Expect the Unexpected

It´s January. It´s cold. You need to get your blood flowing; let´s have an argument.

Louise and I get together at the mall periodically and sniff fragrances, sometimes things we´ve brought with us to swap. If that´s the case we end up sitting at a table at the mall café outside Nordstrom, in the semi-open air. I might bring vials or atomizers to make samples from our bottles. Sometimes we meet up at a Starbucks instead. Sometimes, when we are really reeking, or hoovering each other, or I am making samples, people look at us oddly.

Last week we met at the Starbucks in Wheaton, where the man working near us on his laptop was maybe not digging the early-morning bouquet of our Cinnabar vintage parfum. A few days later I got this email from Louise:

“I just ran into the Wildwood Starbucks (aside from March: a different Starbucks) to pick up some beans after work, and there, huddled over his laptop was the Greek professor dude we gassed out at Wheaton on Wednesday! I looked at him and smiled, and he just looked … frightened. Just when he thought he was safe.”

So. Is it criminally inconsiderate of us to meet at places like Starbucks, where you could argue the citizenry would not welcome our sampling and sillage with their mocha crappacinos? Are we inherently more offensive than the folks who use Starbucks to conduct interviews, have book club meetings, yammer on their cel phones (“hi, I´m at Starbucks!”), escape from the house on dreary afternoons with their badly-behaved toddlers, etc.? If we buy two large drinks and a mocha brownie to tide us over while we try on five (okay, 10) fragrances, are we worse than folks who sit there all day taking up space, nursing a small coffee and using the wi-fi? If we sit far away in a corner and someone sits next to us and we whip out the Musc Ravageur to sample, were they, you know … Asking For It? What say you? Are we being rude?

Okay, on to today´s perfumage. This is another post on New York discoveries.

I was pretty sure, playing in L´Artisan on Madison Avenue with Marina from Perfume-Smellin’ Things, that I had explored all the love L´Artisan had to give me. L’Artisan is like going home, in a good way. Regular readers know I am fond of the line. L´Artisan is an excellent place to start if you´re just getting bitten by the perfume bug, because many of their scents are interesting and a bit strange and generally wearable. For the more experienced fragrance lover, they offer up more unusual scents like Tea for Two, Dzongkha and Dzing! The biggest general complaint about the line might be longevity, but I assume almost anyone reading these blogs can come up with at least one L´Artisan they like.

My favorites in the line move around with the seasons and my changing tastes, but pretty much from the get-go the line has divided itself neatly for me into the majority of likes and the small number I don´t wear at all, mostly because I think they smell terrible on me, not because they are terrible.

One I´ve never liked one bit is Mure et Musc, one of L´Artisan´s oldest, most popular scents (with the pretty, niche-for-the-mass-market-smelling La Chasse being, I believe, their biggest U.S. seller). Mure et Musc has left me absolutely cold for years. I have retried it umpteen times and stand there with my head cocked, trying to discern what part of that slightly bitter, diffuse muskberry combo would appeal to anyone with a sense of, you know, smell.

So while Marina and I were laughing and teasing each other about our favorites and not-so-favorites, I sprayed some on again just to confirm what a mediocrity it was.

And I loved it. Why? Why? I have absolutely no idea why. Marina can´t stand it, and she didn´t see the light that day either. What changed? Not the formula. It smells the same on me. It´s not like it was, I don´t know, some ultra-challenging scent that suddenly I got sophisticated enough to enjoy. I have noooo idea.

Mure et Musc is an idealized blackberry – not sweet, not tart, not natural. Nobody´s pretending to be leading you through the brambles. The other note is musk, and that´s it. It´s a simple, perfect combination. And now I´m going to cheat and admit that after my change of heart I googled the fragrance and came upon Bois de Jasmin´s review, where she pretty much nails what I like about it: it´s not remotely foody, with the balance of the slightly animalic musk perfectly tempering any jammy tendencies in the fruit. She prefers Extreme, which has a stronger fruit note. I prefer the regular, which – go ahead, hate me – lasts approximately forever on me, like most fragrances. It also does that aura thing on me, which I’ve decided for the time being is my single favorite characteristic in a scent — its sillage is subtle but omnipresent and long lasting. I can smell it over an entire day without having to sniff at myself, but it’s not strong enough to start grating on my nerves or irritating people around me. That’s a tough balance to find in perfumery.

My take-home lesson? You never know what previously-spurned fragrance might suddenly take up room in your heart, your wallet, your shelf. If a line as familiar and comforting to me as L´Artisan can still provide me with surprises, I know I´m in good shape.

Okay, your turn. Should Louise and I keep our perfume habit out of other people´s lattes? (For various reasons, visiting each other’s homes is problematic). Do you have a favorite L´Artisan? Is there one from the line that seems completely out of place to you, or one you´d ax? (I can think of a couple). Any you´d make them resurrect and release more widely? (Fleur de Carotte!) Do you think if I buy that bottle of Mure et Musc I´ll go back to hating it immediately?

images from L’Artisan’s website

  • minette says:

    found this on the scented salamander today. immanuel kant said it so much better than i did:

    “Olfaction is a kind of taste experienced at a distance. Others are forced, willy-nilly, to participate in this pleasure. And this is why, being in contradiction with freedom, olfaction is less social than taste, where among many dishes or bottles a guest can choose one that he likes without others being forced to share the pleasure of it. ”

    in Anthropology From a Pragmatic Point of View (1798)

  • minette says:

    ha… i used to hate that nancy’s mom argument, until i realized it showed that my mom loved me better (at least more protectively) than nancy’s mom did her. nancy used to flirt hard with the construction workers on the street (new neighborhood) and was already into pot in 8th grade. i sometimes wonder what happened to her. one thing i know for sure, my mother loved and loves me. i hope your kids interpret that response and understand it to mean you love them something fierce.

    few things spark a headache like that nail polish smell… i don’t know how women can get their nails done in nail salons without passing out!

  • minette says:

    i think some folks definitely are easily offended – they are waiting for someone to do something that will allow them to take out their frustrations or vent or try to take back control of their out-of-control-feelings lives. but there are a lot of other folks who aren’t at the edge, who can sort out the facts and chalk it up to people just being enthused or excited about something, and maybe even get a chuckle out of it.

    depending on hormones, how hungry they are, and how stressed out they are, people can be in one camp or the other on any given day. and you don’t know who is which camp until you do something to tick them off. especially in a place like starbucks, where people are at first anxious and cranky for their fixes and then focused on relaxing and enjoying them.

    years ago, a young woman decided to paint her nails on an airplane, and everyone in that contained air space – including me – was forced to endure the stink of her nail varnish. i think the flight attendant finally told her to stop it, because people were gagging and getting headaches. she was just doing her thing, enjoying herself, not thinking about how it might affect the people around her.

    thankfully, in most situations we can move away from the source of our annoyance, or roll our eyes and gain the support of another person standing in line who’s also over the loud cell phone conversation. but i’m probably not going to take kindly to having to move from one table to another in a restaurant because of a cacophony of perfume smells clashing with my food and drink.

    all i’m saying is that we as perfume lovers still need to be considerate of others – because the scent molecules can’t be contained on our bodies – they travel to other noses, noses who may not take as much pleasure in them as we do. we need a “cone of silence” for perfume testing. (do you remember get smart?) then we could spritz and spray with abandon anywhere.

    also, just because others are “doing it” by being noisy or smelly, doesn’t mean we should be, too. that argument is the one i used with my mother in 8th grade, when nancy across the street was allowed to do something i wasn’t allowed to do. my mother’s answer to my “but nancy’s mom is letting her do it” was “i don’t care about nancy, i care about you.”

    • March says:

      Minette, okay, you win. :)>- And I am laughing because of the NAIL POLISH story. Nail polish — one of the few smells I can think of that make me instantly, massively ill. I can smell TWO FLOORS DOWN if my girls are up in the attic painting their nails. It is a smell I loathe with a passion I can’t describe. My kids now go outside whenever they can; better than listening to me. And I would have smothered that gal on the plane with her own cheap in-flight blanket, and then where would I be? Prison, that’s where. :d

      And you know you’ve got me on the Nancy’s mom argument too, because I use your mom’s response 24/7.

  • alba says:

    I remember my first Artisan: it was timbuktu, and it was love at first sniff (it still lasts). Since then, I’ve bought different scents from different houses, but I find that L’Artisan manage to create scents that are original, different from the sweety-fruity ones you fins everyhwere, while at the same time being so wearable. I love Bois Farine, Safran Troublant, Tea for Two and Dzongkha, and if I feel nostalgic I wear Patchouli Patch for a sophisticated version of my youth. But… Timbuktu is still number one.

    • March says:

      Okay, you get a big >:d< from me. And ITA agree about Patchouli, it is a great flashback, but more sophisticated.

  • minette says:

    i see your point about the olfactory chaos, but i guess i figure, just because someone else is doing something you don’t dig (changing diapers around hot dogs) doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to add to the olfactory cacophony. if i saw someone changing a diaper around food, i would say something to the person doing the changing – that is unhealthy as well as stinky.

    i just think about what people go to starbucks for – and the smells you expect when you go – a wild mix of perfumes isn’t one of them, and that’s why it could be startling and disturbing for those who just want a cup of coffee and find starbucks a comforting place to get it.

    i’m not one of them – i have my own local holes in the wall – and i wouldn’t welcome a perfume testing party there because i go there to focus on writing and other creative endeavors, as do many others. in my favorite tea house i expect to smell the food they make and the tea i’m drinking – anything else would disturb my little tea house womb.

    also, there is something very personal about perfume – it’s part of one’s toilette, part of our mystique as women. i wouldn’t try out antiperspirants or douches or body lotions or razors or floss in public, why would i do this? i know, i know, because it’s fun to share and play. i agree. i just have different boundaries. hope you find a fun place where you guys can play without worrying about anything at all.

    • March says:

      Minette, let’s stipulate that I agree with you that people in a Starbucks aren’t expecting perfume (and please see my note regarding Louise’s email in my response above.) But as to your larger point, which I sympathize with, about the reasons you go to your coffee shop, to focus on your writing/other creative endeavors — where do we draw the line? Where is my enjoyment infringing on your enjoyment? Let’s say we’re at your coffee shop, where most of the patrons write, read, and are quiet. And a mothers’ group with toddlers starts meeting there, upsetting the tranquility without doing anything wrong or illegal. Are they not entitled to the use of the coffee shop? I mean, people bug the sh*t out of me all day long — I could strangle 50% of people with cel phones in public, and their children are wretched (and I have four kids). People talk too loud. And some people just stink — like BO. But I still don’t feel like they’re in the wrong; they’re just living, albeit in a way that annoys me. Don’t you think, as Erin (?) said up there, people are a little too willing to be offended?

  • sylvia says:

    i just started reading this blog so i havent commented before. i recently received a set of l’artisan samples and i was just inspired to try mure et musc on one wrist and chasse on the other. so far, love them both. we’ll say how the day progresses.

    as per the starbucks thing, i think that the guy, if bothered, is free to ask you to stop spraying, or to move himself. also, smaller spaces with less ventilation may be better suited to splash vials, as opposed to sprays.

    • March says:

      I wonder how the L’Artisans worked out on you?

      And I don’t think that guy was bothered at all, really. I think he was more puzzled than anything about what we were doing. Louise was making a private joke with me in that email, and to tell you the truth, I shouldn’t have stuck it up on the blog. Taken out of context it seems spiteful, and she’s not at all — she’s really friendly, the sort of person who could talk to anyone. She’d probably have him sniffing with us next time.

      • Lee says:

        You’re both adorable, and that’s why I find it hard to imagine people being offended by anything you two do!

  • minette says:

    well, i love perfume as well as the next perfumista, and it would never cross my mind to test and spray and decant in a public place like starbucks – especially in a place where people are eating. maybe i’m just a perfumed prude, but i wouldn’t. something about it strikes me as rude. the atrium of a mall might be okay – but even then i would probably hold back.

    if you have to do it inside, why not just do it in a perfume department? you could test the store’s offerings and yours. and you could even bring an SA in on the fun. i have brought in things for favorite SAs to try, and if i’m not hogging their time or getting in the way of a sale, it works out just fine. the better ones love to learn more and sniff things they’ve never tried before.

    failing that, why don’t you play in your car?

    • March says:

      Well, we enjoy sitting down while we sniff the scents — preferably with a coffee, because I am often making samples off bottles we have brought. And so we did so at the mall atrium for several times. On the one hand, I agree with your points. On the other, I’ve seen people change diapers there among other people eating hotdogs, so part of me feels like what we’re contributing to the olfactory chaos is benign, and clearly they have some sort of serious ventilation in that area.

  • Wynn says:

    Chicken bones? Really?!!! Wow…I thought I had it hard dealing with all the Axe body spray. Thank you for the note, Ellen!

  • erin k. says:

    whoops, that was supposed to be a reply to march above, but it didn’t go in the right place. :”>

  • erin k. says:

    bulgari black wards off teargas.

    burning tire + hot asphalt + black tea + vanilla + teargas =
    lancome hypnose. it’s the “passionfruit” accord.

    see, you wouldn’t think those elements would go together at all, but menardo’s a genius …

  • Wynn says:

    Hi All!

    I just wanted to add to your conversation about Starbucks and spraying in public. My mom has life-threatening asthma, and I do have concerns about perfume being sprayed in open places. When my mom is confronted with perfume, she is completed unable to breathe. It’s terrifying and, at very least, can knock her out for the rest of the day. There have been times where we’ve almost lost her. Now, I love fragrance, and stumbling across a lovely one on a day out is a treat, but I think it’s important to remember that there are many people who suffer physically from scent to varying degrees and who are trying to enjoy a life without it. I don’t think any of us has the right to impose on them.

    • pitbull friend says:

      Wynn, your point is (of course!) a good one. I guess it is easy for us to forget there are folks with really serious health issues like that when there are so many, as mentioned above, who are just eager to take offense as a hobby. (Or give offense as a hobby! Yeesh! I’ve noticed the male nailclipping thing in numerous public places, including my office & the bus! But only fingernails, I think, which is slightly less disgusting. And I keep finding chicken bones on the bus lately — HUH?) –Ellen

    • March says:

      Wynn, thanks. I think it’s easy for those of us without health issues to forget how serious it can be for others.

      I have a friend (and her daughter) who are totally nut-allergic. I mean Epi-Pen level, even trace amounts. I am fascinated by the stories she shares with me, how hostile people can be about it — like it’s all in her head, or “a little bit won’t hurt.” I am insanely grateful my kids don’t have allergies like that.

      Anyway, yours was a thoughtful, diplomatic answer to the question that had been bothering me — not that what we were doing was deliberately rude or horrifying, but that we were doing something (spraying fragrance) in a place people wouldn’t expect to encounter it — although I want to add we are very discreet about it and not spraying it all over.

      • Wynn says:

        Thanks March!

        Your peanut example is spot on–the slightest bit of deodorant and hairspray can have a huge effect (let alone the most modestly–or not–dabbed perfume). Of course, I don’t think people should forgo fragrance altogether :-). But keeping it in expected places is a nice thing for those who can’t handle it.

        Thanks for bringing us such wonderful reviews. You folks have opened a wonderful world for me.

  • Joan says:

    For me personally, if a beautiful fragrance wafted over to me in a public place, I pretty much would need to investigate.

    I just finished reading the new James North Patterson novel called Exile. It deals with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The main character was in a millitary jeep that kept perfume along with the other equipment to be sprayed on cotton balls and put against your nose in the case of a tear gas attack to help with the effects of the gas. (of course I’m thinking….what perfume would they use??)

    • March says:

      That’s very funny! What would be good to ward off teargas? Not something I’ve run across in the literature. Something “fresh?” Cracking myself up here for no good reason.

      I do wish someone would come over and investigate. Friends are welcome.

  • Robin says:

    I do think it’s rude, but I’ve done worse: I’ve set up camp w/ another perfumista in a tea shop, the sort where people were there because they really cared about tea. Luckily, we did not get the evil eye, but I’ve been given the evil eye in other places. And, sat w/ V in a Starbucks once and sprayed Flowerbomb AND Flowerbomb Extreme around, trying to decide which was better. So there, I’m even ruder than you are 🙂

    • March says:

      Hah — cannot believe you released the F-Bomb on an unsuspecting public! I guess it could be worse. You could drop a bottle of Angel. Accidentally spill your 10ml decant of Secretions Magnifique. Go nuts and spray everyone with Baby Phat Goddess…

      okay, creeping myself out now. And you’re right, you win — I’d not have the nerve to do what you did in a tea shop! /:)

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, I am going to be a total snob here, but I don’t think that Starbucks is the gustatory be-all and end-all of the coffee experience, and I don’t think that you sampling a few colognes in there was any more invasive than someone composing their dissertation, clack-clack-clacking on their MacBookPro. It’s not like you were dissecting fish or debating the merits of stinky cheese or doing this at some meeting of the national academy of coffee roasters; I’ve seen obnoxious behavior (PDA, screeching cell-phones, cigar smoking, diaper changing- no I am not kidding, that one was at the Four Seasons at Brunch and they left the bundle on the table for the waiters) in my local Starbucks, which since it is on the busy corner of Beverly and Robertson I think I’d rather get a whiff of stray L’Artisan than stray MTA bus…

    • JenniferR says:

      Thank you, Tom, for saying what I wasn’t brave enough to. Starbuck’s? For a focused coffee experience? Um, no.
      And amen to the notion that most standard “accepted” behaviors in semi-public places like Starbuck’s are at least as annoying as unwanted fragrances, if not more so.
      And an extra amen to Erin K.’s point about the complaint really being about people’s eagerness to be annoyed by others.
      Sigh. I’d love to rant about the current PC stance on perfume, but perhaps another time.

    • March says:

      KILLING ME with the diaper changing. Where is a stun gun when you need it? I own four kids, and I am appalled at the places I have seen people change diapers, including (yep) Starbucks.

      Although now that you mention it, the grossest thing I have seen at Starbucks is a dude clipping his toenails. :-&

      On second thought, you’re right, maybe my perfumage isn’t that bad.

  • erin k. says:

    i have to respectfully disagree with those who said heavy perfume scents could be intrusive to others at starbucks. i think people today are so easily annoyed or offended because THEY REALLY DON’T LIKE OTHER PEOPLE. just listen to people around you at a restaurant or theater, talking about – and judging – those around them – like, “can you believe she wore THAT?” or “what is that SMELL!” the people around us in public places are often seen as objects, like people on a reality show, to be either ridiculed, labeled, or just ignored – but not seen, or more importantly felt, as being real human beings.

    in other words, yes it is intrusive, but that’s what interacting with (and ultimately UNDERSTANDING) other people is all about to me. 🙂

    as for the l’artsans, i haven’t tried enough to judge, but i’m wearing dzing! for the first time today and i adore it!

    • March says:

      Well, certainly in my neighborhood I know what you’re talking about. People here are ready to be offended at the drop of a hat. What I find funny/sad is how frequently service people thank me for being nice. For being, you know … not some completely insane b*tch. Like today I was taking my car in for some repair work, and their lot was full, so I had to *park and walk across the street.* And I didn’t go all berserk about it when I got the estimate. He thanked me, like, three times. How pathetic is that? OTOH I got a couple freebies — do you think I should let my secret out, that being nice can sometimes get you a break?

      • erin k. says:

        no way! what do you want, for everybody to go around being all NICE all the time? that could cause, like, world peace or something! :)>-

  • Lauren says:

    No Starbucks here, but we do have a Dunkin Donuts with very good service and a loyal clientele. I think that the mostly young, female staff would enjoy the scent of somethings besides coffee, donuts, and eggs cooking. I think that the usual crowd of break-takers would be very bemused, not at all annoyed, by the spraying, sampling, and sniffing.
    I have sampled MeM, but got mostly clean, soapy skin. March, I think you should get a small decant. Most L’Artisans disappear on me, but I really like Mandarine tout simplement on an early spring day.
    Thanks for an interesting post, and the picture of the blackberry bottle!

    • March says:

      I am trying to think what scents would work well with Dunkin Donuts. I am thinking of something with more substance than L’Artisan, frankly. Maybe the Tom Fords? :d

      Isn’t that bottle cute? It’s the fancy one (they make the regular one too.) I have no idea how much it costs, but I don’t think it’s insanely expensive.

  • elyse says:

    i agree with grizzlesnort- love the name, by the way.
    Mure et Musc is my favorite comfort scent. When I am having a stressful day, putting some on or sniffing it makes me feel miles better. I know people think it’s bland, but it smells really nice when it settles down. I am still a super- newbie, but I love this stuff!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    My Starbucks advice for you: When someone starts nattering on their cell phone about whether their son really looks like a young Fidel Castro or some other typically/equally inane topic, pull out your bottle of Fracas and spray TOWARDS THEM.

    • Denise says:

      Oh gosh, that would be cruel.:)I wore a few dabs of Fracas last week at work, and people were complaining about it /on the other side of the office/- a good 25-30 feet away.

      • March says:

        I believe Fracas is a registered weapon in 48 states. But it’s legal to spray in Texas, as long as you don’t carry it concealed.

    • March says:

      I would WELCOME a conversation as scintillating as Fidel. Or, seriously, news from their proctologist. What they Found Under The Rock In Their Yard. Freaking ANYTHING but the variations on hey-what’s-going-on-nothin-much that make me want to beat my head on something.

  • IrisLA says:

    I think it’s OK for a sniff fest during off hours at Starbucks, although I wouldn’t do it myself. I couldn’t relax and focus if I had to worry about bothering others. Sampling is Serious Business, ya know?

    Mure et Musc was a scrubber for me. Reading your experience, though, I am inspired to try it again. In general, I like L’Artisans. In particular, I love Mimosa Pour Moi, La Chasse, and both harvest editions.

    • March says:

      Scrubber?!? Really. Someone else up there said that too. Too fruity? Too sour?

      Louise and I (okay, I) like to hork down something disgusting while we’re sniffing, like one of those 800-calorie chocolate-cream-cheese “muffins.” Which is I guess how I got my muffin top I’m trying to lose…

  • Patty says:

    MeM Extreme is just a staple for me, especially in spring/summer. Clear, crisp, refreshing, but not about the fruit except in the beautiful peripheral way.

    Wel… I’d say outside in a starbucks cafe would be perfect, but inside can be a little close, though I think of STarbucks as being a pretty good public place that people come to do lots of things! But if you are spritzing l’air de rien, well, I’ll change my mind.

    • March says:

      I had no idea! Girl, you see the love in everything. Did NOT visualize you at all carousing with the MeM. Shows what I know.

      The chances of me spritzing Rien are effectively nil. It’s one of those scents that, if I had a decanting business, I’d refuse to carry. If I never smell that evil business again, we’re good. [-(

      • tmp00 says:

        I am going to have to wear Rien around you to see if I should be scrubbing it off- I get dusty minty cozy yumminess out of it; I’m afraid that I’m smelling one thing and projecting Swamp Thing now…:d

        • March says:

          Hay, maybe it’s a skin chemistry thing, dude. I smell like I stepped in something. :-w But I think CB Musk smells like sweet heaven, so who knows?

  • Karen G says:

    No, I wouldn’t sample fragrances in Starbucks. Too much opportunity to offend in such a small space. However, the mall cafe is absolutely fair game.
    Have not sampled alot from L’artisan, but I do like Tea for Two (even better on my husband), and Passage d’Enfer is nearly full bottle worthy.
    Safran Troublant I don’t get at all. It almost smells like nothing when I put it on, and two minutes later it’s completely gone.

    • March says:

      Wow on Safran. I swear, we need some headspace chemistry or chromatography or something. Does it *really* disappear? Or can you just not smell it? It’s like I’m wearing a jar of saffron … yum … Tea for Two is definitely in my winter rotation Top 10.

  • JenniferR says:

    I wasn’t going to reply until I saw Elle’s comment, which I just want to give a very strong second to. I too miss the smell of smoking in public places. And so many more obnoxious things go on in any Starbuck’s (or similar coffee chain) that I’d never find sniffage and sillage a problem.
    But then, I’m not a fan of Starbuck’s. Still, I’d give y’all free rein to spray and smell anywhere. And no doubt I’d ask to join …
    PdE is at the top of my L’Artisan list, too. Sometimes the delicacy (euphemism alert!) is just what you need. I sprayed it last night after a day spent battling a nasty cold, and it was just what the doctor ordered.
    Timbuktu, Dzing! I also adore. And I’d like to put in a word for the maligned-by-comparison-with-its-older-and discontinuted-sibling Navegar, which is sometimes just exactly what I need.
    Orchidee Blanche is on my to-try list, and just got moved way up thanks to a couple of posters here.

    • March says:

      Hahhahaha, don’t you get tired of the old niche trotting-out-the-Navegar-for-a-whippin’?!?!?! Okay, I won’t do it again. Where’s the dang eyeroll emoticon?

      Love, love, love that PdE. My first bottle from the line. And yes, there are times when it — and only it — will do.

  • sarah patton says:

    Back when Saks carried l’Artisan and was touting it as the new best thing I was seduced by a Mure and Chasse combo that the SA was touting. They balance each other pretty nicely, actually and although I don’t wear either one by itself. Sarah

    • March says:

      That sounds like a tasty combo! I think I should order up a decant of Mure and give the layering a try.

      Hope you are feeling better.

  • Debbie says:

    Regarding Starbucks, I am torn. If I were there to just get a caffeine fix or wait for someone, I would probably think of a way to start a conversation with you and pull up a chair. Only a wilting glare or snide remark would dissuade me. I would try to be my charming best so that I could smell the beauty also. 😡

    On the other hand, if I were there to really enjoy the coffee…the fragrance of it…the fragrance of it with that of a wonderful bittersweet chocolate… I would definitely be annoyed. Taste is not just about your mouth. It is also about your nose. (Some huge percentage.) However, if I could sit away from you while doing this (i.e., each of us on one side of the store), I’d be fine with that. I’d be happy to see two people enjoying themselves.

    As for L’Artisan, I sampled several of those when I first began exploring niche perfumery. L’Artisan had nothing going for it for me personally. I am tempted to try a few of ones whose names I don’t remember and seem to be popular (like Dzing!). They just never seemed to have the complexity or depth that I like. Uh, hope I don’t need to put on a flack vest. If you can think of any I might like, I’d appreciate recommendations. My HG is Chergui, if that give you an idea of what I love.


    • March says:

      See, nobody flamed you! Depth and complexity are not the L’Artisan signature, I concede that. Having said that … hmmm, I think maybe Tea for Two? It’s one of the strongest, but sweet too. And Navegar maybe. Trying to think. Yeah, a lot of the line would be just too light for you. You could try Dzongkha for kicks.

      And I would welcome someone approaching us, I keep wondering why it hasn’t happened yet. 😕

      • Debbie says:

        So it wasn’t my imagination that L’Artisan wasn’t about depth and complexity. I remember Tea for Two being my favorite of the bunch, but it didn’t knock me over. I will have to retry it, and will check out the two you mention also. (Boy, those spellings aren’t easy to remember, but I’ll recognize them when I see them.) I’m wondering if their Saffron one is good?

        • March says:

          Well, I am particularly partial to saffron as a note, and I guess I will be until I get bored with it. I find it very … warming without getting on my nerves.

          Dzongkha I have to concentrate each time to write correctly!

  • Dusan says:

    All I’ll say is sniff away. Hey, it even rhymes, must be a good sign. Of course, that is, unless you’re jumping at people around you brandishing vials and atomizers because you want them to experience the splendoriferousness (!) that is your new-found scent love (which I feel like doing sometimes, btw 🙂 ). So by all means it’s okay to spray! (can’t help myself, I’m on a rhyming-cum-brackety roll today it seems) 😀
    MeM. Haven’t tried, but I’ve got another nice (more-than-just)blackberry for you: Alchimie by Rochas. L’Artisans that win my heart are the lovely PdE, La Chasse, Timbuktu, Thé Pour un Été and my very favorite Dzongkha. I’ve only scratched the surface of this line (thanks to dear R) and have yet to get a taste of Dzing!, BF, FdA and others.

    • March says:

      I like to say Dzing! and Dzongkha together because I am silly like that. Looks like you and Lee share the Dzongkha love. I wanted it to be my baby, I wish it loved me more.

      No, we’re pretty sneaky with the spraying. The sniffing is a little more of a show. 😉

  • G Knight says:

    I think that if they come near you while you all are doing your decanting and sampling they enter at their own risk…We are subjected to horrific body odors and cheap perfume smells any and everywhere….so why when you are trying some interesting fragrances would they come your way do these people not have eyes smh @ the thought…As far as the l’artisan line I love Dzing and L’Eau de Jatamansi is absolutely outstanding to me…not a big fan of their

    • G Knight says:

      Not a big fan of their vanilia but their line is a fairly interesting one Don’t have many loves in the line but have even fewer that I hate

    • March says:

      And another vote for Jatamansi! I swear I thought I was the only person who remembered it, and clearly I wuz wrong.

  • Lee says:

    At work and snowed under so I’ll be quick. I wish someone would spray some perfume in this office – there’s a stale, slightly fetid aroma and no, it ain’t me…

    I think a discreet table is fine. I mean, Les Senteurs never smells bad even though several fl oz of frag must be sprayed there daily. It’s not like you’re fruity-floralling folks to death.

    Mure et Musc. It’s okay. A bit too blackberry musky for me. Though quite lovely on others. I’m suddenly a little addicted to Dzongkha…

  • Malena says:

    first of all: i can´t stand mure et musc b-( but if you like it, i´d say get a decant or a large sample vial so that you can test it a few more times, then decide weather it´s FBW or not!

    i´m generally not a huge fan of the l´artisan scents – i owned several (passage, dzing, jour de fête, bois farine & i still have an unopened bottle of oeillet sauvage) but perhaps they´re too minimalistic or whatever, i just never feel like wearing them. they tend to bore me.
    moreever, their iris pallida was a total disappointment:
    iris & musk that got way too sharp on my skin – i just don´t get the hype…no, thank you – there are far better iris scents out there!

    on to starbucks ~o) : hmmm, i don´t know, i LOVE perfume, but i´m not sure what i would think if somebody sat close to me, spraying/decanting. perhaps i wouldn´t mind – or if it smelled really good, i´d even ask what you´re sampling. but perhaps – especially if i ate something – i wouldn´t like it that much. i guess, it depends :)>-
    but if you choose a table in a corner, like somebody suggested above, not too near to others, why not spray perfume? it shouldn´t bother anybody, then.

    it´s far less annoying than people coughing onto your dish without feeling sorry at all!
    or people who think they´re alone, talking so loud & laughing so shrill that even people on the other end of the restaurant have to listen – without having a choice.
    or people smelling like they haven´t washed…for a while – i hate that *ugh* & it seems a lot of people are very good on saving water & soap :-s
    those are things that can really bother me at times :-<

    • March says:

      We try to be pretty discreet about it, and you’re right, I’m as sensitive as anyone to screaming, cel phone chatter, etc., and I’ve learned to grit my teeth and ignore those. You’d probably really have to stare at us to see what we’re doing.

      OTOH, maybe we should save the heavyweight sillage for the open air.

  • Divalano says:

    Beginner scents, nothing! L’A was my 1st niche experience so it’s like coming home for me too but my gateway drug of choice was Dzing! I’d never smelled leather in a perfume before; one sniff on my wrist & I was hooked.
    I’ve always wanted to like Mure et Musc. I’ve wanted it to smell like what you said but sadly it never does. I also want the one or the other Ambers to work on me. Sadly, they don’t. Perhaps I’ll try again. And lastly, I want the Figuer Extreme to work on me again because lately it doesn’t & I have a fairly full large sized bottle of it that I can’t use & can’t seem to swap. Damnit.

    Your questions, let’s see. L’Eau De L’Artisan makes me wheeze, that could go away. You shouldn’t buy a full bottle until you sample it 3 more times & love it. Ummm … And I have no love for Char*uck’s so I’m a bad one to ask but I do have a personal horror of my own silage invading anyone else’s airspace so I guess I’d refrain unless the place was fairly empty.

    • March says:

      I was *so sure* the PFs would work on me, in my fig phase, and they really didn’t! I was shocked, I know it’s very popular. It wasn’t bad; it was sort of meh on me. I think I can’t smell part of the PFs?

      So agree on L’Eau, isn’t it funny that the one that’s their store name is kind of a snooze? I can’t even remember what it smells like.

  • Devon says:

    I love Dzing. Nothing is like Dzing. Have to get some more as I heard it was discontinued (uh why?). Would like to try Carotte, and hate their Vanille(a?).

    • March says:

      Well, they keep swearing up and down it’s not d/c’d, just the smaller bottles. But that makes me and everyone else nervous too; it seems weird. You know, next step is they’ll say, it’s not selling well enough in the big bottles, and give it the chop. Although even the ones that have been “gone” for awhile now I think you can get in their flagship store(s).

  • Wendy says:

    March – I think your “Starbucks problem” is amplified by living in the DC area – where everyone is soooo hypersensitive. I figure if you’re someplace with adequate ventilation, you are fine.

    L’Artisan – Luv Safran Troublant and Jatamansi.:x Piment Brulant still leaves me cold (don’t mind eating Chicken Mole ~:> – not sure I want to smell like it), but its an interesting fragrance.

    Fleurs d’Oranger and Iris Pallada – I know these are agricultural vintage scents (2007), but they didn’t make me jump up and down. Maybe if they eventually put the Fleurs d’Oranger as a sample pack with various vintages it could make for an interesting educational study. Works with wine, right?

    • March says:

      There are more positive comments on here re: Jatamansi than I’d have expected. In the summer I think it’s lovely.

      Love Safran; Piment smells *exactly* like green pepper on me, which is interesting but as you say not necessarily a smell I feel like running around in. And I like the idea of the vintage scents package. I thought the Narcisse was the most interesting by far.

  • Carol Sasich says:

    I own a coffee roastery and when someone comes in wearing a fragramce I don’t like it is really irritating. If I like it. maybe not so irritating…LOL…usally it is me stinking up the place when I open packages from the ladies of the COURT.

    L’Artisan is a line I read about for years but never had access to until SNIFFA lured me to NYC…L’eau d’Ambre is one I wear at some point every day, it layers well and I am addicted to the powdery softness of it and all their amber products. I also adore Le Haie, I hang my head and sigh every time I wear it. Usally I save it for warmer weather, but this is Florida so I wear it alot.
    A decant of Dzing and Mechant Loup both made my jaw drop!
    I wanted to love La Chasse, but it’s not FBW for me.
    The Chasse extreme goes all green and bitter and I don’t care for it. i’ll keep sniffin…mure e musc smells just like a blackberry sitting there on my arm…not complex enough for me to think of as perfume…Ha!
    I know for myself, as I get older my body chemistry has changed, and yes menopause does crazy things…most of my perfumes pre-menopause don’t interest me at all now.

    • March says:

      It sounds like you’ve played around with a lot of the line. I think some of them are very simple, which is part of what makes the line (overall) more accessible. But I was interested to discover over time that, as I did more sniffage, my esteem for the line grew rather than diminished. It’s a type of perfumery, and for what it is they do it very well.

      I lurve those packages from the court!

  • Carol says:

    Re: Starbucks – I think if it’s a little off hours (the place isn’t packed) and you are more dabbing than lots of sprays, I think it’s OK.

    Re: L’Artisan… I started my perfume obsession back in April and MeM was among my first couple dozen of purchased samples. I thought it was absolutely horrible – I don’t think I’ve hated anything so immediately as that sample. Sort of wish I had it now for a re-smell given your experience. And maybe because of that, or because I focused on other lines first, I didn’t smell any more until about November when my sister and I went to Barney’s and the great Serge SA jumped around with us to sniff other lines as well. Yeah, yeah, Dzing! had been mentioned here, there and everywhere on the blogs, but I didn’t like the sound of it…. That day, despite so many dabs and sprays all over my arms and hands, it was Dzing! that wowed me. The next day I tracked down the discontinued smaller bottle at Blue Mercury and bought it (and I am NOT a quick bottle buyer). I went back to try PdEnfer after the incense scent club posts and sadly it disappeared instantly. I must make a point to go to the L’Artisan shop soon since Chicago is lucky to have one and try the others everyone is mentioning.

    • March says:

      Dzing is SUCH a great scent. And I will warn you based on personal experience that some of the scents I hated most at the get-go were things I did total reversals on, and vice versa.

      Have fun in your sniffage! Chicago has so many great places.

  • Judith says:

    Funny you should mention your Starbucks sin. Just recently, Ann (poodlegirl) and Kim (trizydlux) and I were sniffing and shopping at Louis, a fancy Boston store. Afterwards, we had lunch at their (very nice) restaurant. We had brought gifts for each other, and, with some trepidation, we began to sniff and (discretely) spray them. The tables were far apart, so none of the patrons seemed to notice, and the waiter thought it was funny. Still, I have some guilt about it. Would have much less at Starbucks.

    I don’t like MeM.

    • Judith says:

      discreetly (though probably “discretely,” too).

    • March says:

      Aha! But see, I’d qualify your guilt because it’s *attached to a store.* Which in my mind makes it less of a mortal sin than, I dunno, whipping out your canister of CSP in Le Bernardin.

      Given how close together the tables are at the Bergdorf cafe (which BTW I love) I can’t imagine sniffing. Anyhoo I’m too busy there checking out all the fascinating plastic surgery. Having an over-40 face on the Upper East Side looks very expensive.

  • Anne says:

    OK people, she wrote this post so we would all justify her sin just because, well this IS a perfume blog for pete’s sake. I’m not gonna be another enabler for you March. Yes you were being rude. Smoking in public places, even outside can ruin a good Starbuck’s sitdown for me so I can imagine, for some insane % of the population how experiencing amazing and rare perfume sillage could be offensive. Just because they have no taste, cannot appreciate the beauty in life and are obviously of questionable integrity doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect their rights.

    For me it was Iris Pallida. I think the first few times I smelled it I had different expectations than what it delivered. When I last tried it a week ago I just sat back and let it do its thing. Now I’m a fan.


    • March says:

      Busted!!!! Well, sorta. I was curious whether anyone on a fragrance blog would veto the sniffage, and … they did! In a very nice way, of course.

      It’s been a lively discussion, yes?

      That’s funny, I should retry Pallida. I thought it was so dull, one of a whole set of iris frags like the new Prada I can barely smell. Then I fell for the Prada …. I bet I’d like PAllida now.

  • Elle says:

    I’m a live and let live person to the core, so I say that a corner in Starbucks is fine. Of course, despite not being a smoker, I still miss having people be able to smoke anywhere they chose to. Yes, I *know* it’s a different issue w/ health, etc. Anyway, I’d be thrilled to see *anyone* around here, *anywhere* indulging in a sniff fest.
    I say go for the MeM! I love many L’Artisans, but wouldn’t mind seeing La Chasse d/ced – bores me to tears. Wish they would bring back Orchidee Blanche and make a scent to *exactly* match Trefles a Quatre Fleurs.

    • March says:

      I like your open-mindedness — not something universally found in this area! And I sort of wish someone WOULD come over some time and join in the fun, since that’s how Louise and I met anyway — standing next to each other in Sephora, sniffing, and we struck up a conversation.@};-

      Another vote for Orchidee! And isn’t Quatre Fleurs a candle?

      I can’t make up my mind whether I think Haie Fleurie (I know I spelled that wrong) is Da Bomb or Too Much.

  • Divina says:

    Something funny that happened to me while in Paris:
    MP&G, Artisan and Montale all have a Mure/Musk combo. In *each* of those boutiques when I reached for the bottle I had an SA suddenly looking concerned and in a frightful, whispering manner saying “Non, non, non, non!” to me (leaving no room for argument) and explaining that I must not wear this! 😛 The explanation was always the same: “This is for highschool girls.. You are a sexy WOMAN!” The first time this happened I was slightly annoyed, like, ok I might wanna try it? 😛 But by the third time the exact same thing happened it just turned funny and it is even a good memory now, like sweet personal advice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really agree with the approach ..The nose knows best and everyone should wear what pleases THEM – but on the other hand it was enjoyable to get the personal advice. I probably feel positive about it because the SAs were really helpful, kind and generous – the advice was not given in a snobby or annoying manner. Anyway..that’s my little anecdote, sorry it turned into a novel!

    As for which Artisan I’d axe… I used to think the house could simply do no wrong, but I’d so axe Absinthe. It smells generic to me.



    • March says:

      That is so funny!!! Like you, I like that they have an OPINION, however wrong. You know, they have a sense of appropriateness or whatever. You don’t get the sense they’re just throwing things at you and telling you they’re all fab in a desperate attempt to make a sale. Also, I feel like with the French the fact that you’re a full-grown woman isn’t a criticism. I liked the feeling that women of any age could be viewed as an object of desire (although that’s not quite how I wanted to articulate it). Sexy doesn’t stop at 25?

      I like absinthe, but when I reviewed it a number of folks commented that they found it really generic guy-scent.

  • MattS says:

    I haven’t paid much attention to the L’Artisan line; there seem to be universal complaints that they’re all rather short-lived (something you and your Magical Skin don’t have to worry about). I’ve got a decant of Voleur de Roses that I enjoy, but seldom wear out of the house. It’s great to wear when you’re feeling a little melodramatic, a little gruesome, like a silent horror movie, a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari kinda vibe. I keep meaning to try Passage d’Enfer, Timbuktu, Dzongkha, and Dzing. But these are the only ones that have my interest. For some reason, Mure et Musc hasn’t appealed to me at all. The berry business didn’t seem to draw me in and I always got the idea that the musk was a bit subtle and innocent. I may have to sniff this after all.

    I just had a funny image of you guys huddled in a car in a dark parking garage swapping perfume like drug dealers. No one to offend there, although you may get the interest of security guards and police officers.

    • March says:

      Well, I’m backpedaling on the short-lived thing, given that Maria wears it, and I guess Louise likes a couple.

      Your list looks like the right one, if you want to try them. If I were Queen, everyone would try Passage, frankly, and you should in particular since you like incense. The only two I’d add to your list would be Tea for Two (smells like lapsang and leather) and the original one before Navegar … Eau Navigateur? Something like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Court has decants.

      MeM is NOT something I think you’d like. Love your description of Voleur!

  • rosarita says:

    My weigh in on the Starbux issue: A table in the corner, away from others, should be fine. The ceilings are high, they’re well ventilated and the aroma of coffee pretty much saturates the air. About L’Artisan: when I first started the *perfume thing* (what do you call it? the hobby? passion? helpless obsession?) I tried a few L’As and they were instantly absorbed and disappeared. Since I’ve discovered swapping, I’m sampling more, and have falled in love w/Passage d’Enfer (an incredibly generous MUAer sent me a bottle as a random act of kindness). Next trip to Chicago I definitely have to visit the boutique and sample more. I’ve dismissed even sampling MeM bcs it just sounds like one that I’d hate, but I guess ya never know!

    • March says:

      Addiction. Shameless waste of money. Highway to hell.

      heh heh

      A bottle of PdE?!?!? Now THERE’S a good friend. Although I know a kind soul or two on whom PdE smells absolutely awful. In those cases it’s best to give a bottle to a good home… my experience is your generosity always comes back to haunt you.

      Yes, definitely play in the rest of the line! Don’t skip the Epices coffret or whatever it’s called, those are a kick.

    • Musette says:

      I’m way, WAY late to the party here….WAY late …but I’m going through the blog archives as fast as I can, whoopin’ and hollerin’ and taking notes like a fiend.

      Rosarita……where are you? (obviously you don’t have to answer that online – or even off:-) I’ve noticed your referencing a ‘rural area’ in the Midwest on a couple of posts now…and now you’re talking about ‘the next time you get up to Chicago’. If I find out you live on the next farm over I’m gonna be pissed – delighted – but pissed (that it took so long to figure it out. Where I live, most folks wear Avon (not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

      Seriously, though, if you ever want a perfume-smellin’ pal in Chicago, let me know. I’m up a couple of times a month to see my papi, do some business and freak out the folks at Saks, Barneys and Graff. I have some pretty serious connections, not in all the niche stores yet,alas, though my SA’s SO works at Barneys and my other SA rules the Saks fragrance counter)…we could have a gay-old time! I just got Tea for Two from my perfume proprietress @ Odalisque (Geneva) for a quick tryout – I got first sniffs on Chasse ages ago and dropped it fast but have been trying to sample the rest of the line since then; until I found you maniacs on PP I just sort of blah’d through the whole thing, not really paying attention to it at all, wasting my SA resources and my samples…. whataworld,whataworld….

      • Debbie says:

        Welcome to the party….more than welcome. :)@};-

        • Musette says:

          Debbie –

          How nice of you(and thank you for the rose:-) I’m sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner. I didn’t realize it was for me!

          btw – I can understand both your position, Minette, and March’s – it’s tough to know what is ‘acceptable’ and what isn’t, especially when it’s something you enjoy or take for granted. I once started painting my nails on a plane (late for a meeting)…and was mortified when the flight attendant asked me to stop. I was utterly clueless that simple little task of mine could cause someone else discomfort. Clueless, I tell you (and did I mention mortified?) Olfactory stuff is so tricky.

          Back to the Nordie cafe chairs for YOU!:-)

      • March says:

        Oh, I love Chicago. Great, great city.

  • Louise says:

    Maria-can we meet in a coffee shop overlooking the Pacific Ocean? 😡

    • March says:

      Yes! I remember this cafe in Monterey…

      Wait, are you even ALLOWED TO OWN fragrance in some of the crunchy CA places? Isn’t it like spraying people with sarin?

    • Maria says:

      Louise, I’d love to watch the Pacific Ocean with you. It’s been amazing lately. They’ve had to rope off areas because people can get washed away, as have quite a few boardwalks. OTOH, I have the time to take in the view. I’m unemployed. I found out seven days before the start of the semester that the course I’d been working my butt off to plan was going to be given instead to a tenure-track faculty member. I’m fine with it now. I can finish my novel.

      March, nobody in Monterey says a thing about sillage. The tourists don’t want to offend the locals, and the locals don’t want to offend the tourists.

      • March says:

        Oh. My. God. I feel like I’m supposed to say I’m sorry? But given the information supplied I’d rather type, f*ck them and you get going on the novel. But not so diligently that you can’t come by and talk to us. Speaking of which … man, I have really got to get an assistant in here, this work thing is cutting into my blogging in an annoying fashion. :-w Not that I am complaining.

        Glad to hear the natives are so respectful! Lord, I want to get on a plane and come. I thought that area was one of the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen.

      • Lee says:

        The schmucks. I’ve heard such unpleasant stories about the academic world out west, Maria – yours just adds to the litany. Stanford, San Jose State, Santa Cruz – seems like d*ckheads are in charge in all those places. And now yours.

        Love to you. Enjoy the sea and Norbu, my sweetness. Thinking of you.

      • Dusan says:

        Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Maria! But it’s like what March and Lee say — sod the lot of them and devote yourself to writing the novel; now that’s great news as I had no idea there was a novel in the works. Yay to that! 😡

  • Katie says:

    About the Starbucks thing, I think you can always don’t go “over”, and be sure to stay away from people that are really eating. Some people will come closer, to share your pleasure, and some people will stay away.
    About L’Artisans… There is nothing that I completely dislike (about the ones I already tried). My true love is Passage D’Enfer, and Primier Figuier is just, well, ok (I like the top notes, but not the drydown ).
    Bois Farine is great at the first… 2 minutes, after this, I can barely sniff something, but nothing so good like the “entrance”.:)

    • March says:

      Well, this is part of the problem — I think Louise and I are not so good at the not going “over.” I DO wonder whether some of the people backing away fearfully are bothered by the sight of two women sniffing each other’s wrists rather than the fragrances themselves, though.

      Bois Farine sometimes goes very wrong on me, but you are right, the first couple minutes are heaven. And PdE remains my Eternal Number 1, with the other ones moving around (I’m on a Safran kick right now.)

  • hausvonstone says:

    I wouldn’t use Starbucks as a fragrance lab. I do think trying on samples at Starbucks is like going in L’Artisan with a big cup of coffee, a bag of spicy takeout, and a diaper bag. You’re definitely going to cause a distraction from what people came in there to do, namely waste money only goopy coffee drinks and sweets. Starbucks has enough over-smell that you might not get a clear sense of the perfumes anyway!!

  • Gail S says:

    Frankly, I find it difficult to believe that any perfume you spray could overcome the coffee and such smell at Starbucks! So I say go ahead! And definately don’t worry about open-air public spaces. I mean, for crying out loud, if people can smoke in public, what possible objection could they have to perfume?

    Favorite L’Artisan is Bois Farine. Love, love, love this! (Did I mention that I love this?) I’m with Amy up there about the Ambres, can’t stand either one of them. And I’m an amber lover!! Those two smell like pure powdered hell on my skin 😮

    I would dearly love for them to re-release Orchidee Blanche. While it may be powdery also, it’s good powder :d

    • March says:

      Powdered hell is not a ringing endorsement. I can’t really remember what they smell like, because they are called “Amber.” Amber and I are not BFFs.

      Orchidee Blanche is lovely, and Bois Farine is either great or terrible on me, depending. It’s a lovely fragrance on the right skin, that’s for sure.

  • Maria says:

    March, I’m glad you came around to liking Mure et Musc. I spurned it at first because it was so simple, but it’s such fun to wear.

    You reminded me that I ought to send along my unloved sample of Chasse to a friend I’m trying to introduce to niche perfumes. That one may be the gateway.

    I wish I could join you and Louise WHEREVER you met. I do think that a crowded Starbucks in the morning is pushing the envelope a bit. I think Louise’s idea of returning to the better ventilated place in front of Nordstrom’s is excellent. But I’d join you two in a crowded Starbucks no matter how bad a blushing attack it gave me.

    • Louise says:

      oops-my response to your invite below.

    • March says:

      Wow, well there you have it! If it lasts on YOU….

      Yeah, I think it’s back to the more-ventilated seating area in the mall, where there’s more room and I think we blend into the general chaos.

      Definitely send La Chasse on to a friend, let’s reel some more people in.

  • annie says:

    OK,,,I give up….THE POST WAS FOR MARCH…..I:m going to BED….

  • annie says:

    8-|Sorry Marcs….I ment you not Patty,for the above post!!!

  • annie says:

    8-|Silly,silly Patty….I know a great place to help you solve this problem(this is due to the fact that I am SSSOOOO full of wisdom)…..Go online,to a really WONDERFUL place;The Perfumed Court,and purchase A DECANT,for pete’s sake,girl….now,use it a LOT,and often,and ,luv you all!!when the decant is gone,you will know exactly how you feel about it….THEN is the time to get a large bottle of it,or noy,and thus you will save thousands of dollars!!!!!…HOW GREAT WAS THIS DERN IDEA?????…….PS: MM EXTREME,has been a staple of mine for years….luv it:)>-

    • March says:

      Aha! See, I figured if someone TOLD me to go get a decant, I would. And now you have. So I will.

      <:-p I have a feeling it would be a nice fragrance for spring. Or pretending it's spring.

  • Anthony says:

    Hi! I used to work at Starbucks… for two years (it’s been 5 years since I worked there)… it was pretty prohibited to wear fragrance working there, because coffee is something where subtleties are really enhanced by both tasting and smelling… in reverse, it might be like someone going into L’Artisan and making coffee, or cooking a curry dish 🙂 That said, I only WISH someone would come in to a starbucks I was visiting and start sniffing perfumes… I would butt right in! 🙂 And these days, most people at Starbucks aren’t there for the subtleties found between Sumatra and Kenya, but rather, to drink frappuccinos and white chocolate mochas. I also imagine you aren’t making wide lusty spray motions while you are there 🙂 I say, go ahead… i think it’s cool!

    I just met the L’Artisan line in December for the first time! I loved it! I was most smitten with Mechant Loup and Fou d’Absinthe… Pure artwork in perfumery!

    • March says:

      Hi, Anthony! It makes total sense to me that employees weren’t supposed to wear fragrance; I think that’s true of a lot of food service places.

      I am surprised that nobody ever comes over to us to ask what we are doing, or even to join in! I would, but I’m pushy that way. And you’re right, we’re spraying discreetly (although we do make moaning sounds of pleasure sometimes.) :”> Maybe that’s why they’re scared?

      Don’t get me started on those stupid, 1000-calorie drinks. It’s like liquid crack. I don’t even let my kids go in there.

  • Louise says:

    I can’t be unbiased on this one. The fellow was so amiable, and sorta cute (no?), and working very hard on his econ class or some such. And was there at ‘bucks before us. And he felt a little fortunate, too, I’m sure, to have such lovely women chatting next to him about work and family and art. 🙂

    Then, boom, out came the sneaky little sprayers. I think he was sort of OK at first, but then we got to some potent incense stuff, and started to lick each others wrists. He wanted to leave America altogether, clearly. If only he had known about MR, or scarier maybe MKK. Oopsies.

    Maybe we oughta go back to Nordies? A better-ventilated spot? While we all had our right to be there…but, I hate making strangers unduly uncomfortable. Friends and collegues, well that’s another story :d/

    Glad you caught the Mure et Musc bug. It is lovely.

    • Louise says:

      My added 2 francs-our fella, and many other table-holders at coffee shoppes are not there to drink beverages. Rather, they have found a nice place to set up a laptop, do the crossword, call friends. They likely have a cup of something nearby, but are not partaking. I don’t know if that changes my perspective, but at least I feel I am not sullying a meal.

      • March says:

        Well, you’re right there. Given what most of them are consuming, I feel like getting them to eat/drink less of it would be doing them a kind of favor …. :-\”

        PS Surprised about MeM, does not strike me as “you” at all!

    • March says:

      Hey, I should have asked you first if I could use this. My bad. Forgive?

      😮 :-\” :-w figured you wouldn’t disown me. And he WAS just fine with it. I mean, it was really minor, and you’re very friendly. It was No Big Deal. As far as people looking at us weird because we’re sniffing each other, I just think it’s funny, and if it bothers them too bad.

      But I’m not averse to a little arguing of both sides, so I thought it would be a fun topic. It seems to me like … INSIDE the Starbucks is more intimate space? I mean, I have a sense of us being more intrusive to others? Whereas OUTSIDE the Nordie at those cafe tables (which are also spaced wider apart) it’s out in the mall chaos anyway, people are walking through … more people look at us funny, but I’d guess we’re impinging on their smell-space less.

      • Louise says:

        Nothin’ to forgive! But it is a good question to pose-filed under my Perfume and Propriety folder.

  • Cathy says:

    If I bought a full bottle of Mur et Musc, I’d feel obligated to like it knowing I’d just dropped good money on it. That may not be the best way to start a relationship unless you’re head-over-heals. On the other hand, the pleasure of having another toy can never be underestimated.:d AND, you always have the option of passing it on if you get tired of it.

    Starbucks…I personally wouldn’t try on perfumes in a Starbucks…and it’s not about taking up tables. I wouldn’t wear a strong fragrance into a theater either. Only because I wouldn’t want to be assaulted myself by a fragrance I didn’t like. And if I was trying to enjoy food/drink in a place like Starbucks, the mixture of fragrance and food might possibly be repulsive. I just try to do unto others…, and not be invasive. I also have to remind myself that fragrance travels in closed spaces, even if we can’t smell it anymore on ourselves (what’s that term?)

    I haven’t tried enough L’Artisans to have a favorite…have to rectify that soon. I keep thinking I might like La Chasse…

    Cheers! And here’s to warmer weather where we can be outside soon! I’m ready…

    • March says:

      I need to get a decant. That is, in fact, my general rule of Fragance Buying. If I manage to work through a decant, I can consider getting a bottle. As you might imagine, with my wandering ways this almost never happens.

      So you took the opposing position first :)>- and I support you. I have a good sense of smell. If someone sat next to me in Starbucks wearing a really heavy cologne I hated, I’d be annoyed. I might even try to find somewhere else to sit if it was particularly intrusive, even though that person’s got a right to their cologne.

      La Chasse is really, really pretty. It’s not something I ever reach for, though. I think of it as the bait that lures normal people into the line… 😉

  • Molly says:

    I think public places are fair game! You have no less right to sit in a public place and go about your business (within reason of course!)than anyone else. Like Pitbull Friend (I like pitbulls too, by the way!) said, there are far more offensive–and intrusive–smells going on in public places than perfume sniffery!
    About L’Artisan, I’ve never smelled anything by them. I’m very new to the perfumista world, especially niche perfume. But I did just get full bottles of Parfumerie Generale Corps et Ames, Parfums Delrae Amoureuse, and Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu so that’s a start, right? 🙂
    There are lots of L’Artisans I want to try–like, all of them!

    • March says:

      Oh, my goodness — that is an EXCELLENT start to your perfumery!

      L’Artisan in my mind is the original “niche” perfumery. I remember the first time I stumbled across the line (in Paris, no less) I was gobsmacked. Definitely part of my tumble down the rabbit hole into perfume addiction.

  • pitbull friend says:

    Answer to Starbucks’ question: Your justification is perfect! As long as you’re not purposely putting on an amount that would make others uncomfortable, go for it! I am blessed/cursed with a better than average sense of smell, and I’d rather sit near you than the multitude of people who don’t floss, have “gastric issues,” or just don’t wash well enough. They’re free to leave (unlike me on the bus when I’m getting coughed on, for instance). –Ellen

    • March says:

      I’m enjoying the mixed arguments below. I do feel funny about it. I see both sides. Yes, it’s a public space. OTOH some people REALLY hate perfume. Even though on some level I have a theoretical “right” to sniff stuff in there, does that make it right, knowing I could bother other people?

  • Amy K says:

    Overall, L’Artisan is a very safe line for me. I’d axe L’Eau d’Ambre and Ambre Extreme, but besides those two, there aren’t really any I dislike. I’d make Joyful Rire available outside the set, and I’d make a version of Fleur d’Oranger that didn’t cost and arm and a leg (I’m fine with the regular orange blossom harvest, thank you very much). After Passage d’Enfer, Mure et Musc is my next favorite of the line, with Jour de Fete in third place. You need that gorgeous LE blackberry bottle! Even if you end up bored with the fragrance, who could ever get tired of looking at that?