Secret Admirer, or In the Search for the Perfect Narcissus

When I was growing up, International Women’s Day, March 8th, was a good holiday: unlike most other holidays, it was a non-political one (well, almost); it was a non-discriminatory celebration (it didn’t matter if you were young or old, single or in relationships, with or without kids); and it was a public holiday, so nobody had to work or go to school.

Back then this holiday was like a combination of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day but for women only. In days before the holiday, people would have a potluck lunch/happy hour at work; boys would bring sweets and flowers to girls in their class; there were special programs on TV and radio. On the day itself families or friends would have a celebratory dinner or a party. Husbands, sons, fathers, partners, male friends and co-workers would be presenting women in their lives with flowers and, sometimes, gifts. And did I mention it was a day off?

I was fourteen or fifteen. At that time I didn’t have a boyfriend, so on March 8 I spent half the day out with friends. When I came home, I found there a bouquet of narcissuses waiting for me. My mom told me that some boy dropped them off for me. She didn’t recognize him (it meant he wasn’t from my class since she knew all of them), he didn’t tell his name, and there was no card. Since flowers were expensive at that time of the year and not that easy to get, I was sure it wasn’t a practical joke of any kind. So I was intrigued and thrilled: I had an actual secret admirer out there! You normally read about it in books or see it in movies, it doesn’t happen in real life!

For the next month or so I was trying to figure out who that might be, waiting for him to make the next move, hoping it would be somebody I liked.

Narcissuses

This story doesn’t have an ending – happy or otherwise: nobody ever admitted bringing me that bouquet. But several decades later I still remember those flowers better than I remember many dozens of bouquets I got over years from people I knew and loved.

* * *

After I moved to the U.S., I stopped celebrating International Women’s Day. But since I enjoyed so much our recent Month of the Roses project, I decided to run on my own a mini-project for the first week of March – Week of Narcissuses.

I didn’t realize I liked narcissus in perfumes until I started noticing it again and again in the notes lists of my favorite perfumes. Climat, Miss Dior, Chanel No. 19 – these all have narcissus. But this week I focused on perfumes, in which I thought that note was more prominent.

Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu attracted my attention (see Birgit’s review) because it had galbanum and narcissus, and it came in a blue bottle. It is a true spring perfume with wonderful combination of greenness, blossoms and wood. My 15 ml bottle looks cute and will probably serve me for a while.

If Penhaligon’s The Revenge Of Lady Blanche perfume’s opening stage would hang around for at least 2-3 hours, I would have probably be contemplating the purchase of that 75 ml bottle – I love the opening that much (panther head top doesn’t hurt either). But [un]luckily, the opening gorgeousness disappears within the first 30 minutes, if not faster, which would probably justify the size of the bottle but not its price. But you should definitely try this perfume to experience a beautiful combination of iris and narcissus. Galbanum is not one of the notes either listed or mentioned by anybody else, so if I were you I wouldn’t trust my nose, but I smell galbanum there as well.

I sought and tried Parfums DelRae Wit because it had Daphne – my dream note in perfume. While it smelled nothing like Daphne odora blossom, in general it was pleasant enough for me to go for a decant. It’s a beautiful spring bouquet with narcissus prominent enough to fit into this quest for the perfect narcissus. I wish DelRae would finally release their perfumes in 15 ml bottles: I would buy Wit and at least one more perfume from the line in a heartbeat!

I have strange relationships with Tom Ford Jonquille de Nuit: when I wear it, I think that I like it – but then I never choose to wear it unless it’s for some special reason like comparing it to other perfumes, doing a brand week or, like now, for the Single Note Exploration series. Jonquille de Nuit is very floral, with a prominent narcissus note, but despite that it doesn’t read like early spring when blossom aroma interweaves with greenery and earthy scents but rather a warm pre-summer bouquet with everything in full bloom.

Both Yosh White Flowers and Jo Loves No. 42 The Flower Shop I wore from samples. I had White Flowers for years, tested it briefly and completely forgot about it. Recently when I decided to send one of the two vials of White Flowers to a parfumista friend, I tested them to make sure they didn’t turn and was amazed at how much I liked it. It smells beautifully of a lot of flowers, and so does The Flower Shop sample, which I have “on loan” (for testing) from another parfumista friend, and which, in my opinion, is one of the cases of the name perfectly fitting the scent. These two perfumes are different bunches of flowers – thus have different aromas but they both have a similar feeling of the presence of that bunch, and I like both scents. Enough to do anything about it? I’m not sure but I plan to do more testing.

It was Penhaligon’s Ostara that reminded me about my secret admirer and gave me the idea of doing post for this note. This perfume actually epitomizes narcissus flower for me: it’s sunny, and bright, and happy, and uncomplicated. It doesn’t come even close to be worth Penhaligon’s full price but last year’s sale deals invited Ostara into many homes, from what I’ve read on different perfume forums. I bought a bottle for myself. I bought another bottle as a present to my friend. I enjoy wearing Ostara as my spring perfume, and this year I wore it as an anti-#BeBoldForChange: even though it’s not my holiday any longer, I refuse to politicize it because it’s still a nice and loved holiday in my native country. I am a feminist the other 364 days of the year; I do not have anything to fight for on this one extra day.

Rusty And Narcissuses

Do you like narcissuses – in perfumes or in a vase? Did you ever have a secret admirer? Have you ever been one?

 

Images: my own

A Month of Roses: Week 1

First seven days of not only a specific theme but predefined set of perfumes. Surprisingly, it was much easier to do than I thought: I didn’t have to think about what I would wear the next day – it was already on the calendar.

I publish this post to sum up my impressions from the first seven perfumes and to remind you that for each comment, in which you tell us what rose perfume you wore that day (or any of the days before), you are getting one entry into the draw for two bars of chocolate from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world.

Just remember: one comment – one entry, even if you tell in it about multiple perfumes worn on different days. At the same time, two comments about the same perfume posted on two different days will give you two entries. What’s the catch? You’ve probably noticed that, other than standard WordPress’ ads, there are no ads or affiliated links on this blog, so I’m not trying to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

February 1: Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Esprit de Parfum (Bertrand Duchaufour)

I know that it’s called officially Mohur Extrait now. But the sample I was wearing was from the period when it still had the old name that hadn’t become official. From the first trio of perfumes, Mohur was my least favorite: I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t feel I’d want to wear it. Mohur Extrait feels different than just a higher concentration of the EdP version: it’s deeper and smoother. And agarwood doesn’t jump out on me as it happened before with Mohur EdP. Just in case you’ve missed it somehow: Mohur Extrait is a limited edition, and I’m not sure if those gorgeous bottles will be available again once they are sold out.

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

While I enjoy wearing this perfume from time to time, the small decant that I have is probably all I need. It is pleasant; it fits its Guerlain collection well; but, in my opinion, Rose Barbare is neither “barbare” (whichever English equivalent you choose) nor that much “rose.” I am not trying to say that there’s no rose in that perfume but smelling it blind, I would have never thought about it as a rose-centric perfume. But still, it’s a nice perfume to wear.

February 3: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin (Christopher Sheldrake)

I think it is a beautiful perfume. It was the second time I’ve ever worn it properly, and I will not be doing it again: I have ideological grievances against it. I decided to wear it on that day because it served two purposes: while it was a beautiful rose perfume that fitted this Month of Roses project, I used it as an anti-lemming perfume in NST’s community project. I do not feel bad if you choose not to read [into] this perfume pedigree or think of Marlene Dietrich while wearing La Fille de Berlin, but for me this is where our relationship with this perfume ends.

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

According to the calendar, I was supposed to wear Tauer Perfumes PHI – une rose de Kandahar. I didn’t realize that my sample was empty: probably, it’s time to buy a travel spray. And since it was a weekend, and we were invited to the friends’ house for dinner, I wanted to wear something special, not just a quickly found replacement out of all the perfumes that didn’t make it to the calendar in the first place. So I moved Lyric to the earlier date hoping to find a replacement for it later.

A couple of Valentine’s Days ago I paired Lyric with one of the stories from my childhood (Ax +By = A Genetic Mystery).

This is one of classic Amouage perfumes that is worth trying even if one doesn’t like rose or Amouage perfumes: it doesn’t work for everybody, it shouldn’t (and can’t) work for everybody but it is a great illustration for opulence in perfumery. I happen to love Lyric, and I feel joy every time I wear it. I wonder though, whether I actually smell this rose as a dark one or is it a power of suggestion from the packaging?

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

Agarwood and I are not really friends. There is a handful of perfumes with this note that work for my skin (or at least for my nose when I smell them on my vSO) but most of them I rather dislike. Rose Oud is one of a few that are not bad, which brings me to the conclusion that it’s not real agarwood that makes up for this perfume’s price. No, I haven’t suddenly developed better olfaction abilities. But I remember that every time I thought I liked perfumes with agarwood, those were perfumes based on the “oud accord” (if any at all). I won’t probably go beyond the sample I have but I liked wearing it for the project.

February 6: Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose (Laurie Erickson)

As with all Laurie’s perfumes, there is no doubt that it is a real rose you smell. More is going on in this perfume, but rose is at center stage from the big opening until the last curtain call, if I were to stretch that theater metaphor. Velvet Rose is very Sonoma Scent Studio perfume so if you like their floral perfumes, this one should work well for you. My bottle of this perfume is slowly nearing the end (so, 3-4 more years, and it’ll be done) – ask me then if I’m replenishing it.

February 7: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille (Andy Tauer)

As I wrote in the post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, I cannot say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much. It is fruity-floral perfume that is done the way this genre of perfumes should be done. It is a very strong and unapologetic lemony rose with the added raspberry sweetness. But unless you’re a [serial] monogamist when it comes to perfumes, do not go for anything more than 15 ml travel spray of this perfume: it is so potent that even that amount will serve you a decade.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will be back in a week with a write-up on the next seven perfumes on my calendar. I hope you like rose perfumes (and chocolate).

 

Images: my own

My First Celebuscent

Celebuscents have that stigma in the Perfumeland: many perfumistas try to distance themselves from these concoctions; they become the butt of easy jokes; and just from time to time somebody almost apologetically concedes liking one of them despite it being a celebuscent.

Until recently I stayed more or less immune to all of those releases: the only two perfumes I’ve ever tried on skin were Dita Von Teese’s first perfume (a perfumista friend sent me a decant of it because she liked it; I vaguely remember that it wasn’t bad but not good enough to justify even the adorable bottle) and Etat Libre d’Orange Like This (it was a part of one of the LuckyScent’s sample packs – when I was still buying those; I think I rather liked it but since I do not support that brand, sampling was the end of it).

A couple more celebrity perfumes – one from Jennifer Aninston and one from Madonna – I tried on paper but don’t remember anything other than the latter looked like a coffin and had tuberose, which I usually do not like. I would have probably tried CB I Hate Perfume 2nd Cumming (I love that actor, and all the proceeds go to charities), but I’ve never came across that line. And I haven’t tried Boyfriend from Kate Walsh, even though it was widely liked at the time.

Celebuscents

The only perfume that can be classified as celebrity perfume that I like, own (a decant – thanks to Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal) and wear is Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve. But it is classic perfume already (and regretfully discontinued) so I probably do not even have to be apologetic while admitting that.

When I started coming across multiple mentions of the new Sarah Jessica Parker’s perfume Stash, I wasn’t even tempted: I’m not interested in celebuscents in general, I’m not a fan of SJP, and I don’t like the name (it has drugs connotation for me, which I do not condone).

When hajusuuri asked me if I wanted to get a sample of Stash, I told her that I would test it at a store (how hard can it be to test something like that, right?), which I tried to do on my next trip to the mall – just to discover that none of the stores carried it. There is a chance that I would have eventually visited Ulta, the only store that currently has that perfume, but I’m not sure since I don’t like Ulta as well.

You can see how everything was against our encounter. But then hajusuuri just went ahead and, without waiting for the report on the success or failure of my shopping trip, included the sample into the package she was sending me.

The first minute I applied it, I immediately liked it (and that was my #10, undisclosed, perfume on my Best of 2016 list). I liked Stash on its own merit but also because I was reminded of another perfume I used to like – Gucci Rush for Men. These two perfumes aren’t identical (especially since I’m comparing Stash to “vintage” remains of the Rush) but the resemblance was close enough for me to rush (no pun) to ulta.com, which just happen to have a sale…

SJP Stash Set

I enjoy the woodiness and dryness of Stash, and I don’t smell any sweetness in it (I read that some people did). The most prominent note to my nose is cedar but if your nose better than mine in identifying notes, a list of those looks promising: grapefruit, black pepper, sage, cedar, patchouli, white ginger lily, pistachio, olibanum, Massoia wood, vetiver and musk. It is unisex with slight leaning towards masculine perfumes but not so drastically to scare away rabbit hole travelers, though I’m not sure about “civilians” (© Tara).

I didn’t need another 50 ml of any perfume, let alone 50 ml of perfume, another 30 ml of elixir oil and a 10 ml perfume rollerball. But the complete set was on sale for less than the smallest full bottle’s price. How could I resist? Besides, I was curious about the Stash oil, which I would not have tried (or bought) otherwise. I like it but I’m not clear on the body application: after I drop some oil on my skin, what am I supposed to do? Leave it to absorb? That can take forever. Rub in with my fingers? But then everything I touch in the next hour will smell like that perfume. Wash my hands afterwards? Not sure if that would help, but even if it did, I’ll need to add the next step – using a hand cream – to an already getting too laborious application routine… Do you have any other suggestions?

Rusty and SJP Stash

Do you own any celebrity perfumes? Do you wear them?

A giveaway: 10 ml Stash EdP rollerball needs another loving home before Rusty gets to it. If you’d like to be entered into the draw, just say so in your comment – there are no other requirements. The giveaway will be open until 11:59 PST on January 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen through random.org. I’ll ship the prize to any country (with usual disclaimers).

Images: the collage made from official images; the rest – my own

Nature vs. …

The first thought I had while testing Puredistance Sheiduna was: it’s beautiful, I really like it! And the next one: Whatever I smell, it just cannot be natural…

Earlier this year Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) reviewed a couple of perfumes by Nomenclature – a project by Aedes de Venustas‘ founder Karl Bradl and an interior designer Carlos Quintero. The project showcases some aroma chemicals. I’m not sure why they felt compelled to do it: not only has it been done before (as a concept) – all of Escentric Molecules‘ perfumes, Not a Perfume by Juliette has a Gun or Tauer‘s Pentachords – but also all of the above-mentioned perfumes had a much more appealing packaging. Nevertheless, they did it, and I’ve got to try four out of five perfumes from the line recently (thank you, hajusuuri). The verdict? I thought they were rather nice, but I had to agree with Steve’s (The Scented Hound) comment on that Lucas’ post:

I have no problem with synthetics and their use. Actually, the natural perfumes for the most part aren’t to my liking. That said, I have a hard time rallying around a conceptual perfume that is marketed to look like a chemistry set. Wrap it up in a pretty bottle with a pretty name and maybe I’ll come running.

Rusty and Nomenclature perfume samples

That was exactly what I was thinking. While I usually prefer everything natural in other areas of life (I recently touched it in the topic of the clothes’ fabric), when it comes to perfumes, I’m not so sure. No, actually strike that: I am sure that “all-natural” doesn’t work for me in perfume form. So far, I came across a single all-natural perfume that I really liked: Unter den Linden from April Aromatics (I did a mini-review of it in one of my Single Note Exploration posts). Absolutely all other all-natural perfumes that I’ve tried were “OK” at best…

But back to Sheiduna. I want to clarify that my thinking about it not being natural wasn’t a criticism – I was just stating the fact. The third though that was an organic continuation of those two, with which I started this post, was: I don’t really care about that fact.

I know bloggers who take offense at brands using aroma chemicals, especially when it’s done in excess, in their opinion. I’m a wrong person to judge: Molecule 01 – a pure Iso E Super – is still one of my favorite perfumes (and I fell in love with it without even knowing what I smelled). But my opinion is: if I like what I smell, I do not care about the origin of the scent I like – as long as it is… well, original.

Angel Perfumes

While I loved (and still do) Angel (I challenge anyone to tell me, which natural ingredients made it an icon – and while you’re at it, you might also try persuading me that Marilyn Monroe was a natural blonde), I never cared for all angel-wannabes that came after. The same goes for other ingredients: once they become ubiquitous, I lose my interest. But I do not hold it against those perfumes that used them first: before something has become a cliché, at some point it must have been original and … catchy.

Amber Xtreme or not, I enjoy Sheiduna and think that it’s more beautiful than hundreds of other perfumes I’ve tried – and I’m not talking only about natural perfumes. And Puredistance’s packaging is truly exceptional. I’ll happily wear Sheiduna this winter.

Rusty and Puredistance Sheiduna

Images: my own

Song of the Sea

There is a term “false friend of a translator” – words in two languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning (see Wikipedia). These words do not even have to look/sound exactly the same but as long as they somehow “click”, one’s mind does the rest.

My first encounter with this phenomenon was a word “complexion”: it sounds similar to the word in Russian “комплекция” that means “build” (as in “the dimensions or proportions of a person’s or animal’s body”). The next one was even more drastic: English “pathetic” just begs to be used as a translation for Russian “патетический” (“grandiloquent”).

As I’ve discovered, it doesn’t even have to be a foreign-native pair; foreign-foreign works as well. For a while in my mind “Sogni del Mare” was associated with “Song of the See.” I don’t know if for a native speaker (reader?) “sogni” looks anything like “song”, but for my eye it was (and is) close enough – even now when I know that it means “dreams.”

I tried Sogni del Mare (Dreams of the Sea) by Antonia’s Flowers for the first time many years ago from a dab vial that I bought from the brand’s site as a part of a sample set*. I liked it very much and was even considering a bottle purchase (in my regular “think ten times” manner). Then one day I saw Sogni del Mare at Barneys and was about to buy it but decided to spray it first – just to see how I like it in that form.

It was awful! Not just different from how I remembered or less interesting but plainly awful. There were some very unpleasant herbal notes I never smelled in it before… Of course, I didn’t buy it then.

At some point later at home, when I remembered about the incident, I re-tested my old sample: I still liked it. I couldn’t believe it was the same perfume! “Maybe they’ve reformulated it since I got my sample?” – I asked myself and ordered another set of samples. Reformulation wasn’t the case: I still liked Sogni del Mare from the new vial. Then the only explanation I could think of was that Barneys had a turned tester bottle.

A year later, while at Barneys again, I decided to try Sogni del Mare again – with the same result, believe it or not. I was amazed and I couldn’t explain how it could happen (it couldn’t have been the same tester, could it?). But I asked for a sample, which I brought, together with the other two, to my recent Maui vacation.

Antonia's Flowers Sogni del Mare

I wasn’t imagining things: the sample from Barneys’ bottle was clearly off. I do not know how exactly they managed to do that, but even remains of my ancient first sample (from 2007!), though slightly changed, smells closer to the newer sample than what I smelled twice at Barneys (a year apart).

Sogni del Mare isn’t a statement perfume: it’s soft, tender and … dreamy. I’m not a big fan of colognes but this perfume’s citrus opening charms me. I do not like rhubarb in any of its uses but it doesn’t bother me here. I love black currant and like lotus note in perfumes but I do not distinguish them in Sogni del Mare. All that said, every time I try Sogni del Mare, I realize that I still like it. The only reason I haven’t bought it yet is my fear that samples were from the “old batch” while the perfume was reformulated and “what you smell [at Barneys] is what you get.” But maybe I should still risk it?..

I’m not sure I have a notion about how exactly dreams of the sea might smell, but if you would tell me they smell like Sogni del Mare, I would say: I don’t see why not…

Maui: Dreams of the Sea

Images: my own

* It looks like the sample set is still offered from the brand’s site for a nominal price. They do not ship to Europe but if you’re in the U.S. and haven’t tried their perfumes, you have to!

Wearing White After Labor Day

I don’t think I’ve heard that expression before I moved to the U.S., but once I did (moved and heard) it felt intuitively understandable and logical. I knew that it wasn’t a rule actually imposed or followed anymore, but it came naturally for me since I didn’t wear white clothes either before, or after that arbitrary check mark in the calendar.

I don’t have anything against the color white per se (unless we’re talking about cars: for whatever reason it’s my least favorite color for a car exterior), but I grew up thinking of white clothes and shoes (especially shoes!) as of completely impractical and wasteful.

Where I lived, people weren’t really poor but everything was a little scarce: nice(r) things were hard to get, so everybody used what they managed to buy for a long time. Many people did not have washing machines and there were no dryers – so there was a tendency to wear clothes longer between washes than we normally do nowadays. Most people used only public transportation, which was in a much worse state of cleanliness than those that I do not consider clean enough today. Somehow streets even in big cities were much dustier in dry seasons and muddier in wet ones than even in suburbia where I live now. And on top of that we didn’t have that many hot weather days compared to cold or at least cool months. So with all that in mind, it’s not surprising that many of us favored “not easily soiled” clothes.

Long after I moved to the U.S., started buying as much clothes as I wanted and even got my own washing and drying machines, I still steered clear of white in my wardrobe – just out of habit. Until several years ago, while on a vacation, I realized that I kept admiring white dresses, pants and tops that one of my friends was wearing. After some internal negotiations, I agreed (with myself) that I didn’t have to be practical any longer. I could afford (in all meanings) to start wearing impractical* white things from time to time.

Rusty and Puredistance White

WHITE by Puredistance was a strong “like” for me from the first spray: it was so bright, happy and sunny. And immediately in my head it became a summer time perfume – not as something I would wear in a heat wave’s afternoon but perfect for a warm summer night out. I tested WHITE, liked it, and told myself that I’d buy a bottle once my samples were gone. But then the fall came, I moved to wearing my colder season favorites, while waiting for the next WHITE-appropriate season.

I do not know what makes WHITE a summer perfume. When I’m thinking about it, I can’t say that WHITE is lighter or less opulent than, for example, Amouage Dia or Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, both of which I associate with autumn (or even with our NorCal winter). And still WHITE feels right for the white clothes season.

This summer I enjoyed WHITE again getting closer and closer to the end of my second sample, so I’ll need to get that bottle soon. But we’ve just celebrated Labor Day…

Rusty and Puredistance White

Have you seen already Puredistance’s new website? It’s white!

 

Images: my own (no, I didn’t allow Rusty to play with a bottle of WHITE – it’s a factice bottle sent to me by the brand together with the samples that I’ve been enjoying but from the fact that I plan to buy a bottle you can infer that I truly liked it)

* A curious coincidence: in the definition of the word “impractical” in Google, “impractical white ankle boots” is given as an example of use

Bargains That Hunt (Haunt?) Me

“The more you spend, the more you save” – we all heard this phrase or some variation of it. Every time I sigh, repeat in my head: “The more you spend, the more you spend” and resist buying things I do not need.

I’m very particular with brands I use in everyday life, so the “worst” I can do is to choose the one that is currently on sale if it’s one of those that I would buy full-priced.

Since I went down the proverbial rabbit hole, I haven’t been tempted by the deepest discounts different sites or stores like T.J. Maxx offer for mass-market perfumes. You won’t find those $20-$40 “couldn’t-pass-bys” in my collection: even though I like some of them while testing, every time I tell myself that I would buy a bottle as soon as I finish that sample – and I never do.

If to add all that to my cat-like “spontaneity” (I can wiggle for months or even years before pouncing on a bottle of perfume I loved when I tried it), one would expect my collection to be an extremely curated and tailored closely to my tastes. It could have been so if it weren’t for my Achilles heel – niche perfumes bargains.

Every time I come across a discount for the niche line that you cannot usually buy other than for the full price, or see a true bargain, I feel that I just can’t miss that opportunity! Or what, you’d ask? It’s not that I wouldn’t or couldn’t pay full price for a bottle of perfume if I really liked it. And the only risk of not having perfume to wear comes from me not being able to choose which one from my collection I want on that occasion. But at those times all my rationality goes out the window.

For a while I was able to dodge the bullet by buying perfumes that I would have probably bought anyway but recently I got a couple of “misses.” I still hope I’ll change my mind on one of them,  so I won’t mention it now. The second one was L’Artisan‘s La chasse aux Papillons. It was cheap (I think around $35 for a new 50 ml bottle), old design (who knows what happens with these perfumes now, when they’ve changed the bottles), and it was La chasse aux Papillons (nice perfume, everybody likes it – right?).

Rusty and La Chasse aux Papillons

When I got my bargain bottle and applied this perfume for the first time, I realized that I didn’t know or remember it. I’m positive that I tried it several years before and I thought that I liked it then, but the perfume I smelled from my wrist was completely unknown to me, and I couldn’t explain to myself what had possessed me to buy it without testing it one more time (I still had the sample!). It isn’t unpleasant, I do not dislike it, but with so many perfumes that I love in my collection why would I spend time wearing something that is just “nice” or “not bad”?! It seems Rusty shares my feelings: the picture above was the only one I managed to take of him and La chasse aux Papillons. After that he was totally not interested in that bottle.

Rusty and La Chasse aux Papillons

You would think that should have taught me… I am getting better. Once I read in Vanessa’s (Bonkers About Perfume) post that at The Fragrance Shop she “clocked the fact that Mary Greenwell Plum is on offer at £28.50 for a 100ml bottle, or £19.50 for 50ml. The more you spray, the more you save!” (emphasis mine), I immediately went for the sample I had.

I liked it. Probably as much as I did two years ago when I wore it from my sample for the last time. I went back to the shop’s site and put a 50 ml bottle in my “bag” (I’m curious, is “bag” a U.K. equivalent of the U.S.’s “cart”? Vanessa’s “on offer” was also a new form for me being used to “sale” or “deal” in similar context). The site immediately informed me that just for £9 more I could get twice as much perfume. I do not like 100 ml bottles. I think that even 50 ml is too much for most perfumes. But just £9 difference… I wore Plum for the next 2 days trying to figure out how I feel about it. I didn’t love it, so I decided to be rational and not to buy a 100 ml bottle… or a 50 ml one. “And this time I almost made it, came so close to saying no”, but Vanessa’s next post with a giveaway of the Mary Greenwell Plum bottle from Liz Moores of Papillon Artisan Perfumes (what is the chance of having two unrelated “papillon” mentioning in one post?!), who couldn’t resist the bargain but didn’t like it afterwards, had a strange effect on me: I felt a new surge of desire to buy this perfume. I struggled with myself for a while but finally capitulated and bought… two 8 ml purse sprays – one for me and one for the giveaway.

Mary Greenwell Plum

Since this perfume will arrive to me from the U.K., where you still can buy it for a song, I decided that one trip over the ocean should be enough, so the giveaway is open for anybody in the U.S. Other than letting me know that you live in the U.S., just tell me if you’ve already tried and liked Plum or want to try. The draw will stay open until the Labor Day, when the bottle is supposed to arrive. Either Rusty, or random.org will choose the winner.

Do you succumb to bargains? What was your best bargain haul ever? Which was the most regrettable?

 

Images: Rusty & La chasse aux Papillons my own; Plum – my friend’s A., also known as a “perfume mule”