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.
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.
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?