March is writing about our Saturday of scented escapades tomorrow, and I don’t wish to steal her thunder, but I thought I might post a few tidbits about our day. I have to – I had such a wonderful time and March was the perfect perfume companion in more ways than I can blog about. First, March is the meticulous one – she had a notebook, took down key points, expressed her take on the way too many scents we sniffed. I’m lackadaisical Lee. I just sniffed and allowed all the sensations to blur into one. Probably not the best way to go, but I’m not really known for my planning. Suffice to say, she’s got the details and I’m like one of those Turner paintings where you can’t really make out where the sea ends and the sky begins. Actually, a Turner painting is too high quality for the impressionist mess currently sitting in my brain.
So, here’s my top ten random muddlethinks from the day:
- Skin chemistry is important, at least for the first few minutes. Virgin Island Water was all lime margarita on my skin; for March it’s all about the popcorn.
- If you sniff too many vetiver scents, your nose begins to warp in weird and peculiar ways. I overdid it in Les Senteurs, and that earthy vet note in things like Vetiver Extraordinaire started to make my stomach turn. It got worse with Annick Goutal’s number.
- One of my biggest perfume frustrations is that tip-of-the-tongue moment I get (from my lack of expertise, I imagine) where a new scent experience is intensely reminiscent of a prior one. I had this several times, most noticeably with French Lover (more about this one on Wednesday). I wish I had instant recall at such times.
- Waiting is hard, but man, it saves you a lot of cash. We both fell heavily in love with something in Santa Maria Novella, only to be repulsed by it an hour later on (it was intially good enough to be worthy of skin space, which says something when you’re sniffing over 100 things in a day). Similarly, Micallef’s Gaà¯ac started off beautifully, but fifteen minutes in became as close as dammit to Tea for Two, thereby saving me a whole wad of cash. To be fair to the beauty, the final moments of its drydown did something wonderful, but not enough to make it purchase-worthy for me. There was another wonder in Roja Dove, sold in hand-hewn quartz crystal bottles (March has the name I think), that started out as a deeply resinous miracle filled with perfume heft, but after half an hour was all about the birch tar. I like birch tar, but not at however many zillions that perfume was selling for.
- I have a problem with orange blossom. I wish I didn’t.
- I seize on one or two words per day, which I seem to overuse. Saturday’s words were ‘shrill’ and ‘high-pitched’. This takes me back to orange blossom.
- I have special ugly face reserved for the effect aldehydes (or certain types of aldehydes) have on me. Baghari in particular seems to tighten the top of my head and make everything about me wrinkle. It’s a learnt response, I imagine, but I find such notes unbearable. This, along with my struggle with some chypres (what was that monstrosity in Fortnum’s, March?) mark me down as a perfume lightweight.
- Patricia de Nicolaà¯ is remarkable for having not only a wonderful range of scents, but having them available in 30ml. £15 for a 30 ml bottle of New York: genius size, genius pricepoint.
- I’m always drawn to something with a splash of naughty. Resniffing Mona di Orio’s Nuit Noire on our departure from Les Senteurs gave me back my vavavoom, and Bal a Versailles made me flirtatious with the sales assistant in Roja Dove (the female one; we’d spent most of our time with Marcel… March will probably say I’m ALWAYS flirtatious with SAs. Male or female. I think she’s probably right).
- I’m drawn to March. Not just cuz she’s a little bit naughty (she tipped the Sacred Tears of Thebes onto her wrist – gasp! – instead of using the spills – ? – to dab out a dot; she laughed at my rude and inappropriate jokes; she loves cakes and lovely gooey pastry things), but because her sense of humour, sharpness, good looks, and perfume mania made me happy, nay delighted, to be in her company. You know you’re with a fellow addict when one of you loses track of your current conversation because either: a) a bottle has caught your eye; b) you suddenly need a resniff of one of your many tester strips; c) you’re currently spraying something; d) you’ve been transported to a scented place and sounds have become momentarily irrelevant.
Thanks March – we were normal together. Well, kinda…