The Sweet Breath of Horses

Horse and Hay

Horse and Hay

My sister as a teenager spent some time working in stables, and says that what she misses most from that period is the smell.  Now I’m pretty sure she meant something specific, not for instance the smell of mucking out- which is never the best odor in stables-and in fact she was thinking of the scent of the horses.  Horses while they were being groomed.  She liked the brushes, and the whiff of a healthy horse, and their sweet breath, and also she loved to clean tack.  Murphy’s Oil Soap was what they often used, and she enjoyed the smell of that too.  Murphy’s made her downright nostalgic. Continue reading

The Shock of Recognition

“A truly great perfume, however,  is one which provokes genuine emotion in the person who smells it for the first time….The best perfumes are ones which ‘give us a shock’.”

from Perfume by Elizabeth Barille and Catherine Laroze

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

If you’re a perfumista long enough you begin to drift away from the days in which you frequently got shocks from perfume.  But I still experience them and the wonderful part of each shock is that it is completely unpredictable.  I can wear something artisanal and unprepossessing and I can put on something from the CVS (Canoe actually) or I can put on some perfume that I was pretty sure I disliked, only to find the formula opening out brilliantly on skin- to my surprise.  I’m blown off my feet by a few scent molecules, and not for the first time. Continue reading

Jaded

The flawless green perfume is something that I keep looking for year after year.  In a perfect world, there would be one fabulous, gem like scent a year to ooh and ahh over, but in this cold world of hot button politics, that’s not the case.

Green perfumes are not in right now.  The closest thing to a green hit that I can think of is Patricia de Nicolai’s Le Temps d’une Fête.  Everything else is just not a hit, or is not green. There are plenty of people out there who love green perfumes, but not enough it seems to spawn a genuine blockbuster.  Chanel No 19, which is sort of a paradigmatic green fragrance, remains a rarified taste, and both Private Collection and Alliage, are not the same formulas they were when introduced. Continue reading

Another Day in Deauville

Sometimes you just feel like an idiot.  Maybe I do more often than the generality of mankind, but anyway yesterday was one of those moments, when your id starts calling your ego names and you feel like a bystander at a bar fight.

I had been thinking of Chanel No 19, a classic green floral, and the release of a new flanker No 19 Eau Poudre. I smelled the new perfume and it is really nothing special – a little synthetic musk, some iris, reminiscent of laundromats.

It also does not smell like 19.

It is, in other words, one of those flankers that have nothing whatsoever to do with the original scent. Or, to be blunt, if you’ve got the slightest interest in the original perfume, this new scent is entirely unrelated and is not a flanker.

Continue reading