Friday, December 2, 2011

Perfume Destiny

My journey through perfume, a universe unto itself, began rather late in life: as a freshman in college, I had taken to wearing a heavily rose-laden scent received from someone (whose name I forget or repress) as a gift, to which my boyfriend at the time swiftly retaliated with a 3.4 ounce bottle of Oscar de la Renta eau de toilette. He nearly begged me to abandon the octogenarian rose water (its name, A Rose is a Rose, exemplified truth in advertising) for his offering, a far more sophisticated and olfactorily complex scent. I immediately grasped the superior quality of Oscar, though I was entirely ignorant as to the how and the why. Little did I know that Oscar’s own rose and tuberose components were deeply ensconced in a layer of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and broom; and fixed from below with a sweet spiciness comprising patchouli, lavender, opopanax, cloves, vetiver, castoreum, myrrh, and sandalwood. I did not even know the general category under which this perfume was subsumed: floral oriental. I only knew that it smelled good.

By the bottom of the first bottle, I was already addicted. Oscar had become my scent, and everyone knew, above all my family, who literally showered me with eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and sundry bath products for years to come. Oscar was so much my signature, that when I smelled it on others, I thought of myself. I was hypnotized by Oscar to the point where other widely worn fragrances at the time—the loud fruity-fresh floral Lauren comes immediately to mind—elicited from me an immediate attitude of disdain toward the wearer. Only a sorority girl would sport such a scent, while I, a GDI, had transcended the ranks of la foule. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I recognize that my total devotion to Oscar was not so different from the Christianity of those who happen to have been born in Christian, as opposed to Muslim nations.

Like the middle ages, my Oscar period was devoid of the type of critical analysis that might lead one to apostasy. No, none of the details mattered to me. Why Oscar smelled so delectable, and inspired a smile each time I lifted the collar of my shirt to take a sniff, was as irrelevant in my view as the rules of tonal counterpoint to the synoptic perfection of the music of J. S. Bach. Dissecting Oscar into its tripartite components held no interest for me—-my love of the scent had as much to do with the precise identity of the top notes (orange flower, basil, cilantro, and cascarilla), as the key (E major) in which Beethoven happened to have composed the divine Opus 109. Looking back, such a comparison seems particularly apt, for the perfumes of Oscar de la Renta have proven, as a group, to be as uneven to my nose as is the oeuvre of the great creator of Opus 109 to my mind. But, at the time, I was living in Oscar’s heaven on earth, and no one, it seemed, was capable of shaking my faith.

That I came at last to abandon Oscar, like my fortuitous introduction to the perfume, was the result of a man. This time, my new beau harbored a deep-seated rancor toward not a particular scent, whether grandmotherly or cloyingly sweet, but any scent at all that did not emanate naturally from my own cells. There was no use putting up resistance, I could no longer wear Oscar—-or any perfume-—during this relationship, which somehow lasted a few years. Eventually we parted ways, which clearly demonstrates a fundamental metaphysical truth. While some would say that the rupture had more to do with our divergent views on the importance of building a family, on whether it would be appropriate for an agnostic to convert to Judaism, or whether a woman should trade her name for that of her husband, I, on the contrary, attribute the end of the relationship to our differences regarding a far more weighty matter: perfume.

Like a child with a large bag in a candy store with no clerk or surveillance camera, I made the most of my liberation from the olfactory ascetic formerly known as my fiancé. It would be difficult to re-create or trace the precise trajectory of what transpired, given the panoply of perfumes I now face, the dozens of geometrically unique bottles that grace my boudoir, stored in what from the outside might appear to be a clothing armoire. In a deep, dark corner, hidden in the very back, is a bottle of Oscar, which I have not worn in years, but whose sight still induces a deep feeling of reverence and gratitude for the role that it played in my awakening. No, I no longer wear it—-and it took years to call a halt to the barrage of Oscar bottles with which I was bombarded by my family on the slightest pretext, in their persistent belief that I was still enamored of the scent and that theirs were benevolent interventions. (At one point, I gathered up the unopened gifts and returned them to a department store, offering what must have been a plausible explanation for why I needed to trade them for some other, indeed, any other perfumes.) Today I find Oscar syrupy sweet and viscous, though the mere thought of the scent, etched indelibly in the incredibly resilient receptors in some wondrous part of my brain, still reminds me of the person I once was.

I do not discount sweet viscous perfumes altogether, and indeed am quite fond of some which I believe on some level that I should not like: Amarige, by Givenchy; Mahora, by Guerlain; Il Bacio, by Borghese; Casmir, by Chôpard, and Trésor, by Lancôme, number among the perfumes that I want not to like, generally prefer not to wear, and yet find luscious all the same. This is perhaps easiest to explain in the case of Trésor, with its heady floral top notes of lilac, lily of the valley, and rose; its supporting middle notes of iris and heliotrope; and its solid foundation of sandalwood, musk, amber, vanilla, apricot, and peach. Of the sweet viscous perfumes, only Trésor has enjoyed such enormous popular success that I actually detect it wafting by me on a fairly regular basis, happy for the women whose signature scent it has become—-and that I know why. These are perfumes which, in all of their sweetness, transport me back to my Oscar days, the days of benighted bliss before I discovered the perfection embodied in the floral aldehyde.

The journey was not direct, however, and I tried ever so diligently to become the woman who could and would, indeed should, wear L’heure bleue or Shalimar. These are two of Guerlain’s great solo stars, accompanied of course by an admirable chorus that includes Mitsouko, Nahéma, Jicky, and more. The Guerlain creation of which I have emptied the most bottles is Samsara, a relatively new (1989) fragrance (for this venerable old perfumery to royal Europe), whose vanilla base moves it dangerously close to the sweet viscous category, but which is saved by the purity of its top tier (jasmine); the floral simplicity of its middle notes (jasmine, rose, narcissus, violet, orris-—obtained from the roots of the iris); and its foundational complements of sandalwood, tonka, and iris (encore). Samsara is an eminently wearable perfume, to which I return again and again, seeking reprieve from my problematic relationships with L’heure bleue and Shalimar, which I want so ardently to wear, deeply believe deserve to be worn, but tend to reserve for weekends home alone, where their intoxicating seriousness will be shocking to no one but me.

Not all perfumes “serious” in this sense are made by Guerlain, of course. Eau du Soir, by Sisley; Madame Rochas, by Rochas; and Cabochard, by Grès; in addition to Guerlain’s Mitsouko number among those which I admire and occasionally wear, but regard as strictly wintry evening affairs. (Ah, but winters are long and winter days short where I happen to live…) At the other end of the spectrum lies a seeming infinity of “blue” perfumes—inspired by oceans or waterfalls, it seems, and characterized by their weak and insubstantial, flimsy-—literally watery—-nature. The list goes on and on, so there’s no real point in attempting to name them all here. I will say that they often are tinged blue, come in blue bottles, and/or have the word blue or water in their name (for ready identification?), and I infer from the fact that they continue to be produced for mass consumption, that hordes of women prefer scents that do not linger and have very little, if anything, to say. I do not claim that the blues are evil elixirs, but rather that they are not elixirs at all. These are insipid liquids, and, while of a generally innocuous and in some cases even likeable nature, they do not merit the accolade contained within the name perfume. These are fragrances, pure and simple, nothing more and nothing less. (Blue scents are sometimes classified as hesperidic, which is to say, fruity, which is only partly misleading, since fruits contain a very high percentage of water indeed—perhaps even more than human beings.)

As for my own experience with mass-marketed scents, the ones featured in advertisements with tear out “testers” in fashion magazines, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been around the block. I never actually buy bottles of perfume on the basis of the magazine “testers”, not so much because I doubt the capacity of paper to convey its essence-—I always rip open the testers and sniff them out of curiosity, and I may have definitively vetoed some on this basis—-but, rather, because the sorts of scents advertised in magazines are reaching out to a broad swath of consumers who cluster around the midpoint of the bellcurve representing all of the people who appreciate and purchase perfume, and my tastes obviously diverge rather radically from theirs. Scents that scream out “grapefruit” or “baby powder,” for example, are simply not for me. Indeed, I often prefer the men’s versions of the perfumes advertised in magazines. And, no, I have no qualms whatsoever about wearing a great men’s scent, Guerlain’s Vetiver, to name but one.

In thinking about people whose concepts of perfume are determined by extremely vague and inchoate ideas, traces from a more or less incoherent pastiche of cultural influences, I reach naturally for one of my own: the woman in Scorsese’s film Goodfellas (1990), who upon sniffing the bottle of perfume in her friend Janice’s bedroom (Janice is the concubine of the character played by Ray Liotta), nods approvingly and remarks, “French.” I am equally tickled by allusions to perfume when they reveal the identifier’s familiarity with a scent that truly deserves to be remembered and worn in order to be remembered again. Take Al Pacino’s reference to Fleurs de Rocaille, in Scent of a Woman (1992). I admire people in real life who are capable of identifying scents, even if it is only because their significant other has adopted it as her own. I recall with great fondness the day in Home Depot (I was buying new light switch plates for my apartment) when the man in front of me at the check-out line turned around and smiled knowingly as he whispered, “Eternity.”

While they are not my favorites, I will say that Calvin Klein’s works are distinctive creations, which cannot be confused with the run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen, throw-away fragrances whose names evaporate from one’s memory as quickly as their scent from the skin. There is a great virtue to memorable perfumes, those which manage to carve out their own unique niche in the infinitely amorphous olfactory Ur-sphere. I am confident that some among them have endured not for the diligence of their marketers, but for the throngs of fans who have formed with them sacred trysts, to love and cherish ‘til death or divorce do they part.

In reflecting upon truly original scents, which cannot be mistaken for anything but precisely what they are, my mind gravitates naturally toward Chanel’s Allure. This linear perfume-—which flouts the reigning tripartite regime with a veritable burst of citrus, mandarin, jasmine, magnolia, honeysuckle, waterlily, vetiver, and vanilla—-is a recent revelation (1996) which I find compelling, though I wish that I did not. Stated starkly: I want not to love a perfume which has been and continues to be marketed into my brain. Still, Chanel’s Allure has a similar effect upon me to that of Peet’s French roast coffee: I keep going back for more. I suspect that the people at Peet’s accomplish their aim with the aid of beakers of white crystalline caffeine sitting in the backroom and ready to shovel into each freshly brewed vat. (Or is it simply that they use robusta in their mix?) As for Allure, I suppose that, beyond its admirable consistency—-as a linear creation, it can be counted upon always and everywhere to deliver the same-—there’s not much to say: Against empty eau de parfum bottles, there can be no defense. Still, the deepest loves are fickle and unpredictable. The objects of such passion are all the more endearing for their defiance of any reasonable expectation. For comfort and stability, Allure will always be there. For profundity and richness that wax and wane in undulating waves, you’re better off with Lanvin Arpège.

Although I naturally believe myself to have arrived at the family of floral aldehydes through a veridical path leading directly to the ineffable olfactory Truth, in my more pensive moments, I recognize that I have been seduced anew by a range of scents united by what is perhaps most accurately characterized as the sharp scent of soap. Stripping all differences away, this is my reading of the most salient element in Calèche, by Hermès; Arpège, by Lanvin; First, by Van Cleef & Arpels; and, of course, Chanel No. 5. But now a small confession: because of its unfortunate pop-culture associations with Marilyn Monroe and Zsa-Zsa Gabor—-among many others—-I do not in fact wear Chanel No. 5. This is obviously as a good a reason as it would be to avoid Beethoven’s Ninth because of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. But there it is, in the arbitrary constellation of associations that constitutes my mind: Green Acres and Chanel No. 5. (A subliminally mortal fear of becoming an Almodóvar protagonist may also drive me away.)

Thanks to the internet, even a woman trapped on a farm can today buy her favorite scents from around the globe. Thanks to modern aviation, it is even possible to travel swiftly to faraway lands, to visit the blessed artists who continue to create ever anew what has become the universe of perfume, a world sadly enjoyed, or even known to exist, by all too few. How many people know that amber is short for ambergris, which in times past was derived from concretions formed in the intestines of sperm whales, but today is primarily produced synthetically? How many have any idea that eau de parfum contains from 15% to 18% of perfume oil, while what is labeled “perfume” contains between 15% and 30%? Perhaps these facts seem as irrelevant to most people as the provenance of civet (a butter-like secretion taken from a pouch under the tail of the civet cat, found in Ethiopia, Burma, and Thailand), castoreum (a creamy, reddish-brown secretion taken from sacs on the beaver), or musk (grains or seeds from a walnut-sized pod removed harmlessly(?) from the male musk deer of the Himalayas) once seemed to me. But times have changed. No longer do I labor under the false belief that the primary, indeed the only, use for bergamot (a citrus which no one dares to eat) is to flavor Earl Gray tea. Today I number among the few who recognize and appreciate bergamot’s true raison d’être: as an essential component in 33% of perfumes.

My ever-deepening love has led me on new adventures in my insatiable quest to learn more and more about the object of my fascination, including a visit to Grasse, France, where I met with real live perfumers, who mix and bottle in-house and sell their creations in small quantities to strange people like me whose lives and armoires have become filled with perfume. I visited the house of Galimard, where I sat at a perfumist’s “organ” stocked with hundreds of glistening glass vials of pure extraits, which I, guided by a professional, combined through a series of stages into my own perfume: Samanthe.

While in Grasse, I also participated in the Concours du Nez, an annual contest to choose the best “nose” for perfume. The competition was more than challenging; it was demoralizing. Could I discern something as subtle as coriander when mixed in with several other elements? In a word: No. I found that identifying a single note in a complex mixture was as difficult for my nose as would be hearing a single voice in a fugue for someone who had never played the piano. Humbled, I returned home, happy in my knowledge of my ignorance, and sure, if of nothing else, that I know what I like. Samanthe now shares the armoire with the stars, and I do own that I derived no small consolation from my discovery, sometime after having returned home, that my creation bears a striking similarity to Bvlgari’s Bvlgari pour Femme, which, no, I had never tried before.

Only time will tell how long this floral aldehyde/soap penchant will last, though today it is hard to imagine how anything might shake my faith. But I felt that way for years about Oscar, now firmly woven into the fabric of my past. Will another fortuitous encounter determine a new and profounder object of my affection? These mysteries confound the shrewdest scientist, defy the keenest powers of deduction. Still, one thing is clear: any person who wishes to determine what perfume path I’ll next take will have to begin in my boudoir, replete with beautiful bottles of secret scents, the experience of which gave rise to the traces of base notes that cling to this page.


The world is a temple where slender spirits
Emit streams of ambiguous signals.
Man there traverses thickets of symbols,
Finding himself, without seeing that he does.

Just as myriad distant echoes merge
To form a single sound, indivisible
As blinding sunlight or the dark of night,
The revelations of the senses become one.

There are simple scents, soft as a baby's bottom,
Verdant as a lush meadow, sonorous as an oboe.
Others are complex, deep intoxicants,

Harboring within them
Amber, chypre, fougère,
The songs of awakened souls. 

(sherapop’s translation of Correspondances by Charles Baudelaire,
from Les Fleurs du Mal)
editorial note: the above essay was written in January 2007...


  1. from takeasniff:

    Hi sherapop,

    I have noticed some of your reviews at fragrantica. I was reading your review on Rock Princess from Vera Wang. I have to say at first, I was a little annoyed. I thought I remember this sherapop from other reviews. I think in your reviews you try to express your views eloquently unlike some other reviewers but I guess it takes all kinds!

    I thought sherapop obviously has extensive knowledge of good quality perfumes and high end perfumes and it appears, prefers to wear those so why even bother testing and reviewing Rock Princess only to find unsurprisingly that she doesn't like it?  Why go on here and put down a perfume that would appear to me had no chance with you from the very start? I almost posted a comment on the review area for this perfume to this effect. I can remember I had a go at napasho for putting down Princess in a rude manner which appeared to me to be a little unnessary. I looked at napasho's profile and reviews and it seemed a bit beneath him to behave like that since he normally is very interesting to read his review on different perfumes. I suppose I didn't expect it I do from the ones who like to blow their own trumpet but I was surprised with napasho.

    I thought I will have a look at the profile of sherapop to get an idea of who you are as far as perfume collecting goes as obviously we can't tell much more about you as a person just from this site but an understanding of where you stand regarding perfume.

    I was amazed at your comments about Oscar. I had the same experience my introduction to it was due to my mother wearing it all the time and when I was very young that was impresive to me so I had to get a bottle. I could not shake the addiction to Oscar even when it annoyed co workers I would still wear it and I am not usually selfish like that but I just couldn't leave it alone there is just something about it. I still find I sniff it and wear it for some unknown reason. At the time it was a special perfume for the industry and time but now it is a little overused but I can't stop appreciating it. Oscar reminds me instantly when I sniff it of a certain time in my life but can still be worn by me as though it is my perfume. I don't feel like I am following the crowd like a mindless drone unlike today's popular perfumes which make you feel as though you are just a sheep (Lady Million?).

    I have had the same experience with Tresor. I love the pefume but know it is kind of a missfit. It was supposed to be something special I am not sure what Sophia was trying to do and I can see she likes this style of perfume although Eternity was a departure for her but somehow it misses the mark slightly? Somehow I still cannot stop testing it and wanting a bottle of it. I have always admired it from a distance but not ventured to actually buy a bottle and I have no idea what is going on there. My mother gave me a mini of it and I dab it on like a little addict I know I don't want to and I know if I am a self respecting experienced perfume addict I should have moved on to better compositions but I always cave in pathetically for some bizarre reason .

    1. Hello takeasniff, and welcome to the salon!

      I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading your 4000+ word response to my Perfume Destiny! I am touched and flattered, frankly.

      I am very sorry that you had troubles posting your lengthy text. The comment boxes will accommodate only 4000 characters, which is about 700 words, so it's necessary to divide up long posts, which is annoying, I know, but at least they appear in sequence, so it's not disruptive to the flow. I'll try to reply to all of your interesting points, but I won't be able to get to them all today. (-;

      Let me begin by saying that I understand your frustration at reading a very negative review (such as mine of Rock Princess). I am of two minds when it comes to negative reviews. On the one hand, I feel that honesty is the best policy and that everyone benefits from finding out the truth. This can prevent people from buying perfumes which are not going to work for them, or which might offend other people. In other words, even people who like a perfume should be aware that it is not liked by everyone, and people who are going to buy a perfume may or may not be relevantly similar to the author of the negative review. Maybe they'll totally disagree and love the perfume. Then again, maybe they'll really dislike the perfume. Either way, they're better off knowing the truth: that someone in the universe really dislikes it.

      On the other hand, I sometimes as though I'm a party pooper when I dismiss a perfume as ugly or bad or gross. I also feel some hesitation about categorically dismissing the perfumes put out by creative people at niche and independent houses. Why? Because I know that they really tried to make something beautiful, and to them it is beautiful. So I don't want to prevent other people who might like it from trying it, especially since it's already challenging enough to compete in the perfume world with all of the powerful corporations which have the means to win consumers over through images, not quality perfumes.

      Honestly, I'm torn on this issue. One thing is clear: nasty attacks upon the person who created a perfume, whether it works for me or not, seem entirely uncalled for. If everyone universally affirmed that perfume perception is totally subjective, then no one would ever misinterpret negative reviews. When I write negative reviews, I am only conveying my personal experience. I am not making grand proclamations about what other people like or should like. No, not at all. I don't have problem with people disagreeing with me. We are different people, with different characteristics, histories, memories, tastes, beliefs, and values. Why in the world should we agree?

      The problem arises when people start to say that some perfumes are objectively and absolutely good and some are objectively and absolutely bad. This seems to suggest that the people who like objectively bad perfumes are somehow wrong. I certainly do not want to say that, especially since I am convinced that our tastes in perfume have a lot to do with the cultural context in which we happen by chance to find ourselves.

      A recent illustration of the subjectivity of perfume judgment arose in the case of Chandler Burr and Luca Turin regarding Prada Infusion d'Iris. Burr thinks it's great; Turin thinks it's awful. So who is right? Both critics have smelled tons of perfumes and so cannot be written off as ignorant. In the end, they simply have different tastes, and this suffices to explain their difference in opinion.

      The situation is similar to taste in food, it seems to me. There is nothing right or wrong about liking anchovies/ Some people really love them, and others loathe them. Now, a problem arises in perfumery, because some perfumes seem so horrible to some of us and some seem to be masterpieces. This is where the wisdom of the adage “One perfumista's treasure is another perfumista's trash” becomes clear.

  2. from takeasniff (cont'd):

    I think many collectors would agree that you know when a perfume is a rare gem even if it is a little bit of a misfit when you are experienced you have smelled many enough to recognise and appreciate a really good creation when you keep coming back to something. When you have so many years experience smelling perfumes you start to look at something like Tresor which would be really classy to an inexperienced perfume collector and you can see its faults and you cruelly pick it apart when before you would have shamelessly splashed it on and prounced out the door as though you were just the most irresistible creature ever to walk the earth only to find some years and many perfume experiences later you look back at that and feel a little silly and think what was I doing what a silly little fart. Then shamelessly you find yourself doing it again I know I do particularly with Tresor! Even my Mum say's are you still wearing that? I thought with all your collecting you would be bored of that by now? No I am not.

    I noticed you like Samsara. I cannot live without that. At first I could not see why people liked it so much and I remember smelling it in the workplace on various women who were always older than me. It was always a mystery to me as I never knew what it was. Now I am older and I just cannot stop wearing it I always go back to it even if I have a more modern perfume I will somehow go back to Samsara every time. Although I do prefer the edt. I have the edp which is nice.

    Perfumes today are a reflection of the times we live in now I feel unfortunately. The creations of today seem like they are just what you have been looking for but then you wear it and it just falls flat. Pick up Samsara or Oscar and Tresor and many others from that time and they have the ability to actually make you feel a certain way. Today's creations try to do that but fail I believe. Much like everything else today. Songs today are good for the first couple of times you listen to them then you just bore of them and just cannot stand to even hear them. The old classic music just doesn't suffer that problem. Fashion today they try to create something that hasn't been done before but inevitably they return back to the old ones and just recycle those. It's like today's generations are trying to create their own legacy but if falls flat and they long for it seem in particular the 1980's. This fascinates me for some reason. What to do about it? I don't know. I would say today's world had improved with science and exploration without a doubt and that must continue who knows what the possibilities are there. I must say the series Ancient Aliens has intrigued me if not for their interpretation of ancient customs, pictures, stories. Very interesting. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the perfume industry. They are really just destroying it. I think there is always a place for celeb perfumes and mass market creations but the old well known houses which were able to tread the thin line between a quality creation and making it available to the masses have fallen from grace and I am talking about Guerlain and even Chanel for that matter. These companies which were once designers of quality fragrances it seems don't seem to have the passion anymore? Again the ones who stared them are old or passed away and this generation is running them and they seem to just not be able to recreate the same experience in a perfume.

  3. more from takeasniff:

    Estee Lauder is a good example. It was a quality house not niche but classy perfume available to most women. They used quality ingredients and a passion for the creation of each scent. Now they have Adventurous and they have abused the Pleasures and Beautiful creations. They just fall very flat like a faulty firework. All this expectation and money spent on a bottle only to find they don't last and the notes just don't evolve like they used to.

    This could in part be due to the ban on animal testing and I must say that is a good thing but I think using synthetics and more water and alcohol has ruined most perfumes. 

    Or maybe this generation likes the thought of being able to respray their perfume over and over through the course of a day and it always smells the same. In a way you can never use too much outcome. I think it coincides with out 5 minute attention spans today and our ability to become bored very quickly. With the older perfumes you would never spray them constantly through the day as it just ruins the notes ability to complete their purpose. Today's perfumes seem to not be constructed the same way you can spray them once have the same evolution of notes or spray it over and over again and the same evolution happens just stronger and so does the headache! I can't remember suffering headaches with the old perfumes. The discovery has been taken out of perfume today. When you spray something you can pretty much tell what it is going to smell like. With Samsara you can spray it on and you have 1 impression and by the end of the day it has evolved to the loveliest powdery sandalwood I can imagine. Today's perfumes it is just litchi, musk, citrus or some vague interpretation of sandalwood and "woods"! All the rage now is amber and bergamot which are being abused far too much and not having the intended effect. Or the designers claim to have come out with something really earth shattering ie Robert Cavalli's new one. The women is dressed in leopard print and it is all supposed to be sexy but it just isn't. Again it falls flat nothing happens no one can smell it, you can't smell it and it was $90-100.00 basically for a bottle which today you are lucky if they are even glass.

    I also noticed 1 of your favourites is 24 Farbourg. I didn't know this existed until recently and happened to see it and test it and I couldn't get enough. I haven't managed to get a bottle yet but it is on the list. I thought you would be aware of it and like it but that is about it to see it is one of your favourites is just another example of how we have similar taste. I too adore men's perfumes because they are what I have had to resort to today if I want something decent or different because the womens supposed orientals today just smell like impulse body sprays. I also have worn Dune since it was launched I love perfumes which resemble the outdoors as best they can. I actually love Pure Turquoise by Ralph Lauren for that reason as I have an obsession with the desert and it can transport me there in my mind silly I know but that's me. I am intrigued by Bond no.9 as we don't seem to have them here in Australia? I would love to test 1 but have yet to find them anywhere. I enjoy Womanity and think it comes the closest amongst the mass market offerings to something very original good or bad. Some women think by purchasing a Thierry Mugler perfume they have really become adventurous and brave and while they are nice perfumes I find them quite mild really. Something called Alien I expected to pack more of a punch but it just doesn't. I love the alien concept I don't really believe in them but I do like the little green men and all the assorted stuff associated with it and I think Mugler tries to be different maybe the concept and the bottles are good but the final outcome is a little mild for me. I think Obsession and Dune, Mitsouku achieve more.

  4. from takeasniff

    I noticed your comment about parfum versus eau de parfum. My husband surprised me recently when he purchased a parfum for me. I asked why he spent so much money on it and he said well I wouldn't be bothered with anything less than eau de parfum they just don't last. I stopped for a minute and thought oh no what have I created my own little frankenstein.

    Why do you not like Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange? Do you not listen to the classical music because it was used in that movie? I have not watched the movie as I have heard it is very confronting. I am no stranger to confronting movies I watch all sorts blockbusters and I like arthouse independent films etc. That film I am nervous about. I get very upset when someone is bashed so violently. I can watch horror films and action films even films which are emotionally draining but when someone is violently hurt and they don't seem to stand a chance against the other person it just gets to me and I think about it for a long time after watching it. I hate watching history shows about the treatment of the black plantation workers it really sends me off in tears because I see them as a person with feelings and I think how hard it must have been for them how hopeless and some of the punishment tactics used where just so horrible. I just hate real cruelty like that. I can understand a fit of rage or violence toward another person but not deliberate actions that the person has thought about for some time knowing it will cause pain and still does it or regards a person's life as nothing even when clearly the person is suffering they continue to bash them or whatever it is they are doing. Very hard to watch. 

    Do you find fragrantica frustrating? When I first noticed it I was really pleased because I used to use the Perfume Emporium site but their perfume collection was very limited and so were the reviews. Some of the reviews were just stupid and childish and a lot of personal attacks on each other so I couldn't be bothered with it. Both myself and Sheridenellis who also uses fragrantica gave up on it for similar reasons. The more I use fragrantica the more I notice that it appears many people are not testing the perfumes properly before they post a review which amounts to a large number of pointless useless reviews almost as though some people just like the sound of their own voice. I am sure some think I am like that as I have posted a lot of reviews. I just try to be honest and I can't help if I test a lot of perfumes and like to post a comment about it I just like the chance to put it on there. Some people seem to praise a perfume just for the name of the designer it's almost as though they have assumed they will love it or are obliged to love it just because it is 'Marc Jacobs" they feel almost guilty if they don't like it or there must be something wrong with them. They are too scared to just simply say it was an ordinary perfume for fear of the Marc Jacobs brigade ridiculing them. I just say exactly what I experience good or bad. I noticed you seem to be educated to a certain extent on notes and niche perfumes so maybe you prefer to read those reviews as I have noticed a difference in reviews. The niche ones get a good variety of knowledge posted but the mainstreem houses like Ed Hardy and the celebrities seem to attract as I said the people who don't really smell things properly and just want to blow their own trumpet. You only have to read a few of them and it becomes tedious as they all sprout the same comments. "Oh I love this." "This is such a fun perfume" "It makes me feel so sexy", "It is a good nightclubbing perfume" etc etc. Yes but give us a proper review of what your experience was!

  5. from takeasniff:

    Or they review a perfume which isn't even released yet based on the celebrity or the bottle or complain they knew they wouldn't like a perfume because a particular celebrity designed it when they hadn't even tested it yet. Who cares who the celebrity is tell me more about the perfume itself. They complain on and on about the bottle. I pointed out once that if you put the perfume in a decanter does that make it a better smell? Of course fragrantica deleted my review I think. I think I annoy the editors. I just don't believe is saying things that are not true or nonsense just say it how it is and skip the personal remarks or need to say people smell like stripper. When have you ever smelled a stripper? They might wear or have a better collection than you honey so pipe down and get on with it!

    I noticed you reviewed Heat by Beyonce. You didn't like the perfume but you didn't ramble on about how Beyonce has no place designing perfumes and blah blah or it was bad as you expect from Beyonce you just mentioned your experience with the perfume so I thought well fair enough. Others seem to feel this overwhelming need to say how much they Hate Kim Kardashian. I asked them on the site what is so bad about her? Of course they couldn't wait to respond with only information clearly they read in tabloid magazines. None of them actually know her. And they still purchased her perfume. Very strange. I don't know her and couldn't really care less just tell me what the perfume is like. If I were to put it in a different bottle with nothing written on it and ask them their opinion they would all say oh it's Hollywood by Korrs. MMMM?

    That's why I like the experienced collectors because they will put all that nonsense aside and see the perfume for what it really is and make a decision from there.

    You studied at college have you ever considered designing perfumes? Studying chemistry and science or maybe you have a scientific background I don't know?

    Australia is frustrating we don't have any perfume conventions and our shelves are always stocked with celeb scents. To obtain a niche perfume I really have to go to David Jones or Myer which are our higher end department stores. Most drugstores just sell an abundance of the older perfumes which no one buys anymore and celeb perfumes it is extremely frustrating and the girls working there have no idea what anything smells like. If I mention some of the Guerlains they just look at me as though I have 2 heads. They just have no interest or clue. Then they try to tell me which perfume I would like out of their mediocre collection and it is usually Daisy by March Jacobs. If I hear about that one more time I am going to scream. They insist on telling me how I really need to try it on my skin. I think if only you knew that I have been wearing perfumes before you were born and I wore the originals not the reformulated ones so I don't need you to tell me how to test it. I feel that way obviously I don't say that to them I just go along with them. I wish people who work with perfumes were interviewed better to determine if they actually have a genuine interest in perfume!

    I have noticed at the drug stores they hate when you want to test something. You ask them and you can see the dread in their face. Then the search begins to find the key for the cabinet because they are locked away even though they are only cheap celebrity perfumes they act as though they have the holy grail locked in there. Then they begin asking which one of them wants to help me test a perfume so they can handball the problem around until some poor schmuck ends up with the task. Then proceed to try to open the cabinet with too much dramatics and the key never fits properly then finally when that is achieved they ask which one would I like to test?

  6. from takeasniff:

    Of course I point which one it is because simply naming it will confuse them too much it is always followed by a vague stare and the inevitable question with their head to the side "Sorry which one I don't think we have that even though I can see it sitting on the shelf!, of course they pick the wrong one so then begins the process of explaining no not that one the other one to which they look completely confused. They finally get the one you want and then the spray card comes out. They hold the bottle so close to the card only to find it isn't spraying. Then they say oh I don't think this tester has anything in it. By this stage I am annoyed. Then they say oh maybe we have one so then the draw gets opened and they fumble around in the draw and say oh which one was it again? By now I have lost my patience. Then they say oh no sorry we don't have one. And they almost say it with delight. I think just count to 10 stay quiet don't lose your patience. That is before of course you get to the stock that never received a tester to begin with. So they want you to pay $100.00 for something you can't test. Then you ask can I bring it back to exchange it? No not if you have sprayed it. Oh I give up!! And this in Australia is only for as I mentioned mediocre perfumes this is before you even try to get something original or different.  

    If I go to Myer I find the women behind the counter ignore me. There is only ever 1 or 2 of them during busy peak hour and they are always doing makeup for someone. I stand there looking at them and they just pretend I am not there. One time I deliberately walked around the counter up and down picking up things and putting them down and this women just continued to talk to the customer she was doing the makeup on and completely ignored me. By now I was really frustrated and I said " Oh I'm fine how are you?" She turned to me and said "Yes I am with someone!" I said "So what if I want some assistance with the fragrances?" She replied in a huff "Oh which one do you want to look at I am trying to do this ladies makeup and I am the only one here!" Obviously I just said don't worry about it I couldn't be bothered with her. I was going to spend a lot of money that day. If I tried to get a job selling perfume I wouldn't they would say I don't have enough retail experience but time and time again I see these people working there who just stare into space as you are testing something they don't have any interest in it or seem to know any of the perfumes. They spray such a tiny dribble on the card you have to ask them to spray it again because you can barely smell it then they get annoyed with you. I have the knowledge and enthusiasm but not the retail experience. Oh well such is life. If I did work with perfume it would have to be with rare ones or niche ones because I would be so tired of spraying Brittney Spears Fantasy to some women claiming Oh that smells so sexy. I would think hardly. You cannot say anything just have to go along with them. If you suggest an older perfume ie Samsara they would wrinkle their nose and exclaim quite proudly that it smells like old lady. What is that exactly? We are all going to be one of them some day honey!  


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