Tag Archives: Philtre d’Amour

Truly Madly Oddly

Guerlain's pamplelune

Guerlain’s pamplelune

Originality is risky.  You may have observed this yourself in the matter of wardrobe selection.  You may be creative and a free spirit, and completely unrestrained by those tiresome things called conventions, but that’s not the point, the point is, what about everyone else?

When it comes to scent convention tends to control what we wear and where we wear it.  A pervasive oriental to the office? A titanic white floral to a dinner party?  Perfume no matter how romantic in essence, has to fit in with its olfactory surroundings and those tend to be the set pieces of existence everything from the dry cleaner’s to the doctor’s office. Continue reading

A Bitter Chypre Martini

Martini glassMals over at The Muse in Wooden Shoes recently noticed that she was experiencing a completely uncharacteristic craving for chypres.    The ones she had a yen for were not just any old chypres, but ones with a bite, a stinging edge of tartness- well, you can see what she meant here.

I commented and noticed while doing so that I no longer had any real chypres left in my scent wardrobe.  This was a surprise because all my adult life, I’ve worn chypres. There was a furlough when I was first married, and another while we expecting our daughter, but aside from those two periods yours truly has always been the Chypre Queen and an oakmoss junkie. Continue reading

Guerlain Originals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Immeuble,_68_avenue_des_Champs-%C3%89lys%C3%A9es,_Paris_8e_009.JPGThe publishing mogul/poet Felix Dennis is blunt about it: “The problem with the great idea is that it concentrates the mind on the idea itself…But unless the idea is executed efficiently and with panache and originality, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, the enterprise will fail.”

It’s a nifty piece of wisdom, and has always struck me in regard to the grand old firm of Guerlain, whose business model for many years was less to create than to perfect.

You didn’t wear Guerlains for their startling uniqueness, because almost nothing of Guerlain’s was unique.  You wore them for the quality of the materials used and for the careful handling of  those ingredients.  Guerlain’s execution was what shone through.  The origin of the idea was not important. Caron might create, Coty certainly did, even Jean Patou from time to time produced creations, but Guerlain guerlainified, and the results were charming, very high quality, with a delicacy all their own. Continue reading

Ante-Meridian

Sleeping womanGenerally, I don’t mess with perfume until the afternoon.  This is not a hard and fast rule so much as it is habit.  There is simply no point in trying to get yourself completely turned out at seven a.m. or earlier-which it often is around here-unless you have to catch a plane or something.

Still there are times when the morning fragrance is a helpful prop, literally, when you have to get up and get going pronto.  I have written about this phenomenon before, and then my choices were distinctly prickly perfumes, things that got you up and held up up at an early hour. But there are gentler ways of waking up as well. Continue reading

The Basil in the Bottle

Foodies have a built in problem with perfume in that many scents just clash with whatever it is you’re cooking.  In fact and to get specific about it, perfume often squares off, in the nose, against the whole process of food preparation.

In our household a good deal of cooking and baking goes on every day, and it doesn’t help the smell in the kitchen when whatever it is I’m wearing or testing simply curdles in the air around the chopping block. If you cook, necessarily you spend time in the kitchen.  Continue reading