80s Scent Week FAIL

 

Epic FAIL photo from failblog.org, by Will Vega

And I mean utter FAIL!! I’d been planning to follow a 1980s Scent Week plan this week. Some perfumista friends on Facebook tossed out the challenge, and I thought I could do it.  I mean, I lived through the 80s… I was actually doing pretty well in the 80s, what with being a teenager who didn’t care much that I was geeky.  (If you are a geek, but all your friends are geeks too, life is pretty good.)  I don’t have a lot of 1980s fragrances, actually, but between ebay minis and decants and samples, I figured it would be easy enough. I made a plan, based on what I had available to me:

Monday – Lauren by Ralph Lauren (vintage)

Tuesday – YSL Paris

Wednesday – (Original, Karl Lagerfeld) Chloe

Thursday – Dior Poison

Friday – Givenchy Ysatis

Saturday – Coty Sand & Sable

Sunday – Balenciaga Michelle

Lauren and Chloe were both originally released in the late 1970s, not in the 1980s, but a college friend of mine wore Lauren, so it has a connection to my very-80s coming of age and I think of it as being an 80s scent. Likewise with Chloe, except that I was the one wearing Chloe, all through middle and high school and into college: again, very-80s to me personally. Paris was released in 1983; Poison started choking us in 1985; Sand & Sable hit the drugstore shelves in 1981. I had a high school friend who wore Sand & Sable, and I spent a lot of time dodging people wearing Poison in auditoriums at college, but I don’t remember Paris at all, unless what I was smelling at the time was not in fact Coty Exclamation!, but Paris itself (the two are fairly similar in structure, except that Exclamation! is more peachy-powdery, less green than Paris). Ysatis, released in 1986, I did not recognize by name. But the smell, when I picked up a tiny vintage bottle for $3 on ebay, was very familiar; a different college friend wore it, and I immediately connected Ysatis with my freshman Spanish class. I never smelled Michelle when it was new in 1983, but it fits in with the decade, in its smoldering bold florals atop a woody-mossy base. It’s a favorite of mine.

 

My 1986 prom dress was a lot like the one on the left (with sleeves). Yeah, go ahead and pity me, but I had a good time. Photo of Simplicity pattern from risingfeenix.com.

The first two days went fine. Lauren is cologne strength, and not heavy in structure in any case, with green notes, rose, violet, and carnation on a soft, mossy sandalwood base. I smelled good, even in the heat. My tiny bottle of Paris is also vintage via ebay (cheap!) and it’s hard to put on the level of knock-you-down smell power that Paris used to pack back in the day, by dabbing from the very-cute mini bottle. I actually put a dab on throat and wrist and then supplemented with my Paris Pont des Amours Printemps flanker. I smelled good, even in the heat.

Let me comment just a little about that “heat” issue… for the past three days, it’s been over 90F in the middle of the day. It’s also quite humid: at 5:35 pm today, the National Weather Service showed a temperature at my local reading spot of 91F, with humidity of 74%. Now, that humidity is not ridiculous for summer – in August, we’ll have temps of upper 90s and humidity of 90%, and it will be unbearable, but it’s only June! I’m not ready for this!

I tried a dab of Chloe this morning before heading out to take the kids to school. According to Eddie Van’s thermometer, at 7:55am, the temperature was 72F; Chloe was fine. It was a bit heavy, but fine. Again, it’s another dabber. Bear in mind that I nursed a 30ml bottle of Chloe edt for about 12 years, by only wearing it when I dressed up, and alternating it with maybe three other fragrances over that 12-year period (Prince Matchabelli Cachet, a floral chypre I never loved, Revlon Xia Xi’ang, a soft rosy amber that I did love, and a teeny-tiny bottle of Coty Emeraude, which I adored). But within half an hour, I was pulling weeds outside and planning to mow, and I was sweating rather freely. At that point, Chloe was un-fine.

So I went inside and washed. I looked at my list to see if I could switch days on some of my picks. Poison? I’ve developed a tolerance, and even a mild liking for it these days, but today, nope. No can do. Ysatis? It flies the same skies as Chloe, but is bigger and even raunchier, with civet and something that smells like dirty ashtray. That’s not gonna work, either. Sand & Sable is pretty big, too, and can sometimes give me a chemical headache. And Michelle? It’s loud, too.

And because I am a geeky chicken, I gave up.  The 80s Scent Week is a MAJOR FAIL for me right now, and I don’t think I will be picking it up again until fall at the earliest. I could have gone with any of these fragrances, which I have on hand (usually in sample sizes):

Annick Goutal Eau de Camille – a green floral crisp as grass on a cool, dewy, early morning,

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise – very similar to Chanel No. 19, elegant as a freshly-pressed white blouse.

Balenciaga Rumba – Carmen Miranda drinks rum and dances until the candles burn out.

Balmain Ivoire – soap. And moss. Soap and moss and soap and moss, and then finally, amber.

Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’Eau – Green beans, with a side of raspberries, and a bouquet of roses!

Emmanuel Ungaro Diva – Beautiful rose chypre, bold and uncompromising and demanding.

Giorgio Beverly Hills – uhh… here’s my sort-of-review of it, and ’nuff sed.

Guerlain Samsara – Jasmine, sandalwood, and circus elephants with jeweled headdresses. Big.

Jean Marc Sinan– Like Diva, but with vampire fangs.

However, those lovely quiet Annick Goutals, and Ivoire, and L’Ombre dans L’Eau, seem very far from what I’d call “80s style,” and so I wouldn’t even think of wearing them for 80s week.

 

1985 fashion, from Wikimedia Commons

And here are a few more 1980s-released scents to go with your shoulder pads:

Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte

Calvin Klein Eternity

Calvin Klein Obsession

Catherine Deneuve Deneuve

Chanel Coco

Coty Exclamation!

Coty Lady Stetson

Estee Lauder Beautiful

Estee Lauder Knowing

Estee Lauder Pure White Linen

Gloria Vanderbilt Vanderbilt

Guerlain Champs Elysees

Houbigant Raffinee

K de Krizia

Krizia Krazy

Krizia Teatro alla Scala

Montana Parfum de Peau

Paloma Picasso

Prescriptives Calyx

Yves RocherIspahan

Yves Rocher Venise

Yves St Laurent Opium (1977, but in spirit close to the big 80s smells)

I never liked Opium, Obsession, or Poison. Or Coco, either. Giorgio I tolerated, probably because it kept passing me in small wafts down my high school halls, not asphyxiating me in elevators. The thing about Opium was that I kept getting trapped in movie theaters, auditoriums, concert halls, church pews, sitting next to someone wearing much too much of it, and it was awful. It smelled to me as if it were decomposing into oily dust. Obsession I hated because it smelled a lot like Opium, except less spicy and more dusty. Coco I hated because it smelled like Opium too; it was less offensive because it smelled more alive, slightly less like decomposing into oily dust. Poison I hated largely because it was loud, but also because it smelled, well, poisonous. Like it could reach out its purple-gloved hand and throttle anyone within wafting distance – which, for Poison, was considerable. I still don’t like that resiny stuff that smells like oily dust, but I’m developing an appreciation for Poison these days. That might be because of Poison’s luxurious white floral underneath the Cough Syrup of Death.

It certainly isn’t nostalgia that allows me to appreciate it now.

The other thing about all of these is that back in the day, people wore too much. Much too much. Much, much too much. I’ve talked about sillage before: I like some, but not a lot. If you can smell me from six feet away, I’m wearing too much. I like to be smelled within a three-foot radius, i.e., by people standing right next to me. If you’re that close to me, there’s probably a reason for that and we’re not encroaching on each other’s personal space. As my grandmother Nell always said, usually when I asked for another cookie, “Enough is enough, and too much will make you sick.” (She always said it just like that; I sometimes wondered if it was something her own mother had said, but I didn’t ask. And now, of course, I can’t.) That goes for perfume too: in my world, enough is enough. And too much will… all together now… make you sick!

Fragrances from the 80s were big and loud and rich and complex and bold and striking. That’s not very… me, as an aesthetic, and some of these scents were the kind of thing that entered the room before the wearer did. I hate that. I mean, okay, fine, it’s kind of exciting to have someone walk through the hall ten minutes after you’ve been there and say, “Hey, she’s here! I smell her.” But I would much rather leave that impression on people that have enough affection for me to hug me and smell my perfume; I prefer the more intimate recognition of my fragrance.

So I’ll try this week’s plan another time. Maybe some week we’re expecting snow… that ought to be comfortable enough.

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Busted Sniffer

I don’t know whether it’s allergies, or a cold, or a combination of the two, but I can’t smell anything.

Seriously.  I got out the L’Arte di Gucci, which is no shy flower, and made a sample of it on Monday, and I could barely smell it.   Busted out the famously-radiant YSL Paris mini yesterday, and it was faint.  I even opened the room-clearing vintage Poison mini I just nabbed off ebay (simply for reference, you understand, I ain’t gonna actually wear the thing) and it was like gauze in the air, not its usual asphyxiating self.

I’ll try to get the Fragrance Throwdown posted this afternoon, although I’d been hoping for another head-to-head, I mean wrist-to-wrist, comparison first.  I’ll just edit the post if something comes up in future wearings.

Into each life, some clogged-up noses must fall… wait, that’s a really disturbing image… see, I’m trying to be philosophical about this, and utterly failing.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their autumn!  (Unless, of course, you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope you’re enjoying your spring.)

Image is “bandaged stuffed nose” from Lara604 on Flickr (photo subject had her deviated septum repaired).

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The Shaving Cream Conundrum, Part II – and a mini-review of Guerlain Rose Barbare

It’s me.

Isn’t it?

I mean, it has to be. No one else is complaining.

It’s me.

There is either something about my skin, or something about my nose, that turns perfectly nice fragrances into the smell of shaving cream. I ranted about this phenomenon way back in the fall, and I’m not going to rant again, but I just don’t get it.

It happened again today.

You might already know of my love for rose chypres, given how I natter on about L’Arte di Gucci and PdE Eau Suave and Ungaro Diva and how wonderful Knowing parfum was for two hours before the Evil Lauder Base sent its throttling tendrils up to nauseate me. I even liked Rose de Nuit pretty well, although its weird chewy texture sort of freaked me out. You know how certain types of cheeses and dried-up marshmallows (don’t ask me how I know this) just squeak in your teeth when you bite them? Rose de Nuit squeaks.

So I was thrilled to receive a swap parcel with a sample vial of Guerlain Rose Barbare, from the niche-y L’Art et la Matiere line (as always, please ‘scuse the lack of diacriticals). Word on this one went like this: “ambery rose,” “dark thorny rose,” “modern chypre with rose,” “Mitsouko with rose instead of peach.” And I thought, “Ooooh, a rose Mitsouko, maybe I’d like that. And look, it’s composed by Francis Kurkdjian, he of the stunning, sexy, modern rose chypre Lumiere Noire Pour Femme!”

Guerlain’s description of Rose Barbare: “a heady, incisive Ottoman rose (aldehydes) over a modern structure of honey-chypree notes”.  You’d think they’d be more forthcoming, instead of insulting potential customers by not bothering to tell them what’s in it, but no. That’s all you get in the way of notes: rose, aldehydes, honey, and chypre (bergamot, labdanum, patchouli and something mossy-ish, I’m guessing, in the manner of modern chypres).

I dabbed Rose Barbare onto my wrists Tuesday afternoon and went to pick up Bookworm from track practice, a twenty-minute trip. And things started out well: clearly a beautiful high quality rose ingredient here, framed in some nice green stuff that seems to be mostly patchouli of the kind I tolerate well, all grassy and herbal. But within fifteen minutes, I was getting shaving cream. And it stayed shaving cream for the next five hours, too.

There’s no getting around it: it’s shaving cream. I stuck my wrist under Gaze’s nose and asked what he smelled.  Separately, I asked Bookworm.  They both identified it immediately, without any hints.  And let me be perfectly honest here, I think shaving cream smells great. It’s a smell I find extremely pleasant on a man. Fougeres tend to remind me of shaving cream – I assume that’s a trickle-down effect, by the way: a body care product picking up the smell of fine fragrance. And I don’t want to belabor the point here when other scent bloggers have addressed the issue of gender in fragrance so well and thoroughly,1 but I don’t want to smell like shaving cream! It’s a smell so clearly identified with men in my mind that wearing it on my person feels like wearing men’s underwear when I’m not one: clearly it doesn’t fit me. It chafes.

There are other accords that bother me: the cloying yet dusty Coco-Opium-Cinnabar-Youth Dew-Stetson-Tabu tolu balsam + patchouli accord; the depressing soapiness of orange blossom; the flat, chemical cleaning-products accord I sometimes get from linden and/or muguet notes; the musty-basement thing I can’t quite pin down, but seems related to carrot seed, or iris, or powdery violet; and whatever it is in that dang Lauder base, and in SSS Vintage Rose, that makes me want to toss my cookies. It’s only ToluPatch and Lauder that are bad enough to force me to scrub – the others I struggle through rather than washing off.

I’m not a big fan of citrus, classical colognes, or what Robin at NST calls “wood pudding scents,” (search there for more info) either, but that’s a boredom issue, not a sanity issue.

It’s only the dreaded shaving cream accord that rouses my righteous ire this way, and I think that’s because I tend to avoid the other accords, which is pretty easy. It says “Lauder” right there on the bottle. Ergo, avoid. No prob. The scent description says “balsamic oriental”? I know it’s not for me. The fragrance is focused on OB or linden or iris? Probably not gonna be my bag, I won’t bother with it. There are too many other scents I want to try anyway, I’m probably not missing much.

But shaving cream accord? There’s no warning for that. It always strikes out of flippin’ nowhere. In so-called feminine scents. There I am, all happy in a green garden full of rose bushes, and then suddenly I’m trapped in the enormous stadium-size nightmare barbershop maze. Grrrrrrrr. Before testing, I read five perfume blog reviews of Rose Barbare, with comments, as well as about 40 brief reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes, and nowhere was there a complete list of the notes (I guess Guerlain didn’t release them) or a description of RB as being even vaguely fougere-y.

The short list of suspects for Shaving Cream Accord (hereafter, SCA) are as follows: lavender, coumarin, and/or opoponax. I think further testing is in order – but if you happen to have any insights to share, I’d be ever so grateful.

A few other reviews of Rose Barbare:  Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Aromascope, Perfume-Smellin’ Things, and Perfume Shrine.  See? Nobody says “shaving cream.”  Curses.  It’s me.

Top image is Barbershop pole from felixtcat at flickr; lower image is Rose Barbare from fragrantica.

1See this post and comments, and the follow-up post, at Grain de Musc and this one at Left Coast Nose, at minimum, for serious discussion on the subject that I frankly don’t have the cojones to address here. (Ha ha. Little gender humor there… of course, it’s a pun, which some people call the lowest form of humor.)

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Tuberose Series Bonus: Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills

I should NOT have tested this.  This is not going to be a serious, formal review because I just can’t stand to do it.  Also, with this review, you’re going to get pointless digressions and some disturbing emotional reactions.  You have been warned.

Perfume Review: Giorgio Beverly Hills
Date Released: 1981
Perfumer: Bob Aliano
Sample provenance: miniature bottle bought retail 2010

Subcategory: Loud dressed-up party tuberose composition

I wasn’t going to bother with this.  I blame Luca Turin yet again, for reviewing it in the downloadable updates to the original Perfumes: The Guide.  I should have known better from that stupid Insolence experience, but nooooooooo.  Also I was blinded by nostalgia and a fuzzy memory of what Giorgio actually smells like (which is, actually, not Turin’s fault).  He does make the excellent point that “many people harbor a sneaking fondness for the bad old days” of the excessive eighties, pointing out that outrageous and surprising perfumes like Angel are still succeeding, in these times of post-post-decadence.  Here are portions of his review (go read it in its entirety if you can, it’s an interesting and informed take):
**** Giorgio.  Fruity tuberose…  The secret of Giorgio was the discovery of an accord that could stand up to a monstrously powerful tuberose while extending it in interesting directions. Two heroically strong aromachemicals were drafted: one being… reminiscent of pineapple, and the second a… base made between… a fresh-almondy-marine material and… the Concord grape smell… The result was a cute, twelve-foot-tall singing canary, at first impossible to ignore, and at length too big to love.  But if any composition embodies what makes… classical perfumery great, it is Giorgio.

Okay, first off I’m going to say yet again that it is definitely not fair to give four stars to something that doesn’t smell good.  I do not give a flying flip whether it “advances the art of perfumery,” got me?  I only want to wear scents that smell good.  Secretions Magnifiques four stars, anyone?  Didn’t think so.  Now, I’ll wade through some difficult opening notes to get to something beautiful, or at least to something interesting.  And granted, people’s opinions on What Smells Good tend to, duh, differ.  I love tuberose and hate balsamic resins.  I think vetiver is boring.  I like rose and aldehydes.  You may think I’m nuts.  But for a reviewer that keeps dissing tuberose he calls “synthetic,” it was downright immoral of LT to praise this *&#^%^@(*@ mess.

Disclaimer:  I went to high school in the 80’s, all right?  And while I was wearing polite applications of Chloe from my dabber bottle, big spray bottles of Giorgio were all the rage.  Black rubber bracelets, banana hairclips, leggings and big tunics, Swatches and enormous abstract-art earrings in pink and aqua… and Giorgio.  Which I kind of liked then – I had a friend who seemed to have all the disposable income a girl could want as well as serious social cachet (she was the only really nice cheerleader at my high school, and my Bio lab partner), and she wore it in discreet quantities.  I thought she smelled nice.

There comes a time in your sober years when you appreciate your parents’ chintzy refusal to buy your teenage self trendy stuff.  I never had a yellow-and-aqua paint-splatter swimsuit to wear to the pool.  I never had a pair of Candies sandals, or even those fat-soled flipflops everybody wore.  And sure, I suffered when the cheerleaders went down the hall in a gang, snickering about my not-even-close-to-designer jeans and reeking of Giorgio, but now I feel better about the whole thing.  I recently showed my high school yearbook to my children, and they laughed at my hair but admitted that my clothes were “not as weird as what those girls are wearing, eww.”  Take that, Two Christies!  Take that, Charlene and Amanda!  Your trendy clothes were weird!

I freely admit I couldn’t afford it back then anyway.  And never mind all the science-chat about anthrancilates and whatnot, descriptions of Big Bird and grape popsicles, what Giorgio smells like to me now is money and humiliation.

If I was going to attempt to wear Giorgio, this was the day to do it: The CEO just left on a trip to the Farm Bureau National Convention, Bookworm’s gone for the day to an indoor track meet, and the boys are supposedly cleaning up their rooms but they keep sneaking down to the laundry room to visit Sara the ailing calf.  Here’s a transcript of our conversations about Giorgio:

Me: I’m trying this out.  What do you think?
Taz: Eww.  It makes my throat hurt.
Gaze (trying to be diplomatic, but failing): I don’t like that one.  It smells like… really bad Halloween candy. The hard kind in weird flavors, like you get from the people who don’t like kids but they don’t want people to think they don’t like kids.  So they give you stuff, but it’s nasty.
Me (secretly pleased):  Really?
Gaze:  And the pool.  It smells like the pool. You know, on really crowded days, when they put too much chlorine in there?
Me:  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Taz: Mom, I think Sara’s better, she’s eating that hay now.
Me:  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Taz:  Hey, Mom… Mom, why are you laughing?
Gaze:  I don’t know.  She’s acting weird.  Maybe that perfume is making her sick.
Me: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… (maniacal giggling)
Taz: Mom, will you stop laughing and make us dinner now?  Mom?  Mom! Stop laughing.  This is important.  Please go wash your hands, I don’t want my hot dogs to smell like that.

It would probably be pretentious of me to repeat that old saying about the mills of God grinding slowly, so I won’t.  But I will say that the taste of vindication is sweet.

I have a nasty headache now that I didn’t have when I put on this dab of Giorgio edt.  Thank the Lord, I can go take a shower now.  Maybe now I can cease the maniacal laughter.  Sample of Giorgio Beverly ILLS is going out with the trash as soon as possible.

And I’m sorry, I really am.  I should have known better.  But, see, this is why I love perfume.  Two drops of yellow gunk (which have consequently contaminated the air around me for seven hours) suddenly returned me to the horrors of being fifteen.  What else could do that so quickly?  What else could go straight for the jugular like that?  Nothing else taps so elegantly, so directly, so brutally, into the emotional center as perfume.

Top image from fragrantica.  Lower image from paper_antiquary on ebay.

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Perfumes Beloved on the Boards that I Just Don’t Get, or, Huh?

I’ve tried.  Believe me, I’ve tried – mostly because people love these, and they’re willing to say how much they love these, and why.  Anything a fellow perfumista loves has got to be worthy of at least some attention – and I will admit that I generally did not find these scents boring.  All of them have some personality, which is probably why they’re not mainstream mall fodder.  But like anything unusual, opinions are going to differ.  These were the scents I tried, hoping for the nirvana that many people experience with them, but found utter FAILURE:

1) Mitsouko. La Grande Dame herself, beloved of many (most?) serious perfumistas, who mourn the latest reformulation and who haunt eBay like Dementors, looking for vintage parfum. I’ve tried edt. Vintage edt. I’ve tried edp from two different bottles. Thirteen tests.  I’ve dabbed, I’ve sprayed.  Now, I haven’t tried the parfum, but that’s because it’s impossible to find. Also because I don’t think it would do any good: Mitsy hates me. Sure, it’s tailored and melancholy and autumnal; sure, it would make great armor (if it didn’t pinch so much). But here’s the thing: I don’t think it smells good. Maybe it’s that lactonic peach, which I haven’t really liked in anything that contains it, or maybe it’s the oakmoss, which I tend to find the epitome of standoffish. Aldehydes I don’t mind, but Oakmoss = Unfriendly, in my lexicon. The only part of Mitsouko that I like is that warm amberish bit in the drydown, the labdanum, and that’s just because it’s labdanum and it smells good on its own.

2) POTL Luctor et Emergo. Salty cherry. Play-doh. The smell of preschoolers with sticky fingers. Gah. How do people get “comfort scent” out of this? It just smells like dirty work to me. (I suspect that the concept of “comfort scent” must be highly personal. My own comfort scents include Serge Lutens’ La Myrrhe, which smells cold and disjointed to most people, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, which apparently smells like wet dog and powdery rose to some noses, and the J-P Guerlain version of Shalimar Light, the blue version that is widely regarded to be inferior to the Mathilde Laurent original version.)

3) Insolence edp. Holy Screaming Meemies, Batman! I don’t get “swirling bits of L’Heure Bleue,” I get a gang of shrieking parrots the size of Big Bird. Kill.Me.Now. If I’m ever kidnapped and tortured, Insolence would do the job.

4) Joy. Seriously, I don’t GET it. It’s pretty for five minutes, particularly in the edt, with all those fresh green notes. Then it’s well-worn underdrawers, Ho panties, and slut bloomers. I don’t smell jasmine and rose, as I do in Chanel No. 5 parfum. No, I have to get postcoital ladyparts. In case I have to explain here, that is not what I wish to smell like.  In public.  I should make it clear that I have tried edt, vintage edt, edp, and vintage parfum; sadly, all are far too X rated for me to wear.  Jasmine does this to me from time to time.

5) Chanel Cuir de Russie. “Leather luxury”? “Fancy leather upholstery”? No. NO. What I got out of that was full-on, 3D realistic, cattle working pens. Dust, iodine, dusty fur, raw cowhide (I live on a cattle farm, remember?) followed by the dustiest, powderiest, siltiest dry-mouth iris ever. Made me thirsty, all three times I tried it. I’m DONE with it.

6) Frederic Malle Une Rose. Now look here, I love me some Dark Roses, from C&S Dark Rose to the Montale oud-rose combos to Rose de Nuit, with many others in between. But this is a beautiful, voluptuous, velvety rose gone insane: Lucy Westenra in Dracula (the book, obviously), licking blood from her lips, or Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies, beauty corrupted and twisted, poisoned and savaged, love-lies-bleeding.

7) Chergui. Yet another one I thought I’d adore. Narcissus? Spice? Hay? Tobacco? The notes are right up my alley, and like Une Rose, this one just misses. Turns out I don’t want sweetish spices in my dusty-sweet hay, and unlike Une Rose, Chergui bored me. Then it annoyed me, because it could have been perfect.

8) 100% Love. Okay, I get the idea: chocolate, strawberries, and roses, Valentine’s Day in a bottle. I’ll admit it’s very interesting to sniff, and I sprayed it several times just to smell it happen in 3D: choco-berry-rose-chouli, whee! But no way do I want this anywhere near my skin.

9) Chanel No. 22. I like many of the classic Chanels, as well as several of the Les Exclusifs, and aldehydes are rarely a problem for me. In fact, it’s not the aldehydes that bother me here. It’s the unrelenting sugariness. Two hours into it, my teeth start decaying. You could call No. 22 superior to No. 5 all you want, but I’d still say you were wrong.

10) Bois de Paradis. Nine tests: the citrusy opening is always wrong on me; I nearly tore my hair out trying to figure out if it smells more like mint or like turpentine. (Either way, it’s not nice.) Then there’s that blueberry. And before I can even smell much in the way of woods, I get this very very sweet, caramelly amber. The effect is of eating blueberry pancakes with maple syrup at a wooden table, close to where someone has recently cleaned the floor with Pine-Sol. If you’re thinking, “Hey, that sounds pretty good,” then clearly I don’t want out of my perfume what you want out of your perfume.

A couple of these I do wonder if I ever might change my mind about. No. 22, Une Rose, Chergui… those have the feel of scents that were close to love. Maybe it’s my head that needs to change. Maybe more exposure would help.

At the same time, there are enough fragrances that I do really, really love, to think that I need not bother to force anything. If any of those three fall into my lap at some point in the future, particularly at no cost to me, I’d probably manage to fall in love with them. The rest? It is a relief to officially give up on them. Whew.

Top image is from failblog.org.  (This pic was funnier than the “Baby Head Cemetery” one I had up earlier, and gets across the idea of “close but not quite” better, too.)  Middle image is Angry Parrot by Dave Womach at flickr. Lower image is Vampire Girl by *favole* at flickr.

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