Meanderings on Honey

So what’s new? Ava Luxe Shisha is what’s new. Notes of tabac, honey, raisin, aubepine, Indian jasmine, amber, sandalwood, spices, incense and musk. I’ve generally had better luck with the Ava Luxe fragrances in lotions and things, but this one is the first one that I’m pretty happy to wear on its own. It’s got a rich, velvety tobacco feel to it, it starts off just a little sweeter than I would like, but it quickly tamps down and is one of those wrap-around hug scents that just make you feel all warm and cozy.

Stephanie de Saint-Aignan came out with a line of scents that are even harder to find than most things we are all hunting for, only available in Printemps Paris for now. Tobacco Mucho is an great tobacco scent, all leather and dark tobacco — Knize Ten meets Tabac Blond and indulges in heavy petting thing. Au the Sahara has notes of mint tea, smoky incense, woods and leather. Now, my aversion to mint in perfume sorta takes over everything else, but for those of you that don’t mind the mint, I have a feeling leather/incense/woods lovers would find much to recommend this one. I can’t get past the mint. Why put mint in a perfume? Then I feel like I’m wearing a throat lozenge. I don’t want to wear a throat lozenge. Anyway, I do wish these were in wider circulation. I know Lisa (the one eBay and Bond treated so badly) has samples of it. If anyone is wanting them, let me know, I can put you in touch with her.

What I really loved the most of my daily sampling session, though, was that Niki de St. Phalle that March sent me. What opening weirdness are you guys talking about? This thing is absolute perfection from start to finish. It feels a little Aqaba’ish, but doesn’t get so strong and almost unwearable. Notes of Peach, Mugwort, Bergamot, Mint, Jasmine, Rose, Clove, Iris, Ylang-Ylang, Cedar, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk. I’m digging this. It may not be March, but it is definitely me! It’s just so weird, I don’t get the manly aspects or weirdness at the beginning at all, it goes past go, collects the $200 and hits Grade A Gorgeous. An excellent find, thank you, March!!!

Am I distracted a little and disjointed? Um… yes. 1 — IRS sends me a “Drop on by, we’d like to take a look at every record you have for 2005” mail. 2 — Aedes has made me realize, once again, that first impressions are never wrong. No matter how right you are, asking people nicely to do something creates a lot more goodwill than being a dick and continuing to be a dick even when the other person has acknowledged the first person is right and they will remedy their error. Has the whole world just ditched that “catching more flies with honey” bit?

  • Hello,

    Just a quick word about Stéphanie de Saint Aignan Parfums.

    Stéphanie created 7 fragrances for her first collection in 2007: le Pot Aux Roses, Berbériades (our bestseller and my personal favourite!), Voleur de Ciels (a men’s fragrance inspired by the world of aviation, the collection’s “enfant terrible”, you either love or hate it!), Amande Honorable, Embruns d’Ambre, and the above cited Un Thé au Sahara (those who like Vol de Nuit by Guerlain usually love this one, the mint note is made fuller and rounder by the addition of clary sage) and Tobacco Mucho.

    Her web site will soon be fully functional, both in French and English. In the meantime, you can contact her at for mail order or information.

    You can find the entire collection in Paris at Le Printemps Haussmann, Evody (niche perfumery in le Quartier Latin in Paris), Franck&Fils, Grassmat(Le Marais) or in Lyon at La Mûre Favorite and in Toulouse at L’Autre Parfum… and soon many more places throughout Europe!

  • pitbull friend says:

    I’m so delighted that the decant folks & perfume blog owners are so kind to each other. I’ve loved buying from Patty, Lisa, Marina, Ina, Diane, and Nancy, among others. You provide a great service! (And why compete? There are more than enough perfumes to go around.) I come here most often but adore several others as well and see such wonderful notes on here from bloggers Erin, Marie-Helene, Marina, and many others.

    Aedes & Bond aside, what a treat to see a community that almost always gets along so beautifully. Thank you to Patty and you other kind hearts!

    • Susan says:

      Okay – I’m one of Patty’s smalltime customers – but how would I buy from Lisa, Marina, Ina, Diane, or Nancy? Ebay? Any chance of you guys disclosing your seller names?

      Also, since “full bottle” came up in a previous post, where would you order a bottle of Armani/Prive “Cuir Amethyste”? I know it was supposed to be available at “select” Saks stores – but I, a usually competent internet searcher, have come up empty on this one.

      • pitbull friend says:

        Hi, Susan: I can’t think of a reason why I couldn’t list the names of these sellers’ stores on here, so here goes. These are folks I have done repeat business with, & you could search their Ebay stores by doing an advanced search (search by seller) & typing in their user IDs:
        I’d left out Linda, (*you*smell*marvelous*). Lisa (lisalaw), as discussed above, isn’t on Ebay now.
        Patty = fragrant_fripperies5
        Marina = bois*bois
        Ina = dove127
        Diane = dragonfly00
        Nancy = fishbone96

        Patty has links to all of the blogs I mentioned, and then some, on the left of this page.

        Ava Luxe perfumery you can buy from directly, as you can Sonoma Scent Studio, V’tae, and Ayala Morial, all of whom were mentioned yesterday. If I include the links, this will be pegged as spam, so just Google them for the addresses.

        As to Cuir Amethyste, I do see one bottle for sale on the Bay. Others from that line come up on the Armani fragrance website, but not C.A. — out of production? Again, I can’t list the link or I’ll be purged, but I’d probably Google “Armani Prive” for that link, then email the company?

        Happy sniffing!

        • Susan says:

          Thanks so much for that info!
          I’ve seen all of those seller names on ebay. Now I’ll feel more comfortable about ordering from them. Will check out the CA listing also- Many thanks.

          • March says:

            Susan — If you’re willing to pay retail, you should be able to call a Saks store, talk to someone in the perfume department (or ask for Armani fragrance/makeup, they’re usually together) and they’ll take your credit card info over the phone and send it to you. I don’t know where in the U.S. you are, but certainly the NY store will send it to you, and our D.C. store (it’s actually listed in Chevy Chase MD) has it for sale. If you’re near a major metro area with a Saks store, you can probably save on shipping (unless they charge some standard amount.) Last time I checked the Amethyste (which I love) is $180ish, and I’d guess they’d charge $10 or $15 to ship. Maybe someone who’s done this will comment.

          • Patty says:

            emilyaz is also excellent. I know I’m missing some people too. You*smell*marvelous (think I have that right) is great.

            I know our local Saks has the Cuir Amethyste, but they don’t have it on the website, you have to call them to order. I think the Armani website has them too, and you can order online there.

  • Maria B. says:

    I’ve been sitting here wondering if Aedes and other fragrance purveyors, like Bond No. 9, have an irrational resentment of decanters. It’s completely illogical, since decanters have to buy many bottles of perfume. They don’t just manufacture the juice out of thin air. They save retailers from being pestered by sample seekers, and if a client falls in love with a sampled fragrance, he/she will probably want to buy a full bottle eventually. Even if the customer opts for buying a large decant, it’s still good business for the retailer because the decanter will have to buy a replacement big bottle all the sooner. Decanters are good customers. But some people have an infantile desire for CONTROL. They want to be THE source for everything and resent anyone they perceive as interfering with that. I diagnose narcissism, at the very least.

    • tmp00 says:

      I was just writing the same thing! I have almost never bought a full bottle of any niche scent without buying a decant first. Most of them cannot be tested even at the store to truly find whether they work for you. Smart perfumers offer samples large enough for a few tries, but sometimes I don’t feel like going into Barneys or Neimans and trying to get samples: sometimes the girl I always buy from is out and there’s some grinchy person who thinks I’m just a sample whore.

      I have no need to give my money to people who are unpleasant. Patty is pleasant. Lisa is pleasant. Aedes is apparently not.

  • Tigs says:

    Ellen, glad you brought up the identity of Lisa: is it indeed the longlost “lisalaw”? I bought the CdG Incense Series and Serge Bois scents off the Bay from her earlier in my perfume education -she had a great selection and I always wondered what happened to her. Lisa, if you’re reading this, we miss you and it was a pleasure to deal with you!

    As for Aedes: it’s a pleasure dealing with you, too, Patty, and anybody with sense would recognize that. They don’t ship to Canada (!?), so I haven’t had any experience with them, but everybody else’s seems to be distinctly mixed: some love ’em, some hate ’em. I think it’s funny that the owners have empahsized in the past how their success stems from their “warm atmosphere”.

    • tmp00 says:

      I think it is LisaLaw. I loved dealing with her, but I gather that eBay just got to be too much of a pain. I had her email but of course lost it. Last I heard she was going to put up a website of her own.

      • Patty says:

        Tom, eBay booted her again. She tried to come back, after the suspension, which were for the stupidest things — thanks, Bond, love you too! — with another e-mail address and shop, and they figured out it was her and booted her again.

        She is a treasure. I can give you her e-mail, if you would like it, just hit the contact us button. She has a spreadsheet of all the stuff she is carrying now and pricing, so it’s still easy to order from her!

    • Patty says:

      Tigs, it is Lisalaw. She’ll be back, just not on eBay. She’s missed a lot in the perfuming community, but she still sells through e-mail!

      do they really claim that? Warm atmosphere? Wow. I suspect they do roll out the warmth for some people, but it just has never been me.

      • Tigs says:

        I’d love to have her email, Patty. Some eBayers or site stores have stepped into the gap – you, of course, and Marina, Ina and Nancy of Fishbone Fragrances (just had a great experience with her – check ‘er out, y’all, if you haven’t) – but it was so mysterious when Lisa just disappeared. I’m on the hunt for the older CdG fragrances right now – the original, White, #2, #3 – and I find myself wondering….

  • Victoria says:

    I have not tried those Stephanie de Saint-Aignan fragrances, but it is because she bothers me as much as Mona di Orio–neither is what she claims to be, it seems.

    Shisha sounds interesting though.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, I haven’t read much on Stephanie. Is she claiming to be the Second Coming as well? I just ignoring the self-published press on Mona and came to like a couple of her scents.

      Shisha is really well done. Her skills are definitely growing.

  • tmp00 says:


    I think you should post the letter. With a special link, like advertising. Over-the-top a$$holery should have its own special reward. Oh, and as far as my reviews are concerned, Aedes stocks NOTHING.

    • Patty says:

      Aw, solidarity! 🙂 I’m guessing maybe they don’t like decanters to begin with? I’m not sure why, I send a ton of business to lots of retail shops for full bottles, which is sort of the point.

      Maybe I’m overreacting? I deleted the e-mail already, but it was so uncordial, especially when I was groveling already!

  • pitbull friend says:

    Oh, and one more thing — a’ propos of de St. Phalle — don’t you just love saying “mugwort?” Mugwort, mugwort, mugwort….

  • pitbull friend says:

    Hey, Patty: What goes around, comes around — you know it! When I graduated from law school into a wretched market, employers couldn’t be bothered with the most basic civility. But life has caught up with so many of them. The place that sent me the snottiest rejection note of my life was massively prosecuted shortly after. They’re now but are almost the only place in town that can’t find employees, because of their reputation. And I’m suing them now on behalf of a harassed employee! :d

    The AL & the The’ Sahara sound lovely. But I’m wearing Comme des Garcons’ Leaves Line Tea and am thrilled with its resemblance to Goutal Eau du Fier (which I neglected to fall in love with while it was still available)! Problem solved.

    Don’t know what happened with Lisalaw, but sounds like the Bay had it in for her. A shame — she was such a treat to do business with & seemed to enjoy it so much. But what comes around… 😉

    • Patty says:

      Lisa will be back soon! Not on eBay but in another venue, and I can’t say more about that. 🙂 She really is a lovely, lovely person, and i’ll be happy when she’s back

  • AngelaS says:

    Hurray, I’m glad you like the St Phalle! We’re a small (but very discerning) club. I can definitely see where skin chemistry could make the difference in this one.

    Those Aedes guys made a huge mistake in not being civil to you. I bet your site gets thousands of hits a day from people who trust your judgment. As for the IRS, did you ever see the Odd Couple episode where Felix gets audited? Hilarious.

    • Patty says:

      I’m just so happy about the St. Phalle! I am happy to join the club. 🙂

      No, I didn’t see that episode. Should I?

  • Judith says:

    Oh, lord. Now I have to try Shisa and Tobacco Mucho (I am almost glad to hear that it didn’t work for L; you discription gives me–well, I won’t say what it gives me (despite your images, this is still a family blog)! And thenm the Nikki St.P. , ,

    I am so sad to hear about Aedes. I have had good experiences with them, both in person and by internet/mail (once when there was confusion–not entirely their fault–over a sample order, and they sent another by Express Mail and included about 3x as much as I’d ordered). But your story makes me change MY first impression (I had been hoping that your bad experience in the shop was simply the result of an off-day, but I guess not). So sad.

    Sending lots of good IRS vibes (DH is a CPA, so we keep these stored up) 🙂

    • Judith says:

      Sorry for the typos/idiocies here. I’m still on my first cuppa. .

    • Patty says:

      i think they just don’t like me. 🙁 I do know they’ve had great relationships with others, but when you are doing retail, every encounter you have matters. It’s far easier to be nice, at least for me, than not, so it always stuns me when others aren’t.

  • Christine says:

    So. Aedes. Forget it.

    The IRS? Goodness I’m so sorry.

  • Solander says:

    Tabac Blond making out with Knize Ten? Ouch. I. Must. Have.
    I really don’t like mint either, but one mint scent I could stand was Ava’s Moroccan Mint Tea. I think it was because the mint was so dry and almost hot rather than cool. No chewing gum or toothpaste, more like, well, the oriental herbal tea it’s supposed to be.
    I’m awaiting a sample of Shisha as well! I love her clove cigarette smell Kretek.

    • Patty says:

      It’s pretty great!

      See, it’s the mint with tea thing! That’s the only combo that mint can do in a perfume. Tea neutralizes the overbearingness of it. Have you tried the Harmatan Noir?

      Shisha is really gorgeous. I’m just happy to find a perfume in her line that is working so well. But I think she might be changing her base or something? This one smells different. A lot of small perfumers have something in their base that usually smells plasticky or something, that I just hate. She’s got some great perfuming skills, and I think she may be changing something. This one totally works.

      • Solander says:

        Harmatan Noir didn’t work for me, I found it too musty and herbal. Then again, I’m really into the musty and herbal vintage chypres nowadays, so perhaps I should give it a retry?

  • Marina says:

    Well, it seems that St Phalle is much more than me. It doesn’t like me 🙁

    (What happened with Aedes?)

    • Patty says:

      Oh, no! That’s a shame. it was great from start to finish, and it lasted 4ever. This one makes me believe strongly in body chemistry because if it went bad, it would go way bad. 🙁

      March put the details up above, but essentially I had snagged a long time ago an image of a Lutens bottle, back before I knew better about images, and I got it from somewhere else, but it must have been copied from them — anyway, I didn’t know that’s where it came from. I had gotten rid of, I thought, most/all of the images I didn’t know the source of, but it’s a long, cumbersome process to do that, and I missed that one. So they wrote me, as they should have, to tell me to take it down, which I wrote them back, apologized that I had been using it and said I would make sure it was taken down immediately, which I did.

      The follow-up e-mails were just ugly. You sort of expect normal, civil communications, something like, apprecite your speedy response and assume you won’t use any of our images in the future, to which I would have replied, appreciate your bringing this to my attention, it won’t ever happen again, absolutely, and then we would have wrapped it up with thanks. I would have thought well of them for being nice and polite about it and chagrined that I had been such a lout for using their image, even thought I didn’t know — I was careless.

      I was completely in the wrong, they were in the right, but it just floored me the lack of even the pretense of civility. It wouldn’t have registered except that experience we had last summer in their shop had the exact same attitude of complete lack of interest when we were serious shoppers in their store.

  • Marie-Helene says:

    The Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan scents can also be found at Evody in Paris. I did a post about the boutique the other day. She might get around to setting up her own website.

    Of the ones I smelled, I liked Berbériades best. There’s a Lutensian influence, in the sense that it smells like a modern-day updated narrative oriental, but not a slavish one.

    • Patty says:

      Awesome! I hope she does. I started to try the Berberiades, but I had to many samples on, so it didn’t make the post, my nose was overwrought by then. 🙂

  • Pam says:

    Oh, Patty. Aedes may stink but the IRS can give a nasty bite. I hope it all works out for you. I **have** to deal with the IRS, but Aedes? Not after the way they treated you and March on your trip last year and certainly not after this. And you know what? Their name is grammatically wrong in Latin. LOL. W-R-O-N-G!!I’ve wanted to correct them but figured why bother.

    Take care, dear.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thank you, Pam!!! For some reason, the Aedes thing bothers me more. The IRS is doing their job, and an audit isn’t fun or enjoyable or anything. The Aedes thing is just unnecessary. Kindness leaves a lot more good will out there. If they had been civil about the whole thing, the result of me responding and doing the right thing would have been the same, because they were absolutely in the right, but my goodwill would have been about a thousandfold more because acting kindly when you are in the right is the mark of a good and kind human being, magnanimity when you have the ability and right to be an ass. I probably would have reversed my prior opinion from last summer if there had been even one single nice word in any of their emails, even an “appreciate the speedy compliance.”

      How do you get that far in life with their success and forget that important bit of humanity?

  • Elle says:

    The Tobacco Mucho one *should* have worked on my skin, but didn’t, which is a shame because that name absolutely cracks me up and I almost want it for that alone.
    Sending you tons of good vibes for the IRS people and I know of other people who’ve had similar experiences to yours w/ the Aedes guys. Not good. At all.

    • Patty says:

      Wow, that’s a surprise! I found the three or four that I tried interesting, but most of them did that thing that a few lines do on me, especially Le Labo, where I’m only smelling alcohol. I think it’s something used in the base that my nose interprets wrongly. I usually skip over reviewing any of those that I get alcohol on now because I know it’s me. But the TM was the one that didn’t do that, I thought it was great!

      Thanks for the IRS vibes! It will be fine. In the big scheme of things, there are far worse things in the world that can happen to you than an IRS audit, which is just time consuming and irritating. And owing a little money doesn’t bother me, it is what it is, so I’m trying to keep myself in a good place and not freak out.

      I don’t get the Aedes guys. They have a great business, but their ability to be nice to people is just kind of weirdly dispersed. I know they’ve screwed up on orders I’ve made in the past, and I was really nice about it, which I think everyone should be initially. But there won’t be any need to worry about any order I make with them again because I just won’t.

  • March says:

    1. Patty — you’re relying on my terrible handwriting! I’m going into the dashboard to change that to “St. Phalle.” (Also I understand the Malle on your brain.) I am so glad you liked it!

    2. Lee — here, I’ll tell you. I wanted to put the email up. Aedes complained (rightfully) that she’d nabbed one of their images, and she took it down immediately — she’d actually grabbed it from elsewhere and didn’t realize it was theirs. (Image of Lutens bottle.) But the message — you’d laugh. Pricks. Confirms every impression of how nasty they are. I will never, review an exclusive or buy anything from them. I wouldn’t accept a freaking bottle of Djedi from them.

    • Patty says:

      your handwriting was fine. It was my mind that burped on that word. 🙂 Danke for fixing!

      Now, let’s not be hasty on that bottle of Djedi. After I got outsniped on the last one that went for over $1100, I could swallow my pride and take that in gratitude. 🙂

      • Maria B. says:

        Patty, if I had a dollar for every time my mind glitched that way, I’d be able to buy two bottles of Djedi.

    • Lee says:

      I know where to avoid when I’m next in New York (yeah, the global jetsetter on a reduced salary) – say in the next twenty years or so… Prissy primadonna Marys.

      Nobody goes dissin’ my Patty!x(

      • Patty says:

        You’re so funny! But, see, I hear other people that have nothing but great experience with them. Maybe they’re still sore about our diss from last summer, if they read it? Probably didn’t see it, but if they did, it could have been remedied with a quick e-mail.

        • Louise says:

          Ya know-I had a few positive experiences with Aedes on NY jaunts in recent years-good service, called when products came in.

          This last trip-not so good. I was dressed pretty casual (but hip, of course-it was NYC) and couldn’t catch an empty shop’s saleperson’s attention. Finally, I guess I asked a few somewhat informed questions-got indifferent but OK service. Then my cutey son arrived-and the salesperson (twice his age) hit on him-obviously, and hard. Ticked momma bear off so much I won’t go back.

    • tmp00 says:

      well, I am unsubscribing from that newsletter.

      Note to Aedes: Luckyscent and Barneys deliver. :-w

  • Lee says:

    You don’t get mint in your big love, Harmatan Noir, Patty?:d

    Now, I’ve tried to unpick the meaning behind 2 – but either I’m being obtuse or you are… I can’t work it out.:-?

    • Patty says:

      HN is one of the few that have done the mint beautifully for me. It’s there, but the tea makes it all work. There’s a couple of other tea scents that use mint that work for me too, so I think it’s just that combination that works best.

      March explained the other. It was just one of those things where they were completely in the right, I was a forgetful, oblivious tool, but even when I said that after the first e-mail, took care of it immediately and apologized, he was just really hateful and ugly. I don’t get it? But life is too short to be or deal with that kind of lack of civility.

  • Maria B. says:

    So, Patty, Niki de St. Malle–is that Niki de St. Phalle being channeled through Frederic Malle? I wouldn’t put anything past either of them. I’m glad they came up with such a great fragrance. :d

    Listen, the IRS would have me forgetting my name, or even where or when I am. How we all dread those *&*^&)%*&( letters. And so close to Good Friday. I’m glad you have comforting scents to wrap around you. [-o<

    • carmencanada says:

      Oh, that’s what I was logging in to comment about! I haven’t smelled Stephanie de Saint-Aignan’s line at Le Printemps (the “so little skin” conundrum, but as for mint in perfume, that’s where the brand-new Rosine, Diabolo Rose, is headed: fresh mint leaves in the top notes. I spritzed it on the day it hit the boutique and it’s quite delightful!

      • Patty says:

        Is that out, the new one? Oh, no! How strong is the mint? This trend worries me. It’s so hard to pull off without the mint taking over the smell, at least for me.

        Diablo rose with mint? Sorry, does not compute. 🙂

        • carmencanada says:

          The mint is actually not overwhelming. It lends a green, leafy touch to the headnotes. Diabolo, as Marie-Hélène explains in today’s Scented Salamander, is inspired by the French mint and lemonade drink Diabolo Menthe. There is yerba mate in the base, does that count as tea?

    • Patty says:

      I’m such a dork! how did my mind mix those two up?

      you know, the day we got the letters is the same day I went to confession. Do you think God and I’s communications crossed in the mail? [-o<