Mistakes Were Made

After Portia’s post on SJP Lovely, I felt an undeniable longing to go find my bottle of Narciso Rodriguez, which I was pretty sure was in the perfume-stash cooler I packed for moving.  Each bottle was safely wrapped pre-move, in their boxes if I had them, and then individually bagged (and in some cases, double-bagged, depending on the size/state/fear-factor of the fragrance) in hopes that any disasters would be contained.

WELL.  The bags aren’t transparent, so I generally need a peek to see what I’ve grabbed.  Early in my cooler search I pulled out this great lump of a thing, clearly an unboxed bottle, and realized it had leaked some dark, viscous liquid into its bagging, and not an insubstantial amount either.  Okay, fine, might as well deal with it now, right?

I really wish I had videocam footage of my face when I realized the fist-size lump I was holding was my vintage stoppered flacon of Poison.  I’m sure anyone looking at the footage would think: my god, she’s just realized she’s holding a grenade with the pin removed.

My brain was processing furiously.  I mean, maybe I couldn’t smell the wrapped thing in my hand, but I had the sense to realize that splashing it around the kitchen willy-nilly would be detectable to other people for decades.  Possibly forever.  Really, the prep was hilarious – I didn’t know whether the fragrance was already on my right hand at that point, so we had five minutes of left-handed maneuvers while I found a disposable plastic bowl to set the thing down in, then a lay-down of a plastic trash bag and some newspaper on the counter, before I proceeded with unwrapping the bottle.  You’d have thought I was dissecting a skunk, which to some people would have been preferable.

Could I smell it after unwrapping?  Nope!  Which – hahahahaha – should give you some idea of my anosmia right this second.  Poison’s a fragrance I could smell for days on my skin, even the tiniest dab, and I was always extremely careful not to get it on anything I couldn’t wash.  In fact, I remember wondering before I bought it on eBay whether I even wanted to own a stoppered flacon of something so terrifying to spill.  I decided I did – I had one just like it in the bad old 1980s – and I was thrilled to have it again.  I love it, and I think the bottle’s beautiful.  Anyway, I spent thirty extremely cautious minutes with paper towels, a damp cloth, and the trash can open right next to me, while I wiped the flacon down (my careful taping of the stopper while packing apparently hadn’t been enough) and then made sure every last bit of anything I’d touched wound up in the trash.  Then I scoured my hands and promptly took the trash outside to the bin.

Right now, to me Poison smells … musky and faintly of cherries, like maybe somebody spilled a bit of cough syrup on the counter last week.  Other recent trials: Mitsouko (extrait and EdP), which smell very faint, like a combination of Jicky and peach (okay, not so far off in my impression, but almost imperceptible to my nose), and Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger.  Which smelled like a very lightly-scented orange oil on a rag.  That’s a bit of a …. shocker.  I used to be able to smell FdO from the next room over, hours after I’d sprayed it once.

I tried dabbing them.  I tried applying to a cloth and then waving them in the air.  I thought about spritzing my chair, or the pillow, but those seemed like bad ideas since someone may actually visit me indoors someday, and there’s a limit to how much non-disposable miasma I want to create in here.  But I’ll keep trying!

Have you had any perfume disasters?

PS In case you missed it, Patty wrote about a french-fry-scented perfume called Frites on Friday, which I find hilarious.  I want it just for the swanky bottle!

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m really bummed you couldn’t sniff these scents any stronger. What a letdown! But your writing about the Poison leakage is hilarious. You sound like a trained tech from the bomb squad! Military personnel will be recruiting you any day now for a new career (wink, wink)! Did your sweet little puppy show any signs that she could smell lashings of the 1980s overwhelming your home?

    • March says:

      HAHA funny, I forgot that — she DID! She seemed very curious about what the heck I was doing, and I was being very calm about it, I’m sure it was Smell Overload for her. She’s the dog who spent weeks trying to get under the fence to the skunks living right there under the shed…. a friend said “nah, if there’s a skunk right there, you’d smell it.” Two big ones (live trapped and removed.) I never smelled a thing.

  • gwenyth says:

    I dropped a bottle of vintage Caron Alpona parfum. There was only about 10ml left (thank goodness) but I was horrified by the loss….and so I sopped up the liquid (amongst shards of broken glass) with my wrists.
    Not my best decision….
    However, I smelled fabulous for the rest of the day and my bathroom smelled fabulous for weeks afterward.

  • Teresa says:

    Hearing about the woman who threw a bottle of Opium at her husband reminded me of a woman in our social circle who had an out-of-control teenage daughter who seemingly hated her parents; she got into an argument with her mother and hit her on the head with a quite heavy unnamed perfume bottle which ultimately caused brain damage…hard to believe and sad but true.

    • March says:

      Honestly? You could probably kill someone with that Poison flacon, it feels like a rock in my hand. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  • Tara C says:

    Fortunately my only crash was an edp bottle of Kai, a pleasant Hawaiian floral. Managed to save 30-40% of it. However it did break one of the glass tiles on my bathroom floor, which was a more annoying problem, harder to fix.

    • March says:

      That IS annoying, although yeah, I bet your bathroom smelled great! I had a Kai shower gel I believe, at one point. I could think of way worse things to break in there … most of the scents listed below, for example!

  • Carlene says:

    Not personally, but I know someone who (in the ’80s) threw a full bottle of Opium at her husband, who ducked, and it hit the wall & shattered. In their apartment. Where it probably lived longer than their marriage.

  • Carrie says:

    1) a bottle of Shalimar parfum, at work, into the carpet.
    2) a large bottle of Caron Tabac Blond that dropped onto a hard tile floor but that I managed to mostly salvage into a large decant bottle.
    3) a HUGE bottle of an old Patricia de Nicolai cologne that I don’t think they even sell anymore that I have never used but which has evaporated to almost nothing.

    • March says:

      WOW I’m imagining your Shalimar-scented workplace and my eyes are watering just a hair … although the cleaning crews probably have amazing carpet deodorizers. So sorry about the Caron! My PdNs were never very stable, somehow (in their smell, not the bottles.)

  • Musette says:

    OMG. This post had me BLARTING! okay – two things: yes. Opium. Which. I. Hate. like a mongoose hates a snake. And I remember getting a tad (like 1/4 of a DROP) on my left index finger, right before I was headed up to Barney’s to meet Frederic Malle. Talk about a pinless grenade! I walked from Saks (where the offense occurred) to Barney’s, with several tissues soaked in isopropyl, scrubbing furiously. Didn’t really work because it was already in the soft palate. Alas.

    Poison. A good friend loved it. I asked her what her sketchyAF 3rd husband to be had gotten her for her birthday: ‘he gave me Poison’ which, considering he later tried to murder her on their honeymoon (for realz) was an appropriate gift. Every time I see a bottle of Poison I remember that and BLART (because she’s fine – and he’s not).


    • March says:

      Opium seems like the culprit of the day on here! So sorry about your Saks mishap, but you’d have to cut your finger off to get THAT off there. And omg your friend!

      • Musette says:

        well. EVERYBODY! said ‘do NOT do this!!’ – but she did. He tried to beat her brains out on a marble floor in Venice. He failed. She’s FOINE. But he later died (out of the marriage). So nobody had to kill him.


  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I had a bottle of vintage Mitsouko spill and I lost about a 3rd of the bottle, vintage BaV and lost half and three quarters of a bottle of Cuir de Russie extrait spill and lost 60 percent. All of them splash bottles. Good thing I have a huge bottle of the last one and tones of back ups of the first 2.

    • March says:

      I just made a little shrieking sound! I feel like BaV would have been especially problematic to spill ON something, at least something you couldn’t wash! I’m glad you had plenty more! Even though it’s ugly I mostly kept my splash bottles lightly taped (one strip over the top) in case they somehow got knocked — also my kids weren’t allowed anywhere near the perfume closet lol.

  • AnnJune says:

    Yes! A bottle of Opium (EDP, I believe) hit the tile floor of the bathroom of my apartment many years ago and exploded. I remember the horror of it hitting the floor, but not much about the after-effects, so it may not have been too bad…

    • March says:

      Oh my goodness! I’d think it would be in the grout forever, maybe it’s still there … the floor here is mostly saltillo tile instead of wood, which makes me extra nervous, I’ve already broken a couple of things (not perfume) dropping them! My reading glasses seem especially susceptible.

  • Alityke says:

    I cannot say the word 2 letters starts with n so I’ll say n** yet. If I write or say them I’m scared of the wrath of the perfume Gods!
    My Caldey Island Lavender did leak on it’s way to me. Not much & it’s not nuclear so ce la vie!

    • March says:

      I understand the wrath of the perfume gods! I’ve had decants leak, including in my purse, but nothing too terrible to live with.

  • cinnamon says:

    I’m sure I dropped something in a bathroom decades ago but can’t recall what. A very nice person sent me a large decant of Amaranthine years ago which leaked from the get-go. As I can’t wear the fragrance I wasn’t too sad but I do love the smell of it from the bottle and would have been happy to put on scarf, etc. However, most of it was gone very quickly due to the leakage and evaporation.

    • March says:

      I’ve definitely put leftover decants on things, knowing they were going away soon — it’s so dry here I know decants won’t last long, I don’t care how well they’re taped. I’ve also tucked the empties (without the cap) into my desk, or desk drawers etc, hoping to capture the last of the scent.

  • Portia says:

    Yep, bottle of Montale Sandflowers leaked out about 70ml into my luggage and the case still smells of it, since 2013!!!
    Portia xx

  • MMKinPA says:

    I dropped my bottle of l’artisan Vanille Absolument and the entire top broke off. I was able to grab it before it emptied and decanted it into a couple of 10ml sprayers, but probably lost at least 20ml. My closet hallway smelled good for weeks!

  • Taxi says:

    Leaving for college on an airplane, I had my stoppered flacon of Jean d’Albret’s Casaque in the bottom of a tote-style purse.. Somewhere en route, it spilled. I was in a row by myself but I’m sure everyone on the plane could smell it.

    • March says:

      YIKES. That’s one of my (weird) worst fears, scenting an entire plane! I’ve had numerous decants leak into various handbags, I’m sure they’re all scented with something at this point…