Anniversary cravings

29 January 1992. Another dreary winter day struggled to dawn; he did too, for an early tutorial about his research project. By mid-afternoon, he was sitting in the English common room, pretending to read. Interests and concerns at this point in time: 1) Literary theory, particularly fancypants poststructuralist stuff with at least one set of parentheses and a colon in the title; 2) Acid jazz (don’t ask); 3) clubbing; 4) writing; 5) drinking; 6) fashionable indiekid clothes; 7) the self-important self-regard of a working class intellectual; 8 ) lust more than love; 9) a vague nagging nihilism that veered from feeling like a bout of indigestion to an aching despair; 10) random acts of extreme silliness and laughter. In short, an extroverted yet introspective depressive postgraduate with too much self-regard shielding a set of hopeless insecurities. Today, his life would change.

I met Matt on this day, and it marks our anniversary, seeing as we never got engaged or married. He waltzed in on the arm of a mutual friend, he was visiting from London. He was wearing a bizarre purple stripy shirt from which he’d removed the collar, and ill-matching trousers. A wiry rake, clown-like in his colour, decidedly anti-fashion, decidedly interesting. Bright light had emerged from the darkness, and the path I was taking changed, twisted and righted itself exactly as it should have been. Within weeks, I couldn’t imagine the other possible journeys. Those paths were now murky and uninteresting.

Sixteen years on, he makes me laugh like no-one else, knows me as though he is me, and has a look on his face that still melts me when I see it. He ain’t perfect, but that’s why he is. My light in the darkness.

I’m brightening the mood after last week’s gloom – my anniversary falls at the best place in the calendar to shake me out of my winter torpor, and as it does, my other passions awaken too. I’ve ordered plant seeds, onion sets and been making plans for the garden and allotment. I’m alive with writing ideas. And perfume – gimme the perfume already.

I’ve been craving three scents in particular, none of which I own, and all three of my decants have dried up. Needless to say, I’ve managed to get more of each… In some cases, much much more than I strictly speaking need.

The first is Annick Goutal’s Sables. I used to like this scent, appreciated its herbal opening and the startlingly strong softness of its development. Now I can’t get enough, as though it’s the elixir of life and nothing else’ll keep me going. So, it’s an immortelle scent and I should’ve had enough of these by now – with the old Eau Noire, the kooky Fougere Bengale and the ultra-pricey Luxe Patchouli. But no. On me, the immortelle in Sables is nonpareil. Its oddness escapes language, and yet, in spite of all those quirks, at the moment it’s fitting me like no other. Less maple syrup than maquis hillside in summer. Man, I love it.

The next – an overlooked gem from Lutens non-export line, Un Bois Sepia. It’s a little like Hermes‘ Rocabar for the first ten minutes or so (and for some makeupalley users, a little like Axe too, apparently), but from this point onwards it charts its own cedar-inflected course. Sweetened by opoponax perhaps, this is a slightly medicinal heavy-materialled Lutens with a familiar ‘is it fruity? Is it spicy?’ scent play that you either love or castigate for being a sugar syrup confection. I’m in the former camp, natch. It’s both fruity and spicy, but quite some distance from the very genetically similar Bois et Fruits, Bois et Musc and Bois Oriental (who all look a lot like their ma, Feminite…). It’s perhaps the most masculine of the bunch and is failing to be summarised prosaically. Tweed, the Lutens site claims. I’ll go with that. I can imagine wearing it whilst strolling around Stornoway, stopping to sup a fine malt in a local pub. And that, for a fantasy, will do me nicely enough.

The final of my cravings is Eau d’Italie’s Sienne l’Hiver. I own a bottle of their Bois d’Ombrie and it’s a potent, masculine tobacco leather incense blend, Bertrand Duchaoufour at his most shadowy and virile. Oooh la la. Sienne l’Hiver, though it dries down to something very similar to its sibling, though a little brighter, is a walk in the etched chill of a sunny winter’s day. Even if the ground is hard, life’s waiting to stir itself in its dank depths, and the drip of meltwater is the metronome counting the ice season’s end. A wet green incense with a very comforting violet and earth accord, this is beautiful.

So, commenters – tell me: 16 years ago – describe yourself. And – what are your current inexplicable scent cravings?

  • alba says:

    1992. The Olympic Games in Barcelona. I remember that very well as I live near Barcelona and there’s no way you can ever forget something like it. I had a two-year-old baby and was wondering how on earth I could go on during so many things at the same time. A trip to New York in summer; the city still free of fear. All in all, good memories.
    My obsession: Coromandel. I’ve been saving up for a bottle. I’m going to buy it tomorrow. It’s like knowing you’re going to meet someone important or do something special. Well…

  • Debbie says:

    What beautiful and evocative writing, Lee. I can’t remember when I last read something that took me away like that.

    Sixteen years ago, I was recovering from a kidney transplant. I was trying to hold onto my career and trying to accept that I had married a sociopath. By the end of the year, I would begin jujitsu. It was all about survival back then…beauty wasn’t part of the picture, unless it was the beauty of a perfectly executed throw.

    Things are quite different now. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Aaaah, thanks Debbie. It means a lot. What a year that sounds like. And I’m sure you’re better with the jujitsu – and without the sociopath…

      Glad there’s beauty in your life now. 😡

  • Vasily says:

    Happy anniversary!! 16 years is nothing to sneeze at…

    16 years ago … I was 45 years old, off the alcohol for the first time in many years and exploring my spiritual side, finally getting used to the notion of being divorced, mourning the loss of my mother, working through the tail end of what I suppose was the usual midlife questioning thing (I’m loathe to call it a crisis). I am much happier now, frankly, and life seems more full of possibilities now than it did then, if you can imagine that.

    As always after reading your posts, I now have a new set of frags on my must try list: Sables, the Eau d’Italie things, a Serge Lutens I’ve thought about trying but your post pushed it over the edge…

  • Morag says:

    Ah, 16 years… what a wonderful thing to celebrate.

    It seems to have been a seminal year for many of us. I was an angst ridden 24 year old doing the colonial-travelling-round-the-world thing, busy trying to find myself. I was a straight, conservative, non-risk-taking, book-lover who would tell you precisely where to get off. In South Africa I discovered another world, the wondrous game parks, the utter evil intent of a lion staring into your eyes from 10 metres (you ARE dinner), the political/social/economic divide that is in all countries but is worn so openly there, in Europe I discovered wonderful, wonderful art and churches, my architectural love was whetted by the amazing mix of old and new, and I gazed in amazement at the perfect Parisian women (and men!), in Canada I discovered the delights of coffee and muffins (god, how I hate coffee creamer!! How hard can it be to get ordinary, straight milk, guys?!!!). I came back to a share house where I my now husband was a flatmate (I suspect that breaks rule one of house-sharing).

    I think I had was still wearing Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps (present from my parents), and had grown thoroughly tired of Eau de Givenchy and Dioressence. A snooty sales assistant in Harrods fobbed me off with a Versace’s V/S sample which I quite liked.

    Now, I feel I’ve gained wisdom. I feel far more comfortable in my skin. My gorgeous other half continues to be my touchstone of strength, he encourages more risk-taking and grabbing life by the throat and enjoying the here and now and what we have. I provide a steadiness. So we are truly a partnership. Lee, you don’t get that overnight and it is definitely worth celebrating. So congratulations to you both.

    I was a long time wearer of Chanel No. 19 and CK Escape and dabbled with Loewe Gala de Dia (summery green). And have been looking for something else for a while. I’ve had the time recently to search for my perfume holy grail. The Perfumed Court and the many blogs out there have been inspirational. My first set of decants revealed a love of iris. I wasn’t expecting to love Annick Goutal’s La Violette or Ambre Narguile, but I do and as for Tabac Blond… well, bowl me over, that’s a get dressed up and take me seriously scent! So now I’m chasing leather, florals, green, marine… it goes on… Like many of you, I think the holy grail will include many… sigh! But I will love the journey. Thanks so much Lee.

    • Lee says:

      What a thoroughly delightful read! Like you, I had to explore the world a little to find out about who I was. I went out before I went in, if you know what I mean.

      Congratulations to you on your life!@};-

  • Patty says:

    Happy Anniversary, my friend! 14 years ago, I don’t even remember! But my kids were still kids and not almost grown, and I was a mother of boys who still needed me. 🙂

  • Dain says:

    Amazing post, you always write the most amazing posts. That is me, now. Without the acid jazz. 8-|

  • anthony says:

    Hi! Happy Anniversary! Well, by this time in the day, I’m not sure you’ll receive this message, but we all need some inspiration sometimes that the long term thing really does exist and work 😀 Very happy for you.
    So, 16 years ago, I was a 14-year-old Kouros wearer. Can you believe that? I shared everything my dad owned (and also secretly loved my mom’s Quelques Fleurs by Houbigant). To be fair, it was Kouros Fraicheur, not the huge monster of the original though it still is quite a masculine scent! And craving now, everything I don’t own 🙂 But mostly, I am craving figs, and that is because I have the L’Occitane Fresh Fig Candle going all day these days and I can’t freaking get enough. I need to be surrounded by this scent, so… I’m inspired to go out and buy Jardin en Mediterranee… I also am suddenly struck with the urge to smell seashore scents (it’s getting hot here near the beach). I’m dying to try Profumum’s Acqua di Sale despite it’s hot and cold reviews.

    Thanks for the great post 🙂

    • Lee says:

      I used to steal my dad’s Kouros too – though I was substantially older than you! I miss living near the sea…

  • katie says:

    >:d< Happy Anniversary !<:-p 16 years ago... Man, I was wild ! I think I used to wear Paco (that metalic bottle) and enjoy it a lot... Today, I'm in love with Alamut and MdB (don't ask me about it, but it is true!). Enjoy your day !:x

  • Denise says:

    Happy Anniversary! Hmm, not sure I want to admit this here-um, sixteen years ago, I was eight. I avoided the perfume sections of most department stores like the plague, found the fumes of most mass-market scents headache-inducing. Not much has changed! 🙂 Craving: Jubilation 25, and the big decant of Iris Poudre that should be on its way to me.

  • Devon says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    I wear Sables in winter (which is long here in Boston).
    I had to look up “maquis.” This URL was informative:

    Cravings today? Black March.


    • Lee says:

      Oops – I should’ve linked to that page as it’s where I ‘borrowed’ the photo from. Thank you. Great site, isn’t it?

      Thanks for the congrats!

  • Suzanne says:

    Wow! Glad I got here late because it’s been so much fun reading these stories. Happy Anniversary, Lee!!

    Sixteen years ago, I had just purchased a house with the man who would eventually become my husband. I was 29 years old, and purchasing a home with someone made me feel like I had magically, finally crossed over into adulthood. Heady with that feeling, I went through a year where I was rather Martha Stewart-ish, sewing curtains, baking bread, planting flowers. I’m still in the same house today, with the same great man. Some days, though, I would like to pick up and move west to a blue-sky desert state like Arizona.

    As for cravings, after Patty’s post yesterday, it’s been dark roses. I’ve been in a virtual cloud of Black Aoud all day. 🙂

  • Lee says:

    I’m jealous of your doggy snuggles. Though not that cold. Yuk.

    I guess it was the sweet 16 that’s got people to open up. I’m so glad, though I’ve spent far too much time here rather than working today. Gulp. Will need to double my efforts in the a.m..

    You were busy 16 years ago. Wow. I’m glad the pace is more human for you now.

    Keep warm, sweetness.

  • pitbull friend says:

    Oh, Lee, congratulations, & what a lovely paean to Matt! We’ve never had (that I know of) a post asking people what they do now. But somehow “16 years ago” is such an odd number of years that I think it makes people less self-conscious. What a great idea!

    Sixteen years ago, I was in my last semester of law school (full-time)– finishing a part-time internship at the state court of appeals, working in the clinic handling actual poor people’s cases, & looking for work. It was thrilling to work so hard on so many interesting things at once, and I was still in my twenties. Can’t imagine doing that now.

    We had a couple days’ respite, and now we’re back in the -20C range (-7 F), so I’m dousing myself in anything that makes me think of fireplaces & cognac: Brosius’ Burning Leaves, Cumming, Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie, Brandy. It’s driving Johnny Cash the Creole Pitbull wild — something’s burning on my arm! Must lick it off! Now! I push my sleeves down & invite him to tunnel under the covers with me & all is well. –Ellen

  • Billy D says:

    Sorry–meant to reply to Mark David!

  • Billy D says:

    Exactly–give me a bottle of wine and a dvd of Cleopatra and I’m set. Or Gilmore Girls, whatever.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m so busy lately. I find the idea of blowing off steam by going out counterintuitive–I need rest!

    • Lee says:

      As do I nowadays. You’re just wiser, younger…

    • MarkDavid says:

      My mood shifts so drastically in the clubby-gay environments so quickly and I get soo irritable that I become whats known as a “drag” and not in the queen sort of way. So its best for everyone involved if I just refrain. And its not even something that 4 martinis can fix – Im still a drag, and probably more depressed. And its such a judgmental environment, isn’t it? Its a bit ridiculous.

      Yes, I need my downtime. Meditative episodes with my cashmere throw and the dog on the couch watching Tannheuser on DVD are most effective. And then there are the marathons of Ab Fab that always seem to work regardless.

      • Lee says:

        For me, it was never gay clubs. Too prissy and swishy – and techno… blech. I liked dirty dives with more soul and less plastic. Or at least that’s how I justified it!

        • MarkDavid says:

          Ive had my fair share of dives but Id be lying if I didn’t admit I was probably too high-maintenance to sit on the furniture. And I certainly didn’t touch anything. Or anyone, for that matter.

          I think my scene is probably more loungy. Im a whore for jazz clubs and anything with a banquette and the glimmer of crystal. Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca could be a second home for me. Its a little bit Hollywood and a little bit rock and roll for its time. Not to mention the perfect dose of exotic mysticism. And the abundance of fez. Whats the plural for fez?

          • Lee says:

            I’ll join you in the lounge club. But I’ll be sitting in the dark corner. It’s a little grubbier over there.

            I reckon fez is like fish. With or without the ‘es’.

          • tmp00 says:

            I loved divey places but I was always just a little too much of a prissy New England Calvinist to actually join in anything. Which is shy I think I could never pull off that “tough guy” drag and have just gone back to the khaki-and-cashmere thing that I’d been born and bred for. >:)

          • Lee says:

            I’m with someone who’s also the type you describe. My dive days are over. Over.

  • Kim says:

    16 years ago? I was wearing Chanel No. 5, Paloma Picasso, and Opium. All three are still on my top 10 list but am soooo glad I found this blog and the ensuing scent journey. 😡
    Current cravings? Rose, rose, rose – to my everlasting suprise! Plus trying real Guerlains i.e. EDP or perfume strength. I had written off Guerlain after trying only edt – BIG mistake 🙁
    Sables doesn’t seem to suit me but I have days when I crave Goutal’s Songes – so lovely, especially in the winter months as the frangipani transports me to tropical climes without smelling coconut-tropical. As with others above, I find Un Bois Sepia too masculine but love it and keep a sample around. You definitely nailed it with tweed!

    • Lee says:

      You’ve always had brilliant taste.. I was a little more monogamous scentwise in the early 90s – it was all about Fahrenheit (and Tuscany?) back then…

  • Teri says:

    What a terrific discussion topic! I feel like I’ve gotten to know you all so much better reading about your 1992 selves.

    Congratulations, Lee. Longevity in relationships is a pleasure that many people don’t seem to properly appreciate. How nice that you’re not one of them. I hope your span of years together continues for a very long time.

    Sixteen years ago, I was the ultimate soccer mom. I drove the mini-van, wore the page boy hairdo with the headband, and lived my life on the highway from one type of practice or lesson to another. My husband was still alive, but was away on business for weeks at a time, so I remember feeling a little isolated even in the midst of all my ‘busyness’. I was working in a desultry sort of way on finishing my MA in Econ — taking a class here and there, but wondering if there was any point in finishing it. (I did eventually finish it and wound up being very glad I did) I fell into musical love with Hootie and the Blowfish that summer and my fragrances at the time were Oscar de la Renta’s Ruffles, Mackie by Bob Mackie, and Ralph Lauren’s Safari.

    What I’m craving more than anything right now is Montale’s Orient Extreme. The opening nearly gags me, but after those first few minutes, it’s chock full of spicey amber goodness. At one point in the drydown, it’s a dead ringer for Faberge’s Tigress. That totally explains why I’m craving this scent, as Tigress is, was and always shall be my holy grail fragrance.

    • Lee says:

      I agree – too much taken-for-grantedness in this world, isn’t there?

      Love the soccer mom story, and the Ruffles adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole tale! And the sadness that is hinted at too… (((hugs)))

      I must go sniff the Montale and see if something finally turns me on to this line.

      • Teri says:

        Do try the Orient Extreme and don’t be utterly put off by the first few minutes. I was just on the verge of scrubbing it when it took off and became lovely.

        I’ve tried hard to like the Montales, too, but their appeal has largely eluded me. I think it’s the oud that I can’t quite like. But there are two from this house that I do like very much – Orient Extreme and, to a slightly lesser extent, Chypre Fruite. They are much more accessible than the oud scents.

  • Moi says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Great post!

    Sixteen years ago, I was in between husbands and living la vida loca. I was wearing Amarige and sharing it amongst my club-going friends. Together, we scent-bombed nightclubs in all four corners of the city.

    Today, thanks in large part to you all, I have bloomed into a bona fide perfume junkie. Now, I crave Caron’s Tabac Blond (must. have. more.) and a scent of my late girlhood, Balenciaga’s Michelle.

    • Lee says:

      You’re very welcome, Moi. We look forward to hearing more frrom you.

      So, the party animal, eh?

      Hold on to that wallet. Perfume can get pretty spendy!

  • Billy D says:

    So I go on my perfume blogs to get AWAY from the huge stack of Derrida I have to read, and then I get reminded of how fantastic it all is. Of course, I agree, but there is only so much anti-onto-ontotheology a man can take.

    Reading all of these posts, I feel like such a bad gay. I’ve never been into clubbing or (hard) drugs. I’ve done my sampling, but I’d always rather buy a bottle of Le Labo and read some Zizek than do just about anything else. I should say that 16 years ago, I was 5 years old, and I was dancing around to Flashdance or going to sleep to the sounds of Joan Rivers “What becomes a semi-legend most?” My mother actually played that tape every night for me as I went to sleep up until I was about 10 years old. I can recite it top to bottom, and it’s still the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Congrats on your anniversary. I’ve been with my ______ (still haven’t decided on the best word–elected affinity, to be Jamesian?) for two and half years now. Never expected it. He still annoys me to no end, but he is the best man I have ever met in my life. Mmm, yes, I love him.

    Craving: a sniff of the Gobin-Daude line. Why did I get into perfumes so late, why??

    • Lee says:

      I’m not sure I find it that fantastic any more, Billy. I still have a massive soft spot for Foucault, even though I think he’s a flawed theorist (the opening to Les Mots et Les Choses where he discusses Las Meninas is his very best work I think). The thought of all that clever clever writing tires me a little now. Enough alreadY!

      Dude, carry on being a bad gay. Stick with the fun that is Zizek. Clubbing and pill-popping ain’t all that.

      And I love your Flashdance / Joan Rivers memory. Hilariously cute!

      Re: Gobin-Daude – age has its advantages.;)

      • MarkDavid says:

        chiming in to say Im also a bad gay re: the clubbing and le drug. Can’t say Ive ever really done either – and Im ok with that. Clubs are a no for me b/c Im already hard of hearing – dont want to push it further. And I drink enough in private…

      • Billy D says:

        What I can’t stand are the PUNS. My professor is actually very prominent in the field of queer theory (his book is on the syllabus) and he is quite a fan of them. Drives me crazy.

        I’m still nursing that Fougere Bengale decant you sent me. When it’s snowing here in Boston, I sometimes put it on. Maybe I have an aversion to immortelle–I absolutely hate Eau Noir. It just smells like chicken jalfrezi from the Punjab Palace to me.

        • Lee says:

          All cos of difference / differance, I guess. I did some work with two prominent UK Shakespeare / queer theorists back when I met Matt – Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. Look em up. Or you might’ve read em already.

          Immortelle is a little love it or loathe it, I think!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! I hope it has been THE adventure of your life. My partner and I celebrated our first date as our anniversary forever until we were in Canada a couple of years ago and got married there. Sixteen years ago we had our 10th anniversary. I was teaching in Saudi Arabia and getting ready to start law school.
    Currently craving a taste of patchouli like Borneo or Patchouli Leaves.

    • Lee says:

      It has, thank you grizzlesnort. Patchouli eh? You should check out some of those Neil Morris vault scents. I think you’ll like em.

  • tmp00 says:

    What a great post- I hope to meet you and Matt in person one of these days…

    Sixteen years ago I was working in a West Hollywood restaurant and going out to clubs all the time with my friends. I was in the phase where I wore a leather jacket and docs, had a tattoo (well, I still do) and did a little more partying that I should have. I wore Sables back then as well, and the tattoo was a Frank Lloyd Wright textile block design, so I think I was missing the whole point of the leather jacket/doc marten/tough guy look. 1992 was a change year for me- within six months of that January I had given up clubbing, given up partying and decided to drop all of my clubby friends and get a real life rather than becoming a meth addict, which seemed the new trendy thing to do in that peer group.

    I seem to be going through a comfort phase, perhaps since it’s in the mid-fifties here which for Los Angeles might as well be freezing. Sables and Un Bois Sepia are in heavy rotation, as is l’Air de Rien, Louve and Ensens Flamboyant. Sienne l’Hiver I will have to seek out..

    • MarkDavid says:

      My current stationary matches your tattoo. Thats not a bad thing, really. He was edgy. Edgy is good.

    • Lee says:

      You smell goooood, Tom. L’air de rien… I bought a bottle, returned it, but its siren call is luring me once more. I have to have it.

      Reading your comment and Matt’s against Billy’s – I wonder how much of that partying thing was a felt necessity amongst us ‘mos until recently. I was an uber-nerd, yet at the same time, felt the need to go out and get loaded, and have a good time… I’m certainly happier without it all now.

  • Malena says:

    happy anniversary to you & matt 🙂 !
    16 years is a long time – i really admire that as it seems i´m (up to now?) not able to spend such a long time with the same person.

    16 years ago…i was still in school, i loved punk & hardcore music (i still do to a certain extent, but prefer vocal jazz & country, now – quite a change), i read a lot, but also loved to party 🙂

    current cravings – oh no, please don´t ask 8-| otherwise i´ll write down my wish list, but i´ve to warn you: it´s loooooooooong :d
    just to mention what i´m about to buy today: spaceNK melodrama & woman – the ones by christopher sheldrake. they´re kind of oldfashioned, like they were made in the 1920s, really lovely & complex & not too expensive.

    i´ve to join you in your admiration of sables: it´s heavenly! i needed it, even so i already owned eau noire.
    they´re different enough to justify having both – at least that´s what i´m telling myself 😉

    i need to dig out my sample of un bois sepia. the last time i tested it, i really liked it, but found it too masculine for me, but i was thinking about within the last days & your post seems to prove that i should give it another try – i hope that won´t cause another lemming @-)

    • Lee says:

      Eau Noire smells a long way from Sables to me – ok, so they’re family, but more distant cousins than siblings. I should try those SpaceNK numbers, seeing as they’re so close to hand. Lazy bones.

      Nothing wrong with too many lemmings – I like feeling dizzy, don’t you?

  • Dusan says:

    First off, happy anniversary to you and Matt! Yours is not a small feat and needs to be duly celebrated with a clinketty-clank so here’s to you my lovely Suffolkians (I made this word up, of course) and your ever-growing contented coexistence!
    Don’t laugh, but I was 14 (and a half, mind you) 16 years ago. I’d just gone out of a 6y monogamous platonic relationship and was already rushing into another one… and another one. Of course, none of these relationships ever really materialized because I was a hopelessly shy romantic, the chubby class clown, who immortalized his loves/crushes in poems/stories but never plucked up the courage to act on his feelings!
    I did steal my first kiss that year though. I wish it’d been Maria, my first, painfullest, most inspiring unrequited love but instead it was a good friend, an awkward situation, a tingly sensation that wasn’t so much lust as a rite of passage. Thank you for dusting this shelf of my memory and for opening your heart to us.
    My cravings of late: violets, dewy flowers and leaves, lavender, the countryside. Eau de Cartier, Reverie au Jardin and always the sun. Scorching sun.

    • Lee says:

      Another one longing to shake himself free of hibernatory sloth!

      What a sweet boy you must’ve been!

  • Marina says:

    Dear Lee, congratulations!! What a wonderful post.
    16 years ago…I was a clueless schoolgirl, a year away from when my life truly started, for better or worth 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    16 years ago…I would have just turned seven…Happy 16, though. My husband and I just celebrated two years yesterday, and it certainly is something nice to look forward to in the middle of winter (even in Texas we get winter blues). One of my husband’s aunts actually gave me a little “refreshing cloth” with Bvlgari Black on it, and I’ve been craving it ever since. I’m also desparate to get ahold of some Mitsouko…tried it at a store in EDT and it’s burned itself upon my memory. I can only imagine how lovely the EDP and parfum must be. (Poor newbie here, if you couldn’t already tell.)

  • Vida says:

    16 years together is an accomplishment and a gift! It only gets better now. My HH (handsome hubby) and I have just celebrated our 22nd, the last 5 have been the best!

    16 years ago I was pregnant and finishing my medical residency/training. My hyperosmic nose had to become inured to smells, as I was always dealing with some sort of bodily fluids, rarely pleasant smelling…

    Now I’m craving quiet family nights, without teenage drama! I’m craving yoga to keep these creaky joints supple. I’m craving new scents…exploring and learning this new perfume hobby.

  • Kelly says:

    Happy, Happy Anniversary, Lee and Matt!!! And thanks for sharing your story. 16 years ago I was in California either drinking or drag racing (yep, drag racing… on an actual NHRA track). I still love the smell of jet fuel. I was the mom of a toddler and flirting shamelessly with a much older married man. What I really wanted to do was train whales at Sea World. 16 years later I’m so far from that person I can’t even believe it. But I’m still the mom of a toddler, with a few in between (*scratches head* how does this keep happening?)…

    Craving now – Vanilla, Vanille, Vanil… I never liked vanilla before and now I can’t get enough. BTW, LeLabo Vanille is O. M. G.!!!

    • Lee says:

      Wow! I’d love to hear more sometime. About the drag racing and the babies…

      So, I guess I’m gonna have to try the le Labo…:-?

  • donanicola says:

    Best wishes for the next 16 years Lee! (and hopefully more). At the end of January 1992 I was working in a different firm of solicitors than the one I now work in and had just returned from an eye opening holiday in Florida with an actor friend of mine. We’d picked up a NY friend of his at Miami airport and driven down to Key West where I had such a good time………And I remember that I’d treated myself to a bottle of Dior Dune at the airport on the way out and was loving wearing it. I’m afraid I was just grabbing what I could in life without much thought to the future but in my defence I was also in negative equity with my flat and feeling trapped….FF to now and I’m craving Guerlain’s SDV, Attrape Coeur and for the spring, Chamade (ever the courtesan and never the the wife/queen!) I am so pleased you mentioned SL Sepia as I got a sample late last year from TPC and really liked it. I infinitely prefer his more masculine and restrained fragrances and Sepia seems to be that. You nailed it with the herringbone tweed too – how I love tweed, such a true fabric if that makes sense. And now you’ve also reminded me I want to visit Corsica again – a stunning island.

    • Lee says:

      Key West holiday… I imagine that was eye opening! And you’re right, tweed is a true fabric. Out of fashion again, so I hear, but I’ve got a lovely Harris tweed jacket that I refuse to stop wearing. SA littl too country gent meets preppy twit, but I adore it.

      Isn’t Corsica glorious?

  • Flor says:

    Congratulations!! You sound like the sweetest couple!

    16 years ago I was traveling around South America doing social work and trying to change the world. I hadn’t even met my husband of almost 15 years yet, and had sworn I would never get married. At the time I was using 2 perfumes, Anais Anais and Miss Dior. All of my belongings fit into one suitcase and I was blissfully happy. Those were the good days. I had no financial worries, because I had no finances, the world was my oyster. I was so optimistic and hopeful and had absolutely no idea what the future would hold and didn’t care. How wonderful to look back and remember it all.

    Right now I can’t get enough of Fumerie Turque, don’t know why, just can’t get enough.

    • Lee says:

      I’m a memory obsessive, Flor. The 20s eh? They’re all about that sense of freedom really, aren’t they?

      Enjoy Fum Turque!

  • Bryan says:

    Congratulations you two. I really Really needed this before I face the cold, obnoxiously cold, horrifically cold day. I love love.

  • Magpie says:

    Happy anniversary, and thank you for the collective time travel! In January 1992, I was 20, ensconced at a New England women’s college, trying to figure out who I was and scaring myself mightly in the process.

    Scent cravings…I embarass myself lately with a need for Delices de Cartier, of all things. The uncomplicated cherry-vanilla warmth pleases me, maybe because it is uncomplicated and so much of my life is…not uncomplicated.

    • Lee says:

      Well, I hope the good complicated bits continue and the bad complicated bits soon fall by the wayside!:d

  • Divalano says:

    Congratulations, may you walk together for many, many happy years.
    16 yrs ago I was still a bit ragged around the edges. No longer in the freefall of my 20s, but not settled into who I was becoming. I was 2 yrs out of a bad marriage, dating a nice guy who wanted exclusivity but wouldn’t commit beyond the day. I was sharing an artist loft in Southside (Williamsburg) before it got groovy, freezing in my underheated room all winter. I’d escaped the food service industry, had started working in ITS, was going to school p/t & training at a women’s karate dojo, trying to find my creative voice. It’d still be 2 more yrs before I picked a camera back up & found it. I didn’t have cats. I didn’t wear scent.

    Scent cravings of the month: warmth – ambers & woods. That’s explicable in winter. Inexplicable perhaps because they’re harder for me, smoky & incense.

    • Lee says:

      Must comfort you to think of where you got to from there, eh M?

      I think you’re gonna end up a smoke monster the way you’re heading!

  • chayaruchama says:

    Congratulations, beloved !

    [I have the first two- do you want me to send you some, to tide you over ? Also, some ‘Dark Earth’- which is like a loamier, earthier UBS ?]

    16 years ago, I was exhausted- mother of an infant and toddler[neither of whom ever slept], passed up the opportunity to help a certain gentleman design a fragrance line [he’s a billionaire now, and I’m….hmmmm], and , I suspect, depressed [but wholly unaware].
    Today, I’m the same person I was then- only more evolved, even funnier,and a LOT less self- flagellating.

    I’ve been craving musks, ambers, incenses.
    I think I want to embalm / anoint myself- to what end, I don’t know…

    May you and the M continue to be blissful, patootieness.

    • Lee says:

      Chaya – someone else helped me out, so for once I can say no to your unending kindness. And I’ve even got to try the lovely Dark Earth too.

      And who wants to be a billionaire? I don’t.

      Kisses back to you and your overstimulated family.

  • Elle says:

    Congrats on your anniversary! 16 years ago DH was working on his doctorate and I was just finishing mine in Slavic Lit. and realizing it was shockingly useful only if I wanted to have a commuting marriage – very limited chances of getting a position in the same university or even same part of the country as DH. I was also designing and building children’s furniture (Alice in Wonderland meets Dali sort of stuff) to supplement my perfume and clothing budget, so thought about having that be a permanent career until I realized that at the end of the day someone who likes to daydream is a bad mix w/ power tools. I was also happily making plans for all our neighbors’ unused garden plots in married student housing. 🙂
    My current obsessions aren’t exactly inexplicable – I want to mainline green scents and anything summery. Am *desperate* for summer to arrive. I ordered something unsniffed the other day just because it sounded tropical – this, despite the fact that the notes sound like I’ll loathe the scent. Must retry Sables yet again to see if it will work for me at last.

    • Lee says:

      As another daydreamer, I’ve hit my hand with a hammer more times than I’d care to mention. Though power tools and me are often friends…

      I think you get more cold than we do here. Today was sunny. It’s getting chillier again though, and we might have snow by the end of the week – though that’s less and less likely these days. I’d like a properly cold day. Just one.

  • pennypencil says:

    I haven’t posted here before, but Lee, your evocative memories have spurred me into action. Congratulations on your love’s longevity. I recognised the picture you painted of yourself in 1992, and I was at university a decade later!

    Sixteen years ago I was eleven and living in a British cul-de-sac – think Privet Drive. It was the year My Girl came out, and my friend Chris and I would sit out on plastic skateboards and ask Big questions to each other – do we believe in God? What pictures does each of us see in the clouds and what do they say about us? Where does space end, and how did it begin? Who will we love? We wore Bermuda shorts and hooded tops, gave each other piggybacks, ran races and crashed into the fence to stop, played early computer consoles and the smaller kids around our way crawled all over us like insects. I don’t recall it being anything other than sultry dusk and summer that year. The year I discovered Cabotine by Gres – a sample freebie on the plane to or from my mother’s native Finland. I thought it was the most princess-like, fresh, springtime fragrance and worshipped my vial. It was a smell to accompany many a daydream.

    • Lee says:

      And I recognise your childhood. I had a big question friend too!

      Thanks for commenting – I know your name from MUA I think – though I’m a browser there rather than commenter.
      and what refined taste you had so early on!

  • Anne says:

    Wow, time travel. I was 36 and beginning a new life after divorcing my husband of 12 years. Also just starting my first year of going back to school after loosing my banking job of 10 years. It would be another year before I met the love of my life.

    I am craving amber, amber and more amber. Tried the Coty Ambre Antique and I swear it generates heat not just scent. Renders me speechless.

    My best to both of you….. 😡

    • Lee says:

      Anne – nice to think of happiness waiting for you round the corner like that!

      Thanks for your message.

  • MattS says:

    Wow. I turned 36 last week and have been brooding about lost youth basically the entire time. So sixteen years ago, I was twenty. I had a full thick head of beautiful hair coated in black dye and Aqua Net hairspray. I was a moody, brooding, sweet and tender hooligan obsessed with nightclubbing, sex, drugs, and acid house, rather than jazz. So sixteen years in, I’m thirty-six. I’ve basically shaved my head and I never go to clubs anymore. Hooray, I’m a grown-up! The best part about that is not having to give a f*#$ anymore. But it might be fun to not give a f*#$ with a full head of hair. Just one more time.

    Obsessions now are, of course, perfume related. I have been somewhat obsessed with the Parfums d’Empire line, having just got samples of Fougere Bengale, Ambre Russe, and Cuir Ottoman. I love all three of them and am thinking that I need a full bottle of at least one. Jicky has been on my mind a lot lately, as well as the Andy Tauer Incense Rose and his Le Maroc Pour Elle, which I got a sample of the other day and obsessed whether I could get away with wearing. It smelled really feminine on the opening, but then became really dirty on me and I loved it. I might just put it on thirty minutes before leaving the house. It was fantastic.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Happy, happy anniversary to you and Matt. Enjoy the day and enjoy the coming spring. Goodbye to winter doldrums.

    • tmp00 says:

      Bald men are hot.

      Just sayin’

      • Lee says:

        Joinin’ Tom in the rejoinder. And 36 is a very sexy age…

        I’m glad you’ve stopped the jaw churning habits of a clubber. They can only last so long…

        And isn’t Le Maroc beautiful? Animal/floral perfection. Simple, but oh so good.Glad you’re enjoying the PdEs and belated birthday wishes

    • Vasily says:

      I also tried Le Maroc recently and it doesn’t seem particularly “feminine” at all … not sure what that means any more, in any case. Maybe Andy should consider renaming it. It reminds me a bit in the midnotes of Andy’s wonderful L’eau d’Epices experiments.

      BTW, you think not giving a f*#$ at 36 is great … wait ’till you turn 61! I *really* don’t give a f*#$!! 😉

  • dinazad says:

    Congratulations, Lee and Matt! And many, many, many happy returns! May your love grow and blossom!

    Sixteen years ago…. oh dear. I wasn’t young, but younger than I am now, I was without a job and this early in the year had no idea I would, a few months later, meet one of my dearest friends (the guy who made a “fag hag” out of me) and take up bellydancing (which changed my view of my rather opulent body, made me a happier woman, was what I had been waiting for all my life – MY dance, the dance I’ve been teaching for the past dozen or so years). Sixteen years ago I was younger, but as yet unhappier as well.

    Cravings? Lots, but last night, to my never-ending suprise, I fell in love with Kelly Caleche. It smells of a country cat, a cat who naps in the lavender, under the rhubarb or wherever the mood takes her and who suddenly feels like coming over and purring a bit in your lap while you sit and relax in the garden. One of the best smells in the world!
    I’d like my new MP3 player to work together with my computer. Hardly a craving, but fervently desired.
    And I crave a nice new apartment which won’t cost the obscene amount of rent you dish out when you live in Zurich.
    And a set of Knit Pick knitting needles.
    And Mandarin Mandarine (or is it the other way round) with its dancing orange blossom whirling about a dark center.

    But for the moment I’m happy to smell of country cat. And maybe Sables tomorrow – maquis by the sea for me.

    • Lee says:

      My sister’s a belly dancer too. And teaches a little! My mum makes her costumes and buys extra stuff when off on one of her late summer jaunts to Turkey.

      And Kelly Caleche – woefully underrated I think. It is simple, but exceptionally so. I’ll join you in cou ntry cat pleasures…

  • Louise says:

    Ah Darling(s)-how very fortunate you are to have found each other, and recognized your intended so rightly and easily. What a stellar balance and complement you seem for each other. Huge congratulations and hugs on your anniversary day!

    I like Sables a lot, but there’s no maquis on me. Currently, I am meeting my immortelle jones through the Luxe Patch. Both Sepia and Sienne are among the few scents that I deem “masculine” on me-must find a more mannish arm around on which to smell these. I do love several SL Bois series, and douse myself often in Paestum, so am guessing I’d love these two.

    Current cravings-wintery delights-deep roses, spices (Spezie de Medici yesterday), incenses (MdM today-sorry). Am eagerly awaiting Andy’s new Rose Incense-my only real perfume-lust right now.

    Sixteen years ago I was an unhappily married recently PhD-ed mom of a 2 year old, wondering what would happen next. I may have discovered SL by then, but those toddler years are a blur. So much has changed since-and I’ve arrive here these many years later, truly cherishing the fortunes of good work, a great man-child, and beautiful friends @};-

    • Lee says:

      You’re such a love. And so clever. And I forgive you the MdM. Blech.

      Btw, I don’t want to give the impression that we float off on a cloud of bliss every day. He’s a damned annoying freak too, you know. And me, well, I’m ‘complex’…


      But it’s still looooove.

  • Masha says:

    Happy Anniversary, Matt and Lee!
    Current cravings: anything bright and spicy, or heavy and spicy, even Jungle L’Elephant! And Rousse! And Jasmine de Nuit! And Asja! And maybe I should go find a job in an Indian grocery store….

  • Maria says:

    Lee, what a wonderful remembrance of the day you first saw your beloved. Happy anniversary hugs to you and Matt! <:-p Sixteen years ago almost to the day I decided I should start wearing lipstick. Good idea!!!! I haven't tried any of the three fragrances you mention. I've been curious about Sables, and I'm glad to hear someone gets maquis instead of maple syrup. Speaking of which, I remember you mentioned a while ago that you were enjoying your Diptyque Maquis candle. I love ours. I wish they'd make that into a personal fragrance. What do I feel like wearing lately? Two Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances, Cameo and Voile de Violette. When I feel like wearing fragrance, that is. My sinuses are very congested.

    • Lee says:

      I believe an English chap should be allowed to post you some Sables et al sometime soon, don’t you, belipsticked one? I’ve run out of mini-atomisers, but when I replenish…

      Maquis – there isn’t anything like it as far as I know in the personal perfume sense – must be the combination of cistus and patchouli that makes it sooo good. Mine’s burning as I type.

      I hope the sinuses clear soon. I empathise – they’re a pain for me too.

  • mag says:

    Great post and happy annivesary, Lee!

    Current fragrance craving… Hm … I miss my Hermes Jardin sur le Nil, so yes, I guess it’s this one…

    16 years ago, I was 9, hardly remember what I was like, and the only perfumes I came across were my mum’s Miss Dior (? not sure?), and a sample of Gap Dream on a page inside Seventeen. I do remember I liked Dream a lot at that time.

    • Lee says:

      So cute Mag!

      March is a big fan of sur le Nil and its incensy fruitiness. I love it too, though it turns on me and bites hard…:((

  • MarkDavid says:

    Happy Anniversary Lee! How marvelous! Mon felicitations!

    16 years ago I was…very very young.

    Lets see, cravings. Well, Iris Poudre and Cuir Ottoman have been in heavy rotation lately – Id wear Iris Poudre every day, probably – but Im running low and it will be a few weeks before I can budget a full bottle. And Cuir Ottoman, as well. So I must conserve. Ive not been reaching for anything subtle over the last few weeks. If I have, I usually replace it with something else right away. So big sillage has been my M.O.

    More cravings: The Daab Design books. Im very near to having ordered every single one of them. Im obsessed. everything from Hotel design to Stage and Event design – entire books of full page pictures. Bliss.

    And lately, Ive also been favoring Takashimaya Rose tea, depressing movies, thin-line Sharpie markers, La Mer lip balm, Charlie Rose episodes on YouTube, opera recordings of Verdi’s Ernani, Massenet’s Manon, and Bizet’s Les Pecheurs des Perles, Cherry Coke Zero, Santa Maria Novella Iris Toothpaste, and Beaujolais-Villages, though not necessarily in that order.

    • Lee says:

      I bet you had the same dimples though, dintcha?

      Love your list of cravings MD – you’re so refined. Escept for the cherry coke, but that’s definitely an allowable vice.

      And now I’m craving root beer.

      • MarkDavid says:

        are you saying Cherry Coke is un-refined? I do declare!

        Oh you bet I had those dimples. Even at 6 years and 10 1/2 months old, I was still pressured to go the way of Betty Grable and have ’em insured!

        Anyone have the number for Lloyds of London?…

        Root beer from a can or root beer from a bottle?…b/c theres a big difference. Answer carefully…

  • Gina says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee. Today, January 29th, is my birthday. I was 23 sixteen years ago. A real train wreck into punk rock and the Cure. I had bright burgundy/pink/red? hair and was working at a magazine called the LA Weekly. I think I got the job because the guy in charge of classifieds, where I was the receptionist, thought I was cute. I giggled a lot, I was very shy. I was dating a rocker guy who looked oddly a lot like me, ha ha, same hair. He was an alcoholic, my friends lovingly called him “the beer elf”. I wore an oil called “Sexual Enticement” that I got from a weird head shop. It smelled like cloves, a lot like Tea for Two smells to me. I was/am a painter, but I painted a lot more then.

    My scent cravings these days – Josef Stavkus, Le Labo Patchouli, Serge Vetiver Oriental. This is what I’ve been wearing the past few days. I don’t think I’ve tried Sables, though I love your other two.

    • Maria says:

      Happy birthday, Gina! Isn’t it grand that your dating-alcoholic-rockers days are over? (I assume.) Years do bring wisdom. <:-p

    • Lee says:

      <:-p@};-<:-p Happy (belated) Birthday You were quite the cool LA kid, weren't you? Love your current scent choices, Mistress rich 'n' dark.

      • Gina says:

        Still a bit of the goth in me, har har. What’s funny about being a”Cool LA kid” is that I’d just moved from Georgia, where I’d spent the first 19 years of my life.

  • Joan says:

    16 years ago, married for one year, my husband and I ran a bookstore in a large factory outlet. The outlet is open 363 days a year, 10 hours a day, so the book business was pretty much our whole existence. We loved it.

    Thanks to your generosity my current cravings are BdA, Jubilation XXV and Lann-Ael. It was so kind of you to remember the notes that I mentioned I liked on the Menardo post and send the Noir Patchouli.

    Happy Anniversary Dear Lee & Matt..and many more to come.

    • Lee says:

      If one has to work, one should always enjoy it. I only wish that could be true for all of us…

      You’re welcome Joan, and I’m so glad you’re feeling better.

  • Gail S says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary <:-p !! Sixteen years ago, I was a recently divorced mom with a toddler, going to school full-time with a full-time job. Talk about a full-time life! But it was easy then because obviously I was much younger:d I had moved back in with my parents for a while to help balance my carefully arranged schedule. Monday through Thursday, home all mornings and early afternoons with daughter, classes late afternoon through evening when my parents were home. At home Friday morning until mid-afternoon with kid again, off to work then for 16-hr shifts for two days and 8-hr shift on Sunday. Then repeat.... Daughter appears not to have missed out on anything luckily for those two years while I finished my degree. No inexplicable cravings, just one entirely justified one, Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon!!! But I'm on a no-buy until the end of February so I'm gonna have to be tough.

    • Lee says:

      What a tough time that must’ve been. Tiredness was a close companion I reckon!

      Geranium Bourbon is great isn’t it? Great for tiredness too, I would think…

  • Amy K says:

    Let’s see, 16 years ago…I was 14 and an introvert who spent most of my time reading (had just discovered Coleridge and Wilde) or riding horses with my best friend. That summer, I attended a sports camp and befriended the handsomest boy I’d ever seen. He was wild and cocky and fearless – my opposite. Seven years later, we met up again after college and have been together ever since. So 1992 was a good year for both of us:) Happy anniversary to you and Matt!

    I’ve really been craving Tabu and Tolu a lot these days. I hunted down some vintage Tabu parfum recently and it is amazing, magical stuff. One of the sexiest things I’ve ever smelled. Back then, I was probably wearing Gap Day.

  • Molly says:

    Hi Lee! Great post. Happy 16 years with Matt!
    I’ve been craving bright, sharp, sunny citrus. But I have no idea what to even try, since I’m new to this stuff. Do you or anyone else here have any suggestions?
    16 years ago…weellll I was 13, so not much to say there except I was your typical back-talking, boundlessly energetic, self-obsessed 13-year-old-girl! It seems like 26 years ago…
    But even then I loved perfume: Amarige and Design are the two I remember wearing and sharing with my best girlfriend. Big scents for a 13-year-old, I think!

    • Lee says:

      Thanks. My favourite sunny citrus is Patricia de Nicolai Balle de Match – a heavenly grapefruit over woods. Truly wonderful. Plenty of other people should have their own recommendations too. I also love Eau de Guerlain (though it doesn’t last – a common problem with citrus scents) and Mona di Orio Lux – though this might well be an acquired taste…

      • Lee says:

        Oh, and Hermes’ two Jardin scents… Nil and Mediterranee

      • pitbull friend says:

        Sunny citrus? Can’t leave out Goutal Eau d’Hadrien, can you? Yes, it’s hardly niche any more, but it’s all sunshine with enough cypress to keep it from being a lemon lollipop. I don’t know anyone this doesn’t work on, though someone will definitely turn up!:) Ellen

  • BitterGrace says:

    Wow, Lee, am I the first to comment? Don’t I win something for that?

    Let’s see, cravings: Currently (I blush to admit) musks, of all things. Musky classics like Ecusson and my beloved My Sin–but also just plain ol’ musk. I love Bourbon French’s musk, and some fancy Italian stuff Helg sent me ages ago. Too lazy to go root out the vial right now.

    What was I like 16 years ago? Hmmn…just turned 30, had quit my job to write full time, was kinda hoping to get pregnant (didn’t happen), and was just developing my Edith Wharton obsession. And reading Anne Rice’s S&M erotica, too, if memory serves.

    • Lee says:

      You win a smile.:d

      Musk, eh? Try not to combine that with the Anne Rice raunch, though you might heat up your part of Tennessee to summer sizzle temps…:”>