When Perfumes Attack (2 of 2)

So what perfumes do you wear, you ask?

Old, odd, and unusual perfumes. Many modern-day perfumes smell one-dimensional and overly sweet to me. I think there's a trend now to create perfumes that are comprised of only perky and sweet ingredients, which I don't agree with. It's like smearing cake icing on your skin and calling it perfume.

It's hard to explain my idea that some parts of a perfume shouldn't necessarily smell yummy and edible on their own, because it seems contradictory — you want the end result to smell good, right? There's a reason that strong, even animalic undertones work well in perfume: contrast, dimension, and balance.

(Someone said once that their perfect perfume would be one that made her smell like herself, only more so and awesome. I thought that was a great description.)

I've spent the past couple of years slowly trying out niche perfumes to see what I liked. The problem? I've discovered I have expensive taste, and I like pre-WWII French perfumes. Thankfully, there's a thriving business in perfume decants (sample-sized bottles drawn off of larger bottles of perfume) which is perfect for someone who likes trying a wide array of scents but who doesn't need a lot of any one scent. These are the ones that see heaviest usage:

Chanel No. 5
My default perfume since my late teens (when I was probably a bit too young to wear it). Top notes of ylang-ylang, neroli, and Chanel's ubiquitous aldehydes. Middle notes of jasmine and mayrose. Bottom notes of sandalwood and vetiver. A powdery, feminine, understated floral. It's feminine but not girly.

Chanel's Cuir de Russie
If Chanel No. 5 is the woman who shows up on your doorstep for a date in a great dress and her best pearls, Cuir de Russie is the same woman showing up on your doorstep wearing only a trench coat and those same pearls, asking if you really want to go out for that date tonight. It's got the same aldehyde notes of No. 5, but wrapped around a fragrance of leather and spices. (Mandarin, Bergamot, Balsams, Spice Bush, Incense, Cade Wood, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang) The only reason I don't wear it more often is that I haven't got a full bottle of it. I really should rectify that.

Guerlain's Mitsouko
Top notes of bergamot and rose. Middle notes of jasmine, spices, and peach. Base notes of oakmoss and wood. I had to be convinced to try this one, and almost didn't do it the first time I uncapped the bottle. In the bottle it is Too. Too much, too strong, too something. I don't go out of the house for at least 30 minutes after I put it on, just because I think it's overpowering then. When it calms down, though, it's a classy, mysterious, complex fragrance that is difficult to describe. Peaches, spices, deep mossy notes. I wear it on tough days, when I need class and hauteur to spare.

Serge Lutens' Bois de Violette
I am an idiot for falling in love with a fragrance that isn't even sold in the States. This perfume is girly. Unabashedly girly. It smells like innocence and sweetness bottled. This is my trickster perfume, the one I love to wear ironically; it's what I wear on days that I need to provide the illusion of sweetness and light when not actually intending to be either. (Or, as I said to someone whose name I shall not reveal, this is the perfume I wear when I fully intend to get in trouble that day.) Cedar, violet leaves, and violet flowers. I will have a full bottle of this soon, oh yes.

Alas, Jeff just reminded me that we are due in northwest Alabama for lunch today, and since we live in northeast Alabama, we should probably put down our laptops, get dressed, and get a move on.

The not-so-frequent list will have to wait, then.

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Have you ever tried any of the scents from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab? Their perfume oils are exquisite...I have spent way too much money there. I'm quite addicted!


[...] (Someone said once that their perfect perfume would be one that made her smell like herself, only more so and awesome. I thought that was a great description.) [read the rest of this entry from March 2008] [...]