Xerjoff, with an aside on price.


Okay, onward!   The folks at Xerjoff sent me some samples of their fragrances.  Maybe they just knew deep in their Russian-Italian hearts that I wanted to smell a fragrance line that I pronounce in my head as … well, my best guess is that it’s properly pronounced as “serjoff,” or maybe “zeryoff,” but I am not the only person with a problematic misfire concerning the brand name.  The Xerjoff website and their literature is in English, Italian and Russian; the following scents are from their XJ collection.

Homme – Mediterranean citrus, spices, clove, lavender, ylang, woods, leather, vetiver. Starts off with the leather and clove and is rich and ripe – almost like a hint of dirty oud?  Becomes darker and more bitter as it dries down, stays leather throughout, on top of a woodsy amber man-scent.  It’s too horsey and assertive to interest me as a personal fragrance, but it’s a wonderful non-birchtar leather, and I definitely want a room in my house that smells like this.

Femme – hesperidic and fruity accords, galbanum, orange blossom, iris, leather, patchouli, amber, musk.  That sounds nice, doesn’t it?   It is blisteringly sweet on me, and I don’t know why, given those notes.  I give up.

XXY– bergamot, peach, jasmine, ylang, black pepper, patchouli.  This is, I think, intended to be unisexy.  A not especially novel fruitchouli, heavy on the peach, registering somewhere between Badgley Mischka and one of the lesser, fruity MDCIs, and if that sounds like damning with faint praise, it’s not — there are far worse things to be said about a perfume, yes?  Very, very pretty.

Richwood — Mysore sandalwood, citrus accord, rose, patchouli.  This is a “masculine” although a woman could easily wear it.   I had high hopes for this based on the Mysore sandalwood.  I will not be surprised if this is one of the perfumista favorites, along with Irisss.  Vaguely Lutens-ian in its intense, liquid sweet-woodiness, plus there’s something about the rose (?) that makes the fragrance boozy, like a woody cognac, or a wine cask.  Boozy notes are not for me, but if you like that sort of thing, well, here it is.  Packs a wallop on the skin, lasting (rather like a hangover) well into the next morning, when the sandalwood finally emerges on its own.  I wish I could have that part without the first 24 hours.

Irisss – carrot seeds, orris, absolute of rose and ylang, rare woods and resins, incense and musk.  Irisss is easy to love.  It is all about the orris (I can pick out the rose if I squint really hard), and tilted slightly toward the violet-inflected end of the spectrum rather than the rooty or earthy, although it’s certainly not “feminine.”  It doesn’t have the spare elegance of Chanel 28 La Pausa, and it’s not as operatic as Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist, the scent I’d probably choose as the reference iris in perfumery if I were backed into a corner.  It’s less woody than the Van Cleef Bois d’Iris, the closest iris I can compare it to, with Irisss being warmer and less dry.  My personal supply of ISM, the Van Cleef, and 28 La Pausa satisfy my iris needs; there just aren’t that many times a year I want iris.  For those of you for whom there is never enough iris – this thing has edged itself up to #2 on my personal favorite iris list, in part because it stays exactly as it is and I don’t become anosmic to it over time, as I do the Van Cleef.

Damarose – “a classic rose chypre,” Turkish rose, sambac jasmine, freesia, red fruit, patchouli, amber, woods, musk.   The lone review on LuckyScent complains that 30 minutes after application it disappears and the staying power is “not acceptable.”  Which I note here with amusement only because on my skin, Damarose makes YSL Paris look like a wan little slip of a thing.  Damarose is not just huge; it also approaches a personal record on my skin (three days).  I should be weeping and removing the top layer of my skin with a steel wool pad by now.  I don’t want my own bottle, and I wouldn’t want to share a cubicle with someone who wore this to work every day.  It’s got all the subtlety and sophistication of a Macy’s parade float, and … that’s okay with me.  Every scent can’t be canned air, right?  Damarose is for fans of rose-chouli frags and/or dark roses like L’Artisan’s Voleur de Roses, C&S Dark Rose, Malle Portrait of a Lady or Une Rose.

The Xerjoffs are expensive — glancing at their website, I didn’t see a bottle less than 500 euros, while LuckyScent stocks them at $650ish and up, part of the price being reflected in their fancy bottles.  I have no opinion on whether these are “worth” their price.  I’m not qualified to judge the raw materials, and I’m pretty much immune to fancy packaging, which is a big part of the Xerjoff thing … actually, I can’t think of any hyper-expensive frags where packaging isn’t part of the big deal, can you? Since I already own enough perfume to frighten most mortals, who am I to judge?

An aside on pricing – since I mostly deal in samples and decants, I don’t pay that much attention to bottle pricing on new releases unless it’s pointed out to me – for instance, the recent (and shocking) news that Tom Ford Lavender Snooze-Thingy is $250 for 50ml (or $950 for 250ml.)   When I was getting into perfumery a few years ago, back when the earth’s crust was still cooling and I had to swat away the occasional pterodactyl before it could swipe my vintage bottle of Chaos, I used to think of anything more than $150 (certainly more than $200) as “expensive” perfume.  I am not sure this holds any more; given the aspirational pricing on some releases, maybe that “expensive” line should be drawn at $300 – $500.  Of course there are exceptions – Les Exclusifs in their giant vats are actually quite the bargain, per ml. I also think I declared anything under $100 as the new “cheap,” and was it $50 and less was free?  (Doesn’t even count against your budget.)  Maybe less than $100 is free now…

What’s a bottle “worth?”  Are the Lutens bell jars worth their current price?  What about the MDCIs in the non-fancy refills?  (Has anyone bought the fancy bottle?)  Is Shalini worth the price?  Is/was Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes worth it?  What about JAR? (Yes.)  What have I missed in the upper brackets?  You all can ‘fess up here if you want to on what makes a bottle worth it – let’s leave out vintage bottles, okay?  That’s a different can of snakes.

So, do any of these Xerjoffs sound appealing?  Are you likely to try any of them?

PS on Wednesday morning I will probably be gone for awhile, seeing the Gauguin exhibition at the NGA with my father. be right here, cold and rainy today, dad and I have rescheduled for Friday.  Also, is there anything better than 10 min curled up in bed in the morning with a sleepy little boy, watching him play with his Transformers?

image: Murano glass bottles, Xerjoff website; samples, courtesy of Xerjoff.


  • I don’t think I tried all of these, don’t recall which I have. From the initial line-up I ended up liking a couple to the point of decants.
    The point is, the prices are so ridiculous that even if I do end up liking something, I instinctively boycott such a $$$ line. Remember back when Serge was considered expensive? /:)

  • Wendy says:

    Have to admit to owning a bottle of Dior’s Passage #8, which is gorgeous. (bottle and jus: i love iris and violet!). yes, it was a lot of money (€320) but it is pure perfume, and if you look at what a normal perfume bottle costs (at 7,5 ml) then it is actually really cheap. Ok, i would not normally buy 10 bottles of the same perfume but… well, i am sure you know what i mean (trying hard to justify my spending here..). Sadly i will only be showing off the bottle when the jus has all gone, so that may take a while, but when i do it will be a darn cute sight..

    • March says:

      In my mind, different rules apply to something that’s extrait. In theory it will last a long time (you use less) and it’s often the “best” possible rendering of a scent. No judging here… :)>-

  • cathleen56 says:

    I see this name, and I think it’s pronounced “jerkoff” — am I the only one? Or did I miss the subtlety in your original post? Anyway, I can’t get that out of my mind, and that’s probably why i haven’t sought them out.

    • March says:

      Oh, I think the most popular translation is “jerksoff,” with yours being second — yes, that was me being subtle, or as subtle as I get, anyway.

  • Geordan1244 says:

    I’m Mad, Mad, Mad about Richwood – wish I didn’t like it (no, LOVE, LUST, LAMENT for) as much as I do. I go with the decant’s with new perfumes myself, but I’m probably going to buy it eventually because it’s easily becoming the one that I grab, and if I were so inclined, I could possibly become monogomous with it… it has just enough of that masculine edge that I like in a fragrance, but is so creamy yummy.

    • March says:

      It is a strong, distinctive scent, and as I said, I will not be surprised (if more people try the line) that it becomes a popular choice.

  • Winifrieda says:

    I read somewhere that if you earn more than 50K you are in the richest 1% of the world’s population???
    And people do find the money for incredibly expensive things; I look at Hermes and Chanel and often wonder how they keep going, but they do.
    As I got older I largely lost interest in clothes and makeup, which used to be my big ‘spare money’ spend.I shudder to think about what I threw away on fashion over the years, makes a couple of hundred for ‘fume every few weeks quail into insignificance…
    I guess it boils down to what we often say here…hardly anyone in the non-ista world ‘collects’ like we do; they go for the once every couple of years big spend, instead of the once every couple of weeks!!
    Still, if I could only curb my urge of adventure when going for the unsniffed bottle…I’d have a couple of Irisss by now!
    Maybe when they get their start-up capital back they will sell refills!

    • March says:

      Refills would be good — I can only assume that at least for right now, they’re probably aimed at folks who want one really expensive, status bottle of fragrance.

  • tammy says:

    I think mariekel’s idea of offering less over-the-top packaging at a smaller price point is an excellent one.

    Having said that, the price doesn’t matter to me if I like the fragrance. I saved up to buy TPIM, and have enjoyed every second of it; am saving up for another bottle. I was lucky enough to find the Kilian Oud barely used on evilbay for $200, but I’d have saved up for that one, too.

    I won’t pay that kind of money for something that doesn’t make me quiver; however, I do love me some fancy packaging.

    I will also go so far as to say that if I am in fact paying hundreds of dollars for some juice, there had damn well better be some pretty packaging. Frederic Malle, I’m lookin’ at you. I’d have bottles of Une Rose, Lipstick Rose, and Iris Poudre by now, but the magpie in me keeps looking at those boring little bottles and shaking her head.

    I love seeing my mirrored vanity trays full of gorgeous sparklies. I adore the little frisson of ecstasy that holding a beautiful bottle adds to the entire perfume ritual.

    • March says:

      See, that’s an interesting argument. For every person who decries money “wasted” on fancy packaging, there’s a person like you who looks at a theoretically luxe scent and thinks, you can’t do better than that for a bottle? I don’t mind a plain bottle (Chanel bottles are plain) but I don’t want it to look cheap.

  • mariekel says:

    PS to me, something that is expensive is something I might be able to save for, not something I would need a home equity loan to buy.

  • mariekel says:

    I have to say that the exhorbitant prices of some perfume houses not only strikes me as ridiculously fanciful in this awful economy but downright insulting. I get that they are being marketed a la Elizabeth Arden as the affordable luxury when you can longer afford a yacht or country manor. But for us mere mortals who genuinely love perfume itself, rather than some pretentious bottle with microchips of pure fairy dust or whatever is in them, the prices of the new Tom Ford, the Xerjoffs and their ilk feels like a slap in the face. Xerjoff in particular make no effort to provide a cheaper packaging alternative for those who might just love the juice. I did adore Irisss. but even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would never spend over $700 on a perfume. That is just plain wrong to me.

    • March says:

      I always assume there’s a marketing strategy behind a company’s choices, and I don’t know what that strategy is. It would appear that for companies who provide no cheaper (or accessible) refill alternatives, for instance, they’re pretty determined to limit who their consumers are, and/or maintain an air of exclusivity. I personally am a fan of companies like MDCI with decent sample sets and less-expensive bottle alternatives (expense being relative here.)

  • Musette says:

    Uh, btw – in answer to your update:

    the only thing better than the ‘sleepy little boy/Transformer’ notion is a sleepy Big Boy (The Rock (yes! STILL with The Rock, already 8-| curled up in bed …..I wouldn’t mind playing with his ..Transformer! 😉

    oh, be-HAAAVE!

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      Woman, you are in a mood today, lol!

      I just got a ten-minute lecture from my eyerolling daughter regarding the difference between Transformers, Bionicles, and Power Rangers.

  • Marle says:

    I have a FB of Xerjoff Elle. I think it is a spectacular juice and it likes me very much. Very elegant and feminine on me.

    I am religious about storing my juices in cool, dark places, so the whop-de-do packaging is all lost on me. Why would you want to risk degrading your very expensive perfume just so you can show off the bottle?

    The Elle bottle is dramatic, but not that beautiful to me. It seems like something out of the 80’s, as if it should have been filled with Giorgio juice. I agree, there is something Russian-gangster-moll about the line.

    I’m a complete nut about Parfums MDCI, too. I think the refill bottle is very elegant and discreet on it’s own. And again, even if you bought the bisque bottle, why would you display it if it had even a chance to degrade the perfume?

    This is what I just don’t get about these super-pricy offerings.

    • March says:

      I keep trying that Elle; really, it should be gorgeous, wonder why it’s so sweet? The notes are lovely. I suppose it and I are just not a good fix. And I’m glad to hear the MDCI refill bottle is nice, I love several of their fragrances.

      Also you made me laugh with the Giorgio reference.

  • Disteza says:

    I buy less in general nowadays, but if I like it enough, price be damned! I do have a spendy section of my perfume collection, but alas, still no JARs. I’ve been too busy trying to fix house problems for that level of decadence.

  • Musette says:

    I hope you and Pop enjoyed the Gaugin! In honor of your visit I’mo bust open a couple of my monographs, live vicariously for a hot second! 😉

    Aspirational pricing has already been covered here, in excellent fashion. I don’t have any moral issues with it, any more than I have with the shocking handbag prices at Hermes (or the $4K Valextra WALLET) – folks can charge what they want for their goods. But I don’t have to actually buy it! The only Xerjoff I have smelled is the Irissss and it was lovely, what I remember of it. It might be that I was just stunned to be able to smell it at all! I lucked out with the Diaghilev which, as you all know, blew me away. GBP79 for 100ml. Not quite ‘free’…but I don’t feel like I’m being…you know..:”>

    Like you, I’m mostly into decants now – I’m too old to work my way through too many FBs – from an actuarial standpoint it is unlikely to happen, given the size of my perfume stash.

    xo >-)

  • dlep says:

    I am too afraid to try any of these for fear that I may fall in love with one.

    • March says:

      … and then what will you do?! Yes, I feel your pain, that’s what happened with me and Chaos (this was before the reissue.) NOW what? :((

  • Tom says:

    I tried a bunch of the Xerjoffs (and yes, my mind goes to that pronunciation since I am still 12 inside) and thought “tennis anyone”?

    JAR I had to give it up for. At the time I snarked about the experience but after smelling them nothing at Bergdorfs, even from Uncle Serge seemed to quite measure up.

    TF’s Lavender Yawn however.. All the goodwill he banked for me with “A Single Man” he lost. $250 for room spray? Grrr..

    • March says:

      Har har on those JARS … yep. The first time I went in there I was all ready to roll the eyes. And they’re so nice, and the scents are so interesting, even ones I don’t want (the barnyard one, the Jardenia.) Bolt of Lightning is amazing.

  • Rappleyea says:

    I agree with what Rosarita (above) said about aspirational pricing so I won’t say anymore on that subject.

    But I was lucky enough, thanks to a very generous perfume friend, to obtain several Xerjoff samples, mainly from the Shooting Stars and the Casamorati collections. I only tried five or six of them before giving up. They invariably went on beautifully, but within a fairly short amount of time, I began to get a blast of iso e super, which made me queasy. After that, I found it hard to think of them in terms of such high quality that would justify their pricing. Seems like more of the typical marketing ploys.

    • March says:

      Richwood and Damarose were hard for me to take … XXY was nice, and/but I’d rather have a MDCI.

      • Rappleyea says:

        I need to try those! Several people on here have mentioned the MDCI’s. And then there’s that new Tauer… GAH!!!!

  • Louise says:

    Looking forward to sometime smelling the Yerhoofs. They are currently just overwhelming me.

    As for price…well, I’m the ultimate justifier. But I am no longer buying full bottles-my decants more than suffice, and I spend well enough there.

    And since we’re not talking vintage prices, I’ll shhhhhh.

    Thanks for a lovely post!

  • Robin says:

    LOL at “a cloyingly sweet offgassing than from the Allure strip”. And I apologize for being horrified in the first place. Can’t help it — it was a kneejerk reaction. I promise to review something from a scent strip, and soon.

    The Xerjoff prices are crazy.

    • March says:

      Oh, I’m sure you’re not the only one horrified. I’ll argue my position by saying that since I fully disclosed what I was doing, I was okay with it — and I only did it because of that stunning man-scent smell off the strip, not at all what I’d be expecting from Jimmy Choo! It still dries down as quite masculine to me, a weird juxtaposition to the sweet top.

  • Alice C says:

    Prices are crazy. I only found this perfume world recently having been content with one scent for, like, ever. So, when I started on my journey down the rabbit hole, it was (and will remain) on a shoestring budget. Without etailers who sell samples, swap communities and the occasional win in a draw, I could not continue. I love the feel of the bottle in my hand as much as anyone, but not enough to justify spending megabucks for it. Plus, the bottles I do have are hidden away in a cabinet out of the light…I can get online and look at pictures of the pretty bottles… :)

    • March says:

      I think many, many people approach this as you do — swaps, samples, the occasional draw, etc. It’s a perfectly legitimate way for you to proceed, and a lot less expensive than 200+ bottles! :)>-

    • Dionne says:

      Yeah, I’m one of them. It’s probably why I’m commenting much more than I usually do in this thread – it’s so nice to find some kindred spirits. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m the only one who doesn’t do late-night impromptu splurges, or regret my purchases. (Sales, though, they’re a weakness. Combine a great sale with free shipping to Canada…. there could be a late-night splurge!)

      I also keep my perfumes in a closet, and in their box if I’ve got one, so although I also love the feel of a well-made bottle, the jus is all that counts for me.

      • Ann says:

        Count me in the sampler/decanter category, also, ladies. Very few full bottles (and like everything else, they’re put back in a dark, cool chest of drawers), but have spent waaay too much on sampling over the past few years.
        And maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, but anything over $250 gives me very serious pause. That Tom Ford lavender from yesterday’s post at a whopping $950 just about clean took my head off!
        P.S. Hi March, hope you and your dad enjoyed the exhibit. It’s so nice that you can do that together.

        • March says:

          Well, we’ve put it off until Friday, but yes, it is nice. I don’t take those trips for granted (pop is pretty old!)

  • March says:

    Oh, I don’t know what the bell jars cost, am just under the impression that some of them are fairly expensive, compared to the export bottles. But at least they’re pretty! I wanted the El Attarine one, I think… Larmes, how much was that? I wanted some more of that, but not in the Baccarat. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      I actually dislike the export bottles. LOL. I had Tuberose Criminelle, which I love (although it’s oddly faint on me), but I just didn’t wear it because the bottle was a hassle. I sold it. (Okay, let the stone throwing begin)

      I got some refill bottles straight from Baccarat a few years back. There was an unknown stash in New Jersey. Still expensive for 15ml (even if for parfum)–but so worth it. The current price? Maybe. Just maybe. It really is the most beautiful scent in the world to me.

  • Lee says:

    Cooeey, my lovely.

    Out of the loop, Catherine? I think you’re describing me… I still haven’t sniffed Boxeuse, or anything new released in 2010. Scent is now something I sometimes wear. No longer an obsession. I’m happy/sad about that (there should be a French expression for this, like jolie laide).

    Spring is here in the UK. Sunny, high 60s, lots of green shoots. Is nice. Like a respite from our damaged world.

    Miss you Marchie!

    • Catherine says:

      I’m like that, too! Half the time, I forget to put on scent. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but it makes it more of a ritual when I do remember. Like this week I busted out a new bottle of Mona di Orio Amytis that had been in the plastic wrap for two years. See, spring makes me long for that herbal goodness inside. Heaven. And then, sometimes in the evening, I spray Mona di Orio’s Nuit Noire or Chanel’s No. 22 before we head out for dinner and drinks. I love that!

      I haven’t smelled a new SL in a few years! First I need a new bottle of A la Nuit. I miss that, especially as spring begins.

    • March says:

      Hey, I miss you too! I just saw Louise and am wearing a bit of the Serge-bread one on my hand (bread and syrup? I forget.)

      The French don’t have an expression for that? You think they would… we need a word for happy/sad. “Wistful” is the best I can think of in English.

      • Lee says:

        Saudade (sp?) in Portuguese (ish, means between wistfulness and nostalgia and melancholy, afaik)

      • Lee says:

        Is Pain et Sirop lovely?

        • Ann says:

          Hi Lee! Nice to see you on here.
          And March, do let us know what you think
          of the breakfast special a la Serge …

        • March says:

          Um. Well, it’s very Serge…. /:) I can’t decide, honestly. I need to scare up some reviews. It reminds me a little of the Big White Pencil, only with more maple. I love immortelle, and I’m waffling (with syrup).

          • Louise says:

            Hi Lee-

            The new Serge is interesting, but I’m not sure that it’s not a bit too odd, even for me. For immortelle, I’ll reach for Sables, or Luxe Patchouli; for bread, I love my Bois Farine. So not seeing the niche for this niche on.

            So happy that you have spring, and that your garden is thriving!

  • Catherine says:

    When something is over about $200 for 100ml, I barely look at it anymore. I use the current Mona di Orio prices as my limit ($210 for 100ml), even if I haven’t broken down and bought Chamarré and a couple of others at that price yet. When perfume was my only expensive indulgence, I could be greedy a couple of times for the very expensive scents. So I have a small store of Les Larmes Sacrée de Thebes and OJ Seraphim. The Larmes is DEFINITELY worth it. I can’t imagine a more perfect scent. The Seraphim reminds me to much of my ex, so I can’t determine it’s worth, but in a few years, I hope to be as in love with it as ever.

    But that’s IT as far as expensive scents go–I just don’t look anymore. I have other things to interest me–scarves, lipstick, clothes, bags. Priorities, priorities. The Xeroff people can sell to the moneymakers as far as I’m concerned.

    Meanwhile, if $100 is the new free (almost), then there are several tried-and-true scents I want for spring: the travel pack of Fleur de Cassie, SL A la Nuit, SL Fleur de Oranger, L’Artisan La Chasse aux Papillions.

    And what do you mean “the price of SL”? Have the bell jars shot up in price? (Note: I am SO out of the loop these days.)

    • March says:

      Uh. Thread fail. That’s my response to you, under Lee. :)>-

    • Sharon C. says:

      Catherine, I have the SLs you mention, lightly used. If you’re interested, I would be glad to pass them along since I rarely wear them (just not “me” I guess). My email is snchamness at msn.com.

  • Melissa says:

    The high prices of some of the luxury houses (are they really houses?) are too much for me, but perfume, unlike shoes, handbags and clothing, can be split. So I’m willing to round up some friends and pay the price, IF the quality is good. I do appreciate lines such as MDCI. You can buy sample sets at entirely reasonable prices and get the price of the one that you love reduced by the cost of the sample if you order after sampling. So, at least there’s an attempt to reach out to those of us who don’t regularly shop at Neiman Marcus.

    Then then there are houses that annoy me with high prices because I think that you’re just paying for the name. Tom Ford comes to mind. Yeah, some of them are good, but a lavender fragrance for that price? Or the musks? So, I guess it really does come down to quality for me, and to some degree, how I “perceive” the house or line.

    • March says:

      The sample sets from nice lines are a pleasant surprise — from MDCI, Hermes, Ormonde Jayne, who have I forgotten? You can buy some of the Kilians in little travel bottles. And yes, the fact that at least the bottles can be split (hellooo, Les Exclusifs) is significant. But those Tom Fords? I’m not seeing it.

  • Sherri M. says:

    I agree with Suzy Q, that there is something to be said about holding a big, heavy, luxurious bottle that adds to the perfume experience. I have justified the $235 Guerlain L’art et la Matiere bottles that way–no regrets. Above $300 though, I just lose interest in purchasing anything other than a decant. I have so many perfumes now, it is hard for me to justify purchasing even one of the new Diors (though I do love 1947) when I still haven’t used my 5 ml decant; it just seems too wasteful.

    • March says:

      A nice Guerlain bottle is something to look forward to, and based on some of the new pricing, $235 seems reasonable, doesn’t it? And this is why I love decanting — I have to work through the decant first, which I almost never do.

  • Olfacta says:

    Was it you who called the Xerjoffs “for Russian gangsters’ molls”? Somebody did. Not me. I wish it was.

    I’m sticking to decants, indies and the good ol’ gray market. No way in the world am I ever going to pay $650 for a bottle of perfume. “Aspirational pricing.” Give me a break already!

  • rosarita says:

    I agree with Marla. I have always been a perfume lover on a shoestring. Decants make up most of my collection & swapping has played a huge role in sampling, so unless a random sample of an extremely $$ perfume finds it’s way to me in a generous swap package, I’m not about to seek it out. Perfume prices have become payments all too often: a car payment, a house payment. The area I live in still is at 15% unemployment; whole areas of the world are being destroyed by natural disasters or war. Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but as I said on NST yesterday, when I first found the online perfume world, Parfumerie Generale was $75 @ Luckyscent. Now it’s considered a bargain @ $135 and counting…I’d much rather have the occasional 15ml bottle from Sonoma Scent Studio, made with love. Rant over.

    • Marla says:

      You’re not being Debbie Downer, you’re just reading the news! Our family helps sponsor an orphanage for child artists in Haiti, and when the earthquake happened then (seems so long ago with all the other disasters that have occured), we sat down together and talked about our financial priorities, particularly for “discretionary spending”. We all agreed that the people and places we cared about came first. So I don’t mind buying perfume from tiny houses/small businesses with high quality, I’m supporting people and businesses I love! But there’s no way I’m spending hard-earned cash on “aspirational”, alleged luxury goods. Yeah, I’m grumpy these days, but I think I have reason to be!

    • March says:

      Laugh/cry — yeah, remember when PG (over $100) seemed average-y and now it’s like a BARGAIN.

      My perfume spending has been very curtailed. It’s nice. I spend more time enjoying the things I already own.

    • Dionne says:

      Count me in as another frugal perfumista who very quickly learned “go through your sample, buy a decant, go through the decant, bottle goes on the wishlist for Christmas/Valentines/Mother’s Day/Birthday.” My husband actually appreciates that gifts for me are a no-brainer now. ;)

      In my case, the priority reminders comes from regular Skype phonecalls with my parents. They’re living in Uganda doing humanitarian work, so it’s quite the wake-up call. Most times I think I live pretty modestly – and then I sit down at my computer and contemplate our two vehicles, high-speed internet, indoor plumbing and electricity, and find myself amazed at my life. $30 a month for sampling feels pretty extravagant in those moments.

  • Kim says:

    Ooh – Gaugin! Not the same style but saw Titian’s for the first time in person and my, oh, my, what a difference the real thing is compared to a book or reproduction!
    I guess I kind of put perfume in that same art category – if I love it, I love it and that is all there is too it. Don’t know if I would pay $600 for a bottle unless I truly, madly, deeply loved it and wore it tons and could afford it in the budget – and I would definitely go through a few decants first to be sure! But I find that the perfumes I love are so wonderful to me, in a manner beyond the ability of this non-writer to explain, that I just have to have them, regardless of crazy pricing. Thank goodness for decants and bottle splits that put some of these crazy prices within budgetary reach.

    • March says:

      Well, yes, as we all know, unlike a handbag (?) at least the hyper-expensive scents can be shared out — samples of the Xerjoffs are available on Lucky, no doubt, and probably elsewhere. For the bottle splits, I can’t fathom how they work out who keeps the bottle!

  • Marla says:

    This “aspirational pricing” trend makes me want to throw up. There, I said it. I won’t buy one of those bottles no matter how much I might like the sample. If a brand has a target market of bankers, their arm candy, and hedge fund managers, I don’t want anything to do with them. With all the tragedies on the planet today, and most likely, more to come, I’d rather buy a lovely Indie perfume at a reasonable price and spend the rest on worthy charities that are desperate for donations. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve switched to micro-niche, naturals, and Indie in the last year, and I don’t regret it a bit.

    • March says:

      The aspirational pricing has gotten more irritating as it’s proliferated. It didn’t really register when there were a handful of scents that were very expensive (usually in some specialty bottle.) But the idea in the back of my mind that $300 – $500 may become some sort of wide standard … ugh. Probably the micro-niche and indies are flourishing in part because of this.

    • Dionne says:

      Right there with you, Marla. I’m still pretty new at this, but it didn’t take very long to figure out I’d never be able to smell everything, so I made the conscious choice to focus more on the artisanal side of perfumery. I have no intention of even sampling the uber-expensive lines – why bother wanting something I will simply cannot afford? Also,I recently read “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster” and boy was that ever an eye-opener. I’d rather send my money to someone who makes perfume for its own sake.

      Indie is the new niche, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Suzy Q says:

    The entire experience of wearing perfume is enhanced by a bottle that looks beautiful and feels good in your hand, has a solid feeling cap and an excellent spray mechanism. Smell, touch, vision and maybe even sound are all engaged. In a perfect world you wouldn’t have to pay extra for this complete experience and with some companies you don’t. In the real world I’m happy enough to spray expensive jus (e.g. Parfums MDCI) from a cheap decant atomizer if it means I can afford to buy a bit of the stuff to call my own.

    • March says:

      The MDCI, I think, did their refills in decent-looking bottles – I mean, not something that looked like a canister that should be hidden, although I’ve not actually seen one. I remember having an email conversation with Claude Marechal about that, he understood people were buying them on their own and didn’t want the refills to be hideous.

      We could launch a separate, third conversation about how often caps ruin the presentation. The bottle’s great and then the cap’s stupid or ugly or cheap or a fail in some other way.

  • (Ms.)Christian says:

    No comments or thoughts on what makes a bottle “worth it.”

    Just had to say that the spelling of “Irisss” reminds me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings hissing about his “Precioussssssss.” How many esses is too many?

    • March says:

      My precioussssss, have you seen some of the names from their shooting star collection?

      Shingl? Ouesel? OTOH this neatly gets around the issue of finding an available name…

      • Marla says:

        Shingle Weasels?? Really?? Or maybe Weasel Shingles?

        • Marla says:

          Can weasels get shingles??

          • (Ms.)Christian says:

            What a wonderful question, Marla (I bet they do!) Thanks, March for sharing those other Xerjoff names. Lordie.

            Weasels get so little press, especially in perfumery. Does anyone remember Frank Zappa’s album “Weasels Rip My Flesh”? GREAT cover art…

          • March says:

            I’d love to see Xerjoff do a Zappa-inspired fragrance… actually, I’d love ANYONE to do a Zappa fragrance.

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh! The Gaugin exhibit. Have fun with your dad, babe. I really want to see it.

    How much is a bottle worth? Oh, I don’t know, March. I have gotten to the point that I have so much perfume in my collection, I am not willing to spend over $200. unless I really love it. Maybe $250.

    The By Kilian packaging is gorgeous, and I really love my samples of Rose Oud. But at $395., I am not willing to go there anymore.


    • March says:

      So you have the same $200 – $250 line… but $400 is too much (wow, again, had no idea Rose Oud was that much.)

      I think the last “expensive” thing I bought was Jubilation 25. But some of these prices make it look quite reasonable.

  • sweetlife says:

    Enjoy the Gaugin!

    Like you, I’m not a bottle person. But when perfume hits the $200 for 50 ml mark, I become far less interested in trying it at all. The JAR’s where the last ones to make it past that barrier for me (don’t own any, but I tried them eagerly and would still love to be in on a split of Bolt of Lightning) but that’s because it’s 30 ml of the pure parfum and it really does seem to be at least partly about raw ingredients. (Given their clientele they could have charged double for them if they’d cared to.) I pronounce Xerjoff the way you do, and can’t help dismissing them out of hand, though now that I’ve said that in public I have no doubt I’ll fall madly in panting, bosom-heaving love with one of them…

    • March says:

      See, I’m curious, in comments so far nobody’s said a thing about trying any of these (although I threw out that diversionary question.)

      The JAR bottles are pretty, right? But not extraordinary, considering the original backer’s a jeweler… gah, I’d love a bottle of BOL too. I wish they’d do a discovery set.