Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This Week At The Perfume Counter: random notes

The Korean perfume store closed its newest location, and the older location does not have Rochas Femme. I purchased it online for next to nothing instead. Roudnitska did the original. The reformulation was done by Olivier Cresp and substitutes cumin for the shock value once provided by now-outlawed animal no-no's. I haven't received the bottle yet but know when I do I'll smell the fragrance wondering what the first Rochas Femme must have smelled like.

I ordered Jacomo Silences. I believe this is the one Luca Turin was crazed over at some point, but I've looked through everything I have on him and can't find a mention of it. Supposedly, green florals with galbanum, so one would think it's a no brainer for me.

The friendly young woman at the Chanel counter in the local department store let me smell the new Chanel No. 5 flanker. It smelled fine. Chanel No. 5 EDP did not, to my nose. Something foul and one dimensional in the heart, after a rich opening full of busy distractions.

One thing I'm fascinated by is the relative ignorance at the perfume retailers regarding concentration. Most of the people I've talked to seem to think the EDP and EDT versions of any given perfume are interchangeable, considerations of strength aside. Both Sephoras here, for instance, place tester bottles on their extravagantly pristine shelves for only one of Chanel No. 5's iterations. This means that someone buying the EDT has no real idea what it smells like until she or he gets it home. Tom Ford's iterations are even more markedly different than Chanel No. 5's, and yet a tester bottle for Voile de Fleur stands in for the Black Orchid EDP, and the two smell nothing alike, not even remotely, but don't try to point this out, because it's futile. When I shop at Perfumania (sigh) I often have to pointedly ask whether the bottle they're spraying on the test strip is EDP or EDT. It never occurs to them to tell me, otherwise.

I smelled the new Lancome. A lot of people must be smelling it, because the testers I've seen are all half empty. Perhaps this is something the perfume companies do? They send the department stores half-empty bottles so that customers will believe something like, say, Magnifique to be a hot commodity. To me the perfume smelled like some sickly sweet something or other I couldn't put my finger on. I liked it--the way a child likes his favorite page in a scratch and sniff book. I'm not sure that's wearable. People like to put cocaine up their noses, too, but they don't want to cover themselves in it. Al Pacino's white-powdered mug in Scarface just popped into my head, so perhaps I'm wrong and haven't spent enough time amongst coke fiends.

I returned Guerlain Heritage because I can always buy it for my friend once Christmas is closer, whereas I'm short on funds now and need money to buy more perfume for myself. The woman who'd sold Heritage to me didn't understand why I was buying it. Strangely, she didn't seem to understand why I was returning it either. I returned Chanel No. 5 too, explaining that I'd purchased these two as bride and groom gifts, and--wonder of all wonders--she already wears Heritage and he already wears Chanel No. 5. I know these salespeople recognize my sickness but I'm helpless to stop myself. It's some reassurance that they must pretend as if they don't recognize my obsessive, unreasonable behavior.

I bought a cheap bottle of Gres Cabaret online because I haven't yet exhausted my need for the perfect dark rose. I smelled many in LA but none knocked me to the floor. Intending to buy Eau d'Italie's Paestum Rose, I got Sienne L'Hiver instead.

I bought Miracle Forever at Perfumania because I needed something right that minute. I was interested in Calvin Klein Euphoria for some reason I don't fully comprehend. Weeks before I'd been interested in Miss Dior Cherie. People online slam such fruity patchouli's viciously, with an open hostility which only piques my interest two-fold. I forgot my wallet so at Perfumania I only had enough cash for the slightly cheaper Miracle Forever. "This smells like Euphoria," the saleswoman exclaimed to her co-worker, amazed. "Can you tell me if that's EDT or EDP?" I asked.

I'm going to venture that people now denigrate these fruity numbers the way others once put down the civet-driven, musked out chypres of yesteryear when maybe refreshing colognes were more sensible or considered more "mature". I'm not yet sure what's so bad about fruity, other than the fact that it's everywhere. Pants are everywhere too. I don't understand the whole mature and immature thing when it comes to fragrances. I don't always understand pants, either.

Getting Miracle Forever home, I realized with a twinge of disappointment that it's very similar to Chanel Allure Sensuelle. I also realized that Beyond Paradise is very close to Gucci Envy, which leads me to suspect that BP has galbanum in it, which no one talks about. Instead they talk about banana and melon, which I don't get in the least.

At TJ Maxx I was obsessed with Anais Anais, Diamonds and Emeralds (recognizably Sophia Grojsman), and Fendi for Men. I managed to get out without purchasing everything I put my nose to, though not empty-handed, mind you. Never empty-handed.

I did not bother smelling Kate Moss, as I'm saving that for a more desperate day.

1 comment:

tania said...

Perhaps by smelling Kate Moss, you WILL be spending more time with a coke fiend - in spirit, anyway.... ;-)

I get the impression perfume is a lot cheaper in the US than the UK. Certainly I have to think hard about buying more than one bottle a month from the UK. Decants and bottles bought online from US sites work out much cheaper. Though sadly, the pound is now dropping against the dollar.... *sigh* damned recession....