Scent Week, and a Swap

I wanted to do a quick response to the Signature Scent Week comments, but first we have an important announcement:

We’re going to play another ridiculous Posse reindeer game next week, a kind of free-form scent swap. Why?  Well, a) because I had so much fun with the Scent Challenge, and b) because people have asked for a swap since forever and c) because I’m interested in the social-experiment aspect of it.  I’ll spell it out in detail next Wednesday – it’s open to all, and will take place over the US Thanksgiving weekend, with plenty of time for checking in whenever you resurface from your turkey-and-pie-induced comas.  Over five or six days you’ll be checking your Facebook, email, etc., right?  Even if you have to borrow Aunt Edna’s dial-up to do it.

I’m hoping we have a massive swap with minimal tears shed and then we can do a follow-up post where people report in on what they got.

What you need to do now is start rootling through your collections for those crummy unloved misbegotten and less than perfect-for-you bottles you’ve amassed that are sitting around gathering dust and taking up valuable shelf space. You know — those unsniffed splurges from eBay and TJ Maxx, stuff you’ve outgrown, scents you might have purchased on a whim at the mall while jacked up on pain meds from your dental work, etc.  We’re going to do a big ol’ swap – part random social experiment, part palate-cleansing, part pre-holiday re-gifting and (I hope) mostly silly fun.  Start making a pile.  Don’t forget to look under the bed or in the guest bathroom cabinet or wherever you hide the stuff you don’t wear.

All right, the Signature Scent week wrapup.

First off, the thing that shocked me was how many of you wound up, like me, partly (or almost entirely) anosmic to whichever scent you picked.  I think this was particularly surprising for all of us who picked a big scent, and more support for the theory that people douse themselves in Giorgio, Light Blue and White Diamonds in part because they just can’t smell it any more if they wear it every day.  I still haven’t completely recovered my ability to smell SL Fleurs d’Oranger, which of course perversely makes me want to wear it, so I’ve tucked it away for the time being to everyone’s relief.  The informal consensus was that three days of the same scent was about right, and any more was either tedious or risky in terms of potential anosmia.

Second, I was happy to read numerous reports from those of you who got to enjoy the drydown of your scents.  I’m guilty as sin on this one – either I’m wearing several scents at once, or after an hour or two I’ve moved on to something else.  But are you ever really going to revel in the gorgeous drydown of Bois des Iles if you can’t spend a single day wearing just that?  I am for sure not the Queen of Discipline, but experiencing the scent in its entirety and not just gorging over and over on the top notes was a nice change.  As was, for a few days, having no decision to make about which scent to wear.  This is an experiment I plan to repeat.

Finally, kudos to those of you who made it all the way through, even if you skipped a day of wearing, and hugs of peace to those of you who didn’t.  Also lol at all the folks who basically went screaming in the other scent-direction after the week was up (zingy citrus after a week of heavy musk or big-shouldered floral.)  I’ve spent the last few days test-driving some samples (of course) and wearing YSL Cinema, I find it oddly comforting in small doses.  I can never decide whether Cinema’s gorgeous or kind of trashy.  Maybe it’s both?  I bet you have a scent like that.

  • weegee says:

    Darn, I pulled out a few for the swap and made the mistake of trying “just one spray” of a couple that are now begging to be kept. Maybe it’s time I admitted that nasal allergies from May-Sept. keep me from smelling anything in an authentic way… might want to stop giving things away during those months because “This smells like NOTHING!”8-| Especially after the fourth or fifth bottle of “nothing” that smelled nice in the sample and gets rave reviews from people who like the same kinds of stinks that I do.

  • Flora says:

    This should be too much fun!

    Cinema, huh? I always liked it but I have never owned. it. You may be right about the trashy part. I nominate Bal a Versailles EDT for that category – yes it’s comforting, but also extremely naughty if not actually trashy. Kind of like hanging around the house in the same pair of soft, silky sexy underwear for a whole week :-D

  • Cherie Thomas says:

    I’m game because I do have a few to give up.

  • sunnlitt says:

    March, I think that you have created a MONSTER!!!
    Can’t wait for the fun!!

  • Ines says:

    Oh, this is going to be so much fun. :d
    Can we swap only bottles or decants as well?

  • Andi says:

    Sounds like just what I need. Sad I missed the challenge. Gotta open my eyes.

  • Sara A. says:

    I was so very curious about SL Fleurs d’Oranger after all the discussion of it that I went over to Blue Mercury after work and tried it. I’m a newbie, and after reading so much about Serge Lutens’s scents for so long I went a little crazy. I tried Sa Majeste la Rose, Clair de Musc, and Santal Blanc such on one arm and Un Lys, Fd’O, and L’artisan Patch on the other. I do not recommend having those two on one arm. At all. They are each lovely by themselves, but when their powers combine they become a very heavy sexy white floral that I am not woman enough for. It works strangely well with the patch that tempers it a bit and brings the whole thing down to Earth. Santal Blanc smells like brown sugar and BO on me. I think I might be in love with Sa Majeste la Rose. And Clair de Musc smells kind of like very expensive makeup it is way more ladylike than I will ever be. I had a lovely time and now have to start saving money for my very expensive perfume habit. I hope it won’t start cutting into my very expensive book habit.

    I now need to go through my stash and see what can be safely sent off to be treasured by someone else.

    • tammy says:

      “I hope it won’t start cutting into my very expensive book habit.”

      This made me laugh out loud.

      And it will cut in, but thank God for decants and used books.

      Very expensive candle habits are by far more problematic.

  • Elisa says:

    I’ve got at least a couple of good bottles for the swap. Unsniffed but nice stuff that I scored for cheap, which I just haven’t fallen in love with. If I can’t swap them, I’m OK with having them in “the library” for reference.

    As for “kind of trashy” … I LOVE that quality in a perfume. I think Roucel is the king of kind-of-trashy (L de LL, Broadway Nite, etc.)

  • jen says:

    I’d like to be in too – but I don’t have much to offer. A few samples – some VS minis and samples and some B&BW full bottle body sprays. Can I still play? I’ll throw in some decent loose leaf tea and chocolate too!

  • Mary says:

    I’m in. I have a few things I would just like to see go to someone who will appreciate them–a nice old bottle of Joy perfume, and a bottle of DK Gold EDT– and I would love to share out decants of the huge bottle of Chanel Gardenia perfume I found in an antique store in LA, almost a year ago– I sent you a decant via Patty, March, and if and when you ever get to it, would be so interested in hearing your thoughts on it. I think it’s great olfactory fun, because the Gardenia effect is fairly short lived, and you can practically smell the moment when the blend falls apart, and it is no longer Gardenia, but plush irisy, jasminey–something. This was the bottle with the unusual,deco looking typeface on the label, which I thought was perhaps a fake–but after I broke the seal and opened it up (yes, a glass or two of chardonnay had something to do with that decision)– thought it was not a fake, but an authentic old treasure. But who knows? I’m still a newbie at all this. Would love to trade out some decants of that and hear what other folks think. :)>-

    • sweetlife says:

      Ooooo, sounds real to me. Sign me up! I’ll swap you some of my vintage Jolie Madame EDT. Just won an enormous bottle of it on the cheap. Uh oh, March, it’s starting already!

    • Ann N. says:

      Yes, Mary, count me in, too! Not sure what of mine you’d like, but you never know. It’ll be loads of fun to see what treasures turn up …

  • odonata9 says:

    I am so in! I would have had a 1/2 bottle of Cinema for you, but I just sent it off to a swapper! It must be the almond that doesn’t agree with me. But I do have several other bottles that need a good home. Can’t wait!!!

  • Cathy says:

    I’m in, but most of my “unwanted” pile is such junk that it’s going to be embarrassing to list. :”>

  • AnnieA says:

    Just last week I got rid of a pile of unwanted samples by placing them in a bowl in the lunch room — one of the full time staff thought they wouldn’t move, but we have students working here too and they went in a snap! Looking forward to seeing the ground rules next week…

  • Disteza says:

    I’m in too–the sample vials are beginning to drift in piles around the big bag of ‘MEH’, where the unworthy are destined to wind up. If I can’t get rid of them all in here, I guess I know what I’ll be taking to work for the Secret Santa swap….

  • weegee says:

    \:d/ Oh, yes, what a great idea! I’d love to participate but I’ve got to say I’m not keen on getting non-fragrance items, having once got some used liquid foundation and some foot cream that really smelled like feet… they were “extras” that came with a swap, but it was odd.

    For my last bottle swap of 2009 I included ALL of the vial samples I had that I knew I’d never wear again, a couple of dozen, maybe more, I’ve forgotten.

    I’ll start rooting around for all of the lonely bottles who received no attention at all this year. Goody!

  • Musette says:

    This’ll be a blast!

    xo >-)

  • Sherri M. says:

    So fun! Count me in–I have lotsa stuff to pass on.

  • sweetlife says:

    Totally in for the swap. I have a serious amount of goodies to pass along that deserve a more loving home. I’ve only ever managed to sell my stuff accidentally, by seeing someone mention they want something and offering it to them…so, yeah.

    I did Secret Santa swap on Perfume of Life a couple years ago and it was stunning what I received. Perfumista generosity is the tops, but it’s especially stunning if you’re a newbie, and you don’t realize how the stuff piles up. So great.

    • March says:

      Well … YEAH. I totally made out on my giveaway. And the pileups. Sheesh. After I had that perfume party at my house, they LEFT A TON OF STUFF. This was last fall. You know you’re in the h-core perfumistas when there’s a bag of Serge samples untouched. I gave it all to my housekeeper, who’s from an enormous extended Filipino family, on the condition that she take ALL of it. I think she thought we were nuts!

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Bless you, March! I have a few things that I don’t want, but would’t throw away because they are not bad, just not appealing to me.

  • maggiecat says:

    Oooo, this sounds like fun. And DH will be happy if I give away some of those pesky little (crruuunch…ow!) samples and some of those bottles that just sit there gathering dust. Looking forward to this!

  • Mals86 says:

    OHH yeah… looking forward to it.

    Funny, I rarely buy full bottles unsniffed (the ones I did buy unsniffed? Ines de la Fressange Vol.1, which you might remember I love, and Hanae Mori Haute Couture, which I also love). I am prone, however, to buying miniatures unsniffed, and this has led to proliferation of Stuff I Don’t Really Like, 5mls at a time.

    So minis and substantial decants might be traded? GOOD, I say. And also good that non-US residents can play, too, although I’ve found out recently that I really cannot send packages overseas through my local post office… This is a rural area, and our PO has four clerks and the postmaster, one of which is an idiot and the other four are militantly by-the-book. Not to mention that my carrier refuses to pick up packages from my mailbox, because “it might be wrong.” Sheesh.

    Hmm. Maybe if I tried to mail from the nearly university town… I’m sure they’re more used to people sending international packages. Light bulb moment!

    Best trashy perfume? That Slut Tocade. And Vamp a NY.

    • Musette says:

      I have the exact OPPOSITE situation here, Mals. I may trash this town but NEVER the PO. I lucked out like a %%- with these incredible people! Reasonable, intelligent, practical. I >:d< them, each and every one! You come on over and sit by me and my PO! xo >-)

      • Mals86 says:

        You lucked out on your PO! I mean, I could *pray* that I got the idiot the day I went in to ship something to Australia, but she’s such an idiot, she’d go get one of the other clerks. Who are perfectly pleasant while they’re telling me that I can ship anything I want overseas, as long as they get to see what’s in the box and it’s not a banned substance. They’re very diligent.

        Maybe if I go over to the Virginia Tech post office they’d be less likely to double-check things.

        • March says:

          Wait, they look in the box? 😮 They don’t here, just stamp the customs form.

          • Mals86 says:

            They look in the box. Srsly. I’m gonna drive to Blacksburg next time.

          • March says:

            I’m with Musette. I thought that was illegal. No, seriously. They can randomly search with suspicion, but I don’t think they’re supposed to be inspecting the contents otherwise. i have never had this happen.

        • Musette says:

          I didn’t know they had the right to look in your box? I have never, in the entire time I’ve been posting packages (either here or in larger places) ever heard of such a thing. And I send stuff all over the world. They can ask whether you have certain types of things but Mals, I would check the postal regs, were I you – it’s possible they have moved past ‘diligent’ and are overstepping their bounds there….:-? Last time I checked, your mail is still private – for now.

          xo >-)

    • March says:

      Uh yeah. I have the post offices I use to mail packages (insert whistling guy here).

  • Lisa BTB says:

    This sounds interesting. Patiently awaiting the details. :^)

  • Suzy Q says:

    I’ll be keeping my bottle of Silences, thank you very much.:)
    How do you come up with all these fun activities for your little posse friends, March? I can’t wait.

    • March says:

      I did this eons ago with a few bottles I had, I picked people and they just sent me random stuff in exchange — some perfume but also costume jewelry, books, stationery.

      Or, folks can just be in it for a bottle. My attitude is, almost anything’s an improvement over a bottle that irritates you a little every time you rest your eyes on it, right?

      So I’ll be curious how well it unfolds.

  • DinaC says:

    Fun game idea! I’m in, too. :-)

  • Fragrant Witch says:

    Can we play in the UK??

    • March says:

      Yup. I asked above, to people in the EU have to fill out customs forms to mail to each other? Like, UK to Germany, same hassle as US? (cheaper postage though)

      • Masha says:

        Deutsche Post has fantastic service, but is so CHER! You just wouldn’t believe it…still, we get what we pay for here.

    • March says:

      How come I can edit your comment but not mine? That’s “DO people in the EU have to fill out customs forms etc., from, say, the UK to Germany. Is it easier to mail among EU countries than to mail from EU to US? Just trying to get a feel for it.

      • donanicola says:

        No we don’t. I’ve mailed to Sweden, Greece probably other EU places and no customs forms – yay!

        • March says:

          So, folks in the EeeeYouuuu may self-select toward fellow EU-ers, less expense and hassle. But as someone who’s mailed and received from the EU, it certainly works, and I’ll leave it up to the swappers.

  • donanicola says:

    Luckily I didn’t get the anosmia but I did notice a heightened awareness of other smells (not just perfumes worn by other people), but mostly I suppose cooking smells. That was nice. Wore Bulgari Black again yesterday and the love is still there. I’m so grateful for that. Thanks again for proposing the experiment. However I agree with the three day continous wear rule. If non US swappers included (and I would understand if some would prefer not what with the extra postage hassle) I’m in (thinks about Burberry Gold bottle at the very least………)

    • March says:

      I’m going to include everyone and ask that they list their home country. That way swappers can decide how much foolishness/postage they want to go through for a swap. Also, we have, I think, a LOT of readers in Yurrup who may feel inclined to swap with each other, if it means less hassle and expense… I’m willing to fill out a few customs forms myself.

    • Mary says:

      I don’t believe I became anosmic, but I did apply the Infini with a heavy hand a few times– it seemed to reveal a little more of its heart, if that makes any sense. Just reading this wrap-up made me want it back. I had on a sample of Le Baiser du Dragon from this morning– which I am also loving a lot btw, because guess what- vetiver and sandalwood in the drydown. So, I layered over a good slather of Infini when I came home to pick up the stuff my daughter forgot, and took a quick break to read the latest. Layered up the Parfum and edt, right over the BdD drydown. It was gorgeous. It’s like a vetiver milkshake on my wrist and inner arm right now. This week–I also had some Caron L’Anarchiste to play with –starring vetiver, only this time with cinnamon. Mint. Some people say apples but nah– no apples that I could detect. A really fruity, round cinnamon, though– it made me research on the internet to see if there is more than one kind of cinnamon, and dang– there is. The orange flower from Nocturnes, though, with Infini’s smokey vetiver–you can pick out the Caron ingredient list in these babies. Ok–off to see what else I have that smells of vetiver. :)>-

  • hvs says:

    yeah, do non-US people get to play?

    • March says:

      Yes, they do. Hey, I have a question — do folks in the EU have to fill out customs forms to mail to one another? Is it less hassle than mailing to, say, the US or Canada?

      • loledinburgh5 says:

        Hi March!
        I live in Scotland and I haven’t had to fill any forms when I’ve sent scents abroad.

      • anon says:

        Umm…I don’t think so. I often do, though…would love to swap w/in the EU! Hellloooo Edinburgh!

      • zeezee says:

        Hey March – no, not within the EU. Free passage of persons & goods is one of the advantages of being a customs union!

        Mailing out of the EU isn’t too much of a hassle either, btw. One stick-on form, fibbed on in appropriate places.
        I even finagled a stack of customs form stickers from a PO worker (I’m sure I shouldn’t have them, officially), so I can make my envelopes at home and just drop off in the nearest post box. No PO visits necessary.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Do I count, I’m in HongKong?

    • March says:

      Yes. I’m going to ask everyone to list their country, so swappers can decide how many customs forms they’re up for, if any.

  • waftbyCarol says:

    OOOHHH , I have tons of stuff to swap , that sounds like so much fun ! Great idea for a Holiday week-end . You must stay up nights thinking of all these good ideas , March !

    • March says:

      I wanted to do a swap experiment and it occurred to me that (insert your winter holiday/spiritual/holy day here) occur in December. So let’s mix it up beforehand.

  • Eric says:

    You know, I loved Cinema on a strip and before I could skin-test it, they pulled it from Sephora (and the US, right?). I had a W with a Cinema ad in it and I loved getting it out and sniffing the strip. What a dorkus. :P

    And I can’t wait to swap though I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up on Covet. Sometimes (very very sometimes) it works! Maybe a 15ml I got stuck with in a travel coffret split gone wrong. Hm.

    • March says:

      Did they pull it? Dang. Of course they did. Because it wasn’t terrible enough. About Covet I will say, I haven’t seen a bottle since the launch, it is a strange one.

  • Madea says:

    (Hugs self, squealing with glee) Yay!

    I mean, that sounds lovely, March. I can’t wait to begin.

  • bryan says:

    I have plenty of 2:00am random shopping splurges to pass on to someone who might actually know what the bleep I was thinking.

    I’ve only swapped with a few people and it was so much fun. I’m so IN.

    • March says:

      Two words: Jacomo Silences. I want a buck for everyone who bought it and thought, huh?

      • March says:

        NOT THAT I AM JUDGING SILENCES. WHICH MANY OF YOU LOVE. Go ahead, people, pee on Rush or Jungle Elephant if you bought it unsniffed because of me, and still hate it.

        • Ann N. says:

          Hi March. Confession time: I wore Silences back in the day, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it smells like. So I’d be a good candidate for that one. This sounds fun, but can you go into more detail of how it would work? I’ve never done this before so am pretty much clueless. Also, if you don’t have full/partial bottles, would a batch of samples work? Thanks!

          • March says:

            I’ll do the deets next Wednesday, I’m still mulling (which is why today’s post is useful, for raising issues.)

            You can swap full bottles, partial bottles, piles o’ samps, non-perfume items (I did that and got costume jewelry, tea, hankies, a teapot, CDs…) and/or your Uncle Ned, if he’s willing and your swapper wants him in exchange for their bottle of Silences…

      • Masha says:

        You know, I bought a large bottle of Silences, cheap, and have no idea what year it was made. I actually like it, but I like to smell it on linens! If it were made with more expensive components, I said to myself….Then I tried SL’s Bas de Soie. It had a very similar opening to Silences, and of course, is made with the best materials. The heart and drydown are different, but definitely related. BdS is sweeter and more floral, and weirder. So I wear BdS, and smell Silences on the towels and sheets. Yummy Mean Green Heaven.

        • March says:

          I bet we all have something we like to smell on the sheets like that. I like the green ones too — I use that Annick Goutal holiday scent from last year that way.

          • sunnlitt says:

            what was that scent called?? I remember a candle called NOEL. Was that the scent and how was it?? Christmas is coming soon…..

          • March says:

            Yes, they have it on the website for 34E (and online for $45) — An enlightened tree which impregnates the house of its perfume one evening of December 24th, to recreate the magic power of the Christmas enchantment. The Noël home spray will instantly sublimate your house thanks to the flavor of citrus fruits, orange and mandarine from Brazil, and the slightly acid bark of the pine from Siberia, heavy with an unforgettable scent of resin…”

            Okay, to ME it was winning not because it smelled like Scent of Pine (something you’d use to fake up a Christmas tree in the house.) Instead it smells exactly like the inside of a high-end florist shop — all that greenery, a little wintergreen, and some sharp florals.

      • DinaC says:

        Hey! I’m one of those Jacomo Silences lovers! :-) It’s a great galbanum & dirt scent. Like a lady wearing No. 19 who has been transplanting flowers all afternoon. :-) Okay, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!;-)

        • Musette says:

          I’m somewhere between Masha and DinaC on Silences. I quite like it but after a little while’s wearing … (:| kind of kicks in…but it smells GREAT on the shirt I had on when I spritzed it! Wonder why…?

          Balmain de Balmain is another one in that genre. That one is a great sheet-scent.

          xo >-)

        • Mals86 says:

          I JUST – I mean, it JUST arrived! – bought a BACKUP bottle of Silences pdt. Love the stuff. Love the Meanie Greenies…

          … but luckily I didn’t buy it unsniffed.

      • sweetlife says:

        Silences is VICTORIA’S FAULT. Pretty sure she did you in, too, eh M? Although, I have to say, she totally converted me to No. 19 (for which I am forever grateful) so I’ve been hanging on to my bottle, waiting for Enlightenment. Almost there!

        • Musette says:

          No, this one is Blame Shelley [-(

          She turned me on to Silences. And the Balmain. We both like those watery-galbanum, spring scents (at least I equate them with spring – ymmv).

          She is also the enabler for No19 – I, too, am forever grateful for that one, even though galbanum is not always my first thought for go-to notes.

          Wait. I’m assuming you are hanging on to SILENCES, awaiting Enlightenment, right? Just checking.. 😀

          xo >-)

          • sweetlife says:

            Yes, yes, hanging on to Silences.

            And sorry, Musette, the M. up there was meant for March, who I’m pretty sure read the same review on Bois de Jasmin and got sucked in like I did.

            When Victoria loves something she makes it impossible to resist!

          • March says:

            Yup, totally V’s fault, and now that she’s back to blogging I’ll be helplessly buying things again.

          • Musette says:



            well, I’ll be sure to stay away from Victoria’s reviews. I do NOT need any more lemmings, thank you [-(

            xo >-)

            ps. I Still Blame Shelley! :d

      • bryan says:

        you just earned another dollar!

      • sweetlife says:

        Speaking of which–I think it would be great fun to link to the reviews that “made” us go rushing off to get said, bottles… Only fair to pass the temptation along!

  • taffynfontana says:

    I have quite a few fumes that I have outgrown after a few uses how many swaps are allowed????

    • March says:

      As many as you want, I guess, the cost being (your bottle) + postage and customs, if any. I’m going to ask that people describe their bottles a little, and that this won’t be the venue for swapping, say, your Iris Silver Mist for some vintage Joy, which should probably be left to eBay and places like MUA Swaps.

      Essentially, nobody should put anything up for swap that would make them sob hysterically if the USPS eats it.

  • Tamara*J says:

    I adore swaps,
    I can’t wait to try other people’s loves (hates!?).Ha.
    Free perfume in the mail is always a thrill, I’m in! :)

    • March says:

      I did this eons ago — sent out some of my bottles and got random stuff in return, including non-perfume items: tea, vintage hankies. It was a riot.

  • tmp00 says:

    You know, I’ve worn MKK three times since then? But I’m a bit nuts..

  • nozknoz says:

    COOL! Very much enjoyed the 7-day challenge and am looking forward to a turkey (or vegetarian alternative) and pumpkin pie fueled social experiment! Gobble gobble! :-)

    • March says:

      I’m going to counsel patience and humor. Two characteristics that in my experience are not in short supply among perfumistas…

  • tammy says:

    “purchased on a whim at the mall while jacked up on pain meds from your dental work”

    So I’m not the only one, huh???

    Steroids are actually worse. I was on an 80mg taper earlier this summer, so trust me, I got plenty of retail high to swap……