If I could figure out how to make my digital camera talk to WordPress, I´d be treating you to my “organizational guide” of my perfumes, particularly the samples. I have large swatches of the guide (mentally) written, and I am telling you, if I ever figure out how to do it, you will be rolling in the aisles. Instead, today´s post was triggered by my recent sad discovery: I´ll dig out a sample vial or atomizer and and discover that it´s … all gone. It´s evaporated, and there´s nothing left except the faint lingering smell and some memories.
My samples are organized alphabetically. The problem is my non-alphabetized samples, which at this point are all over the house. I have various “systems,” revolving around the samples I´m not done playing with yet, or the ones I haven´t gotten to, or the ones I´ve managed to group together by subspecies (the Patou Ma Collection samples, the vintage Lanvin), and – oddlyâ€”the fact that I like to keep sets of samples together when they´re sent by the same perfumista, so I can email him/her with feedback. Here´s a peek at my candy sample life, courtesy of a set sent by hausvonstone (unless it´s the set from dinazad?), so you will have a better understanding of why I am crazy.
Molinard Habanita – I hate these narrow-neck vials. I routinely accidentally snap them off at the narrow point. What is wrong with me? Habanita is (Robin, are you reading this?) the consummate “Old Lady” fragrance, to use a phrase that drives her (and me) up the wall. Old Lady Fragrances being, in general, something with character, interest, leather, and (frequently) skank. Doesn´t say, but I´m guessing the EDP. There´s an interesting note I hadn´t noticed before (this must be an EDP) that´s almost foody – a burnt-toast smell – and I mean that as a compliment. Mildly sweet florals, oakmoss, amber, dirty bits (leather, vetiver, sandalwood), with something sweet in the base.
S-Perfume Lust – What a difference a year makes. I believe I described this as “possibly the nastiest smell I have ever deliberately applied to my person” the last time I blogged on it, which amused the perfumer Nobi so much he started sending me samples. He might even have had my quote on his website. I love that guy. Well, I have applied way worse things than this. This I would actually wear without shame, in public (although probably not in summer.) Mental note: try this in extreme heat to see what happens. I´m guessing leather, metal, sweat, rubber, patchouli, vetiver. It smells great with Habanita.
Guerlain L´Instant Pour Homme Extreme – Wow. We are hitting the jackpot today. She sent this because she knows how much I love L´Instant PH, that intoxicating brew of citrus, patchouli, tea and musk. Unlike its shrill, awkward sister L´Instant for women, Homme is smooth – like a magnolia petal, like your hand rubbing oil across dark, warm skin. Extreme ramps up the vague chocolate/patch note in the drydown to a non-edible semi-gourmand. Having a moment here. I´m not sure it´s better than the original, though. Maybe I need both?
CDG Tea. Cripes. Did you mix this label up? This doesn´t smell like tea, unless it´s compost tea. Oh, wait – no – it´s lapsang. Smoke, smoke, smoke and tea. Sticking your nose in the tea box, maybe even with a tiny, nonscary hint of camphor? Cool.
Speziali Fiorentini Te Nero (Black Tea). Empty. Evaporated. A faint, very pretty floral-tea smell. Waaah. I´m going to cry, this smells like a potential winner, and there´s no such thing as too much tea in summer.
Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi – I never get incense from this, and I´m so gratified to read the notes at the Perfume Shoppe – sour apple, orange blossoms, myrrh, poppy, resinous woods. Those notes make total sense; I´ve always gotten sort of a sweet mess on my skin, and there it is – a spiced, baked-apple smell, a little myrrh and a resinous incense note rather than smoke, along with a vanilla-like base. I don´t hate it, it´s actually kind of pretty once you stop waiting for the cathedral-smoke to waft, and I can even see some people finding this very comforting, but I am not one of them.
Kenzo Jungle Elephant — Mandarin, Cardamom,Caraway, Clove, Heliotrope, Ylang-Ylang, Mango Juice, Licorice, Vanilla, Patchouli, and Casmerin, according to some random perfume website. I´d totally believe that list, because this thing is weird. Definitely the heliotrope (hah, I´ve got, like, 20% of you running away screaming right there, don´t I?) doing the cherry-syrup iteration, and the sweet-sour anise note (up to 40%!). This is like … a fragrance experiment? It´s repulsive and compelling at the same time. The mandarin is surprisingly strong throughout, and the “mango juice” gives it an overripe, gamey fug. Really, mango and heliotrope in unison should probably be illegal. Anyway, it´s hard to believe this freak-show came from the Sephora-shelf folks at Kenzo, most of which is (however else you might feel about it) fairly tame.
(One hour later) This – this is why I looooove this non-job. This is why I sniff! Because after 15 or 20 minutes I got bored with Kenzo Jungle Elephant´s shenanigans – all its attention-getting high-stepping and yodeling and jazz hands – and resolutely ignored it. And then forgot it. And then … I sniffed again. And I had two magical thoughts: a) aaaaaaugghhh, that´s beautiful – all cardamom/clove against some not-quite-of-this-earth floral backdrop, can ylang smell that rich?; and b) it´s Kenzo!!!! There it is, the Kenzo vibe!!! There´s a definite note that reminds me of the woody pitch in Flower Oriental, and another part of the florals that reminds me of the Flower By Kenzo in the parfum strength. It´s like a Kenzo Flower LE: On Acid. Although, please, don’t buy this unsniffed. It´s the sort of absurd-chic thing Jacqueline de Ribes might have worn with the dress in that photo up there, which I am pretty sure I first saw in 1983 (which actually predates the fragrance by more than a decade), the year she was voted The Most Stylish Woman In The World by Town & Country magazine. I must have stared at that photo for an hour that day; for awhile it was on my bedroom wall. How smokin’ hot is she? In the mirror, sure, I look like Betty Rubble, but in my soul, I´ve always tried to cultivate a little Jacqueline.
Vicomtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, Victor Skrebneski, pdngallery.com