Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Holiday Samples

For Memorial Day weekend, Bob and I went to Dallas to visit my family. I’m not the most efficient packer (although I try, I really do), but one thing that made my bag a little lighter was the fact that I got to throw in little sample vials, instead of lugging an entire bottle of something-or-other along with me. Dallas is both hot and humid (no “dry heat”), so I wanted to be sure not to take anything too heavy or too spicy. I spent part of Wednesday night sniffing through all of my samples, trying to decide what to take with me. I finally settled on these three: Des Filles a La Vanille Je t’aime, Fifi Chachnil EDT, Pecksniff’s Green Chypre EDP.

I’ll start with the Pecksniff’s. I wore this on Sunday, the last day we were in Dallas, and frankly, I had a horrible allergy attack and was unable to smell anything, let alone this sample. According to the information on LusciousCargo, the notes are as follows:
Top: pink grapefruit, mandarin, lemon, orange, galbanum, and bergamot
Heart: freesia, water lily, orchid, pink pepper, geranium, violet, and rose
Base: musk and sandalwood
I got as far as the beginning of the heart notes. This scent was sweeter than I expected, but also very refreshing. The pepper is very distinct, and it’s surprisingly un-citrusy given the top is almost all citrus. I couldn’t pick out any of the floral notes in the heart (I love freesia, and it’s one floral I can pretty consistently identify, along with rose) but I think that was mainly because my sense of smell was already somewhat impaired.
By late evening my nose had cleared up a bit, and I could still smell the scent on my wrist, although it was softer. I mainly sniffed just to check the lasting power of the scent because I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick anything out. The following morning, though, I could smell a faint trace of the sandalwood. I’m looking forward to trying this one again, as I think I might really like it, and it didn’t get a fair shot the first time.

On Saturday I wore Fifi Chachnil EDT. LusciousCargo lists the notes as follows: vanilla, rose, orange, coriander, tobacco, and amber. I’ve read so much about this scent on the other perfume sites—it’s made a lot of “Best of” lists—and I was anxious to try it. I was not disappointed. This is a lovely, spicy floral scent. However, I’ve tried so many distinctive fragrances lately, this one actually seemed quite tame. If I were to buy it, I would consider it a staple scent, rather than something really special. The orange, coriander, and tobacco stayed the longest on me, so that the fragrance was actually more interesting later in the day. I didn’t catch much vanilla, but the rose was definitely there, especially at the opening. This made the fragrance seem less distinctive to me at first than it really is. Although I like rose, I like it best presented in unexpected ways, as in L’Ombre dans L’Eau. Finally, I realize this is the EDT and not the EDP, which is no doubt wonderful. I hope to try it soon.

The first two days of the trip, though, I wore the one that turned out to be my favorite of the three, Des Filles a La Vanille Je t’aime. LuckyScent lists the notes as blackcurrant, raspberry, and hints of vanilla. I received this sample as a part of their Hot Pack. I loved this scent the minute I put it on, probably for one reason: At least on my skin, this smells almost exactly like Victoria by Victoria’s Secret, which is no longer in production. I bought that fragrance when I was almost 21 (so about 16 years ago), back when Victoria’s Secret still sold decent lingerie and played classical music in all their stores, before they turned into…well, what they are now. I don’t know why they discontinued the fragrance, but it was very distinctive, very different, especially at a time when everyone drowned themselves in Paris and Poison and Fendi (all lovely scents, mind you, but they were everywhere). I never knew anyone else who wore it, and I don’t know what the notes were (from what I read on basenotes, apparently it had rose, but there’s no rose in Je t’aime as far as I know). It pops up at places like perfumebay, but it’s a little pricey (1.7 oz EDC for $125).
I generally shy away from vanilla fragrances. They are either too tropical or too sweet to me. But this scent is a very soft hint of vanilla, with fruit that’s more flowery than foodie. Don’t be afraid you will smell like something you would eat with afternoon tea. It’s a luscious, sexy scent, to my nose, but without being heavy. I reapplied this before we went out to dinner on Thursday night, and we sat outside in the evening heat and it smelled wonderful. I was in my favorite place (Dallas) with my favorite person (Bob), eating tapas and drinking sangria, and the world seemed full of possibilities. That’s just how I remember Victoria, wearing it the summer I turned 21.