The Unexpected

First up, the winners of the two Christmas sample packs are: Anna and Karen (of the combat boots and war games in Germany variety). Just click on the contact Us button over on the left and send me a shipping address, and I’ll get your little gifts out to you!

There are a mess of new things sitting on my desk that I had been putting off while thumbing my way through Carons and old Guerlains this month. Distraction in the aged is not a pretty picture.


Indult Tihota — Vanilla on steroids, and I mean that in a good way. If you are a vanilla lover, this is The Vanilla Killah. Not overly sweet, it has the best of vanilla in it without all the cavities, which is a welcome change, with a slightly earthy bent to it. I’m not a vanilla fan for the most part, but I quite like Tihota. It has great lasting power — all of these do. I can still smell this the next day, though fainter. Is it FBW at EUR160 for 50 ml? Well, not for me, a nonvanilla fan, but for fans, i think this would be the one to have.

Indult Manakara — This one is fairly sweet, but just about the time you think it is going to be an over the top fruity floral, it reigns back in and stays just at about the right place on the sweet level for a fruity floral. I wasn’t sure how much I liked this one at first, but as it dried down and the sweet faded a bit, it’s a very lovely blend. Enough to buy? If it wasn’t quite so much, I’d say yes… though there’s something that is a little mesmerizing about it that I like and keep sniffing. I still may change my mind on the bottle.

Indult Isvaraya — Okay, this is the one I truly have to have, if I get any of them. Marina lists notes of patchouli, Indian plum tree and jasmine sambac. A gorgeous blending of jasmine and patchouli, a little fruity note, and this makes a very earthy jasmine, like you picked up the earth and the jasmine all together and rubbed your nose in it. I really didn’t think these notes could be done well, but it seriously is a great creation.

The price point on the Indults still bothers me, though it’s about the same as the Armani Prive scents. There is a smoothness to all three of them, and they are done very well. Dare I hope that at some point they would sell these three in a coffret? They all seem well suited to layering with each other. All of them will be available Jan 8 at Sephora in Paris with a limited run of bottles for EUR160 for 50 ml.


Recently some very odd magazines started showing up in the mail, like Inc. and Entrepeneur and Money. Even though those are the sorts of magazines I should read for my real work, I just don’t — I much prefer the fluffier magazine-reading side of my job, like “Entertainment Weekly” and “Us.” Yes, that is TOO part of my job! (stamps foot in emphasis) Of course, like with all magazines that enter our house, they got snagged up for a read and left wherever. When my youngest son came back from his dad’s, he was all huffy and demanding why we had stolen his magazines and not even told him they started to arrive. Completely baffled about what magazines he was talking about, he informed me that was HIS Money magazine and Entrpreneur. Huh. After my WTF moment, which was the unexpected thwapping the known up the side of the head, I about peed myself laughing as he explained how he came by those magazines. Apparently ThinkGeek gives him Geek points every time he orders something, and he got an offer from them to pick three magazines, and he said those sounded like the most interesting of the three. ThinkGeek, 16-year-old boys, financial magazines…what on earth do these three have in common? In Harry’s case, just throw a kickass guitar, a ginormous amp, a love of physics, chemistry, writing poetry and puzzles in there, and it all starts to clear up, or as well as he ever will come into focus.

There is a dissonance when what you thought you knew gets splattered with Some New Thing. It’s not an unpleasant feeling, it is just jarring, like silk on gravel — two things that you didn’t think went together are now inhabiting the same space in a brain cell. My children have always remained a mystery to me in many ways — they both have a deep interior life that leaks through every now and then, and it is puzzling and usually comical. How in the world do they keep so many fragments of who they are concealed?

This is also how I feel about all of the Parfumerie Generale scents — well, not quite as strongly as if they were my sons. Most of you know I’m a Parfumerie Generale slutty cheerleader and will pimp this line every chance I get. There is truly at least one scent in this line for everyone, but not in that plain vanilla way that works because they won’t offend you, but you’ll find one that speaks to you and is pleasantly discordant and mesmerizing.

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba — Ho-ly Mo-ther of God. When this sample hit my skin, I was in deep, deep love, but, alas, that love faded, to be replaced with respect and very deep likey lust. Notes of crystallized orange pulp, red ginger, Amaretto, Copahu balm, mahogany wood, myrrh and sandalwood. Bois de Copaiba is just extraordinary. Normally I’m not happy with the “boozy” scents, but this one doesn’t turn too winey or grapey, which is the tipping point for me, but stays so rich and warm and spicy and in the drydown almost silky, and it just makes me feel, well, hot! There is something in the drydown that reminds me of Armani Prive Pierre de Lune (which has slowly turned into one of my favorite perfumes… ever), though I don’t think any of the notes are the same, but there’s a similar feel to them both. It’s like a polished rock sliding over your skin, just has that smooth, luxurious feel to it. I loved the open better than the drydown, but that shouldn’t take away from the incredible scent this is. I guess I just wish it had stayed more spicy raw as at the beginning — if it had… oh, dear, there would be no limits to my love. But I’ll just keep applying it every 7 minues to get that open.

Parfumerie Generale Cedar Sandaraque — Notes of vetiver, African cedar, Sandaraque resin, cereals and praline amber. Cereals? If I’d known cereal could smell so good in a perfume, I would have started chucking special K in all of my perfumes. This one joins my absolute favorites in the line, Harmatan Noir and Hyperessence Matale, with my favorite woody tea scents (this category doesn’t necessarily have both notes in there, but I always lump wood and tea together, don’t ask why). There is a crisp earthiness about this wood scent that is just invigorating, though the resin and cereal adds a little bit of sweetness to it.

Parfumerie Generale Corps & Ames — Notes of geranium bourbon, spices, everlasting flowers, Melati wood, leather and sandalwood. It took me a little longer to love this one, but slowly its beauty emerged for me. A very unique blend, it’s the one that keeps me sniffing because it is deeply interesting, even though I don’t love it the most. I’m not sure what that means… maybe I do love it the most. Nope, nope, I’m going to spritz on some Harmatan Noir, which is truly magnificent.

All of the Parfumerie Generale scents can be bought from their website or at The Perfume Shoppe.

BTW, guess who scored a teensy bottle of Parfum Sacre Extrait on The Bay this week? That’s right. I’m having a parfum month, which will get all wrapped up in a post or two in January.

Painting from Marie Shell. Photo of fountain from Jamb.

  • Maria B. says:

    As a member in reasonably good standing of three geranium societies I rise in defense of the Rodney Dangerfield of scented plants. Actually, I’m here defending pelargoniums, the genus of the geranium family from which essential oils are extracted. (Yes, I’m also with the Botanical Police.) Pellies are nice guys, really. The variety is vast, way beyond the orange things you see growing in pots in summer.

    To illustrate what a nice bunch of pets they are, I’ll share some fun facts. The term geranium Bourbon refers to its origin in Reunion Island, a French department off the coast of Madagascar that was named Ile de Bourbon by Louis XIII after his royal house. (The French Revolution changed that.) Reunion Island is the world’s foremost producer of “geranium” (pelargonium!) essential oil. The plants must be grown at high altitudes there because, as plants with succulent stems, they hate humidity! (Trust me on that one.) The headquarters of the essential oil producers’ cooperative is located in the town of Tampon. (The Internet doesn’t lie, does it?)

    Any time you want to know something about any member of the Geraniaceae family, just ask–if you don’t mind learning more than you wanted to in the first place. :”>

    I also grow roses and jasmine, but I never have to defend them. They get respect. @};-

  • Karen says:

    It’s never too late to learn a foreign language! When my daughter left home, I took French 101 at the local community college — thinking that it would distract me from missing her. (She was an only child.) What with classes 2 nights a week, I certainly didn’t have time to miss her! I continued with the rest of the series, and now have 14 semester hours of French, plus 4 years of high school Spanish, 22 semester hours of German, and several classes of Norwegian (taken at the Fairfax County Adult Education program). It’s funny how you never really forget a language – I have no problem reading the various Spanish language things I come across. I was amazed how closely related Norwegian and German were. If you’ve studied Germany, you are “halfway” to Norwegian. So don’t bemoan your lack of French! Go check out the local community college and take a class!

  • Patty says:

    L — I need to reorder the coffret for the second chapter, I’m missing a few too, and I need the coffret for the first chapter! And the Private Collection 47 coffret, need that too (Hugs to Judith who knows everything!).

    There should be a class taught to 5th Grade Girls on Weighing Their Options, just so they know how expensive Shopping Accidents can be and start early to plan for how to fund them.

  • Patty says:

    Warren, Myrrh? Are you talking about this morning? That was the Tale of Two Djedis. The one with Myrrah was from yesterday or the day before — the day I was reeking from so many diffrent samples on.@};-

  • Patty says:

    Marina — it has a fierce siren song, and I tried, honest!!! My next test is the spritz one, which should just make a mess of my resolve not to buy any scent this hard to get and expensive.

  • Elle says:

    I’ve already got a few full bottles, but I think I’m just going to have to get that coffret anyway, since there are about 5 more that if I don’t have, I don’t think I can continue existing on this planet.

    That’s the sort of cc I want – make that need. And I think all unattached perfumistas should think long and hard about the cost of urn scents, LEs, non-exports, vintage, etc. before making any long term romantic commitments. Well, unless the prospective partner signs a pre-nup stating they fully understand the potential future need for said perfumista to find a generous sugar daddy to fund the scented habit.

  • Patty says:

    Ah, you’re entering the years as the clay starts to harden… I adored the teenage years, no matter how much hell Alex put me through. It’s just the most interesting time before they settle down into the person they are.

    Ha! You can’t get into Denver after today. We’ll have five feet of snow, the airport seems to be oblivious to the fact that they are in Denver and can’t seem to move snow off the runway, nor can the street crews, so if you get into denver by Yak, you’ll then have to traverse the potholed by snow roads that are still covered in that mess and find me beyond my snow fort barrier wall.

    Hey, put them in the mail to you today. I’ll be interested what you think. You definitely need to try these new PGs, if you haven’t already. I just got samples or I’d send them on.

  • Patty says:

    L — you know, I had a proposal once from a rich man who could have kept me in the perfume to which I would like to become accustomed, and looking back, though I love my husband beyond my vocabularly, it might have worked out a *little* better…. 🙂 Kidding! Though credit cards with very large limits that only had to be paid back $10 a month would be really handy.

    Just did a quick calculation of all the scents I want right this second, and it comes up to about 2k. I need a Sugar Daddy.

  • Patty's LH says:

    I KNEW I smelled myrrh. I thought I was losing my mind, but I KNEW it.

  • Judith says:

    Note on navigating PG for March and other non-French speakers:
    You would think that pressing “English” at the beginning would do it, but once you get into the online store, you have to do it again. Look over on the right side, and you will see a little drop-down menu headed “votre langue”; choose “english” and the page will now be (mostly) in your language.:)
    As far as the coffrets–they, do, indeed, have a set of 15 minis, but that only includes Chapters 1 and 2. If you want to get the Private Collection coffret, you need to order it separately: it is Private Collection no. 47.

  • Patty says:

    Weird on the BdC. I think I need to get a full bottle or a decant and spritz this. Samples are sometimes so hard to get to the real deal if a scent needs air to loft it. The Ames is the one that I keep holding up and twisting and turning and examining, and I have a hunch this is the one that I’ll gravitate towards loving, it hits me the same way Harmatan Noir did, though its beauty is not as out there right at the start. Truly a gorgeous scent.

  • Anna says:

    You want to know what’s not a pretty picture? Finding out you’re too old to be jumping around like an overcaffeinated kangaroo, albeit an elated one! I couldn’t help myself though, and the samples I’m sure will be well worth the pain to my aged knees! Thank you thank you my dear!! 😡

  • Leopoldo says:

    Oh man, I’m determined to resist. At least for the next three days.

    Silk and gravel – great image. Your kids sound fantastic, P.

  • Marina says:

    No one can resist Isvaraya!!

  • March says:

    Patty — before I get to the scents, can I say — what a beautiful/hilarious evocation of the foreign planet of proto-adults? I am looking forward to the day I can say, I knew Harry’s mom when Harry was still just a goofy, Inc.-reading YouTube-messing kid, back before he became etc.

    The Indults — you’re tormenting me with these, aren’t you? You sugared that dude into giving you some samples, and he blew me off, and now you’ve arranged 3 feet of snow so you’ll never have to send me another set. Well, it won’t work. I have your ADDRESS, babe, and if I have to fly into your new airport (what is that, 50 miles from Denver? is it even IN CO?) and drive to your house to smell some of the stuff you bought in the last month I will:d

  • March says:

    Elle — I too foolishly took Spanish instead of French:-w, but if my mighty poor translation skilz are working correctly (have I ever mentioned the time I bought the EMPTY atomizer on French eBay?)… where was I? Oh, I THINK PG now has a coffret of all 15 scents for 130 Euros. Since I’m a) still missing some and b) never going to work through a bottle of anything, I’m contemplating it. However, I’ll have to get Patty or Judith to order it for me or I’ll probably wind up with a coffret of empty bottles.

    The Indults …. let it go, hon. Let it go. Deep breaths. Bend without breaking.

  • Elle says:

    This is the time of year I spend some time contemplating my bellybutton and my life. One of the things that mystifies me and I may need therapy for is why, as a perfumista since early childhood, I did not become fluent in French and married for love, not money, and, worse yet, an American who has no plans to emigrate to Europe where I can more easily get non-export scents. The desperate need to own Isvaraya and an unfortunate number of the PGs is what brought up this gloomy train of thought. Also, until this moment, I hadn’t even bothered trying my Corps et Ames sample. I mean…ge*a**um. Me? Oh, no. But, this morning I figured how much more depressed could I get? I tried it after reading your review. The universe is crashing down around me. It has that *note*…but…I *like* it. A lot. Must go check yellow pages for therapists.

  • Judith says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to try that Indult Isvaraya!

    On the PGs–my reaction to Bois de Copaiba is pretty much the opposite of yours. The opening is much too sweet on my skin–and every time I put it on I wonder why I did. But then, after about 15 mins. the sweetness fades, and it’s luscious for the rest of the day. It reminds me of Or des Indes (I think Marina said this too); nevertheless, I probably would have bought a bottle, if it were not for my own true love–Querelle. I adore this, and could only wish it lasted longer (there is an Haute Concentration form, but it is more expensive, only available in 100ml., and not at ThePerfumeShoppe–which has cheaper prices– so I was “sensible” and went with the 50 ml. EdP. After all, I like to spritz a lot):)
    For the rest: The Cedre was OK, but nothing extraordinary on me. I really liked the Corps et Ames, though, and I’m glad to see you did, too (it hasn’t gotten much love yet). It reminds me somewhat of MH Geranium Bourbon.
    Actually, they are all at least good, and I am very glad I got the mini-set.