Saturday, September 26, 2009

Adventures in Perfumery!

Sooooo, this morning it was really REALLY rainy. Again. It rained so hard that it woke me up at 3:30 in the morning (and then my weather radio went off an hour or so later to tell me there was a flash flood warning well DUH), and it did not stop until around noon. For the past few days the smell outside has been revolting. I think everything is mildewing or molding or decaying because the sun hasn't been out for 2 weeks. After I went to the gym I decided it was time for me to smell something nice for a change, so I went to my favorite fragrance counter. Dillards.

Sephora is good if you want to smell a ton of perfumes and not have someone bother you (aside from marauding hoards of teenagers). At Dillards the sales associates really are on the ball and will show you all kinds of fun stuff if you let them. The first thing I sprayed on was Estee Lauder Sensuous, which I actually LOVE. It is amber and honey and jasmine and just smells beautiful. It isn't a loud pop you over the head sort of perfume, it stays really close and is very cozy and sexy.

Then I wandered over to another counter where another sales lady introduced me to all of these "European Collection" perfumes. SO MUCH FUN. She told me the stories of all of the bottles, and the perfume houses that did them. Perfume is all about seduction and it it starts with the bottles. There's a story to most of them, even if you think they are plain and simple. Trust me, there's something behind it. So once they reel you in with the bottle and the color of the juice (you know that doesn't actually need to be any color, right?), you finally get around to smelling whatever it is you're looking at. Half the work is done before it gets anywhere near your nose. And while I'm lecturing, most of the gender assignment in the fragrance world is all about marketing. I smelled Jesus del Pozo J. Del Pozo In Black and thought it was really sexy for women as well as for men (the SA kept saying it was really "manly" but it was still on the women's counter), and would probably suit me better than the In White version (more feminine).

The second fragrance to go on me (I smelled countless cards) was Roberto Verino's Mellow, which was ok. It was really fruity and sort of sweet. I was aiming for something a little more grown up. So then I tried Tous In Heaven, which was a little warmer and not so childish. This smelled really good, but I knew I needed to wander around the store for a while to see how it went. The SA gave me a sample, and I looked at shoes for a while.

After an hour or so Sensuous was still going strong, while Mellow was fading fast and what I got from In Heaven was some serious bug spray notes. This is not what I aim for in any fragrance. So I returned the sample and then got sucked in by yet another SA who led me over to the Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb (bottle shaped like a grenade, get it?). Holy crap. That stuff is GORGEOUS but really intense (sort of like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle- I love it but I can't wear it because it wears me). She sprayed some of that into my elbow (I was running out of arm space...) and in 5 minutes it drowned out everything else I was wearing. It is not unpleasant at all, but you just need a little tiny bit or you will overwhelm everyone around you.

Then we moved over to the Giorgio Armani bottles. Ahhhh, this is where my grownup scents were hiding. First was Armani Code. Lots of different oranges (bitter, Italian, blossoms), mixed with jasmine, honey, and vanilla. Ohhhh how I love this one. (And can you even believe how beautiful that blue bottle is???) Then she sprayed some of the Emporio Armani Diamonds Intense, which is equally gorgeous raspberry, vanilla, freesia, and vetiver. At first it is very sharp but then rounds out into softness with a rich spicy kick to it. It's another cuddly perfume. I can see myself wearing it at night where I could wear Code to work and not offend anyone. I adore both of these.

I am totally fascinated by perfume and the more I smell the better I am at recognizing what the heck I'm smelling in them. I instantly hate some things- I don't want to smell like a melon or a Jolly Rancher, and I don't want to smell leathery. But once you dig a little bit to see who created these fragrances you can start to see the similarities. For instance, Armani Code was created by Carlos Benaim, who also designed Carolina by Carolina Herrera, Euphoria Spring Temptation, Flowerbomb, and the new Prada perfume. All of which I LOVE, so it makes sense that I like Code too. The perfumer who created Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet also made Euphoria, and the creator of Stella by Stella McCartney (another favorite of mine- I have too many favorites) also came up with John Paul Gaultier Classique- the one where the bottle looks like a torso.

I am a fragrance whore, and I'll be the first to tell you I am. Today I was trying to explain my tastes so I threw out "SJP's Lovely, Coco Mademoiselle, Stella, Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Heavenly, Sage Machado's Onyx." The sales woman's eyes got really big and she tried to be subtle, "Well you're sort of all over the place aren't you?"

Indeed I am!

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