Rich as Sin

The title is a little dramatic and I’m not encouraging anyone to go and buy perfumes that cost more than $US 200 per 50 mls.

But let’s amuse ourselves for a while and assume that money is no object.  If it weren’t, what would we wear? Would we go for limited edition Guerlains?  Urn Carons meant for the Middle Eastern market, private collection Montales, high end Estee Lauders in perfume strength only?  Would we alert hoi polloi to our presence because, like Marie Antoinette on the lam with her necessaire, normal people just don’t smell like that?

Anyway, this post begins a series for  the financially stretched about no price restriction perfumery,  and about the perfumes that we’d all like to be able to wear but simply can’t budget for right now.  Down the line I’ll also do a series about what is good in the $US 50 and under category.

This week I’ve gone for CB I Hate Perfume’s Cradle of Light.  It’s oily! It’s amber  colored! It’s strong! It’s fifty dollars for two (2) mls!

This scent is definitely for the ladies and the gents.  One of the big constituents of this perfume is narcissus, probably the most animalic of all the white flowers used in perfumery.  When you see the note listed, you pretty much know that a certain musky, sweaty presence is going to come through in the scent and Cradle does not disappoint.

A couple of years ago, L’Artisan Parfumeur had a limited (3000 bottle) edition narcissus based perfume (Fleur de Narcisse) that shocked reviewers by being animalic instead of strictly floral.  I must admit that I was slightly amused because of course I knew the little buds were distinctly dirty minded and that anything featuring them was going to be on the hairy handed side.

Cradle, though, is also elegant.  In fact it is so elegant that I can imagine someone along the lines of Babe Paley wearing this at La Côte Basque back in the day.  It is – screw another Lark into your cigarette holder, darling, and tell me everything.  I promise to keep it to myself.

But then, like certain mid-century writers, Cradle is far too fond of the sound of its own voice to shut up.  All that jasmine, all that jonquil and narcissus, the tuberose, the lotus, the galbanum, the tomato leaf, the musk? Please.  This is a perfume that simply cannot resist getting on the phone and having indiscreet conversations at four in the morning when le tout New York can’t sleep anyhow, being fresh out of barbiturates.  It is also, like those four o’clock discussions, rather mesmerizing.

I could not wear this because, dear reader, I am not as un-yieldingly elegant as the late Babe, but perfume can after all lie for you, and so on evenings when you want to conjure up the image of doomed society swans, this one with its evocation of money and dead cigarette smoke, may be your best bet.

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