Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cuir Ottoman - Posing as Leather

The first few minutes of Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire are everything I've always wanted in a perfume.  Leathery, oily and dirty.  

Hot biker in a bottle.

Make sure you enjoy that phase, because the heart notes bring on the sinking feeling of getting on a bus and realizing that you left your wallet at home.   

No, go back!  Go back!

But there's no going back and you won't be buying lunch today or smelling any leather in this perfume until the next time you put it on.  Now that the mundane jasmine and fern are here, you might as well stop whining.

Just sit your ass down and think about what you did.

I'm trying not to swear on my blog, but it's not always easy.  Especially when sexy top notes seduce you by talking dirty, then roll over and go to sleep.  

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perfume Sale Roadkill

Today, I received five perfumes that I ordered on a killer sale last Saturday. You know the drill: The sale will end soon, I've just remembered it's the last day and certainly I should take advantage of this never-to-be-seen-again opportunity.  Sound familiar?

Here's what I ended up with:

Silences by Jacomo - The smell of a new baby doll at Christmas. Then clean. Then green.  Lovely.

Covet by SJP -  Boucheron Trouble's ugly step-sister.  Yuck.  

Niki de Saint Phalle - Sweeter than I hoped.  Not bad, really, but kind of head-achy.  

Tea Rose - Old label, perfume has turned.  Smells like pee.  No wonder it was five dollars.

Tabac cologne - I like it.  No, I hate it.  No, I like it.  Jury's out.

Several of the perfumes were purchased unsniffed (NDSP, Silences, Tabac).  Covet was thrown in at the last minute to qualify for free shipping.

Inner critic can't get over the fact that - if I was simply going for free shipping - I didn't order Agent Provocateur instead.  Duh.

The good news is, I got a free, unexpected gift for B-man in the order, Rykiel Homme 'hair and body shampoo.'  It's not bad, either.

Note to self: Must think first, THEN purchase, instead of the other way around. 

Does anyone else do this?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the Presence of Greatness

This week has been crazy.  In order to stop and take a breath, I blew off work yesterday to attend a piano competition that takes place in my city every four years. The event runs for two weeks, and competitors are selected from all over the world. 

Being a bit of a loner, I like to experience these events apart from the crowd.  Otherwise, I am distracted by thoughts like, 'Didn't you hear the announcer ask everyone to shut off their cell phones?,' or 'Are you going to loudly thumb through your program during the entire performance?' or 'Do you really have to talk to your girlfriend now?'  

In a nutshell, 'Shut the hell up.' 

After finding the perfect spot, away from distractions, I am able to immerse myself into the experience.  I watch as a new Steinway is rolled onto the stage before each performer, as if the piano just played needs a long rest before it is used again.  The piano is quickly tuned, then two people with white gloves wipe the entire thing down with great care.

A few moments later, the competitor is announced and arrives on stage wearing a suit (all of the pianists yesterday were male).   He bows before the audience, then adjusts the bench, up or down,  forward and back, until the position is perfect.  

The audience has been instructed to hold its applause until the end of the performance  (each pianist plays for 50 minutes, which can include three to five numbers).  After each piece, the pianist wipes his brow, his hands and the piano keys. The audience remains silent.  He then sits quietly for a moment, eyes closed, making a mental transition before playing again.  

Dramatic tension is built through the last piece, which showcases the pianist's most brilliant work.  At this point, I am literally transfixed, engaged with the performer, carried away with the music, moved at a level so deep, it's hard to describe in words. When the final piece ends and the pianist's hands dramatically leave the keyboard, I can sit no longer.  The audience jumps to its feet and yells, 'Bravo!' clapping until our hands are red and stinging.

Reliving my day with B-man last night, I am moved to tears as I describe the experience.  Being in the presence of greatness is somehow transcendent.  

My life is ripe for exactly that. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ode to Dzhonka by L'Artisan

Weird  Right off the Bat
Sip of Black Tea from a Wooden Cup
Breaks & Tires Overheated
Newly Plastered Walls 
Purple Iris in its Prime
 Bathroom Hand Lotion
 Tooled Leather Belt

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paloma Palomino - I mean Picasso

If you read about perfume long enough, you will notice different names keep popping up as 'reference' chypres, orientals or florals.   Being the lemming I am, many perfumes end up living with me for just this reason.  

Such is the story behind Paloma Picasso.

Honestly, I never liked it, even though I have a thing for chypres.  But, with the way my nose changes over time, I thought I might grow into it and understand what all the fuss is about.  Unfortunately, the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach hasn't cut it (this actually works sometimes, which is evidence of a brilliant theory, or simply pathetic).

Nevertheless, on Saturday evening, I spritzed Paloma again and sat outside on the deck, hoping to get a better handle on it outdoors.  This time, the top notes were interesting, almost pleasant.  Spearmint was obvious, as was leather and tar.  Soon the heart notes of fresh paint, tobacco and grilled burgers emerged.   

No, wait, we were grilling burgers on the deck.  But still.

Later, as I was enjoying the scenery and trying to identify the basenotes of Paloma, a memory was triggered in the way that only perfume can take one back in time.

In the fall of 2008, B-man and I went to NYC to combine my attending the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball with our own adventures. (Inner Critic thinks Sniffapalooza is a stupid name and snickers every time I say it.)  

We stayed across the street from Central Park in a hotel that may serve the most amazing martinis on earth.  However, each time we walked outside, we were hit with the aroma of horse drawn carriages lined up against the sidewalk, waiting.

I snap out of my daydream, the basenotes revealed.

Apologies to anyone for whom Paloma Picasso is your Holy Grail - I truly wish I could love it.  But on my skin, and to my nose, the drydown is a horse's ass.

Btw: Anyone attending the Fall Ball this year?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Loss Revisited

On Friday, I found out my boss, mentor and friend is retiring.  

My mother died four months ago today. 

Never did I dream these two things would be so closely linked in my mind and my heart.

My boss witnessed the journey of my mother's decline and my family's desperation.  She supported me through emergency time off, tears at unexpected moments and episodes of misplaced anger and frustration.  

Through it all, she understood, cut me the slack I needed and constantly encouraged me to spend as much time as I could with my mother.  Her kindness through that awful time will stay with me forever. 

My father is in Portland today spending time on the beach with my sister and my aunt.  Mom and Dad talked about making this trip together.  Now he is there without her, on this anniversary of her death, dealing with his own sadness and regret.

If one could only fast-forward this process of grief, move through the stages quickly and resume normal life, how nice that would be.  If only I knew what normal looked like. 

I simply keep moving, searching to create comfort and trust in a future I cannot see.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Rose Worth Knowing

Today's rose is Estee Lauder's Knowing.  Sweet perfumes just aren't my thing, so the rose-woody-chypre structure of Knowing is a perfect way to end the week.

The top notes of Knowing evoke the memory of roses received for the prom, for an anniversary or because your husband cheated.  (B-man knows that if he gives me roses, rather than my favorite cheese, it will just piss me off.)

Knowing changes dramatically after about 10 minutes, smelling like a completely different perfume.  Dark, intelligent and seriously enigmatic.   My IQ jumps at least fifteen points.

But the real magic happens at the two hour mark. Knowing hits its stride with bitter oakmoss, not yet opened roses and green, wet woods.  I cannnot stop smelling myself, first one wrist and then the other, just to make sure it is equally bewitching on each. 

So what if I'm driving. 

Perhaps best of all - bonus! - Knowing is a gender bender.  Usually I'm willing to share, but B-man isn't getting this one, especially if he's going to bogart the Yatagan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rose 31 - My Inner Badass

After yesterday's Aoud Queen Rose by Montale, a stale, cardboard infused, chypre wannabe (which kind of worked for me), we now leap to Le Labo's Rose 31. 

There's no other way to say this:  Rose 31 taunts my inner Badass. 

Suddenly, I want to smoke cigarettes, shoplift and sneak up behind B-man in the middle of the day to pants him, just for the hell of it.  In fact, I have to almost sit on my hands until the cumin & carnival top notes subside because they make me crazy.

Twenty minutes later, when it's safe to come out of the padded room, Rose 31 has changed to a tossed arugula salad with tarragon and celery.  Luca Turin describes Rose 31 as 'not rose.'  Some people have no imagination.  

Is it rosy?

Let's put it this way:  If you can fantasize basenotes of roses (stems and leaves attached) scattered over sweaty bodies lying in the sun on an ocean beach, then yes. 

Hopefully, the thorns have been removed.

Coming up...Friday's rose.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Parfum Sacrilege

Roses are my thing lately.  To feed my craving, I will wear a rose perfume every day this week.  Yesterday was Tea Rose, which is delicious.  Today is Caron's Parfum Sacre.  Some time has passed since I last wore this, but I remember loving it.  My mother loved it.  B-man loved it.  Everyone loved it.


Today?  Not so much. What I recall as churchy-incense-rusty rose, I am now experiencing as spicy-cloying-powdery carnation.  However, I apply Parfum Sacre this morning with the fervor of remembered love, then spend the morning swatting the air like I'm being attacked by killer bees.  

My day looked like this:

'Do I have a headache?'  No, it's Parfum Sacre.
'Am I feeling nauseous?'  No, it's Parfum Sacre.
'Is it hot in here?'  Nope, it's effing Parfum Sacre.

This current trend of my Old Favorites turning into Stinky Mothers feels like nothing less than sacrilege.  I could blame the perfume for changing, but it has been stored properly and it came from the same bottle, so that argument doesn't really fly. 

By about noon, in an effort to redeem myself, I realize I have a choice.  I can slink around all day, jonesing for a shower, or I can put my shoulders back, walk tall and reek with panache, which is exactly what I do. 

On to the next rose.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Perfumista or Alien?

Are we aliens in our perfume obsession?  

Think about it.

First, the conversation veers into perfume territory and soon, you notice the glazed over looks and repeated responses of, 'wow.'  Then, the people you are talking to begin scanning the area, eyes darting from side to side as if they have lost something or someone they are desperate to find.  Suddenly, you get it.

They're looking for the Mother Ship.

Perhaps I am a deranged perfume alien, but is there anything more exciting than being in hot pursuit of a perfume that you absolutely must sample?  Anything more fun than waiting for it (them) to arrive, checking the shipping info obsessively and, finally, receiving an e-mail from B-man that says, 'The Eagle has Landed?'  

Doesn't get much better than that.

Still, the face-to-face company of other aliens is also nice, which is why I keep luring my nieces away from the normal zone, hoping to discover - or create - at least one perfumista among them.  So far, they are just eyeballing the Kool-Aid.  

The first sip is free.

 Do you ever feel like a Perfume Alien in your world?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cabaret - Raspberry Incense

Cabaret by Gres is an interesting little jewel.  Upon first spritz, it reminds me of Red Door Velvet, which I wore on vacation once and had to walk back to our hotel room after breakfast to shower it off before I could go on with the day. 

For awhile, I thought Cabaret might be a repeat of that experience, like getting sick-drunk on Seagrams 7 and Coke as a teenager and never being able to drink anything that even smells like whiskey ever, ever again.  


Not to worry.  After the initial similarities, Cabaret takes a very different path than RDV with more rose, squeaky clean Dial soap goodness and a final drydown of raspberry incense.  Cabaret is sleek and fresh, exuding cool sexiness with moderate sillage.  I can imagine it smelling wonderful on B-man, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ode to L'eau du Navigateur by L'Artisan

Cardamom & Fennel
Road Construction
Motorcycle Exhaust
French Roast Coffee
Ginger Snaps
Fall in Central Park

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sycomore and Sarah Palin

Today, I wore Chanel's Sycomore to an all-day Motivational Seminar that my staff really wanted to attend. You know the kind; Collin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney...and Sarah Palin.  A regular God Bless America Republican marketing extravaganza.  

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

My day started peppy and Sycomore smelled just right, green and smoky with an inky heart note.  It makes a statement and it's also crowd friendly.  Perfect for this event.

After a very long day - the speakers ran over the allotted time, being in love with their own voices - it was Sarah's turn.  While I'm not necessarily a fan of Palin, I am open-minded and thought, 'what the hell, maybe she will say something useful.'  Just throw me a bone here.

What I didn't expect was Palin READING some lame-ass speech about how she wasn't really an athlete in high school but persevered and annoyed the shit out of everyone until her team had to win just to shut her up.  I may have missed a detail or two, but she was talking so fast and loud that I could only fantasize about the 'wish I were there' option of dousing myself with lighter fluid and playing with matches.  

To top off this meaningful experience, the man sitting in front of me had not washed the back of his neck for Quite Some Time and smelled like sour milk and piss. 

Tonight, I am Little Miss Cranky Pants, having my dinner of Cheetos and wine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Am My Father's Nose

Meet my dad.  B-man took this picture as Dad and I were chatting at a family get-together.  We have always been close and I inherited many of his traits, one of which is the ability to pick up scent like a bird dog. 

Growing up, Dad could tell immediately, upon walking in the house, if we had lit matches to burn incense or anything else.  Never mind that hours had passed and we had done everything possible to kill the smell. 

That sucked. 

I, too, pick up on smells quickly.  (B-man still talks about the time I walked in the door and knew that our cat, Leo, had puked a hairball at the bottom of the stairs.)  While a sensitive nose is great as it relates to my love of perfume, it can also be distracting.

For example, unwashed hair will find my nose from across the room.  And if a colleague works out during lunch but doesn't shower off the 'clean sweat,' I will know because he now smells slightly musty and aquatic.  New, 'unscented' hand lotion?  Yup.

In spite of all that, I am grateful for this quality.  My other senses are good enough, falling within a normal range.  But my nose is off the charts.

Thanks, Dad.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blue Sunday

Today is our first hot day of the season - 89 degrees.  I'm not ready to jump into summer quite yet, but no one checked with me first, so we're off and running.  

After sitting in the sun and reading snippets of books and blogs, B-man suggests we drive to my office and replace the tulips with an arrangement of irises.  As soon as I see them, I cry.

Grief is a very strange thing.  

One minute, I'm sailing along, functioning as if Mom didn't get sick and die in February.  The next minute, I'm remembering how much she loved the hill of irises she planted in our yard.  Each year, they returned, stunning and dramatic, perfuming the breeze of early summer.

For a moment, I consider wearing Hiris by Hermes to enhance the experience.  Instead, I allow memories of my mother to flood my senses uninterrupted.

No perfume today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Perfume and Mutants

Have you ever fallen head-over-hills in love with a perfume only to wear it again later and wonder, where did the love go?

B-man would say that I change my mind often, about most everything.  That is SO not true.  Well, maybe.  Okay, it's true.   

Regarding perfume, it's not that I change my mind, necessarily, but rather the perfume itself seems completely different than it did before, mutated like Wolverine.  Eau du Soir by Sisley and Femme by Rochas are perfect examples of this phenomenon.  

Last summer, I was mesmerized by Eau du Soir, regaled by its green, rosy, chypre goodness. Even Luca Turin's dismal review couldn't stop me.  A few nights ago, remembering its previous glory, I spritzed again and sat on the deck, waiting for the magic to happen.

Eau Du Soir is a cheap, plastic biatch.  

And Femme, tried again recently after months of my thinking it was the epitome of sensuality, is now overly sweet and cloying with a drydown of...crotch, really.  I'm just sayin'.

Where DID the love go?  Is it hormones, attention deficit or what?   And will it come back?  

Perhaps I'm the Mutant. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aqaba Eau de Parfum

Warm Snickerdoodles
Mountain Waterfall
Freshly Turned Earth
Chokecherry Wine
Sweaty Little Kids


Related Posts with Thumbnails