Scent Diary, Aug 9-15

Monday, Aug. 9: I hate my job.  Well, either that or I hate my boss.  Grrrrr. 

If you own two auto parts stores, and you hire someone to do your accounts collections for you, and you have a credit policy but make exceptions for nearly half your three hundred regular customers, and when your bookkeeper, following the credit policy, stamps the message “Account is on COD until past due balance is paid” on a customer’s statement,  the customer is annoyed at the reminder of having not paid his bill and calls you to complain, you discuss the matter with your bookkeeper and ask her not to “do that again”… well.  Why have a credit policy at all?  Why not just let people pay you when they feel like it? 

Oh, yeah… because that’s only valid for certain customers – the ones we mustn’t annoy, apparently.   Certain other customers, having gotten behind in the past when my boss has instructed me to “give them a break,” are now past due enough that I’m supposed to be harassing them for money.  Efficient? NO.

I cannot seem to explain sufficiently to my very bright, but confrontation-avoiding, adult-ADHD, boss, that not sticking to the credit policy for ALL customers, even the guy who’s active in the local Commerce Association, backfires every time.  Every single time!  Not to mention that ditching your *%#$ credit policy on an inconsistent basis makes your bookkeeper hate you.

SOTD: the original Victoria’s Secret scent, Victoria – a lovely, ladylike floral chypre with rose and lily of the valley.  The top notes are totally crap: maple syrup and nail polish remover, which is probably the primary reason why this scent was yanked from the VS lineup.  It’s not that old.  I’ve got bottles of other scents, thirty years older than the two bottles of Victoria I own, that are in much, much more wearable shape.  Yet Victoria’s top notes have decayed dreadfully.  The rest of the fragrance is terrific. 

I’ve mentioned it before, but since I’m already cranky, I’m going to do it again.  Some of you are thinking, Victoria’s Secret?  That stuff’s all teen-mall-princess juice.  (You know who you are.)  But the original scent is both elegant and warm-hearted, both restrained and shyly open.  Basically, it is Princess Diana’s beloved public image, ca. 1984, in a bottle.  This scent was released when VS was selling lovely ivory silk charmeuse camisole-and-tap-pants sets.  And knee-length teal chemises in heavy satin with godets and four-inch-deep cream lace.  And white cotton ankle-length nightgowns with pintucks and eyelet lace and mother-of-pearl buttons.  And pale peach lace balconette bras, very French, sexy but demure, with darker coral hand embroidery and high-leg briefs to match.

Those were the days, lemme tell you… not a hot pink nylon thong in sight.

Tuesday, Aug. 10:  Things were better at work today.  SOTD: DSH Perfumes Parfum de Grasse, what Dawn Spencer Hurwitz calls “a hymn” to the city of perfumes.  I know a lot of people find this one lovely.  I don’t.  The dreaded powdery-mildew note from Bvlgari Pour Femme and Hiris showed up early and never left.  I could discern the rose and carnation, and the beeswax is really lovely, but the powdery stuff killllllls me.

SOTE: DSH Perfumes Special Formula X-treme (oil).  This is the extra-strength version of the “diagnostic tool” that Dawn uses in her shop to classify customer’s skins with regard to smell.  I don’t know all that much about it, although reviews on Basenotes and Makeup Alley compare it to various kinds of Egyptian musks, and also to Creative Scentualization Perfect Veil, SSS Opal, and some other skin-scent thing from Ava Luxe.   March at Perfume Posse comments that it smells really musky and almost body-odor-like, and based on that info, Dawn told her that she must be a “skank magnifier.”  (I think March said something like, “Well, duh.”  I love her.  We rarely like the same things, but I love her writing.) Special Formula doesn’t smell like musk to me.  It smells like very subdued flowers and clean linens, and if that were truly my kind of fragrance, I would love this.  Jennifer Aniston’s non-perfumey perfume should have been this.  Now I’m off to send an email to Dawn asking what it means if Special Formula smells like flowers and laundry on me.  My guess is that she’ll say something like, “White florals and florals in general love your skin.”  Anybody want to bet me?

Wednesday, Aug. 11: I mentioned this before, in my “Busy” post, but the software change that we’ve all been dreading for two years finally happened.  Despite the Tech Support guys’ reassurances that everything would work the way we expected, it was just in a different format… well, you know.  NOT!  I’ll get used to it, though.

Dropped the boys off with my parents, meandered back through the mall, sniffed stuff.  By the time I got there, my SOTD, DSH Perfumes’ Secrets of Egypt: Susinon (1000 Lilies), the perfume version, had faded to a very-discreet skin scent.   Nearly everything on the shelves at Macy’s suffered when compared directly to it, except Shalimar and the drydown of No. 5 edt.  Actually, No. 5 parfum could give the Susinon a run for its money in terms of smelling natural and composed, but there’s no tester for the parfum at Macy’s.  I don’t really like Shalimar edt, but it still smells so real and rounded next to, say, the Jessica Simpson vanilla things, or MJ Lola or Coach or Chance. 

Thursday, Aug. 12: It’s been hot and humid all week.  I hate August.  SOTD: Septimanie Pavillon des Fleurs, nice little green-fresh jasmine thing.  Can I be honest here? I really prefer Hanae Mori Haute Couture, which is available at a quarter of the price.  I love it when my taste agrees with my wallet.  The CEO and I went out to dinner, which is a rare-enough occurrence.  With no kids in the house, we took the opportunity for Date Night.  Whee!  SOTE: LeLong Pour Femme, such a pretty satiny thing.

Friday, Aug. 13:  SOTMorning: none, really.  Except I had bought a $2 trial-size lotion of B&BW Dark Kiss on Wednesday, and put a bit on my scratchy elbows before leaving the house.  Dark Kiss is “Angel Minus the Patchouli, Add Extra Berries Instead.”  Which should be a description of the original Hanae Mori, and yet Dark Kiss does not smell like Hanae Mori.  It smells like Angel Berry.  It’s not hideous.  It’s just… I dunno… very high school.  SOTRest of my Life, apparently: the Designer Impressions version of Angel from the tester at Walgreen’s.  I’d smelled this way back in winter, when the teeny spritz of it on my fabric glove smelled really lovely, and I dared to put it on skin today.

Mistake.  One spritz to the elbow is still going strong 9 hours later.  The bit I put on my scarf smells nice – a bit candy-shop, but nice.  A lot of people who wear Angel actually smell like this to me, all sugar-berry-vanilla.  But on me, Fake Angel smells like Drakkar Noir drank way too much cherry Nyquil and passed out into a vat of cotton candy.  On fabric, I don’t get so much patchouli, but on skin it’s really dreadful.  I haven’t washed because I wanted to see how long it would go.  Nine hours… nine.  I have scent-eating skin, people, and am almost guaranteed of getting less wear than the average with any given scent.  It boggles the mind.  Bookworm, who just got home from band camp, told me to get away from her while wearing it: “It’s just… well, it’s disgusting, Mom.”  She put on a bit of the Dark Kiss lotion, though, and proclaimed it “nice.” 

Saturday, Aug. 14:  Standard Saturday chores: Cleaned bathrooms.  Vacuumed.  Mopped floors.  Straightened my room, which desperately needed it (especially the Putting Fragrance Samples Away part).  SOTD: Marc Jacobs Daisy, which still proves to be one of my favorite Wallpaper Scents – pretty yet unobtrusive.  Drove to my parents’ house for my sister’s birthday dinner – Mom’s homemade lasagna and salad, followed by white cake and peaches.  Delicious. 

We brought the boys home with us.  Taz barely made it up the stairs to change into pajamas and brush his teeth, he was so sleepy… and then for some unexplained reason, while The CEO and I were in the basement family room trying to fix the satellite dish, he came back downstairs with his pillow and collapsed on the couch.  He looked like a… a steamed dumpling, lying there – all curled at the edges, plump and shiny of cheek.  Utterly adorable.

Sunday, Aug. 15: We took about twenty pounds of ripe tomatoes to church with us, to give away.  There’s still plenty in the garden, and I canned another seven quarts this evening (running count, 41 quarts).  Plus I have three quarts of Salsa Cruda and six quarts of fresh peaches in the freezer.  I’ve been a very busy girl.

SOTD: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, that pretty, outrageously overpriced floral-soap scent.  Reminds me of Coty L’Effleur, which my mother used to wear, and which she liked because it smelled both flowery and clean.  I could probably buy 20 bottles of L’Effleur, even though it’s discontinued, on eBay for the cost of a bottle of CG.  I’m starting to get annoyed at Guerlain.  They discontinue Shalimar Eau Legere, they discontinue Attrape-Coeur, they mess with formulae and fail to reissue Ode as promised… worse, they put out stuff like Insolence and Aqua Allegoria Tutti Kiwi and La Petite Robe Noire – and they charge the same amount for Cruel Gardenia as they do for a genuine gem like Vega.  I’m sick of this.  It’s no wonder I’d rather shop with Sonoma Scent Studio or DSH Perfumes. 

Image is Vintage Jewelry Bits Perfume Bottle from glassbeadtreasures at Flickr.

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19 thoughts on “Scent Diary, Aug 9-15”

  1. A week or so ago I spritzed on one of the Tokyo Milk scents they carry at Anthropologie, one that was supposed to smell like honey. Instead it had a disgusting cheap chocolate smell. I tried to scrub it off in a restaurant bathroom, but I could still smell it all night. The next day, after showering, and into the next night, I could STILL SMELL IT. It wasn’t my mind playing tricks on me, either — I asked my boyfriend if my arms smelled different (I’d applied more perfume, the same to both arms, on top) and he said they did. Over 24 hours and through a shower is unheard of for me. But maybe I wouldn’t notice if this happened with a scent I didn’t find detestable ….

    1. It’s always the ones you hate that hang around for-freaking-ever. Always.

      Would I complain if, say, La Myrrhe lasted nine hours? No. But I’d certainly notice if it did.

  2. I was interested to learn more about your work, and the specific frustrations you have to contend with. My other half has a part time job at the police administering their policy on responding to burglar alarm activations. After several false call outs, customers are supposed to have the police response cut off, but some businesses have historically made a fuss and been reinstated, whereas others have had the letter of the law applied to them. And Mr B is caught in the middle trying to be fair to all.

    Interested to get your take on Special Formula X. I have only tried the regular strength version, which is soft musk on me (like Opal, or Perfect Veil without the lemon). I think that may mean I am just “normal”?? Or dull, possibly… !

    : – )

    1. FS, I certainly feel for Mr Bonkers. This is the sort of thing that seems designed to drive accountants crazy… I understand how my boss wants to make it easy for people to pay us when they’ve hit a business downturn, but once you change the rules for one customer, you have to either do it for someone else or come up with an excuse not to. At the moment, besides the standard credit policy, I have “special instructions” for 63 other customers, and more added to it every month. (“Don’t send #8498 a bill, it makes him angry.” “Accounts #1610 and 3545 will pay every day. #1646 and 4560 will pay every week, and #7363 will pay when his account gets to $2000.” “I know 6599 is six months behind, but he’s been sick. He’ll pay us when he can.” Oh, no, the rant is coming on again… I’ll stop now.)

      I have no earthly idea what the SFX means, depending on how it smells on a particular person. I keep meaning to write Dawn an email and ask, but it’s been… well… you know.

  3. I too remember the old Victoria’s Secret. When they first started opening in our area, I was in high school. They would wrap the lingerie in lovely floral tissue and the bags had a Victorian gold logo and a fake address in London. I felt oh so fancy and grown-up. Certainly none of that to be found there now!

    1. I think we’re probably about the same age, give or take five years… that was such pretty tissue, wasn’t it? I had a few really nice things from VS that I took on my honeymoon.

      I’ll bet they’re making more money now, selling the cheap stuff.

      1. And since we talked about it before here in the comments – here’s a pic of me and my husband (!) and the flowers I got for our wedding. I was too chicken to wait & hope the farmer’s market would have what I was looking for, so I found a very nice small shop to make me a gorgeous bouquet of dahlias with some sort of “berry”.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/88869308@N00/4874375107/

  4. Now I understand why you don’t care for DSH’s Parfume de Grasse, where as I love it. I love powdery scents & iris scents. I prefer them in the colder temperatures but I do love them.

    Dawn’s Special Formula X smells differently depending upon your skin type. In & of itself, it really doesn’t smell like anything at all.

    Man, I wish I was close enough to get in on the tomato give away!

    My SOTD is AdP’s Nobile Iris edt and I’m annoyed with Guerlain too. How can they discontinue Atrrape-Coeur, Vega & Sous L’Vent & keep L’Instant or Insolence? It’s wacky.

    1. C, “powdery” is really not my thing. There are certain iris scents I like (Iris Taizo/Oriental, No. 19, Silences, 31 Rue Cambon, and I surprised myself by finding the big baddie Iris Silver Mist very pleasant) – and some I Just Hate (Hiris comes to mind, as well as Cuir de Russie). Haven’t tried Iris Nobile. It depends on where the powder is coming from, too – seems that I can tolerate powder from vanilla or amber or aldehydes better than from other sources.

      What do you know about SFX? Like I mentioned, I only know what it smells like on me (and you’re right, sniffed from the vial there’s practically no scent at all). I know she uses it as a diagnostic, but I don’t know what the possibilities of what people might get out of it would be, or what they mean. If you have a general overview, please share! I keep saying I’m going to email Dawn and ask – she’s so helpful! – but I’ve been nutso busy.

      Vega and Sous le Vent are still in production; they’re just in that upper price tier of Guerlain scents along with the L’Art et la Matiere and Les Elixirs Charnels scents. Actually, I just went to the Guerlain website and they’re still listing Attrape-Coeur under Les Exclusifs, so either they haven’t updated their website, or AC is due for the chop at a certain time in the future…

  5. Vega sounds wonderful, but I’m not going to chase it. Before I started buying fragrance online, I wanted quite badly to get some Mitsouko EDP. My local department store could not supply it, just the EDT. I rang around my own and other cities and the story was the same everywhere. I contacted Guerlain wanting to know if there was any way I could buy this product in Australia, and got a standard reply referring me to the bit of their website that lists the stockists in my area, which of course I already knew about. I finally surmised that Guerlain makes a fairly limited range of stuff available to their Australian suppliers, and that’s that. End of story. It was obvious that I was never going to get anything out of Guerlain other than a Gallic shrug. Eventually of course I just got some from The Perfumed Court. End of story.

    Anyway, I have enough Mitsy, Chamade and Shalimar to last a while, and I almost feel a bit demeaned spending my hard earned, scant funds on Guerlain any more. Why bother, when you can get enchanting fragrances from SSS, and chat in person on email to the very person who makes your fragrances for you? End of rant.

    ‘Steamed dumpling’! How I enjoy reading about your children.

    1. Anne, that’s such a pain in the neck about Guerlain. If they were less picky, they might sell more… or maybe not, if they’re going for that “exclusive” marketing angle. The only Guerlain I’ve ever actually laid eyes on in a store is Shalimar in edt, so I guess semi-rural Virginia doesn’t rate with them, either. But someone was mentioning that a store near her in Maryland (close to the big urban center of Washington, DC) was now carrying the Les Exclusifs and L’Art et la Matiere lines, and she’d smelled both Liu and Vega there. I’m jealous.

      I know exactly how you feel! I want a little bottle of Champagne de Bois, which is so well made, and so easily come by.

      Taz is a bony little thing by day – takes after his dad – but when he collapses into sleep, he’s adorable.

      1. Oh I reckon a queue is forming for CdeB. I’m even thinking of getting the 17ml bottle (rather than the purse spray) that comes with a screw cap as well as a sprayer, b/c I generally like to dab rather than spray. Femme Jolie is a great favourite of mine now, and Laurie said she might have her new fragrance ready of the Australian spring …

  6. Had to laugh–other than Daisy, I have no idea how you smelled last week! I haven’t tried anything new since early May due to seasonal allergies and have been stuck in a Voyage d’Hermes rut lately.

    I don’t normally look forward to fall but this year will be an exception. Was so hot here today (I’m in Florida for a few weeks) that I couldn’t bear to put anything on. Ugh.

    I used to work in a human resource office for a large company with locations world-wide. Rules applied to all. Made it so much easier to do our jobs without having to worry about the exceptions. Precedent setting was a big no-no.

    1. Daisy was the only one you knew? That’s not so weird since I wore, what, three DSH scents, plus an oldie (Victoria), a newie (B&BW Dark Kiss), a fakie, and a couple of hard-to-finds (Pavillon and Cruel Gardenia). Surely you’ve smelled Angel itself, though?

      Rules applied to all sounds like a FABULOUS idea. I keep trying to sell my boss on it, but he’s not biting.

  7. Mals and flittersniffer, I feel your pain. In fact, I’m retiring in 3 weeks partially because I’ve had it up to HERE with the CEO telling me to “hold the line” and cut off service to customers, only to have customers complain to the CEO and the CEO ask me why I thought I should hold the line and cut off their service. Grrrrrr…… This is why I escape into perfume.

  8. “…and they charge the same amount for Cruel Gardenia as they do for a genuine gem like Vega. I’m sick of this. It’s no wonder I’d rather shop with Sonoma Scent Studio or DSH Perfumes.”

    That. Grrrrrrrrrr.

    I’m so with you. PLUS, with SSS, DSH, Soivohle, Ayala Moriel, et. al., I feel more directly connected to the “art,” with and without quotations. I feel like I am a more informed consumer and appreciator, and know that I fully support the corporation, as it were.

    And then when the philosophy is done, it comes back to just liking the perfume. 😉

    Sorry for the work tensions; whenever the cosmos gets bigger, those issues seem to come up more easily. (c.f. Guerlain v SSS, as I believe you already have…)

    1. SS, ohhhhhh yes on the Guerlain/SSS issue. I really have very little interest in the “exclusive” marketing angle, in that I don’t care what name is on my perfume bottle – but it burns my shorts that companies turn their backs on their histories to make a short-term buck.

      It’s prostitution.

      Thank goodness I can support DSH and SSS and Tauer and get quality goods in return.

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