Going through my perfume cabinet the other day (which I do every spring just as the mole in The Wind in the Willows took up a brush with a sigh and whitewashed) I noticed a gap. Perfumes come and go with me, so my collection seldom exceeds twenty bottles, and sometimes gaps open up.
Many of my choices are emphatic perfumes, things which are uncommon for one reason or another. I suppose this is the pitfall of collectors, they just can’t resist anything out of the ordinary. However that means that I don’t own much which is a no brainer. The versatile enjoyable scent is notable by its absence on my shelves, which leaves me with a quandary every once in a while.
Chanel as a company understands this concept very well. They never produce a perfume which is too extreme, too dramatic, or too topical. The idea is to make classic fragrances easy for consumers to get accustomed to, in fact fragrances that become habitual.
Guy Robert the perfumer who did Amouage Gold and Caleche for Hermes was of the opinion that perfume should be easy to wear. His work always demonstrated an unobtrusive friendliness to the user, a quality even celebrated perfumes didn’t always possess. As Helene Rochas once observed of Rochas’ most famous perfume, ” Femme is so beautiful, but quite difficult to wear. It is one of the finest perfumes, like Arpege, but not as commercial.” The company’s response was to release Robert’s ultra skin accommodating Madame Rochas which has never been any more difficult to put on than a satin bathrobe.
You can take any of Guy Robert’s perfumes just about anywhere, and notice, you can also wear them at any time of the year. We are talking about disparate kinds of scent: green florals (No 19, though Guy’s uncle Henri composed that as in house perfumer at Chanel), aldehydic florals ( Mme. Rochas), and floral chypres (Caleche). Any family of perfume can give you the weareverywhere scent but most people reference floral aldehydes. While I agree that they are seasonless, jack of all trade fragrances, I believe that perfumes from every other group can fall into this category. Here is my current list.
Diptyque’s Eau Duelle: Sometimes the juniper-vanilla tug of war here doesn’t suit me but this is a hit with Diptyque and is a very likable perfume that can go anywhere at any season. Just about perfect. Vanilla oriental .
Ormonde Jayne Ta’if: This is the rose that a modern person can wear even if they don’t really like rose, by turns playful and peppery this ends on a woody note that does remind me of Iso E Super but I could be wrong and anyway many folks love that material. An excellent portable fragrance for the daytime and later. Rose oriental.
Narciso Rodriguez: Narciso Eau Poudree This is one that seems to have made a number of people very happy and is probably the best of the Narciso flankers, but the point here surely is that this can be worn at any time and month without seeming wrong. I think that is not only the sign of an excellent perfume but also of a signature fragrance. Floral woody musk.
Sylvaine Delacourte Florentina : Mme Delacourte’s perfumes were made with something of the Chanel philosophy of wearability. They are also good in all sections of the scent, even the flight of each perfume is pretty. This attention to detail is missing in many main stream fragrances. Florentina lets you wear a L’Heure Bleue inspired up to date perfume with ease. It seems like a year round option to me and would be at home in the am and pm. Simple. Ambery floral/musk.
Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite: Of all the PdEs I have tried this struck me as being one of the most accommodating and adaptable. It is wearable anytime from summer (when I wore out my sample) to fall and winter and is fresh enough for spring. Light enough for work and easy enough to wear out to dinner with that slight reference to food that osmanthus and tobacco have. This one, of all the recent osmanthus perfumes, deserves a second look. Fruity Floral.
Serge Lutens Arabie: I have never been such a great fan or Uncle Serge and have found most of his perfumes too opinionated to wear for any length of time. This one though reminds me of the grandmommy of them all, namely Feminite du Bois, and is similarly something you can wear all the time. Fruity oriental.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Celadon: This is a pale green scent that smells pale green and is pleasant without being too insistent on the leaf notes (which can make greens temperamental) This one is wearable in almost any situation and is just about perfect for the South with- oddly- that textural quality in the scent that made Dawn call it a “velvety green” Green Aromatic.
Bottega Veneta Bottega Veneta : The 2011 release that was so popular. As a leather I really can’t fault it. This is a formula that many people can grow to love and is very versatile, as leather perfumes often are. If there is a drawback, it might be that you may smell yourself coming and going in urban environments, but that is a relatively small price to pay for a lovely contemporary perfume. Leather.
Krigler Lovely Patchouli: This is not cheap and is being sold on its association with Jackie Kennedy, one of whose perfumes it was, but the rendition of patchouli/amber here is one of the best and is unisex, very good for cold or heat, and one of those dark woody perfumes one can disappear into. Sometimes that’s good. Woody/Oriental
Finally the weareverywhere animalic for me is Kiehls Original Musk I know, I know but this one does have it down cold and costs less than Uncle Serge’s Musks KK. I notice by the way that you can buy their musk as an oil in I/2 oz. bottles for $35.00. I’m not affiliated but that’s a pretty good bargain these days. This has been worn since the sixties and you know what went on then, Animalic.
So what is your weareverywhere or have you not found one yet? Let’s share notes.