade in public, rather than blasts of Angel or some fruity-floral monstrosity? Judging by how many times I´ve smelled this one breezing past me, it must be doing very well indeed.

photo credit:

  • March says:

    Tigs — NOT a nerd honeymoon![-( I think DC would be a great place for a honeymoon. The museums are amazing, and parts of the city are just lovely… I hope you were here in some non-hellish time of the year (NOT, say, Feb. or August). I am stunned by the number of people who live here who NEVER go downtown. We go all the time.

    Hey, let me know if any of the samples thrill you — it’s always my favorite part of the sending! How are you feeling about the Musk? Marina reviewed it today:o

  • Tigs says:

    Oh, and March, just got my package! Wheeee! Thank you so much. I see the Smithsonian postcard and am so jealous that you live near such (a) marvelous museum(s) (as well as good perfume stores). I was at the Natural History building three years ago today, on my nerd honeymoon with my Big Cheese.

  • Tigs says:

    I have heard that fragrance gets in the way of the drug dogs. But what drug dog worth his salt is going to miss the pot because of a wax sample of Bois et Fruits? (Maybe a liquid sample of PG Coze would red flag?)

  • Jenn says:

    The utter irony is Carons do work on me.

  • March says:

    Tigs and Chaya — I know, what is the freaking problem with that? I consider Canada so reasonable; this fragrance thing baffles me. What ARE you gonna blow up with those wax balls? Or a 5ml sample of En Passant? Sheesh.

  • March says:

    Jenny — it’s sort of anti-minimalist and anti-trendy. And I like that.

  • March says:

    Jenn — Eeeeeewww — plastic-y berry would kill it off for me, too. The berry part only lasts on me for a couple of minutes, anyway. It sounds like Guerlain just isn’t going to work for you most of the time … I feel the same way about Caron. I admire the house immensely, but wouldn’t wear it.

  • March says:

    Justine — hey, it’s such a simple pleasure, all things considered. I feel no shame about my habit.[-(

    Well, not much, anyway.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Dear Tigs-
    Quelle tragedie, ma petite!
    No, really- that sucks!
    What can you blow up with a bunch of smelly wax balls, please?

    Sorry about that…

  • Tigs says:

    Balmy days & Sundays sounds lovely – like that name too. Insolence has yet to be released here, so no wiffs yet. I just tried calling Serge Lutens for the little book and despite my quite tolerable reading of French, my speaking is very poor – which is shameful for a Canadian – and I had to do the old “Avez vous une personne la qui parle anglais?” routine. And of course, it turns out Canadian customs won’t even allow the wax samples into the country. :((

  • Jenny says:

    I’m in love with the packiging as well. The whole presentation of the perfumes is wonderful, like the beautiful website.

  • Jenn says:

    Insolence on me becomes a very plasticky berry violet scent, the plasticky part is what gets to me, but then again there are very few Guerlains that work on me, Vetiver and L’Heure Bleu are the only ones I can wear, and Vetiver pour homme is the only one I really wear. I suspect the Guerlinade and I are not very compatable, and I really do wish Guerlain worked well on me.

  • Justine says:

    Whooohooo, my week is looking up, and just in time.

    Am I the only one who clicked on that link, and ordered those samples purely for the pleasure of presentation? No hesitation involved. 12 bucks? I can spend more than that on lunch and not enjoy it nearly as much.

    My daughter will be the one who busts me on another package, as my DH is pretty clueless. Last night she was quite disapproving as she wagged her head and lectured “MOM, another package????”

    Kids today.

  • March says:

    Veronica — it’s just about as much fougere as I can take and still want to wear it. Personally, I would have preferred a bigger hit of guaiac, that is such a sublime smell.

    Re Guerlain … okay, they’re not winning any originality awards with this one. But at least it SMELLS like Guerlain (at the base.) On some level, I hope/pray that whatever’s good for Guerlain is good for me, and that a potential home run with, say, Insolence will finance the reintroduction of some of their older and/or more unusual fragrances. I’m more worried right now about their (voluntary) reformulation of their oakmoss base … what is Guerlain without oakmoss? I don’t think they’re worried about allergens, I think they’re looking for something cheaper.

  • March says:

    Chaya — calling them —- eeeeek! That’s even worse than writing them!

    I have NO idea what you mean about packages. No packages showing up here, nosireee…:-“

  • March says:

    Jenn — huh. What is it you don’t like about Insolence? Not that there’s anything wrong with that!/:) Just curious — it strikes me as a fairly likeable, mainstream scent.

  • Ina says:

    I got my samples a while ago and am yet to review them. I agree, very low-key and very transparent. And I wish I smelled Insolence around here! It’s still very much a Coco Mlle filled world. :((

  • March says:

    Marina — honestly? No. I mean, I know what you like, more or less. A and B I think are too sweet for you. C you would like, but it is enough like other things I’m not sure you need it, which I would also say about D. You and I need another men’s scent like a hole in our heads.

    On the other hand … I got a ridiculous amount of pleasure just opening the whole package up and getting the spray vials out of their little boxes… like playing with dolls.:”>

  • March says:

    Sariah — that Insolence is really growing on me. Lord, I don’t think I could ever extract anything from Serge Lutens…

  • March says:

    Elle — I think we like a lot of the same things. These were not my usual style, either — but all of them were very well done. The only one that didn’t work on me personally was Chemical Bonding, the tea went soapy on me, which is something I do occasionally.

  • Veronica says:

    Out of curiousity I searched for Derring-Do’s notes:

    Top: fresh citrus blend, rain notes, cyclamen.
    Middle: magnolia, fougère accents.
    Base: guaiacwood, cedarwood, musk.

    Oakmoss and herbal notes / lavender would account for the ‘fougère accents’. Guaiacwood – “delicately sweet, rosy, woody”. Could be a good thing.

    As a Guerlain fan, I want to see Insolence do well, but not too well…

  • chayaruchama says:

    Mornin’ Sweetness-
    I may have to order these myself- but if one MORE package arrives, dear B will hang me by my thumbs…

    I know how Sariah feels- years ago, I swallowed my pride, and phoned the Palais Royal, conducting the request in French…

    Talk about feeling humbled…but they sent the concretes anyway, kind souls that they are !

    Some folks will forgive us our trespasses…

  • Jenn says:

    They sound so lovely, I just wish I liked Insolence.

  • Marina says:

    Not a single one of them sounds like my thing. Would I like any of them, March? If you say, yes, I’ll order a sample pack, if nothing else, just for the presentation 🙂

  • sariah says:

    Yah for Insolence! Your happiness at the lovely Ineke sample package reminds me of when I wrote the Serge Lutens boutique (biggest excercise my highschool french had in years) to request their “little book of perfumes” and received the fat square envelope with the little booklets of scented wax. Beautiful, thoughtful and original packaging is such a big plus. I’ve heard people complain that the wax doesn’t smell like the liquid, but for me it gave a good idea of each scent, and then I could narrow it down to the ones I wanted to try in liquid form. I think it’s a great idea for a line with so many scents.

  • Elle says:

    I was incredibly impressed w/ the presentation. That catalog was brilliant. These are not my normal style of scents, but I actually found myself really loving two of them (Chemical Bonding and After My Own Heart). They’re all extremely well composed. You’re right – every wardrobe can use scents like these.