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”

Advertisements

In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Blackberry

 

I was in my late 20s when I tried blackberries for the first time. Before than I knew of them but where I lived they weren’t grown commercially so I wasn’t even sure how blackberry looked or smelled.

Blackberries

I still do not know how blackberries smell. I checked just yesterday: at least those that I buy have almost no detectable scent. Are there any other varieties that actually have a smell?

So it’s fair to say that I wasn’t really looking for a perfect blackberry scent. What I was (and actually still am) looking for was a limited edition bottle of L’Artisan Mure et Musc Extreme that looked like a blackberry.

I wanted this bottle. I found a special bottle of Premier Figuier Extreme but for the last year I’ve been stalking eBay for that blueberry bottle without much success. But to be ready to jump on a bidding game if a bottle is offered for sale I wanted to try the perfume: at least to know what to expect.

Mure et Musc Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur, created by Karine Dubreuil in 1993, includes notes of … all sources agree on blackberries and musk, and some type of citrus. But then I saw “red berries”, “black currant”, “hint of raspberries”, etc. I don’t smell any of those. I can smell some citrus in the opening; I can smell something that I classify as musk. If you want, I can say it has a blackberry note – but only to the extent of it’s not smelling of anything distinctive, same as those blackberries I buy to eat. Mure et Musc Extreme isn’t unpleasant but I do not see any reason to buy and wear it. Not unless I find that cute bottle.

Mure Et Musc

I still wasn’t looking for a blackberry perfume when an SA at Nordstrom almost forced a Trish McEvoy No 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk sample on me. Created in 2000, Blackberry & Vanilla Musk includes notes of blackberry, vanilla, rose, musk and Cashmeran. I can’t believe how much I disliked that perfume! Of course, I rarely test mainstream offerings nowadays so I lost my immunity towards that type of perfumes so I should have expected that could happen. But I didn’t. And I wanted to test different perfumes for this post. Blackberry & Vanilla Musk is sickly sweet on my skin. Once I applied it I did not want to smell any nuances or trace changing notes. All I wanted was for it to go away. Right… You know how persistent those synthetic musks are. Never again.

Still not looking for a blackberry-centric perfume I unexpectedly got one. It was a gift from a friend who got persuaded by an SA at Heathrow airport that this perfume wasn’t available in the U.S. It wasn’t true: by that time I’ve already tested and liked Blackberry & Bay by Jo Malone. But I don’t complain: it was a great gift.

Jo Malone Blueberry & Bay

Blackberry & Bay by Jo Malone, created by Fabrice Pellegrin in 2012, includes notes of blackberry, grapefruit, bay leaf, floral accord, vetiver and cedar wood. Fruity perfumes are not widely represented in my collection but Blackberry & Bay is one of a few that I truly enjoy. I like the sweet and tart mixture of this perfume on my skin. It’s fruity, bright and dark, deep and playful at the same time.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Images: my own (all but L’Artisan blueberry bottle)