Perfume Accidents

We had a theater event on Saturday night, a family-level thing rather than elegance.  (Diva’s in a belly-dancing performance troupe.)   In such a situation I want my fragrance to be more “personal” — having been trapped more than once at, say, the Opera, in a seat next to someone wearing a heady fragrance like Giorgio, I try to be mindful of other people’s space.  On the other hand — hey, I’m going out, perfume is as mandatory as shoes.  It’s now kind of fall-ish outside.  I sniffed a few bottles to remind myself of various scents and settled on KenzoAmour — woody, milky, comforting, not too intrusive.

And so wrong.  KenzoAmour is my fragrance equivalent of a favorite sweatshirt, and the second I put it on, that’s how I felt.  Even though I was working my middle-aged assets in a mildly theatrical way that night (I have this fun kimono-style sweater in a bronze I ordinarily would never wear, big soft gold earrings, etc.) KenzoAmour, through the power of suggestion, magically transported me back into my velour mommy pants and deposited me on the doorstep of Trader Joe’s, canvas grocery bags in hand.    Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!  It wasn’t the DEFCON-2 crisis level of, say, knocking over a vintage flacon of Mitsouko parfum, but still.   I had about 45 seconds to do something to it.  But what?

So I winged it.  I bypassed my current heavy rotator, Esteban Sensuelle Russie (too much short-term sillage), in favor of something else I’ve been toying with — al02 — one of those biehlparfum(dirty-German-word-by-accident)-werke joints that all got mixed together and ignored by perfumistas because if you release 12 or 15 or whatever simultaneously and call them things like eo03, that’s what happens, dawg.  (my new favorite slang: dawg.  Diva’s boyfriend calls almost everyone, including me, dawg, and it makes me smile every time.  He calls Diva the German word for cookie or bunny or something, which melts my heart)…. gah, where were we?

Luckyscent describes biehl parfumkunstwerke’s (Arturetto Landi) al02 as “full of Italian drama” and the notes sound like they’d live up to that — mandarin, lemon, bergamot, peach, plum, jasmine, rose, carnation, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, labdanum, tonka bean, vanilla, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, white musk.   It opens with a light, playful citrus, and then the florals unfold, but they do so as seamlessly as a cashmere sweater — this is not a nightmare-ish bouquet of over-the-top florals hitting you over the head.  This is an “elegant” style of perfumery that in general I admire rather than want to wear, and yet I seem to be working my way steadily through this decant.  It is a cashmere-sweater-and-pearls comfort scent, but so warm and engaging it presents as a charming dinner companion rather than a drama queen.  The peach and plum are more dominant (if you hate plum, you probably won’t like this), the jasmine is present but clean, the rose is subtle enough I can’t even pick it out, and the carnation comes into play with the spices that enter as the fragrance transforms from a floral to a full-on spice comfort scent, complete with a vanillic-wood drydown.   As lovely as the opening is, my favorite part unsurprisingly is the first few hours after that.   The mannered florals at the front remind me a bit of Chanel Beige before morphing into the woods/spice/vanilla love child of Fendi’s Asja and a couple drops of Organza Indecence.   Certainly al02 is lovely enough on its own, but layering it with something woody (like 10 Corso Como) renders it more unisex and amps up the wood in a way I find pleasing, although you need less 10CC and more al02 to make that work.  It ate most of KenzoAmour’s lunch, unsurprisingly, but the creamy woods of Amour were a nice addition.  As usual, I would love to smell this on a man.

I wonder — have you ever found yourself wearing completely the wrong thing?  Did you shower?  Change clothes?  Layer?  How did it work out?  Or do you just shrug your shoulders and say, hey, I’m going with it.  I’m not going to ask if you think I’m nuts, because — I know y’all are as nuts as I am.  Insert smiling emoticon here.  Also, I guess I need to dig around a little more seriously in the biehls.  Anyone find any love in the line besides Marc Buxton’s wonderful, incense-laden mb03, which I think is the only one that got much attention?

* * *

Sylvia asked for the silver nail polish equivalent of Essie’s Steel-ing the Scene or Chanel Kaleidscope, both of which have a slightly greenish-gold tint.  I know nothing, so of course I jumped right on her request.  Sylvia, based on my brief online browsings, for a truer silver, you could try OPI’s Gone Platinum in 60 Seconds, or China Glaze’s Avalanche (slightly darker and blue-ish?), Platinum Pearl (white-ish), or Platinum (the most silver, along with the OPI).  All of these are online at   Anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about, feel free to chime in — I think she’s looking for the bling equivalent of Kaleidoscope, which is blingier than Steel-ing the scene (a softer shimmer) but maybe either is fine.  Also while I was looking I ran across OPI nail polish for dogs on Amazon — wow, now there’s a product for people who have too much time on their hands!  Says the woman who spends plenty of time on perfume (and some on nail polish)… Sylvia, I kind of like that silver one for dogs, too.

Also FWIW I now have my first np heresy — I like Steel-ing the scene better than Kaleidoscope.  The color is almost identical; I have it on every other nail, and in regular indoor light you really have to stare to see the difference (Kaleidoscope is a hair more gold).  But I like the weird matte shimmer of Steel-ing.  The Kaleidoscope glitter is blingier, and don’t get me wrong, it’s really nice, a very elegant shimmer (teeny glitter?)  It just doesn’t thrill me quite the way Steel-ing does.  Oh, well.

image, cashmere yarn:

  • Sarah says:

    No more accidents…create your own fragrance based on your mood, the season, the event, the time of day, or whatever you like!

    Control your fragrance at

    I started and now I help others find their scent personality

  • sylvia says:

    yay! thank you! a little late reading this, but i’ll definitely check those out, including the dog one. im sure the only difference is that its faster drying because you cant expect her to sit still long enough.

  • Olfacta says:

    A few years ago, we were having some landscaping done. I had retrieved my Chanel 22 from the back shelf that week, and decided to put it on, rather too lavishly, that morning.

    This was about half an hour before the (ahem, somewhat younger than I am) landscape guy showed up. He gave me one of those “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me” looks.

    I went inside and washed it off.[-(

  • Maura says:

    How many reds can a girl have? Is there a limit? 😉 Now I want them all so I can play…3 drops Rudolph to 2 drops Skates!

  • Tara says:

    Depends on how potent the “mistake” is – sometimes you just have to wash off with soap and start over, but usually I can layer something complementary overtop to fix it up.

    Love MB03, but the naming convention is so bad I can’t work up enough interest to try the others. I’m pretty sure the MDCI line started off on that same wrong track but quickly rectified it by giving names to their scents. Wish Biel would get a clue and rename too.

    • March says:

      Yes, the MDCI ones were similar because they were fk3 or something, but then the names they chose! At least there were only five of them, and they were wonderful. Let’s see — Enlevement au Surail (which I definitely spelled wrong), Rose de Siwa, Invasion Barbare, and …. I forget. :”>

  • Patty says:

    I had to grab ALotoo and sniff it. It is nice! MB03 and one of the EOs are pretty great, too. I like them all, but can never remember which is which. I wish they’d somehow do something else with them because they get ignored by me all the time for that reason.

    I love dawg. Remember, that’s what the blog used to be named ages ago, goofy, but it came from work, they called me pdiddy and pdawg and other less complimentary things, but they amused me.

    • March says:

      YEp, I do remember pdawg! I hope your poor head is better. I think the change of weather etc. is a culprit. We have three of the kids fighting colds right now (and one home on the couch, watching reruns). But on the bright side, I got to put on a scarf! Yay!

  • Maura says:

    I LOVE the Biehl line and have sampled them all. I think mb03 and pc02 stood out the most for me along with eo03 which I ended up purchasing! They have everything from pretty to dirty 😉

    The wrong frag can alter your entire day. I usually apply an incense or woods to *help* the other frag out…usually works!

    I am also loving NP and waiting for OPIs Toyland Collection to come near me!! Now…I’ve layered but wonder if anyone actually mixes the colors prior to application?? Hmmmm….

    • Louise says:

      Maura, you can definitely create new polishes by mixing, adding glitter, etc. Try searching for “Franken”, “Frankenpolish” or “Frankening” on MUA’s nailboard =:) There’s even a tutorial someone posted that you could ask about *-:)

      • Maura says:

        Thanks so much Louise! I had NO idea that there was a term for this! I have Lippmann Stardust that I love but it’s too heavy of a color…saturation?…to use as a topcoat. I would love to mix it up! Sorry…have no idea on terms but looks like I have some fun learning ahead of me 🙂

    • March says:

      Heh heh. Frankenpolish. As Louise the np expert notes. And one of the blogs (all lacquered up? polishaddict?) had a frankenpolish tutorial. Complete with obligatory “don’t blame us if you mix two polishes and your house blows up” disclaimer. The np equivalent of wearing a room spray on your body, I guess!

      That Brand New Skates one looks pretty amazing. Thanks for the recommendations on the biehls.

  • Caviglia says:

    I’m still in my freshman year of fragrance fanaticism, so I make mistakes a lot. My solution is to scrub it off and then lotion up (unscented). And hopefully find something that goes with the leftover residue. 🙂

    Re: the blingy nail polish:
    If you’ve got a Sally’s Beauty, they’ve got at least two great choices for a true, neutral yet super-shiny silver: Orly Dazzle and FingerPaints Easel Come, Easel Go. Both are not limited editions, either. I’d recommend both brands in terms of durability and ease of application. I chose Dazzle over ECEG, simply because it looked blingier, but it took me 15 minutes of comparing both bottles to decide on that.

    • March says:

      Hey, thanks for the tips! I hope Sylvia swings by. I did try Queen of Everything today, and it’s lighter than Kaleidoscope but I’m not sure I like it as much. And I am looking for a true silver as well. I need to go to a beauty supply place and get a decent topcoat. I’m going to try ECEG only because I am kind of fascinated with that slightly more matte finish like Steel-ing has.

      • Caviglia says:

        Hmm. QoE almost looks like it’s got a pearl finish along with the silver.
        And also, if you like a matte finish, I wonder what Orly’s Nails for Males would do to a silver polish. It’s a matte topcoat.

  • Cait says:

    I have had many a fragrance mistake. Generally, the mistakes have to do with wearing a perfume that my intimates despise. It’s often hard to rehabilitate oneself in that situation. Today I am wearing Chanel Beige, though, and it doesn’t seem like it could offend anyone. I wore it through a recent trial and only when it was over and I could calm down did I smell the scarf I had been wearing and truly appreciate Beige. I find that some fragrances, in a subtle way, imprint the moment in which they are worn, so that any moment becomes the perfect moment for those perfumes. I’ve felt that way about Vent Vert, No. 5 parfum, Jasmin et Cigarettes, L’Eau d’Hiver, and others. Maybe that’s just a way of saying you love a perfume.

    March! You have been making me paint my nails! Your discussions of colors made me rediscover the joys of polish. I was going for stuff like Russian Navy and silvery colors but I went for some muted pink recently too and it’s kind of refreshing because I’d only been wearing weirdo colors.

    • March says:

      Hey, Cait! How are you!?!? Right now my nail polish fumes are interfering with my Black Vetyver Cafe. /:) Why can’t they make better-smelling np?

      I wonder then whether Beige will be imprinted (sadly) as some sort of stressful-trial-related fragrance? I hope not. Gosh, I think it’s pretty. It still surprises me, not my sort of thing at all and I love it. Very warm.

      On my challenge list: Hiver. I believe if I am patient enough, I will get what its lovers are getting. @};-

  • Kathryn says:

    Queen of Socks, Coffee Up Your Nose–March, I would definitely buy your line of perfumes if you are ever tempted to take your life in that direction. So far, I’ve found the Biehls as unmemorable as their names. Thanks, btw, for the introduction to Esteban Sensuelle Russie. Ditto Louise’s comment: It’s perfect for a windy day.

    Re the wrong perfume: sometimes they can be so wrong, that they’re right. Spending most of today dressed in rags, washing walls and ceilings in preparation for painting tomorrow, the cloud of 31 Rue de Cambon I’ve sprayed all over myself is ridiculously inappropriate but enormously comforting. It reminds me of all the places I would rather be and will be again some day, And in the meantime, if today I look like a bag lady, at least the Chanel places the emphasis on the lady part of that description.

    • Musette says:

      Ha! So true. That’s me, in Bal a Versailles, at the laundromat!!!


    • March says:

      Oh, so glad you like the SR!!! It’s nice finding something (relatively) cheap and cheerful and friendly like that. And your use of 31RC is a whole different, completely legitimate use of fragrance, just like Musette and Bal! I will wear a fragrance to improve my mood or get me through a task.

  • Disteza says:

    Oh my, oh yes, how horrible the wrong fragrance can be! I recently took a 4-hour long dance workshop, and decided to go with a light application of one of my new Arabian perfume oils (rose, tobacco, saffron, and sandalwood – so delish!) Unfortunately light wasn’t light enough–evidently these sorts of perfumes ‘bloom’ with exertion and some body heat; I can’t imagine what they must smell like on a hot day in Saudi Arabia. It’s definitely the sort of thing to wear if you need to cut a path through a stinky smoky nightclub, or to fumigate your house. It certainly seems to be the right thing to wear to the hookah bar–it stands up to the shisha nicely. Never again to anywhere else though. @-)

    • March says:

      Aigh!!! I can see the Arabian oils going very, very wrong. And some of the few times I’ve been embarrassed about my sillage involved fragrances that bloomed at the gym against my expectations. I hate being a gym offender. Honestly, people who hate perfume at the gym have a legit beef, in my opinion.

  • Thurible says:

    word, dawg, i know that feeling well. i’m not sure i own a bottle that doesn’t threaten at one time or another to be spectacularly wrong, but lately my dear friend Habit Rouge has become something of a turncoat. usually when i wear it i feel like the entire–yes the entire–french countryside, poppies and sunflowers and hawthorne and rolling well-manured pastureland. sometimes though, something goes terribly awry and i realize, showing up at work, that I am wearing a top hat, white plus-fours, spats, and i’m trotting to and fro with one of those broomstick hobbyhorses between my legs. lately, because i am luca turin’s b***h-boy, i’ve been wearing beyond paradise for women too, which is super-gorgeous and intricate and brilliantly abstract, and frequently causes me to sprout, atop my thinning locks, a tropical fruit-basket Carmen Miranda hat. periodically i shower, self-windex, or dermabrade, but usually i try to ride it out–cloppity-clop! all the way to Rio!

      • Musette says:

        WTH? Thurible, I wrote a reply to your very funny post, replete with Carmen Miranda hat and everything! The board hates me today!

        Okay, short version: Femme instead of Mitsouko. Adore both but needed to amp up the warrior for a particular meeting.Femme was like a sweaty-sweet down comforter.

        Calyx instead of Montale Cuir Arabie. After studied thought made a wild, last minute grab; Bad idea. Wrong clothes, wrong occasion. Calyx is very……durable. No time to shower and change. Had to go with it. Felt like I was wearing my underwear backwards.


        • March says:

          Weird. I’ll go look for it in the filter.

          • March says:

            omg that was DISGUSTING. I need a shower and a short-term-memory erasing wand. Really, the spam these days. What happened to good old fashioned girl on girl? It makes me wonder about people…

            anyway, you’re not in there. Sorry, not sure what went wrong?

          • Musette says:

            I think the weirdness (post, not b-( spam was on my end.

            What on earth did you see? No, never mind. Don’t share.


    • March says:

      Dawg, you make me giggle too! You’re the guy whose GF is not appreciating your wearing of the feminines, right? Harrumph.

      I love LT’s description of masculines he finds a little foppish… trying to remember one … like, try this only if you’re Beau Brummel and you wear guyliner, or some such.

      I thought his recommendation of Patou 1000 for a man rather than a (frumpy) woman was brilliant, have you tried it?

      • March says:

        Um … meant to type SO, not GF. :”>

        • Thurible says:

          GF or SO just fine, though DS might be better, dubious spouse that she is. oh btw, went stampeding out to Sephora and got Kenzo Winter Flowers: works very good on a man, even in the absence of guyliner. perhaps a little beau-brummelish (brummelian, brummeloid?), but even silver-back gorillas wear boutonieres from time to time, no?
          anyway, i got the usual query from the salesskeptic: sir, would you like me to wrap up these gifts..?
          me: thanks, but i’ll just toss them in the saddle-bags on my pink unicorn! toodles!
          dw (later, outside): if you want people to believe you about the unicorn, you’ll have to dress less like a lumberjack.

          • March says:

            I love DS!! I have one of those too. Perhaps they could sit together on the bench outside Sephora and share an Aunt Annie’s pretzel while we shop. (Half the calories that way.)

            I love the way the nice Sephora gals *never fail* to point out to me when I am browsing on the men’s side. Maybe they don’t want their customers to get frustrated when they can’t find Baby Doll and leave? I don’t know. Is the average customer that dimwitted?
            Don’t answer that.

            I think you should spritz yourself with Winter Flowers at the counter and make little happy moaning noises. They love it when customers do that. 😉

          • Musette says:

            Hey, I’ve got a silverback! He’s always stunned at how nice he looks when he’s all polished up and gets all these compliments from the lay-deez (and a few from da mens, too!)

            Oddly, though, for such a rompin’ stompin’ kinda guy, his skin is very sensitive to fragrance. Lots of itching and screeching. But you know what smells great on him? Fracas. Neil Morris suggested I spritz it on him – and he was right. I then took it upon myself to try Aromatics Elixir on him…….two sneezing Rottweilers and a migraine later, I had to air out the house!


  • Elle says:

    The big decision – post first or race off to TPC and order a sample? Post first. This sounds wonderful. You’re right about the Biehls – too many simultaneous releases and names which require more time and investigation than I am willing to put in. Didn’t a lot of people also love some gourmand scent in that line? I think I sampled it, but didn’t feel any compelling need to purchase it.
    I *hate* it when I wear the wrong scent. It can absolutely wreck my day – throws me off as much as if I were wearing two different shoe heights. If I have time I scrub it off or I work on some heavy duty layering.

    • March says:

      I’m going to paw back through Lucky’s descriptors and see what biehl I want to sniff next. Although to be honest, based on their description of this I probably wouldn’t have picked it, even though the notes are nice. It sounds too classically floral. Off to dig for the gourmand one.

      I love your shoe reference, that’s perfect. In some weird way it’s almost better to layer and wind up with some awful mishmash than just have it be the *wrong* scent for the occasion. I’d rather wear a clown suit than a track suit, I guess. :o)

    • March says:

      PS Hon. I just put on the jacket I was wearing when I spritzed al02 on again yesterday. Aigh, it’s so beautiful, really interesting sweet patch-woody drydown. Cannot believe the way it has lasted on fabric. I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you try it.

  • Louise says:

    Ah, those wiley Biehls-I know I have tried and like several of them, and am now completely confused again…which witch is which 😕 ? Must retry. And thanks for reminding me to pull out my Sensuelle from my winter stash…it’s perfect for a windy day.

    One perfume that can be just right, or completely wrong on me is Sushi Imperiale. Seems it’s best in summer, but on the wrong day, oy :-& ! I guess the bad reaction seems to hit when I am at work, so I just endure…

    For that perfect silver np, I would always check the best gallery of nps divided/searchable by color, finish, etc. Great site 🙂 Also, the nail board (cute, no) on MUA is a great place to ask questions such as…”what’s the deep blue equivalent of Midnight in Moscow”.

    • Louise says:

      Oh! Congrats to Diva on her performance-send her a hug and applause from me =d>

    • March says:

      This weather is so weird. The way it was blowing stank last night, shutters banging, wind groaning, etc., I got up thinking it was going to be 20 degrees, and if anything I think it was warmer than yesterday. 🙂 Still a nice day for SR, though.

      Sushi Imp I have to be careful with too! And its quasi-cousin, Lostmarc’h Lann-Ael. Those are both really hard to bury or get rid of.

      PS Thanks for the np tip! I really have to get some Seche Vite or whatever it’s called..

  • Dusan says:

    First off, biehl perfume ‘names’: could it be that the letters are actually the initials of the noses? I couldn’t help noticing that mb02 was made by Marc Buxton, so…? Who’s AL then?
    Anyway, I bet you looked gorgeous in that kimono-sweater and smelled wonderful in KenzoAmoural02 🙂
    I don’t usually layer stuff (except when I do and then catastrophe strikes, witness skank to the power of two that was Chergui + Boudoir; Chedoir?) and most of the time I already have my SOTD planned out before going out. In case of severe hesitation (shifting feet while glancing the watch cos I’m always late and considering possible weather changes that day) I go for the safest choice. Lately it’s been Trussardi’s Essenza del Tempo. But my real problem, the one that does wreak havoc during the commute, is overapplication. It must be a disease of some sort. I just *cannot* control that stupid index finger!

    • March says:

      Yep, they’re the initials. Arturetto Landi is al, there are two others (?) besides mb. But none of that sticks in my head. I mean, call them Queen of Socks, or Coffee Up Your Nose, but call them SOMETHING. mb03 runs in one of my ears and out the other, without ever registering in my brain. :d

      You male overappliers! What is up with that? I think for most men, more is better, yes?

      • March says:

        PS Chergui plus Boudoir?!?!? Wow, that sounds incredible! I mean, in a good way. It was terrible, I take it? Did it singe your nose hairs?

  • Francesca says:

    Oh, the Biehls sound so interesting, and I’d never even heard of that line. Something with an opening reminiscent of Beige, but which goes woody/spicy/vanilla instead of (gack) hawthorn? Intriguing.

    I only recall one case of the wrong perfume. I was standing by my perfume cupboard one day trying to think what I felt like wearing to work, then, oh, well, what the hell, put on some Bulgari Black, which I’d worn to a party and liked. NSFW. I had a headache from it all day and wished my office had a shower.

    • March says:

      Some of the scents are really nice, I have no doubt, but they did everything I hate in their release. There are 12 or more scents released at the same time, and they’re named with the perfumer’s initals and sequential numbers (there were three or four perfumers) and are thus totally nonmemorable. I think I sniffed three of these months ago, got distracted and moved on. I only got interested in this one because I grabbed it by accident looking for mb03 in the same storage bag. 🙂

    • March says:

      PS Oh, the headache!! I hate that. It’s even worse if you’re out somewhere, and what can you do? I remember squirting myself with Boucheron Trouble in a store and thinking I would die. I ended up sponge-bathing in their dept store restroom…

      • Musette says:

        If you are in a Dept store when this happens, go over to the Clinique counter and sample some of their #4 Toner, guaranteed to take off any fragrance as well as your nail polish (so be careful!:-) That happened to me at Saks – somebody’d broken a bottle of Angel and I got some on me:o After I finished hopping around like a landed bass I had the presence of mind to spin around to the Clinique counter and within moments I was gourmand-free!

        • March says:

          A broken bottle of Angel — now THERE is the stuff of nightmares! On me it would be like that scene from The Wizard of Oz movie, where she gets water on her and melts. Or the other witch whose stockinged legs rolled up when the house fell on her… which btw is a scene that still gives me the willies. Bothers me more than the flying monkeys (Cheese STILL refuses to watch the flying monkeys, such was the level of childhood trauma.) Do we need therapy?

          • Musette says:

            No. That particular movie has terrified a lot of people well into their dotage. My biggest creep-out in that film is where Dorothy is imprisoned in the castle and she’s looking in the crystal ball at Auntie Em (“annie M! annie M” – for years I thought that was what she was hollerin’)…..and then with her face pressed RIGHT UP ON THE BALL, the image turns into that of the WWW!


            xoxoxo >-)

        • Francesca says:

          Wow, that’s a great tip about the Clinique toner! Thanks!