Best Perfumes

Best Perfumes

On Wednesday, the Lovely Lady March led us merrily into the world of simulacra – the best perfumes you’d list as must-sniffs in terms of their representations of the real. And what great work you folks did in suggestions, recommendations and thoughts.

I had this post planned before I knew what March would be writing. Honest. It’s just synchronicity, innit.

I’m 42 next week. And a bell is ringing on my fragrance array, as loudly as the one saying ‘you’re in middle-age, dude’. These markers in life make me respond in what some might say are extreme ways.

A protestant work ethic minimalist at heart (if not in practice), the perfumes in my collection/hoard have long been bothering me. Not all of them, but the majority. You see, I just don’t wear them. A collection is just not necessarily a set of things you wear I guess – it’s more a personal choice of highlights from the plethora of perfumes in existence or dead, as well as a map of the perfume landcape that you’ve shaped for yourself in some way. But… I’m tired of all that land. I love how the hills and valleys and glades look, but perhaps all I need is a small plot to call my own, that suits me best. A picket fence and a neat little house. One or two hills and a shady vale. Perhaps a dark forbidding wood. But not much more. Under a hundred acres, not a continent. I can always visit that continent if I want, but I don’t have to call it mine.

I’m ruthless with clothes. There are those items I keep because I wear them and they’re vintage and wonderful. And there are those more transient garments that wear out from overwear (tautological? Me?), or are just no longer right. They go – the former to the bin or the garden store (dusters, rags, paint drip collectors); the latter to charidee. And I stop wearing some items altogether – denim jeans for example. I’d love to, but I’m farcical in young and funky, and depressed in old and fogey.

The same with perfume. I have samples for those that I need to sniff, but now, if I don’t wear em, they’re gone. Last year I reduced from 120ish to 60ish. This year, I’m going for thirty or under. So, in the Lee-is-brutal rules of perfume ownership, I’m only keeping those that I know I wear regularly, or I know I might not now, but I will again soon. What follows is my Best Perfumes ‘you-are-so-totally-owned’ list. It’s a long way from completist and you might think ‘hey, he needs X or Y to sit alongside those’ . By all means tell me if you think the need is there, and I might respond. I’m just under 30 – I have room for one more. Maybe.

Christian Dior

Dior Homme – only 10mls left. I won’t rebuy it. I overwore it and like skinny trousers, it doesn’t really fit now.

Bois d’Argent – a forever love. If nothing else works, I can rely on a trip to the silvery woods (where money grows on trees) to make me smile.

Eau Sauvage – forever crisp white shirt suitable.

Yves Saint Laurent

M7 Fresh – another one that’s running low, and won’t be replaced. But I have affection for it, simply because it’s my man’s favourite.

Rive Gauche pour Homme – the best fougere for me. Barbershop soap and salt. I’m not sure it actually is salty, but it works that way.

Cartier

Eau de Cartier – high pitched violets and crispness. A summer essential.

Declaration – spicy translucence.

Bulgari

Bulgari pour Homme – another summer no-brainer. Nothing special, for those nothing special happening days. I’m surprised the bottle isn’t nearly empty.

Editions de Parfum

Frederic Malle Geranium pour Monsieur – it makes me want to put creases in my shorts, tuck my shirt in neatly, and buy boat shoes. And I hate boat shoes.

Nicolai

Parfum de Nicolai Balle de Match

Parfum de Nicolai Eau d’Ete

Parfum de Nicolai Eau Exotique – all three are Nicolai’s cheap and cheerful summer smells, rather than the Guerlainesque richness she’s more rightly known for. You can happily never OD in spraying the final of the three, but a little of the first two goes a long way. Grapefruit richness and fresh musk can easily be overdone. But I only have 30 ml bottles of both – great for my work bag on hot days.

Hermes

Hermes Terre d’Hermes – in parfum, to replace my empty edt bottle. A necessity for me.

Hermessence Ambre Narguile – when I’m in a scarfed up, brr it’s cold and I need stodge, I’ll probably go for the Nazgul before I go for cake.

Hermessence Poivre Samarkande – anyone who doesn’t get this, and then get it, is crazy. Perfection in pepper.

Different Company

The Different Company Sel de Vetiver – my favourite summer fragrance.

Parfumerie Generale

Coze – the best of outdoors in a bottle.

Divine

L’homme de Coeur – spring refinement.

Guerlain

Guerlain Jicky – in parfum de toilette. I did have it in parfum, and will again. Of all the great classics, it’s this I’m most loyal to.

Guerlain Vetiver – see Eau Sauvage.

Guerlain Eau de Guerlain – for when you need the sun to shine.

L’Artisan Parfumeur

Timbuktu – my second favourite incense, plus extra oddity.

Le Labo

Poivre 23 – a phenomenal oriental.

Patchouli 24 – I guess Dr Jekyll is renting lab space in the basement of my neat little house. I’m glad of it.

Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande – my favourite incense. My most meditative scent.

Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore – rich sweet spicy.

Serge Lutens Arabie – and again, but different enough to justify both. One is more main course than dessert, but they share plenty of flavours. They are winter favourites.

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan – the only ‘real’ musk I wear.

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 – grey suit., white shirt, leather briefcase. Glasses. Serious face. Adds mystery to the mundane. Quixotic to the quotidian. Dash to the drear. Etc.

And there’s one more  for Best Perfumes I didn’t mention. A 30ml bottle of Mitsouko parfum. It’s preformulation, oakmossy wonderfulness but I NEVER wear it. Therefore, it breaks my rules. Somehow it feels like I have to keep it. But I’d swap it in an instant for some Jicky parfum.

So, if you had to reduce your collection to just 30 (and don’t worry folks, I’m only in charge of crazy old me, and not the rest of the world…), what would definitely be in, based on MY RULES? And if you have under 30 in your collection, what would you like to add in to round up that there number?

  • sharyl says:

    I am so very new to my perfume obsessing (a matter of months actually), that I do not have to worry yet about cleaning out, but I can envision the time will be coming. At the moment, however, the loves that have come from my perfume samples are:
    Mitsouko,
    Amouage Lyric
    Parfum Sacre
    Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia
    Le Labo Iris 39
    Nahema
    Songes
    Coromandel
    The whole world of sampling perfume from online decants has opened up for me this beautiful exploration and i am having so much fun.

  • AnnieA says:

    Dioressimo
    Cristalle
    Eau Rare Matale
    Vetiver Pour Elle
    BP PC01
    Bulgari Black
    Anais Anais

  • Sometimes it is really hard to choose what type of scent we would be using. Sometimes we are thinking about what type of perfume they are using and maybe thinking that we would like to make one or produce a perfume like that.

    These question could be hard to answer specially there no clue to what scent is that and what type of ingredient used in that perfume.

    I would suggest that when we are buying our own perfume, it is better that we should know that name and the ingredient of that perfume.

  • Masha says:

    Well, I have overlapping collections- one is discontinued/reformulated beauties (old/vintage formulae), the other, those I actually wear a lot. There’s a lot of overlap (like Bakir, Mitsy, and YSL’s Nu)- but my dailies:
    Bakir
    Barbara Bui
    Nu
    SL Bas de Soie
    HM Magical Moon
    Niki de St. Phalle
    L’Heure Bleue
    Mitsy

  • Linda says:

    oh goodness, Lee, we’re scent twins! Seriously that list is very similar to what I would produce. I will have to ponder how I could budge it, but oh, why would I?

  • March says:

    Lee, dropping by late to say I 😡 that photo so very much. And also, holy cow, I cannot imagine paring my collection down to 30. Congrats.

  • sweetlife says:

    Lovely post, Lee, as usual, and I’ve really enjoyed reading all these comments, too.

    I’m keeping a box of things to sell and give away, and I buy far less discount/impulse these days, preferring to focus on a few, true desired loves, but I don’t have much of an impulse to pare down seriously. Not yet anyway. There are too many other areas in my life where I have to talk myself into minimalism, perfume is a safe area of maximalism for me.

    And I overpack, too! :*

  • DinaC says:

    Great post about only keeping the things you love, Lee. Since my journey into Perfume Passion is only three years old, my collection of FBs is only about 30, as it happens. Those thirty don’t yet encompass all my greatest loves, and I’ll be the first to admit that there is still a lot of sniffing and exploring that I have to do.

    Looking at your list, I notice a distinct lack of Chanel. How can this be?! :-) It’s my favorite mainstream house, so I’m biased. But the smokey vetiver of Sycomore doesn’t tempt you? Maybe Timbuktu fills that slot for you.

    One of my favorite masculines from way back when is Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel. I associate it with dear ol’ dad. I think that’s one that will always stay on my list, because I enjoy wearing it, too.

    I’m all about purging and cleaning things out. Dislike clutter. My Achilles heel is that I get all soppy and sentimental over papers: cards, children’s art projects, letters, tickets stubs, playbills, etc. I read somewhere that fall cleaning is good because the home looks its best for the holidays.

    Love the photo of you and your sis. :-)

  • Winifreida says:

    Oh dear, as guilty as I feel about my collection, and all bought in about the last two years apart form a slow wind-up from just a couple (Mits and LhB), at the moment I just cannot deal with the idea of getting rid of any! In fact, I’m on a sort of roll that I just have to have the best three of a style or note; you know, three tuberoses, irises, jasmines, ambers, incenses, smokes, marines, oranges, lemons, musks, florals, orientals, greens…you get the picture!
    I do feel I’m reaching a satiation of plenty though, and only find one in a hundred FB worthy now!
    I agree that its very seasonal; after spending the Downunder winter pining for amber and incense, all of a sudden with the coming of spring I’m in full-floral mode, and am having to talk sense to myself about adding yet more lillies and jasmines and airy soft things! Too soon summer will have me in the tuberoses, fruity OTT things like Pulp and and vanillas…

    • Lee says:

      Enjoy your spring, W. I’m liking the start of autumn here, and have realised I love every season, except for the slow drag out of winter.

      Nothing wrong with anyone’s vantage point on perfume. Yours strikes me as totally health love for smell sensations! 😡

  • Daniela says:

    Lovely and sweet photo! Your list is quite interesting as well, although I can’t say I have smelled a lot of the scents on the list, being the newb that I am :)

    My collection is well under 30. Buying perfume is to me quite a commitment. I’m very much the kind of person that intensely loves a scent for about a month, and then promptly gets sick of it, and moves on. There are though scents that I have come back to time and time again, and those have made their way into my collection. To round it off, I would say that I need a gourmand scent – those are my favourite type but oh so difficult to find a good one (any suggestions?). I’ve also been quite into fig lately and really anything by Olivia Giacobetti, so something in that vain may be my next purchase.

    • Lee says:

      I think all of us obsessives tend to full profoundly in love for a month and then wonder what the fuss was all about. It’s something I used to have to watch in many aspects of my life ;-). Not so much now, fortunately.

      I’m hopeless with gourmands like you – most of them don’t work for me. Maybe some wiser person may chime in.

    • AnnieA says:

      Maybe Guerlain’s Oriental Brûlant?

  • dissed says:

    Beautiful photo, with your diamond-shaped face and lovely sister.

    LOL at the Nazgul.

    • Lee says:

      The diamond shape disappeared. I wonder when.

      Yep. Nazgul. For some, a dietary supplement. For others, a source of sugar stimulation. Pick you side.

  • Musette says:

    I have given my full bottle needs some serious thought – it’s pretty small, as I prefer a lot of decants to play with (though it’s getting sort of overwhelming)

    Mitsouko (pre-reformulation – EdP and P)
    Femme – y’all knew that
    Vintage Femme (the one I have is sooo beautiful)
    Chanel 5 parfum
    Jolie Madame parfum (yum – and vintage? YUM!)
    TDC Charmes & Leaves
    Agraria Bitter Orange
    Guerlain Imperiale
    Fracas, of course

    Diorling (but I don’t have a FB so this is just Dreamin’)
    Diorissimo – vintage, if possible

    xo >-)

  • Louise says:

    Sweetness, I don’t know nuthin’ about no Protestant Minimalist Nothing. But you already knew that ; )

    However, I am at a far-along stage with my perfume love. I meet very little new I want, and if so, only in small quantities. I can look at my collection as it is, and sigh with pleasure. I feel I have most moods and genres well covered-perfect chypres, orientals, aldehydic florals, etc. And I do wear them all (at least within a year…). I’ve also taken to giving away the also-rans-including most PdNs, as the base now bothers the heck outta me.

    I couldn’t list 30 specific essentials, since I’m not there yet, but my specials few would include:

    Amouage Epic
    Amouage Jub 25
    Black Cashmere
    Poivre (your fault, luv!)
    Parfum Sacre
    Vintage Dioressence
    YSL Y
    SLs-AS, Filles, Datura N, Bois Vanille
    Amaranthine
    Angelique Encens

    With these and a couple of others, I think I could never buy another bottle. Just a few decants, meybe…

    Happy Weekend, All!

    • Musette says:

      wait.

      don’t you have some vintage Lady M?

      are you going to leave her on the rock whilst you sail off in the ark with your specials? If so, I’ll just sail on by that rock and pick her and her kin up, if that’s okay with you!

      xo >-)

    • Lee says:

      Well, I don’t know nuffin about it’s source, coming from a totally ‘religion? Eh? Whatchoo talkin bout?’ family background. Decadent Europe, or what?

      Good list, Loulou. I thik we’re dwlling in the same perfume place, even if our noses are sniffing mostly different things.

      xxx

  • Aparatchick says:

    Lee, I love the photo.

    Your post is so timely; I was looking at the boxes filled with perfume that are stored in the closet (Mr. Aparatchick doesn’t need to be burdened by knowing how much of it there is) and thinking that I really need to stop buying and start enjoying what I have. And maybe pare down what I have, too.

    So let’s see:

    Tauer, L’air du desert marocain
    Hermes,Un Jardin sur le Nil
    PdN, Le Temps d’une Fete
    PdN, Eau d’Ete
    PdN, Eau Exotique
    PdN, Sacrebleu
    Rochas, Femme
    Kenzo, Jungle l’Elephant
    Ava Luxe, Bois Exotique
    Ava Luxe, Fig Leaf
    Ava Luxe, Cafe Noir
    Ava Luxe, No. 23
    Parfums d’Empire, Ambre Russe
    Parfums d’Empire, Osmanthus Interdite
    Parfums d’Empire, Wazamba
    Comme des Garcons, Zagorsk
    Chanel, Coromandel
    Chanel, 31 Rue Cambon
    Sonoma Scent Studios, Tabac Aurea
    Guerlain, Spiritueuse Double Vanille
    Les Nez, Manoumalia

  • mariekel says:

    My collection is mostly decants, due only to economic limitations. If I could morph everything into a full-size bottle, my manna(s?) in the desert of perfumes are:

    Gobin Daude Nuit au Desert. Sigh.
    Andy Tauer Orris. Sigh.
    Tabac Blond parfum
    MH Tangerine Vert (the one I always turn to when feeling low)
    Montale White Aoud (the closest thing I have to a signature scent)
    Bella Bellissima Perfect Night — yummy
    DSH Cafe Noir — the perfect cold weather gourmand. And I don’t even like gourmands.
    Labo Poivre 23 — so with you on this. Gorgeousness.
    Cristalle EDT (vintage). Crisp suit-y day scent. Just s hint of naughty. or haughty, depending on mood.
    MH Rose en Noir. Few scents cheer me up like the raspberry note in this one. My fav rose.
    MAC Wild Honey. Spring personified.
    CB M. Hulot — the best beach holiday of every childhood.
    Dior Jules. When i need green but not clean.
    Delrae Amoureuse — cannot feel sexy without a dab. Won’t say where….

  • Nina Z says:

    Congratulations on paring down your collection. Your post made me think about the difference between collecting (you just keep the objects you love and that you find absolutely beautiful) and hoarding (you keep everything and anything, regardless of its quality, “just in case”).

    I only have a few bottles at this point, but even then if I acquire some perfume I don’t love, because someone gave it to me or I realize what I bought wasn’t really right for me, I do my best to find it a happy home elsewhere, either by giving it away or by swapping for something I do want.

    • Lee says:

      A good distinction between the two words. Y’know, I woke up this morning (overactive brain means I rarely seep as well as I’d like), thinking that ’20 might still be too many)… Watch this space.

      And congratulations on having a few, and your approach to those ‘not quite right’ bottles…

  • momo says:

    Oh Lee, I do love your vaguely wistful style of writing. And I’ve been afflicted with the Northern-European Calvinist gene as well; I start feeling fidgety and undeservingly decadent when “stuff” accumulates. I haven’t even made it to 30 fumes and already that instinct is kicking in, though I should add that it’s in part due to noticing how much my tastes have changed in the past few years.

    It feels so grown-up and Zen to be above clutter, even if a fragrance collection isn’t exactly “clutter” to my mind, anyway. I’m conflicted, let’s leave it at that. Perhaps I’ll reach Nirvana at 42 :)

    The ones I’ve consistently loved are:
    L’Artisan Safran Troublant
    Jil Sander Sun
    CdG Ouarzazate
    Hermès Eau des Merveilles
    Diptyque Tam Dao
    Mona di Orio Jabu
    Hermès Ambre Narguilé
    TDC Bois d’Iris
    Ava Luxe No 23

    Not to say that I could stick to just those for my entire wardrobe -I’m sure my attention would wander- but after those come the Lesser Loves, which I can’t be sure won’t be replaced further down the road, and of which I need no more than decants.

    • Lee says:

      You sure you mean vaguley wistful and not wistful and vague? 😉

      I’m not sure I’ll ever reach nirvana, but I’ll keep trying. I feel bad over glut, is all.

      What a sophisticated palette of colours and places in your list!

  • Ruanne says:

    My incomplete list (because I know I’m forgetting somebody) is looking like this:

    L’Heure Bleue
    Shalimar
    Nahema
    Attrape Coeur
    Havana Vanille
    Incense Rose
    Tea Rose
    CdG Avignon
    Une Bois Vanille
    CB Black March & At the Beach 1966

    And Fracas, always Fracas.

    Of course, this is only absolutely A list. If I took a half step down, I would have to include another 50. Also, there is so much I still haven’t smelled. The idea that there are perfumes yet to be discovered, that I couldn’t live without, makes me very happy.

    Oddly, I’ve decided that as much as I love it, I could live without Mitsouko in my personal collection. I couldn’t live without it in the world, but I don’t need to have it in my drawer.

    • Lee says:

      You’re last sentence has become my byword for my much diminished collection. And I feel so much better for it!

      Yours is a fascinating list of classics and simulacra smells. Lovely stuff.

  • Shelley says:

    I think perhaps the “myopia” is a slightly wonky calm.
    :)

    It feels good, doesn’t it, the paring? In my case, I’m still contemplating, but I’ve way curbed back on the sample/decant purchasing. I always went in fits and spurts anyway, never stopping spending time devoted to exploring one. Okay, sometimes a theme.

    Interesting that you parsed by house. I think mine would be by season, though maybe by mood/occasion. It does make for clarity, and it’s easy for me to reflect on your library that way.

    Which leads to my self-centered observation that I’m so with you on the rationale for your Eau de Guerlain, though mine would be Imperiale. Other observations include a chuckle at your happy di Nicolai list…she does do those quite nicely, and you made me realize Balle de Match is probably my favorite grapefruit, a concept which for some reason hadn’t crossed my mind until this morning.

    I love your reason for Borneo, though you’ve mastered a beautiful understatement. Quixotic, indeed. ;) Thrilled to see Sel de Vetiver and Terre de Hermes in there, as I couldn’t see doing without them. But I will leave you with a question…no floral? At all???

    Off to find my Coze samp.

    • Lee says:

      Yeah, I organised my thinking by house, just to see what it looked like. I don’t generally think that way though.

      Imperiale is an excellent choice of Eau de Guerlain, but I have the biggest ‘young in Paris’ soft spot for EdG that it can’t be trumped.

      Florals… I don’t wear em. I love them. But perhaps not on me. A jasmine maybe? But then, I get heartily sick of smelling myself after an hour or so.

  • Cheryl says:

    A very lust-worthy list. But don’t get rid of the mitsouko. Don’t do it. It is too grand to fit into “rules”. It is too beautiful to be orphaned. I am just reducing my collection of (cough samples) but every now and then there is one that I’ve come around to because seasons change…It’s always interesting to see the move alongs and think why was I wasting time on this?

    • Lee says:

      Yeah, you have to negotiate your position on perfume by asking, ‘Am I right about this one, or is it that I’m only right about this one right now?’ If you think you may return to it, you may want to keep it.

      I’m not keeping any in that category though! Ouch.

  • Catherine says:

    Lee, I’ve done exactly this weeding of the perfume this past year. It feels good. I’ve bought only one scent in the year–Chanel Eau Premier–and within a few months it’s one-forth gone. Good choice.

    Does it get used? is my rule of thumb, too. Otherwise, I want the money for other frivolous things I can use. Yep, I said frivolous–although, just to be clear, I think frivolity is a necessary luxury in life. It’s just that sometimes the frivolous thing I want is a scarf or bauble I’d wear much more often. Also, I’m adamantly not a hoarder/collector of almost anything (exception: textiles). I want to maintain a lifestyle where I can pack up and move cross-country in two days, which is hard enough with all my photo and printing crap.

    The surprising winner of my perfume weeding: Chanel. I have nine (although I think I’m about to send one off). Then Mona di Orio: the original five plus back-ups. I really need all her others, but I want to kill off some bottles first. A few SLs (Gris Clair is the only one I can’t live without), a few FMs. A few random treasures like Roja Dove, Fleur de Narcisse (but don’t use, need to sell!), and Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes. The only other perfume I want are a few Hermes. My tastes are shifting….So should my perfume stash.

  • Musette says:

    Lee,

    That photo is so lovely. Thank you. I don’t see much myopia but I do see a whole lotta love and genuine delight in both your and your sister’s eyes.

    This List: mostly drool. (I mean, I’m Drooling – gotta be clear here). You threw me with the Nazgul – I still am having difficulty with amber, though Ikeep working with the N just to see if I can break through.

    Sometimes I think you and I are the only two who ‘get’ GpM. I’m sure there are others – after all, I don’t see M. Ropion chewing his fingernails in anxiety – but it doesn’t get the overwhelming adoration I feel it deserves. So thanks!

    I won’t even comment on Mitsouko v. Jicky. Nope. Noooo comment (though I love Jicky)

    Funny that we are getting all these Purge posts right about now. I thought it was Spring when folks cleared out and autumn when we stored nuts in our jowls to prep for winter. I just looked at my samples cabinet last night, wondering what I would take if I could only take one of my ammo boxes – and the Guerlain/Chanel/Dior box won hands down.

    xo >-)

    • Lee says:

      Well, I know other posse folk happily gave up on the Nazgul!

      Thanks for your comments… I don’t know what it is with the purging. For me, I think it’s a combination of age, autumn (the veg garden gets cleaned up for winter, why not other stuff too?) psychological make-up, and perfume ennui. Too many no longer make my heart sing, y’know?

      But GpM – it’s the business.

      • Musette says:

        I think you’re right – I’m getting ready to plant spring bulbs and of course have to clear up all the summer detritus…and then we get to the closet switch – and in the process, why not purge some stuff I haven’t seen/worn in a million years…? Plus, I don’t think I could stand the notion of being locked in this house during winter, with its 400-foot snowdrifts, and the house crammed with ‘crap’.

        xo >-)

  • Ursula says:

    I have streamlined my sample collection time and again. Some of them are just for education of something unusual – like oud – and I would not actually wear that.
    The bottles of favorites are being used … the ones I don’t like (a mistake to have bought them altogether) get used up as room spray (air freshener).
    I cannot use up my collection possibly in a life time. However, I don’t regret having spent sometimes dear money … because the price bought something exquisite, to be enjoyed. We spent money on a fabulous restaurant meal – and that is gone, on a vacation – and that is gone. Perfume can be a longer companion and add beauty to my daily life.

    Must own:
    Eau de Shalimar
    Flora
    Rose Absolue by YR
    Nuits de NoHo
    Chinatown
    Cuir de Lancome
    Nuit de Noel
    Norell
    Molinard de Molinard

    Would like to have:
    C by Clive Christian

  • Ruanne says:

    Ooh. Fun! I will be spending a pleasant morning deciding on my 30 instead of focusing. Just a side note prior to that though- As for clothing (and perhaps perfume too,) do you think there are things that are clearly too young for us now, but that will be delightfully eccentric once we get to be truly old? For instance, there were a couple of decades when I prayed that my father would stop wearing jeans, but now that he is almost 80, he looks like an iconic old cowboy in Levis & a button down. On the scent side, I like to think of myself as an old woman trailing Fresh Sugar or Love’s Baby Soft.

    Maybe don’t get rid of everything that is less than tastefully appropriate.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, definitely old age allows you to wear a full-on range of whatever. Your pa must loook cool.

      I don’t think I’d ever qualify as straightforward ‘tastefully appropriate’…:d

  • sybil says:

    You and your sister…how cute is that? You both look adorable, but I’m not seeing the myopia, just baby faces.

    I love your analogy. I’d have to think more than time I have available, but I am putting some Timbuktu on the map, finally, this fall. What have I been waiting for?

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Wonderful post as always, Lee. Thank you!

    I, too, identify with the protestant work ethic/minimalist tendency in almost all aspects of my life (must be a British thing) with the exception of scent and maquillage (I’m such a girly). I have a lot of clothes but am ruthless in making visits to the Cancer Research shop to offload mistakes (and to the charidee bin to offload less precious items). I couldn’t, however, apply this strictness to my perfume collection. Not possible.

    I don’t dare count how many I own (although my excuse is that many are multiples of beloved pre-reformulation Guerlains) but however many it is, I don’t have any I’m inclined to surrender.

    If obliged to streamline my collection, though, I would probably be able to live only in Guerlain classics for the rest of my days. Fortunately, my collection is extensive enough that I have enough to last me through this and several other lifetimes (although I was talking to Roja Dove last night and I can’t quite match his four litres of pre-reformulation Mitsouko).

    Very sweet photo!

  • I think of my perfumes more like books or works of art than like items of clothing to wear. They are references, alternate universes, time/memory machines, objects to contemplate… I also happen to use them for the courses I give.
    Blogging has also thrown a wrench into the process since I’m so often testing new things I practically never get quality time with my favourites: if I’m wearing for pleasure, I often wear what I’ve liked the best in recent tests.
    So reducing to 30 is not an option for me: when I “reduce” it’s more in terms of certain genres on the scent-map which correspond to my tastes (fruity chypres, woody/lactonic, a few tuberoses and leathers) or of certain perfumers…

    • Lee says:

      Yes, I’m pretty sure we see perfume ownership from very different angles. My decants and samples fulfill the books or works of art role. My whole bottles definitely don’t need to – it’s an added bonus if they do.

      Good job we have committed perfume folk like you out there, D. 😡

    • nozknoz says:

      Thank you, Denyse! Books, perfumes and travel mementos crowd my pad, but it is rare that I can bare to part with anything. I admire minimalists, of course, and would probably enjoy a second home in a pure minimalist style as an occasional retreat, but I am an incorrigible magpie, hunter/gatherer and material historian at heart.

      Lee, huge thanks for the adorable photo and for posing the valuable question. No matter how many scents I own or sample, there are always a numerous must-tries in lists like these, such as Eau Exotique, that I must remember to pursue.

  • Tamara*J says:

    LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!<3 Everyone loves you babe!
    You will get a gajillion love letters on here now. ;)

    That photo is beyond precious. Musette is gonna flip!
    Your taste is exquisite as always.

    I have no idea what 30 I would choose, I don't even own 30 (yet!)
    I am just busy exploring so many vintage greats,
    I found out I'm a chypre chick,
    I love classic Diors Lee, they are owning me big time.
    They are suiting my moods and feelings these days, fall is here! It's everywhere and I am not looking forward to winter..
    but vintage Dior parfums surround me in their bracing green embrace and then hold me down in mosses with smidges of flowers and I'm in oakmoss, vetiver heaven ,oblivious to the rain and chill in the air.

    Ahaha I love rappin' about perfume love.

    I've never tried Mitsy parfum, nor Jicky.
    I bet they are astounding on you.
    Muuah!
    Here's to autumn and seasons changing once again.

    xoxo~T

  • carter says:

    Lee I would follow you to the ends of the earth and that’s no lie. I read your posts and no matter how many martinis I may have had at Ouest with the insane and lovely Francesca I am enthralled. Cormac McCarthy be damned.

    • carter says:

      Okay, now that I’m sober, I can focus a bit despite the killer headache and say that I’m like you in many respects. I edit without mercy. FBs are probably under 30 (not counting multiples of certain beloved and extinct vintage frags) and I’m not really sure what I’d add to my stash, except perhaps a bottle of Sacreblue and another of Odalisque. When my decant of Beyond Love is gone I will probably splurge for a full bottle. Boxeuses will no doubt tempt me…I’m just praying it doesn’t. And if I could only persuade Denyse to part with her bottle of Iris Gris I could die a happy woman.