Sunday, February 26, 2012

Too Rich for Me?

So many thoughts about perfume as a passion, especially in regards to price point and after reading Bois de Jasmin's post which kinda shook me up a bit.  I have re-wrote and re-thought this post for days - wondering how to adequately state how I feel about this subject, without sounding 'poor me' and with encouraging folks to get involved w/this passion no matter where you stand on the economic scale.

Now that both me and The Moth are unemployed, I think "Is perfume loving only for the more well-to-do folks?"  Because I tend to view perfume as I do art, I have to say yes.  And, no.

Let's do yes first.

Yes because you first need to sniff what's out there. And this takes money, pure and simple.

My son is amused that I collect perfume and art ("collect" is a relative term - I don't have the cash for true collection of either - I just purchase what I like and can most recent art purchase is the photo in this post from a very talented artist Eli Steltenpohl who graduated from Oberlin last year.  But given that I dabble in art, have a ton of artist friends, and am involved w/swapping art stuff on-line, I do have things that I consider priceless). My son is more realistic - meaning, he'll spend money on computers (well, he is a programmer) and good kitchen utensils. Okay, I'm rambling here!

Now for No - no, it doesn't matter how much you make because everyone experience the beauty, introspection, excitement, enchantment and pure joy of scent given the relative affordability of samples and other sources where you can sniff for free.

For instance, you can go to department stores (IF they're in your area - unfortunately for a lot of us i.e. living outside big cities, this doesn't give you a lot of variety, but at least you can sniff Daisy and some Lauders, basic Guerlains and Chanels, etc.)  Your local mall may also have a Perfumania-type store - again, not a lot of variety, but you can start seeing what type of scent you like.

There may be a head-shop type of place, where there may be some perfume oils - take a dip into these, and see what intrigues you. ( For instance, Spiritual Sky used to be available back in the day, and I would sniff and/or purchase the patchouli, frangipani, etc.).  Or your local CVS-type store that may have Demeters and maybe even some Sanborn Orange Blossom!

The first thing I tell to acquaintances and friends who are interested in perfume (other than 'come over and let's go through my stash' or ask folks what they like already and send them samples that I think they also may enjoy) is to go to Sephora and get some free ones.  (Again, a problem for those who live hours away from places, and a problem for those who do not have adequate transportation.  For instance, where I live, the county cut MOST of the public transportation due to budget troubles.). If they are interested in reading more, I turn them on to the perfume blogging community.

And I send folks to The Perfumed Court. TPC has some terrific 'beginniner collections".  LuckyScent has samples for $3.00  Many of the natural/indie perfumers out there also have great prices on samples and sample collections.

Go sniff people.  I mean, if someone is around who smells good, ask them what they are wearing!  I personally love it when folks ask me.

Ask around - there may be a hidden perfume freak in your circle of friends and families! I bet you have a memory of what your grandmother or father or aunt wore.

And remember, you do not have to purchase full bottles!

No because it is my experience that the perfume blogging community is so incredibly generous.

A thank you to all of you who have sent not only me but others samples, decants and full bottles!  Birgit, Carol/WAFT, Joan Elaine, Marie, Meg/Olenska,  Michael, Undina and Vanessa, and my in-town fragrance friend FF/'Jicky" who launched me on this venture after I was at her house and sniffed Lutens for the first time.  And the nudge from Left Coast Nose helped too!

The outpouring (pun intended) of the good folks here in the blog-o-sphere is absolutely mind-blowing.  I have so many unsniffed samples, I can blog for years without having to purchase anything!

So what is my point ?  Well personally I would like to say to folks who read this that you don't have to be 'rich' to enjoy the many facets of the perfume industry.  Second, that the perfume community has a wealth of information, and again generosity. Having just joined the Facebook Fragrance Friends, I can state yet again that the perfume community is truly lovely.

I want to point out that I have put up a separate page of my full bottles - it's not a huge array, but if anyone reading would like a sample from anything on that page, please feel free to email me/post a reply and ask!  I'd love to share the juice!

Let's that all I wanted to say?  (I hope this is understandable - it is quite jumpy-around-y but that's how I think and talk ;)

Bush Specimen by Eli Steltenpohl 

EDIT:  Also if you're a blogger, sometimes perfumers and/or perfume companies send you free sample for you to review.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sorting samples

Arghhh!! Spent HOURS attempting to bag all samples and put them in alphabetical order into this cute little cabinet/drawer thingy.

But then I think "should Malle be under M or F?  Should my Goutals be under A or G?"  So then I switch them in the drawers, but when I need to go find my little bag of Goutals, I have forgotten that I just put them in the G-L drawer.

So if it's all first names, what about Tauer?  I would never THINK about putting his samples under A. Yeah that's right, it's Tauer Perfumes....  But shouldn't Malle's be under M?  But then Mary Greenwell Plum under M or G?

Any suggestions!?!

The current mess that is the office/spare bedroom 

At least I was smart and used post-its on the drawers!  ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Three by En Voyage (Shelley Waddington)

I must admit, I get nervous before testing natural and/or indie perfumes, especially since I "know" some of these artists through the blog-o-sphere, Twitter and Facebook.

But I don't know why I worry!!

Let's first get to Go Ask Alice .  This is a beautiful patchouli.  Beautiful!  It's the patchouli for those who do not like patchouli (and for those who do love it, it does not disappoint).  I love her use of citrus in this creation.

Here's Shelley talking about it last summer.  I quote "My biggest challenges were in retaining the authenticity and the surrealistic quality of this iconic theme while achieving my goal to contemporize and raise it to the level of a classy, wearable, and versatile perfume, with vitality, longevity, and sillage."  Shelly accomplished this and more as it is all of these things - and the longevity is striking - by the end of the day, I could still detect the scent slightly, making me smile as I went to sleep.  I found myself actually yearning to smell this again and again; and I did apply again and again until I misplaced my sample  Arghhh!  Well, I guess that means I need to purchase a full bottle! ;)

;L'Emblem Rouge and L'Eau de L'Emblem Rouge.  Again, I'm linking to another site, Cafleurebon goes 'behind the bottle" with Shelley.  L'Emblem is a soft yet spicy rose, with fullness and grace.  As a rose lover, this is another stunner by Shelley.    L'Eau is the hydrosol version of it, and for those who like their roses on their pillows, this is for you.  My only wish is that L'Emblem had more longevity (I think GAA spoiled me!) 

Here's a link to Jen's wonderful review of these two.

NOTE: I know that I linked a lot in this post but I find it fascinating to read these articles and reviews, and I think you will too. 

Go Ask Alice sample from my purchase of the PLAP set.
L'Emblem Rouge and L'Eau de L'Emblem Rouge were sent to me by Shelley (thank you!!!)

photo from En Voyage website

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pluto and Chanel No. 5

I'm working on a couple of actual perfume posts, but in the meantime, here's Cillian Murphy as Kitten in Breakfast on Pluto, which I just watched and loved it, esp. when s/he used Chanel No. 5 to fight off mean people.

If you haven't seen it, and esp if you love Cillian and/or Neil Jordan flicks, definitely put it in your queue!

photo from wikipedia

Monday, February 13, 2012


As many of you know, my position was eliminated and I'm now unemployed.

Last week was my first week of no job.  I had thoughts that I would have been tending to a lot more than I actually accomplished.   What DID I accomplish?   Lots of naps.  Updating my resume.  Sending out said resume.  Nap again. Started watching The Tudors while drinking coffee and knitting.

Olenska sent me a bottle of TokyoMilk Arsenic which is the perfect perfume for these days of transition, as it makes it own unique transition from the moment I spray it on to the next day when I can still smell traces of it on my clothes.  Being the beautiful writer that she is, check out her review of this gloriously weird yet warm scent.  (The notes listed on the bottle are absinthe, vanilla salt, cut greens and crushed fennel.) I wore it all last week - and am still haunted by it when I put on this one sweater....

It makes me think that I really wish someone would come up with a perfume called Paregoric.  Gosh I loved that stuff as a kid.  I used to fake stomach aches just to get a little taste of it.  Yeah yeah I know, it's camphorated tincture of opium.  Ooops!  But the scent was amazing - from what I can remember, it was anisey-clove.

So today, I'm half-heartedly going through samples, and decided to test Amouage Memoir Women. Dork that I am, I have ALREADY tested it, and feel the same way I did back here when I originally talked about it, and said it really wasn't memorable for me.  Truly truly.

Has anyone else sampled something that they already blogged about?  I sure do hope so, so I wouldn't feel like the only oddball!

Time for more of The Tudors.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Times they are a'changing

My position at work was eliminated, so I'm now unemployed.  Hopefully I'll be receiving unemployment benefits soon.   The upside of this is that until I find employment, I'll have more time to do perfume testing, my art, getting the garden ready for spring, etc etc.

Okay, here's the weekly run down of my final work week and scent:

Oh first, had a wonderful brunch with friends on Sunday - wore my favorite Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Monday:  Oh shoot, I don't remember properly BUT I think it was Guerlain My Insolence (Mondays are difficult for me to remember! ;)  Esp this Monday because that was the day I found out about downsizing our office.)

Tuesday:  My beloved Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie.   

Wednesday:  Dior Hypnotic Poison - I realised when doing my page on what perfume bottles I have that I have never reviewed this!  Check out Katie Puckrik's youtube video.   I don't find this as 'foody' as some of the other bloggers have noted.  I get a nice anise/rootbeer note with musky vanilla wood..  Hmmm I'm weird.  Anyhoo, here's Robin's take on it .  Notes from Basenotes: Caraway, bitter almond, jasmine sambac, moss, jacarander wood, vanilla, musk.  I love it!

Thursday:  Exit interview/paperwork with the HR department.  It's time for Tauer L'air du desert Marocain.  This is my second sample of it  Did he change the formula?  This sample is extremely weak and not at all as long lasting as my previous one.  Color me disappointed.

Friday:  My last day at work - L'air de Rien!!!

Please don't worry about me being unemployed!  Other than not having a lot of 'fun money' to play with, I really think this will be a good thing for me for awhile.

Also if you look to the right on my main page, you can see I'm adding pages of my perfume bottles, decants and minis, and will be adding one of samples.  Enjoy!

(picture of me, taken by The Moth on Sunday at brunch)