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”

In the Search for the Perfect Linden, Take 2

 

I’m not much of a spontaneous person, if you haven’t noticed yet. I try to plan most things in my life. It gives me the feeling of comfort and control. But, as with many other things we crave because we do not have them – straight/curly hair, lighter/darker skin, etc., from time to time I wish I would do something on an impulse, without going through every detail in my head first.

My vSO is even less spur-of-the-moment man. So when a couple of weekends ago he told me: “Let’s go to Santa Cruz mountain wineries!” in less than an hour we were on our way there.

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I just couldn’t pass by a small boutique named Scentsations# – a tiny soap and cosmetics shop. An older gentleman, most likely an owner, peeked over the newspaper he was reading to greet me. A usual small shop small talk (as I keep sniffing different soaps):

– It’s a nice day. What are you doing today?
– Yeah, it is. We’re here for the wine tasting.
– Are you even old enough to drink?
– (I laugh: I know I’m old enough to have a kid of a drinking age but since he’s old enough to be my father I do not feel bad about his obvious flattery) Thank you, I appreciate it.
– Where are you from?
(my habitual answer to such questions) I live in the Bay Area, my accent is from…
– I thought so. You should try this one…

He hands me a bar of soap. It is tender green and smells of linden. On the paper wrap it says “Tilleul” and “Made in France”. How could I not buy it?

Linden Soap And Rusty

In my last year post I told the story behind my affection towards linden blossom and reviewed briefly perfumes that I tried while looking for the perfect linden-centric perfume: French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone, Linden by Demeter, Tilleul by Provence Sante and Zeta by Tauer Perfumes. I didn’t find the perfect perfume then so I kept looking.

Waltz No. 14 by Tokyo Milk – notes include linden, honeyed rose, wisteria petals and white musk. To my nose it’s a bitter green scent. I can smell what is supposed to be a linden note (it’s not a bad representation of linden if smelled alone without comparing to other takes on the same scent). I do not smell rose in Waltz – honeyed or otherwise. It’s nice and crisp on my skin for the first 10-15 minutes but then gets a little soapy for a while. Like most Tokyo Milk’s perfumes that I tried it doesn’t stay for too long. The sample sent me by Victoria of EauMG (thank you!) will stay in my scents library. Read her real review for Waltz.

Tilleuls au Vent by L’Artisan Parfumeur isn’t really a perfume, it’s a room spray but it usually doesn’t stop a real perfumista in the search for a perfect scent (thank you to Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume for sending me this sample). What can I say? It’s a room spray. Tilleuls au Vent is a very pleasant scent but it’s too single-dimensional and lacks depth.

La chasse aux Papillons by L’Artisan Parfumeur – created by Anne Flipo in 1999, notes include linden blossom, lemon tree blossom, orange blossom, jasmine and tuberose. I tested it for several times and even though I couldn’t smell too much linden in it, I enjoyed the scent. And then I read Victoria’s (EauMGreview for La chasse aux Papillons and now I cannot help smelling in it tuberose to which I didn’t pay attention before. I do not like tuberose and now it haunts me in this perfume. I’ll try to test it again in a while but for now a sample in my scent library is all I need.

Linden Soap And Rusty

Unter den Linden by April Aromatics – created by Tanja Bochnig in 2012, notes include linden blossom, mimosa, frangipani, honey extract, bergamot and gardenia. I haven’t heard about this brand until I read Asali’s (All I am – a redhead) beautiful review for Unter den Linden. Asali was very generous and sent me a sample. I’m very grateful to her but I’m not sure if I’m glad that I’ve got to try it. It’s a very pretty perfume and I take back my original impression that Unter den Linden smelled like a more lemon-y version on one of my favorites Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom. Unter den Linden is lighter, more refined and blended more seamlessly than French Lime Blossom (I still like the latter though). What makes me unhappy is the price: however beautiful, this perfume isn’t unique enough or using really expensive and rare ingredients to justify to me $7/ml price for EdP. But if it weren’t for that I’d love to add a bottle of Unter den Linden to my collection. I still might.

Honey Blossom by Aftelier Perfumes – created by Mandy Aftel in 2010, notes include linden blossom, orange blossom, ambergris and benzoin. It is not a linden perfume. For my nose it’s a very sweet honeyed floral bouquet, warm and soothing scent. I like smelling it from my wrist but I do not want to wear it as a perfume. It makes a perfect sleep scent for me though. So once my small parfum sample that I’ve got from Mandy via Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) – thank you both – is gone I’ll probably buy the next one. For a real review read Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) Aftelier Honey Blossom : Natural Fragrance Review.

Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour by DSH Perfumes – created by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz in 2012 for the YSL Retrospective Collection, notes include bergamot, lemon, ozone, Bulgarian rose absolute, Dossinia orchid, French linden blossom (accord), honeysuckle, linden blossom absolute, lily of the valley, sambac jasmine, wisteria, ylang ylang, Australian sandalwood, civet, East Indian patchouli, musk and vanilla. This perfume got me by surprise: it was the last perfume in the collection and I didn’t expect it to be a linden scent. I like it. Will Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour become a full bottle in my collection once I’m done with the sample sent to me by Dawn (thank you!)? I don’t know yet.

Linden Soap And Rusty

I still can’t say that I found the perfect linden perfume but I will suspend my search until I get a chance to smell a real blossoming linden tree to re-acquaint myself with the aroma of my youth. On my recent trip to Baltimore I saw those pre-bloom linden trees and almost cried – two more weeks and I could have smelled something I hadn’t smelled in 15 years. Maybe next year…

If you are looking for a linden-centric perfume definitely give a try to Unter den Linden and Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour and judge for yourself. You might just fall in love.

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# Address for Scentsations: 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, (831) 423-8900

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Images: my own