Iris Ganache and other Oddities

Some things are just made to be attractive and repelling — riding that  love-hate see-saw until one side or the other dumps you off, and Guerlain’s new Iris Ganache is at the top of my list of that kind of oddity.  Notes of bergamot, iris butter, white chocolate, floral notes, cinnamon, patchouli, white musks, cedarwood and vanilla.  Huh.

I love iris. I’m not a fan of the gourmands normally. Pairing iris with a bunch of delicious cupcake ingredients seemed to be the kiss of death, but the iris totally saves this.  As it dries down, you start to get more of the pastry notes for a while, then the iris seems to rein it back in, and it keeps doing this little pastry/dirt dance for quite a while until the musk and vanilla steps up, puts an uneasy truce in place, but one that makes this thing pretty addictive.  Do I love it?  I don’t know. Do I hate it?  Absolutely…. not…. yet. Do I find it interesting? Yes.  It’s doing a weird balancing act that somehow seems to work and keeps my interest.  Weird little lovable ganache-covered iris debbill.

Cartier Declaration — Dusan, you’re going to kill me, but…. gag!  This thing went to pure sweat on me, and it’s taken about four hours before I see what you love about it. I’m assuming it doesn’t do that for you?  Lord, that just wasn’t pretty for a while.  Notes of orange, cedar, birchwood, and oakmoss, but I’m only attesting that there was a very big, powerful cedar b.o’ish notes for far, far toooooo long. 

CB’s new Wild Hunt has notes of torn leaves, crushed twigs, flowing sap, fallen branches, old leaves, green moss, fir, pine and tiny mushrooms.  It is meant to smell like the ancient forest in the heat of the summer afternoon. Check… right on target.  This is every bit of what it should be, it is dark foresty perfection.  Mirkwood Forest, but with the sun coming in a little between the branches and some magic happening just underneath that carpeted forest floor you can’t see.  This is a quiet, beautiful happy place, and in the drydown, it has a very soft sweetness to it from the sap, which leaves almost the exact same scent that is left on your hands after you have been plunging through the forest, a very slightly sweet green.

Guerlain’s Mayotte, the do-over for Mahora, is a stunner.  One of a short list of Guerlains that work for me all the time, every day. Notes of frangipani, neroli, tuberose, ylang ylang, jasmine, sandalwood, vetiver and vanilla. It starts off fresh and bright and beautiful, like a happy child greeting the dawn, and the drydown just gets happier and warmed by the basenotes, and the vetiver lending an earthy touch so it is never too sweet, but  it retains that same joyful exuberance that it has in the beginning. I like that in a perfume. This thing is just stunning.  If someone were new to Guerlain, I would tell them to try this and Apres L’Ondee first, very approachable and just gorgeous, and not a drop of powder or fussiness in it anywhere!

Okay, it’s official. I have tried every version of Guerlain Shalimar that I know of, having finally attempted the parfum today, and it is just fantasically awful on me in all iterations.  Now I know!

So which perfume do you keep trying to wear over and over with no success? And which perfume has struck you as the oddest one you’ve smelled so far this year?

  • Vance says:

    Okay, all these comments on weird perfumes and no one has mentioned Etat Libre d’Orange’s Secretions Magnifique? I mean, I know the context was supposed to be frags from this year, I guess the whole subject of strange scents provokes my post traumatic stress disorder stemming from having “experienced” Secretions Magnifiques. More metal than a teenager’s music collection. All those reviewers commenting, “I don’t get notes of semen, I just get blood.” I think I should prefer having my olfactory nerves cauterized than ever let that…stuff near me again.

  • Kyra says:

    If I really can’t stand it in the first place, it’s hard to make myself try again, but I made the effort to give a fair trial to Après L’Ondee and it just doesn’t work for me. I am convinced it is a very well done and natural anise note and I get that that is what gives that amazing ozone after a shower effect, but it’s still a deal killer note for me.

    As to the exquisite Enlevement au Serail (FK#3); I know it’s just on me that the tuberose comes forward like a rubber trumpet.

    But I can wear Shalimar (and, I think, every other citrus/vanilla I’ve tried) in EDP and parfum and most L’Artisan’s go poof on my fair dry skin.

    As to weird, Nostalgia and Bulgari Black come to mind, but for DS1, they have been the only thinks he has liked.

  • Solander says:

    You know, you made Declaration sound tempting to me!

    And Wild Hunt, oooh… I’m disappointed in most CBs, yet I keep trying, and at least 3 of the new releases sound like must-tries…

  • violetnoir says:

    Patty, Shalimar used to smell ghastly on me. Like wet baby wipes smeared with some sort of rancid lemony goop.

    Enter the parfum: It is gorgeous on me with a capital “G”! Who would have thunk it?? 😮

    Weirdest fragrance that I have tried this year? Hmmm…maybe No.18. Some folks think it smells like vomit, possibly the worst thing, other poop, that one could smell like. I think it’s lovely. Just call me the vomit-smelling lady. /:)


    • Patty says:

      See, you’re the one that convinced me I should try it, the parfum. Still no go.

      18 is gorgeous, though, and those people that disagree are just wrong, wrong wrong! xo

  • Hermes Hiris. Everyone loves it. It smells sophisticated on them.
    On me, it is a piece of aluminum, placed in the noonday sun in the business end of a chicken farm, then attached to me. For 10 hours without a bit of growth or softening. Just a loud yelling in my
    ear, “HIRIS, DAMMIT!” The three pepper fragrances from L’Artisan
    all smell like green peppers on me. Old green peppers. Old, SOFT
    green peppers. Weirdest smell? L’Air du Rien from Miller Harris.
    I didn’t know Rien was French for Sweaty Horse Crotch. I have an
    odd body chemistry, and I’ve accepted it. The oddest thing is that
    I don’t like fig fragrances, but CB I hate Perfume’s fig is fab-
    ulous on me. Except they raised their prices, a LOT in the last three days–exactly between the time the sample arrived and I
    decided I had to have it.

    • Patty says:

      That’s a shame about the Hiris!

      CB’s Fig is gorgeous. I just went and looked, and the prices seem to be the same as they have been.

      • QuinnCreative says:

        Ahhh, they have introduced some new ones, and the new ones have a higher price. Of course the ones I want are all higher prices, but that is predictable. And yes, the ones that don’t work on me are the lower prices. There must be some genetic thing in that.

  • lissakv says:

    I want to love Mitsouko. Very very badly. But it doesn’t do anything on me at all. It sort of sits there and refuses to release the peach-velvet note it is rumored to have. After all the hype about strange/beautiful/sad perfume, it is sadly a powder murk on me. I could cry.

    • Patty says:

      OH, no! Mitsouko is a tough nut to crack, and it’s also one of those that you put on and can see how it could go horribly, horribly wrong really fast. 😮

      • lissakv says:

        I keep retrying it though, hoping I’ll have an on day. I’ve already gone through half the sample. Maybe I will be dangerous and apply it before going out in the 100+ houston heat in august. It will have to do something then!

  • Girl named Brian says:

    MKK by Serge Lutens is my love/hate relationship. It has all of the notes I love and when it smells good, it’s the perfect skin scent. But when it’s bad, it smells like dirty diapers. I had a co-worker once who wore Prada when it first came out. She smelled exactly like a dirty diaper bin everyday, all day. Eventually, she was told to stop wearing it due to its offensiveness. I always worry that I’ve become my co-worker when I wear MKK.

    I think the strangest smelling perfume I’ve come across is Black Orchid. S-ex by S-Perfume was on the odd side, but I received several compliments the day I wore it. I couldn’t stand the salty-aqua note in it. I just received a sample of Chypre Roughe by SL and wore it yesterday. It ended up smelling like potato salad with lots of celery seed at the end of the day…go Serge!

  • Teri says:

    oh Shalimar… lovely and yet never to be mine. I don’t think there is another scent made that I enjoy smelling on other people as much as Shalimar. But on me….pure catbox. Ugh.

    I haven’t had a super weird fragrance experience recently for myself, but a co-worker who begged me to share Parfum D’Empire’s Eau Suave with her was dreadfully disappointed. On me, it’s a glorious voluptuous bouquet of roses. On her, it smells exactly like the insect repellant “Off”. But then she can wear Shalimar beautifully, so it all balances out, I think. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Perfume Karma!

      Shalimar is catbox? So weird, it just turns into this overly powedery diaper on me. It’s an odd one.

  • Amy K says:

    Well, Mitsouko may hate me, but at least Shalimar loves me! I don’t get any powder from it, just a rich, sultry, complex vanilla. The parfum makes me feel like a screen siren of yore – it’s that good. Mitsouko, on the other hand, provokes such visceral revulsion from my nose every time I sample it that I’ve more or less given up trying to analyze what it is that I detest so much. I’ve tried it so many times now, and I’m sure I’ll try it again at some point. It can’t be popular and timeless without smelling good on someone, right? You would recoil in horror if you smelled it on me.

    I’m a few years late to the party and I know it’s not really that weird in the grand scheme of things (hello, Secretions!), but Rose Poivree is the oddest fragrance I’ve sampled recently. It’s like a man plucked a beautiful rose from the garden, stuck it in his sans-deodorant armpit and spent the day doing outdoor construction work in Las Vegas.

    • Patty says:

      That is the most spot-on accurate description for Rose Poivree I’ve ever read, Miss Amy! 🙂

      That stuff is rosepit Extreme

  • Robin says:

    Completely with you on the Cartier Declaration.

    And getting intrigued by Iris Ganache, although still not convinced I’m going to love it!

    • Patty says:

      I’m not convinced you’ll feel the love for the IG, but I don’t think you’ll hate it either. You might just find it interesting. 🙂

  • Jayne says:

    Thanks Maria – Indeed, No 19 is an old friend. But I’m a bit worried about the vanilla in Eau Illuminee – see above comment. Over the last few months, I’ve discovered that my skin amps up every smidgen of vanilla and turns it syrupy and sickly. Is it very noticeable?

    • Maria says:

      Hi, Jayne. The tonka bean in Eau Illuminee is more noticeable than the vanilla on me. In fact, the vanilla doesn’t come out much at all. But my skin can take vanilla in stride, so the composition may not work the same way for you. 😕 Always sample first. :d

  • Jayne says:

    Thanks and … yippee!:d

  • Tigs says:

    Adding to the Shalimar chorus – don’t hate it by any means, but I don’t wear it, because I get a very weird cheese-smell between the vanilla opening and chypre base. The base rocks, very dark. But the vanilla to cheese transition makes me a bit burpy in a nauseous sort of way.

    My scent cross to bear, over and over, is Eau de Merveilles. One day the heavens will align and a great beam of light will shine down on me and there will be a miracle. I’m sure of it. Please, people, fight on with the Parfum de Therese, your day will come, too. I’m currently testing Fleur del Sel – thought it was boring for the first 10 minutes, but now it’s gone very odd and stinky. How sick am I that I’m loving the stinky? So, that’s my weirdy.

    • Melissa says:

      Eau de Merveilles. . .I’d forgotten about that one. It could go into both catagories for me. It’s as if I almost can’t smell it but what I can smell around the edges is so foul and plasticy that I can’t stand even 10 minutes of it on my skin. I’ve tried it no less than 4 or 5 times even though I KNOW it’s going to be awful on me because other people have actually used the word “swoon” when discussing their reaction to this scent.

      I assume that I’m having some strange anosmic episode with all that is right and lovely in EdM because, unlike somethings where I appreciate them even if I can’t wear them, EdM is a complete mystery to me. 😕

    • Patty says:

      You know, every time I smell Eau de Merveilles, I am perplexed that it gets as much love as it does. I wasn’t sure I liked it for a long time, but it was the sillage that netted so many compliments that finally won me over, but I didn’t hate it quite lik eyou do! 🙂

  • noyna says:

    Oh, thank goodness. I thought I was crazy — tried the great Shalimar many times, and it persisted in smelling like…public-bathroom cleaner? Urinal cake? Each darn time. My mother, frequent sniffing companion, would screw up her face and send me to the bathroom to wash off…the bathroom…

  • March says:

    Can I just mention what joy and validation I feel, I the Guerlain whore, at the number of times Shalimar appears on this list? Shalimar the universally loathsome in any concentration?

    Everyone hit my low points too: Malle Therese, Rien, Declaration…:-“

    • Patty says:

      I tried not to give up on it, but it’s just awful. At least we still agree on it.

      Lord, I feel doubly bad that we both hate Declaration. Maybe it has a perfume decoder ring locked in it that only the boys can unlock, and that’s why it smells good on them. I need to experiment with Warren. I have to chase him now to spray him.

  • IrisLA says:

    I didn’t get the Shalimar magic until I tried extrait. Then I fell head over heels love. It is sumptuous.

    The one I keep trying because everyone else loves it is Frederic Malle L’eau d’Hiver. On me, it’s a mishmash scent with a vague anise note.

    The strangest scent on my skin: Profumi di Pantelleria Dammuso. It was pure gasoline. I swear, I’d be flammable if I wore it!

    • Patty says:

      Hiver… you know. I’ve never paid much attention to it. I should, though. I’ve sprayed it on a couple of times, but the open registers as, oh, that’s nice! And then I never remember the rest?

  • Sandy says:

    I was given a little sniff of Mayotte at our Guerlain Boutique a few weeks ago and it left me swooning so…..I came home and decided I’d be ever so clever and I ordered a bottle of Mahora. After all, it was supposed to be the same….I’d sniffed, I was saving money :d, everything seemed to be in check for a newbie. BUT, it came all coconut. 🙁 No swooning. Boy did I feel like an idiot. Now I don’t know if it’s not the same, my bottle wasn’t real (it sure looked it and I chose an online vendor mentioned as reliable on the blogs) or if I just didn’t notice it when sniffing. I felt so stupid

    SL Fleurs D’Oranger is one scent I can’t make work. It smells so nice in its little vial:), but once on my skin i feel like I’m choking in soap. Another one is L’Huere Blue. Something in the opening is just revolting. Shalimar, on the other hand, is all creamy spice. I’ve worn it for years.

    • carmencanada says:

      Sandy, don’t feel like an idiot, I did the exact same thing, on the recommendation of the Guerlain S.A., no less ! As I’ve said above, I haven’t done a side-by-side so I can’t tell for sure how different Mayotte and Mahora are, but apparently the frangipani is amped up in Mahora, which probably accounts for the coconut smell you’re getting. You know how when you catch one note and then that’s all you get?

    • Patty says:

      oops! Hate it when that happens. reformulations are tricky. Metallica and Metalys are exactly the same. Guet-Apens and Attrape-Coeur are close enough to the same that nobody would be disappointed, very minor differences. But I keep hearing Mahora and Mayotte are very different, at least in the notes that show up.

      Mayotte is just creamy, sunny delicious! I want to just eat it up, it’s so yummy.

  • CH says:

    Another set of fragrances that “hate me” are some of Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla lines, especially the ones with coconut. For me, it is like shoving an oxygen mask in my face -but, the oxygen is saturated with overly artificial sweetners and fake coconut extract. @-)

  • CH says:

    Shalimar has NEVER done anything for me. I first tried it in the early 80’s when it arrived in the little drug store where I used to work. A high school acquaintance of mine wore it, but on her you never could smell it. On me, it reeks of drugstore fragrance dupes. I avoided it like the plague for more than a decade and decided to try it again. I only tried a little on my hand. I had a horrible headache. My next stop was supposed to be dinner, but I headed for the restroom at the restaurant to scrub the top layer off my hand! I still smelled it. I swear I tasted it in my salad. b-(

    • Patty says:

      I’m beginning to think that Shalimar is more hated than loved, it’s just achieved that icon status so everyone is convinced they should love it, but it only works on a small amount of the population.

  • Karen says:

    You know, if it weren’t for blogs like this, newbies like me wouldn’t even know it’s worth trying a scent over and over! I guess I should give L’artisan’s Ambre Extreme another go. It’s the only L’artisan that lasts on me, but unfortunately it makes me smell like a walking playdoh factory. Strange, because other ambers work just fine on me. The oddest best scent I’ve smelled this year has been Guerlain’s Vetiver, but only on my DH’s skin. On me the scent just sits there, but on him it goes through wild dramatic swings, very green, very smoky, pipe tobacooish, and even has a damp, salty, sweaty stage that makes me want to lick his neck (blush). Needless to say, it’s become our favorite thing for him to wear. I need to find a vetiver for myself now…maybe Sel de Vetiver, or that Miller Harris thing.

    • Patty says:

      Sel de vetiver, is my vote!

      I know, we are just hardheaded, refusing to accept that what another person finds gorgeous can be such a scrubber, so we keep trying. Often it pays off, the persistence to understand a scent, but other times it is a lost cause.

  • pitbull friend says:

    Oh, darling Patty, the list, the LIST! The list of things I wish I liked but haven’t succeeded yet:
    *anything with more than a molecule of tuberose or orange blossom
    *anything with more than three molecules of jasmine
    *Feminite du Bois (but feel hopeful because March did eventually “get” it after many tries) and most of the Lutens oeuvre
    *the skankfests of Musc Rav, Kiehl’s Original Musk, and Muscs Koublai Khan

    I’m hoping that it’s like grapefruit. The smell of grapefruit practically made me cry when I was a kid and now I love love love it. So I’ll keep telling myself I’m young yet, which I am in perfume years! 😉 –Ellen

    • pitbull friend says:

      Oops. Lost control of my smilies. I guess sometimes they look like they aren’t coming through, but they are. –Ellen

    • Sandy says:

      I was mentally compiling my list when I read yours. I had to laugh. :)) Except for Feminite (which I have yet to try – I have a sample on order) it described my frustration exactly! What is it with that orange blossom!?!:o

    • Patty says:

      Those seem to be some normall difficult perfumes, for sure!!

      Just keep trying if it’s a wide swath, but on an individual perfume, I have my Three Strikes rule.

    • Maria says:

      Ellen, maybe you don’t like oriental bases at this point, but you do walk on the wild side. I got a sample of your beloved Profumi di Pantelleria Maestrale. I didn’t detect a rhubarb or an ocean note. I did get a very definite “sweaty man” phase. :-\ On my DH it’s better, so it’s now in his sample box.

      You like grapefruit? The new L’Artisan Jatamansi has a strong grapefruit note on me, for the eight or so minutes it lasts. That may be one to try. But our skin chemistries are so different. 😕

  • delizt says:

    hmmmm, I thought I would love FLEURS DE SUR by Miller Harris, but it was a hot blast of sage/herbs on my skin and never went past that…I actually gave me a headache

    The other one, L Air de Rien, actually is soft and sweet on me and very pretty…so far I haven’t gotten the “stable”….go figure!

    And Shalimar is one I am still trying to “get” I have a few samples and haven’t given up yet, but so far no matter what I try, it’s just not right…Jicky, though is delightful

  • dinazad says:

    Carmencanada, thanks for the information! Comoro Islands certainly sound sexier than low-cal mayonnaise! Besides, I’m not nearly as grumpy as I was this morning, so the name doesn’t bother me any more

  • dinazad says:

    Actually, I like carnation. But carnation doesn’t like me. I get all mopey trying to figure out why.

  • carmencanada says:

    Dinazad, Mayotte is the name of the capital of the Comoro Islands, where Jean-Paul Guerlain’s ylang-ylang plantation is. I suppose they renamed it after the tremendous flop that was Mahora, partly due, apparently, to the name being pronounced “mah-whore-ah” by English speakers.

  • Dusan says:

    Sweetie, I could never hate an angel like you! So Declaration doesn’t work for you and March, it’s not the end of the world, right? Right…? *sneaks off to a corner and sobs uncontrolably* Ok, I feel better now 🙂
    Can I make a confession? Narcisse Noir hates me with a passion. The civet aka decaying teeth…makes me retch and want to dip my hand in boiling water.
    As for weird, it came in a plain, unlabelled bottle smelling like Musc Ravageur’s hormonally charged adolescent son who simply can’t be bothered to change underwear or take showers on a daily basis. But he sure has his mother’s genes… You’ll have a chance to meet him yourself soon 😀
    Clearly Guerlain loves me — Shalimar is all spice and myrrhe on my skin, just a skosh of powder. Héritage, which I’ve just bought, is rich woods and pepper topped with coriander and drizzled with Guerlinade. Although the idea of an iris gourmand sounds a bit bizarre to me, it may just be my kinda thing. Will seek out IG…

    • Patty says:

      OH, I’m so sorry!! I wanted to love it for you and Lee, and I tried, I did!!!

      Now, you don’t have to take it out on NN. :-w

      Uh-oh, do I need to be careful around my mailbox?

      • Dusan says:

        It’s weird that when I first dumped NN on my wrist it was all gorgeousness but each time I tried it after that my nose would go a-crinkle 🙁 FWIW, all the other Carons (especially NdN) I would gladly be wearing at my funeral!
        Unless a freak divine intervention takes place (and by divine I mean customs service), your mailbox will be stinky in no more than 10 days 😉
        P.S. Put NN on wrist 10 mts ago – gorgeous o.b. shining out of the addictive Caron base and – do we have an emoticon with crinkled-up nose – civet *sigh*
        I’ll keep trying, I promise…

  • Amy says:

    I keep dabbing Coromandel on my skin hoping it won’t go all sticky-sweet on me and I keep being disappointed. I need to just give that sample away. (31 rue Cambon, OTOH, made my heart sing operatic arias.)

    I discovered Tubereuse Criminelle this year, which ranks right up there with the oddities, and also with things I adore. What a strange and wonderful fragrance.

    • Patty says:

      Coromandel sticky sweet? Are you sure? I got mostly dry patch, but lovely, from that one. the Rue cambon is a stunner.

  • Billy says:

    I desperately wanted to love the Hedi Slimane Dior scents…I absolutely love the Dior Homme EDT that he put out, despite its olfactory likeness to what my bf calls his grandmother’s lipstick. However, of the three, Eau Noir repulsed me the most (why do people love smelling like Massaman curry?), Cologne Blanche left me bored and feeling way too soft and femmy, while I tried soooo hard to like Bois d’Argent. I despised the top notes that smell exactly like a petting zoo in July, and the drydown (after about an hour) is admittedly quite fantastic, but it’s just not worth the effort.

    • Patty says:

      Don’t feel bad, none of those really worked for me either, and I kept trying. Never got some of the smells people described, just got meh.

    • Judith says:

      Billy, I know what you mean about Eau Noire. Everyone loves it, so I tried really hard–but it smells just like curry on/to me. Bois d’Argent, on the other hand, smells like nothing on me; several other people couldn’t smell it once I put it on, so I don’t think it’s my nose. Cologne Blanche is OK, but then I’m a femme.:)

  • Melissa says:

    I’ve only tried the Shalimar EDT but on my skin it smells EXACTLY like I rubbed a moist baby-wipe all over myself. And I’m not the only person who thinks so (my 14 year old called it the first time he smelled it on me).

  • TexasSnow says:

    Have tried and tried to love Aromatics Elixir but it’s just not me 🙁
    I love iris – I’m headed over to Neimans to try Iris Ganache and Mayotte at lunch!

    • Patty says:

      I’m not sure Neiman’s will have those. I think both are exclusive to the Guerlain boutiques and Bergdorf for right now, but let us know if they are there!

  • nava says:

    Patty, I fell for Iris Ganache at first sniff when I first sampled it back in April. I finally got my full bottle on Saturday and it is even more beautiful than I remembered. Now, I was never a fan of iris, and a long-time fan of gourmand scents (the disgustingly sweet ones I have recently weaned my self from), and for me, this is a perfect combination. The initial chilly green blast of iris is beautiful, and the vanilla drydown is sublime. I’ve never been a huge fan of Guerlain (please don’t hate me!), but they got this one right in my opinion.

    • Patty says:

      I agree with you, I think they got it exactly right. I’ve just tried the sample, I can’t wait to spritz with abandon! I have a feeling putting some air in it improves it a lot.

  • Flor says:

    You and me both on the Shalimar. I haven’t tried the vintage perfume yet, but I have tried everything else and it all goes rancid on me. I have however made an interesting discovery, Shalimar dusting powder is alright, it’s actually quite nice for going to bed.

    The other one is Coco (I think I’ve already told you about it), my never ending battle. I’m trying to get my hands on some perfume, but no success there yet. I recently tried really hard to love one of the limited edition Givenchys (Very Irresistible, Organza, Amarige), just because the bottles are so beautiful, (you know the ones that are more square in a beautiful black box). But alas, I have a problem with most Givenchys – with the exception of Eau, III and Ysatis. Oh wait, I like some of the man ones too.

    • Patty says:

      Just give up on the Shalimar, trust me.

      Coco is wonderful! That’s such a shame. The parfum is really the best version of it, it cuts down some on the killer sillage of it and makes it better, sort of like opium parfum makes it bearable.

      Most of the Givenchys don’t work fo rme either. The whole mess of organza and amarige turn into a syrupy mess on me… yuk!

  • rosarita says:

    Since I’m newer to different scents, I have smelled lots of unusual things this year, but my taste is still adjusting.

    So far, every L’Artisan fragrance I’ve tried turns to the smell of Softsoap on my skin, until it disappears two minutes later. I’ve fallen hard for incense, and Passage D’Enfer could just as well be baby shampoo. The several Malle frags. I’ve sampled are pretty disappointing, too.

    On a happier note, I just discovered Shalimar last year, and it smells wonderful on me in the wintertime. The perfume? Ahhh.

    The CB forest sounds fabulous; lovely reviews as always.

    • Patty says:

      Hmmm, you must have that “other” skin, the one that loves Shalimar, that amplifies the good parts of it. That makes sense that l’artisans would disappear, which is a shame!

    • Maria says:

      Rosarita, maybe our skins are similar. Shalimar and I love each other, and L’Artisan disappears, except for La Haie Fluerie du Hameau. That one lasts. Too bad Louise isn’t around. She’d like knowing there was someone else like us out there. 🙂

  • Marina says:

    Shalimar is fantastically awful one me to. You really don’t know how fantastically awful it can smell until you smell it on me. :((

    • Patty says:

      Trust me, I do. It goes to musty, foul baby powder on me. I could take the baby powder, but not the rancid aspect.

      I wish we could do a scent snapshot so we could sniff it on you, just for comparison purposes.

  • Elle says:

    I’m w/ Abigail on Cuir Amethyst. I feel I *should* love it, but it just doesn’t work on me. I don’t get the giant popcorn ball she does, but I do get a giant size dose of violet Pez. However, I’m determined to one day wake up, spritz it on and discover that all the wonderful, promised cuir has come out of hiding.
    I’m going to be reading all the comments here today in hopes of finding some excellent strange scent. My biggest complaint this year has been that there are too many scents which I find to be really lovely, but which just remind me far too much of scents that have already been done. I’m in the mood for something ultra edgy. Rei, CB, someone! Please! OK, Tom did Purple Patch. I may not have loved it, but I did enjoy the experience of the wierdness of it.
    Speaking of scents that remind me of things from my past – Iris Ganache really is nice, but when I was eleven I wore a scent whose name I can’t even remember now, but was made by Love and this reminds me intensely of it. Wearing it is like being on drugs and having intense, highly detailed flashbacks of my eleven year old world.

    • Patty says:

      PP did fit the bill for Weirdo of the year. I guess my ultra-edge yen is on the wane right now since I can’t imagine anything that can come close to that phreak and we’re probably a year off from anything that approaches it, though I do have hopes for one or the other of the new Serges.

    • March says:

      Elle … if you’re jonesing for weird, do you have fragrance gaps you can go back and fill in? CdG? (the original) LOVED that. The leaves series? I just smelled Tea and … weird. That Jungle Elephant was definitely weird. Miller Harris is disgusting hog pen — but weird…

      I am very, very sorry about Amethyst. On me, yes, it’s not so much Cuir, but whatever’s there is like a force field around me. I get an astonishing array of compliments on that thing.

  • Judith says:

    I’m another one who can’t really do Shalimar in any form (vintage parfum is the best on me, but it’s still not right). And this is strange, because I really like pretty much all of Guerlain’s older fragrances, and I love Jicky, which is Sh’s close relation. But no go on the Shalimar.:(

    The weirdest fragrance I’ve tried this year is Purple Patchouli. WTF? 😮

    I love Mayotte, too, and you have just convinced me to put it on.

    Wild Hunt sounds to die for! WANT:((

    • Patty says:

      Well, March and I came to a parting of the Guerlain ways tomorrow on something, you’ll have to wait and see what, but I guess it was always a matter of time. 🙂

      yeah, you’d dig the Wild Hunt. I think all of the new five are worthy, and nobody believes me, but I don’t feel that way about all of his scents, some of them just don’t do it for me at all.

      Mayotte…. prrrrr, love, love, love it. Hate the name, though, whether in the English low-class pronunciation or the French. I’d far rather call it Meow instead, which it is now named because Patty the Proselytizer has decreed it so.

  • Silvia says:

    Hi Patty,
    Shalimar in all versions is totally ghastly on me too. I keep trying, thinking that one day I’ll get it, but so far no joy. Felt such a philistine…much better now that there are lots in the club !

    • Patty says:

      Just give up. I’ve been through them all, and I’m now convinced if it doesn’t work on you, nothing is going to change that. 🙂

  • Abigail says:

    Thanks for the write-up of the wild hunt. I saw it go up on his site and I’ve been craving more info. In the woods is my favorite place to be, and I’d love to be able to just take it with me where ever I go.

    I keep trying to love Cuir Amethyst. I love leather. I love violets. With their powers combined I should be a happy perfume fool. But instead I turn into a giant caramel popcorn ball. I keep trying it at different times of the day, different weather, when I’m going to be inside/outside….

    • Patty says:

      If you love Woods, I do think the Wild Hunt should be a winner. You know, he really gets the totality of it right. It’s not just green, it’s not just sap, it’s not just grass or leaves or dirt, he puts it all in there, and then it just slyly changes as you wear it. I’m such a FanGrrrl, I should be more ashamed of myself. 🙂

      Wow, Cuir Amethyst works for me great, I get just enough of the leather, though I do think there is an anosmic component to it, and tons of compliments whenever I wear it.

      I love the differences in skin and smell, it just amazes me how different these things are.

  • Nina says:

    I had the same love/hate thing going with Cuir Beluga…went through two full decants before I finally decided it was too sweet. But Bois d’Armenie got me at the B.

    l’Air de Rien was definitely Worst Thing This Year. The smell of a teenage boy’s bedroom at the end of a long, hot week…

    So, when will you be selling samples of the Iris Ganache, Patty? You have me GASPING for this one!

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, the Bois d’Armenie got me too. I had a sample of that in a Guerlain order, and I had just overlooked many of the Art series because I just didn’t get enthused about the first three, Cuir Beluga, Rose Barbare and Angelique Noire, though they are all lovely, but so far the second two have been winners on my skin.

      Iris Ganache, I hadn’t planned to order that one, until it finally got me, but I know my new partners in the decanting site, some or all of them have ordered it. Not sure if they have it available yet, but Diane is going to send me some of hers so I can put up samples on my website on her behalf while we keep slogging through the long, tedious process of getting a new website ready. 🙂

      Anyway, the short answer is not yet, but I should have some of Diane’s to sell for her next week.

  • katia says:

    Hi Patty,

    I feel the same about Shalimar… That’s so bad, everybody loves it but it is awful on me, I feel so weird in a bad way.
    The oddest one this year is not so new, I think the name is Maria Amalia. I love the smell in the bottle, but in my skin, is like a cheap (very cheap) cologne. No spice and absolutely no beauty.
    Oh, I have to try the CB one… Sounds wonderful !

    • Patty says:

      Well, I think less people love it than we think. 🙂 About half of the people commenting so far don’t love it. It’s a difficult scent,I think.

  • Jayne says:

    Many of my most respected perfume gurus have been complimentary about Miller Harris L’air de Rien – I just get badly run stable. A very odd fragrance indeed.

    Oh Patty, ‘Wild Hunt’ sounds wonderful. My favourite child’s book was Alan Garner’s Moon of Gomrath – I wonder if CB has caught all of that wild magic.

    I’m in a terrific mood today – exams have just finished and summer proper has begun. Can anyone suggest a celebratory scent that combines relief and self-satisfaction at a job reasonably well done?

    • Patty says:

      Rien really is a stable, you got that right. I applaud it just because they did something different, and I have heard on the right skin, it is quite beautiful. It comes close to that on me in the drydown, but somewhere just skews off into awful. Still admire it.

      Celebratory scent, how much is in the budget to spend? 🙂

      • Jayne says:

        I’d love to take the train to Paris and buy something outrageous like the JAR Diamond Water – hah, champagne taste and beer money. I’ve got about £50 ($100ish), so plenty of options without breaking the student budget. I’m vanillaphobic – Vanilla spoiled Songes for me – but I’d love it if you could recommend something that has the same effect without the evil pod…

    • dinazad says:

      Air de Rien is stable? Aren’t you lucky. I get heavily used underwear transported in a plastic bag during a long journey with no chance of having it washed for weeks on end. Rien, my eye! “Nothing” shouldn’t sport such a stench….

      Shalimar on the other hand likes me. I consider that a favor.

      • pitbull friend says:

        Dinazad, you win the “vivid description of the day” award. Yikes! But my French friend told me that when you say that someone has “l’air de rien,” it means they’re looking all innocent, but they’re really not. Sounds like in your case, there was no innocence at all, even on the surface! 😮 –Ellen

    • Maria says:

      Jayne, congratulations on getting through another year of school! For me Chanel No. 19 says hurrah and sunshine all in one. Parfums DelRae Eau Illuminee has a similar effect. But for your celebration you should go with whatever says “No more teachers, no more books…” to you. <:-p (Been a teacher. We celebrated too.)

    • Abigail says:

      I need to thank you! When I first tried L’air de Rien I thought it was just plain amber. While I love amber, I disappointed to not find any of the leather and old-house-ness in it. So I packed it up and forgot about it.

      Until I saw your comment – and I thought “really?”

      And it does smell a bit like a stable!

      It’s great!

      It smells a little bit dirty, but with the amber it’s sophisticated. I feel like I’m giving off “Sure, I may be a dirty girl, but I’m still worth loving…” type vibe.


  • Lee says:

    You know, Shalimar leaves me a little, I don’t know, disinterested? But you’ve dissed Declaration and that makes me:(

    The IG sounds interesting enough to be worth seeking out…

    • Patty says:

      Sorry about the Declaration! I iknow it has lots of fans, and I wanted to love it, I really did, and I can see how it could be lovable… on some other skin. On me, it was just unbelievably bad. =((

  • dinazad says:

    Opium – I try and try, and it smells like old potpourri, covered with the sticky dust of decades. But then all clove-centered fragrances smell like that on me. I also completely fail to see what the charm of most Malle fragrances is. Most are OK, but no more than that to me. I keep re-sniffing them to find out why they have such a devoted following, to no avail so far.

    Strangest perfume? Hmmmmm…. something called “Skarb” (that’s “treasure” in Polish and was the reason I tried it in the first place) by a house I can’t remember. Smelled like lovage. I love lovage in cooking, but it’s hardly something you’d wear unless you want to be chopped into a soup.

    Mayotte – why on earth did they re-name it? It sounds like the name of a low-fat mayonnaise…. and Mahora used to smell like coconut on me. Nice, but I couldn’t love it, even if most Guerlains do well on my skin.

    The CB sounds gorgeous – I’ve only sniffed one or two CB scents, but they certainly ARE unusual!

    Very grumpy comment today – sorry! No particular reason for my grumpiness, I just woke up that way. But Messe de Minuit should lift my spirits (I know I’m in the minority here, but I consider it a sunny “herbs and incense in the Pyrenees in August” kind of fragrance which spells “summer holiday” to me)!

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yeah, if you despise carnation, Opium would never work.

      It took me a while to appreicate Malle. They are all subtle fragrances. Some i like better than others, but I can see how anyone would be just left perplexed by them. 🙂

      you and March are soulmates on Messe di. I still can’t wear it without tentatively putting it on first to make sure it’s a good day to wear it. 🙂

  • Bryan says:

    I have tried so many times to love Le Parfum de Therese by the Master Roudnitska (sic?). I just can’t do it. I get so annoyed, for lack of a better word, with it. It isn’t cloying or b.o.ish, etc…I just get so irritated with it….not dirty enough, not floral enough, just plain not enough.

    Strangest, hmmm….that’s difficult. I don’t think I’ll ever again smell a scent and say, “dude, wtf?”. Nothing scares me anymore. I would say CB Musk is still the strangest…but I love it.

    I adore Mayotte. Absolutely love it. I agree that it never goes too sweet or powdery. Just floral perfection. I think it’s a tuberose for tuberophobics. The Ylang gets top billing here. Iris Ganache is beautiful, if not too fleeting. I can’t keep spraying every five minutes.

    Fab reviews sweety. Love ya.

    • Patty says:

      I’m with you on the Therese. I adore the story behind, and it’s close to love, but it never quite gets there.

      IG is fleeting on you? Are you sure?!?!? Man, that sucker sticks on me, which is great. I can still get a smell of it the next day. The longer its on, the better it gets!

  • carmencanada says:

    Want to love but can’t? Iris, in any version where it’s prominent. It’s not at all awful, it just feels alien to me. Like I’m trying to impersonate Grace Kelly. Except in Iris Ganache, strangely enough. It is odd indeed. I was just thinking yesterday that it was one of the most unusual compositions by a prestigious house that I’d smelled since… oh… Chanel N°18, as a matter of fact, with its weird boozy note. But I think I love it. I do get the white chocolate, the cool creamy gourmandise of it: the notes play against each other in a very intriguing, appealing way.

    Tom Ford Black Orchid, on the other hand, smelled so vile on the scent strip (shitake-beef soup) that it never approached my skin.
    I’m glad you love Mayotte. I was wearing Mahora yesterday and it is indeed a joyful perfume.

    • Patty says:

      I guess that’s why I love Iris so much, that other-wordliness, like it just doesn’t fully belong here. But it really does make the Ganache part of IG work. If it wasn’t there, that would be one Big Hot Mess.

      Are Mahora and Mayotte a lot different? I was thinking Ina thought they were, Mahora more about the tuberose and Mayotte more about the ylang, which is a better fit for me. Love ylang, tuberose can asphixiate me if I’m not careful.@-)

      • carmencanada says:

        Yes, I’ve had that exchange with Ina. I haven’t done a side-by-side but the difference doesn’t strike me as being gigantic.

  • Kathleen says:

    I want so much to love Philosykos. I’ve tried and tried and it’s pure stems and dirt on me. Tried to restrict it to 90-degree days, but I was just deluding myself. Have started fantasizing about someone longing to swap Riviere de Janvier for it.

    Strangest perfume tried this year is Musc Ravageur. On me, pure Carmex. Or Ben-Gay. Or campho-phenique. Or is that eek?

    • Patty says:

      Hey, stems and dirt are my favorite smell! If you have a bottle that you want to relieve yourself of, hit the contact me button over there, I’d buy or trade for it!

      MR=carmex? Wow. Okay, you officially get the weirdest scent transformations on your skin of the week. :d

    • Melissa says:

      You too??? I thought i was the only person with this problem with Musc Ravageur! On me, MR could be a CB I Hate Perfume creation called “skinned knee” : it is totally campho-phenique. I would vote MR as my most tried to love but just absolutely hate. That and Apres l’ondee–and really anything with Iris. (Patty, don’t freak) Iris just turns into musty-dusty ick on my skin. So frustrating to read such glowing reviews about fragrances and then go “bleh!!” when I put it on.

      Strangest Frag might Taur Lonestar Memories that smells EXACTLY like hot tar on me. And Dzing (and to a lesser degree Cuir Ottoman) go through such a prolonged gasoline stage (Dzing seems to stop there but Cuir Ottoman only tortures me for about 30 minutes) that it’s hard to find the love. The funny thing is that reviews of these fragrances note the tar/gas smell and the review says “yumm. . .” either you guys have had waaay better road trips than I have or I still have a long way to go to become as much of a perfume “freethinker” as you guys are!!

    • Amy says:

      I get a little camphor, too, at the very top of MR, but then it comes down into the most delicious, woody cinnamon yumminess on me. (Not so much with the musk, though — another mis-named fragrance.)

  • Maria says:

    Oh, Patty, I’m sorry about Shalimar. I guess my perfume-eating skin comes in handy in some ways.

    For the past 10 years or so I’ve owned two bottles of YSL Champagne (that’s what it says on MY bottles): one an extrait and one an EDT. Now and then I haul them out and try the fume again. Although I generally tolerate powederiness pretty well, I don’t tolerate this one. After a while it starts driving me crazy. I hold on to them because I like the champagne-bottle bottles and because they say Champagne. Take that, French vintners. 😉

    Odd fragrance? Since I’ve been hanging out with you guys my ideas for what constitutes strangeness in a fragrance have changed radically. After all, I do enjoy patchouli mixed with chocolate.

    • Patty says:

      What’s so weirs is I don’t get ANY sweet in Shalimar — just a musty powder. it’s really awful. I know other people wear it better, and I just wish I could sniff the magic. 🙂

      Yeah, my idea of odd has expanded exponentially in the last two years. so when I saw Iris Ganache is lovably odd… trust me, it’s getting way out there on the weird factor. But I still love it.