Déjà vu, Episode 3: powdery fruit vs. peony oriental vs. sandalwood jasmine

When I was a child there was a sketch comedy TV show for kids – Yeralash. One of the episodes was titled Twins (it’s shorter than 2 minutes – start at 4:00 –  you can watch it for the idea, I didn’t find it with subtitles).

The plot: Two little boys (LBs) on a sled bump into an older boy (OB). He gets up to confront them when he notices that they look alike.

OB: Identical twins!
LBs (here and later they speak in unison): We are not identical twins!
OB: What do you mean “not twins”? Are you brothers?
LBs: Yes!
OB: Then you’re identical twins!
LBs: No, we told you, we are not identical twins!
OB:  Were you born the same day?
LBs: Yes!
OB: Then you are identical twins!
LBs: No, we are not!
OB: Why are you messing with me?! Let’s do it again. Were you born the same day? Are you brothers? Are you look-alike?
LBs: Yes! Yes! Yes!
OB: Then you are twins!
(the third little boy who looks exactly as the first two comes from behind and pushes OB away): Leave them alone! We are identical triplets!!! I went to pee!

 *

A year ago in one of the department stores I came across a stand with six or seven classic Guerlein fragrances. It was my first close encounter with those perfumes and since the only one I tried before – Shalimar – didn’t work for me I was reluctant to put anything on my skin. So I spent some time with all those bottles and paper strips. Have you ever tried keeping six unsigned blotters in order? I thought I was doing fine… Later, as I was going through those blotters in the car, the scent from one of them suddenly felt very familiar. A couple of minutes of intense sniffing later I conjured the answer: Estee Lauder’s Tuscany per Donna! The problem was that I didn’t know which perfume it was: blotters mixed in my hands and names did the same in my head.

I came home and went through the notes lists for those perfumes I suspected might be “it” – Mitsouko, Jicky, Jardins de Bagatelle and L’Heure Bleue. Each one of them had a potential but I couldn’t tell which one it was just from comparing notes. So the next week I went back to the store and sprayed those perfumes on new blotters (signed this time to avoid confusion). Nothing. None of them smelled like Tuscany per Donna. Since all that happen soon after I published the first episode in my o Déjà vu category I concluded that it was a wishful thinking on my part and thus wrapped up my experiments.

 *

During my Guerlain Quest in Las Vegas this February, following Suzanne’s recommendation, I tested Samsara in parfum concentration. I smelled it from a blotter that an SA handed to me and immediately thought of another perfume Samsara reminded me of. Actually, I thought of another two perfumes. But remembering reaction of the Specialist (I won’t repeat the link but you might want to look through the story from the Episode 1 linked above to understand what I’m referring to); I chose the “more niche” of two to mention to that SA. I told him that Samsara reminded me of Frederic Malle’s Iris Poudre. And that was where it was “déjà vu all over again”: his reaction was really similar to the one I got from Malle’s Specialist. I thought it was ironic.

*

A month ago at a grocery store I thought I recognized a scent on a woman. I’m never shy to approach people about perfumes (or shoes) they are wearing:

 – Are you wearing Tuscany per Donna? – I asked.
 – No, it’s Samsara – she answered.

The circle has closed.

*

Since this post is a follow-up to my older story I decided against a full-blown blind testing (which was, in my opinion, a complete success in my second Déjà vu episode) but I had a chance to solicit a quick blind sniffing participation from Susan (Fine Fragrants):

Based on my first tries of each of these perfumes, I agree that they are similar. Yet I can readily identify differences between each of them. Red (Iris Poudre) smells more “modern” to me than Blue (Tuscany per Donna) or Yellow (Samsara) – more like something that would be coming out on the market now. Yellow is quieter and closer to the skin than Red or Blue. Blue is the most assertive, classic, and sexiest, as well as the most animalic – it’s the one I’d want if I had to buy one of these perfumes. It’s the diva of the trio.

Triplets

Recently I tested all three perfumes – Tuscany per Donna, Iris Poudre and Samsara (both parfum and EdT) several times. Having five notes in common for all three (rose, carnation, jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla) and additional 2-3 between the most note-rich Iris Poudre and each of the other two, these three perfumes are distinct. I can definitely tell apart my favorite Iris Poudre: after more than a year of wearing it repeatedly I do not think any more that it’s identical to Tuscany per Donna. Testing Samsara and Tuscanny per Donna in parallel I can smell the difference. But all three have so much in common, especially on some stages of the development, that I’m not sure I won’t mix them up next time “in the wild” (©Dee, I think). Tuscany per Donna, Iris Poudre and Samsara  are not identical triplets but definitely fraternal ones.

By the way, Tania Sanchez gave this “sandalwood jasmine” ****

Read Suzanne’s (Eiderdown Press) real (and very beautiful) review of Samsara and Iris Poudre; Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmine) very informative article on new and vintage Samsara; Elisa’s not a review but an interesting layering idea for Tuscany per Donna and (thanks to Suzanne’s comment) Meg’s (parfumieren) review of Tuscuny per Donna.

Image: my own.

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What Happens in Vegas… Part I: Guerlain – Mission Accomplished

While helping Birgit with charts for her Monday Question: Guerlain or Chanel? I was fascinated by the list of perfumes from Guerlain that respondents named as their favorites without which they couldn’t imagine their Perfume World. That was when I realized that I’d tried merely one third of all perfumes that others loved.

There is a Guerlain boutique at San Francisco Saks. It’s not too far from where I live but even a 30 minutes drive combined with the cost of downtown parking makes it an unlikely place I’d go casually to try one perfume after another.

That’s why when I realized that during my birthday trip to Las Vegas I would be staying at the hotel that hosted the only stand-alone Guerlain boutique in the city… wait… or was it that I booked my stay at the hotel because of that?.. Anyway, I thought it would be a chance to try all those perfumed wonders and asked for an advice.

As you might have noticed already, I like numbers. So here are some relevant to the topic:

  –  28 perfumes were suggested for testing and 14 of them were mentioned more than once;

  –  The most popular suggestion (7 voices) was Chamade;

  –  On this trip I smelled 14 perfumes from the list and tried some on the skin;

  –  3 days are not enough to do justice to what a great perfume house has to offer (duh!).

Las Vegas Guerlain Boutique in Palazzo

Once checked in, I immediately embarked on my mission. I went to the Guerlain boutique and explained my intentions to the SA who greeted me. He was professional and helpful but somehow we didn’t “click”. I might be wrong but I guess he didn’t think I would end up buying anything. Nevertheless we went through a number of bottles, I chose two to try on my skin and went on with my vacation. I came back the same day and then the next one, and the next – and everything repeated.

I didn’t try Chamade this time because I tried it before and liked, so it was my back-up plan (together with Vol de Nuit) – I decided I would try these two and choose one of them if I wouldn’t find any other perfume that I’d like more. I still plan to seek samples of Chamade and Vol de Nuit to figure out if I can go with the EdT, EdP or need an extrait. But all those who suggested this perfume were right: I like Chamade.

Suzanne, your bet on Samsara extrait would be safe: you were right more than you could imagine (but it’ll be a separate post next month – “How’s that for mysterious?” ©Natalie).

Out of those perfumes that I tried on the skin two were a definite No: Nahema (“old lady perfume” on my skin – sorry to everybody who loves it) and Sous le Vent (I might try it again one day but this time it wasn’t close to what I was looking for). I need to test more Angelique Noire, Cuir Beluga and Bois d’Armenie: I liked them all but it wasn’t love. At least not yet.

Las Vegas Guerlains

And then I took a blotter, inhaled and thought: This is the one! Probably you know that feeling when you smell a perfume and immediately like it. You do not need to work on it, learn to appreciate or let it grow on you. You just like it. That was what happened to me with Cruel Gardénia. It is extremely beautiful and the moment I smelled it I wanted to have it in my collection.

I wore it twice and even though I had one more day to decide (or try more perfumes) I felt it would be right to get my birthday bottle of perfume on the actual day of my birthday. When my vSO and I went to the boutique the guy who was helping me previously (you see, I don’t even know his name since he’d never introduced himself!) wasn’t there. I felt a little bad since I usually try to be fair and buy from those SAs who helped me. But in this case it was for the best: Jorganne, who was there and helped me with my order, was just a right person for me. It was a very pleasant shopping experience including a hand-written card from Jorganne that came in my package (I had to have it delivered since we had only carry-on bags). Guess where I’ll be buying my next bottle of Guerlain. And I have no doubts there will be more.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

And finally, please meet Elena from Perfume Shrine – a Godmother of the first Guerlain perfume bottle in my collection. She was the first to suggest Cruel Gardenia and she wrote a beautiful review for this perfume. An honorable mentioning: Asali who seconded that advice.

Images: my own