Omgosh! We had SUCH a good time! And whilst we were having that Good Time, the brilliant Portia Turbo suggested to one of our Posse readers that she might post about her experience with our crazy selves. Y’all hear from me all the time, yarbling on about how fabulous it is – but how about hearing from a first-time event attendee!? The gorgeous and phenomenal Hemlock Sillage is that attendee, having flown in from the great state o’ Texas to hang out, shop and have a Time with us. Here’s her story:
Meeting fellow perfumistas makes exploring perfume even more fun. I had the chance to go to Chicago and meet up with the Posse’s own Musette and Portia. It was a great experience. I’m writing this for those of you who’ve never stepped out, never met others in the community and possibly those of you who don’t post on the blog. Jump in, I say! You will never find a more welcoming group of people.
I’ve been described as intense, but I tend to be quiet in groups. Meeting big groups of people is not my thing. Travel and perfume will drag me from my cave. I met Musette the day before the informal Chicago sniffa, and we shopped ourselves silly. I met her beloved handbag, Murray, and we ogled, ok fondled, lovely handbags at Nordstrom’s. Musette, as you can guess, is a hoot! She is both decisive and encouraging. With her artist’s eye, she pushed me to try on things that really fit, instead of my usual shapeless frump wear. We had the chance to sniff the Thierry Mugler Les Exceptions, guided by the very kind Mohammed at Nordstrom’s. (A bottle of Fougère Furieuse may be in my future.) That night we had dinner with Portia and her family, Jin and Kath. We talked, laughed and even sang a little. (Portia AND Jin can sing!) It was great fun seeing Chicago through the Aussies’ eyes while they were here on their whirlwind tour from LA to NYC.
The next day was the get together with Portia, and three of Musette’s dear friends joined to celebrate Musette’s birthday. Saturdays Francine, Julie and Denise were instant gal-pals. Portia Turbo, who is behind Australian Perfume Junkies, is a force of nature. She is as positive, charming and exuberant as you can imagine from her posts. At Barney’s, she chose three scents to explore with the group: Frederick Malle’s Geranium pour Monsieur, Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille, and L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Batucada. Spraying on both scent strips and on her skin, we could talk about how each scent developed over time. I was blown away by Batucada. To be fair, I had not given it much of a chance, but it had a fascinating arc of development—from lime/mint top notes to floral coconut mid notes and drying down to a musky sweet skin scent. It is gorgeous on Portia, and I need to spend more time with it.
Part of the fun of this kind of meet up, is meeting people like Portia and Musette in person, people whose writing I have enjoyed for years. Another great thing is to meet others who read the blogs, people like Terri and Tally, who love perfume. With whom else can I talk about Malle’s purchase by Estée Lauder, and speculate what perfumes will change or disappear from the line-up? My friends’ and family members’ eyes glaze over.
With these new friends, I braved the hushed atmosphere of Hermès. I wanted to try the new Cuir d’Ange. There were no samples given, but it was a chance to try it on skin. Others will have more detailed reviews, but my quick take is more suede than leather, musky and floral with a honeyed sweetness that made me think of peach. It reminded me of SL’s Daim Blond, but much more soft focus. Again, with what other group is it ok to sniff another’s hand/wrist and debate notes of a new fragrance? Polite society really frowns on smelling others, but in perfumista world, it’s normal and great fun.
Another fantastic part of the day was meeting Lisa, who along with Patty, makes up Surrender to Chance! Lisa, her sister, Kristin, and daughter, Kelsey, came to the get together—this is half of the team that makes STC magic happen. Lisa shared photos of her perfume cabinets and decanting set up. Wow. Just, WOW. My brain boggles at the fragrant gems tucked away in those cupboards. They had come to meet Portia and celebrate Musette’s B-day, just like the rest of us. Lisa and I sniffed the Lancôme L’Autre Ôud and Ôud Bouquet along with Mille & Une Roses, Sagamore and Peut-Être from the Maison Lancôme line, which are available at the Neiman Marcus Chicago (and online).
At NM, Portia guided us through four more fragrances. We smelled scent strips and skin applied versions of Jean Patou’s 1000, Creed’s Tabarome, Creed’s Iris Tubereuse, and last Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Cologne pour le Soir. Julie, who until this day was not a perfumista, made us all laugh when she said she needed a private moment with that last heady scent. It was great fun to see someone relatively new to the perfume scene instantly captivated.
That’s the joy, really—sharing laughs and love of perfume with others who are very into fragrance. Everyone had different tastes, and all opinions were accepted. There was no pressure to make a purchase. It’s funny, but I wore less perfume in those few days, as I was always trying to save skin for the next big find. Let me encourage you to jump into the discussion here AND to participate in a perfume meet up (whether Sniffapalooza, Chicocascentsation, or smaller group like this one). Of course be safe when meeting people from the internet, but I’d say perfume people are the best.