Sniffage at Tysons Galleria

Lady M NYC — mille crepes cake, matcha.

It all started off with my burning desire to eat just one more slice of mille crepes cake (yep, the same cake Anita put in my birthday post) from New York’s Lady M pop-up boutique before it disappeared from our local upscale mall.* Then it turned out fellow perfumista Melissa could meet me there for cake and chat and some informal sniffage.  My nose is sort of off-and-on, so I’d amuse her periodically by holding up a card I’d just sprayed with something nuclear and say “damn, I can’t smell a thing!”  But I did smell some things.  In no particular order (random quotes lifted shamelessly from Neiman-Marcus’ website):

Tom Ford Lost Cherry—I admit it, I find the name hilarious, and the red bottle’s beautiful; it starts off smelling like the world’s fanciest cough syrup and dries down to a nice cherry tobacco.  I have read a bunch of rave reviews of this, and I suspect there’s more to it that I simply can’t smell. What I can smell is very pretty but didn’t blow my socks off.

Malle Sale Gosse – “doodles on the blackboard, devious schemes and pranks galore. Petitgrain, neroli, bergamot and rosemary are infused with a cheeky smile of violet and strawberry for a taste of bubblegum, old-fashioned sweets…” etc.  The SA declined to translate the name, saying it was “vulgar,” but I’m coming up with nasty brat, more or less.  It’s a pretty, summery cologne, heavy on the petitgrain, with a candied-violet drydown.  I think it’s really nice, but not different or strong (or weird) enough to be worth the Malle pricetag, in my opinion.

Malle Superstitious — “A classic floral aldehydic perfume structures Alber Elbaz’s free-flowing vision, of an elaborate fabric in which a woman can find her own beauty: Turkish rose oil and Egyptian jasmine, enhanced by a touch of peach, rest on a bed of amber and frankincense imbued with Haitian vetiver…”. I think I actually said holy crap when I sniffed it.  It is, uh, extremely ripe to me (and to Melissa, apparently.)  As in: well beyond the skank border and into straight-up excrement territory.  I cannot imagine wearing it, but that didn’t stop me from compulsively sniffing my blotter over and over again just for the shock value. I know some of you love this scent, and more power to you.

Malle Outrageous — I remember being underwhelmed by this at the time, because anything called Outrageous that comes in a Malle bottle ought to be seriously freaky, and this, despite all its heavy-breathing PR, is a nice little cologne-y thing—“an explosion of bergamot, tangerine and green apple against a lusty backdrop of cinnamon, musk and ambroxan. It’s dramatic, festive and colorful…” yadda yadda, and it’s also what you should buy instead of Sale Gosse if you want something effervescent and wearable and fun for the summer.

Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes ca. 1983.

Cartier L’Heure Perdue – if Cartier were a woman, she’d be Jacqueline de Ribes ca. 1983 – elegant, impossibly soignee.  I remember seeing this photo in a magazine – Interview, maybe? — and coming back to the library several times just to stare at it, mesmerized.  I will never be chic enough to wear Cartier, and with all the Heures I sorta lost track and then lost interest.  But this.  They have it at Neiman Marcus and Melissa is contemplating a bottle, so we stopped and sniffed.  I don’t even think I was taking it all in, and I still swooned, holy cow.  It is beeYOUtiful.  I can’t find a list of notes, just some breathy prose about vanillin and heliotropin and musk and “a feat of alchemy, exploring the artificial through a precipitate of large synthetic molecules…” and I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a recipe for: powdery mess, play-doh division.  Instead it’s …. an aldehydic lactonic fruity floral?  Now I’m laughing, that sounds even worse.  Go smell it.  Googling shows that (aha!) Luca Turin gives it the rare and coveted five stars.

Diptyque Philosykos and Tam Dao EDTs – they’ve made summer EDTs of their classics, and the bottles are super cute and budget friendly and fit nicely in my doll-hand.  I had literal goosebumps and a flashback with the Philosykos, which smells every bit as lovely and figgy as I remember, not too woody and a little green in the EDT.  Tam Dao EDT actually smells better than I remember – I think availability of the sandalwood went downhill a few years ago and took Tam Dao with it?  So either they sourced some more or (more likely) they’ve developed some fabulous new aromachemistry, plus a juicy twist of citrus.

*Good news: it’s been extended through September!  Tysons Galleria in suburban Washington, D.C. Why they don’t just open up a store there baffles me, given the business they do.

  • hczerwiec says:

    God, I love your prose stylings! And I’m so happy to hear your nose is recovering! Also, I don’t know what’s more elegant — the comtesse or the cake. At least I can aspire to the cake.

    I’ve been dying to try the Cartier since reading about it in the new Perfume: The Guide, but it’s not around here — may have to wait until I can get to Chicago (as with most things — still aching to get to the Chanel boutique for a bottle of Cuir de Russie!).

  • shylotus says:

    I’m glad your sniffer is coming back to life, March. The day at Tysons sounds fun. I love DC perfumista sniffas down there, as well as Chevy Chase. I’m hoping to get down to Neimans again soon to try the new Carnal Flower body and hair oil. Did Malle have it in stock yet? I’m pleased, too, to hear about the smaller Diptyque bottles!

  • Melissa says:

    I was utterly thrilled that you could smell again! And we agreed on what we were smelling about 95% of the time, too!

    Cartier Purdue is definitely tempting me. I’ll let you know if I buy it. It was a fun day and I was just happy to be there when you got your nose back.

  • Dina C. says:

    Your perfume sniffage sounds so delightful March. I’m envious. I remember when the DC group used to gather at Perfume with Flowers to sniff stuff. That Cartier sounds amazing. Must go and sniff that goodie! And I love Philosykos and Tam Dao, so those are added to the list, too. I’m glad your nose is recovering — here’s to more healing in the days ahead!

    • March says:

      Man, we really need to do an informal meetup…. I start to think about organizing one and it gets too complicated and then I back-burner it, lol.

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    I love Perdue #11 Cartier too. It’s sold out here in Oz and I keep forgetting to buy it overseas. We have #2, #6 and #12 here.
    If Lost Cherry was $100 cheaper I’d own a bottle but La Petit Robe Noire Black Perfecto is a fine surrogate for me.
    Sounds like your sniffer is making a come back, really happy for you.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      So I’m not the only person who’s thinking, if Lost Cherry were cheaper….. it would be fun just to see it on the shelf. xo

  • Tara C says:

    I hated Superstitious as well, and totally agree on Sale Gosse and Outrageous. Sniffed all the Heures and none of them really held my interest, which is good given the price. Lost Cherry – would be great at half the price. I need to resniff Tam Dao as the last time I smelled it, it was basically all cedar and no sandalwood.

    • March says:

      I feel like they’ve tweaked Tam Dao, at least the little green-ish bottle I smelled — seems almost citrusy? Like they played up that aspect. It was really nice, although anyone looking for what it smelled like originally would I think be disappointed.

  • cinnamon says:

    That was meant to read ‘transitting’, thank you apple autocorrect.

  • cinnamon says:

    Almost 10 years ago now I had to be in NY for a family situation. It was very hot, as NY can be. On the way from X to Y one day, I found myself near Cartier on Fifth, so stopped in to smell the first of the l’Heures. I looked a complete hot mess, but everyone inside was pleasant and helpful. Was totally taken by the with the longer, unpronounceable (for me) name – that smells of hay and horses. In any case, Perdue sounds beautiful – well worth a sniff. And that pic is gorgeous. We’re transmitting through Doha soonish, so will look for it.

    • March says:

      I will say that, in my experience, the boutiques whether Cartier or Chanel or whatnot are gracious when you come in, whatever you’re wearing. I just *feel* too basic for Cartier…

  • Richard Potter says:

    I do adore Superstitious. Not a bit skanky to me. I wish I could have joined you and Melissa. I’ve been meaning to check out the new Arabian Oud @ Tyson’s.

    • March says:

      Hey there! I should set up a casual meet-up at the Galleria one of these days…. I think Melissa sniffed the Oud? She’s an oud fan.