Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Love You, I Love You Not

This week I've started trying to weed out my perfume collection. Many of my perfumes are safe. When I look at the shelf in the cabinet where I keep them (that should give you some idea of the relative size, as they don't even fill the one shelf), I realize I've scored more than I've missed, to use an ill-fitting sports metaphor. The problem is, this makes weeding difficult. It takes me a long time to settle on what must go, or be banished if you will, but once I decide I don't look back. No point in second guessing a decision too much after it's been made, as that is a sure path to misery much of the time.

And so I've taken three boxes from the shelf and pulled a flower from a vase. I'm ready to pluck those petals.

I Love You. Because I'm a bit of a tease, should I tell you first what I could never stand to lose? Here we go:
Guerlain Vol de Nuit Parfum (post refers to EdP)
Caron Parfum Sacre
L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillon and Dzing!
Balmain Jolie Madame
Tauer Perfumes L'Air du Desert Marocain
Rochas Femme
Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia
Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien and Le Chevrefeuille
Rykiel Woman

I Love You Not. This wasn't an easy one. In the first place, it's a classic, especially among white florals. The truth is, I bought a bottle more because I felt like it was something I should own rather than something I wanted to own. It's either a sign of confidence or a sign of bad taste, but the truth of the matter is, I can think of at least four white florals (possibly even five) that I would opt to wear before this one: Robert Piguet Fracas.

I'll give you a moment if you need it.

While I appreciate the beauty of composition on this one, I must admit, Bandit (which I do not own) is more my speed. And as far as white florals: out of the bottles I own, I would wear the Estee Lauder first, La Chasse second. If I want orange blossom mixed with my tuberose, then I'll wear Fleur d'Oranger (decant). And as far as what I don't own but would choose first: Tubereuse Criminelle and Carnal Flower. I'd even pick the headache-inducing (for me) Songes over Fracas. The creaminess falls flat on me. It's like eating generic sherbet. This deserves someone who swoons. It ain't me, babe.

I Love You. I thought, before I sprayed this on my wrists and spent the day with it, that this would be the first to go. It seemed to be a purchase driven more by curiosity and sentiment than desire and good sense (not that those go hand-in-hand very often). Many years ago, the original version of this scent was my winter staple, my signature scent.

I bought Opium Fleur de Shanghai based on a memory of a fragrance, and that's exactly what it feels like. I'm happy now that I did not just buy the original, because Fleur de Shanghai softens and rounds the spice, acts like a mellow dream of the past, with all mistakes and uneasiness faded into the background, an old friend remembered fondly. I wore Opium because it was the scent of a person I wanted to be, but Fleur de Shanghai is much more like the person I am, and probably even was then.

I Love You Not. My journey back to this fragrance was painful. I expected to feel those butterflies in the stomach, to steal sniffs of my wrist at odd times during the day (I think by now people in meetings must think I'm just wiping my nose on my wrist, like a nervous tic), and to be carried away on a wave of rosy vanilla incense.

Instead, I felt like someone sprayed a lot of really expensive air freshener in my face. It took over an hour for things to settle down, and then I spent the rest of the day smelling like I'd wandered out of a more sophisticated version of the Yankee Candle Store.

The most embarrassing thing about giving up Keiko Mecheri's Loukhoum is all the fuss I made about it. I all but put up a billboard declaring my affection for this scent. What happened? It grew a beard and a pot belly, took up smoking and stopped brushing its teeth.

Okay, it's not that bad. Not even close. It is actually very well done, but if I'm going to do vanilla, personally, I think Lea Extreme is the one. Or, for the oriental twist, Fleur de Shanghai.

What makes me laugh, always, is my own unbridled enthusiasm for these scents in the first place. I'm not at all ashamed I loved these fragrances, but oh--I was so young! I was a young perfume fan! I'm a year or so older now, and while I may not be wiser, my tastes have...matured, I would hope, but changed for sure.

Do me a favor, and in the comments, share with me an "I Love You, I Love You Not" fragrance story of your own. And if you'd like, let me know whether you'd like to try Fleur de Shanghai. I'll do a drawing if there are enough people interested...