Discoveries: A Perfume Story

Even though there were at least a couple of guest writers on Undina’s Looking Glass, over the last couple of years I was a sole contributor, so for a while I will be reminding my readers to look at the By line (Undina).

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Discovery sets. Do you buy them? They seem like a great idea. A decent amount of each juice thematically selected by a perfume house, often nicely packaged. Sadly though I have sworn off discovery sets. Invariably in a set of five I will love two, talk myself into maybe liking one and outright dislike two more. Then I sit there looking at my discovery set thinking about how it costs half the price of a nice fat bottle of the one I like the most. Math is cruel. Last time I bought one it was out of some weird guilt after having sniffed every last thing in a shop and taken up the owner’s time and conversation. I had been unable to decide on any of the sale items so I sprung for a discovery set of the illustrious candle maker Cire Trudon’s perfumes. Trudon has been making candles since 1643 and perfumes since 2017. As discovery sets go, this one beat the odds.There are three I like, one I have no need of and then the subject of this post, Trudon Deux/ II (2017).

Notes: green leaves, pine, juniper, Ambroxan, Cashmeran

Deux perfectly captures one of my nature loves, the dark, viscerally bitter greenness of so many plants. There’s pine, but it’s not a sweet pine, no cozy winter associations here. If you’ve ever tasted pine sap because it was so pretty and recoiled at its bitterness, this is that pine. Now I LOVE bitter things. Bitter beer, bitter foods. Just thinking about cruciferous vegetables makes my mouth water. It’s watering right now with the visions of broccoli, my best friend vegetable, that popped into my head when I typed “cruciferous”.

Since I was a small child, I have loved bitter flavours. My dad used to give me non-alcoholic beer in order to get me used to the taste. Yes, I realize how this sounds! He was a true foodie, and he wanted to make sure my palate was ready for anything. We ate grapefruit many a morning and of course we did not put sugar on it, the bitterer the better! Fresh, bright, rindy, pithy grapefruit. I was naturally attracted to bitterness, and this was encouraged. People who put sugar on their grapefruit were weak!

 

Trudon Deaux II

 

Deux is sharp, linear, dark green and bitter, bitter, bitter. It smells exactly like a plant, impressively so. I’m not one to ask “but is it perfume?” however this phrase did jump into my head while wearing it. Though I love to eat bitterness, it seems I do not love to smell it, a confusing and sad revelation. I have always tried with green perfumes because they seem like I should love them, my personality is whispering “make that your scent… yes that green sappy one…”. But I can’t do it, the more realistic and dark green the fragrance, the more it bothers me. I can love a fragrance that is a water colour in a green wash, such as Diorella, but once we’re in niche or vintage territory where true greenery is the point I have to sadly bow out.

If you are on a holy grail for greenness I do encourage you to try Trudon Deux/ II. It doesn’t bother with smelling like a beautiful woman in a forest, or even the whole forest. It’s crushed dark leaves and pine, bright and bitter and good.

 

Image: my own

21 thoughts on “Discoveries: A Perfume Story

  1. I love fresh green herbal scents, but nothing ever bitter. I am one of those in the Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur fan camp and also just recently purchased Comme de Garcons Chlorophyll Gardenia and Yoyogi. Per discovery sets, I have had the same luck, lured by the enclosed discounted full bottle certificate but universally disappointed in the end, an investment with no return. Right now there is a Teo Cabanel discovery set awaiting the next swapmeet, I was positive that Cafe Cabanel would be my next love. :(

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    • Ooo what is the Chlorophyll Gardenia like? A decade ago CdG was my favourite house but I kind of wandered off after a lot of misses. Still DEEPLY regret not buying Daphne though. Love a gardenia and that promise of green sounds great.

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  2. I would definitely sniff this if I came across it in a store someday. I enjoy bitter in at least a theoretical way! I’m doing a no-buy year and one of my realizations is that I really don’t want to spend money on discovery sets or samples again when I wrap up the year. It just contributes to the ridiculous amount of perfume that sits in my closet unworn, and I no longer have any significant holes in my collection to be filled. I do love those discovery sets that are beautifully packaged, though! One of my most recent was from Ineke and it is just gorgeous.

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  3. I consider my perfume collection basically complete, so I won’t be buying any more sample sets, but have in the past. The more useful ones are the ones purchased that give you a credit towards a full bottle, but even that is a crap shoot. I’m not a fan of bitter or greens, so I didn’t care for Deux, but I did buy Bruma & Revolution. I’m working my way into a Revolution state of mind, I think it’s going to get a lot of wear in the next month. Totally sick of all Covid, all the time.

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  4. I’ve never seen one where you get credit towards a bottle, perhaps they don’t do that here. I enjoyed Revolution, it’s simpler than a lot of similar scents which is what I wanted. Olim is a meditative myrrh that I would be all over if I wanted a myrrh. Bruma was the one I felt I had no need for. I went through a big violet phase early in my perfume career and though I still love violet I have had a lot of them over the years :)

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  5. I love manufacturers’ discovery sets and I hate manufacturers’ discovery sets. With my success rate with any perfumes, they don’t make any economical sense: not only I rarely like any of those I tried, but even for those that I loved, I rarely pay full price, so even those coupons that come with some of the sets when you buy them directly, are of no use for me since I wouldn’t buy a full bottle from the same site. And still, from time to time I give in to the temptation.

    I love grapefruits, and I never in my life used sugar with this fruit. But it doesn’t taste bitter to me.

    While I do not mind some bitterness in my perfumes, I do mind that “is it perfume?” question: I strongly prefer perfumes in classic meaning; I don’t wear strange conceptual concoctions. I don’t wear all those “not-a-perfumes,” “I-hate-perfumes” and “I-don’t-know-what’s.” Having said that, if I ever see this perfume somewhere, I’ll give it a sniff.

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  6. I love “strange conceptual concoctions” heh.. but I freely admit the success vs disaster rate for them is far higher than in classical scents. It’s definitely worth sniffing the original 5 perfume Trudon came out with. Olim makes me wish I was dying for myrrh!

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  7. Hey there Narth,
    What a bummer you can’t do bitter greens in your fragrance. Does this then mean you aren’t much of a chypre fan? Many of them have very dark undertones, especially the older ones.
    How light does green need to be for you to love it? You mention Diorella but my old vintages of it are not very green at all.
    A floral green like Futur by Piguet might be nice?
    Now I want you to come over and go through greens together to find the exact spot they become anathema.
    I buy loads of sample sets, love them so much, all those cute little bottles/vials, never use them. There’s a very large box of them here.
    Interestingly, if I get an order of samples from a decant store I’m much more likely to use them.
    Portia xx

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    • Oh that would be lovely Portia, I’ll just pop up there and.. oh. Sad now :(

      Chypres are fine, but the old dark greens like Aliage, no. I guess my greenest thing is Y. Gone through a bottle of that. I find too green is just kind of irritating to me, and I cannot at this point think of anything that’s hard core green that I love. Haven’t worn the Y for a few years, will have to pull it out.

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      • OMG! Y is so freaking gorgeous. OK, I think I have a handle on it now.
        Can I send you some greens that I really adore, just for fun? You can hate them all but it might be a fun lockdown exercise? PLUS it will give me something to do for a couple go hours.
        Portia x

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        • That would be lovely Portia! and I think I have something to send you as well though I don’t recall what it was. I will have to have a look.

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  8. Hi narthscent, I love discovery sets, especially ones from independent perfumers. The best one I received this year was from January Scent Project. There are lovely ‘green’ scents in this discovery set and some fascinating note combinations. My favorite thus far is Smolderose, a smoky rose that is truly divine. I am going to purchase a full bottle in a month or so and keep testing the others. The perfumer is John Biebel, who writes for Fragrantica.

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  9. Okay I have no smoky roses, just the words “smoky rose” are making me excited! Wow.. why have I not had this combination before..

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    • I thought so, too, when I smelled it. Smoky rose, where have you been all my life? It’s lovely and addicting. January Scent Project has their own website and the fragrances are also sold at Ave Parfums, aveparfums.com.

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  10. Pingback: Discoveries: A Perfume Story — Undina’s Looking Glass – BellEva Worldwide

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