Go Big or Go Home

Pia sent me a bottle of fragrance with a full disclosure at her local Post Office (they know she´s swapping perfume), resulting in a “ground only transportation” label or some such, which to be honest I didn´t even know existed. I just knew I wasn´t supposed to be shipping perfume, so I wrap everything tight, keep my mouth shut and hope for the best. I wanted you all to know about this option (which obviously won´t work if you´re shipping outside the Continental U.S., although maybe to Canada?) and that her bottle got here in decent time. I´m going to check this out the next time I mail something. Have any of you done this? My frustration is lack of consistency by the USPS – I got into, uh, nondisclosure because one PO employee told me I couldn´t ship perfume, period. Which obviously is not true, is it? And then they wonder why we´re sneaky. Because, you know, you are always reading in the news about bottles of perfume spontaneously blowing up and taking out whole city blocks…

We´re all saving our money up for the Scentsation, right? Also, sometimes I feel an irresistible urge to blog about stuff that doesn´t cost an arm and a leg. Today’s a shout-out to Fragrances that give you the Big Bang for the Buck. Louise and I were discussing this recently. Cribbing from her emails:

“In the cheap wonders category… L’Aromarine has essential oils for $7, and Mousse de Chene (the only one I have tried so far) is great-a slightly sweet, longlasting moss, with a touch of brightness…they’re at Beautyhabit now with that seductive 25% off.” I tried this the other day and it is dee-lightful. Just a rich, mossy smell. Can´t beat the price. Anyone tried any of the others? Some of them sound great.

Louise adds: “Cabaret by Gres is another one-just got a tester – a nice woody rose-like a very light Montale.” She also gave me a sample of Zum Mist Frankincense and Myrhh, which I guess gets blogged about on MUA? I’d not heard of it. That stuff rocks. Are you ready? On drugstore.com for TEN BUCKS in a metal bottle. Lasted hours on me. A clean, kinda summery incense.

The big winner was Anarchy, Irma Shorell´s dupe of Donna Karan’s d/c’d masterpiece, Chaos. Twenty bucks a bottle for Anarchy and I´ve never tried it. I scored a bottle of Chaos on fleaBay awhile back. I was on there recently and the bottle prices are even more ridiculous. I was reluctant to try Anarchy, because seriously, how close could they get?

Was it a perfect dupe? No, but I need to qualify that answer and explain why I´m okay with that. First of all, I never smelled Chaos when it was having its (brief) life on the shelves. The extant bottles are aging at this point, and like all discontinued fragrances, some of them are aging more gracefully than others. I will hazard a guess that Chaos´ striking bottle meant more were left out unboxed on vanities, etc., so people could look at them, leading to degradation of the juice. Second, I´ll make a general observation that I think given any fragrance´s ingredients, some scents may be more likely to turn than others. All I have to judge by, in the end, is my several samples from various sources (decants, sent by friends, etc.)

Chaos is one of my favorite winter perfumes, as regular readers know. However, like Mitsouko, applying it is not a decision I make lightly. It lasts forever on me, it haunts my clothes (albeit in a wonderful way), and it is not something I want to wear to the gym or anywhere else people aren´t interested in a heavy scent. Also, most of my samples have developed a slight varnish-like smell in the top notes that I have learned to ignore, knowing that the payoff is worth it. I assume this is the result of some particular aromachemical slowly going kaput over time.

Anarchy manages to capture the joy of Chaos without feeling so sonorous, no disrespect intended to the Queen. It is slightly sweeter, spicier, slightly less woody. If I smelled it in a sample vial along with the rest of my stash, I might plausibly assume it´s just another variation on the theme, as all my samples smell somewhat different at this point. Louise is quite pleased and says it lasts a long time on her, so that test is passed. I have reapplied my sample several times, pondering and comparing it to the original (or, the original as I know it). I am now going to commit Fragrance Heresy by pronouncing it a reasonable substitute for Chaos, and not only that, preferable if you are more into the warm spicy bits. There is something less … difficult about it; it is missing the waxy harshness that Chaos shares with Black Cashmere and which is great 95 times out of 100, but which on the other five occasions has me wishing I´d selected something else, frankly.

I´ve not tried any of their other dupes of classics, like Venezia, My Sin, Replique, etc.? Any reports from the field? Hey, how are y´all feeling about those cheap bottles of Tocade you bought?

Other recommended cheapie brands: Yves Rocher (which are your favorites?), the CrazyPoppies solid perfume thingies, Roger & Gallet (although their lasting power isn´t great, the ginger is gorgeous); Speziali Fiorentini (Te Nero/Black Tea is a wonderful honeyed tea); and Pacifica (Mediterranean Fig is my favorite, with its sandalwood base). For drugstore frags, I keep meaning to try Coty Vanilla Musk, which I know some people really like. I can personally vouch for Coty Wild Woods, found online for a song. Just call it “Bois Sauvage” if you’re embarrassed. Who knew $11.99 could smell so good? Buy a pretty atomizer to decant it into. (btw it’s a “men’s” scent).

Any favorites I’ve overlooked?

Today’s Big Bang giveaway, donated by Louise: a tester bottle of Cabaret by Gres (sadly, it doesn’t last on her, and I don’t like rose, although it’s a nice woody one; lots of positive reviews on MUA). Say you want it in the comments and I’ll put you in the draw.

PS Not sure if Patty’s doing a post for tomorrow — I have one I’ll put up in the morning if hers hasn’t magically appeared by then, so stay tuned!

  • Shelley says:

    Ack…had fun with a reply to this thread in which I suggest how to “layer” that carburetor so it ends up a more, er, attractive gift…scroll down if interested… :>

  • Shelley says:

    Ah, now here’s a fresh way to layer and get the max out of that carburetor…over the top of the carburetor, place one flashy chassis (sports car of your choice), and to top it off, place one driver–in this case, Musette, of course–wearing new outfit and scandalously expensive fragrance.

    Drive, suitably enrobed in automotive and fragrant layers, to nearest TJMaxx or Walgreen’s for your favorite Posse chat cheap perfume. /:)

  • mimmimmim says:

    My perfume bargain was Avon Rare Gold – you can get things really cheaply when they’re on discount, and my bottle cost me £5. It lasts all day, and while it’s very linear, I like it. It’s a lovely oriental with plenty of ylang-ylang.

    I still have a bottle of Pagan from the days when Jovan made it – Basenotes has it listed as being a Lentheric frag, so it may have changed hands and possibly formulation over the years – and it’s still one of my favourites. Again, it’s linear and doesn’t have the subtleties that you’d expect in a high-end perfume, but it’s still great. It’s another oriental.

    (Do cheap orientals work better than cheap versions of other families? Is there a good cheap chypre to be had?)

    • March says:

      My opinion only — I could see cheap orientals or chypres being better to smell than cheap florals. Cheap florals smell like Glade room spray – they can be nauseatingly cloying. I mean, lilac … rose … horrible done on the cheap.

      But something like Estee Lauder Aliage or (original) Azuree or Youth Dew, or Clinique Aromatics Elixir? They are practically giving those things away, and assuming you can take the strength they smell great.

  • Vasily says:

    One of my favorite affordable perfumes is Caswell-Massey No. 6: citrusy-spicy, reminiscent of Villoresi’s Uomo and Miller Harris Tangerine Vert but I would dare say superior to both of them … last I checked, about 40USD a 100ml bottle! I haven’t tried their womens’ frags, but the other mens’ frags are also worth a try (they have sets of small sampler bottles for both men and women).

    Ava Luxe, of course, makes great affordable perfumes … they run 25USD to about 50USD for most 30ml bottles. My favorites: Midnight Violet, Figuier, Feu du Bois, Cafe Noir, Kretek.

    • Vasily says:

      Oh, and I forgot L’Occitane … we have a store in a local mall and I’ve tried a number of their frags, high quality and very affordable!

      • March says:

        I know the L’Occitanes and like a couple of those very much, I am embarrassed to admit I’ve never even set foot in the Caswell store in the mall — assumed everything would smell like LOTV or English rose… sounds like I need to check it out, thanks.

        And I think a couple of the decanters have the Ava Lux scents, I need to do some more sampling.

        • Vasily says:

          The Caswell-Massey womens’ frags are heavy on the soliflores … they apparently had more frags for women before the Great Depression but many of those are lost to history. I like their Greenbriar and Jockey Club as well as No. 6. Here’s an interesting history of the company from answers.com:


          • March says:

            Vasily, thanks! They have a really big store in the mall, I will check them out. I’ll ignore all the cabbage rose froufrou in the window… 🙂

  • Claudia says:

    Please include me in the drawing. Thanks! 🙂

  • AACAngel says:

    I second or third the Venezia dupe above and also like the one from Ava Luxe. I LOVE YR Rose Absolue and what I will now think of as “Crazy Sticks”. One of those, usually the rose but sometimes the LOV one, is always in my tote bag somewhere.

    Hillary Duff’s With Love is at Walgreens and now my TJMaxx, is that close enough to a cheap thrill? Seems like people on various boards have enjoyed the $10 rollerball of Stella too.

    Cabaret sounds appealing – I would love to be in the drawing!

    • March says:

      You’re in for the Cabaret! And I love that Hilary thing, wish I’d see it at a discount joint. Our TJMaxx has the scariest selection.

  • rosarita says:

    This has been so much fun to read – the post, and everyone’s great comments. I love me some Cabaret but I have a bottle, so don’t need to be in the draw. It reminds me of Bond 9 West Side, but more sheer. Others have mentioned Tabu, so I’ll just add that I love Tabu dusting powder. For $10, it feels and smells luxurious after a hot bath on a winter’s evening. For summer, I’m curious about L’Aromarine Vetyver, and may have to let beautyhabit coax me into a bottle. I’ve always wondered about their little concentrated scents, so thanks, Louise! Smelling like moss, or better yet, oppoponax, sounds good to me! /:)

    • March says:

      Well, we all need to do our part to keep those online joints in business, yes?

      And I keep taking various things in and out of my shopping cart at Beautyhabit…

  • zara says:

    i’ve just ordered a bottle of l’aromarine oceane, unsniffed, as usual :”>
    but hey, it was 15.00 USD, cheap enough for a light summer fragrance, the reviews were convincing, so let’s wait and see. actually, this was the first time i’ve heard about the brand, reasonable pricing, maybe it’s worth another try!

  • Kim says:

    The Zum room/body sprays are great – I love the plain lavender as a room spray, a very true, clean lavendar. Haven’t had a chance to try others but the chocolate also may be good and it is 2 for 1!

    Still haven’t gotten around to Yves Rocher – will have to give them a try since my wallet is tired after being obsessed with Guerlain for a few months. I tried Stetson – too masculine for me but might be nice on others.

    I think the shipping solution is ground FedEx or UPS – they are often the same price as USPS priority – or a gazillion zip baggies around the stuff so you don’t get busted if it does leak in the postal service and some sniffer dog nails the package. Hmmm, would worry about that with some of the cannabis scents – LOL. Or maybe not with some of the weirdness these days!

    • Kim says:

      forgot – please enter me in the draw

    • Kim says:

      My brain is a sieve today! Forgot to mention that the Crazy Lillebulle sticks are a GREAT solution for travel. I have a bunch of them and love not having to deal with the TSA – another agency that is on par with the Post Office for logic!! No worries about stuffing it all into a tiny zip baggie with the Crazy Lillebulle sticks so I almost always travel with Musc & Patchouli and Lilas Spiritual!

      • March says:

        Those Crazy things are good for travel, and I like them because I don’t worry about them leaking in my purse.

    • March says:

      Hmmmm, so you’re not digging the Stetson? I keep forgetting to smell it on my trips to the CVS, I think they have a bottle.

      Weirdly, the chocolate sounded good to me too, and that’s usually not my thing in fragrance. :)>-

      • Musette says:

        Oooh! forgot to mention the Stetson. Really nice, in a very ‘huh?’ way. I mean, it’s just….nice. You wouldn’t follow some guy down the street for this but it’s a definite snugglicious scent, especially if it’s applied with a very light hand so the Guy smell comes through.

        I smell Ed Harris in this….

  • Debbie says:

    Yeah…what Gail said about shipping. Here, we have one post office that has complete moron. I argued with them, they called the postmaster, whom I swore told them the correct regs. The guy then told me “no”, but based on his conversation and the facial expression, I think he was lying just to be difficult. The other airport, which is ran by intelligent women, knows its regs. They let me ship perfume as long as it isn’t aerosol. (Well, yeah, duh. Nothing aerosol has been allowed for ages.) So….it all depends if you have officious idiots or efficient, intelligent people working in your local post office.

    I have to go to drugstore.com to check out that summery incense. Sounds good! No need to enter me in the drawing; I’m not much for rose scents either.


    • March says:

      Idiots. We have officious idiots. /:) Nobody really feeling the love for the old PO on here today, heh.

  • cjj88 says:

    thanks for the info on the l’aromarine:) I can say the Venezia dupe is quite good for sure…I have some of the original and the dupe and like them both equally.

    Been curious about Cabaret-please enter me in the draw.

    • March says:

      You’re in the draw. I should try the Venezia dupe. I got a mini awhile back on eBay, but I think it might have been off. Venezia sounds like something I would like.

  • Olfacta says:

    Re Coty Vanilla Musk — I bought some at Walgreens awhile back and man is it STRONG! The only way I can use it (only for layering) is to do the old trick of spraying it into the air and then walking through it. But for $9.99 who cares.

    I’m a relative noob — is there some logic to shopping for perfume at TJ Maax? Are Fridays better than Mondays for example? The first time I went to one, they had all kinds of good stuff — White Linen, Bulgari, etc. Didn’t buy anything. Every time since, it’s been pretty much garbage — Paris Hilton/Soul/Britney. The clerk told me they get new stuff in every few days. Any hints from the well-initiated would be appreciated!

    • March says:

      You should definitely ask around on MakeupAlley. My track record at those stores is pretty dismal, so my tip would be, don’t shop with me! 🙂 I have the same experience — endless bottles of Soul Curve and Caesar’s Women or whatever.

      Ah, the walk-through fragrance. Sand & Sable is like that.

      • Musette says:

        There is a possibility that I get the Whammo Prize for the day. Just at the ol’ Wal-Mart, don’tcha know….was thinking WildWoods, cause it gets so much love…saw ‘wild’ and spritzed. It was WILD MUSK. Now, I am still a relative newbie so haven’t been able to find a musk I could love and this was a bad acid flashback to the 70s. And this scent, if nothing else, is why they make Lava Soap! Even with the Lava it still took 3 scrubs and some alcohol to knock it back to manageable levels. Wow.

        Weird thing about the WM, though. I spritzed it near where I’d spritzed my beloved Diorissimo…..is there musk in ‘rissimo? Something was amping that up in a very odd way!

        The other Whammo! prize was English Leather – 15ml for $2.88! Who prices this stuff? Smells like baby shampoo and razor blades and for me, baby shampoo only smells good when it’s on the baby!b-( I kept waiting for something leathery to hit me all through the Wal-Mart Walk of Shame and the long drive home…..nada on the leather though I might be getting some naughehyde now…….

        • March says:

          Bleah!! Although you sound like a blast to shop with! Let’s go shopping together … oh wait! We are!!!

          >:d< I think I'll take a pass on those, although The Guide swears that Sex Appeal for men is great, I'm keeping an eye out.

  • Katie says:

    I work for Fedex, but for the Ground division. We ship everything via Ground, and I mean EVERYTHING from fish guts to battery acid. Hazardous materials will get additional fees, but perfume is NOT included in that. So when swapping and the USPS is difficult, I am assuming you can ship with either FedEx or UPS Ground (must specify Ground). Ground is also SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than air shipping. Shipping by air is another story due to FAA regulations. Perfume is not allowed.

    As for cheap thrills: Yves Rocher Voile d’Amber is a great one. The 5 ml vial for $3.50 is hard to beat. And I just got one of the Crazy Sticks from Crazi..whatever and the Poppies. Musc and Patchouli. It is wonderful, one of my fave right now.

    I’d like to be entered in the drawing!

    • Debbie says:

      Good to know!

    • March says:

      I love the Musc & Patch! Also like it because I can put it in my purse and forget about it … I wish they had more sillage, somebody up there said the same thing.

    • March says:

      PS Whoops, hit Save too soon — thanks for the explanation of UPS regs. It’s nice to know what the rules are, and shipping ground is fine with me. There’s a store near me, too.

      • Musette says:

        Good thing to know for the ‘cocoa – I’ll have those airbills and the packing stuff and everybody can send their stuff home GROUND.

        thanks, Katie!


  • Robin says:

    Wow, I gotta get me some Anarchy!

    • March says:

      I was much better than I expected. Chaos is such an interesting, complex scent. I thought, good luck with that, you know? I was really impressed. Someone on here says the Venezia dupe is good too.

  • pavlova says:

    Ummm…sorry — that prior post belongs up with Musette.

  • pavlova says:

    My daughter had the same reaction when I drove down a one-way street — sometimes you just have to break the rules. My husband calls me the “violator”.

  • Disteza says:

    Although nobody else has mentioned them, I l-l-love the Korres body oils and waters. The Mint Tea, Bitter Almond, and Nutmeg do especially well on me, but I like the rest of ’em too. For $15-$18 a bottle, they’re pretty easy on the wallet. They don’t tend to last more than a few hours, and they’re generally agreeable enough to wear in the heat, or in situations where exertion may be required (you know, like dragging your be-laden self through the blasted no-man’s-land of the mall parking lot in a fruitless attempt to find your car, only to realize you’ve come out on the wrong side of the store.) 😮

    • March says:

      Boy, those sound good. Don’t they have a highly-regarded fig? Or am I thinking of a different line? I swear I tried to get ahold of the fig for my Figmania post but couldn’t find it. Nice to know these are worth smelling, thanks.

      I am the person you see flagging down the mall security mobile, having lost my car. Sad but true. :”>

      • Disteza says:

        I seem to remember that they had a fig-based body water, but being the fig-hater I am, I never tried it. I don’t see it in their current line though.

  • oblitterati says:

    Thank you for he heads up on L’Aromaine. I’ve been dying to try their cola scent (a little pricier than the oils) but haven’t seen it around. I fully second your vote for Roger & Gallet, when I first started dating my fiance I was shocked that the drydown of their ginger smells just like him. Needless to say it has a special place in my heart.

    I bought a Crazy Lillebulle stick in Annas Imperiale, and the scent is subtle to say the least. Nice smell, but zero silliage. In terms of bang for the buck, I would say the winner is the Voluspa room/body spray they carry in Tart Rhubarb for $18 for 3.5 oz. It’s not as tart as the name might imply but a nice cooked rhubarb/rose scent that you can use liberally. Please enter me in the drawing, I love a good rose wood scent as much as anyone.

    • March says:

      I’ve not tried that VoluSpa, but it sounds yummy. And I agree my quibble with the Crazy Lib things (how do you spell that?) is not much sillage. The L’Aromarine Cola was surprisingly delicious, it has a twist of citrus in it. I thought it was great.

      Hey, your bf sounds beautifully scented! A ginger scent, yeah!

  • Anthony says:

    What a pleasant surprise this article was today! I can’t wait to try the moss scent. I’ve always wanted to smell like moss… And only here could I say that with a straight face and not have people laugh at me (even though maybe you are raising an eyebrow? hehehe)… AND… OH MY GOD! CHAOS IS SOOO EXPENSIVE ON E BAY!!! I HAD NOOOO IDEA!!! Who knew?? Not me that’s for sure. Are people paying those prices???

    • March says:

      Um, when I bought my bottle I though it was mad crazy prices, and they’ve gone up from there. It’s a supply/demand thing, right?

      Moss! Moss! Moss! I want to smell like a grapefruit myself.

  • Musette says:

    The USPS has lost their collective minds. I ship everything but truly dangerous flammables, being a firm believer in logic (if it can come TO me, via online or dept stores, why cannot it come FROM me?)…..

    ….so ship away, with abandon. Do like the military does – just be sure to wrap the tops tight (Ms Nancy is incredibly smart to use electrical tape in a cheerful shade of red. Peels right off but it would take battery acid to eat through that stuff. Bubble wrap it then put it in a ziploc ™ bag. Done and done.

    Now…on to scents. A scent I got IN THE MAIL, thank you, was my favorite spring cheapie, Coty’s Muguet des Bois. It’s about as complex as a puppy and is my go-to scent for the foundry or the gym. I layer it with this insanely cheap LotV lotion from TJMaxx that has enough sense to do its olfactory job and support the scent without competing. Light, fresh, perfect for these days when LotV are actually in bloom! In the evening, it provides a nice base for my beloved Diorissimo which, alas, has the unfortunate tendency to go fugitive on me.

    I’m a huge fan of cheap TJMaxx creams/lotions as a layering agent, especially in the citrus area, where their linear approach seems to anchor particular notes in a fragrance. A $4 cream that can hold a fugitive citrus (Bigarade Concentree, anyone?:-) is a beautiful thing.


    • pavlova says:

      Musette — I am with you on the logic/common sense approach; however, the post office is more into power and control! I really overdosed on Coty’s MdB one summer during college….perhaps I should give it another try as my Lilies of the Valley (or would that be Lily of the Valleys??) are finally in bloom — love them so!! Thanks for the tip about the lotion. xox

      • Musette says:

        I’m with you on the OD – I only wear this a few days during a couple of months – by mid-June it will either be in the freezer or scenting my bedroom curtains. Same with Diorissimo, which I adore beyond adoration – come March (the month) I’m ON IT…but by June I’m over it until the next Spring.

        As far as the USPS (and every other aspect of government, including local and state:-) one certainly cannot accuse them of Logic!=)) which is why we must be logical and somewhat anarchistic, in reasonable ways (at least I must be – no V for Vendetta stuff but no freaking out if I go in and ‘exit’ lane of a completely empty parking lot (it was closest) as my aunt did. You’d thought I’d run over a nest of baby birds! “but the SIGN SAYS EXIT ONLY!!!!!” she shrieked! Mercy.8-|


    • March says:

      Heee, I love these “how to get scents to stick to your skin” tips. I’m always digging up the “how to get scents to vamoose” tips…

      hey, Louise just brought me FOUR desserts from Balducci’s.

      Do you think I should eat them at the same time, or spread them out over the next … three hours? /:) That’s probably the limit of my self-control. Of course, mice may get into them.

      • Musette says:

        And you know, you gotta help those mice keep their miceish figures:-)

        I say rip into ’em, bay-bee!

        Here’s a ~o) to go with them and a @};- to Louise for being so incredibly wonderful. El O would bring me a ……….lord, I don’t know what El O would bring me. Probably doesn’t bear thinking about! Like the time I had shoulder surgery, which eliminated my ability to pick up anything wide….I could do laundry, so I did, but I couldn’t pick up the basket…..Mr O decided to go downstairs to get himself a pair of unders…..and left the rest of the basket sitting there….until he saw me standing at the top of the stairs with a chef’s knife in my good hand and a murderous look on my face…..

        • March says:

          He’d bring you a purty … carburetor? 😉

          Can you believe I had to go look up the spelling?

          I feel a little queasy, maybe I should have stopped at three. I bet he could have killed off all four w/o batting an eye.

  • Eileen says:

    And I forgot to add – please enter me in the drawing! Can’t have too much rosey, woody scent in my book.

  • GGS says:

    OOps, meant to say that Ground/Surface/Parcel Post shipping in US now costs MORE than First Class Mail (not Priority Mail).

  • Eileen says:

    March, I’m glad you mentioned Roger & Gallet — they are one of my favorite in the less expensive category. I like the White Reseda very much and can afford to go wild with it. :d The others are quite nice, too, especially in the soaps.

  • GGS says:

    Re: shipping perfume in the US
    OK I’m a bit of a geek. I research everything. Got into a discussion about this with friends on MUA when I started swapping there earlier this year, and so did my homework. Sorry for the long post, but here’s what I found:

    It IS legal in US to mail domestically by air OR ground small quantities of perfume properly cushioned /packed. All liquids must be carefully packed so containers won’t break or leak. There are specifics in the reg’s about the “flashpoints” that define the “combustibility” vs. “flammability” of the liquid. I’m guessing (hoping?) that most perfume w/an alcohol base qualifies as one of the lower flashpoint “combustible” liquids, rather a “flammable” liquid. Both can be mailed domestically, although only the lowest flashpoint combustible liquid can go by air, and the others must go by ground/surface only. (FYI: price “ground” or “parcel post” shipping next time you mail a small package. It now costs MORE than Priority Mail. Sigh. It’s only 1-3 days slower though, in my experience.)

    Here’s the fun part: the packages with “combustible or flammable liquid” are supposed to be specially LABELED: “ORM-D (Surface mail only) or ORM-D Air”. (Air shipping, which means your Priority Mail, is supposed to have a “shipper declaration” attached too). Have you EVER seen a store selling perfume do this my fellow perfumistas? NO….

    QUOTE from reg’s:
    “ORM-D (Other Regulated Material) material is a limited quantity of a hazardous material that presents a limited hazard during transportation due to its form, quantity, and packaging.”

    Do you think many postal workers know about “ORM-D” labeling??? No… In fact, some will tell you, incorrectly, that it’s illegal to ship perfume at all. So…most of us ship without declaring the contents as perfume.

    More: US Postal Service states that any combustible/flammable liquid is prohibited in international mail (which I believe includes Canada). Are we all seeing perfume mailed internationally through USPS all the time? Yes….

    What a dilemma. And Fed Ex & UPS cost significantly more than USPS for small international packages.

    I researched Fed Ex & UPS too. Their policy is to charge extra fees if you declare your package contains perfume (which UPS states is a “dangerous good”). This premium is $30. and up on top of the shipping cost!

    Of course it seems silly that we could pack a dozen or more full bottles of perfume in our suitcases and fly internationally, but can’t mail even 1 decant or bottle overseas (+ I’d guess these would go in cargo planes, not passenger planes!)

    If you are interested, here’s a link to USPS reg’s:

    The relevent reg’s are 10.13.2 and 10.13.3.

    And guess what I found in the fine print on the FedEx web site (FedEx does do a lot of “dangerous goods shipping” for the appropriate extra handling fees.)
    ” (o) Cosmetics of any type are unacceptable for shipment to many countries. Please call FedEx Customer Service… for further information.”

    Who knew?!

    This also makes me wonder: if you, an ebay seller, perfume store, etc. INSURE a USPS package, will they pay if you tell them a perfume bottle broke? If you didn’t declare it as perfume with the ORM-D labeling? And the reg’s say liquids must be packed so they won’t break? I think, reading these reg’s, they may not. Maybe insurance is a waste of money, and bubble wrap is your friend!


    • Musette says:

      And that is why most of us go with the military’s “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy. As long as you wrap ’em up tight and ziploc them I see no problem.

      Question Authority!:)>-

    • March says:

      Thanks, hon — and they wonder why we keep it on the down low…

  • Jen says:

    Add me to the drawing. Well now I really have to try the L’Aromaine essential oils, I’ve been intrigued by their apricot for awhile now. And Wild Woods really is gorgeous (I should get a bottle of this some time).

    • March says:

      You’re in for the drawing. And please let me know how it works out if you try any of the L’Aromarines. Dang, I should buy a bottle of Wild Woods too…

  • Lora says:

    Hi – I’m new to this, and have enjoyed reading all of your fascinating comments. I would love to be added to the drawing. Thanks!

  • Theresa says:

    I love Yves Rocher’s Pur desir de Gardenia. Their Rose Absolue is also pretty nice and warm without being too sweet.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  • Dane says:

    I just discovered Yves Rocher’s Secret d’Essences collection – they’re absolutely incredible (especially for the price). Voile d’Ambre is a great unisex scent. For some reason though, they don’t carry the Iris scent in Canada. 🙁 Of course that was the one I wanted to try the most!

    I’ve been on the lookout to review inexpensive scents lately that made an impression…not an easy task though! You often get what you pay for, but in the case of YR, a pleasant surprise.

    • March says:

      YR is getting a lot of love on here today. And I totally agree that for their ridiculously low prices, what you get is impressive.

      Weird about the iris … why wouldn’t they have that one? 😕

      • Dane says:

        Because the world is out to get me. :((

        • March says:

          Me too! What a weird coincidence?!? 😕

          • pyramus says:

            The Iris Noir isn’t available in Canada yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be: the other two Secrets D’Essences scents were launched here about nine months or a year after they first came out in France.

            Yves Rocher has discontinued more terrific scents than it currently has in its lineup, although Voile D’Ambre is sensational, especially at that price; a bright sunny amber scent. Homme Nature is the only good men’s scent they have now; all the rest are dull as dishwater, just boring beyond endurance. They stupidly discontinued the amazing Nature Millenaire Pour Homme, which smelled like an overcast autumn day, with dry leaves crunching underfoot. (Apparently the women’s version was also beautiful.) Cocoon is very good, but the other two scents in the Neonatura line, Elevate and Breathe, are kind of uninteresting. Yria: not bad, but a bit muddy. The rest I don’t care a fig about, although I’m sure they have their adherents.

            Can I be put into the drawing for the Cabaret? Love me some roses! And if the roses don’t love me back, I can give it to my mom. I’m her enabler.

          • Shelley says:

            Iris Noir will be available in North America in Fall of 2008…I asked a few months ago. Happened to snag a sample off of *Bay…was all excited about concept…a bit too heavy/sweet for me, though I love Voile d’Ambre. Others really like the Rose Absolue from this group.

  • Calypso says:

    I don’t have any ideas to add, but I’d love to be entered into the drawing, please!

  • Divalano says:

    Can’t answer, suddenly obsessed with images of women with huge hair doing relay races with exploding perfume bottles.

    I need more coffee …

    *taking notes on cheap perfume, especially noting that none of these have notes I like so I can’t save money buying any, which is good because I bought a swimsuit last night (shudder)*

    • March says:

      And isn’t that great? How many hours does it take to get your hair updid like that?

      New bathing suit? (scream)

      I just wear the same old horrible suits over and over again.

  • Francesca says:

    Yeah, what is with that hair? Imagine all the hairspray melting down their necks as they reach the finish line…

    Archipelago Botanicals used to make, what did they call it, body mist? named Yuzu, which was very light and grapefruity, thirty bucks for about a gallon. Wonderful to keep in the fridge and spritz on in the dog days of summer. I stockpiled it several years ago, but if I run out they now make a just plain old grapefruit which is basically the same.

    • Francesca says:

      PS please enter me in the drawing! Is Cabaret anything like 10 Corso Como?

      • March says:

        You’re in! And, um, no. :”> Nothing like 10CC. I lurve 10CC. You get rose from that? Hmmm. Cabaret’s like … like a lighter Paestum Rose? Paestum Rose Eau Fraiche? The drydown’s really cool, I thought about keeping it, but it’s one of those things that, being honest with myself, I would never wear it.

  • MattS says:

    I’m trying so hard to be good, experimenting with Saving, rather than Spending. Not an easy task. I dropped a grand yesterday getting my truck serviced, new tires, brake pads, all that practical rot…an unexpected expenditure which made my weekend purchase of impractical pants and a $40 t-shirt suddenly seem a little rash.

    You know, however, I’m all about the cheap. I’d rather shop fragrance at Walgreen’s than the mall almost any day. Stetson’s next on my list and I have heard nothing but good stuff about Wild Woods. Next To Try.

    How’s your foot? Lemme know if you need me to come play manservant.

    • MattS says:

      BTW, I can’t stop looking at the ladies in the photo for today’s post. Their hair fascinates me; I love the idea of runners with such sleek streamlined hairdos. Hairdoes? Hairdon’ts. Love it.

    • March says:

      Agh, I hate that. Just spent $1200 on new tires, etc., on our car a couple months ago. That money is TOTALLY WASTED. 😉 I mean, think of all the Guerlain I could have had …

      Big hair fascinates me too. I never beehived, but I have some great shots I can trot out from the 80s, that long-haired curly poodle look that was so popular back then. It cracks the girls up. I feel like if you reach old age and can’t produce at least a couple of photos showing unfortunate trends in hair or clothing, you haven’t really lived. :d

    • March says:

      PS Foot IS SO AGGRAVATING. :-w Ask Louise what a witch I am being. I hate not being able to move around quickly.

      • Louise says:

        Never a witch, darling. Just suffering a bit #-o

      • Musette says:

        Get an elegant cane, a fan and a handkerchief and WORK IT! 😉 since you’re stuck in non-dashing mode, be dashing in your hobbled state! I once had to traverse the Upper East Side of NY with a bum ankle, necessitating a cane – I decided ‘what the hell’ so I wore a skirt WITH A TRAIN and carried a scented handkerchief.

        If you can’t beat it – Work It![-x

        • Musette says:

          crap – keep meaning to ask to be in the drawing. Please?

          • March says:

            Yep!!! You can be in the drawing too! I generally have Hecate pick one out of a hat, unless Buckethead pushes her and does it first, in which case then we have a smackdown… :”>

        • March says:

          I’m looking at orthotics


          • Musette says:

            you can get them custom made to fit inside most of your shoes (I mean made specific for that shoe!). If they’re pushing you to flats, you should look at Olivia Rose Tal, which is a line I’m sure you already know. Incredible fabrics, which make the flats just adorable!

            I love her shoes, except when she does the clunky heel thing

            oliviarosetal.dot.com@};- (for your busted foot)


          • March says:

            I want my 3″ wedge sandals! (whine)

  • Louise says:

    So Chicocoa is why I am buying so much “cheap” perfume :d ???

    It’s a low-risk blast, and I’ve been mostly going unsniffed. Most have been nice, and there are always friends to gift if it doesn’t work out 😕

    A few others-Jacomo Silences (run away March-it’s a green floral!), Zents Sun (citrus and sandalwood), V’Tae Sacred Fire (lovely almost pure sandalwood for me). I almost feel like the de Nicolai’s fit in here-such a good deal on the 30 mls with the BH code. I ordered New York finally, and also a few more of the L’Aromarines-Nancy recommended their Opoponax and Patchouli.

    I’m saving money here, right? Right? 8-|

    • MattS says:

      Right.:) I’m with you on the 30ml PdN’s for 25% off. I bought four of ’em as they were essentially paying me to take them off their hands.

    • March says:

      You are ABSOLUTELY saving money! Like Matt said, they are paying us to take them off their hands. /:) I was telling myself this same thing last night when I was online ordering some stuff. Because, you know, I don’t *have enough already.*

  • sallycantdance says:

    I had the Sonoma Scent Chaos dupe, which I later sold on eBay for a serious price relative to what I had paid. Since I never smelled the original Chaos, I can’t compare. I thought the SSS dupe (likely done off premises) was decent enough as a stand-alone, but ultimately it did nothing for me (prefer green chypres and white florals).

    Yves Rocher: I wear Cocoon, the opopanox-heavy Voile d’Ambre, and the soliflore orange blossom and lilac scents. Cocoon is, IMO, their best scent. This is a semi-dry, vanillic patchouli with a bitter-chocolate note. The new OB scent doesn’t last longer than half an hour, but when it is detectable it is a very light neroli with a pleasurably soapy finish.

    I have two of the Pacifica body creams and two of the colognes. I have the lilac and the neroli creams and the neroli and pikake frags (this last is a jasmine scent). Cheap and cheerful seems the best way to describe them. I have more of the soaps; added to the cream/frag scents I also have the nearly obscene jasmine, the Mexican Cocoa, and the amber. One bar of that jasmine will, uh, ”perfume” your entire bathroom to either the point of bliss or suffocation, depending on your tolerance for that flower’s ripe sweat.

    Some cheapies I like (and I mean cheap by price, not by intent) are Sha and Sung from Alfred Sung, Oscar (this does have L’Heure Bleue at its heart, but not as tearfully), and Celine Oriental Summer (graphite and heliotrope).

    • March says:

      Oooohhh, I want to be suffocated by jasmine in MY bathroom! 😡 Will have to pop over to our local grocery that sells Pacifica and check it out.

      I’d forgotten about the SSS dupe — and yeah, if it’s not your thing, scent-wise, I think Chaos would be unbearable. It’s very potent.

  • dinazad says:

    Would love to be in the draw!

    And I second Tabu – gorgeous stuff! I’d also recommend the men’s fragrance “Pino di Silvestre” (comes in a pine-cone-shaped bottle). the first fragrance I bought for myself (because it was the only one I could afford – it came in tiny, 5 ml bottles at the time. I should have kept those mini pine cones, they were too cute!), and I still think it’s great.

    • March says:

      I think LT loves that, right? You know what I like, would I like it? I guess if it’s cheap I can afford to find out…

      you’re in!

  • perfumequeen says:

    seriously not supposed to ship perfume? pshaw! I am sure that employee was feeling a bit gruntled that day and was flexing his govermental power. How else could we get perfume in the mail from all the online places?!?!?

    Love the cheapie post. Don’t forget Dana Tabu parfum and Estee Lauder Youth Dew. both ridiculously cheap by perfumista standards and fabulous!

    • March says:

      Well, maybe it’s because I live in the Washington D.C. area, aka The Web of Fear. But really — having tried my luck at various US post offices, here there are the requisite questions about anything fragile, liquid, hazardous, or perishable. If you answer yes, and admit you are sending perfume/cologne, they refuse the shipment on the grounds that it is hazardous — flammable. Yes, I know this is stupid. Yes, I know it’s illogical. But there you have it. This regulation is purportedly buried in their books.

      So I lie. I don’t think UPS and FedX have the same restrictions, and you’re right — online sellers *generally* use the post office, in my experience, usually 2-day, which is definitely air. So I have no idea.

      I have a wee bottle of Youth Dew bath oil, wow, that stuff is unbelieveably potent! One drop on my wrist is about all I can take. I remember reading this great thing once (I’m now going to screw the story up) about Tom Ford buying his grandmother’s house, and she wore Youth Dew religiously, and it had permeated every surface and the house smelled like Youth Dew forever.

      • kathleen says:

        Now if you wanted to ship a gun from the Washington DC area, you would probably have a much easier go of it.
        Oh, and please enter me in the drawing.

      • Wendy says:

        March – so with you. Can’t find a post office to take my scented packages within a 15 mile radius of DC. Arlington is especially paranoid.

        My current way around it – University Mail Services.

        They get so many packages and they have so many international students shipping things (especially now that the semester is out) that my piddly little domestic perfume packages are the least of their concerns. For now…… 😉

  • Vidalicious says:

    http://perfumeposse.com/smilies/yahoo_devil.gif You are such an enabler, you do know that? Just as I was saving up for the Chic Event!http://perfumeposse.com/smilies/yahoo_moneyeyes.gif

    I have L’aromarine Vanille, and it’s one of my favorite “dessert” scents. It’s light and simple and very, very nice for the price. It’s perfect for layering, especially when something sharp needs a bit of softening. I prefer the EDT to the essential oil. Did you dilute it with alcohol? What does one use to dilute, anyway? I put drops of the vanilla oil in my bath, so soothing!

    I have a lovely pile of Yves Rocher samps I have yet to try, but WOW the website gives away lots of freebies, too!

    And don’t forget your local Marshalls and TJMaxx for great deals on various and sundry bottles. They have great candles and diffusers, soaps and creams as well.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Oh, and about shipping perfume – well, the last time I shipped it they forgot to ask me the requisite questions. From now on I will be sure to be untruthful, though! [-(

    • March says:

      Have they let you ship it before? I am curious.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Yes, I’ve definitely shipped perfume before, and I don’t remember lying about it then. o:-)

        • March says:

          Huh. I could see them paying more attention to following the regulations outlined by GCS (below) in our area, given the rampant paranoia around here. Maybe in normal places they’re more low key about the whole thing.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Well, I would never turn away free perfume, so please enter me in the drawing. 🙂 I do love rose, and woody rose sounds even better. Thank you, Louise!