Perfume Partnerships

Rogers and Astaire

Rogers and Astaire

Not the cute pairings of masculines with feminines worn by couples.  What I mean by perfume couples, are scents in your wardrobe which you know will form a stable partnership with at least one other perfume you own. Maybe that might strike some people as odd, but I have done this for years.

Bear with me.  Fond as I am of the fragrance wardrobe concept, I tend to change it seasonally or even monthly, and usually in this way, morning or daytime scent with evening or afternoon one. If you use two perfumes from the same house it’s often easier to pull off since they frequently share a base. Right now I’ve done this with Le Temps d’un Fete and Vanille Tonka from de Nicolai. They play off one another extremely well and can be worn for a month or so at a time. You feel like you have choice but also harmony and some familiarity. Try this with any maker, from DS and Durga to Estee Lauder, the only common point being a house signature.Since the idea is not layering per se here(although you can try that) but to wear both in the same day with one perfume giving out as the other takes over and the overlap smelling wonderful. Continue reading

Daffodils on the Wind

Daffodils in full bloom

Daffodils in full bloom

February is about to turn into March, it makes me think that I should clean out all my wardrobes, take the coats to the dry cleaners, wash the sweaters, and clean out the perfume closet because one day soon incense will make me recoil.  Does everyone wear perfume seasonally?  I always have, partially because everywhere I have lived there have been sequential seasons, and it was difficult to ignore their cold and heat, and wear the same thing.  You could stock a rudimentary scent wardrobe by selecting one scent for summer and one for winter, but even that strained the Spring and Fall dichotomy.  Unsettled weather, weather that changes from day to day, is hard to plan for and hard to choose for, your old favorites are too stuffy and warm or too evanescent and light.   What can you wear in between perfume seasons? Continue reading

Hyacinths in the Air

still life with hyacinthIn Britain it might be bluebells, but here in North America one of the best clues that Spring has really arrived, is this scent: grassy, pervasive, and fresh.  When I smell it a cascade of images always runs down the surface of my mind: Easter services I’ve sat through in buttermilk colored southern churches, huge bouquets in white wicker baskets, bristling with pink, blue, and yellow hyacinths in front of altar rails, and the bowls of faience pottery we always had at home, with forced hyacinth bulbs in them every March. These last, just because. As my Mother said, we were good and tired of winter. Continue reading

The Green Ladies: Odalisque, Eclipse, Le Temps d’un Fête

DSCN7128Wouldn’t you know it? As I’m writing this the skies are turning that cotton wool gray that proceeds snow,* six to ten inches of snow, the weather channels say, and it’s already March.

This makes me yearn for green perfume, the lateness of this year’s winter aconites and snowdrops, and the non appearance of the crocus, put me in mind of all that I’m not smelling this year. Even if they bloom those flowers are going to be two weeks later than usual, and that’s probably an optimistic estimate, too. Continue reading

Keepers

keeperaThe world of perfume blogging dearly loves a list.  Who knows why we are so very fond of these sequential processions of names and titles, but I do know that nobody who loves perfume can resist them.  I thought it was time to compose a list of the best of the last ten years, a list of the perfumes that have struck me as lasting presences on the scene, keepers, potential classics, if you like.

A list like that should have kept me deliberating for days, but actually only kept me busy for one afternoon. Why?  Well, despite the enormous numbers of releases these days, not much really strikes me as all that durable.

So here is a list that includes perfumes I don’t necessarily like myself, but which I think are classics or potential classics in the making. Just because I don’t care for it personally, doesn’t mean it isn’t in the running. Continue reading

Doctor Fell

Dr Fell

Dr Fell

I do not love thee, Doctor Fell
The reason why, I cannot tell,
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell.

My father, who was an old school Virginian and fond of a peaceable dinner table, used to stop nascent disagreements by saying, “De gustibus non est disputandem”. There’s no arguing over taste, and once he said that, we had to drop our heated discussion of Disco vs Punk, or whatever other nonsense had popped into our chuckle heads that day.

Sometimes I will come across a perfume that is clearly cleverly composed, stable, and possessed of finesse, or longevity, or whatever it is that lifts one perfume over the enormous crowd of also-rans, and that is becoming very popular, and will just dislike the heck out of it.   Continue reading

Airy Intellectual Fairy

Have you ever come across a perfume or a perfume house that despite stellar reviews, and several tries, and everyone else’s kudos, just doesn’t succeed in your wardrobe except for a couple of months a year?  This was my entire experience with Parfums de Nicolai.  It is a hot weather perfume house in my opinion, and I never even try to smuggle de Nicolais past the borders of summer.

Many people will disagree with me perhaps but I say this with a good deal of PdN experience under my belt.  You see, I kept on trying to live with them, but it was rather like a dysfunctional marriage.  I broke up with them, yet I always came back, thinking well, everyone says they’re such a catch – French, subtle, intelligent, sophisticated, and did they mention, French? Continue reading