Perfume Shelf Life

For a while I was collecting DVD. My rule was to buy only those movies that I watched, liked and wanted to have in my collection. What I noticed over time: once a movie got on the shelf I would rarely watch it again. I would still like the movie, think it is great and even watch a big chunk of it if I would catch it while switching TV channels, but whenever choosing what to watch, I would almost never go for a DVD I own.


Recently I came across an interesting project – Found in Translation. A graphic designer Anjana Ilyer creates posters to illustrate words in other languages with no direct English equivalent. One of the words that grabbed my attention is similar in spirit but describes a different medium: Tsundoku – a Japanese word that means “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.” I’m guilty of that behavior with the only difference: the books I buy and plan to read go directly on a shelf in my bookcase.


Why should it be different when it comes to perfumes, right? I have a number of bottles in my collection that weren’t impulse buys – I tried them, liked and even hunted some of them; I didn’t get tired of them and do not consider them albatrosses – and still whenever choosing what to wear I pass them by and they spend most of the time just sitting on one of the perfume shelves in my closet.

Amarige Harvest Mimosa 2007 by Givenchy is one of those “tsundoku” perfumes. I tried it first at some duty-free store at the airport and liked it. I got a sample and as it was nearing the end I liked it more and more. By the time I decided I wanted Amarige Harvest Mimosa, being a limited edition, it was gone. But I was persistent and eventually a very reasonably priced bottle joined my collection. I still think it’s great and I’m glad I have it but the last time I wore it was while writing the post about mimosa-centric perfumes… three years ago. Since then it has been safely stored all the way back on the perfume shelf. For notes and actual review read The Non-Blonde.

Rusty and Amarige Mimosa 2007

It must be something with shelves in my house…


Images: poster by Anjana Ilyer; two other – my own.


My First Gender-Bending Perfume Fling: Givenchy Pi

In the nineties my perfume adventures were limited by what mass market ladies’ counters had to offer. But since there were much less new mainstream releases back then, usually after getting familiar with everything available for the appropriate gender I would entertain myself sniffing what was offered to gentlemen telling myself that my vSO might need one more bottle (as if he was running out of those four or five I’d previously persuaded him he would love).

One day while smelling new masculine releases I suddenly found myself drawn to one perfume.

Pi by Givanchy

π (Pi) by Givenchy – created in 1998 by Alberto Morillas, notes (according to Fragrantica) include basil, rosemary, tarragon, mandarin, neroli, geranium, lily of the valley, anise, vanilla, tonka, cedar, benzoin, almond and yellow sugar.

I liked it. Not for my vSO – for myself. I kept going back to the counter to try it again and again. It felt strange because, in my mind, there was supposed to be a strict distinction: feminine perfumes, masculine colognes and some new trendy creations called unisex (but those that I’d come across then were neither fish nor fowl). One day an SA struck a conversation with me and I admitted that I was thinking about buying it for myself. I don’t think she whispered but she definitely lowered her voice when she told me, in confidence, as if it was something about what people do not talk out loud, that many women like masculine perfumes. What was more important, she gave me a couple of samples of Pi.

When the samples were gone I bought a bottle. I think it was my way of breaking out of the habitual floral perfumes I used to favor (and probably still do). I wore Pi Eau de Toilette pour Homme reveling in my eccentricity and fearlessness. I think I liked not as much the perfume itself but that feeling of dare. And then we just grew apart. I didn’t suddenly start disliking Pi – I just didn’t feel like wearing it anymore.

Last year a friend of mine whose birthday is today, March 14th (M., if you’re reading this – Happy Birthday!), told me about that day being known as a Pi-Day. I’ve never heard about it before: having grown up with the European date system I’ve never seen the connection between 14/03/YY and number Pi. It was too late to do anything last year but I told her that if I would still be blogging in a year I’d write a story about this perfume since I kept this bottle for the last ten years. And I would have missed it again if it weren’t for her reminding me.

So here’s my Pi-Day story about Pi – the first masculine perfume I bought for myself. Now it goes into the Retirement Box.

I haven’t found any real reviews. Either it was really that bad or at least it wasn’t good enough for anybody to contradict Luca Turin’s disparaging comment in the Guide.

Do you remember your first perfume that crossed the gender line?

Image: my own

Dial M for… Spring or A Perfect Mimosa

A gray chilly day, gray dirty slush on the pavement, gray skies and serious men in gray gabardine overcoats with gray newspaper cones – in their hand, under arm or even sticking out of a handbag. And confined in each of those cones are hundreds of small suns.

MimosaThis is how I remember 8th of March, an International Women’s Day, from my childhood. Of course, there were other early spring flowers – tulips and daffodils (back then we didn’t have “evergreen” roses yet) – but mimosa* was strongly associated with this holiday (a combination of Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day). Mimosa was such a sunny and happy flower that you couldn’t help feeling Spring in the air even though it was still cold and unpleasant outside.

It’s almost never cold where I live now; all seasons’ boundaries are blurred and I gladly swapped not so “international,” as I found out, holiday for a more romantic, in my view, local one. But I still smile and my heart fills with joy whenever I see these bright golden constellations on a filigree of silvery leaves.

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