March and Patty Storm New York

What does happiness smell like?  It smells like the weekend in New York, starting with a hotel less than two blocks from Bergdorf.  Patty and I are in NYC and attending a lunch Monday for Chandler Burr´s new perfume book (more about that later, assuming we don´t get mowed down by a bus) and we decided to pack in as much adventure as possible into the long weekend.

On Saturday I got together with Colombina of Perfume-Smellin´ Things and we revisited some familiar scents at L´Artisan.  If you´re at the sniffage thing long enough, one of the great pleasures is the inevitable changes of heart and strength of feelings you might have for particular scents (or even entire lines.)  This time around I learned: I am still charmed by Safran Troublant; Jour de Fete applied to the entire left forearm smells, essentially, like Play-Doh; and for the first time I find Mure et Musc alluring – a shimmery, slightly tart musk rather than a blackberry nightmare.

Sunday morning Patty and I started the day off right with a ginormous breakfast with a publisher friend, then off to the races – first at Comme des Garcons (here´s their door, how fabulous is that?) where I smelled the Luxe Patchouli, which to me is quite reminiscent of Borneo, and that is all I will say about that.  Also, the Luxe bottles (like the Serge bell jars and certain men) turn out to be smaller than one would have guessed.  Patty was horrified by the spicefest of the CdG original, and stood there next to me thanking her lucky stars she hadn´t bought the darn thing unsniffed based on my waxing all poetic about it awhile back.  In the meantime, I was struck by the reality that several of the CdGs I found so peculiar in my early days of sniffage now smell just dandy.

Off to Aedes, where we petted various dogs and sniffed the Molinard chypre, then Bigelow, etc.  Let´s skip the makeup porn and jump ahead to the juicy part – at Bergdorf we saw the display of the Estee Lauder parfum flacons, and can I tell you?  The parfum version of Cinnabar is the stuff dreams are made of.  Forget everything you may think about Cinnabar´s rough EDT edges.  Notes are orange, mandarin, clove, rose, cinnamon, carnation, jasmine, patchouli, incense, sandalwood, vanilla.  Original Fragrance Ladies – chime in here with laughter and ask me, what took me so damn long?  The problem with writing about parfum-strength anything is that, at this point, “smooth” and “seamless” are flogged to death in my posts.  Cinnabar is an extraordinarily elegant scent, a signature-scent candidate, a smell I want to smell on an Hermes scarf and have my children associate with me.  I have never smelled cinnamon and clove worked so delicately, and the incense-vanilla drydown is potent and lovely.

And then.  And then we slutted around the Guerlain counter until the fabulous and beloved Jason dug out the scents that got there yesterday and will be for sale at Bergdorf on February 15, some in limited numbers.  Jason had no notes on these so we´re guessing, and I suppose at some point we´ll see how close we were.  I think he said these were EdPs, but don’t take my word for it.

First up: Metalys, which will now be part of Les Parisiennes collection, meaning one of those beautiful, bumpy little bee bottles like Apres L´Ondee EDT comes in.  So it´s not being killed off as an LE, just being reborn, and so far as we can tell it smells the same.

Second: Cruel Gardenia (joining L´Art et la Matiere line) which Jason and Patty practially wet themselves over.  I´m not the Gardenia Queen, and those two say they aren´t either, but they are loving that one, which seems to be pretty much without the bleu cheese note and seems to me to have some sort of green additional note to it.

Third: L´Ame d´un Heros, the men´s scent, also part of Les Parisiennes, in the style of a more virile classic Guerlain offering like Derby rather than, say, Eau du Coq.  I´m guessing leather, patch, pepper and musk.  The opening is a little conventional and citrus-y but it gets richer, darker and more interestingly elegant in the drydown.  Jason really loves this one.

Fourth – Purple Fantasy!  Also in the Les Parisiennes bee bottle.  Which has been ragged pretty vigorously based on samples of the scent from duty-free shops, which is I think the only place most people could find this thing.  I can´t remember whether I ever tried it, and I don´t know whether it´s been reformulated for this release, but this!  Again, a total wild guess – rose, jasmine, violets, Guerlinade and patchouli?  Emphasis on patchouli?  Something dirty and musky?   Try calling it Fantaisie Violette and see if you like it any better.  I´m now wondering whether this endorsement is going to come back and haunt me, but I´m willing to risk it.

Finally … Quand Vient L´Ete (which we are translating as When Summer Comes).  I am not sure how to describe it.  Here´s what it does not smell like – another pretty, powdery-heliotrope Guerlain Special like Apres L´Ondee and/or Quand Vient La Pluie.  If I were a reckless idiot, I´d write that it smells (in the best possible way) like cinnamon, iris, butter, and the skin of a child.  There is possibly crack cocaine or something even more addictive (is there something more addictive?) in here operating as a silent partner.  Brief online research indicates that this may be a reissue/variation on Terracotta Voile d’Ete?  And maybe it is, but it doesn’t smell like my bottle of Terracotta; it’s stronger, much spicier, and with a darker base.  If it turns out to be Terracotta rebottled you can all have a laugh on me.

If you are trying desperately to decide whether you might like any of these:  they are less sweet than several of Guerlain´s recent offerings, collectively they represent a trend by the house away from vanilla/heliotrope/gourmands that I´m very pleased with; and all of these smell a bit wan on the blotter and really need to be tried on, they bloom on the skin. For specifics, Jason can be reached at 212-872-2734.

My other favorite discovery of the trip: Mo´s Bacon Bar by Vosges (notes are: applewood smoked bacon, alder wood smoked salt, deep milk chocolate).  Yes, the bacon pieces are crunchy and stick in your teeth.  Yes, it sounds disgusting.  And yes, like salt, bacon turns out to be an excellent accent for chocolate.  Hey, I wonder if anyone makes a chocolate-covered bacon strip…

I have no idea if/when I´ll be checking in, probably not until later Monday night.  Remember, we at the Posse have strapped on our, uh, sidearms and are riding our scent steeds hard in service of you, our loyal readers.   Tune in tomorrow for Patty’s take on our trip, including our sniffage of the two new Armani prive scents!

image: entrance to CdG boutique, New York,

  • donna says:

    CdG Luxe Patchouli is fantastic. I do *not* see the similarity to SL Borneo which is very difficult to wear, way too sharp IMHO.

    The Guerlain Quand Vient l’ete sounds great, I love Terracotta so this is quite tempting, only $525 on ebay, lol.

    My credit card weeps:)

  • Annette says:

    What would I do without your wonderful suggestions March?

    Have a friend who’s birthday is soon….he loves chocolate and bacon, why not try serve him up both! Must admit the shipping to florida was a surprise $$, but the surprise on his face will be worth it.

    Cinnabar- can’t wait to try it, love things spicy

    • March says:

      Hey, sometimes you have to splurge on the shipping to get that perfect gift. And so far as I am concerned, bacon-studded chocolate is the perfect gift.:d I hope he likes it!

  • Karenska says:

    Hi March and Patty – It was great to meet you today at Chandler’s luncheon. The Flatiron Bldg is such a cool place, isn’t it?! Glad that you are sniffing all the olfactory treasures NYC has to offer. Hope to see you both on April 12 – 13 at our Spring Fling Sniffapalooza!

    • March says:

      It was so great meeting you today! We just came back from a gigantic cheezburger at the Brooklyn Diner, it was delish. I’m hoping to see you again at the Sniffa, I’m going to try to make it work.

  • Rita says:

    Sounds like so much fun. I’ve never been to New York, but am really hoping to make it there by late spring. Thanks for posting Jason’s #, may use that in the near future! And I can’t even begin to imagine the CdG shop…

    Nothing to do with this post, but the bell jar I bought arrived today and it is so cute! Pictures make them seem gigantic!

    • March says:

      Aren’t those bell jars adorable?! So fab in person, I’m glad it showed up. Which one did you get?

      The Karens from Sniffapalooza were at the Chandler Burr thing today. The next Sniffa, which P and I may go to, is in mid-April. Just saying.:)>-

      • Rita says:

        I actually had the opportunity to buy Rose de Nuit and PASSED because Robby asked me if I would not wear it around him. OMG, that broke my heart, but he knows how much i love perfume and I know he would not have asked unless it horribly offended him-oh well. I ended up going with Sarrasins, which is very underrated IMHO. I had only dabbed it on thanks to the sample I won from Patty’s draw, but I decanted some into an atomizer earlier today and sprayed–I have been in heaven all day! It is not as suffocating as A la Nuit(which I adore, btw) and I am oh so perfectly skanky right now I can’t even stand it.

  • Robin says:

    I kind of like that Vosges bacon thing, but I think my favorite Vosges is the one w/ wasabi & a bunch of other weird stuff I’ve forgotten. i ate one, didn’t like it, ate another and decided I did. Now I guess i have to figure out the name.

    Isn’t the CdG shop cool? They were not very helpful or knowledgeable when I was there, unfortunately.

    I need some Cinnabar !?!

    • March says:

      Wait, which Robin is this? :d If you’re NST I have your tea! The wasabi one is great too. I think there’s only one I don’t like but can’t remember which. I never thought I’d like such weird chocolate.

      I paid almost no attention to the rest of the merch in the CdG, but it was *so* fun to see everything (Sweet, Synth, Tea etc.) all together like that.

      • Robin says:

        Yes, I’m the “shamelessly begged for tea” Robin, yay, looking forward to it!

        • March says:

          I’ll get it in the mail ASAP!

          BTW my kids and husband said to me when I walked in, you smell really good.@};- What could be better than that?

  • Malena says:

    oh no, you already smelled the new guerlains – i envy you more than a bit 8-|cruel gardenia & l´ame d´un heros i want to sniff them as well – now :((
    i´m happy i´m not the only one that think CDG luxe patchouli smells very close to bornéo!
    now you really tmepted me, i need to get a sample of cinnabar – i vene don´t know the EdT (EdP?), i never really cared about estée lauder at all (okay, tuberose gardenia is a nice one, i wouldn´t mind owning a bottle), but now i´ve already several one my list, like private collection & knowing. my mother used to wear knowing back in the 80s, but i cannot recall how it smelled. (i think i wasn´t too impressed, but then i was still a child…)
    enjoy your stay in the big apple 🙂

    • March says:

      Estee isn’t my thing at all, I don’t really wear any of the EL fragrances. I think Tuberose Gardenia is a great scent in theory but it is very much not my thing. Cinnabar is a great scent if you like cinnamon-spice.

      I am pleased to see so many folks on here today sharing my opinion about Borneo and Patch.

  • Kim says:

    The CdG Patch is nice and I agree it is very close to Lutens Borneo. But I still like Borneo best – this dark chocolate addict loves that extra deep cocoa kick from Borneo. A lovely combo is to layer Borneo with Lutens Un Bois Vanille – takes the camphor edge off Borneo and, believe it or not, the Bois Vanille almost eats the Borneo alive!

    Any word on whether the Guerlain boutique in the Waldorf Astoria will be carrying any exclusive lovlies?

    Okay, dumb question, but how the heck do you find the doorknob on that door? Not for this ‘seasick on a pond’ woman!!

    • March says:

      The door! I walked up to it waiting for it to open on its own. Which it didn’t. It actually swings from a hinge sort of in the middle-ish, and it said either Push or Pull (can’t remember) on the handgrip. My guess is the store staff has had tons of fun watching folks try to get in.

      I don’t know about the Waldorf, he seemed to think it was going to be exclusive to them and Paris, but he hadn’t really been briefed yet.

  • Helen T says:

    Sounds so much fun, did something similar back in Dec, but we were supposed to be looking at cosmetics, so sniffage was a little low down on the list for the group…sniff.

    But liking the sound of the new Guerlains. And I was surprised that I like Cinnabar, and I also quite liked Estee, both of which surprised me. I wouldn’t normally head to the Lauder counter, but I smelt both of these on dry down from someone else’s strips, and was intrigued.

    Not intrigued enough yet to buy them though !

    Hope the lunch is good today, have put in an advance order for Chandler’s book.

    • March says:

      Helen, well, we played in the cosmetics a bit too. It’s nice to come to NYC with someone who’s REALLY into sniffage, last time I came it was very nice but I couldn’t ask my friend to put up with endless perfumery … she’s into shoes, funny what our little quirks are. I finally got to smell Private Collection, which I have been asking to try for YEARS at various EL counters, sometimes they have a box behind the counter but never a tester, so that was nice. Loved that Cinnabar, though.

      I am looking forward to lunch, I hear Chandler’s a gas.

      • Joan says:

        I’ve had the Chandler book on advance order also, for a few months, it should be shipping in a few weeks (just in time for my birthday)! You are so lucky to meet him in person…I want to hear everything about it!!!

        • Lee says:

          I can assure you, the book’s a great read.

          Mr Advance Copy Smartypants

          • Joan says:

            Hey, Mr A.C. Smartypants – I hope you are completely recoved from your chest cold. Check out the YouTube clip of Chandler trying to do a sniffa with the hosts of the Today show. Matt and Meredith were a little cheeky.

          • March says:

            Hey Mr. ACS — I was reading it in the Hermes boutique while Patty loaded up, it IS a great read. And Chandler Burr is unsurprisingly a fine conversationalist.

          • Lee says:

            What else is there to do while the lady loads up her Hermessences?

  • March says:

    Thanks for coming along! Patty is just such a slice to sniff with, she’s game for anything. And I love visiting NYC.

    Cinnabar, yum. Come to Mama. Did you see Louise was into it?

  • sariah says:

    That door is so cool, must get to CdG next time I’m in NYC. About the Bacon, I think I’m gonna hurl. Your sniffage sounds amazing.

    • March says:

      We’re going to try working Tak, Bendel and Hermes around the luncheon today. I know, good luck with that.;)

      I admit reading about the bacon bar this morning isn’t doing much for me either.

  • Anne says:

    No you didn’t say you liked that bacon chocolate bar! Love chocolate and salt (two of my favorite food groups) and am a bacon fan so I tried this and well, um, at least I can say I tried it.

    Love to hear the travel/sniffing stories, keep ’em coming!


    • March says:

      Hmmmm, thinking you weren’t loving it? I have some other Vosges favorites, like the salty Goji berry, the peppery ones, and I know there’s a regular salt one. The Vosges store on Madison offers samps, and after I tried it I bought one. Before I tried it I just said eeeew and laughed!

  • Judith says:

    Oh, no, several of those Guerlains are calling my name. But from the brief mention of the Molinard, I gather it wasn’t a hit. Too bad if that is true. . . .

    Your descripton of my (now beloved) CdG Patch makes me feel I should try Borneo again. I never liked it, but perhaps I have changed.

    • March says:

      J, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the Molinard at all, now that I’m weaseling out of talking about it. Please see my comment to Joan at the top. I thought about it some more last night and I really feel I need to go resniff it.

      BTW I made a mistake in my post, Les Parisiennes (as you probably well know) are the stoppered bee flacon bottles, the dressier ones, NOT the spray atomizers the Apres EDT comes in.

  • Elle says:

    What pure, unadulterated fun to get to go sniffing in NY w/ friends! How wonderful that you got to meet Marina! And chat w/ the canine children at Aedes. But the Molinard chypre? Did you like it? *Must* go track down some Cinnabar parfum. Sounds incredible. Absolutely adore CdG’s entrance. Great photo of it. Wish they kept all their scents that original.

    • March says:

      Elle, based on our shared loves you would love the Cinnabar. According to Louise up there if you stalk eBay you can get your own … the new (I think it’s a new design) Estee flacon is pretty darn lovely, though. I didn’t even ask the price.

      Marina is gorgeous and funny and sharp and has cheekbones I would kill for. I’m seeing her again at lunch today.

      Please see my response to Joan, I need to give the Molinard another go before I say anything, I was so looking forward to it, I want to try again when I am less rushed, probably tomorrow.

  • Divalano says:

    Having spent my entire weekend sneezing & watching movies on the couch under a box of Puffs (the kind w lotion) I’m glad to hear that at least someone was having fun in my city. Had I known you’d be visiting I’d have asked you to wave in a general southward direction when you visited Aedes 😉
    The Guerlains sound intriguing, as does the Cinnabar. And thanks for the photo of the CdG doorway; I’m planning to get there to sniff the Luxe’s soon – now I know what I’m looking for.

    Oh … and the bacon/chocolate thing. It sounds a bit er, vile, to me but like something my friend M in SF would love. I’m heading out there in 2 wks, where can I find a bar to bring as a housegift?

    • March says:

      Oh, honey, are you *still* sick?!? You are having quite the couple of months here!

      The CdG door was very cool, although the SA was frantically telling us no pictures no pictures! They were nice, though.

      If you google the Vosges website they have a great “retail locations” feature you can enter your zip code, address, whatever. And the Vosges rep said (when I was complaining that the only place I knew in DC stopped carrying it) that Whole Foods is now starting to carry Vosges? Which would be great. I’m not sure every place has the Bacon Bar though. Unsurprisingly. You can order them online, from Vosges and other places probably.

      • Divalano says:

        I’m only half sick. That is, I look & sound like hell but passed the sniff test: I uncapped my Fumerie Turque & sniffed. I can now smell it. Yesterday I could not.

        LOL @ the CdG SA. Soooooo tres exclusive & secret, and you there blowing their cover. Hee. And it looks like I’m fairly surrounded by Vosges. I will obtain bacon chocolate before SF. I could be wrong but I think she’ll like it. I mean, she likes durian fruit, why not bacon chocolate?

        • March says:

          I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better and the nose is refunctioning. I hate it when I can’t sniff. Yeah, why wouldn’t someone love bacon chocolate? Right? Right?


  • Louise says:

    What a blast! Though I am unclear whether you are more enthralled by the new fragrances or the larded chocolate.

    May I begin with a hearty “neener,neener,neener” on the Cinnabar parfum? I’ve been ranting about it here (and there) for a few weeks, and have scored several minis and a small vat on x-bay. Page me for a beeeg taste if you ever come back from NYC. Exquisite stuff.

    The new Guerlains sound sort of exciting, especially the kids’skin/coke one. But, but, but, how can you toss out the Luxe Patchouli with your loathed Borneo? Now, I love both, but can understand the difficulty of Borneo. But the smooth fenugreek/immortelle back drop of Luxe really distinguishes it from the patch crowd, at least on my skin.

    Be baaaaad, and don’t forget to eat lots of deli.

    • March says:

      I was thinking about you when I wrote that about Cinnabar, I am pretty sure you’re the one who kept telling me how great the parfum was. Yeah, I’ll be looking you up!

      I am eating like there is no tomorrow and enjoying it, thanks!

      It smelled so much like Borneo (sans mothballs) on me I never got around to appreciating the rest of the bits. Sorry.:(

  • Lee says:

    What larks! Not being a massive chocolate fan, that gourmet bar you describe has me feeling a bit queasy this early in the morning, but glad you enjoyed it.

    The Guerlains sound fascinating, Quand Vient in particular. I’m wondering whether crystal meth is more addictive than crack, but I wouldn’t know… Just fyi.:d

    • March says:

      Crystal Meth! Of course. And why don’t we have a fragrance called Crystal Meth? Wonder if it’s trademarked… yes, in the harsh light of morning that chocolate bar isn’t sounding too appetizing to me either.:d

  • MattS says:

    What a fun time, I hope you guys enjoy yourselves. Eat, sniff, and be merry and bring us back lots of great stories.

    I’m with you on CdG Luxe Patchouli and Borneo; they smell remarkably similar to me. Fortunately, I like ’em both. Unfortunately, they’re both expensive and/or hard-to-get. I guess patchouli done cheaply is why so many people hate patchouli.

    I finally sniffed your beloved Mitsouko and I see why you’re so charmed. What surprised me is how much more I liked it than Jicky, which I expected to adore. Jicky gave me a heap o’ lavender when I was hoping for a heap o’ skank. But Mitsouko, no disappointments there…

    Ya’ll have fun and behave yourselves.

    • March says:

      Aha!!! VINDICATION on the Luxe Patchouli!!! Dude, you can have my portion.

      And I am so glad you liked the Mitsouko, although sorry you didn’t like the Jicky. I wonder which concentrations you tried?

      • MattS says:

        I tried the parfum in both. I didn’t dislike the Jicky; I suppose I had simply built it up in my mind over the years and was a little taken aback at all the lavender. I was expecting Nastiness, not necessarily herb garden. I may have to play with it some more.

        How crazy about the CdG SA’s stopping the photo ops. A friend just got back from NYC over the holidays and it seemed kind of funny to hear that they would allow her to take pictures at MOMA, yet she couldn’t inside Barney’s. So she brought me photos of Warhol’s Marilyn, Elvis, and Campbell’s soup cans but no pics of Barney’s Recycled Reindeer Green Christmas Holiday display. Go figure.

        • March says:

          That is funny. I suppose they’re … what? Why would they care if you took pictures inside? I don’t get it.

          I am not a huge fan of lavender but I like Jicky parfum very much. I wonder whether part of your disappointment was you were expecting something very different? Jicky can be quite dirty, but it is not “dark.” I remember having heard so much about it and thinking it would be dark, and being disappointed. OTOH I don’t think I magnify the lavender either, and it’s pretty skanky on me. /:)

  • tmp00 says:

    This is one of those times that I am truly sad that I no longer live in New York- I would have been so pleased to seek out the Beauty Level with you two.. :((:d

    • March says:

      I am so sorry too!!! We would have ruled the Beauty Level. You could have strongarmed some SAs with us and shared the tea sandwiches in their little cafe we love off the beauty area. And he brought us an extra plate of the bread since we were enjoying it so much, when’s the last time you think anyone ate carbs in that dining room? Heh heh.:@)

  • Maria says:

    Going sniffing with you and Patty must be perfume fiend heaven. Thanks for letting us enjoy vicariously–and for making me wonder about Cinnabar.

    • March says:

      Maria, hon, I’m using Patty’s work laptop and I’m not threading properly, my response to your comment is down there somewhere. Anyway, Louise is raving over the Cinnabar, so there’s an additional nudge to check it out.

  • Joan says:

    I have a question for you..I read on one of the perfume blogs that the Molinard Une Histoire de Chypre is “close to capturing the essence of vintage Mitsouko”. Please give me your opinion. You didn’t comment on it so I am guessing that it wasn’t that great??? Looking forward to hearing about your Monday in New York.

    • March says:

      Um … well … I’d already smelled a lot of things, and IMO those Molinard atomizers don’t work any better than the Guerlain ones (which is to day, they work poorly or not at all). And the TESTER atomizer is probably even more anemic. (Insert seven random further qualifications here). I’m going to try to get back down there tomorrow, I don’t have time today, and re-smell it before I say anything further. I am not sure it was quite what I was expecting, but I feel like I owe it (and the line, and Aedes) another more extensive go.