Cheap and Cheerful: L. T. Piver Heliotrope Blanc

Well for those of you who read last week’s post, the Trial of the Century is over (after three hours) and we will see what the outcome was. The expected morning rain put itself off until mid-afternoon, which meant that I was able to run out and get a few errands done before the skies opened (note to non-Angelinos: there is a stereotype that people from LA don’t know how to drive in the rain and we generally fold our tents and hide at the first sprinkle. Like some stereotypes, this one is based upon fact: the first rain of the season brings to the surface all of the oils and goo that are washed away in other cities that have rain every month and not just in one season, so it can be like driving on black ice. Our media will bombard us with dire warnings about “StormWatch 2024” and we will get alerts across our phones, TV’s and other devices often telling us about flash flood warnings and weather alerts of hail, tornados, and dogs and cats living together for the county that may not affect us in the flats but will in the hills we we drive through to get home. So, yeah, it is partially true that we drop everything if it rains and stay home faster than a Manhattanite being told the party’s location has been moved to Brooklyn.) Yesterday (Thursday the 7th) was lovely and I was of course in the office. Late in the afternoon I heard a rumbling something that sounded for all the world like someone using a trash dumpster as a toboggan down the middle of the street. Surely that was too long to be thunder? Well, it was. After a bit it started raining, then pouring. I turned on the news to see that north of us in the Hollywood hills it was hailing, and north of that in the Valley Van Nuys airport looked like it was dusted with snow. Action McNews couldn’t even take McNewsCopter3000 out of the hangar, so dire were the flying conditions.

I said “screw it” and ordered a pizza, tipping heavily.

All of this might make you think “Fine, Tom, but what the heck does this have to do with heliotrope? Or anything at all?” Well I suppose it only does tangentially. I had read in some comment somewhere about the smell of almonds and the smell of heliotrope, and thought that something that was all-heliotrope-all-the-time would be a nice balm to the Seasonal Affective Disorder I am telling myself I am having. Searching the interwebs I found that good old L.T. Piver, purveyor of quite a few C&C favorites had one, and Amazon carried it in a 3.3oz “lotion” size for $15USD.

So how does it smell? Like Heliotrope. Not quite almonds (they don’t have that much of a smell until you do something with them) but does have the foody, doughy smell of something with almonds in it: a buttery almond croissant, covered in flaked toasted almonds and with a layer of sweet marzipan in it (shi7, it’s before noon, the sun is out and I think I might need to go over to Gelson’s and see if Viktor Benes has any left..)

(Okay I went. There were two left. I bought them, purely in the interest of science. See how I suffer for you? I also got a ham and cheese one and some salad, but that was in the interest of lunch)

Heliotrope doesn’t seem to be used much as a planting here in LA, and you rarely see the tree version. I am assuming that the LA climate might be a little too arid and sometimes cold (even in the basin it can get down near freezing in winter) for the trees and I think the plants issue might just be the smell. That doughy, fecund aspect that some people think of a cherry pie or almonds in small doses could get, in profusion, to be  a bit much. Not quite the cat pee of Miel de Bois (that’s drier and more acrid) but kind of like being smothered with marzipan and brioche dough. Personally that would make me want to plant a whole bunch of it around the front porch: i would enjoy the heady, yeasty sweetness and the fact that it kept other people away would just be like sprinkles on the olfactory sundae.

Whether that’s something you personally want to smell like is of course your choice. I don’t get the JustTooMuch aspect of it, but then, few things are just too much for me. I did decant some of this into a travel sprayer I bought and spraying it makes it a fair substitute for Uncle Serge’s Rahat Loukoum. Of course the SL is far, far better- this is kind of like a copy of the Mona Lisa done in elbow macaroni. But it’s also only $15 for 100ML. Will it replace the bell jar I have, either in my cupboard or my heart? Nope. The Lutens stays far truer while the Piver goes towards powdery after and hour or so, then stays as a powdery skin musk with a hint of almond. But when it’s a grey say and I need a cheap uplift, here’s one that costs only what I’d pay for three of those croissants, won’t go stale, and won’t live on my waistline until I work it off. Bargain of the century in my book.

So what’s your bargain of the century or rainy day lift? Tried any of the other scents from L. T. Piver? let us know in the comments.

Bottle is mine, purchased from Amazon. Photos are mine and Pexels.

  • ElizaC says:

    ….and now I have two perfumes (L.T. Piver and Rahat Loukoum) that I need to hunt for! L.T. Piver sounds like great fun and I had forgotten how wonderful Rahat Loukoum smells.

    • Tom says:

      Rahat Loukoum is almost diabolically lovely. I never thought I would like to smell like that ever, but there you are.

  • Musette says:

    Cheap & Cheerful … cheers me right the heck up! I love Coty scents – especially Sand & Sable. also Jean Nate.

    Re LA rains – hey, no snark from me! I know I told you about being at a red light on Ocean, at Channel, during Day 2 or 3 of some heavy rains…
    …suddenly there was this weird ‘rumble’ … and down Channel came this … BALL of dirt, rocks and mud – probably… 3ft dia… rolled right through the intersection and onto the parkway … that it didn’t hit any cars is still a mystery/miracle. Y’all do not PLAY when it comes to those early rains.

    So. Stay inside, eat croissants.

    • Tom says:

      I remember that story!

      I am just about to order another bottle of Jean Nate. I’ve gone through the gallon I bought a few years ago.

      Yeah, we have been having more issues. Red tagged houses and street closures all over the place and there’s another storm coming Easter weekend..

  • March says:

    “Mona Lisa done in elbow macaroni” hahahahahahaha. I love some cheap and cheerful, although heliotrope and I are not BFFs. My current fave c&c are the room sprays (?) from Trader Joe’s, there’s a citrus one that’s a delight, and a spice one (might be seasonal) that doesn’t smell like I’m being beaten to death with a jar of potpourri, more kitchen-y. I’ve sprayed them both as needed in the house, car, and on me. And that makes sense about the slick roads!

    • Tom says:

      TJ’s is wonderful but kind of pi$$es me off sometimes- they just cancel things for no reason (usually something I really like.) Having written that, I do need to pick up some stuff for this weekend- Easter and a big rainstorm= staying in.

      Too bad I don’t like Cadbury Creme Eggs..

      • alityke says:

        Whaaaaat? You’re the only human on the planet who doesn’t like Cadbury’s Crème Eggs?
        They’re so small this year I can get a whole one in my gob & work the filling out without chewing.

        • Maya says:

          Not the only human. I don’t like them either, but don’t tell anyone. My daughter though is absolutely crazy about them.

  • Portia says:

    You make me laugh Tom. Thank you.
    My heliotrope is the Oriza LeGrand version. Smooth and cool.
    Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    I love the smell of heliotrope growing in a garden and I think it’s a pretty plant. I also like it in perfumes. Next time I order from Amazon or FragNet, I’ll add a bottle to my order. And, oh does that almond croissant look good!

  • Shivawoman says:

    You influencer you! I hit the buy button at Amazon on the smaller bottle so fast, and 17.00 something later including tax, that bottle is landing in my hands, a little after April Fool’s Day. There’s a message in the universe there, but I’m ignoring it. I too have the Serge Bell, and I may pull it put today. Hmm. I’m not getting an Easter basket of goodies anytime soon, so this may hit the spot in lieu of a yummy something.

  • Dina C. says:

    Nope, I haven’t tried any L. T. Piver scents. Doing a “search by notes,” it appears I have about 10 scents with heliotrope in them, most notably Guerlain Apres L’Ondee. I like powdery scents. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the plant, but it’s pretty. I wouldn’t mind it in my garden. Thanks Tom.

    • tom says:

      Thanks! I like powdery sometimes as well. This one tends a little more towards the gourmand, but I find that I don’t hate that type of scent the way I thought I did when fruity-florals were king a few years ago.

  • cinnamon says:

    I like that bottle and the label design. Almond/heliotrope. I bake my mother’s flourless chocolate cake once a year which uses ground almond rather than regular flour. I think my fave almond perfume is Dior Hypnotic Poison. I really need to have a go with the discounters and find a bottle of that. Almond croissants … my local fantastical bakery has good ones, but their Portuguese cream ones are even better and that’s the direction i go when I want non-plain ones. Recent cheap and cheerful was Zara Vetiver Pamplemousse which just needs some decently hot weather. Ya know, I really enjoy hailstorms. It’s like you’re harking back to dinosaur times.

    • Tom says:

      That cake reads wonderful. I used to do a daquoise which was ground almond and egg whites, baked, then filled with buttercream. Made it for my friends Mom once. She ended up sneaking downstairs in the night and polishing it off while we were down cellar watching late night TV.

      I like hailstorms as well, as long as they aren’t like those crazy midwest ones that come down the size of baseballs. Those I can do without. (I love the midwest- I love the people, it’s physically beautiful, but man, that weather!)

  • alityke says:

    This went on huge discount on TKMaxx a couple of years ago. £7 I believe & I missed out. Haven’t found it anywhere since so got the Reminiscence Heliotrope. Sounds similar.
    Now of course I will be scouring Amazon UK for a bottle

    • Tom says:

      We don’t have a TJMaxx (our version of yours) nearby anymore. There also used to be a Loehmann’s which was sort of the same thing (but used to be an infamous NY discount house that only had women’s clothing- read Paul Rudnick’s hilarious “I’ll Take It” for a brief history, and belly laughs)