Change Your Mind-Change Your Scent?

An old bottle of Le parfum ideal from an Etsy listing

An old bottle of Le parfum ideal from an Etsy listing

Gaps fascinate me, such as the gap between what people say and do and in this case, what perfume people think they wear and what they actually do.  It’s often quite a big gap and this subject is related to last week’s point about brands and our identification with them.

So in the spirit of, “Not minding the gap.” I wonder what it is that my readers and I actually pull and put on most days.  Currently for me it is vintage Le Parfum Ideal bought for the dizzying sum of fifteen dollars  for a half ounce of edt.  It’s quite close to being perfect. Warm and just half way between Chanel No 5 and Coty Chypre- if that makes any sense- with a slightly nutty, slightly green presence.  It’s elegant but adaptable, and comfortable to wear anywhere and incidentally was the  long term favorite of Anita Loos.  There’s Anita in costume as a single digit dolly toting starlet  from the twenties, when she was in her thirties and writing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Ms. Loos about the time she became a famous authoress

Ms. Loos about the time she became a famous authoress

L’Ideal is  a change for me though however habitual it was with Ms. Loos.  For some years my go to scent in colder weather has been Vanille Tonka a de Nicolai oriental but the current version is a bit too reminiscent of an evening the Hub and I spent in an Ethiopian restaurant which produced the worst gas either of us ever had. They burned incense while preparing the coffee, the coffee was good but the effects were not. We felt like the Michelin Tire Man heading out the doors, and VT brings back that night with acute gastric accuracy.  I enjoy formulas that don’t stress one ingredient too much and this version of VT is dominated by Frankincense in the same way that Tokyo was in several horror movies by Godzilla.  So I’ve returned to a very old classic and am happy with the choice.

This means that I am neglecting Guerlain LE’s, vintage Carons, and Lyn Harris’s lovely Bourbon Geranium, not to mention Apres L’Ondee and a swanky bottle of Coty’s Jasmin de Corse plus many others.  What am I wearing?  Why Parfum Ideal, Cigalia, and Magno soap, that’s what.

Ms. Loos with her husband who did not prefer a blonde from

Ms. Loos with her husband who did not prefer a blonde from

I’m convinced that I’m not the only one.  We are all creatures of habit but subject to a capricious nature and although I have worn Vanille Tonka for years it seems that this year I won’t. Why exactly our tastes in perfume change I can’t say but I’m aware that they do and when they do there’s no fighting the impulse.

What else has changed is my renewed love for chypres and aldehydic perfumes which in their less woody forms are go everywhere do everything perfumes.  I enjoy the versatility and prefer them to the ocean of oud out there.  Those ouds are pungent and the only good one I have come across is Mandy Aftel’s Oud Luban.

So Parfum Ideal it is this season and whatever old chypre I can scare up.

What do you find yourself wearing when you change your mind-or are you faithful like Anita- to a small number of perfumes?

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8 thoughts on “Change Your Mind-Change Your Scent?

  1. Le Parfum Ideal, “elegant but adaptable”. That’s a beautiful description and a good quality in a fragrance. True to its name, it may be the ideal perfume.

    The post about upmarket/downmarket led me to thinking lately about the difference between how to advertise romance rather than sex in perfume ads.

    • I tend to fall back on the old L’Air du temps ads but there are probably better ones out there.

      That’s sort of difficult actually. If you look at old ads at vintagead or something you see a lot of topically attractive ideas that don’t work well now…hm…

  2. I don’t fall back on anything really, or only for a day or two at a time because I am distracted and haven’t time to choose anything with more thought. In the past nine days it has been Mona Di Orio Tubereuse, DSH Cimabue, Dior Ambre Nuit and one day each of nothing and Amouage Journey Woman, but next week could be all change!

    • The Mona di Orios are so interesting, though I think had a difficult time initially. I loved her jasmine scent, Oiro, and her tuberose is no doubt good too.

      Cimabue is a big favorite with me, one of Dawn’s ten best, better than the L’Artisan original, also her Nourouz which is stellar. Have you tried Pink Gardenia?

      OK, too many suggestions here, but Charcoal sends greetings to Truffle.

  3. But who makes Parfum Ideal? Clearly you are not referring to that Guerlain thing for men from a few years ago.

    Tastes do change. I’ve been finding chypres less satisfying than usual and am in a white floral phase at the moment. But it may be just that – a phase.

    And I agree. If you don’t feel the love you once felt for something, it’s pointless flogging yourself into wearing it. Wear what you love!

    • Who made Parfum Ideal was Houbigant and it dates back to 1899. Having re-read my post I see that I made quite an error in not mentioning this. My bad.

      You can still find bottles on Ebay for not much money cf. mine. The re-issue is what I bought but old bottles in flowered boxes still turn up on Etsy as well, and they are quite pretty. It is probably more of a woody floral than a chypre but the idea is similar and the formula is familiar.

      White florals, they are nice. Haven’t found one yet that I love devotedly, though I did fall for Dawn’s (Spencer Hurwitz’s) Pink Gardenia. I also like Teo Cabanel’s Lace Garden and Krigler’s Pleasure Gardenia (what a name!).

  4. It’s interesting, that once again you post something on the topic close to the one I’m working on days before I’m done.

    I am “faithful […] to a small number of perfumes…” Small number of 100-120 perfumes that I constantly have in the rotation, that is. I almost never wear the same scent more than once… a month (?) – unless I’m in Hawaii, where I would wear Bronze Goddess almost every day in between morning and evening swims – so it’s impossible to establish any real patterns of changing/not changing my mind. Though, I haven’t spent enough time with the data I have, so maybe there are some patterns in my perfume wearing habits. Maybe I should do more data mining for the annual statistics post…

    • I really like your data posts. There is something about seeing what happens statistically with a perfume collection which is funny and kind of charming. Can statistics be charming? Anyway those are.

      Well at least you are faithful to your 120. 🙂

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