Top 20 Bestselling Fragrances of 2011, or, They do still sell Shalimar here, don’t they?

It’s Ari’s fault. Again. ūüėȬ† I have jumped on Scents of Self’s Clever Bandwagon to do some reviews of the Best-Selling Fragrances of 2011 in the US (see Victoria’s original post on the matter at Bois de Jasmin).

 

Top 20 Bestselling Women's Fragrances of 2011 in the US, image from Scents of Self

Ari sees this as an anti-perfume-snobbery move, becoming further acquainted with the bestsellers, lest she suddenly be capable only of buying niche fragrances no one else has never heard of, and which are only available for purchase in person in Belgium on the alternate Wednesday of months ending in R, after one has purchased an option to buy well beforehand, and Lord help you if you leave that option ticket stuck to your fridge with a magnet before you leave the house.

Point well taken. I know that when I look at my favorite favorites, a good number of them are niche and still others are no longer available in the version that I prefer. (vintage Chanel No. 19, in the leathery old EdT, anyone? Discontinued Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur? 1974 Coty Emeraude parfum de toilette?) Hardly any of them are available at my local mall ‚Äď local, pish, it’s 18 miles from my house and it takes half an hour to drive there.
Here's another shot of Hamburger!
I don’t think we’re in that much danger of becoming terrible snobs, sneering at Estee Lauder, as we are of overlooking something good at the most mainstream of mainstream perfumery outlets. Will I still love Amouage after this experiment? I’m sure I will. But I also notice that even after wearing Amouage or F. Malle fragrances, Jovan Musk for Women still smells good to me, too. Sure, it’s a little downmarket, like grabbing a burger after spending the week eating chef-cooked meals, but that doesn’t mean the burger can’t be awesome. Besides which, if I only bought Lyric, Memoir, Carnal Flower and Iris Poudre, I’d be broke. (I only have decants, y’all.) Continue reading Top 20 Bestselling Fragrances of 2011, or, They do still sell Shalimar here, don’t they?

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Scent Diary, Dec. 26, 2011 ‚Äď Jan. 1, 2012

 

Image from lorislighteddlites.com

Monday, Dec. 26: Busybusybusy, mostly cleaning up from Christmas. SOTD: Um… nothing. Forgot. (Forgot! That’s just crazy.)

Bookworm was packing up her stuff for the marching band’s trip to the Champs Sports Bowl in Florida, where they’ll join several other bands to provide the halftime show. They’re also going to see the Blue Man Group, eat dinner at Medieval Times, go to the Universal Studios themepark and Islands of Adventure, and march in the Mini Macy’s Day Parade at Universal, as well as attend the bowl game and play the halftime show. Fun trip ‚Äď for them, anyway. (You could not pay me enough to induce me to go as a chaperone to 72 teenagers, but there are plenty of parents going, such that there is one parent for each group of four kids. Better them than me, I say.)

Curiosity and Primrose came over and spent much of the day here with us, the kids playing football out in the yard with their cousins. That was lovely. Bookworm and PETBoy went out on another of their mysterious outings in which they go to visit his mother’s grave, and then they came back to have dinner with us and watch a DVD on the new big-screen TV.

I did put on a bit of B&BW Dark Kiss lotion before bed, which I like very much but have to limit my access to since it’s become Bookworm’s default fragrance. Had to get up at 2:20 a.m. to take Bookworm to the high school; the band bus was scheduled to leave at 3:30. Aargh.

Tuesday, Dec. 27: Slept late. Who wouldn’t? Broken night, and rain in the morning… good sleeping weather, as they say around here. SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I had been considering Bottega Veneta. I’m determined to finish this darn review, even though I keep getting stuck on it. Is it better to review something new and well-done I don’t particularly like, or to go back into my stash and talk about something that isn’t all over the other blogs? I think it depends. I think I should discuss Bottega Veneta and how nice it is to see a mainstream release that’s not mindless ‚Äď and also why I don’t like it.

I have something of the same feeling about Prada Candy. Although I like it, it doesn’t induce rapture, and I don’t think I have much of interest to add to the discussion of it. I think perhaps instead of separate reviews, I may do a post on gourmand fragrances in general, with mini-reviews. I love writing mini-reviews anyway.

I packed up all the Christmas wrapping stuff and put it in the attic. I reuse gift bags and tissue paper and bows if at all possible, only throwing them away when they’re irretrievably battered. This approach is slightly greener than wrapping everything in paper and throwing it away when used, but then I’m not terribly green (as in environmentally conscious) except where it is economically sensible and/or convenient. I recycle, of course, which involves taking paper/plastics/aluminum to the town recycling center once a month, which is neither convenient nor economically sensible, but rather a civic duty, in my opinion. But I won’t go so far as to insist on wrapping everything in dish towels. I like gift bags.

Wednesday, Dec. 28: SOTD: Champagne de Bois. Gaze helped The CEO move a bunch of cows and then doctor them (anti-pest pour-on medication to get them through the winter without worms and lice, and the annual disease-preventing shot).

Watched part of ‚ÄúMen Who Stare At Goats‚ÄĚ (George Clooney, Ewan MacGregor) with The CEO. We’ve seen it before, and it’s just So Bizarre that I couldn’t take it and went to bed. SOBedtime: Havana Vanille.

Thursday, Dec. 29: Frosty-cold. Happy 17th birthday to PETBoy! SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I must have worn this thing six times by now, and I still can’t figure it out. It’s wackalicious.

 

PCHS marching band in Orlando, photo by Nicole Ward. Bookworm's fourth from the left in the front row, with her gloves tucked up in her left epaulet strap.

We watched the Champs Sports Bowl (Florida State vs. Notre Dame) to see if we could get a glimpse of Bookworm and the PCHS marching band, but no dice. I hate it that you never get to see the halftime show when you watch a televised football game ‚Äď except for the Super Bowl, but that’s not my kinda halftime show. You know me: I like marching bands, not the Black Eyed Peas.

The CEO and boys took down the Christmas tree today, because it was starting to get a little crunchy. We left up the garland and the electric candles in the windows, as well as the nutcrackers, which I usually leave on display until the second week of January because I lurves them so much.

Read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and enjoyed it very much. A strange novel, but delightfully strange (like Memoir, perhaps). Detractors on Amazon’s review pages don’t seem to like it because it ‚Äúdoesn’t make sense,‚ÄĚ but it’s fantasy, people, it’s not supposed to ‚Äúmake sense.‚ÄĚ The story’s coherent; just because you can’t explain what happens in it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. I was reminded of the bizarre and inexplicable and wonderful things that happen in Roald Dahl’s delightful classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Have these people never read Dahl? Probably not. Or they excuse the fantastic elements by saying, ‚ÄúOh, it’s a kids’ book.‚ÄĚ In any case, the author mentions Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab on her acknowledgements page, and I found that delightful as well. I hope that doesn’t mean that I’ll have to go and snap up BPAL imps now, which I have been avoiding doing. It would be so much better to go and sniff those in person. If they’ve got a Night Circus sample, I might have to get it. I’m guessing it would have notes of caramel apple and bonfire and popcorn, maybe the candles from the Wishing Tree, or the roses from the Ice Garden…

Friday, Dec. 30: My little desk, the one I keep my laptop on? It’s walnut. Well, it smells like Memoir Woman. Not surprising, of course, since I’ve worn it several times this week, but nice.

We took delivery of a new young bull today. The CEO wants to call him Hamlet, because his ear tag says… well, you guess.

I kept forgetting to put on perfume today, mostly because Memoir has stuck to me, even through a shower. Also, I am easily distracted when everybody is home. Aargh. The kids start school again on Jan. 2, so I won’t have to keep running the dishwasher twice a day. I finally put on a bit of Liz Zorn Centennial not long before bedtime. Cozy.

Saturday, Dec. 31: Warm today, in the low 50s. Fed the calf, cleaned the house. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The day’s mail contained a package from France (squee!), with a sample package of some of the L’Oeuvre Noire scents and all three of the Arabian Nights scents, because I had ‚Äúliked‚ÄĚ the By Kilian page on Facebook way back in October when they were offering this sample set. I’d been thinking about Sweet Redemption, so I nabbed that one right out of the package and spritzed it on. Whoa. Full review coming up (and I mean that this time, not like with Prada Candy and Bottega Veneta, which I really should review but can’t seem to find the enthusiasm for).

Bookworm came home this evening! So glad to see my girl; I missed her. Her brothers would say they didn’t miss her at all, but I notice they were pretty huggy with her.

Sunday, Jan. 1: Happy New Year! Church today, followed by the removal of most of the Christmas decorations, our New Year’d Day family tradition. SOTD: Sweet Redemption again.

My parents came by for a visit and took us all out for dinner, and that was lovely. SOTE: Mary Greenwell Plum. You know, I went back over the past year’s Scent Diaries and counted up the number of times I wore fragrances, and Plum was the thing I wore most often. (Duh, right?) The fragrance next on the frequency list was Alahine, and I wore Plum twice as often as I wore Alahine!

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Fragrance Throwdown: Coty L’Origan vs. Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

I smelled L’Heure Bleue first, not long after I’d smelled the ethereally beautiful Apres L’Ondee, and not long after I’d rediscovered lovely older versions of Coty Emeraude.¬† I’d run across a mention of it in a book, and just had to¬†find out¬†what the heroine’s perfume smelled like.¬† I didn’t know, at the time, any of its history.

I hated it.¬† I called it “Hell’s Medicine Cabinet.”¬† Mind you, I tend to like medicinal smells – witness my love of clove and mint, and my utter-swoon immediate love of Serge Lutens’ famously medicinal La Myrrhe, and¬†my toe-curling¬†happiness when I¬†crack open¬†the tin of Porter’s Liniment Salve.¬† But I thought L’Heure Bleue’s combination of anise, bergamot and coriander was jarring and unpleasant.

It was only later, when a swap friend sent me a sample of L’Heure Bleue that was a much darker color than the sample I’d tried before, that I realized I’d sniffed the Eau de Toilette.¬† The penny dropped: I frequently have difficulty appreciating EdT concentrations of classic Guerlains.¬† Not always, of course: the aforementioned Apres L’Ondee comes to mind, and so does Chamade, also Vega¬†– but Mitsouko and¬†Shalimar EdTs are complete disasters for me.

It¬†turned out to be parfum my friend had sent me, and it was a totally different beast: soft, plush, rich, warm, strange, aloof yet¬†friendly, like a stray cat who has deigned to have its chin scratched by a stranger.¬† It was an eye-opening experience.¬† “So this is what they’re talking about,” I pondered.¬† “Not the EdT.”¬† I went straight to ebay and looked for a bottle of parfum – and found one.¬† Modern, 1 ounce, slightly-used, missing its paper label, being sold for cheap by a woman who needed cash, post-divorce.¬† The impression I got was that her ex-husband had given it to her, and now she couldn’t get it out of the house fast enough!

Understandable: L’Heure Bleue is nothing if not memorable, immediately identifiable at the faintest whiff of sillage.¬† It’s not the kind of¬†fragrance that one could wear casually; as a signature scent, it is both quirky and comforting, melancholy and romantic.¬†¬†¬†Its name, The Blue Hour,¬†refers to twilight, with¬†more connotations of romance and melancholy.

Even in parfum, the opening is a bit bumpy.¬† It’s aromatic and medicinal in a¬†way that I remember from visiting hospitals as a kid in the 1970s, and still not very pleasant.¬† However, in the parfum, the coriander seems to drop out quickly, leaving anise and clove singing a close harmony.¬† The clove note becomes more floral and carnationlike in just a few moments, and then there’s that orange blossom.¬† I am not a huge orange blossom fan,¬†as it often has a “milled soap” angle for me.¬† There is a hint of that in L’HB, but then the rose and heliotrope pop up, and it veers sweet and woody and almost almond-pastry-like.¬† I do notice that in hot weather, the anise note seems to¬†be prominent throughout the development, and I like that a lot.¬† In winter, it’s very much Floral Bearclaw, with¬† lots of orange blossom and almond, and I find it less interesting in the winter.

L’Heure Bleue is the kind of fragrance that, if you loved it, could haunt your memory all your life.¬† Sadly, I do not love it.¬† I admire it.

My bottle of L’Origan came from eBay, in a little satin-lined leatherette case.¬† The packaging seems to be that used by Coty in the 1940s through (possibly) the early 1960s, so I’m not sure how old this bottle is.¬† The cap is a bit tarnished, and the liquid is definitely darker and more orange¬†than pictured here (probably due to the aging of the jasmine and/or the orange blossom).¬† But the box, and the rubber (plastic?) stopper under the cap, seem to have protected the fragrance fairly well.

Of course, it is vintage, and although in fairly good shape, it is not very long-lasting (two and a half to three hours, compared to L’Heure Bleue’s five hours on my skin).¬† There is a slight mustiness in the topnotes, as well, and the woody parts of the base seem very dry, with cedar dominating the sandalwood.¬† I smell a sharp clove note, as well as some rose and jasmine with the orange blossom.¬† But where I sniff L’Heure Bleue’s drydown and think, “Eh, almond pastry,” I keep bringing my L’Origan-wearing wrist to my nose.¬† There is a soft benzoin-tonka-vanilla angle, the same sort of thing I love so much in Mariella Burani, but the woods tend to dominate it, and perhaps I’m picking up on a bit of incense as well.

As others more knowledgeable than¬†I am have pointed out (see Denyse’s review at Grain de Musc here, or¬†Octavian’s at 1000 Fragrances¬†here), Jacques Guerlain seemed to take each one of Francois Coty’s groundbreaking scents and develop the ideas further: adding the rich peach note of Persicol to the structure of Chypre and creating Mitsouko, or adding a brighter citrus note, a more sharply delineated jasmine, and that genius hint of tar to the Emeraude structure to create Shalimar.¬†¬† Clearly, L’Heure Bleue¬†admits kinship to the older L’Origan,¬†one of the first “soft,” Oriental¬†Florals.¬† What’s the difference in notes and development?

I’m still not sure.¬† In fact, LHB seems less descended from L’O than tangentially related.¬†¬†The anise and heliotrope notes hark back to Guerlain’s own Apres l’Ondee, while¬†much of the structure – orange blossom, eugenol (clove) and ambery vanilla¬†– seems to dovetail with that of L’O.¬† L’Origan, though, has what seems to me to be a darker cast; it’s less melancholy, more mysterious.¬† There¬†seems to be more clove in¬†L’O, more aromatic and herbal details, and it seems rather drier to me, ¬†just to mention a few differences.¬†¬† ¬†Halfway through the development, L’O has gone¬† right¬†to the edge of a mossy kind of¬†bitterness that makes me wonder if there’s vetiver in there, whereas L’HB¬† has veered toward vanilla and heliotrope.

As Denyse of Grain de Musc points out, the Coty fragrances have a tendency toward crudity, where their Guerlain counterparts are smooth and seamless.¬† And yet, and yet… I love (vintage) Emeraude with all my heart, while finding Shalimar a little over-the-top.¬† And L’Heure Bleue has very little emotional impact on me at all, while L’Origan stirs me.¬† Maybe it’s just me – or perhaps it’s that my L’Origan is vintage and my L’Heure Bleue is not.¬† The first time I opened that little bottle of L’Origan, I was bowled over by its sheer beauty.¬† L’HB never did that to me, not even in parfum. L’HB was a stray cat, L’O was a Siberian tiger lounging in the sun: powerful, beautiful, and potentially dangerous.

Notes for each fragrance from Fragrantica.

L’Origan: Bergamot, orange, coriander, pepper, peach, nutmeg, clove, carnation, violet, jasmine, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, benzoin, incense, cedar, musk, sandalwood, vanilla, coumarin (tonka bean), civet.¬† Fragrantica reviews here.¬†¬† See also Victoria’s review at Bois de Jasmin, and this lovely one at Memory and Desire.

L’Heure Bleue: Anise, coriander, neroli, bergamot, lemon, carnation, orchid, jasmine, violet, clove, orange blossom, rose, heliotrope, iris, sandalwood, musk, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver, tonka bean.¬† Fragrantica reviews here.¬† See also:¬†¬†Kevin’s review at Now Smell This, Donna’s review of the parfum at Perfume-Smellin’ Things, and¬†The Non-Blonde’s review, as well as this one at For the Love of Perfume.

Photo of wrestlers from Wikimedia Commons.¬† L’Origan ad from ebay seller adlibrary.¬† Other photos mine.¬† (Since my L’HB bottle had lost its sticker before it came to me, I added one.¬† It’s too big, and probably the wrong color – so sue me! At least you can tell what it is now, in case you’re not familiar with the inverted¬† heart stopper.)

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A ‘Fumey Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…

‚Ķ really, no kidding!¬† On Friday, I’d had amorphous, tentative plans to go looking for niche Italian perfumeries in Rome later in the afternoon, after our Forum/Coliseum tour. But The CEO was dragging me down this street and up the next one, looking for the Pantheon, and my feet hurt, and near one of the bridges over the Tiber I said, ‚ÄúLet’s go this way,‚ÄĚ and pointed to the right. ‚ÄúI think we can get there from here.‚ÄĚ

So we went to the right, and half a block later I saw the magic sign PROFUMERIA over one of those hole-in-the-wall Italian shops that close with a metal garage door, so I dragged The CEO for a change. ‚ÄúI’m going in there,‚ÄĚ I said emphatically, and pointed.

The older Italian man in the shop spoke very little English, but enough to know that I was looking for specifically Italian perfume. ‚ÄúBulgari,‚ÄĚ he said, pointing. ‚ÄúBulgari, Ungaro, Gucci. Gucci, Hermes, Dior, Givenchy…‚ÄĚ I was shaking my head,¬†No, No, Italiano, so he went on pointing. ‚ÄúBulgari, Prada, Armani, Moschino.¬† Aquolina, Dolce et Gabbana.¬† Bulgari.¬† Chanel?‚ÄĚ

I consented to have Bulgari Jasmin Noir sprayed (generously, I noted) on my left wrist, and Gucci Guilty on my right, with Ungaro Fleur di Diva on my right forearm. At this point, The CEO intervened by pointing to a poster on the wall. ‚ÄúWhat about the Lolita one? Do you like that?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe men’s is too shaving-creamy for me, but I’ve actually never smelled the women’s,‚ÄĚ I said. As I turned back to the counter, the shop owner had the Lolita Lempicka¬†tester ready and spritzed my left forearm.

‚ÄúYes?‚ÄĚ he asked, beaming. ‚ÄúIs bella?‚ÄĚ

(It actually is. I found myself liking it more and more as the afternoon wore on and the anise-vanilla note held true through a sweaty, confusing, miserable-feet afternoon. But I didn’t buy it.)

‚ÄúI don’t know,‚ÄĚ I said and shook my head. ‚ÄúOrganza Indecence?‚ÄĚ I asked, pointing. It isn’t Italian per se, but that one is getting harder to find in the US for less than about $130. This box was 100ml¬†for 78 euros, not a bargain at the current (disastrous) exchange rate. I shook my head again. About then, I saw a couple of black-and-gold Gianfranco¬†Ferr√© boxes, and one of them bore the legend ‚Äú20.‚ÄĚ That one, I knew, is an aldehydic¬†floral that is either discontinued or very hard to find in the US, and at least one perfumista I know sings its praises. I pointed. ‚ÄúFerr√©?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúFerr√©!‚ÄĚ exclaimed the shop owner, shooting a finger into the air. ‚ÄúFerr√©, si.‚ÄĚ He seized the tester and sprayed the inside of my left elbow, again generously. ‚ÄúYes?‚ÄĚ

I sniffed too soon and got a snootful¬†of aldehydes, which made me laugh. ‚ÄúAldehydes,‚ÄĚ I said to the shop owner, waving my hand over the wet spot and rolling my eyes, and he laughed too. When I sniffed again, I got sparkly aldehydes bright as the disco ball at the skating rink, over a piquant fruity top. I didn’t wait for the topnotes¬†to subside. Every Ferr√©¬†scent I’ve tried (three or four of them, all with frustratingly similar names) has been nice, top to bottom, so I claimed Ferr√© 20. ‚ÄúI can’t get this at home,‚ÄĚ I told The CEO.

‚ÄúYou want it?‚ÄĚ he asked. ‚ÄúThis is your birthday money, right?‚ÄĚ I nodded, and pulled out the credit card.¬†¬† Currency conversion charges be darned: 52 euros later, the aldehydic-floral goodness of Ferr√© 20 was mine.

I picked up the little package, and with many thank-you’s and grazies, we started out the door. ‚ÄúWait,‚ÄĚ The CEO said to me. ‚ÄúYou want a picture?‚ÄĚ Yes. Yes, I did. The shop owner, whose name I never learned, graciously agreed to have his picture taken.

The CEO and I wandered around from there, finding the ruins of the Portico Ottavia, the Teatro Marcello, the big white building with twin statues of Nike (we never figured out the name of the thing, but I think it’s an art museum), the naked statues of Castor and Pollux and their enormous marble packages, an ancient bronze statue of Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf, and eventually the ancient Forum, from the opposite perspective than we’d seen earlier in the day.

After taking some more pictures, The CEO came up next to me and said, ‚ÄúThat was cool that you found that little shop ‚Äď and now you have a funny story to tell, right?‚ÄĚ I nodded. ‚ÄúA funny thing happened on the way to the Forum!‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúA ‘fumey thing ‚Äď don’t you say ‘fume?‚ÄĚ I nodded again. ‚ÄúYou can use that. I give it to you for free. Great blog post title.¬† And much better than buying mainstream stuff in the Duty Free shop.‚ÄĚ

Much¬†better, I agree. I also noticed when I got the box back to our hotel (several hours and six blisters later) that the ingredients list says, ‚ÄúAlcohol Denat., Parfum, Aqua.‚ÄĚ Even cooler! I have snagged myself a bottle old enough to have been produced before the IFRA¬†regulations existed. It smells that way, too.¬† Notes (from Fragrantica): blackberry, mandarin, bergamot, rose, jasmine, iris, vanilla, musk, cedar, sandalwood.¬† I’m surprised¬† no aldehydes are listed, because they are certainly present, and I also suspect a bit of benzoin in the mix.¬† Otherwise, 20 smells very much like you’d expect, a nice woody floral given a touch of fun by the tangy fruit and a touch of elegance by the aldehydes.

So if you’re ever in Rome, go to 26, Via di Montesavello, near the tiny Piazza del Ierusalem¬†, and tell the nice man at Idea Profumeria that the crazy American lady said Buon¬†giorno! Buy some perfume while you’re there.¬† Give him a hug when you leave, decorated with the contents of six tester bottles.¬† Leave happy.¬† Done.

Image of Ferre 20 from Fragrantica.  Other photos courtesy of The CEO.

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Scent Diary, June 7-12, 2010

Monday, June 7: Cool, in the mid-70s F, with low humidity. My desk was piled with stuff from the long weekend, and I wasn’t enjoying work today. SOTD: Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, which I thought I’d like. Grapefruit and rose? Yum. Perfectly summery. Unfortunately for me, EdPR¬†is an hour of wonderful followed by a couple hours¬†of the Ghost of Cologne. It is basically a classic cologne structure topped off by a citrusy¬†rose, and since I find cologne dull in the extreme, I can’t make a case for this scent for personal wear. I think I’ll go back to DSH Rose Vert (where’s my sample of that?) for citrus-green-rose. Or Moschino Funny!, that was a nice grapefruit-rose.

Tuesday, June 8:¬†Warmer (80s) but still low humidity. If the weather stayed like this all summer I would enjoy summer a zillion times more. Typically we’ve got mid-90s¬†and sticky, and that’s not pleasant. When I was a teenager, I read the following phrase and wondered greatly at it: ‚ÄúThe two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘summer afternoon, summer afternoon.’‚ÄĚ Whoever wrote that has got to be out of his gourd, I thought then ‚Äď but it must have been written with a day like today in mind. SOTD: vintage Coty L’Aimant¬†parfum de toilette. These vintage 1970s Coty scents like Emeraude and L’Aimant, and even the chypreish Imprevu, are far, far more attractive than their current drugstore iterations.

Gaze is sick with stomach troubles. I’m having trouble getting him to keep anything down, even ginger ale and jello, so we’re off to the doctor’s office tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9: HOT. 90S¬†and humid. Gaze has ‚Äúthe bug that’s going around,‚ÄĚ poor baby. SOTD: Divine L’Ame¬†Soeur, more aldehydes. I really love them in the heat, they’re so sparkly.

Thursday, June 10: Hot again, our standard summer weather. LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, AAAAARRRRGHHGH! Gaze was somewhat better, and I managed to convince him to shower before school today. It was 5th¬†grade ‚Äúgraduation,‚ÄĚ and the enticement of coming home right afterwards, as is customary at this elementary school, got Gaze moving in the right direction. I was proud: he had all A’s this year and three perfect scores on his standardized tests. (To be fair, Bookworm took two of the Standards of Learning, or SOL tests this year and made perfect scores on hers as well ‚Äď and Taz, who’s been downright lazy about homework this past year, made FOUR perfect scores. I’m proud of all of them. Especially since Taz has recently managed to make his cursive handwriting, as opposed to his printing which is dreadful, actually legible. I do get to brag on them a little bit, don’t I? I’m their mommy. Of course I do.) SOTD: Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, still more aldehydes.

Gaze went to his baseball game and played four innings (two hits, a walk, an RBI, three stolen bases, and two runs scored) before getting overheated and tossing his cookies right behind second base. I felt so bad about that. He’d claimed to be feeling well before the game, and hadn’t run a fever for more than 40 hours.

Friday, June 11: Hot, humid, and miserable. We didn’t get the rain we should have gotten on Wednesday night, so everything is getting crunchy. I’m having to water my hanging baskets every three days. SOTD: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY, from that terrific giveaway at Grain de Musc. You know I love tuberose, and this one is fabbo. I’ve sniffed that little bit of Nuit¬†de Tubereuse which everybody is going on about and been less than impressed (what is¬†that weird opening ‚Äď wet dirt? Potting soil? Mildew?), but the HdP is just lovely.

Saturday, June 12: Same weather we’ve been having all week. Two baseball games ‚Äď Gaze (who’s feeling much better!) at the local park and Taz¬†at the one twenty minutes away. As soon as I unlocked the van for Taz¬†to chuck his bat and glove into the back, it started raining ‚Äď and has really not stopped all day. You can feel the grass go, Ahhhhhh, that’s better. SOTD: L’Aimant again.

The bad news of the week? Busted mower. One of the discs got maladjusted in its timing and started banging into the one next to it, and that caused wear in the gears on the cutter bar (okay, I admit that I don’t really understand what I just said, either). But I understood how much the repair bill’s going to be: $4000. Ouch. This is a mini-lesson on How Expensive It Is To Run a Farm ‚Äď you have to have some hefty cash reserves, or you’re just toast.

Sunday, June 13: Cooler again, in the 80s. SOTD: testing Van Cleef¬†& Arpels¬†Orchidee¬†Vanille. Which, to be honest, is not very orchidee¬†and lotsa plasticky vanille. I get about fifteen minutes of amorphous floral, um, thingy and then sticky generic vanilla, and I was wondering what was wrong with my nose until I asked the kids what they thought. Bookworm turned up her nose: ‚ÄúSmells like cotton candy, the kind in the plastic tub at the store.‚ÄĚ Gaze was more direct: ‚ÄúI don’t like that at all.‚ÄĚ So then I go and check out Octavian’s take on it at 1000Fragrances and he says something like, ‚ÄúCheap generic cotton-candy vanilla.‚ÄĚ Vindication!

SOTE: Petite Cherie, straight outta the fridge. It’s the only bottle I keep in the fridge, just because of the accusations of instability in the pear¬†topnote, which is the part I love best. I love this innocent white-eyelet sundress of a scent, and I don’t apologize. Sometimes it’s just what I want.

Image of Guerlain¬†perfumes at perfume convention from parfumgott at flickr.¬†If you get the chance, click on the photo to enlarge it so you can check out what’s there.¬† I’m lusting after that gorgeous Vega bottle on the bottom left, but there’s also L’Heure Bleue and Chamade and Djedi as well as something I’ve not heard of, Elixir de Guerlain.

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Baseball Perfume Possibilities?

I already posted my choice of fragrance for the Red Sox – Orioles game last Saturday, and am working on a biiiig¬†post on Baseball and Fragrance, so I won’t get into the actual experience here.¬† I did think, though, that it might be fun to share a bit of my thought process concerning my choice.¬† Here’s the list of stuff I took with me – all samples or decants¬†except my small bottle of darling Le Temps d’une¬†Fete – thinking that at least one might work well for this¬†evening game in hot, humid DC/Baltimore weather. I considered the following:

Lolita Lempicka¬†au Masculin¬†– I like the anisey¬†angle, but there’s something shaving-creamy in there.¬† I can’t say they didn’t warn me – it does say Masculin – so no ranting.

Chanel Cristalle¬†edt (older)¬†– This was the first time I’d smelled Cristalle in several months, and my first thought upon smelling it again was, Wow, does that ever smell like cigarette smoke!¬† I’ve never been a big fan of Cristalle anyway (citrus being, as you probably know, Not My Thing), but I don’t remember having this adverse a reaction to sniffing the mere vial before.

PdN¬†Le Temps d’une¬†Fete¬†– Contrary to my ICK! reaction at smelling Cristalle¬†from the vial, my reaction upon pulling the cap off my little bottle of LTdF¬†is always the same: Mmmmmmmmm.¬† I love it.¬† It smells slightly dirty to me, as well as slightly floral and somewhat green, and I still think it smells its best outside.¬† Possibility.

Moschino Funny! – I remain nonplussed at the four-star review of this one in P:TG.¬† It’s very, very¬†nice – I like that grapefruit/rose thing, and it’s light and cheerful, without veering into cologne territory.¬† It stays citrusy a long time in a pleasant, natural sort of way that doesn’t irritate me the way citrus usually does.¬† But unusual and distinctive?¬† Not really.¬†¬†Possibility.¬†

Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint¬†– I’d been saving this one to try on a hot day.¬† But on skin? Eeewwww, sour and garbagey.¬† My first scrubber ever from this house, which specializes in Inoffensive, Nice Smells.

L’Artisan¬†Dzing!¬†– ¬†I’m not brave enough to wear this one out of the house – not only does it smell delightfully of old books and sawdust, it’s also got a strong presence on my skin of animal fur.¬† I had discounted the “circus” connection with it, since most reviews mentioned the Old Paper-Vanilla angle, but immediately upon spraying it on my wrist the other night I thought of the familiar/ unfamiliar/ exciting/ disgusting smell of the zoo: animal bodies, fur, hay, and dung or droppings.¬† Yep.¬† Circus.¬† Dzing! has also got a sweet component that makes me think of¬†cotton¬†candy, and¬†those spongy orange¬†circus peanut candies.¬† It’s fascinating! And, possibly, too Virtual Circus to wear as an actual perfume.¬† In conjunction with a baseball game and heat and crowds? Uh-uh, no way.¬†

Thierry Mugler¬†Alien edp¬†– It’s very sweeeet on me – all¬†jasmine/woods/sugar.¬† I briefly considered its sweet vs. woody character and then dismissed it as being too heavy in this kind of humid heat.¬† I find it extremely comforting, though, and love it for bedtime.¬†¬† But maybe the candied aspect would go well with hot dogs and peanuts¬†and sweat?¬† Possibility.

Ormonde Woman¬†– why did I bring this again? I do like the opening very much, with its piney, aromatic feeling.¬† But the sweet, ambery¬†base of this one is so similar to Orris Noir that I tend to get them mixed up.¬† It’s too heavy for summer, in any case, although the dot of it I’ve got on my thumb smells great.

Guerlain¬†Chamade¬†edt (older)¬†– considered for two reasons: its nearly-icy, air-conditioned¬†green opening, and the fact that its subtly warm, vanillic¬†base smells absolutely fabulous with buttered popcorn.¬†¬† Popcorn, peanuts, hot dogs… and Chamade.¬† I think it’d be amazing. Possibility.

Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose¬†– its sheer, dry rose is¬†lovely.¬† But the more I thought of it, the less game-appropriate I thought it was.¬† Also, my sample is nearly gone.

Penhaligon’s Lily & Spice¬†– Nice little thing, a lovely heady white lily with cardamom, just the sort of thing I loved in Amoureuse, but toned down a good bit.¬† It might¬†be a bit too floral for the MLB Experience.

So I knocked my choices down to a short list and asked The CEO’s opinion.¬† Which I don’t normally do – usually I can make up my own mind, thanks! – but I was dithering.¬† I requested that he choose for¬†me and started presenting him with my “possibles.”¬† First, though, he picked up Dzing! and sniffed it.¬† “This is nice,” he said.¬† “It smells like vanilla.”¬†

“Not that one,” I said.¬† “You don’t smell animals in there?”¬† He shook his head and went on sniffing vials.

His comments?¬† Le Temps d’une¬†Fete¬†smelled “too dressy” to him.¬† Funny! was “nice and light.” Chamade¬†“smelled like old ladies at church.” (I admit, Chamade¬†is tough to¬†enjoy straight out of the bottle, even when you like galbanum¬†as I do, and it takes a good couple of hours on my skin¬†to get to the lovely rich base.¬† Besides which, The CEO has a lot of experience with smelling old ladies at church, and that’s not an image I like to evoke.)¬† Alien got a humming growl in the back of his throat.¬† “Rrrwowwr. Wear this one,” he said.¬†

Well,¬†since you put it that¬†way, I will.¬† Ding ding ding!¬† Winner bell for Thierry Mugler Alien.¬† And it did work very nicely.¬† You know how you’d think root beer would taste weird with hot dogs and chips, but it actually¬†doesn’t?¬†¬†It’s like Beer Nuts.¬†The sweet goes with the salty-savory.¬† Alien was sweet and radiant and slightly feminine, and just trashy enough to add to the atmosphere of fun.

Image is Home Orange Outnumbered by Visitor Red from AntyDiluvian on flickr.

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A Pointer Back to my Spring Picks for 2010

Looks like I posted my “choices for spring” list too soon (4/5/10).¬† Here’s a link in case you missed it the first time:

Spring Picks, 2010

I’ve been enjoying making the blog rounds and seeing what’s on everyone else’s lists.¬† Feel free to share what you’ve been wearing this spring, if you like!

Image is Spring Colors (If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant) from ~XANE~[AWAY] at flickr.com.

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