This heat, it’s ridiculous. We’re well on our way to the hottest summer on record, yes? If not there already? When we’re hitting the triple digits on multiple days, and I take a walk at 9pm and it’s still in the low 90s, something is seriously wrong with this picture. This afternoon we were treated to some rollicking weather in the form of local downdrafts, and there are trees down and traffic lights out all over, with the resulting accidents you’d expect, because here in Washington, D.C. (motto: “I’m far more important than you are”) nobody treats the malfunctioning lights at intersections as four-way stops. I had to go out for 20 minutes and saw three car accidents.
If you can’t take the heat you break out the gazpacho and lemonade, supplemented by regular trips to the library. I now know everything I need to know about Scandinavia, reading all these thrillers. I’m sure it’s like forming your impressions of the American south by reading Faulkner and Carl Hiaasen, or Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, to mention one of the most surreal, disturbing books that has ever wormed itself into my brain and refused to leave – it’s a hybrid of To Kill a Mockingbird and Deliverance.
Tuesday I head to Santa Fe, along with Diva and Enigma, who were both born there. We’ve rented a casita near the Plaza, and my plan is to eat as much green chile as humanly possible (breakfast burritos! Enchiladas!), take some hikes in the forest, and have a hot tub and a massage. Or three. Yeah, I know. Aim high. Can I mention the food again? How much I miss the food? And the mountains? And … all the rest of it?
Oh, wait … this is a perfume blog? Okay, I know, but in this kind of weather I just can’t do any serious evaluation. I’m blaming brain melt. All my impressions are thrown totally off by the heat. I put a temporary moratorium on stanky white flowers and have been alternating between two extremes: my fridge-chilled bottle of 4711 (I know some of you do this with Jean Nate), and … Bal a Versailles. Which I think I have finally decided I love most in the heat, even more than in the winter. Bal is one of those fragrances that IMO any scent-curious person should try, there’s always a million of them on eBay, it’s been in production since the Second Ice Age or thereabouts. The parfum is more refined and a hair sweeter at the top; first the flowers, and then the resiny incense. If you want the 3-D skank experience, I recommend the white-ceramic-bottled EDC, here’s a link to one on eBay. Bal was launched in 1962, and the notes are rosemary, cassia, jasmine, neroli, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, lemon, sandalwood, patchouli, orris, vetiver, ylang, lily of the valley, tolu balsam, amber, musk, benzoin, civet, vanilla, cedar and resins. Uh. Let me repeat that last bit: tolu balsam, amber, musk, benzoin, civet, vanilla, cedar and resins. Is your mouth watering? It should be. Bal on my skin is mostly base — the bottom end of the tonal register.
Bal a Versailles is the ultimate old-lady perfume, antithetical to all things clean, modern, edible — the laundry musks, the cupcake scents. It’s perfect. (It’s also perfect on a man.) Bal a Versailles isn’t going to win you any friends at Sephora or Macy’s. Bal’s more in the neighborhood of vintage Rochas Femme, or vintage Scandal, only it speaks with a quieter voice. Bal is the sort of perfume that sidles up to you at a party, offers you a nice glass of punch, and then leans in when you least expect it and whispers into your ear, something so filthy you blush and cast your eyes around the room, wondering if anyone’s noticed. So go get a teeny tiny vintage parfum on the ‘bay. Or the smutty, civet-rich EDC. Or heck, get both. Layer them. You can thank me later.
image: there’s no image because I was looking for one of Bal a Versailles, maybe a nice vintage ad, and I wound up somehow confronted with the famous YSL M7 ad with nekkid Samuel de Cubber, you should google that one if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just NOT AT WORK, and then … and then … time passed and I somehow found myself on this website that discusses the, uh, intact status of various famous men — athletes, actors, etc. With pictures to confirm, when available. ::hides face in shame:: I have no idea how that happened. The internets, they are so random.