The nice thing about being barely able to single-task is that I stop multi-tasking.  I don’t run through Trader Joe’s like my ass is on fire.  I’m not stuffing my overflowing cart of groceries into my canvas bags in the checkout line as if I were a contestant on a game show.  Instead I watch and listen as the male clerks flirt in French with the beautiful girl who works there.  If I were them I’d flirt with her too.  She ends almost every sentence with insha’Allah.  God willing.

Then it’s off to the post office.  I don’t like my perfume to be … too easy.  Why buy my bottle here when I can order it up on eBay and realize after the fact that it’s shipping from Latvia?  Although hey, shout-out to our Latvian readers – I got it in less than two weeks.  I’ve waited longer for packages from the UK.  And Texas.  I missed the mailman that day, so I had to go to the main post office and pick it up, which I love as much as getting my teeth filled.  Only on this day there is no line, and I stand and wait while they argue, laughing, with a customer about whether someone did something (ran a race?) in less than nine seconds.  I think the consensus was 9.6.6.   And then they emerge from the back with my package and it’s Serge Lutens Cà¨dre, and if you are a perfume fan you can get into any box in your car, because you have your keys, yes?  I do not have Louise’s skill – she can gnaw through a box with her teeth, while driving with her knees – although I think she keeps an exacto knife in her car now…I have decided that Cà¨dre was created just for me, although yes, I will share with you.  There is plenty to go around.   I sit in the car, nose pressed to my inner arm, and moan so loudly that the man in the car parked next to me looks over, startled.  I think he’d like to have some of what I’m having, if you catch my drift.  That first part, it’s so hot and cold, somewhere between Carnal Flower and Poison, that death-by-florist-chilled-tuberose of CF melded with the honeyed richness of Poison (although completely without the cherry-cough-syrup note in Poison that in my opinion is the part people are most likely to object to).  The drydown, oh my.  Smooooooooth.

I read every single message on my FAIL post on Monday.  And thank all of you.  I’m forcing myself not to sit here too long these days, just long enough for my grow light to cheer me up.  Otherwise I end up doing things like read the archived Savage Love columns at The Stranger and when I look up it’s five hours later.  Not good.  So I set the timer and get things done in ten-minute increments, because I’ve discovered I can do almost anything if I only have to keep it up for ten minutes.   My increments wore on joyfully with the application of Cartier’s XII, which I chose mostly because it’s the one I remember reading the raves about.  It’s L´Heure Mystérieuse, notes of jasmine, patchouli, elemi gum, coriander, incense, frankincense and juniper.  How do you think that worked out on me, eh?  Correct.  It was the sort of smell that caused me to swivel my head around so my nose could follow the rest of the atomized scent in the air.  I find the development interesting; there’s a ton of patchouli up front, almost pushing me to my patch line, before it dries down into a more intellectual, less smutty variation on Bal a Versailles – I can’t pick the jasmine out, and the base, she slays, she glides along, so smooth, this seamless confection of strange – sesame candies, the woodpile, and smoky incense from the sweater you put away last year?  Damn.  Where are the rest of those things…

  • Robin R. says:

    Thanks to the whole posse on Posse today. I was a-slippin’ and a-slidin’ down that hill o’ self-pity, and you guys set me back up on my feet. With a smile, no less. 😡

    March, I’m glad you’re grooving on your new Cedre. I think it’s great. Smells like Pepsi crossed with root beer with some pancake syrup and honey topped by a big stalk of fresh tuberose. Yummy.

  • Musette says:

    took the afternoon off and wandered Mich Ave – Cartier’s Les Heures are at Cartier and i confess to loving the Sparkling Hour – very sparkly. No samps available so I’ll have to go back.
    Not sure they’re FB worthy but that one is beautiful and very cheering.

    Saks has the Tom Fords – the Oud Wood is interesting and perfect for this time of year.

    xo >-)

  • rosarita says:

    I missed your post on Monday. (((hugs))) and fellow feeling to you. And, I think I use scent more as a way to become how I want to feel, if that makes sense. :*

  • Tara C says:

    Oh, and BTW, I open packages in my car with my keys – but to avoid scrutiny and broken fingernails, I have most of my packages delivered to my office now. 😉

  • Tara C says:

    So glad you received your Cedre and are in olfactory bliss. 😡 It’s one of my favorite Lutens as well, and the only one I have 2 bottles of.

    As for Cartier XII, I got a nasty fecal note on the opening which took about 20-30 mins to die down into a more pleasant Bois d’Armenie smell.

    As for time sinks, oh yeah, I spend way too much time reading perfume blogs… maybe I need to get one of those timers too!

  • Disteza says:

    Glad you found some love for Cedre–the first time I smelled it I had to check and make sure I had the right bottle ‘cuz I was expecting an olfactory b!tchslap of some cedar. I mean, this is Serge, right? Shouldn’t there be a giant cedar forest in that bottle, along the lines of Chene? It’s pretty and all, but my SL devotion will remain firmly with the more wild and wooly ‘fumes.

    • March says:

      haha that’s it EXACTLY. This is why I never tried it before Sniffa, because Serge cedar is all hamster-ish on me in large doses.

      • Olfacta says:

        ALL cedar seem hamster-ish on me. When I was a kid I had some white mice, and changing the cedar-shavings scented cage stuff was a constant job. Now I seem to pick up even small amounts of cedar and magnifiy them. Which is too bad, because there’s a lot of cedar around.

  • violetnoir says:

    I remember when Cedre debuted back in the summer of 2005. I wore my decant, but I must say that it smelled like hot house flowers meet church scent. Am I wrong about that, March? I will have to try it again.

    And, I can’t wait to sample XII. I am hoping my little spray sample will arrive in the mail today.


    • March says:

      Mmmm– sort of Poison-ish upfront, drying down to what smells to me like musky honey, and yummm. Definitely not cedar. A little bit of spices. Maybe it reads more as incense on you? FWIW plenty of people loathe it.

  • Margot says:

    OMG – are you tracking me on a GPS?
    Trader Joe’s is becoming my home away from home, followed by TJ Maxx. I’m turning into that nice eccentric lady who shows up WAAAY too often in the aisles, seeking irresistible buys and lighthearted chat with fellow consumers and store staff. Well, it’s therapeutic until it becomes obsessive, right?

    So thanks for the hysterical Trader Joe’s “ass on fire” shopping image. Humor is one of the best defenses against the downward drift. So is fragrance!

    I recently moved into what I like to think of as a “cottage”, after years in a huge family and light filled house.
    I am finding that cozy or not, the cottage could easily become my hibernation cave – candles,books,a warm laptop,Trader Joe’s treats – you know.

    Remedies? I like the full spectrum light idea, and the 10 minute rule sounds like an excellent strategy against fuzzy brain/depressive stuff. I use a one to two mile, rain or shine daily walk to lift the cloud of ADD and seasonal affective disorder (eeww -the names alone sound dismal) and that is a fantastic help.

    You never fail to bring a laugh and a smile, March -it’s such a gift. The perfume reviews are a wonderful bonus.

    • March says:

      oh my god a cottage. WANT. All alone, nobody else … /:) The ten minute rule is the only thing keeping this house and the rest of my life from devolving into a shambles, because I just don’t care and my brain is too fuzzy.

      TJs. Those guys all know me because I’m not a heinous bitch like a lot of the ladies who shop there. I’m — wait for it — friendly. And I bag my own stuff, mostly. I find TJ culture fascinating. And we have two kinds of shoppers – small (lunch items, retirees) and BIG like me — overflowing carts. Not much in the middle.

      • carter says:

        Yurts are also quite nice.

      • Margot says:

        Yurts ARE nice! And cottages can be havens, but that longed for “alone time” sneaks up on us in good time. I’m a bit ahead of you in the life cycle, March; my youngest of our blended family of six started college this Fall. Complicated, exhausting, relentless – YES. Worthwhile – absolutely.
        I never imagined this time would come – four kids, a divorce, a return to grad school, a new relationship, a second marriage, two step children, a demanding career – that was my life since forever. Hey, I know what chaos looks like!

        Now, suddenly, I’ve moved into a new stage of life.
        More adaptation, more introspection, and yes, new challenges!

        IMHO, it’s all about preserving yourself while adapting to what life is throwing at you. And, Brava!, you seem to do that very well!

  • T-Rex says:

    We don’t know each other, March, but I enjoy reading your posts. And I appreciate your honesty. I’ve been slipping into a downswing myself lately, but I also have friends and perfume to bring light to the darkness. Thank goodness.

  • Jillie says:

    Dear March – I so sympathised and empathised with you when you spoke of your low mood, but today you have made me smile! Double smiles, because this morning my bottle of Theorema (ordered unsniffed, but your love of it was enough recommendation) arrived, and I am wearing it right now. You’re right – it is a comforting scent, so thank you. And lots of love.

    • March says:

      Oooh oooh! So you like? It makes me so happy. And it always makes me happy to hear someone ordered unsniffed (eeep!) and it worked out okay. I often hear about it when it doesn’t. /:) :”>

  • Cedre is a strange little one, very interesting indeed; personally I prefer Tubereuse Criminelle for some reason (more polished? less fruit?), although I can see the attraction: that cool blast and then the warmth….Mmmm…

    Glad to see you’re all right, but man, less smutty Bal: why, I ask you, why! (There is no need to de-smutify Bal)

    • March says:

      I admire TC but I cannot cope with the camphor … that is just one of those personal walls for me. And the Bal — giggling. You smutmuffin! You and I both own the same bottle of Extreme Smut EdC, right? I suppose you and other commenters are correct, though — true fans of Bal are by definition lovers of smut.

  • Shelley says:

    Good on you, March. I sometimes have had to go to a “left foot, right foot; left foot, right” mantra, and I certainly understand the benefits of tackling small, defined pieces.

    Besides, you know that research they just blathered about that shows there is no such thing as multi-tasking? You are just serially attending at warp speed. Too much o’ that, and somethings going to fry. Besides, you do too good a job of observing and enjoying the details that require a slower pace to catch them. Like this neighborhood I like to pass through…I see different things on foot, on bike, in my car. Glad you are taking in the world at this pace, even if it wasn’t a particularly happy path that switched your gears.

    Speaking of happy paths…and that Guet-Apens…holy deep snorfle of centering, Batman! I just got some No68 in a bottle split. I have a decant of Guet-Apens, and will compare shortly, but was too much enjoying the day huffing myself with the one to bother with any comparison sniffing. So. good. I think the time of year and weather are helping, too–perfume/weather/need synergy.

    BTW, I keep good garden snips in my car. Apparently, there is somebody who drives it who is a plant rustler. [time for whistling dude] They double as a package opening tool if necessary. However, keys are much more entertaining for onlookers…and speaking of entertainment, I am repeating my call for Louise to provide the video she offers above. 🙂

    • March says:

      That’s very funny, I always have garden shears in my car as well, not for plant rustling but because I do flowers at church (so I don’t have to remember to bring them) and they have indeed proved quite useful in a pinch.

      I’m tired of multitasking. And… interestingly … attending to everything yesterday NOT at warp speed, and then getting home, honestly, I don’t think it took me THAT much longer at a normal pace (20 minutes?), and I wasn’t all torqued.

    • Fiordiligi says:

      Oh, you know, I have an unopened bottle of the No 68 which I bought in Horrids (or maybe Paris) when it was first issued. I keep forgetting about it. Is it truly the same-ish as Guet-Apens and Attrape-Coeur and Vol de Nuit Evasion? I suppose the answer id for me to open it and compare, isn’t it? Duh.

  • karin says:

    Hi March. Love the 10 minute rule. So easy to get sucked into the vortex and realize life has passed by. Funny…I remember years ago when I worked in Silicon Valley, the web had just “arrived”, and a couple of us in the office were checking it out. About 1/2 hour later, one of my co-workers emerged from her cubicle and said, “Wow. I know why they call it the web! Once you get in, you can’t get out!” So much to see and do, but so much wasted time.

    I’m going through a similar re-evaluation – pulling out of everything and stepping back to assess – how do I want to spend my time? I feel as if I’ve been in hibernation for quite awhile, just letting things happen, totally undisciplined, not paying attention. I suppose the light went on – hey, wait a minute! This is my life!? And I’m just letting it fritter away?

    Thank you for your open, honest, and entertaining posts. Glad you’re taking a step back, but also keeping in touch.

    • March says:

      We could talk about this for hours (but I’m violating my 10-minute rule!) 😉 Yes, it’s easy to fritter with all our distractions. the problem is when I’m depressed there are certain things that need to get done and I just can’t let them slide, it’s too hard to catch up. So. looking for balance. I hope you find yours.

      • karin says:

        I hear ya. I’ve felt overwhelmed by all of those “need to get done” things and have felt burdened by them. Decided to knock out all superfluous “stuff” that was sucking up time and I wasn’t enjoying. Still have to get things done, but now I can at least breathe. As you can tell, I haven’t kicked Perfume Posse to the curb. 😉

        Sounds like you’re in need of a quick getaway when the dust settles. Hope you get the opportunity. Be good to you! XO

    • Robin R. says:

      The web! Love it.

      True story: just spent the last hour watching the Live PandaCam from the San Diego Zoo website. One fuzzy little black and white baby bear cub. Sleeping. I’m questioning my sanity. :-ss

      • dea says:

        omg. i have been ensnared by the San Diego Panda-cam, too!
        and i live in Nebraska.

        yes, i’ve watched them sleep, too.
        a hypnotic time-vortex. seriously.

      • carter says:

        I am oddly drawn to the “Shake Cam” which is a live feed of the line for an immensely popular hamburger concession in Madison Square Park. I don’t want to go there, I just want to watch people pick their noses and scratch themselves while they wait :-b

  • Louise says:

    The trick with the boxcutter is to act completely nonchalant…doesn’t everyone keep this useless tool in the car (insert whistling guy here)?

    There is such excitement of going to my very pleasant, no-line post office for a package of perfume. My peak experience (in this domain) was picking up a package from Japan. Vintage Mitsouko perfume in the rosebud bottle. I made myself drive to the park, delicately opened the box, opened the bottle, and, well….I had summa what you had, March :d/

    Cedre has become a good buddy-not my fav Lutens, but has *smoothly* inserted itself into my fall rotation 😡

  • DinaC says:

    So glad to hear that Cedre arrived from Latvia safely and quickly! I really enjoyed it when I wore it a couple of weeks ago. Love your humor as you describe the scene in the car with the package. Reminded me of the scene in the deli from “When Harry met Sally” with Meg Ryan and her fake orgasm. ;))


  • Olfacta says:

    I’ve done a couple of swaps with a perfume friend in Latvia and so far the timeliness-of-delivery score is: Latvia 2, Atlanta 0. Not surprising when you consider that our post offices here have 2 employees each: one at the counter and one taking a break in the back.

  • Catherine says:

    I’ve smelled it — and, yes, Cèdre is made for you. It’s haunting. I’m so glad you caved, even if it meant all reason went out the window and you snatched it from Latvia.

    You sound great. I’m going to try those 10-min intervals.

  • Marsha Smith says:

    March-I saw myself so many times in your post, too. ‘Cept I’ve used my keys to get into boxes while in the car, cause I live with my Mother and I sometimes have to sneak some things past her. Matter of fact, that happened this past Monday when I got five different nail polish orders all on the same day. However, I will get an exacto knife and keep in my car for future use. And I thank you for the suggestion cause Monday I was wondering just what I could get for this purpose.

  • Melissa says:

    A box cutter? Really Louise, you should have told me! I’m still using a pair of cuticle scissors and fingernails. It works, but think of the manicures I could save by graduating to big girl tools!

    Cedre intrigues me. A few wearings and I might fall in love. That happens to me with Serge. The reverse can happen too. I wear them too often and grow weary of them. Luckily, a short break generally suffices to rekindle the flame.:x

  • Anne says:

    March, what a great post! Too many snipets to repeat. Some made me LOL. In so many I saw myself. Thank you. Oh yea, box cutter in the car? Duh! Why didn’t I think of that.

    • March says:

      They even make ones like keychains although I don’t want it with me all the time. But there’s room in the ashtray or glove box.

  • sweetlife says:

    Ah, yes, ten minutes at a time and avoiding screen suck. I know whereof you speak. (And about the Cedre, too!) Thanks for continuing to write right on through it. Your essays have sometimes been part of my ten minutes…

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Lovely piece as always, March, but I don’t think Cedre is for me, really. Just can’t do Lutens. But Denyse, oooh, if the Cartier has a similar dry-down to those Guerlains I’m definitely in.

    And I don’t see the need for a less smutty Bal either.

    Just don’t talk to me about missing perfume packages, though, OK? I did get three yesterday which seem to have made their way through the worm-hole but am still missing several, including my Precieux Nectar. Stupid postal strike.

  • March, I’m smitten by Cartier’s XII as well… Do you get a similar drydown (musk and amber) to Guet-Apens/Attrape-Coeur, or 180 ans if you’ve smelled it (practically the same formula as the former)?
    I find the incense overdose is what makes that patchouli interesting for me, and veeeeeeeeeeery dirty, verging on, well, no I won’t say it, won’t ruin it for anyone who might be put off!

  • Flora says:

    Um – WOW, that Cedre sounds like it’s made for me too, I would love to try it. I hope it gets into the Export line one of these days. Having just fallen for Fumerie Turque, I am ready for more of the old-school Serge perfumes, with plenty of “difficult” ingredients and deep, profound base notes. Bring on the Borneo 1834, the MKK and the Cedre!

    Just one question – why would anyone WANT a less smutty version of Bal a Versailles? 😉

    • March says:

      Welllll … I have several versions of Bal. My parfum is IMO not that smutty, just strong and gorgeous. But I have an EdC (?) that is RIDICULOUS, it’s like total butt. I mean, I’ve really got to think whether I can go there before I put it on.

  • carter says:

    I loved this one, March, and I understand it completely. You do not have writer’s block, that’s for sure.

  • Scent Hive says:

    “I don’t run through Trader Joe’s like my ass is on fire. I’m not stuffing my overflowing cart of groceries into my canvas bags in the checkout line as if I were a contestant on a game show.”

    Hey there…it’s not nice to talk about me that way! Seriously now.

    I want some of what you’re having. Cedre sounds glorious.


    • March says:

      I know, I know! And our TJ’s is very small and usually crowded, I try to get it over with as fast as possible. And for me Cedre is glorious. It made me so happy to discover it after all this time, I think it’s been out several years.

      • Scent Hive says:

        I hear you, I’ve taken to getting there at 9am right when they open. That’s when I really feel like a contestant on a game show, LOL!<:-p

      • Norjunma1 says:

        Is there a TJ’s out there that isn’t small, crowded, and oddly (but charmingly) laid out? If so, please send directions.

  • Francesca says:

    It could take two weeks for a package to get from the upper east side to the upper west side, so I think Latvia can be proud of itself.

    And I’d pay good money to see Louise opening a box with her teeth while steering with her knees. Just not in the same car with her.

  • minette says:

    ooooh, someone else who love cedre! it really does feel as if it were made for you, doesn’t it? although, i can imagine that if it didn’t work for you, you might be tempted to saw off your arm. but i love it. may be the lutens that connects most deeply with me. glad it’s bringing you such pleasure. i still need to tap into the new vca/cartier perfume joy. thanks for adding to my temptations!

    • March says:

      In general I am careful with the Serge Lutens, because they never go away, and the wrong one WOULD make you want to saw your arm off, for sure. TC or Borneo for instance.