I really enjoyed the post yesterday, and judging by the lively comments you all enjoyed it too! I’m going to do a quasi-related post today which might be entitled, Yo, March, so where’s your review of [insert name of new niche perfume here]?
I can see both sides of one of the arguments put forth yesterday about what “should” be included in The Guide. On the one hand, it seems to me that LT/TS set out to make it as comprehensive as they could, reviewing both niche and mass-market fragrances, and they made an effort to cover most (if not all) of a lot of lines they picked to review. On the other hand, I think Tom’s point in comments yesterday is well taken, and it made me laugh so I’ll quote it here: “Pick and choose. Architecture critics don´t review everything from Frank Gehry´s latest to the addition to the public library in Ferd, New Jersey.” I agree. If Luca and Tania want to nitpick their way through a hand-chosen set of scents to review, so be it. I’d be thrilled to read them. I think having to find 200 new and different ways to say swill would take the wind out of my sails too.
Which brings me back around to … me (and doesn’t it always? Sigh.) Some of you must have noticed by now that the frantic pace of my reviewing has slowed somewhat, although I like to think that occasionally we’re trading quantity for quality, or at least a good laugh. My explanation is that I’m just not as desperate to get my hands on, much less review, every new niche scent that comes down the pike. And your response might be, so what? Get on with it, perfume blogger! So let me phrase my conundrum a little differently: if the pace of my perfume testing and reviewing has meant that, for example, I have not worn Fendi Theorema once in the last nine months, well… that’s not a world I want to live in.
If I never bought another bottle of fragrance, or came home with another bag of samples, I already own enough fragrance right now to last me the rest of my life – and I know I own a lot less than some of you. Guess what’s happened to me? I want to wear some of these masterpieces, for an entire day or even (gasp!) two days. Instead of trying one or two or five new things, I want to revel in the glory that is Feminite du Bois like a normal person who isn’t constantly looking for a new review angle. At this point I have nothing new to say about FdB, and frankly I want my enjoyment of it to be selfish. I don’t want to put it on and immediately have my mind drift to how I might write about it. Eventually that starts to Feel Like Work, and that’s probably what happened to The Guide.
Today, as I type this, is a weird, overcast, gloomy September day that is still not cool enough to kill off the mosquitoes, and if I looked at it wrong it would be … well, depressing. But it isn’t, because I’m wearing Fendi Theorema, a fragrance that still makes me literally tear up at its beauty, particularly if I haven’t worn it in awhile. I have reached a phase in my perfume journey where I wouldn’t say that I’m any less enthused about perfume, I’m just approaching it a little less like a junkie looking for the next fix. I want to wear and enjoy my really great perfumes, and – hey – where can I find a more sympathetic audience for that than on here?
So today, in lieu of the perfume review I did not write, here is a by-no-means comprehensive list, in no particular order, of some of the fragrances I’ve been wearing regularly because I have decided after however many years we’ve been together that they live up to every desire I have for a perfume. Some of them I would put on a “Perfume Greats” list, and some of them are merely deeply personal great choices for me. (It goes without saying, but I’ll say it: Mitsouko and vintage Femme would both be on this list, but let’s talk about something else for a change, shall we?) Links go to my past review of each scent.
Shiseido Feminite du Bois. A great. I hear it’s been reformulated lalalala, I don’t want to know. Buy the parfum stylos on eBay, if there are any left. Gateway drug. Less woody. You will love me and hate me at the same time if you try the parfum. Blame Louise. As is so often the case.
Fendi Theorema. One of those perennial discontinued perfumista favorites that I sampled, swooned over mightily, and unlike a lot of other things never fell back out of love with. It is impossible for me to wear Theorema and be unhappy. This one is Robin’s fault at Now Smell This.
Donna Karan Chaos. Interestingly… this is the one on the list that can bite. There are days when I deeply regret putting it on, it gets a nail-varnish thing going that makes me headachy. At the same time, I can’t imagine life without it. I bought my bottle on eBay for a ridiculous sum before the reissue (about which I have never quite made up my mind regarding its smell, feel free to weigh in). If you are looking for a cheap fix, let me endorse the Irma Shorell Anarchy, which I feel is a great dupe, possibly better than the new stuff.
Worth Courtesan. I have no idea; I can’t argue for its greatness, although Pierre Bourdon did it. I know it’s fruit salad on a lot of you. Probably the closest thing I have to a signature scent in terms of repeat wearing. For awhile I totally stopped mentioning it on the blog, because if it (inexplicably) became popular, even among perfumistas, I would feel pain. Musky sexy goodness that has never overwhelmed me, and feels good whether I’m at the grocery store or a party. It’s me, plain and simple.
Dior Poison. Both the death-by-syrup vintage EDT in the stoppered bottle, and the Grim Reaper-esque Esprit de Parfum, for those of you who believe, like me, that the EDT isn’t quite strong enough. I wore this out in the 80s, ignored it for twenty years, and dug it up last year on a whim. I’ve come to appreciate its homicidal beauty, although I understand and respect the feelings of those of you who wish it had never been created, and I am careful about where I wear it. BTW a single drop from the tip of a toothpick of the Esprit is detectable at a level that can be correctly identified by alarmed bystanders. Not that this has happened to me.
Annick Goutal Mandragore. Yes, yes, I know – it smells like pee (or worse,) it lasts five minutes… I’ve heard the complaints. On me it is a bright, cheerful ginger/herbal/grapefruit/spicy thing of reasonable lasting power and one of the very few bottles I have actually had to replace because I ran out, which in my world happens pretty much never. Next time I’m getting one of those awesome square bottles. Also, shamelessly begging — can anyone hook me up with a small sample of Mandragore Poupre? I can’t get my hands on it, wah wah.
Estee Lauder Cinnabar (wait… have I really not reviewed this?!? hmm) – I feel I should end this post with one of my wack pronouncements, which is: I believe everyone is either Cinnabar or Opium (or, okay, neither). After several years of trying to decide, I am Cinnabar. Clearly. This decision was made for me by a vintage parfum flacon I scored on eBay. I wanted to be an Opium girl, but Cinnabar is sweeter and less screechy on me, although by no means a shy thing.
Anyway, thanks for your patience. Never feel you owe me a pity comment, I’m a big girl. If you’d like to play along and name a few fragrances you’ve decided really are All That, feel free!