Treasures from the Vault

Not gonna lie, I miss the floral extravaganza of spring in Washington, D.C. I checked the news and they are guessing peak bloom for the cherry blossoms in the next week to ten days. If you ever have a chance to see them in person — I know it’s a tourist cliché but they really are spectacular down around the Tidal Basin, although you can find them blooming all over the city and suburbs.

We had Hoth-level cold for much of the last two months, which I … did not like at all, with Google telling me all too often in the morning that “with the wind chill it’s minus three degrees” (that’s -19C). But we seem to have skipped ahead out of the daytime 30s and right past the 40s — it’s been in the 50s in mid-afternoon and kind of damp for a week and I am looooving it. Everything still looks pretty dead, as it does around here in winter. The decorative cacti in people’s yards are desiccated and droopy and that hasn’t changed yet. But in the walled garden in front of my house we have these tiny daffodils (Musette said they’re called Tête à Tête, I think) and a lone crocus. They’re not really out elsewhere, but on my neighborhood dog-walks I can see the daffodil leaves are up and the stems are starting to swell with future buds, which thrills me. Other than a few scatterings of wild violets, nothing else is blooming yet, but the promise is there.

Last summer I started allergy shots after a miserable spring, and I’m about to find out how effective they’ve been. I’m not hoping for total reprieve, but an improvement would be lovely. I was patch-tested and the good news is I’m allergic to almost nothing; the bad news is I’m wildly allergic to juniper which is absolutely everywhere here. Fun fact: juniper relies on our high desert wind for pollination rather than insects or birds, so in the spring breeze there’s so much pollen it looks like the bushes are smoking and about to burst into flame. Anyway, fingers crossed my response to it has decreased dramatically after nine months of shots.

After Musette wrote about Ines recently I got a hankering for something fruity and spring-like so I dug around in The Vault (my big, airtight shipping container with all my fragrances) for the first thing I thought of — L’Artisan Mûre et Musc. I can’t smell all of it but I can smell it! And (given that I’m in a new workspace) I feel like I can give myself a spritz and not ruin anyone’s day, it’s just not that strong. I also pulled out the old standby Annick Goutal Eau du Sud which I can also smell and I think I’m going to dig some more of those out, I seem to be more able to smell the AG scents? Not sure why.

Finally I pulled out a small bottle I recognized as one of my back-in-the-day MDCI decants (how could I give that up?) I thought it was the rose one but no, it was MDCI Enlevement au Serail. This is my original decant direct from Claude Marchal when he was still naming them, mine says FK3 on the front. Notes from Fragrantica: “Enlevement au Serail was launched in 2006. The nose behind this fragrance is Francis Kurkdjian. Top notes are Ylang-Ylang, Mandarin Orange and Bergamot; middle notes are Jasmine, Tuberose, Wallflower and Rose; base notes are Sandalwood, Vetiver, Vanilla and Patchouli.” It’s so interesting, my quirky nose. At first it was sort of like when you smell an old perfume and it’s gone kinda off and flat? Only that’s my nose, not the fragrance. But as it warms up on my skin, I started to get more of the full effect – not the full full effect, but damn. This scent … do they even make this any more? I think not, sadly, because it is A Lot in a glorious way, a naked-in-mink-and-pearls old school bombshell of a scent. Maybe the illicit love child of vintage Mitsouko and old-school Rochas Femme? I probably won’t wear it to the office but I’m enjoying swanning around the house in it.

  • Dina C. says:

    Hyacinths and daffodils are blooming in my protected backyard, and the neighborhood has flowering trees early this year. But the wind is fierce today! I just blind bought an oldie — Mauboussin– off of ebay, and it’s a gorgeous furry chypre kitten. Powdery amber and just right for late winter. Has that old school 80s power without the modern screechy aromachemicals. Cheap as chips, too.

    • March says:

      I remember that one! I think I tried it and liked it, love those ebay deals! Furry chypre kitten sounds perfect for your late winter weather.

  • Musette says:

    I absolutely LOVE Enlevement! LOVE IT! And your ‘love child’ description fits it perfectly, imo. I only had a little decant – and it’s long gone…because I wore it ALL!
    I think you could easily wear this to the office because it sticks close to the skin – just not in YUUUUGE! quantities. Kinda how I wear Jub25 (or Femme) when I’m out and about. Enough to make people want to slide a bit closer….but not enough to make them cough.

    xoxo fingers crossed on the allergies.

    • March says:

      I think since my smell perception is wonky I don’t trust myself about the sillage? I don’t want to be like your friend with Fracas lol.You’re right, dabbed on it’d probably be fine. And you’ve reminded me I should dig up my Jubilation… so far so good on the allergies. I’ve had a bit of vague itchiness but nothing like last year.

  • cinnamon says:

    You made me laugh with the love child thing. What does your perfume shipping container look like? Was it actually specifically for perfume? And weather … well, our combo of unusually hot, dry summer and repeated cold spells has resulted in late blooming by bulbs. However, I did notice a neighbour’s dog wood is finally budding.

    • March says:

      It’s actually a giant cooler (like for keeping drinks cold) that seals up nicely and is very tough. It’s how I got the perfume across the country unbroken, smells lovely when I open it. Oh, I love dogwoods — so gorgeous in spring.

  • alityke says:

    The bloody joys of the Climate Crisis huh? At least it’s no longer referred to as global warming!
    As I write the snow has melted but more is forecast & most of the UK is the drab grey of school uniforms. The daffs came out only to be frozen by the snow!
    Tête-à-tête are so pretty, if you get close you may be able to catch their feral whiff. They smell of narcissus notes in perfumery. I used to love them grown inside until DH told me they gave him a headache. So as with cut lilies I don’t have them inside the house.

    • March says:

      Daffodils in the snow are so pretty though! Here they keep on truckin’ when snowed on, at least these have! I’ll have to get down on the ground out there and give them a sniff, I didn’t think about that. Cut lilies are a favorite — a lady at work keeps them on her desk and I stop by every week and sniff at them, she doesn’t mind one bit.

  • Tara C says:

    Tragically, Enlèvement du Sérail is a victim of IFRA and gone forever. Still relatively cold here in SoCal so I’m still wearing my winter fumes.

  • Tom says:

    IDK- I hate the words “wind chill factor” and I feel that you should ba able to sue that they have it there. It’s a desert, dammit, with cacti and everything. Temps should not go that low..

    Ah, Eau de Sud. Such a longtime fave. I have a pre reformulation bottle that I dose out when I need it like the last few ambien during an attack of insomnia. I don’t think they make it anymore.

    • March says:

      Ohnoes! I still see Sud on Harrods so hoping it’s not d/c’d … it was always my go-to over Hadrien which I love on other people but it’s a little too Lemon Pledge on me. This was allegedly an unusually cold winter. I lived here before as you know and do NOT remember it being this cold! I hope you’re okay in the latest deluge.

      • Tom says:

        Yeah, I am fine. Just had to drain some off of the pool in preparation. It’s the hills that are having the issue and the people in Big Bear. Crazy amounts of snow and this is going to be freezing rain for them. We have had almost double the rain for the season so far and that doesn’t count todays or the two more coming. Glub Glub. I’m wearing Rochas Femme to cope.